Bootheel Drug Task Force Working To Keep Meth Off The Streets - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Kennett, MO--Lauren Payne Reports

Bootheel Drug Task Force Working To Keep Meth Off The Streets

August 31, 2004--Posted at 6:00 p.m. CDT

KENNETT-- Missouri is expected to once again lead the nation in the number of seized meth  labs.

Tim Trowbridge, an agent for the Hayti-based Bootheel Drug Task Force said, "I think it's mainly in part of the training we receive and the intense investigations that we do."

Officials also speculate that Missouri's central location and secluded land make this a breeding ground for meth production. "It's a deadly cycle once they find that it's so easy to sell for a small amount of  money, they can just spend a little bit more money and make some big profits," said Trowbridge.

It's a cycle that is not going unrecognized by the drug task may not always see them, but they are watching.  "The smell is the number one thing for us. People call in and tell us about strange chemical smells. At that point we can go set up on the house, and watch what goes on for ourselves," said Trowbridge.

The Bootheel Drug Task Force stakes out secluded country roads looking for unusual late night activity, or strong chemical smells. Officials say one of the biggest problems they face is that meth is increasingly easy to make, and even easier to sell.

"We've got 16-year-olds, up to 70-year-olds using meth, it's just unreal," said Trowbridge.

Statistics say that one meth amphetamine cook will teach at least 10 other people to manufacture the drug."Once you arrest these people and put them in jail, all they learn how to do is different ways of cooking dope, and different ways of producing, manufacturing, and using," said Trowbridge.

That's why he says there needs to be more meth rehabilitation centers rather than just putting users in jail without any counseling. It's an on ongoing battle that drug task force officials face, but they say it's worth the fight to keep the drug out of the hands of future generations.

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