Garfield County sheriff warns of ‘river bottles’ containing hazardous substance

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. -- The Garfield County Sheriff's Office is warning residents of "river bottles" being staged on banks that could contain a hazardous substance.

Residents in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties have encountered the bottles turning up on river banks that are "hazardous to human health," the sheriff's office said.

“They thought it was a message in a bottle,” Sgt. Joseph Gasper with the Basalt Police Department said. “They’ve been tested to be highly corrosive and highly flammable.”

Numerous bottles were found in the Roaring Fork River near Basalt last month.

The duct-taped liquid-filled containers aren't like anything police have seen in a while. While they can't identify the chemicals, there are some things they do know.

Based on the investigation, police said it's clear the containers were placed in the river on purpose. Police also know the bottles aren't explosive, but they resemble drug materials.

“In terms of the cost of material, a constituent or a product that you used in a volatile type of process, making crystal meth,” Gasper said.

The connection the bottles have to meth, if any, is still unclear. So far, there have been about 50 bottles reported. Gasper said 35 of those were collected and sent to a lab for testing.

“Forewarn them not to pick anything out of the stream right now,” Basalt resident G.R. Fielding said.

The investigation is still active. Multiple agencies are working to find out who is placing the bottles along the river.

The biggest thing police want people to know, is how dangerous the bottles are.

People have been warned not to touch them. If they are seen, call law enforcement.