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Meth arrests on the rise in western Wisconsin

LA CROSSE, WI (WTAQ) - Meth-amphetamine arrests are on the rise in western Wisconsin.

La Crosse Police said they’ve hauled in 40 people so far this year for either making or using meth. That’s a large increase from just two years ago.

Tom Johnson of the West Central Wisconsin drug enforcement unit says there’s a big increase in so-called “shake and bake” labs, in which meth-makers put all their ingredients into a large bottle and shake it to create a chemical reaction.

La Crosse Police Sergeant Randy Rank tells WXOW-TV that meth dealers have no problem finding the ingredients they need – household items like drain cleaner, camping fuel, and cold packs.

Johnson said a recent meth arrest in Sparta turned up evidence of about 30 such meth-amphetamine cooks. La Crosse Police said the same type of operation was uncovered in a bust last week at a motel where two people were arrested.

Rank says the plastic shake and bake bottles have a chance of exploding – and in the motel incident, it put the adjoining rooms at risk.