An undercover police officer told the Greensburg Daily News that since 2010, the number of narcotics cases the Greensburg Police Department has handled annually has remained at about 100.
Trooper Chip Ayres, who works on meth suppression in southeastern Indiana, said he thinks meth cooks have changed their production methods, which has resulted in fewer meth lab busts in some areas.
“I don’t think it’s a sign that there’s less meth labs,” Ayres said.
In most areas of the state, meth producers have switched from using anhydrous ammonia to the so-called one-pot method, which allows them to make meth in smaller canisters, such as a 20-ounce soda bottle. Until recently, most meth producers in southeastern Indiana continued to use the anhydrous method, though Ayres said he believes that has changed, which has contributed to the declining number of meth lab busts.
Traditional meth labs can be discovered more easily because they require a tank of anhydrous ammonia, cooking jars and generate strong smells, he said.
“It’s a little bit tougher to find a small lab,” Ayres said. “Do I think the labs are still out there? Absolutely.”
It takes law enforcement agencies and the community some time to adapt to discovering the smaller labs, he said.
Though the number of meth lab busts in Decatur County has declined, the county remains a meth hub: The county ranked tenth among the state’s 92 counties in the number of meth lab busts in 2013, down from 5th in 2012. Delaware County (Muncie) ranked first in 2013, with 109 busted labs.
Since 2001, police have seized 493 meth labs in Decatur County, the sixth-most among the state’s 92 counties. Bartholomew County ranked first, with 635 labs, followed by Noble County, with 579 labs, and Knox County, with 560.
Ayres said residents should continue to pay close attention to their neighborhoods and to report to law enforcement agencies any activity they view as suspicious.
“They need to look for things that are out of the norm,” Ayres said.
He said signs of possible meth production may include high foot traffic in a residence, at all hours and for short visits; and the smell of solvents or paints.
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