When Budget Suites adopted its “Come Live a While” slogan, company executives probably didn’t think meth cooks would take the invitation to heart. With weekly rates for a fully furnished apartment starting at $189, that means less than $30 a day for a home away from home in which to transform volatile chemicals into a life-ruining drug (perhaps while watching Breaking Bad on free cable).
The Monday before Thanksgiving, Metro Police arrested a man for allegedly doing just that at the Budget Suites on Las Vegas Boulevard. But it wasn’t a concerned neighbor complaining about smoke or toxic smells that tipped them off. It was a bail bondsman, who apparently discovered the “lab” while trying to track down a person with a warrant on his head.
Earlier this year a Budget Suites in The Colony, Texas, was the backdrop for a similar story. The Colony Courier-Leader reported that three suspects were apprehended in May after other tenants noticed strange behavior and smells coming from them and their apartment. When it was searched, its kitchen appeared to have burned in a small fire, and chemicals were scattered around like so much dirty laundry.
While these meth makers preyed on inexpensive commercial lodging, local marijuana growers have made a habit of renting foreclosed or distressed residential properties and turning them into product farms. What’s really ironic is that in such a harsh economy, some of them are making enough money from drugs to avoid sh*tting where they eat. Somebody call the HOA, the front desk and maybe Batman.