SHELBY, N.C. -- Four people are in custody after the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office discovered two methamphetamine labs just a few hundred feet from an elementary school.
"They're nothing but troublemakers,” said Mary McSween as she was picking up her granddaughter from Township No. 3 Elementary. “To have it right here under the children, that's has low as you can get.”
Acting on a tip, officers with the narcotics unit approached a mobile home on Davis Road Tuesday afternoon. They found one meth lab inside, and over the course of the investigation, tracked down another 'rolling' meth lab inside a van driving slowly around the neighborhood.
Classes went on as scheduled Wednesday as crews worked to secure the scene.
"There was never any type of danger or exposure to the children or the faculty,” said Sheriff Alan Norman, who has coached football on the school's grounds.
He says this negligent behavior will not be tolerated.
"It shows they'll go to any means to make their product and hopefully these individuals will be held and sentenced to the highest possible sentence that can be levied against them,” he said.
The sheriff's office says the county has already doubled the number of meth labs discovered this year, compared to last. Norman attributes the increase to good detective work and tips from the public.
After years of seeing this type of suspicious behavior, McSween says she'll gladly be one of those tipsters.
"I don't care to tell it because I'm sick and tired! You come right under a school house to do that? It's awful,” she said.
The four suspects face a variety of charges including manufacturing methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute. One was arrested inside the home and the remaining three were picked up inside the van.