Money Toward Meth Prevention
Lawmakers axed the state's meth task force budget. Now the state has decided that MoSMART will get $1.8 million to keep operating. Missouri has the most meth labs in the country. And task force members argued the state could not afford to stop fighting the drug. Getting it back comes as a big relief to mid-Missouri drug task force.
The state funding allows the mid-Missouri drug task force to keep its team of six investigators.
"If MoSMART funding would have been cut, we'll try to cover that 4,000 square miles with four full time investigators, and it's been next to impossible to do," explained Tony Wheatly, commander of the mid-Missouri drug task force.
The task force is pleased with the government's quick action this time. However, they still hope to secure a permanent funding.
"If we can get a permanent funding, that would take a big weight off our shoulders," said Wheatly.
The drug task force works to stop the importing and sales of illegal drugs, as well as finding and dismantling meth labs. Wheatley says uncertainty about funding puts operations in jeopardy, and operating on a year to year basis cuts efficiency.
"We can only make plans to do a certain number of items throughout the next year. And it constantly takes up time and energy for us, trying to plan our way around our manpower wise," said Wheatly.
The drug task force will go on for next year, but as for year 2009, it's still fighting for federal funding.
Missouri has siezed the highest number of meth labs in the country, and Wheatley says this proves the ability of law enforcers.