Pubdate: Thu, 13 Mar 2003
Source: Joplin Globe, The (MO)
Copyright: 2003 The Joplin Globe
Contact:  http://www.joplinglobe.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/859

METH NUMBERS RATE HIGH, CALLED LOW

For the second year in a row, Jasper County is No. 1 in the category of 
most methamphetamine seizures among counties in the No. 1 state in the 
nation for meth incidents.

Last year, more than one out of every six meth operations in the country 
were found in Missouri, where police recorded 2,725 raids and seizures, 
according to federal and state figures released Tuesday. That's a 28 
percent increase over the 2001 numbers and widens the gap between Missouri 
and the rest of the country.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Jasper County led the state with 178 
raids and seizures in 2002. Franklin County ranked second with 152 raids 
and seizures, and Jefferson County was third with 148.

Among counties in this area, Barry County recorded 52 meth-related 
incidents, Newton County 31, McDonald County 19, Vernon County 12, Lawrence 
County 7 and Barton County none.

Seizures include active meth operations, seizures of glassware and 
chemicals, and dump sites where empty containers and glassware have been 
discarded.

Law officers in Newton, McDonald and Lawrence counties said the state's 
numbers are inaccurate.

"I'm not saying it's their fault - it may be ours - but I know we served 
close to 55 search warrants for meth labs last year and found labs in most 
of those warrants," said Newton County Chief Deputy Chris Jennings. "There 
may be some cases where the paperwork is not being sent in."

Highway Patrol Lt. Tim Hull said hard numbers are difficult to come by 
because different departments have different reporting criteria and some 
departments do not turn in the required paperwork.

Meth is a powerful stimulant that can be smoked, injected, snorted or 
consumed in pill form. The drug is manufactured in makeshift labs using 
pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in most cold pills, and other 
ingredients such as the farm fertilizer anhydrous ammonia or red 
phosphorous, which is found in flares and matches.

Jasper County sheriff's Lt. Gail Bass said one reason the numbers in Jasper 
County are so high is aggressive enforcement by local law officers and the 
Jasper County Drug Task Force.

"The numbers reflect that our guys are out there hard at it," Bass said. "I 
would say we are at least holding the line on methamphetamine. I don't 
believe we are winning the war, and I don't believe we are losing it."

McDonald County Sheriff Robert Evenson said he's pretty sure his department 
last year took down more than the 19 labs reported by the state.

"I can't tell for sure, but 19 seems way low for us," Evenson said. "In 
2001, we did paperwork for 52 labs, and the state only said we had 26. But 
what difference does it make anyway? We'll still be out there busting every 
lab we find, no matter how many the state says we have."

Cherokee County ranked fifth in the state of Kansas for the number of meth 
seizures in 2002, according to recently released figures from the Kansas 
Bureau of Investigation.

The report listed 31 seizures for Cherokee County in 2002 - 15 meth labs, 
nine equipment seizures and seven dump-site seizures. The number of 
laboratories seized in Cherokee County ranked third in the state.

The state as a whole listed 672 seizures for the year, down nearly 21 
percent from 847 in 2001.

Shawnee County had the most meth seizures in Kansas in 2002, with 51. 
Cowley County ranked second with 50. Crawford County ranked sixth, with 24 
seizures, and Labette County ranked 10th, with 16 seizures.

In Oklahoma, officials with the State Bureau of Investigation said law 
officers outside Oklahoma City and Tulsa made 768 meth-related seizures in 
2002. The numbers for the two cities were unavailable.

State figures show that officers in Ottawa County made 19 meth seizures, 
and officers in Delaware County made 18 seizures.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Alex