GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Six meth lab busts in one month are more than enough for one local Sheriff's Office. It's stretching resources thin for a department that's fallen victim to big budget cuts this year.
A neighbor who lives near a meth lab that was busted Sunday night wants to remain anonymous, but he says things are bad in his community.
“You live in your house, and you're afraid to go outside of a night without a gun in your hand,” the neighbor said. “Afraid to answer the door without a gun in your hand.”
He moved back to Gallia County to spend his golden years. He says that dream has been crushed by nonstop crime: multiple break-ins at his farm, fueled by drugs.
“I figured to live a happy life once I retired ... But it don't seem to be working that way,” he told WSAZ.com
The Gallia County Sheriff has seen a big rise in meth labs, as well as the crime that goes with them. There have been six in the last month or so alone.
“Ultimately, if they can't get the funding to try and purchase these products, they're gonna go out here and try to steal from anybody, and a lot of times it's family members that they're going to steal from,” Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning said. “Usually people that they know.”
It’s a problem he says affects everyone.
“I don't think anyone can sit there and shake their head and say, 'You know, that's not my problem,' ” Browning said. “If you own a farm, a business, a home. If you work in an area that's affected by that.”
Browning says it’s important to call the law if you suspect drug activity. The neighbor WSAZ.com's Lauren Denney spoke with had different advice.
“All I can say is buy you a gun and stay up 24 hours a day,” the neighbor said.
No one was arrested during Sunday's bust because deputies had to leave after a Gallipolis Police officer was shot at a different scene. City police were actually on that call because deputies were at the scene of the meth lab.
Even though no one was arrested, at least five people have been identified as suspects in the bust. The prosecutor's office will decide whether their cases go to the grand jury.
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