Tulsa Police Form Meth Task Force

Wednesday, April 15th 2009, 10:54 am
By: News On 6

By Terry Hood and Dan Bewley, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa has had nearly twice as many meth labs found this year than all of last year.

Police has formed a special task force that will attack the problem from all angles.

A new, faster way to make meth called shake and bake is the main reason for the spike in meth-related arrests, police say.

The biggest meth lab of the year was found in a midtown apartment complex Tuesday. Police say two labs were linked in adjoining apartments, and eight people were arrested.

The bust was the latest in a string to plague Tulsa since the beginning of the year.

Three people have died, including two innocent victims in the Royal Arms apartment, while another person remains in critical condition.

"Nobody wants to be a drug addict, but it's a disease," Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham said. "It's a problem that we have to get a hold of somehow."

Police have formed a task force focused on ways to stop meth production in the city. The plan includes asking businesses that sell meth ingredients to be on alert as well as working with the district attorney's office to increase bond amounts to keep repeat offenders behind bars.

"We feel by going at it from multiple angles we're going to have a higher chance of succeeding in this," Willingham said.

A major problem for law enforcement is the number of people who keep getting busted for drug crimes.

Of the eight arrested Tuesday, five have previous drug convictions and the woman killed in at a fire last week where a meth lab was found served three years in prison on a drug conviction.

"There are enough laws on the books to address the problem," Willingham said. "The problem we have is the money. It takes money to put people in prison. It takes money to hold people in prison.

"I don't think that we necessarily need more laws, but what we do need is to put these people in prison and to hold them accountable for their actions."

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office has its own meth task force. Read what items retailers should watch for.