Comments Off on Illinois meth cookers use one-pot method to evade precursor restrictions

Many Southern Illinois drug users appear to be switching to a “one pot” method of manufacturing methamphetamine, abandoning larger scale operations to avoid the restrictions imposed by the state’s Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan convened a meeting in Carterville, Ill., earlier this week with area law enforcement officials to discuss ways to combat the growing trend of suspects creating “shake and bake” meth labs. “They are using a one or two-liter empty plastic bottle to mix legal amounts of pseudoephedrine and the drug’s other ingredients to make a small batch of meth,” Madigan said. “This small-scale drug production allows users to sidestep laws we previously put in place to regulate the sale of pseudoephedrine, a key meth ingredient.”

Illinois’ meth precursor law, which was enacted in 2006, restricts consumers from buying more than two packages of cold pills or other medication containing pseudoephedrine in a single transaction, or other products containing more than 7,500 milligrams of pseudoephedrine in a 30-day period.

The law also requires customers to provide photo identification and sign a purchasing log maintained by the pharmacies. Those logs are reviewed regularly by law enforcement. Names of purchasers are compared to other retailers for evidence of individuals violating quantity restrictions.

The law was credited with a 52 percent drop in the number of meth labs reported the first year after it was enacted. Drug lab seizures fell from 761 in 2006 to 362 in 2007. Officials said that downward trend continued until recently, when law enforcement officials saw a sharp rise in “one pot” labs.

Easily concealed, these mobile “one pot” labs are often found in the back seat of a moving vehicle. Others have been found in the back of a pickup truck, and in coolers strapped to the back of a four-wheeler.

“One-pot meth production is just as toxic and dangerous as traditional meth labs,” Madigan said.

A new law was enacted this week to prevent those previously convicted of a meth-related offense from obtaining ingredients to manufacture the drug. House Bill 1908 requires a person who has been convicted of a meth-related offense to have a prescription to purchase or possess any product containing pseudoephedrine while on parole or probation. Offenders are also prohibited from buying or possessing ammonium nitrate, another key ingredient in the manufacture of meth.

The law mandates that the Illinois Department of Corrections to issue a parole violation if an offender is again charged with a violation of the Meth Control and Community Protection Act or the Meth Precursor Control Act. The Department of Corrections is also required to notify the Illinois State Police, local state’s attorney and sheriff of the pending release from prison of any person convicted of a meth offense.

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