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The Grundy County Sheriff’ Office has released news of an extensive Methamphetamine Conspiracy Case that will no doubt rock the County. For the last two months Sheriff Brent Myers, Investigators and Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office have been working literally around the clock. Since the beginning of April the Sheriff’s Office has seized 9 methamphetamine labs and taken over 40 people into custody during this lengthy investigation with more warrants to be issued.
Not only was the number of meth labs startling but the number of people who were involved. This case seems to weave a very interesting web of people that are all connected in some fashion or another from all corners of the county, from Pelham to Monteagle and Altamont to Palmer.
“We have been working very hard on this case and we will continue to aggressively pursue anyone involved in making methamphetamine here in Grundy County,” said Sheriff Myers. “We will do anything and everything we can to stop this.”
During the investigation a thorough study of the Methamphetamine Task Force’s Pseudoephedrine purchase database revealed this extensive network of “Smurfs.” Smurfing is a term used to describe the people that meth cooks use to obtain for them chemicals to cook with and most importantly the main ingredient, Pseudoephedrine, and without it, there is no meth.
Every time you go in to purchase any over the counter medication that contains pseudoephedrine your name is entered into the statewide database along with the amounts that you purchase. There is a limit to how much pseudoephedrine an individual can purchase. State law limits these purchases to 9 grams of pseudoephedrine per month and anything over that sends up a red flag to the system. This has been an invaluable tool for law enforcement in catching meth operations like this one.
During interviews numerous people stated that meth cooks paid anywhere from $60 to $120 for a box of cold tablets. Some even said that they would trade or exchange food or finished meth product for the cold pills containing pseudoephedrine. Some cooks traded drugs or money in exchange for the use of their house or property where the cooking would take place.
The Sheriffs Office seized meth labs at nice homes, run down campers, and several out in the woods. Most of the meth cooks admitted to being addicts and said they just did it for their own use. One individual stated that he was more addicted to the process of making the drug than the actual drug itself. A majority of the people taken into custody during this investigation had other narcotics and drug paraphernalia on them, and most had prior drug charges.
This particular case involves conspiracy to manufacture over 300 grams, which is a Class A Felony and caries a possible sentence of up to 25 years in federal prison. The amount of money tied up in just one meth lab clean up is about $2,500. The Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force responds to each lab scene and neutralizes the lab and processes the clean up.
Recently law enforcement agencies and concerned citizens from Grundy County met on how to get a handle on the meth epidemic. Grundy County seems to be on track with Franklin County and two other states, Oregon and Mississippi, in banning all over the counter sales of medications containing pseudoephedrine by passing local city ordinances that would require any medications containing pseudoephedrine to be obtained by prescription only.