Meth lab seizures increase again in 2011

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that across Missouri, there were 2,096 meth lab seizures, a six percent increase from 2010.

Nationally, Missouri stands at the top of the list for meth lab seizures. The closest behind include Indiana with 1,241, Tennessee with 1,134, and Kentucky with 1,090 for the 2011 calendar year.

The Patrol indicates that meth lab busts have steadily increased across the state between from 2007 to 2011.

Year - Statewide Lab Seizures

2007- 1,285

2008 - 1,487

2009 - 1,774

2010 - 1,960

2011 - 2,096

The meth labs counted in the statistics include anything from homemade devices such as the shake and bake methods, to lab dump sites.

Sgt. Brent Bernhardt said law enforcement's increased efforts in educating the community on the dangers of methamphetamine have contributed to the increase in seizures.

"We feel that law enforcement are stepping up to the plate and certainly aggressively trying to stop the war on methamphetamine but obviously we're asking citizens our community to help us in that endeavor. It's really important to get community people involved in this drug problem that we are seeing in virtually every community in the State of Missouri."

Also, more than 1,000 officers in the state have trained in how to respond, investigate and clean up meth labs.

Bernhardt urges residents to alert law enforcement if they smell any odors of ether, ammonia or acid which are all indications that a meth lab could be in operation nearby

"What we're actually asking is that people, anytime they see anything that would be suspicious activity, we ask them to immediately report that info to a local law enforcement agency so that we can investigate it. Many of our arrests that we make for drug violations come from information that we gain from citizens in our community."

All law enforcement agencies are required to report meth lab seizures to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. According to their statistics, 19 meth labs were seized in Adair County, five were seized in both Macon and Scotland Counties, and four were seized in both Sullivan and Knox Counties.

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