Owen County Sees Increase In Methamphetamine Labs In 2011
Across the state, the ISP removed 1,437 clandestine laboratories, resulting in 1,328 arrests, up from an arrest number of 1,212 in 2010.
The 110 labs seized in the District 33 area of Owen, Brown, Greene, Lawrence, Monroe and Morgan counties included an increase in Owen from three labs in 2010 to seven in 2011.
Also in 2011, the state saw spikes of 186 labs seized in March, 129 seized in April and 144 seized in October. All the while, 51 adults were injured in incidents involving meth labs in 2011, up from 30 in 2010. The number of children identified in lab homes also rose drastically in just a year, from 282 in 2010 to 389 in 2011.
For the first time since 2004, two children were fatally injured in meth lab-related incidents in 2011, while adult deaths were down to one from three in 2010.
“You can see the proactive work by the Meth Suppression Section (MSS) personnel is making a difference in the Bloomington District. Compare the seizure data from the district in 2010 to that of 2011 and it is apparent these troopers are making a difference in those communities,” ISP First Sergeant Niki Crawford with the Meth Suppression Section said. “The Bloomington District made meth investigations one of its priorities by assigning additional personnel to assist Master Trooper Jon Patrick who is assigned to MSS full-time in the Bloomington District.”
In relation to the ISP’s continuing effort to rid the state of methamphetamine, First Sgt. Crawford said that a law passed during the 2010 Indiana legislative session has yet to help troopers in reducing the number of labs in production.
“The computerized tracking system, NPLEx, does not prevent meth labs and has not made a difference in our lab seizure rates. It only reports pseudoephedrine sales,” she explained. “The law that was updated last year required NPLEx to report those sales to the Indiana State Police for import into the Indiana Meth Investigation System (IMIS). We are five weeks past the deadline, and they have yet to provide us the records in a usable format. We have provided them as much information and feedback as possible as well as updating and using the most well-known format available, the American Society for Automation in Pharmacy (ASAP) standard for the sales.”
Crawford explained that while the NPLEx system may block sales when a person attempts to purchase more than the legal limit, it does not reduce the number of labs seized.
“Block sales is creating a larger, more wide-spread black market for pseudoephedrine products,” Crawford noted. “Master Trooper Patrick advised me two weeks ago that the ‘smurf’ groups of three or four he was tracking last fall have now grown to eight to 12 members with the new block sale system in place.”
If you or someone you know has located what you believe is a methamphetamine lab or mobile lab, contact the ISP at 1-812-334-4411, 1-800-423-1286 or dial 829-4874 to contact the Owen County Sheriff’s Department. As always, callers may remain anonymous.
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