By Kayla Carter
Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmacuetical Task Force numbers show local law enforcement agencies reported the seizure of 44 suspected labs through August – an 83 percent increase over the 24 suspected labs seized between January and August of last year.
Local law enforcement’s emphasis on stopping the production of meth is a key factor in rising numbers, according to a task force official.
“It does reflect the amount of enforcement they put into it,” said Jim Derry, TMPTF information systems manager. “It also depends on the amount of trained officers we have in any given county.”
In August, Carter and Johnson counties reported five seizures of suspected meth labs to the task force: Johnson County law enforcement reported two and Carter County reported three.
Hunting for those who promote methamphetamine-related violations is a primary focus for the Carter County Sheriff’s Department.
“We know there is an increase based on the job that we are doing,” Mathes said. “We are doing something about it.”
According to the most recent TMPTF meth lab seizure report, Johnson County has had one fewer meth lab seized this year through August compared to the same time frame last year.
“It’s so easy to make with the one-pot method,” Johnson County Sheriff Mike Reece said. “They can cook so fast now. It’s not like it was when they first started with meth. It’s gotten very simple so they can do it anywhere. It’s on the rise again.”