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Authorities offer tips on spotting meth labs Kansas City Star
May 29, 2002, Wednesday METROPOLITAN EDITION
SECTION: INDEPENDENCE STAR; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 654 words
HEADLINE: Authorities offer tips on spotting meth labs
BYLINE: LINDA MAN; The Kansas City Star
BODY: The smell is nasty. The garbage is full of matchboxes and cold medicine. And your neighbors are a little jumpy.
Got a problem? Maybe. Those could be signs that a methamphetamine lab is in your neighborhood.
The heyday of meth labs in the Kansas City area was around 1997-1998, when Independence ignominiously was nicknamed the "Meth Capital" of the United States. In response, the Independence police took a multipronged approach to reduce the number of meth labs. They set up a 24-hour drug hotline, organized neighborhood watches and conducted seminars to educate residents on spotting signs of meth production.
The Kansas City police last week were host to a similar meth-awareness seminar for landlords and their staff as part of a larger crime-prevention program.
"An apartment is a community," Kansas City Officer Jason Asper said. "If you get people who take pride in it, and if we can teach them to be more crime-prevention savvy, we can reduce the calls for service for police."
Police estimate that communities that take steps to deter crime make 50 percent fewer service calls to police.
The key ingredient to meth production is pseudoephedrine, which is found in many cold medicines. Pseudoephedrine is then combined with household items. The tip-off that a meth lab might be nearby is "unusual quantities of stuff," police said. The supply list could include matchboxes, fertilizer, camera batteries, camping stove fuel and yellowed coffee filters.
Signs that someone could be a meth addict include large open sores, rotting teeth, huge weight loss and pale skin. Long-term users usually become paranoid. They erect surveillance cameras, reinforce doors and buy guard dogs, such as pit bulls.
"These people always think you're out to get them, and they just look nasty," Kansas City criminalist Seth Cooper said. "It's not the way to go."
Independence police spokesman Bill Pross said meth addicts tend to set up labs in rental property and motels, "so you didn't have to live in the environment you just poisoned."
Police said the fumes from meth production are strong, toxic and possibly fatal.
Since 1997, Independence has experienced a 73-percent decrease in meth labs - 109 labs were busted in 1997, 30 labs in 2001.
Police said that meth addicts tend to be white males between 18 and 35 years old.
Even though meth was once known as the "poor man's cocaine," officials said it crosses all economic strata.
"The higher-end (landlords) have a belief that 'Since I charge so much rent, I won't attract any bad people,"' Kansas City Officer Chris Sicoli said. "They use their rent as a screening tool, and it's not."
For other tenants' health, the Jackson County prosecutors urge rental-property owners to be proactive in spotting meth labs.
Officials said that every pound of produced meth leaves behind five to six pounds of toxic waste. Another hazard includes possible explosions caused by meth production.
However, if property owners are aware that their tenants have set up meth labs and do nothing about it, they could be charged with operating a property nuisance, which is a Class C felony, said Kathy Finnell, chief trial assistant for the Jackson County Prosecutor's office.
To reach Linda Man, police and courts reporter for The Star, call (816) 234-7809 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The details
General warning signs of drug activity:
Expensive vehicles - regular visits by people in extremely expensive cars to renters who appear to be impoverished.
A dramatic drop in activity after police are called.
Unusually strong fortification of a residence - blacked-out windows, window bars, extra deadbolts, elaborate alarm systems.
Firearms - particularly assault weapons and those that have been modified for concealment, such as sawed-off shotguns.
LOAD-DATE: May 29, 2002
OK, it sounds like a lot of people on here are running labs.......
-------------------- "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do."-King Solomon
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
' been a SHITLOAD of major busts in this state over meth. It's gotten so bad that pharmacys turn down some customers for any cold medicene purchases that can be used for meth.
It dosent effect me however. I have NEVER see so many POTENT OTC herbal stimulants sold in so many retail stores in my entire life.... I cant help but think that the open/widespread marketing of potent OTC stimulants is part of the war against meth manufactoring.
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