Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No decrease seen in state’s meth production

By SHAUN HITTLE, The Lawrence Journal-World

Last week, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office raided a home in the small town of Mulberry, population about 500, arresting two people on suspicion of methamphetamine manufacturing and possession. The raid also resulted in the removal of two children from the home.

That’s nothing new in small towns across southeast Kansas, as midway through 2012 authorities continue to report their fair share of meth production, according to statistics from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

“We’re not seeing a letdown,” said Crawford County Sheriff Sandy Horton, whose county led the state in the first six months of 2012 with 18 meth lab incidents.

A February Journal-World feature on meth in southeast Kansas highlighted the growing problem with meth production in the area, mainly the rise in the “one-pot” method, which requires less pseudoephedrine than previous methods.

“It just started really exploding,” Horton said of the one-pot method, which has accounted for the majority of his county’s cases this year.

Four of the five top counties for meth lab incidents are in the southeast corner of the state, including Cowley, Montgomery and Cherokee counties.

Two meth lab incidents were reported in Douglas County in 2011 but none through the first half of 2012. But in July, a city parks and recreation worker found a mobile meth lab in a cooler near Burroughs Creek Trail.

Meth lab incidents in Kansas had declined for years but have risen from 121 in 2009 to 204 in 2011.

Through the first six months of 2012, the state had recorded 83 meth lab incidents. But those numbers are preliminary and tend to increase over time as final reports from law enforcement come in.