Meth lab find is fifth bust this month

NORCROSS - A two-story, partially brick home on a cul-de-sac. A red BMW 300 series in the driveway, apple-red.

From the outside, the house seems idyllic enough to grace the backpages of Southern Living.

But Gwinnett police say the interior decor was seedier, a more laboratory-like design: a network of equipment and chemical mixtures used to concoct methamphetamine, a highly addictive blend of mostly household chemicals.

Police say they discovered the meth lab Monday evening in the 5200 block of Locomotive Lane in the Old Norcross Station subdivision. Two suspects living at the home - Chae Duck Choi, 44, and Brittany Avery, 19 - face felony charges of trafficking and manufacturing the drug, according to arrest warrants.

Police found 246 grams of meth inside the home, the warrants say, marking at least the fifth meth bust in Gwinnett since Friday.

"You never know what's going on four doors down from you," said Tracy Reese, who lives a stone's throw away. Her daughter's one-block route from the bus stop takes her past the home daily, Reese said.

"There's a lot of toxins behind (meth labs)," she said. "It's not cool."

Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said a report detailing how investigators found the lab was not available Tuesday. The only remaining evidence of a police seizure by Tuesday afternoon was a partially caved-in front door.

"Any intelligence gathered - or evidence of meth laboratories and meth-related activities - are taken very seriously and dealt with accordingly," Spellman said.

The busts could indicate an upward trend - or the crest of a short-lived wave - in the detectable presence of methamphetamine in Gwinnett.

During October and November, police agencies across the county arrested 17 suspects on meth-related charges - more than three times the five arrests made in a similar time span last year, according to jail records.

However, a similar yo-yo effect in arrest counts was mirrored in previous years.

Over the same two months in 2006, for instance, police made 13 meth-related busts. The year prior to that, just one suspect was booked in October and November, records show.

Spellman cautions that arrests records aren't always a clear indication of the local infiltration of meth.

"That only reflects what we discovered, not how much is out there," she said.

Choi and Avery remain at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.