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The Journal Gazette

Friday, January 11, 2019 1:00 am

Area home meth lab seizures plunge

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

At a glance

Clandestine meth labs in ISP District 22

County 2017 2018

Adams 0 0

Allen 15 5

Blackford 0 1

DeKalb 10 3

Huntington 10 4

Jay 1 4

LaGrange 2 2

Noble 15 3

Steuben 8 2

Wells 1 0

Whitley 1 2

Total 63 26

The number of home methamphetamine labs seizedin Indiana and in Allen County hit a 20-year low last year, state police said Thursday.

The drop in meth lab seizures – from 63 in 2017 to 26 last year – is partly due to the availability of crystal meth coming over the border from Mexico, making the drug readily available, police said.

The state's meth suppression unit also credits 2017 legislation restricting pseudoephedrine, a necessary component in cooking meth.

According to Indiana State Police statistics, Allen County had 64 meth lab seizures and Noble County had 66 in 2013, the two highest in the ISP's District 22. District seizures totaled 270 that year.

The district consists of Adams, Allen, Blackford, DeKalb, Huntington, Jay, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley counties.

In 2017, the numbers dropped considerably with 15 meth labs seized in Allen and 15 in Noble, police said. Total seizures amounted to 63.

Last year, numbers dropped further with five seizures in Allen and three in Noble, with 26 seizures for the district.

The number of children affected has gone from 458 in 2013 to 14 last year.

“We haven't seen the number that low since we've been tracking statewide,” said Sgt. Michael Toles, meth suppression coordinator with the Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section.

In Allen County, his unit has relied on help from the Fort Wayne Police Department in closing down small meth operations, Toles said.

“They're one of the few agencies in the state we have a memorandum of understanding with and they have had advanced training,” Toles said.

Fort Wayne officers are authorized to clean up a meth site rather than having hazardous-materials contractors clean up the scene, Toles said.

jduffy@jg.net