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METH lab raids up in Delaware County

JAY, Okla. (AP) _ The number of methamphetamine labs that have been raided in Delaware County already exceeds last year's total after just six months.

Sheriff Lenden Woodruff, who took office on Jan. 2, and sheriff's deputies have raided 15 meth labs so far this year.

Kym Koch, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, said records show that evidence from 12 labs was turned over to the OSBI last year for analysis.

The Sheriff's Office bumped up the number of meth lab raids when deputies seized three meth labs and made five felony arrests in one week. Two of the three labs were located north of Grove near Grand Lake, Woodruff said.

Woodruff said the Felony Apprehension Team, a group of Delaware County deputies who actively serve felony warrants, were trying to serve a warrant recently when they made two arrests and seized a lab, which had just finished cooking the illegal drug.

The sheriff's 15th meth lab raid was in the same house where Woodruff and other law enforcement officers made his first lab raid north of Kansas, Okla.

Woodruff said the people arrested in the first raid were being held in jail on additional drug charges when the 15th raid took place.

``I'm real proud of the way things are going,'' Woodruff said. ``The deputies have been working on their own time on some of these investigations. We wouldn't be as successful without all their hard work.''

Woodruff, 44, said he's just beginning to get a grasp on the widespread meth problem in the county. And, he said, it's much worse than he thought.

``I think we've made a large dent in the trafficking since we've seized 15 labs already this year,'' Woodruff said. ``And because of the seizures, we've noticed a drop in property crimes, which can be directly tied to people addicted to meth. We're going to try harder. That's our job.''

Woodruff won a runoff election to succeed former Sheriff Jim Earp, who had served three terms in office. Earp did not seek re-election.
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