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Meth lab raids surge 467 percent in Ohio

Associated Press

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CLEVELAND: Authorities report a jump in the number of methamphetamine labs seized this year, and state officials attribute much of the increase to the cheap cost and ease of making the drug.

State records show the number of seized meth labs jumped 467 percent this year in Ohio, compared with five years ago, the Plain Dealer reports.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation tracks meth lab seizures by federal fiscal year, from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

As of June 24, police had reported finding 635 labs, and more were expected by the end of the fiscal year. Last year, agents and police found 607 labs.

The number of meth labs reached 444 in 2005, but the number of seizures seemed to slow for a while after the state in 2007 began cracking down on the amounts of cold medication pseudoephedrine that can be purchased at stores and pharmacies. Pseudo­ephedrine is a key ingredient in cooking the drug.

Those who cook the drug then began recruiting different people to buy boxes of the drug from several different places.

Police reported finding 112 labs in 2008, but that number more than tripled to 348 the next year.

“It’s killing us,” said Larry Limbert, the leader of the Portage County Drug Task Force.

The drug sells on the streets for about $80 to $120 for a gram, based on its purity, according to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addition Services. The stimulant stays in the body much longer than crack cocaine with longer-lasting effects.

“We’re seeing a continuous spike,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said, adding that it’s easier now for people to make the drug.


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