Beacon Journal staff, wire report
Ohio ranks among the top states for seized methamphetamine labs.
Authorities have uncovered 1,010 labs, chemicals and glassware used in the drug’s cooking process since 2000, putting Ohio in fourth place nationwide.
Indiana tops the rankings with 1,797 labs, followed by Tennessee (1,616) and Missouri (1,496).
The numbers come from the National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System, a database the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration compiles.
Ohio moved up from seventh in the rankings in 2012, when it also ranked behind Kentucky, Illinois and Oklahoma, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported. Ohio had 709 reports of labs, materials and chemicals seized in that year.
“The labs that they’re seizing [in Ohio] are the mom-and-pop styles,” said Ralph Weisheit, a criminal justice professor at Illinois State University and an expert on methamphetamine. “The typical meth cooker doesn’t learn from the Internet or from a book. He or she learns from friends, from people. That’s why meth spreads like a disease; it goes from person to person.”
Summit County has served as the “meth capital of Ohio” for years. The Beacon Journal reported earlier this year that 395 of the DEA sites in Ohio were located in Summit.
The Summit County Drug Unit also had identified nearly 900 meth labs and places where meth equipment was dumped in the county since 2001.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said last month that methamphetamine has hit epidemic proportions across the state, especially in rural Ohio, where investigators find remnants of labs in fields and along highways.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation tracks meth lab seizures by federal fiscal year. The state’s police officers report voluntarily, so there probably are more seizures than the statistics reflect.