Woman's Car Stolen, Used As Rolling Meth Lab

Victim May Not Be Able To Drive Her Car Because Of Chemical Remnants

A Denver woman's car was stolen last week, then recovered, but she still ended up with a mess on her hands.

Erin Manzanares' car is a Honda Accord and while it may seem too small to be used as methamphetamine lab, police seized meth and drug paraphernalia, such as pipes and a scale, from inside her stolen car.

"It's just trashed, the whole thing is trashed," Manzanares said. "It's unnerving, I feel very violated."

While she's relieved to have her car back, she wonders about the potentially hazardous health effects.

"As soon as I brought it to the auto body shop they told me I could no longer drive it if there were any remnants of meth at all," Manzanares said.

Area drug agents say the meth-making materials are the most toxic.

"It just creates very dangerous environments," said North Metro Task Force Commander Tim Hersee.

And they said mobile meth labs continue to be a concern, particularly because they're hard for police to find.

"They gather their ingredients, they go someplace, they do a quick cook and they're gone within hours. And that's a very difficult meth lab to find," Hersee said.

Agents with the North Metro Task Force said they've seen a decline in meth labs recently, partially because of meth labs on the move and new laws that make ingredients harder to get.

The car thieves who took Manzares' car have not been found. She hopes they were more into using than manufacturing.

"So now it's cleaning the inside, fixing the outside and moving on, getting a really good security system," she said.

She said a repair shop will be able to do the necessary cleaning but that's not always possible. The North Metro Task Force said in cases where a meth lab is found, vehicle owners find themselves sending their car to the junkyard.