Imported Meth Increases in Boone County

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BOONE COUNTY- The Boone County Sheriff's Department is seeing an increase in imported meth, known as Mexican meth, on the streets of Boone County. This increase is happening even as the number of meth lab seizures in Missouri decreases.

The Missouri State Highway Patrols reports there were 1,985 methamphetamine incidents in 2012, compared to 1,394 in 2013. The map below includes laboratories, chemical/equipment/glassware seizures and dumpsites in Missouri.

Detective Tom O'Sullivan said even though Missouri's meth lab incidents are decreasing, the department is still busting a couple meth labs each month. He said the department has seized about 10 labs since January.

"Our guys are busy," O'Sullivan said. "They are out there every night looking to make busts."
The trend towards imported meth is due, in part, to restrictions designed to suppress meth manufacturing locally.

"You just can't go out and lay your hands on a massive amount of pseudoephedrine as easy as you were years ago," Sullivan said.

With these restrictions in place local manufactures are unable to produce large quantities of meth.

"You go to a pharmacy and you have to show a drivers license to purchase. There is still a limit on the number of packages you can get and that sort of thing, and the central database tracks it."

Local meth manufacturers have now turned to creating smaller amounts through a process which limits production size.

O'Sullivan said that creates an opportunity for Mexican cartels to step in and fill the gap.

"The bottom line with these Mexican drug cartels, they recognize that there is a profit to be made here," O'Sullivan said. "So they are operating these large labs in Mexico and then shipping it up north."

The cartels are also able to offer product of a chemical quality that local manufacturers cannot compete with.

"Mexican meth is so much more potent and pure," O'Sullivan said. "It's a higher quality. Obviously the manufacturing process is much more sophisticated. The people making it have a much better knowledge of what they are trying to produce, so it is a much more attractive substance than the homemade meth."

In addition to the Mexican meth's potency, its look also sets it apart from local meth. O'Sullivan says it has a more crystal clear appearance.

O'Sullivan said the fight against illegal drugs will continue to be a battle.

"We have been trying to stop the importation of illegal drugs long before I was even born or got into law enforcement," he said. "I don't know if we will ever win the war, but we just keep trying to win battles every day."