Tulsa Police's meth fighting efforts paying dividends

Thursday, September 9th 2004, 10:04 am
By: News On 6

The way the budget is with the Tulsa Police Department lately, every penny counts. The department is getting some financial help from an unexpected source, meth money.

As News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains, that money comes from a combination of a new law and a big bust.

When Oklahoma passed a law that said medicines containing pseudoephedrine must only be sold at pharmacies and then only two boxes at a time and only after showing an ID and signing your name. Some police officers were skeptical that it would actually cut down on the meth problem. Both those skeptics are not supporters.

The number of labs in Tulsa has dropped by 45%. Tulsa Police Cpl Mike Parsons: "It's made it more difficult because now they can only buy a limited amount and once they purchase that amount legitimately, they have to go out of state, so it makes it more difficult."

Fewer labs are good for public safety, but it's also good for the police department's budget. It costs $3,000 to clean up an average lab. Fewer labs to clean means less overtime to be paid, much less, which is like money in the bank.

While meth labs and meth cooks are a problem, they're not the big players. Those are the companies selling chemicals and lab equipment. A recent undercover investigation shut down the biggest player of all, Allied Chemical, the largest supplier to meth labs in the nation and it was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "They had two sets of prices. One for the people who were buying the chemicals for legitimate purchases and another for people buying it to manufacture methamphetamine."

The feds seized the company's cash and is splitting it up between the agencies that helped work the case. Tulsa's cut is more than $100,000, which is more money in the bank since it can only be spent on police related expenses.

While Tulsa Police are glad we're having fewer labs, they don't expect it to be long before we see a new trend, either the meth cooks find a way around the new law or they start hooking up with Mexican drug traffickers who sell ice, which is meth that's 100% pure, unlike the meth sold here that is 60%-80% pure.

Stopping meth is important for all of us because there is a direct correlation between the people who do meth and violence. They're the folks doing robberies, burglaries, assaults and abusing children.