The city of Tulsa is on track to bust more meth labs than ever before.
A meth investigator for the Tulsa Police Special Investigations Division (SID) says the meth problem is not getting any better.
"Tulsa? We are the meth lab capital of the country,” says the undercover officer.
That’s despite laws and other efforts to stop the meth makers.
However, more could still be done.
Oklahoma was the state in the nation to put pseudoephedrine behind the counter, soon after it became a federal law.
In Oklahoma, those convicted of meth crimes are not allowed to purchase pseudoephedrine.
One of the nation’s top meth investigator’s who is on the Tulsa Police Department says meth cooks won’t stop until the cold and allergy medicine is prescribed.
"We can't just say 'hey, it's not affecting us, this is only affecting whoever 'those' people are,’” says the SID officer.
From dilapidated homes to million dollar neighborhoods, Tulsa is on track to set a record number of 445 meth labs this year.
"Tulsa? We are the meth lab capital of the country,” says the SID officer.
There’s no reason why. However the meth investigator says last year there were 323 meth labs and he believes since more than 124 laid off for six months.
Now they’re back and these officers are suiting up and responding to one-pot, volatile small meth batches.
"It's affecting people in affluent parts of town. People have to realize that's it is going to affect their family and friends and sooner or later and it's going to get to them too,” says the meth investigator.
If public safety doesn’t’ scream for a change then the meth investigator wants you to think about your pocketbook.
According to the Office of the National Drug Control Policy, each meth lab costs $350,000 that includes meth clean-up, incarceration, court, treatment and law enforcement.
Since 2009 there have been a reported 945 meth labs in Tulsa which adds up $330,750,000 for taxpayers.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (OBN) reports in 2010, Tulsa Police made up for 40% of the state’s meth lab seizures.
Statewide there were 818 meth lab seizures, Oklahoma City Police made 5, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations made 489 and Tulsa Police made 324.
In 2004, Oklahoma became the first state in the nation to put pseudoephedrine behind the counter at pharmacies and created an electronic tracking system of those purchasing the cold and allergy medicine.
OBN reports meth labs declined by 95 percent until 2008 when the one-pot or shake-and-bake meth labs became a popular way to make the toxic drug.
In that type of meth lab, meth makers don’t have use as much pseudoephedrine pills that would exceed the 9-gram limit restrictions put in place in 2004.
The majority of meth labs are in Northeastern Oklahoma. For a full report of meth lab seizures since 2004 please read the attached document.
"We need to make it as hard as we can to even cook it and that keeps our homes from getting burned and kids getting exposed,” says the meth investigator.
He believes it would be harder for meth cooks if the state prescribed the main ingredient to make meth, pseudoephedrine.
"We will still have meth but we will not have the fires, we won't have the unintended consequences of smurfs,” says the undercover officer.
Smurfs are people who meth cooks recruit to buy legal amounts of pseudoephedrine a month. Three boxes are legal limit per month.
"What they is come down and they tell you all they need is an ID, you give them your ID, you go in and get what they want and they give you 50 dollars,” says a homeless man who’s been living on the streets his whole life.
Some even make $100 a box.
That’s tempting for another homeless man, "100 bucks is tempting.”
However, he says it’s not worth the risk.
"I would have deny it."
So for the third time this year the meth investigator will head back to the state capitol and lobby for tougher meth laws and hope to make the main ingredient a prescription.
"Get rid of pseudo, get rid of meth labs,” says the meth investigator.
Allergy sufferers are the biggest proponents who do not want to be forced to go to a doctor.
Officers say they check on every tip and will not share your information or who it came from with bad guys.
The investigator says three signs meth activity is going on in your neighborhood: Short term traffic, a nice home is now not taken care of and a lot of people live in it, slectricity has been cut off.
If you suspect meth is going on call Crime Stoppers at (918) 596-COPS (2677) or text a tip to “CRIMES” (274637) and begin your message with “TIP918” or you can submit a tip online at www.tipsubmit.com.
Remember you never have to give your name and your tip could lead to a cash reward.
You can also call the TPD Special Investigations Division at (918) 669-6068.
A spokesperson for OBN says the agency supports prescribed pseudoephedrine for dry tablets and not all pseudoephedrine medication.
Last year the Oklahoma legislature failed to pass a bill that would require a prescription for pseudoephedrine with the exception of gel tabs.
OBN will also testify at the state house to lobby for prescription pseudoephedrine for dry tablets.
Oregon was the first state to pass a similar law and says meth labs are down by 90%.
After Holdenville, Wagoner, Chouteau, McAlester and Okmulgee passed similar ordinances, Oklahoma’s Attorney General concluded it’s not legal for cities to take action.
Some of those cities have ignored the AG’s recommendation.
In March, the couple Brendan Cordier, 19, and Kristina Parris, 18, was charged with making meth and four counts of child endangerment.
The grandmother was found dead in the house with a one-month and one-year-old child.
An eight-year-old and 14-year-old also lived in the West Tulsa home but were not there when police arrived.
Cordier was ordered rehab while in Department of Corrections custody. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February, 2012. Parris was also ordered rehab while under Department of Corrections custody. She is scheduled to be sentenced in April, 2012.
Last month, a jury convicted Charles Ladd, 30, of second-degree murder in the 2009 meth explosion at Bristol Park Apartments in East Tulsa that killed his friend Brian Moss.
He was burned in the fire and died a few months later.
He is scheduled to be sentenced September 26th.
Also in 2009, two innocent people were killed in a meth lab fire at Royal Arms apartment complex in South Tulsa.
The meth murder trial for Mark Roberts, 46, scheduled for December 5th.
He is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection to making meth and killing two people. Another person was injured and later died from an illness.
Roberts was burned in the fire but was later released from the hospital and is still in jail.