ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Methamphetamine production and use is increasingly moving from rural areas to St. Louis City and its suburbs.

In 2010, there were 53 meth lab busts in St. Louis County; last year there were 60. However, this year the number has topped 100 with three days left until 2013 arrives.

St. Louis County Police Drug Detective Brandt Wathen says one reason for the big increase is that meth used to have to be manufactured in rural areas “where you needed to have these big anhydrous tanks.” Methamphetamine producers would use the tanks to remove ammonia and make meth which emits a strong odor, forcing production to take place in rural areas.

But that process is no longer necessary, Wathen explains. “They’ve now modified that process to where they don’t need those tanks to make it anymore, they can make it in a soda bottle. You can make it anywhere and the smells aren’t what they used to be so it’s transformed. It can be anybody.”

Wathen says another reason for the new figures is that meth cooks are being pushed into St. Louis County by neighboring counties.

“They’ve done these prescription ordinances to eliminate the purchase of pseudoephedrine and we in the unincorporated areas of St. Louis County haven’t gotten those ordinances yet,” he said.


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