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Waynesboro Police Crack Down on Meth-Related Crime

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WAYNESBORO, Va. (WVIR) -

In the wake of a major meth lab bust last week in Waynesboro, law enforcement has a message for dealers: if you cook meth, you will be caught.

“If you're using meth, stop. If you're thinking about using meth, don't do it, and if you continue to do it we're going to hunt you down and catch you,” said Waynesboro Police Captain Mike Martin.

The most recent bust came in the middle of a Waynesboro neighborhood. Police have made several busts in recent months, and investigators are saying thanks to a thriving network of informants.

Martin says meth has become the biggest threat to people living in Waynesboro, but between tips from businesses and calls to the Crimestoppers line, more busts are being made. There was one on Sherwood Avenue last September, a chase up Afton Mountain just weeks ago, and a multi-house bust on Mountain Vernon Street last week.

Waynesboro Commonwealth's Attorney David Ledbetter says he's willing to send first-time offenders to drug court. The success rate us nearly 65 percent in Virginia. But the dealers, especially the ones with weapons, are headed to prison for the long haul. “They're spreading the poison that the addicts and users then take that poison and it spreads the problem down the line,” Ledbetter said.

Meanwhile, the city is tired of paying to clean up meth labs, which costs thousands of dollars each time. They're now making the dealers foot the bill, all for a crime Ledbetter says really isn't bringing in much money in the first place.

“They're making profits but it's not like if they were out working a regular job. People need to think about it a little bit. Is it worth it? Is it worth the potential for 25-plus years?” he said.

Waynesboro police say they're on their way to doubling the number of meth arrests this year from last year, after they more than doubled those arrest totals from 2012 to 2013.

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