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Meth labs continue to drop under new law, says AG Cooper

Release date: 6/5/2006

For immediate release Contact: Noelle Talley

Date: June 5, 2006 Phone: 919/716-6413

Meth labs continue to drop under new law, says AG Cooper

Fewer meth labs discovered in May than in any single month in more than two years

Raleigh: Meth labs in North Carolina are continuing to drop under a new law that makes it more difficult for criminals to get the drug’s main ingredient, Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.

State Bureau of Investigation agents responded to 11 labs producing the synthetic drug methamphetamine in May of 2006. That’s the fewest number of meth labs discovered in the state in any one month since December of 2003, and a 69 percent drop compared to the 35 labs discovered in May of 2005.

“We fought hard for this law and it’s paying off,” Cooper said. “Cutting criminals’ access to the key ingredient they need to make meth is helping to drive these dangerous drug labs out of our communities.”

Since the new law took effect on January 15, 2006, the SBI has seen a 35 percent overall drop in meth labs compared to the same time period in 2005. In 2005, SBI agents busted 172 labs between January 15 and May 31. In 2006, agents busted 112 labs between January 15 and May 31. Specially trained SBI agents respond to meth labs discovered in North Carolina.

As of January 15, North Carolina law requires that all single and multi-source tablets, caplets or pills containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine be sold behind a pharmacy counter. Purchasers must be at least 18 years old and show a photo ID and sign a log to buy these products. The law also limits purchases of these products to no more than two packages per transaction and no more than three packages within 30 days without a prescription.

While a federal law designed to curb meth labs will help make psedeoephedrine less available to meth cooks who buy their ingredients in other states, North Carolina’s stronger law will remain in effect here.

Cooper led the push during the 2005 legislative session for a state law to reduce meth labs in North Carolina by cutting criminals’ access to the drug’s key ingredient. He continues to urge local law enforcement to verify that retailers in their communities are abiding by the law.

“Clamping down on meth labs in North Carolina means busting labs and making sure that stores are following the law,” said Cooper. “The more we’re able to stop criminals from making meth here, the more we’ll be able to go after criminals who are trafficking meth, cocaine and other drugs into our state.”

Cooper is currently asking legislators for an additional three SBI agents to fight trafficking of illegal drugs, particularly methamphetamine, and six new experts to analyze drug evidence submitted to the SBI Crime Lab by local law enforcement.