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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Meth incidents down in Phelps County, statewide

  • The number of methamphetamine incidents in Phelps County last year was the lowest it had been since 2009, according to statistics released earlier this month by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
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    • The top counties (plus the City of St. Louis) with the most meth incidents reported in 2013:
      Jefferson County, 223
      St. Charles County, 119
      St. Louis County, 74
      Frankli...

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      The top counties (plus the City of St. Louis) with the most meth incidents reported in 2013:

      Jefferson County, 223

      St. Charles County, 119

      St. Louis County, 74

      Franklin County, 68

      Greene County, 67

      Adair County, 57

      Jasper County, 56

      Crawford County, 51

      St. Francois County, 45

      Marion County, 44

      St. Louis City, 41

      McDonald County, 34

      Rails County, 12

      Phelps County, 31

      Warren County, 30

      — Statistics from the MSHP

  • The number of methamphetamine incidents in Phelps County last year was the lowest it had been since 2009, according to statistics released earlier this month by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
    The county had a total of 31 meth incidents in 2013. That places Phelps County as the 13th highest in recorded meth incidents out of all of the counties in the state. Phelps County would be 14th if the City of St. Louis, which had 41 reports and is counted separate from counties, is included.
    All law enforcement agencies in the state are required to report the seizure of meth labs to the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s (MSHP) Division of Drug and Crime Control, which then enters Missouri’s seizures into the National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System.
    Meth incidents entered into the system are classified in one of three ways: operational laboratories, chemical/equipment/glassware seizures, and dumpsites.
    In 2012, there were 48 in Phelps County, which tied for ninth place out of all the counties in Missouri.
    In 2011, there were 39, and the year before that, there were 35 incidents. In 2009, there were 11 in the county.
    Phelps County Sheriff Rick Lisenbe attributes the drop to area law enforcement being aggressive in finding meth labs in the county.
    “You can really impact them (meth dealers) a lot better with more people on the ground,” Lisenbe said.
    The sheriff’s department works with several municipal police departments as well as members of the South Central Drug Task Force.
    In 2012, when there was an increase in meth incidents from the previous year, Lisenbe attributed that to drug investigators being more active in looking for meth labs.
    However, he said, “if you hammer them (meth dealers) enough, you start to see a decrease.”
    Lisenbe said after some meth dealers or cooks are caught at least twice and go through the court system, they don’t like the pressure and leave the area.
    Another factor that may be causing a decrease in meth incidents in the county is that meth may no longer be the drug of choice for some.
    “Meth might be harder to obtain,” Lisenbe said.
    While other municipalities and counties in Missouri have passed laws requiring prescriptions to buy medicine containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient used to make meth, Lisenbe said such laws hurt people who use the medicine for legitimate reasons because they have to pay for a doctor’s visit and prescription in those areas.
    Neighboring Crawford County had 51 reports last year. Texas County had 17, Maries County had 13 and Pulaski County had 12.  Gasconade County had nine in 2013, and Dent County had four.
    Jefferson County once again had the most reported meth incidents in the state at 223 in 2013. (See sidebar for other counties).
    Page 2 of 2 - There were a total of 1,495 meth lab incidents reported across the state last year, down from 1,985 in 2012.
    In past years, Missouri has ranked as the state with the most meth incidents, but in 2013, the state was third after Indiana, which had 1,797 and Tennessee with 1,545.

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