A steep decline in Iowa methamphetamine-lab busts has freed up dollars and personnel to fight drug imports, says the Sioux City (Ia.) Journal. Ken Carter, director of the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, told a legislative committee that imports are a far greater problem than homegrown meth, but imports formerly had a small share of enforcement resources because of the focus on busting local labs. “Instead of spending 80 percent of our time on 20 percent of the problem, now we can spend 80 percent of our time on 80 percent of the problem,” he said.
The drop in lab busts came after a new law in May limiting sales of medicines containing pseudoephedrine, an ingredient used to make meth. As of Oct. 27, 668 meth labs had been put out of business this year, down from 1,243 at this time last year. Carter said the state and federal government have saved a combined $2.4 million so far this year because fewer labs have been busted in Iowa. Rep. Clel Baudler said the legislature has already gone about as far as it can by raising fines and jail time for drug offenses.