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New money for meth encourages police to change tactics

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

Union, Mo. – Authorities in Franklin County, Missouri say they're shifting focus in their fight against methamphetamine.

On Monday, U.S. Drug Czar John Walters announced a $500,000 federal grant to be shared between law enforcement agencies in Franklin and three other counties.

Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke says the number of meth lab busts has declined recently, but demand for the drug has not. "We've got the problem now, of the people [who were] making this in their own labs are addicted to it," Toelke said.

"There's going to need to be a supply to keep them going, so we're starting to see some come in now from other areas."

Toelke says the grant money will pay for overtime and new surveillance equipment, to monitor foreign and out-of-state drug traffic.

The other counties getting the federal money are Jefferson, Cole and Boone.

Walters says meth lab busts in Missouri have dropped in the last year. But he says demand for the drug still exists. And authorities now need to focus their efforts on out-of-state and foreign drug traffic: "We want to work against those who are too many times being victimized by drug trafficking organizations many times now based in Mexico, bringing meth made there up through the interstate corridors of I-70, 55 and 44."