|Updated: 12/11/2012 9:14 am
||Published: 12/10/2012 9:35 pm
Methamphetamine lab busts have hit a new high in Muskogee: 292 meth labs for 2012.
“We are seeing it all over town,” said Lieutenant for the Muskogee Police Special Investigations Unit, Andy Simmons.
Lt. Simmons and other members of the SIU have found and destroyed 2012 meth labs for 2012. He says “shake and bake” methods became more prominent in 2009 when 32 meth labs were recovered.
Lt. Simmons tells FOX23 the unit has developed a street team and collaborated with the Muskogee County Sheriff's Office in order to fight the growing problem in the community.
“At the beginning of last year with joined forces with the Muskogee County Sheriffs Office drug unit which gave us more man power to clean up these labs,” said Lt. Simmons.
The Muskogee Police Special Investigations Unit is currently comprised of four investigators and two street team members.
Lt. Simmons says the joint effort has allowed them to better locate and track down some of the meth manufacturers in the area.
Sixty-nine one pot meth labs were recovered and two individuals were arrested in a recent bust at a residence in Muskogee.
“If a person's name comes up we are working with the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office, and often we are working with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, DEA, ATF and the FBI,” said Lt. Simmons, “We have a great relationship with other state and federal agencies that cover our area.”
Simmons says that meth manufactures aren’t the only contributing factor to the problem. He says that the “smurfs” or the people, who purchase medicine containing pseudoephedrine, are also contributing to the meth issues.
“We are trying to target them as well,” said Simmons. As part of the proactive approach, he says members of the unit will monitor customers for warrants while they are buying pseudoephedrine at retail stores.
“We try to get them before they ever even get out of the store,” said Simmons.
Lt. Simmons says based off of the numbers he expects that meth will be an issue in 2013.
“The effort that we put forth to go after these dope cooks, these meth cooks, there is still a lot out there that we aren't finding,” said Simmons.
He tells FOX23 that he and the Muskogee Police Special Investigations Unit will continue to hit the streets to keep drugs off of it.