Local News

More than 200 meth labs busted in N.C. in 2009

Posted January 11, 2010 11:52 a.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2010 12:12 p.m. EST

— Law enforcement agencies across North Carolina broke up 206 methamphetamine labs across the state last year, officials said Monday.

The figure was up slightly from the 195 meth labs busted in 2008 but was far below the 2005 record of 328.

Anson County had the most meth lab busts in the state last year with 31, followed by Wayne County with 24, Duplin County with 21, Johnston County with 15 labs and Sampson and Halifax counties with nine each.

“While North Carolina’s aggressive approach to containing meth has kept the numbers steady, law enforcement is seeing alarming new trends that mean we have to stay vigilant,” Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement.

Cooper and the State Bureau of Investigation are working to give law enforcement more tools to identify meth labs. For example, an electronic tracking system will soon allow SBI agents and other officers to analyze information about purchases of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth that is found in common cold remedies, and identify buys made to supply meth labs. The system will track sales of pseudoephedrine by pharmacies in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi.

Since January 2006, North Carolina has required that all 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 limits purchasers to no more than two packages at once and no more than three packages within 30 days.