Meth labs decline, but supply coming to Oklahoma via Mexican drug cartels on the rise

Posted at 5:08 PM, Nov 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-18 23:47:09-05

EL RENO, Okla.-- Oklahoma signed landmark laws in 2010 to control an epidemic of meth labs throughout the state. But the drug is more popular than ever.

Mexican cartels have replaced Oklahoma meth cooks-- supplying of a potent form of meth that's deadlier than ever.

Experts say the number of meth labs in Oklahoma has decreased significantly but demand for the highly addictive drug has not.

According to a spokesperson Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Mexican cartels are supplying dealers all over the country, including right here in Oklahoma.

It’s the job of the OBN agents to stop the addictive drugs before they get here. Looking for drugs is part knowing what you’re looking for and part knowing where to find it.

“We've pulled 15 pounds of meth of a diaper box that had the children's clothes on em sitting in the back seat between the two children,” said OBN agent Mike Arnold.

According to an OBN spokesperson, Mexican drug cartels are bringing meth to Oklahoma and other states to meet the demand.

Meth and other drugs are packed in wheel wells and inside tires. Liquid meth is shipped in windshield wiper fluid reservoirs.

“They realize there’s still huge demand and now they have the corner on the market,” said OBN spokesperson Mark Woodward.

Woodward says laws restricting the sales of the ingredients used to cook meth drastically reduced the number of meth cooks in the state.

At its peak in 2003 law enforcement busted almost 1,300 labs in Oklahoma. In 2012 there were about 930 meth labs busts.In 2016 they’re on pace for fewer than 100 meth lab busts.

“That is the good news the labs are down but meth is still out here and it's our number one street killer is methamphetamine,” Woodward said.

Out of 830 drug overdose deaths last year— 25 percent were from meth.

"We have more deaths because every day we're having more and more people begin on that path and I think we have more users now than we did 2 years ago 5 years ago or 10 years ago,” he said.

That’s why OBN agents won’t slow down in their quest to keep cartels from hauling meth into the state.


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