Missouri Poised to Lead Nation in Meth Lab Busts For Fourth Straight Year

click to enlarge Missouri busted 1,776 meth labs last year and we're on pace for more than 1,800 in 2010. - Courtesy of the Missouri State Highway Patrol
Courtesy of the Missouri State Highway Patrol
Missouri busted 1,776 meth labs last year and we're on pace for more than 1,800 in 2010.
Missouri has already done the three-peat -- leading the nation in meth lab seizures for three consecutive years, including a whopping 1,774 busts last year, nearly double the total of the next closest state -- and now, halfway through 2010, the Show-Me State is again setting the pace for meth labs.

According to statistics cited this morning by the Southeast Missourian, in January and February Missouri police seized 303 clandestine meth labs. Meanwhile, cops in Mississippi and Tennessee, the states in the second- and third-place, busted 324 and 242 labs, respectively, through May 20.

Yes, you read that correctly: in just two months Missouri nearly outpaced its next-closest competitors' totals for five months.

What gives?

According to the Missourian, the state's electronic tracking system for pseudoephedrine purchases is utterly ineffective and too few communities have passed prescription requirements to stop small-batch labs.

The regional example the paper cites is Cape Girardeau.
About a month ago, the task force conducted a sting operation at two of Cape Girardeau's most popular pharmacies -- Walmart and Walgreens. The results, Glaser said, reveal that many of the people once buying Sudafed and Claritin-D in Sikeston, Dexter, Kennett and Poplar Bluff are targeting Cape Girardeau.

"In about a four-hour period on our first day we arrested 13 people, all of them charged with attempt to manufacture meth," [Kevin] Glaser said. "The next day, in about the same amount of time, we arrested six more individuals. We could do that every day right here in Cape if we had the manpower and the resources to do it."

None of the people arrested, Glaser added, were residents of Cape Girardeau County.
Proposals for a statewide pseudoephedrine prescription policy were defeated in both the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and the Missouri Legislature earlier this year. Oregon, the first state to implement such a policy, saw it's meth lab seizures drop from around 200 labs annually to just 10 last year.

To read more on the issue of meth in Missouri, click here.

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