Monday, June 08, 2009

'Smurfs,' state lines help meth makers grow in Ky.

Methamphetamine labs are on the rise in Kentucky and other states because makers of the drug are using simpler ways to make it and circumventing laws designed to make it more difficult to accumulate meth ingredients, Bill Estep reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.

"The number of labs across the state fell from 604 in 2004 to 302 in 2007, but that number rose to 405 in 2008, according to the Kentucky State Police," Estep writes. "The upward trend continues this year, according to police around the state. In far western Kentucky, the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force cleaned up 49 meth labs the first five months of this year compared with 10 in the same period last year."

Kentucky has a statewide electronic system to track sales of the ingredients and warn pharmacists not to sell to buyers who would exceed purchase limits. "To get around the restrictions, meth cookers have started having multiple people buy cold and allergy pills so none of them goes over the limit. They call that smurfing," Estep reports. "They also leave Kentucky to buy products in nearby states without similar controls, police said." (Read more)

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