Meth Lab Busts Up from 2009

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics says there have already been 219 meth lab busts in the state this year, well above the 162 busted in January through March of 2009.

But a newly-passed law could reduce the number of meth labs, by making a key ingredient, pseudoephedrine, more difficult to obtain.

Beginning July 1, current over-the-counter cold medications that have that ingredient will only be available by prescription.

"We don't have in under control, but we are certainly making the activity in the crystal meth environment more difficult," said Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie.

Here in Lauderdale County, meth is definitely an issue, but not as much as it is for other Mississippi communities.

Sheriff Sollie said he's thankful and believes it's in part because of the East Mississippi Drug Task Force, combined with a good working relationship with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

"There are many sheriff's departments in the state that have less than ten deputies for a whole county," said Sollie. "We are fortunate with the task force that we have about 9 agents who are out there monitoring the situation, gathering data and making the arrests."

But it's still a struggle, especially because the people making the meth are getting more advanced in hiding the labs.

"They are very sophisticated; they have the mobile labs where they will take a pick-up truck and have a camper shell on it, traveling throughout the county making their product," the sheriff said.

While Sollie believes the new law will slow the manufacture of the drug, he's still concerned that addicts will do whatever they have to continue their supply.

"The labs in Mexico, it's getting more and more difficult to get the pseudoephedrine for those labs, so they are converting back to the p2p menu, or recipe," Sollie said.

This recipe is much more volatile than the pseudoephedrine recipe, so there is a potential that the opportunity for explosions and/or loss of life because of the recipe could increase.

There have been 112 active labs busted so far this year. Eighty-eight chemical dumps were located. There have also been 62 children removed from homes where labs were found.

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