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Lee County Sheriff: Alabama "Meth Lab" ruling reinforces procedures

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Lee County, Al. - In a landmark case, the Alabama Supreme Court has ruled meth labs are such a threat to public safety that officers in a Montgomery situation could legally enter a home without a search warrant. News 3's Naomi Keitt talked with local law enforcement about what this decision means for your safety.

The ruling is a first for Alabama. Never before had the State Supreme Court addressed the serious dangers of meth labs. The ruling stems from a 2011 meth lab bust in Montgomery, where police officers entered an apartment building in which they strongly suspected a meth lab was present without a search warrant. According to the ruling, the officers were justified.

"Based on the danger to the public that the officer acted appropriately based on their experience and knowledge and the totality of the circumstance in conducting a warrant less entry," said Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones as he talked about the ruling.

Lee County Sheriff's deputies are no stranger to these labs. On Friday, the arrested several people in connection to an "active clandestine meth lab" that was found in a Smiths Station home. Sheriff Jay Jones says the ruling will be a strong re-enforcement of the current methods they use when dealing with meth operations.

"We're here for the public's safety. We need to be able to take actions when we determine that there is a clear need for the public's safety to be protected," said Sheriff Jones.

The Sheriff says the ruling does not give law enforcement officials a blanket right to enter homes and businesses without warrants but in certain circumstances, meth labs can pose a significant risk to people's health.

"They can be extremely dangerous. Where the chemicals involved are simply in a circumstance that in combination they can cause an explosive situation," said Sheriff Jones.

The Sheriff says his county has seen a decrease in meth labs because of a crackdown by the state but says they are still seeing the illegal drug being manufactured. The meth lab cases in Lee County are still under investigation. If you have any information about these cases you can call the Lee County Sheriff's Office at 334-749-5651 or Lee County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-555-7847.

Naomi Keitt

Naomi Keitt focuses on education reporting for WRBL News 3. More>>

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