Sheriff: 2 arrested in possible record-breaking meth operation

Published: May. 21, 2014 at 7:03 PM EDT
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KERSHAW COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Kershaw County Sheriff's deputies arrested two people on Easter Sunday following an anonymous complaint of a possible meth lab on West Drive near Cassatt.

Narcotics officers who have been specially trained and equipped to deal with meth labs responded to the scene and discovered a methamphetamine manufacturing operation that was contained in an outbuilding adjacent to the home, said Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews.  Because of the danger involved in processing meth labs, fire and EMS units were called to the scene to stand by in the event of a problem, the sheriff said.

Debra Page Grooms, 44, and Lloyd Otis Sams, 40, both of whom had just been evicted from the residence, were arrested when they returned to the residence while the search was taking place. Both were subsequently arrested as they drove off.

Matthews said deputies discovered a mobile methamphetamine lab in their vehicle.

The manufacture of methamphetamine is a highly toxic process and leaves behind very toxic waste matter. As in all meth lab cases, cleanup of these labs is the responsibility of law enforcement and the costs can be very high. The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division has funding to do this and contracts with a business in Columbia that specializes in meth lab cleanup.

Matthews said officials from the cleanup company that responded to this lab said the cleanup of the toxic waste produced from this operation may set a record for the largest waste product by weight of any meth lab in South Carolina. Initial estimates for the cost of this single cleanup is believed to be $10,000-$12,000.

"This is the 6th meth lab seized this year in Kershaw County," said Sheriff Jim Matthews. "Methamphetamine and methamphetamine manufacturing is a growing problem in our state and county. We will be relentless in addressing this crime before it gets out of control."

Both Sams and Grooms have been arrested previously on narcotics violations. They were being detained in the Kershaw County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing.

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