July 6, 2006 - Posted at 6:22 p.m. CDT
POPLAR BLUFF, MO -- Region 8 law enforcement has been battling methamphetamine for years, but now the stakes are even higher. A new form of methamphetamine, imported to the United States from Mexico, is causing problems for police in Southeast Missouri.
"Since the law was passed last July regulating the pseudoephedra purchases, we've seen a decrease in the methamphetamine labs and we've seen a lot more importation of what they're calling 'ice.' It's a Mexican Meth," said Poplar Bluff Narcotics Officer and SEMO Drug Task Force Member Jason Morgan.
Manufactured in laboratories in Mexico, the drug has found its way into Region 8.
"The ice, by DEA lab standards, has to test 90% pure or better. The local manufactured methamphetamine probably would run in the 50 to 70% range, so this is a lot more potent," said Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley.
And a lot more pricey...
"Wholesale price, it's about $2,100 dollars an ounce. You sell that at about $130 a gram. You're going to be making about $1,600 profit on an ounce of meth. So the money is there. We still have people wanting to buy it and the supply and demand is someone wants it, someone is going to bring it in," said Chief Whiteley.
And it's that high demand that is keeping authorities busy.
"We've seen in the past 60 days, the SEMO Drug Task Force that we're associated with, has taken off the streets a little over 10 pounds of ice in just that amount of time," said Whiteley.
"We're hoping to win this battle," said Morgan, "Everyday we're taking out somebody, but it seems like it's just another load coming up from Mexico. It's a lot of work. We're using a lot of resources combating this. We hope to get a handle on it."