Comments Off on MO prosecutors launch campaign to crack down on meth manufacturers

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV/AP) – Missouri’s attorney general and other officials are launching a campaign against a strategy used by methamphetamine makers to evade limits on buying a key ingredient.

The practice is called “smurfing,” and involves people buying cold and allergy medicines containing the pseudoephedrine and selling them to meth makers.

Missouri set another record last year for domestic meth production in the United States.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker held a news conference Wednesday at a Kansas City supermarket to outline the anti-smurfing initiative. The goal is to make sure that pharmacists and law enforcement officials are watching and tracking cold medicine sales.

The campaign calls partly for Missouri pharmacies to display warnings at cash registers letting would-be meth cooks know their actions have serious consequences. The hope is to deter otherwise lawful residents from helping smurfers obtain more pseudoephedrine than is allowed under state law.

“This is more intended for the individual who might get approached by a meth cook and make this purchase and hopefully divert them away from attempting to do that in the first place,’ said Carlos Gutierrez of the Consume Healthcare Products Association.

Violators can get up to 15 years in jail.

The Missouri Retailers Association, Missouri Pharmacy Association and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association are sponsoring the campaign.

Spalitto’s Pharmacy, which is an independently run pharmacy, keeps drugs with the ingredient behind the counter and requires a prescription. The pharmacy is too small to keep an electronic database tracking sales.

Vicki Labruzzo of Spalitto’s said too many meth houses are in the neighborhood and they go to great lengths to get their hands on the drugs.

“We knew we had to keep up on that because they would definitely come in here for them,” she said. “We know how many we’re buying through our wholesaler and it’s such a small amount it’s not even a concern here anymore.”


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