Delaware County again leads state in illegal meth labs

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) – For the second straight year a central Indiana county leads the state in the highest number of illegal meth labs reported between January and April, according to statistics released by the Indiana State Police.

Authorities discovered 68 methamphetamine labs in the four-month period in Delaware County, up from the 42 reported during the same time a year ago, The Star Press reported.

Noble County ranked second in the state with 24 meth labs this year, and only five of Indiana’s other 90 counties had 20 labs or more.

Scott O’Dell, who oversees the Muncie Police Department’s narcotics unit, said Thursday he didn’t think that Muncie and Delaware County had more meth producers in the state. He suspects that the higher figures are due to good work by law enforcement and residents, who are familiar with the warning signs of possible meth production and are willing to alert authorities.

Delaware County Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold agreed with O’Dell and said that the most recent statistics “reflect a trend toward enforcement.” Arnold said police foot patrols in some areas also have been effective in finding meth labs.

State police say the drug labs ranged from “one-pot” labs often made from soft-drink bottles to more elaborate operations.

Arnold and Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler have testified before legislative committees in labeling an over-the-counter drug often used in meth production as a controlled substance. But that proposal concerning the status of pseudoephedrine has been met with resistance from several physicians and lobbyists for pharmaceutical firms.

Tyler said he will make sure the city’s officers have the resources they need to “continue to aggressively enforce the law.”