Meth Production on Rise in Virginia

New tactics help criminals get around laws

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent shows some of the 187 plus pounds of methamphetamine that was seized along with some 41 kilos of cocaine at a house in Gwinnett County on Aug. 16, during a DEA news conference in Atlanta, Monday, Aug. 21, 2006. Four defendants were also arrested and agents recovered a money counter, digital scales, and a large sum of suspected drug proceeds. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

    After a few years on the decline, the number of methamphetamine labs getting busted in Virginia is on the way up.

    Police found 28 meth labs in 2009.  That's up from 19 busts the year before, according to statistics from the Drug Enforcement Agency.

    The highest number of busts was 79 in 2004.

    Authorities say the numbers are going up because dealers are figuring ways to get around restrictions on pseudoephedrine sales.

    The over-the-counter medicine is a key ingredient in meth and is sold to individuals in limited qualities and only with identification.

    Producers are now paying people to buy it for them.

    The DEA said Mexican drug cartels have ramped up production.

    According to the website methlabhomes.com, most of the meth lab sites are in the far southwestern part of the state bordering West Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.

    The site said the Shenandoah Valley has the highest percentage of methamphetamine abusers in the state.