FRANKLIN COUNTY, Mo. - It's been a busy few days in Franklin County where sheriff's deputies have made 10 methamphetamine busts in the last eight days. Twenty-four people were arrested and 11 children were taken into protective custody.
The Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit is seeing a growing amount of meth from Mexico. It's the newest plague in a county that's fighting hard against the drug epidemic.
Det. Sgt. Jason Grellner of the narcotics unit says this new type of meth is making its way from Mexico into California and Texas and now Kansas City has become a pipeline to eastern Missouri.
In Franklin County you cannot get pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in meth, without a prescription. For that reason Grellner says the amount of homemade meth has dropped. But that's leaving the market wide open for imported versions of the drug.
Grellner says his department is doing all it can to stem the meth problem, but it's like playing whack-a-mole. After they make a bust another lab shows up a day or two later. He says the only way to stop the meth problem is to make pseudoephedrine prescription-only across the state and to start focusing more on treatment and rehabilitation of those addicted to the drug.
"The fear of going to jail, the fear of standing in front of a judge is not stopping them from committing crimes that help them feed their addiction," said Grellner. "Prevention, enforcement and rehabilitation have to work together."