Attorney Roy Cooper announced last week that technology led to a record number of methamphetamine lab busts in North Carolina last year.
“Investigators now have at their fingertips information that can help them find and stop dangerous meth labs by tracking buys of the drug’s key ingredient,” Cooper said.
State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agents responded to 561 meth labs in 2013, an increase from 460 labs found in 2012. Of those, 81 percent used the “one pot” method or portable labs which make small amounts of meth.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive synthetic illegal drug whose key ingredient is pseudoephedrine, which is also found in some cold medicines. One pot meth labs are known as “shake and bake” labs on the street. They use small amounts of pseudoephedrine to make meth in a plastic soda bottle.
According to a press release, those labs are easy to conceal and move , making it more challenging to find than traditional meth labs which are larger and less mobile.
North Carolina has laws limiting the purchase of products with pseudoephedrine. Only two packages of pseudoephedrine products can be purchased at once and no more than three packages within 30 days. Purchasers have to provide a photo ID and sign a log before buying the product.
SBI agents and law enforcement officers in North Caroline have access to information about such purchases through the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), which helps them to identify possible meth cooks and find more meth labs.
According to a press release, NPLEx blocked 44,299 purchases in 2013, totaling 56,397 boxes or 146,957 grams of pseudoephedrine.
That is enough pseudoephedrine to make approximately 280 pounds of methamphetamine.
To find meth lab busts by county visit the North Carolina Department of Justice website.