Tulsa could set record number of meth labs

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Updated: 9/13/2011 1:35 pm Published: 9/09/2011 3:57 pm

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.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Tony115 - 3/3/2012 9:10 AM
0 Votes
The grammar used in this article is beyond horrid. I would say the author represents the decline of America just as well, if not more so, than the meth cooks described in the article. Go back to school.

DrJKH - 11/14/2011 7:51 PM
1 Vote
FACT: Pseudoephedrine (PSE) is NOT required in order to make meth. There are at least NINE other substances, many of them easily available, that can be made into meth. FACT: PSE is the ONLY safe and effective decongestant available. FACT: Cold and allergy sufferers will be punished by this new law enforcement fad, while it won't affect meth production one bit. FACT: This WILL raise the price of PSE. FACT: This WILL raise the cost of health care. FACT: The DEA and the DOJ say that gel caps and liquid can be used to make meth. See for yourself: http://tinyurl.com/43q4b5c FACT: Gel caps and liquid are ALREADY being used to produce meth. See for yourself from this article dated 2005: http://tinyurl.com/3z7revt FACT: We have been told before that the previous laws have virtually wiped out meth production. We all know that turned out to be a pack of lies from the SAME PEOPLE that are pushing this new bill. See for yourself: http://tinyurl.com/cuzq3of (PowerPoint file) FACT: Any time a law is aimed at punishing law abiding citizens instead of criminals, it doesn't work.

TurfTamer - 9/12/2011 11:19 AM
1 Vote
Meth labs are up because it is easier to make meth than it was a few years ago. The "one pot" method has made it so any idiot can make the stuff. There are plenty of other things we can do other than making it a prescription. @stopmethlabs I am impressed with your response below, good to see you thinking of other ways to help the problem than just making it a prescription. The article mentions states like Oregon with a declining meth problem and I have to ask the same question again, does anyone think people in Oregon stopped getting high? Do you think they have moved on to something else? What if you stop meth production by making it a prescription and then the users decide to us gasoline as the main ingredient to get high? Are we going to make gasoline a prescription too?

memyselfandeye - 9/11/2011 12:48 AM
0 Votes
I agree with Raptor. If the problem is the dry tabs, get rid of them. Make it available only in gelcaps.

Unwashed Mass - 9/10/2011 5:52 PM
2 Votes
Can anyone believe anything the SID says anymore? SID is where all the corrupt cops were assigned -- the ones that carry drugs in their vehicles in case any need to be "replaced" in the field. Wasn't Galena KS the meth capitol last week?

Raptor - 9/10/2011 3:40 PM
2 Votes
Am I missing something? I thought meth can only be made from dry tablets. Duh! Outlaw only the dry tabs and force the use of gelcaps.

Raptor - 9/10/2011 3:38 PM
0 Votes
i must

watchdog11 - 9/10/2011 1:08 PM
0 Votes
Yep, we need to make them by script only, I don't understand how anyone could not think this is a fair trade off, I have so many allergies, I have to take two shots per week every week, and even then still have the headache, dry eyes,sniffles and such, and I would gladly trade the convenience of going to Walgreens and picking up some for getting my doctor to write a script, it isn't like they will have to do it every time you need it, there is such a thing as auto refills, stop being selfish folks, how many innocent people have to be burned out of their homes, how many people have to be killed or burned to death by a meth lab next door, how many kids have to be neglected by meth using parents before you do the right thing? Call your representative and demand this law be passed in Oklahoma.

kindagreywolf - 9/10/2011 9:54 AM
2 Votes
There is definitely a Meth Problem in Tulsa. But on the flip side, I've seen people busted for having "Suspected Meth Labs". Whats sad, is I know a couple that don't do drugs and are hard workers get dragged off to Jail because TPD are to freaking stupid and want to arrest an easy target, instead of going after the real criminals. Of course, with all the false arrests, this will make our numbers go higher than what they should.

StopMethLabs - 9/9/2011 10:57 PM
0 Votes
If people will get behind the bill requiring a prescription for the dry tablets only, you will see manufacturers start adding this tamper proof / meth proof technology. It will be like domino's falling after the first pseudoephedrine manufacturer puts this in their product where people do not have to get a prescription. All the other pseudoephedrine companies will follow because if the products are the same what would you rather buy, brand A with a prescription or brand B with the meth proof technology and no prescription. This will shut down the meth labs !
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