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Authorities make first bust under new anti-meth law August 5, 2005 - stltoday.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The seizure of an alleged methamphetamine lab in west-central Missouri marks the first bust credited to a new state law that tracks the sale of certain ingredients for making the illegal drug.
Authorities said they arrested Clint Young, 21, this week in Clinton, about 80 miles southeast of Kansas City, after reviewing records that showed he went to several pharmacies and bought medications containing pseudoephedrine. Young had not been charged as of Friday, and Henry County prosecutor Richard Shields said he was waiting for lab results.
Under a law that went into effect July 15, the powder pill forms of medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which is found in some cold medicines, must be kept behind the counter and dispensed only by pharmacists or their technicians. Also, buyers must show photo identification and sign a log book, although retailers have until Sept. 13 to begin recording purchases.
In addition, people can buy no more than nine grams per month of the substance in powder form. Nine grams is equal to 300 30-milligram tablets of the cold medicine Sudafed.
Patrol Capt. Chris Ricks said troopers and members of the West Central Missouri Drug Task Force have begun checking pharmacy records throughout western Missouri and eastern Kansas. A Kansas law restricting the sale of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine went into effect June 1.
"Apparently, this guy's name came up in several different places," Ricks said.
Using that information, authorities obtained a search warrant for Young's home, where they found an alleged meth lab.
Young was arrested on suspicion of making illegal purchases of pseudoephedrine and attempted manufacture of methamphetamine, authorities said.
The state doesn't have a centralized database of meth lab arrests, but the Missouri State Highway Patrol said it was the first meth-lab seizure under the law. And Jim Gardner, a spokesman for Attorney General Jay Nixon, said it was the first case involving the new law that his office has heard about.
Missouri has led the nation in meth lab seizures each of the past several years, busting 2,788 meth labs last year alone, according to the Highway Patrol. Through April of this year, authorities had seized 1,322 labs, the patrol said.
Shields said he thinks Henry County's meth problem is comparable to other Missouri counties, although, he said, "one-third of my caseload is meth-related in some way."
Ricks said that the task force members found some other suspicious names on the log books and that more arrests are expected.
"From what I've heard, we're getting excellent compliance" from retailers, Ricks said. "What you'll find is they're used to doing this anyway on other drugs."