Farmers on the Lookout for Chemical Thiefs

Anhydrous ammonia is a fertilizer used by growers in south Georgia. It's forcing farmers and chemical plant owners to take new security measures.

The sheriff says this hazardous chemical along with other fertilizers and chemicals are being stolen from farms and chemical plants by meth cookers.

Harry Young, Grady County Sheriff, says, "Anhydrous ammonia is one of the most dangerous products around in this area or any area. People don't realize how explosive it is, what it can do if you smell it or have it around in your hands."

The growing number of chemical thefts are forcing farmers and chemical plant owners to tighten security. The Farmer's Peanut Company was recently broken into and more than $20,000 worth of chemicals were stolen.

Danny Vaughn says, "I spoke with a guy in Thomasville and he said he had nine other places just like us that are having to do it due to the fact that things are coming missing, number one being the anhydrous."

Young adds, "They ride around during the day looking, seeing who has tanks."

The sheriff and drug agents say that farmers should look into surveillance and locks for their chemical tanks, and any suspicious activities such as footprints and tire tracks should be reported immediately to law enforcement.

Drug agents say the appeal of anhydrous ammonia is that it triples the amount of meth in each cooked batch, but it is a felony to possess the chemical without a proper license.