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High-end homes more attractive as meth labs


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – April 16, 2014 – Although many people were surprised by the January methamphetamine lab bust in a swanky townhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Wally Conway of HomePro Inspections says it's not that unusual. Meth producers tend to choose vacant properties in high-end enclaves where they're less likely to get caught.

A home's worth also increases the chances a home will be cleaned and later resold. Ex-meth labs in less desirable areas tend to be razed, while a high-value home tends to be refurbished and rented again or sold. With meth lab remediation costs ranging from $5,000 to $150,000, according to the EPA, sometimes demolition is the most cost-effective option.

After first responders transport meth chemicals to a hazardous waste facility, local officials say owners are responsible for the residual cleanup.

There is no Florida law requiring the disclosure of a former meth lab; and with the number of vacant dwellings on the rise in cities, experts are not surprised that meth labs are becoming a bigger problem.

"This can happen in any neighborhood," Conway says.

Source: Florida Times-Union (03/10/14) Cook, Amanda Durish

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