Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit solicitor, has promised to take a "very aggressive" approach toward those who operate methamphetamine labs in motels and hotels.
While meth labs located anywhere are illegal, he said, the ones constructed in public places are inherently more dangerous.
"Meth labs are highly flammable and explosive," Brackett said. "You're not just risking your own life at that point. You're risking the lives of all of the people who are sleeping innocently in the middle of the night. You're endangering anyone at the motel."
Brackett said that while the solicitor's office will react appropriately in any case, he views the meth labs in motels, hotels and public places much more severely.
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A first-offense charge for making methamphetamines can be up to 15 years. A third offense can carry 30 years or more.
When it comes to sentencing for those who operate meth labs in motels and hotels, he said he will ask for "much harsher punishments."
"I'll also be explaining to the court the dangers of what they did, and the dangers they posed to people in the hotel, asking the judge to factor that in," Brackett said. "... I am not going to have mercy on these folks if they're showing such literal disregard for other people's safety."
York County has had five meth lab busts in the past six weeks.
In one case, police say they found a meth lab in the back of a man's pickup truck at the Tega Cay Walmart.
In another recent bust, officers with the York County Sheriff's Office discovered a meth lab at the Quality Inn & Suites, 2625 Cherry Road, last Thursday.
The York County Multijurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit responded, finding 35.5 grams of liquid methamphetamine and 2 Klonopin pills. Three men - Mitchell Thomas, 36, and Kevin Threatt, 27, of Richburg, and Randall Bigham, 35, of Rock Hill - were arrested Thursday. A fourth person, 22-year-old Lisa Simmers of Rock Hill, was arrested over the weekend, according to a report from the county's drug enforcement unit.
Threatt, Bigham and Simmers have been charged with trafficking and manufacturing methamphetamine and conspiracy to violate the drug law, the report states. Thomas has an additional charge of possession of Klonopin, the report states.
Tuesday night, all four were being held at the York County Detention Center.
In 2010, there were five busts, but Marvin Brown, the county's drug unit senior commander, said it doesn't necessarily indicate a trend.
"We've had five in six weeks, but we might go two or three weeks and not have another one," he said. "There's not really a rhyme or reason to it."
These things come in waves, he said, and he hopes it is over.
"Most of the meth lab cooks in this area are now in jail," Brown said. "We hope that is going to slow it down."
Twelve people have been arrested in the five recent busts, two of which were in hotels were in a hotel.
Most people don't realize that a meth lab can easily fit into a suitcase, Brown said. The sight wouldn't be so unusual at a hotel or motel.
Brown pointed out the highly flammable nature of meth and worried about guests who might be exposed to the drug.
He and officers are working to educate people about meth's smell so people know what to look for.
He likened the smell to "acetone" or "ammonia," a burning smell, and it can sting the eyes if a person is close enough.
Both Brackett and Brown encouraged people to report anything if they smell or suspect anything suspicious.