|Updated: 2/13/2013 10:39 am
||Published: 2/12/2013 8:16 pm
The meth capital of the United States is on our own backyard.
A map released by CNN Money shows Tulsa County had 949 contaminated meth lab sites in the country from 2004-2012. The highest number reported in the country.
Based on law enforcement reports, the numbers were compiled by the Drug Enforcement Administration National Clandestine Laboratory.
Police say new legislation cracking down on pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient to make meth also found in cold medicine has helped, but it’s not enough.
National meth expert, Corporal Mike Griffin, with Tulsa Police Special Investigations, says the only way to get rid of meth is to get rid of pseudoephedrine and make it prescription.
FOX23 revisited a north Tulsa home where TPD Special Investigations officers busted for meth last year. Inside they found children malnourished who were living in filth.
Now, the home is boarded up.
"It's becoming a bigger epidemic,” said a father.
Tulsa has been known as the meth capitol of the United States and with CNN’s map showing Tulsa County has the highest number of meth lab sites in the United States.
“It's absolutely not acceptable. I would like to see it all gone," says Sgt. Dave Roberts.
He’s an undercover officer for the Tulsa County Drug Task Force. He says meth is a homegrown drug, easily made and easy to get hooked on.
"It's a rampant deal,” says Roberts.
Meth has been invading the Tulsa community for decades.
FOX23 News went back in archives and found in 2007, Tulsa Police busted 20 meth labs. In 2011, the number went up to 429 and in 2012, there were 295 meth labs.
Police say just because there were fewer meth labs in 2012 than the prior year, the meth problem isn’t going away.
One reason Roberts says could be for the higher number of meth reported is awareness in the community.
"It's being reported more here in surrounding states," says Roberts.
Law enforcement in Northeast Oklahoma are better trained and aggressive at fighting meth.
However, deputies say that doesn’t change Tulsa’s reputation or the meth problem and law enforcement is not giving up.
"We're doing what we can everyday and fighting the battle and trying to keep the community safe and keep it clean,” said Roberts.
Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris is known to be tough on meth makers. In 2011, his agency reports 312 cases were filed involving endeavoring to manufacture meth and in 2012, his office filed 200 cases.
On The Tulsa County District Attorney posts who DOC is releasing early. Under state, non-violent offenders including meth convicts are eligible for early release on GPS Monitoring. FOX23 News found in January, seven people convicted of meth-related crimes were released early from prison. Some were sentenced to ten to twelve years and were out in less than three years.
TPD Corporal Griffin says repeated meth convicts are “absurdly high.”
TPD Meth Busts: Data provided by TPD
2013 to present-23
*Behind-the-counter pseudoephedrine law went into effect
**First eight months there were 11 labs. Starting in September there were 32 labs for the rest of the year.)