File Photo. Courtesy AP.
Raleigh, NC - Last year was a new high for meth lab busts in the state of North Carolina. Attorney General Roy Cooper attributes the success of disrupting the production of the drug to electronic tracking of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient used in manufacturing meth.
"Prevention efforts have helped hold down the number of larger meth labs but small ones are still very dangerous," Cooper said on Tuesday. "We need more law enforcement, better public awareness, and continued use of technology to fight this crime."
Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation busted 460 meth labs in 2012, a big step up compared to 344 labs in 2011 and 235 in 2010. Wilkes County had, by far, the most meth lab busts in 2012; a total of 59. In the Triad, Guilford County had six labs and Forsyth County had four.
MAP: Meth Lab Busts Across NC 2012
Tracking and preventing the sale of pseudoephedrine prevents the drug from being produced in large quantities, forcing manufacturers to use the "one pot method" also known as "shake and bake." Agents said nearly all the labs found in urban and suburban areas use the one pot method.
"Meth labs may be getting smaller, but that doesn't mean that they're any less dangerous," Cooper said. "If you see a potential meth lab-and it could be something as simple as a plastic soda bottle and some tubing-report it to local law enforcement right away."
Last year 120 children were removed from homes producing meth.