Narcotics agents, seeing a rise in meth, make arrest in Mentor

A man accused of operating a meth lab at his Mentor home was arraigned Friday in Lake County Common Pleas Court.

James Sample, 45, is charged with illegal manufacture of drugs, illegal assembly/meth, aggravated possession of drugs and possessing criminal tools.

The defendant had reportedly been using the “shake and bake” or “one pot method” of making meth for himself and others at an East Avenue mechanic’s garage that doubled as his home.

“Shake and bake” is when cooks combine ingredients in 20- to 64-ounce pop bottles and then shake it to build pressure.

The method is easier than both the Anhydrous Ammonia and red phosphorus methods, which has led to a comeback of meth houses in Lake County.

“The old Red P method involved different chemicals, different mixes. This — any idiot can make,” Lake County Narcotics Agency Sgt. Brad Kemp said.

“One-pot batches could cause a massive flash fire. It takes a couple hours to make meth this way, and it’s starting to grow in Lake County. I’ve had five meth busts from Willowick to Madison since January, and all five were shake and bake labs. I can go to Walmart and buy everything I need right now to make meth.

“Meth’s coming back harder than before.”

After a three-month investigation, narcotics agents and Mentor police searched Sample’s garage Jan. 27.

Agents said Sample and an adult woman were inside at the time of the raid, and that a

a closed-circuit monitoring system, empty lithium battery casings, coffee filters, drain cleaner, long guns and finished methamphetamine were among the confiscated items.

Sample, whose most recent address was in Euclid, pleaded not guilty to all counts and remained in jail on $25,000 bond.

He faces up to 15 years in prison.

Kemp cautioned that methamphetamine is very addictive whether consumed orally, snorted or injected, with only a 5 to 7 percent recovery rate for anyone attempting to quit.

More than 85 percent of the users are between 18 and 35 years old. Users can remain awake for three to 15 days straight, for a high that lasts six to eight hours.

Meanwhile, heroin remains a huge problem in the area while crack cocaine use seems to have died down, added Kemp.

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