East Texas Law Enforcement Talks About Meth Problem - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


East Texas Law Enforcement Talks About Meth Problem

Across the nation and locally law enforcement agencies gathered Thursday in support of Methamphetamine Awareness Day. The goal of the national campaign is to raise awareness about meth use. Here in East Texas there is some good news,.

You may not like having to get what used to be over the counter medications like pseudoephedrine from a pharmacist, but law enforcement officials say that hassle is actually keeping the community safer.

"The meth labs have dropped almost 100 percent in the last three years, and that's two fold," said DEA Agent Richard Sanders. "One and most significantly because of House Bill 164." House Bill 164, which went into affect in August of 2005, took meth's key ingredient pseudoephedrine off the counters.   In fiscal year 2005, before the bill, the Drug Enforcement Agency in Tyler responded to 33 meth labs, costing taxpayers more than $155,000. After the bill, in 2006 the number of labs dropped to just 13. So far in fiscal year 2007, the DEA says they've only broken up one meth lab. The DEA says that doesn't mean the drug has left East Texas.

"Right now from our office, approximately 99 percent of the methamphetamine or the ice that we are running into are from a host country," said Sanders. State Representative Leo Berman, who helped write House Bill 164, says the state understands this problem.

"We are going to completely fund the sheriff's department, DPS, and local police departments along the border, so they can increase the tight weaponry to compete with the automatic weapons that the Mexican drug cartel has in smuggling this stuff across the border," said Leo Berman State Representative, District 6. Until then, law enforcement asks East Texans to take control of their communities by helping get rid of the drug all together.

Last March, a joint investigation between state and federal agencies broke a major methemphatmine ring in East Texas, known as Operation Icebox. That meth was being brought in from Mexico. The DEA says the organization responsible no longer exists.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com


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