The Scourge of Meth

Methamphetamine hit the area like a wave in 2010, leaving behind addicts, burned buildings and endangered children. Police continue to turn up labs in Berwick, Danville, lower Luzerne County, and scattered areas across Columbia and Montour counties.

In addition to our continuing coverage of meth lab busts and related arrests, the Press Enterprise examined meth’s local impact in a three-day report, including:

  • The drug battle in Berwick, where many of the meth busts have come
  • Photos of more than 100 meth suspects, plus recaps of the criminal cases against them
  • An interactive map showing all of the area meth busts to date
  • One suspect’s story of addiction and arrest, and his hopes of staying clean

This series ran in the print edition over three days, May 12 to 14, 2013. You'll find the stories here. The photos and map will be updated regularly with new suspects, cases and lab sites.

If you're interested in the latest meth-related news from our area of Pennsylvania, scroll down the page, or click here.

Day 1:

METH MANIA

Recipe takes root in Berwick
BERWICK — The local methamphetamine boom can be traced back to a simple recipe, brought to town by a Berwick native returning from the South.

From large lab to lone user/cook

Downsized formula is portable, needs no expertise, police say
When local authorities were first warned years ago about meth labs, they were taught to look for giant drums of chemicals used for mass production. But when the first meth lab surfaced here, it was a single bottle of liquid found bubbling in the basement of a Berwick home in 2010.

Review of Arrests, Suspects

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review of methamphetamine busts and suspects comes from court records, police reports and newspaper archives.

Day 2:

‘I WAS ... A GHOST’

Meth addict cooked, lied
The following story is based on the recollections of a recovering methamphetamine addict who agreed to speak on the condition his name would not be printed. His name has been changed, but no other details have been altered.

‘Instantly’ hooked

Users shake out into cooks, smurfs with hard habit to quit, experts say
People who use methamphetamine become exhilarated, hyper-alert and hooked. “It’s pretty much instantly addictive,” says State Police Cpl. John Casciano. “You use it, and it just takes over.”

Day 3:

Drug labs leave homes tainted

Codes officer: Berwick council mulling guidelines for toxic meth properties
BERWICK — After police have hauled the suspects away and the hazmat team has packed up the evidence, the scene of a meth lab is still a dangerous place. The chemicals used to make the drug — household cleaners, camping fuel, stripped batteries — can leave an invisible toxic hazard behind.


Other recent meth-related stories:

Catawissa-area man used grandmother’s garage, officers report

CLEVELAND TWP. — A Catawissa-area man was using his grandmother’s garage as a makeshift meth lab, and was getting ready to cook the drug with a...

DANVILLE — After two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, a Montour County jury couldn’t decide whether a Berwick man was guilty of selling...

Beach Haven operation beyond a ‘one pot,’ Salem officer says

BEACH HAVEN — A man on probation had at least 30 bottles of meth waste from a substantial lab operation in his home Sunday, police say. The drug-...

Grandparents own Salem house raided by police on Sunday

BEACH HAVEN — Gage Aaron Patterson was the man making meth at 10 Walnut Drive here while his grandparents lived in another part of the house,...

Pair allegedly snared by offer to buy drug makings in Danville

DANVILLE — Two suspected methamphetamine makers were stopped in Danville as they tried to gather the ingredients needed to manufacture the drug,...