Local News

Number of Meth Labs Decreasing in North Carolina

Posted January 9, 2008

— New numbers from the State Bureau of Investigation show a significant drop in illegal methamphetamine labs in North Carolina since 2005.

“We've seen a significant drop, and it's good for the safety of the people of the state,” State Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

The attorney general credits changes in state law, like moving medicines with pseudoephedrine behind the counter.

"Making it harder for the criminal to get the necessary key ingredient to make meth has been the main factor in the reduction of meth labs,” he said.

Statewide, the number of meth labs was cut in half from 2005 to 2007, but three of the four counties with the most meth labs are in the Triangle area.

Authorities have struggled to get a handle on meth labs in Johnston County. In September, sheriff's deputies raided a home and arrested four people. Three weeks before, Benson's police chief was exposed to toxic fumes after finding a mobile meth lab.

The high number for the county “was disappointing, but I think a lot of it has to do with [our being] so proactive” and finding and reporting labs, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.

Bizzell points to ongoing campaigns like "Operation Pill Crusher." It has results in 72 arrest warrants and shut down three labs since October. He said deputies are also seeing more meth on the streets, coming in from other countries.

“The illegal immigration is tied directly to the meth,” Bizzell said. “Meth has followed the moonshine route, Interstate 40 and Interstate 95."

In the year ahead, Cooper said, the state will focus on more community meth awareness, distributing education materials and helping addicts through treatment programs.

“We cannot rest on our laurels, because there is still a lot of work to do,” Cooper said.

The law passed in 2005 also required mandatory prison time for those convicted of manufacturing meth.

Johnston County authorities said they have staggered some recent arrests to keep from overloading their jail.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • DavidJonathan Jan 9, 2008

    This pseudophedrine law is a classic "punish the innocent" scheme. For many families who have to buy cold meds for several people, including their own children, these meds are very difficult to obtain, and it requires surrendering your privacy to do it.(Even Claritin-D...the dealers would have to separate the "D" from the other chemical first, but even that is restricted.) The results of the law: more IMPORTED meth and precursors come from outside NC, and more personal information of innocent (and physically sick) people in the hands of government and pharmacies. Note: Sudafed-PE does not work as well as real Sudafed, if at all.

  • .Milky Jan 9, 2008

    Let's not get flustered. The closing labs are the result of a slight market correction and not a result of NAFTA. Sometimes manufacturing must 'Right Size' itself to adjust to changes in demands and market trends accordingly.

  • FragmentFour Jan 9, 2008

    "The number of labs was already decreasing due to enforcement prior to enaction of the law. All the law did was make it a pain to buy cold medicine for the 99.99% of the population that has nothing to do with this."--fletchermse

    Amen. Twice, even.

  • foetine Jan 9, 2008

    Another NC based industry is dying as cheap imports from Mexico flood the market. Way to go NAFTA.

  • 7734 2 06 Jan 9, 2008

    "'The illegal immigration is tied directly to the meth,' Bizzell said."

    Sheriff Bizzell really meant to say "undocumented" not "illegal".

  • Jan 9, 2008

    Was this information gathered from meth labs responding to a survey? "...of those meth labs with a preference to responding to our survey, we have determined the number of legitimate meth labs are decreasing". I'm just poking fun. Hopefully the report is accurate.

  • NCGal Jan 9, 2008

    So Cooper's slapping everybody on the back while Bizzell's saying they're seeing more on the streets coming in from other countries.

    I think Bizzell's right on this one.

  • Arkansas Razorback Jan 9, 2008

    Meth junkies have cold medicine by the cases shipped in from out of state where it is not illegal to buy sudafed and such.

  • fletchermse Jan 9, 2008

    The number of labs was already decreasing due to enforcement prior to enaction of the law. All the law did was make it a pain to buy cold medicine for the 99.99% of the population that has nothing to do with this.

  • oldrebel Jan 9, 2008

    Id have to agree perhaps this just indicates the meth labs are hidden better, the stupid operators are in jail so it's survival of the fittest, or most clever. I have seen no evidence that prices have risen astronmically so supply must be about the same as it has been in the recent past. And they say just as many cons are coming in at Central Prison with terrible dental hygiene, rotten teeth, diseased gums as before, so obviously there's still the same amount of meth out there in the market.