Methamphetamine crimes have been a chronic problem in Southeast Missouri. Modern technology and cooperation from local governments have significantly helped law enforcement officers combat the issue, but officials said the state has not yet managed to solve its meth problem.

State Rep. Kurt Bahr, R-O’Fallon, last week released the latest 2014 data generated by the state’s pseudoephedrine tracking system, known as the National Precursor Log Exchange, or NPLEx. The system has been in use in Missouri since 2011 and is operational in 30 states, including Illinois.2233357-M

So far in 2014, the NPLEx system has helped block the sale of 23,682 boxes of pseudoephedrine in Missouri, according to data released by Bahr. That stopped 59,245 grams from possible diversion into methamphetamine.

NPLEx allows pharmacists in participating states to log purchases of medicines containing pseudoephedrine by scanning the customer’s photo ID. Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Access to the logs are limited strictly to law enforcement officials who may use the data to track illegal purchases, monitor persons of interest and look for patterns. By tracking illegal purchases, officials can more easily identify possible meth criminals and establish probable cause to obtain search warrants and make arrests.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol keeps statistics on county methamphetamine incidents, based on methamphetamine laboratory seizure incidents entered into the National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System. The county-by-county and statewide data are cumulative totals of three types of seizure classifications: operational labs, chemical/equipment/glassware seizures and dumpsites.

Statistics from the highway patrol show four meth incidents have occurred in Cape Girardeau County from the beginning of the year through July. Two incidents were reported in Perry County and four were reported in Scott County. The statistics did not indicate any meth incidents had taken place in Bollinger County.

The total number of incidents reported throughout the state so far is 615.

Nearly 1,500 meth incidents were reported statewide in 2013, meaning the state so far is on track for a smaller 2014 total. Cape Girardeau County might also report a lower number than last year’s incident total of 15.

Perry County reported only a single incident last year. Scott County reported seven and Bollinger County reported three.

NPLEx has also been touted as a way to prevent “smurfing,” a term used to describe the process of circumventing restrictions by recruiting additional buyers to purchase medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

NPLEx data provided by Bahr showed that compared to last year, 10 percent fewer individuals had purchased pseudoephedrine through the third quarter of 2014.

Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force director Mark McClendon said the area saw its biggest improvement once cities began adopting ordinances requiring a prescription for pseudoephedrine. After that, the number of meth labs in the area decreased, he said.

But the area still has a meth problem, McClendon said. While it’s less commonly manufactured in Southeast Missouri, it’s still being imported from other states or Mexico.

“We still have a tremendous meth problem, but it’s importation. That’s where the problem is,” he said. “The labs are not nearly as common as they used to be. … There’s still lots of imported meth in the area. It’s very prevalent.”








  1. KC says:

    It’s not about state borders anymore. These operations are multi-state. They have to in order to course raw materials and find a more profitable markets where they can push larger volumes. With everyone and their brother’s cousin manufacturing, the markets are saturating and now these folks have to push out over state lines to more lucrative markets. All drug enforcement should be at the federal level, especially given how corrupted a lot of local law enforcement are by payoffs and drug addiction themselves (not everyone, but there are people in key positions to have the “disease” and take large cash payoffs from many of the local rings).

  2. KC says:

    *source (not “course”…) đŸ™‚