Butler Co. sees decline in meth labs seizures - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Butler Co. sees decline in meth labs seizures

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
BUTLER CO., AL (WSFA) -

The Butler County Sheriff's Office says it's seen an impressive and steady decline in the number of meth labs and believes that's proof that anti-meth legislation is working. 

At a press conference on Monday officials, officials cited a new report by the Alabama Drug Abuse Task Force showing meth lab seizures have decreased from 720 in 2010 to 154 in 2013. The decline, they say, is in part to because of the universal implementation of the NPLEx, a monitoring system which restricts sales of certain cold and allergy medicines containing pseudoephederine in pharmacies across the state.

The anti-meth bill, passed in 2012, features the establishment of a drug offender database, enhancement of the drug paraphernalia laws to allow prosecution of intent, even if PSE is absent, reductions in the monthly allowable amount of PSE that any one person can purchase, restitution of expenses incurred in prosecution of meth labs and the establishment of a felony charge for anyone convicted of being involved with "smurfing."

Butler County Sheriff Kenny Hardin announced the arrest of 24 people since January for smurfing. Smurfing is when meth makers get other people to buy ingredients for them to avoid getting caught.

"We've come a long way in our fight against meth in Butler County," Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden said. "Using the NPLEx system, we've been able to keep a close eye on known drug dealers and restrict certain types of criminal activity. This tool allows us to more effectively keep certain precursor ingredients out of the hands of people who intend to use them for illegal purposes. It also allows us to closely monitor anyone who might be buying, or attempting to purchase, PSE under suspicious conditions."

According to the Alabama Criminal Justice Informational Center, there was a statewide total of 101,739 blocked sales of products containing PSE. By these blocked sales, over 257,816 grams of potential chemical ingredients staying off the streets.

"Last year in Butler County, we had a total of 149 blocked sales, and 387 grams of PSE kept off our streets," stated Butler County District Attorney Charlotte Tesmer. "

The Alabama Drug Abuse Task Force reports that most meth currently available for sale in Alabama is higher-grade crystal methamphetamines known as "Ice". Ice is manufactured in Mexico or California and smuggled into the state by Mexican drug cartels or other traffickers, officials say.

The imported meth accounts for about 80 percent of all meth currently seized throughout the state.

"At the end of the day, these changes save taxpayers a lot of money, and make our community a safer place. I'm proud of the progress we've made," Harden says.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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