Meth residue pollutes land

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COLUMBIA - Areas of state-owned land is doubling as a dumping ground for methamphetamine residue in Mid-Missouri. 

Tom Strother, the protection regional supervisor with the Missouri Conservation Department, said conservation agents are more likely to find meth residue or remnants than marijuana-growing operations.

“People will make methamphetamine and then they have all this trash and a lot of times they’ll bring that trash to a conservation area and just dump it in the parking lot, or often in the woods someplace to try to hide it,” he said.

Earlier this week, two men were accused of a running marijuana operation at the Big Muddy Federal Wildlife Refuge in Howard County.

Strother said the marijuana bust on the refuge was a rare occurrence. He said his conservation agents are almost five times as likely to find meth residue compared marijuana plants. Strother said the remote settings of these conservation areas, make them easy targets for meth production material disposal.

“It’s a remote site, it’s owned by a government agency and not by a particular individual and so they feel that might be a safe place to dump the stuff,” he said.

Strother said chemicals, cans and bottles have been found along the gravel road entries to conservation areas in Howard, Boone and Randolph counties and at access sites at the Lake of the Ozarks.

“We’ve been trained by the sheriff’s department and the drug task force folks on what to look for when it comes to methamphetamine production,” he said.

Corey Kudrna, the assistant refuge manager at the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri’s Bootheel, said officers patrolling the area have strategic plans to prevent any sort of illegal activity.

“We look out for possible issues, but we don’t see illegal drugs on the refuge,” Kudrna said.

KOMU 8 News reached out to Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge for comment on the presence of methamphetamine residue on their grounds. The refuge has not returned our request.