By James B. Bartle
Some believe that requiring people to have a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine is not slowing down methamphetamine labs in Missouri, as the state, once again, was the number one state in methamphetamine labs, however in counties and cities that have adopted the program, numbers are dropping, according to Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit Commander Jason Grellner.
In 2012, Missouri led the nation with 1,985 labs followed closely by Indiana with 1,647 and Tennessee with 1,621.
In the State of Missouri, Jefferson County led the state with 346 labs followed by St. Charles with 156, St. Louis County 130 and Franklin County with 102.
However, in the lower southeastern part of the state, dramatic drops in meth labs have been observed in what Grellner believes is the prescription program working in multiple areas due to not only counties, but cities adopting the prescription program, making it even tougher for cooks to make their meth product from pseudoephedrine.
“There’s been a 50 percent drop in meth labs in Cape Girardeau from 66 in 2010 to 28 in 2012; Scott County from 64 in 2011 to 19 in 2012; Washington County 103 in 2011 and 44 in 2012, Madison had no labs in 2012, Bolinger had no labs in 2012, Pemiscot, no labs in 2012, the program is working but cooks know where to go to get their pseudoephedrine,” said Grellner. “They are not coming to Franklin County to purchase the product because they know we are on them fast, that’s not my words but the words on the street. The program is also helping down south since the State of Arkansas will no longer sell pseudoephedrine to Missouri residents, the same is said for four counties in Illinois and Dyersburg, TN.”
Grellner stated that cooks are seeking their pseudoephedrine in the local area from St. Louis City, County and City of Rolla and bringing the products to Franklin County, adding that they have seen the receipts.
“In the City of Rolla, Phelps County, they had a rise in meth labs from 25 in 2011 to 48 in 2012,” said Grellner. The number one stores in the St. Louis area for selling pseudo are in Bridgeton-which is next to St. Charles, Fenton stores which impact Jefferson County, and in the City of Rolla the two big box stores sold 1,056 boxes and 792 boxes in December of this year.
Grellner added that gang activity and smurfs purchasing pseudoephedrine in St. Louis City/County are purchasing 30 to 70 boxes a week and selling them for up to $100 per box.
“We are still seeing a lot of the “One Pot,” meth labs but now we are starting to see an increase in the larger labs which has increased the theft of anhydrous ammonia, so we’ve alert ed local Farmer’s Co-ops to be on alert for thieves of this product used in the large production of meth,” said Grellner. “We are also seeing a lot of Mexican Manufactured Methamphetamine which has increased it’s potency. Meth cooks have used a different method to make meth without pseudoephedrine in Mexico since it was banned in 2008. This product is being trafficked in from the Kansas City area.
Grellner is still focused on the State of Missouri passing legislation requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine. Rep. Dave Schatz has worked on this legislation and continues to push for its passage.
Grellner was asked if Heroin is still a big problem in the county?
“The Heroin is coming from St. Louis, I’m proud to say that we don’t have a sales shop set up selling Heroin in the County but we do have a number of users,” said Grellner. “There are numerous individuals who go to St. Louis to get their Heroin for themselves and for other multi-users. Several sellers have been advised not to come back to Franklin County to sell their product due to FCNEU. We’ve observed this on texts and Facebook where they’ve been told that they are not wanted here.”
Grellner remained concerned about funding for the FCNEU and all task forces in the state, as they have observed budget cuts the last three to four years. This has been at the Federal and State Level.
“If the $3 million is not put into the State Budget this year 26 Task Forces will lose half of their funding,” said Grellner.
Grellner feels that the task force can focus on drug issues in their particular areas and allow local law enforcement to fight crimes in other areas with services not being duplicated.
The FCNEU was started some seven years ago, according to Grellner, and there have been no equipment upgrades and no pay increases. If the $3 million in funding stays with the task forces Grellner stated that upgrades in some of the equipment will be needed.
Methamphetamine Numbers Still Rising, Pseudoephedrine Prescription’s Reducing Labs Part Two Of Two Part Series On Area Drug Problems
By James B. Bartle