Meth is still a problem for Missouri

In case lawmakers needed proof meth is a big problem in the state, new numbers show Missouri saw a 10% increase last year in meth lab busts.

KRCG's Crime Tracker Team talked with Mid-Missouri law enforcement and the highway patrol to find out what they think needs to be done to stop the meth epidemic.

The meth problem plaguing Mid-Missouri doesn TMt seem to be going any where soon.

With the drug addiction, comes desperate measures.

"People are going to do whatever they can to get meth. If they have to burglarize people's houses, steal, or whatever the case may be they're going to do it just to try to get a supply of meth, MO State Highway Patrol Lt. John Hotz said.

Hotz said besides the crime that comes along with meth, there is also the danger posed to the public when cooks make the drug.

"When you mix those chemicals together if you do it wrong you can have an explosion or a fire, Hotz said.

The danger is especially high with mobile meth labs, or "shake and bake" meth produced in two liter bottles.

"They just discard the materials and another person could easily come a long and basically walk into a hazardous materials area, Hotz said.

Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman said tracking the production of meth is difficult and that making a prescription requirement for cold medicines is a great start.

"It's going to illuminate a lot of our meth problems because without Pseudoephedrine you can't produce meth. Making it a prescription is going to make it a lot harder for the meth cooks to get their Pseudoephedrine they need to make meth, Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman said.

Heitman said while the affects of meth are everywhere, the rural areas are getting hit the worse.

"As far as manufacturing it's a greater problem in rural Missouri, especially here in Mid-Missouri where the population just isn't here. You have open fields to cook meth in and you have county roads you can just pull over and cook your meth on, Heitman said.

Heitman should know, he said he busted his county's latest meth lab just Wednesday morning.

Maries County sheriff deputies arrested Daniel Gilliam and Timothy James after a meth lab raid in Vienna.

We've learned this is the second time a meth has been found at the same home.

Gilliam faces drug violation charges, and James is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.