Landlords Meet to Discuss Growing Meth Problem

WEHT - April 20, 2011

EVANSVILLE - After two meth lab explosions this month, a group of Evansville landlords come together to discuss the meth problem and how it affects them.  News 25's David shepherd has more on how these landlords are trying to keep their properties meth-free.

It's a problem we're seeing time and time again. A meth cook makes a mistake, causing an explosion.

It's a problem for landlords, and undercover detectives who see the aftermath of a meth cooking mistake.

Undercover Narcotics Detective:  "I deal with cocaine, marijuana, exactly, heroin, anything you can imagine. But the worst thing we're dealing with right now in Evansville is meth."

That undercover narcotics detective is with the Evansville police department's joint drug task force.

Given the sensitivity of his job, we can't identify him, but he warns meth cooks usually *rent*.

Undercover Narcotics Detective: "9 out of the 10 homes we go to are rentals. Almost all of the drug dealers' houses or the meth houses we go in to are rental homes."

But what if these so called meth cooks was renting from *you*? 

Monte Fetter/President, P.O.M.A.:  "The cost for cleaning up meth is huge. As slim as the profit margin is on rental properties, a meth lab can take a couple of years profit margin on that."

With the growing meth problem in Evansville and surrounding areas, many local landlords are putting their heads together to find out how to protect themselves, their properties, and other tenants.

Monte Fetter:  "P.O.M.A intends to make meth labs the focus over the next several months. We're looking for people to talk to and what we can do to get the tools to work with."

One idea the group already has is taking their efforts to the world wide web.

"The sex offender website has been a big success. We'd like to see a drug offender website where we can go and see and get quicker access to court documents."

But the internet can only get them so far.

"We want to find tools that screen better. We won't be able to locate these people sooner. We want to know who they are before we rent to them, not after."

This, as meth lab busts in Vanderburgh County could top last year's numbers... Numbers that put Vanderburgh County at the top of state last year for the number of busts.