Friday, April 27, 2012

Meth in St. Louis County

A drug agent says criminals are coming to St. Louis County to buy pseudoephedrine, and that means meth is being made here, too.

Sgt. Jason Grellner, of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, has been busting meth labs since 1997, but all that experience did not prevent a "shake and bake" meth lab from exploding in his face
"I'm missing 27 percent of my lungs," said Grellner, who is also president of the Missouri Narcotics Association. "I lost 27 percent of my lung capacity in 2002. I opened a container sitting in a driveway."

If that can happen to an experienced drug agent, it can happen to any curious child who stumbles upon a plastic bottle or an adult who is picking up what is thought to simply be trash, said Grellner, who is the unit commander of the Franklin County Narcotics Unit, which works in conjunction with the St. Louis County Drug Taks Force. This is especially true since the "shake and bake" meth lab, which uses a plastic soda or water bottle, is becoming increasingly more popular. (Click on Photo to Enlarge and Get the Hell Scared Out of You)

"I dump my meth lab in your front yard, and your kids go out to play, or your kid picks up a soda bottle and gets burned. Or someoone throws an active meth lab out their cair window, and you pick the bottle up when it's sitting along the road," Greller explained. "West County, South County and North County are going to experience more of that. These people think it's safer to manufacture meth in their moving cars where the cops can't find them, and then they throw the meth lab materials out the window."

Grellner said 90 to 95 percent of the meth labs area drug task forces are finding now are "shake and bake" where the meth makers are using anywhere from a two-liter bottle to a 20-ounce waterbottle.
"We had a guy making meth in backpack walking down a road. We've probably had 10 to a dozen car fires last year from meth labs, and it's not while the cars are parked on the side of the road," Grellner said.

Despite surrounding counties, including St. Charles and Jefferson counties, requiring a doctor's prescription to purchase the key meth-making material, pseudophedrin, St. Louis County does not have a prescription-only ordinance. Grellner said this is resulting in meth moving into St. Louis County, and he has the numbers to prove it.

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