Meth has become such a problem here on the South Plains, that Lubbock police say every week they investigate some type of activity involving the drug. Last year, authorities uncovered at least 20 Meth labs in the city. But, when authorities make those busts, there's a side of the story you don't see, the children living inside the homes exposed to toxic chemicals, physical abuse, and empty food cabinets.
In a NewsChannel 11 investigation, we obtained video from the Colorado drug task force during a Methamphetamine raid. With help from our sister station in Louisville, Kentucky we are able to show you the disturbing video as we enter the frontline of addiction.
Holly Campidilli says, "Parents who are using are not focused on their children or their protection."
The Colorado drug task force brakes into this house without warning. Brandon, just 14-months-old, keeps one eye on an armed stranger, and the other on his mother as she is about to be arrested for allegedly running a Meth lab.
|A Closer Look at Meth|
Lubbock Police Department Investigator Byron Gray says, "Being a parent and an officer it's unfathomable to me that they put their children in these type of situations."
Three months later, another home, another drug bust. This time two children, a 4-year-old and his 19-month-old brother are taken out by men in masks. Their home being so toxic, so combustible, police can't even enter without protective gear. Campidilli says, "They just don't know that it's wrong they see this everyday."
They are called "the silent victims" of meth-addicted parents, and their stories are very real, even here in Lubbock. Officer Gray said, "Neglect and abuse. I've seen children without any bedding, clean clothes, he's not been fed, he's got burns on him maybe from an acid, and it's kinda hard to take."
Two weeks ago, Lubbock police searched two apartment complexes on 65th drive. Nine people were arrested on drug charges. Five children, including one baby, were taken into protective custody. CPS says, "If we feel that a child is in immediate danger and risk of losing their life, we are gonna take steps to put them in protective care."
Lubbock Child Protective Services tries to keep children with trusted family members or friends, but family and friends are not always the best choice as San Diego authorities found out in the case of 4-year-old Jenny Rohas. Jenny's mother was arrested for Meth use. She was sent to live with her aunt and uncle who also turned out to be Meth addicts. During a three day binge, Jenny was tortured, mutilated, hung in a closet, stuffed in a box and finally submerged in a tub of scalding water that finally killed her. Her aunt and uncle are now on death row.
Campidilli says "We know that drugs are a raising problem in our community. About 2/3 of cases we work with deal with that issue." In Lubbock, there has never been a child death related to meth-labs ever reported, but CPS and police say they need the help of community members to keep the drug war out of the reach of children. "As a society we need to step up and make sure our children are protected."
This Monday we'll hear from a Lubbock agency that helps drug addicted babies and their parents as we look into the health risks of kids in Meth houses.
|NewsChannel 11 Special Reports|