DUBOIS – A methamphetamine lab bust has raised concern among the members of DuBois City Council, and it was a major topic of discussion at Monday night’s regular meeting.
The meth lab bust occurred recently at the Brown building in DuBois. “The public may not be aware that when a bust of this level happens, a lot of our tax money is tied up in the operators,” said Councilwoman Diane Bernardo.
Further, Bernardo pointed out that the city has time and costs tied up in the response of active and off-duty police officers, fire personnel and special hazmat teams and the use of city vehicles.
She asked Solicitor Toni Cherry about the feasibility of recovering damages from meth labs. More specifically, she asked about not only recovering damages from those who are operating meth labs, but also from the landlords whose buildings are housing them.
“Tony, of a drug bust of this nature, what assets can we seize?” asked Bernardo. “Once a landlord has been notified, he has a drug situation in the building . . . what is their legal obligation?” She also asked about the possibility of restitution from the landlord.
Cherry explained that there wouldn’t be any restitution until after a conviction. She said odds are that those who are operating these meth labs won’t have much to use for restitution.
So far as the property owners, Cherry advised council to not get involved to avoid possible liability. “The cost of the biohazardous clean-up of [the meth lab] is exorbitant,” said Cherry.
Cherry explained that between the biohazard clean-up involved with meth labs, the disclosure needed to future tenants and potential purchases of the property, etc. that the property owners would not be getting off easy.