Ohio among tops for seized meth labs

CLEVELAND (AP) – A new report ranks Ohio among the top states for seized methamphetamine labs last year.

Ohio ranked fourth in the country in 2013 as authorities uncovered 1,010 labs, chemicals and glassware used in the drug’s cooking process. Indiana topped the national rankings last year, followed by Tennessee and Missouri.

The report was done by the Missouri Highway Patrol, based on numbers from the National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System, a database run by the U.S. Department of Justice. The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported the results Wednesday.

Ohio moved up from seventh in the rankings in 2012, when it ranked behind Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and Oklahoma. Ohio had 709 reports of labs, materials and chemicals seized in that year.

“The labs that they’re seizing (in Ohio) are the mom-and-pop styles,” said Ralph Weisheit, a criminal justice professor at Illinois State University and an expert on methamphetamine. “The typical meth cooker doesn’t learn from the Internet or from a book. He or she learns from friends, from people. That’s why meth spreads like a disease, it goes from person to person.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said last month that methamphetamine has hit epidemic proportions across the state, especially in rural Ohio, where investigators find remnants of labs in fields and highways.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation tracks meth lab seizures by federal fiscal year. The state’s police officers report voluntarily, so there are likely more seizures than the statistics reflect.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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