Meth labs on the rise, but this time they're smaller - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Meth labs on the rise, but this time they're smaller

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (KFVS) -

When Illinois' legislators passed a measure to keep an eye on who is buying meth making materials the number of meth labs went down more than 50-percent in the first year.

But now the battlefield against the drug makers has changed. 

"Nowadays with the restrictions in place as far as the terms of purchasing pills that can contain Psudoephedrine, we are seeing a rise in much smaller labs," said Jackson County Deputy Kevin Fagerland. 

The new size of the meth labs is also making it much more difficult for police to detect when and where the drug is being made. 

"From a large lab to a single pot, commonly known as a shake and bake method. It could be easily hidden in a backpack, carried around in a vehicle, very volatile," Fagerland said. 

 Police say while the process of making meth has shrunk from years past the dangers the smaller labs pose to them has increased.

"It's very difficult keeping us safe because we don't know exactly what we're coming upon when we're approaching a vehicle, coming into a house, it's very difficult to see these things and identify them," Fagerland said. 

And one other thing police are seeing with the new meth making process.That also has them concerned about winning the war on meth is.

"Those that have been doing the big labs and gotten in trouble and are getting out, it's easier for them to do the smaller labs and they're getting back into it," said Fagerland. 

That is a trend that is pushing the number of meth labs higher at a time when federal funds to help fight meth and cleaning it up are being decreased.

Illinois' top attorney made a stop in the Heartland Friday. Attorney General Lisa Madigan spoke with area law enforcement and prosecutors about the rising problem of methamphetamine labs in southern Illinois. 

Madigan says methamphetamine makers are now working around current laws and making the drug on a smaller scale.

"They are ,you know, labs that are essentially ,you know one batch," Madigan said. "You can make meth using one box of pills and that is under the legal limit of what you're able to purchase each month."

Madigan says they've also seen a rise of people coming from boarder states to Illinois to buy Psudoephedrine. That's a key indigent to making Methamphetamine.

Madigan says they plan to look at legislation this fall to help curb that problem.

Copyright 2010 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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