Comments Off on Mobile meth: a growing problem for drug enforcement

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration tells WOKV that meth labs are becoming tougher to bust.

“They’re more mobile. They’re more difficult to detect. They’re easier for the traffickers and the manufacturers to move,” said Cam Strom, Assistant Special Agent in charge of the DEA in Jacksonville.

Strom started busting methamphetamine labs in California almost 21 years ago.

“It’s a much more difficult criminal act to detect than it was years ago when larger vessels were used and electricity was needed,” he said.

“Some more infrastructure was required to manufacture methamphetamine.”

Nowadays, he said the manufacturing cycle is “much easier to accomplish” while being mobile.

This summer in Jacksonville, meth labs have been busted in trailers, mobile homes, and motel rooms.

Strom said motel rooms give cooks the privacy they need “without any of the responsibility for cleaning up the chemical stains and chemical damage that’s done as a result of the manufacturing cycle.”

Meth labs in motel rooms are hazardous to public safety, Strom said.

He said these days drug enforcement busts labs which produce smaller yields than ten or fifteen years ago, another result of the general downsizing of meth operations.

“Most of the chemical reactions that occur are chemicals that can be purchased over-the-counter and are not illegal to possess.”

Strom said the chemicals become illegal to possess when used in combination with other chemicals to produce meth.

Most drug producers work in private, according to Strom. He found it unusual that last week Jacksonville drug enforcement busted a meth lab underneath the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge on Atlantic Boulevard.

He said producing meth under a bridge gives cooks some privacy while allowing the chemical odors to dissipate into the air.

Strom said the strong smell of indoor meth labs is one of the most common ways they are detected by the public and law enforcement.

He recommends people to call the police if they smell chemical odors that are “outside the norm” of the environment they’re in.

Another giveaway is the presence of chemicals that are uncommon to the surrounding environment. Strom said making methamphetamine requires a lot of solvents.

See the stories on the left for recent meth lab busts in Northeast Florida.


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