(UNDATED) - A new report says Indiana leads the nation in the seizure of meth and meth-making equipment, but there may be a catch.
The report comes from meth statistics provided by states to the National Clandestine Laboratory Seizure System. It shows there were 1,808 meth labs that were busted statewide in 2013, an increase of 82 from the year before.
Tennessee is second and Missouri, which has long been the biggest meth producing state in the country, is third. But Indiana also may be reporting meth crimes that other states don't report.
"The Drug Enforcement Administration has a program called the Authorized Central Storage Program," said Sgt. Niki Crawford, Meth Suppression Section Commander for Indiana State Police.
The DEA provides containers for police to store seized meth and meth-making materials until the government collects them. "Not only do we report all the labs that go into the containers, but we report those labs that don't go in."
Despite that, Crawford says the report shows how easy it is for people to get the decongestant pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in meth, despite a national registry and restrictions on the amount you can guy.
"According to Walmart's statistics, there are Walmarts within 50 miles of every citizen of the state of Indiana; not that this is a Walmart problem, because it's certainly not. But they do carry the main ingredients as do most hardware stores and big box stores," said Crawford.
Drug users know the law and its limits, and often times, they will get together to buy large amounts of pseudoephedrine, all within the law.
"(The buyers) divert that product to the makers of meth, which is illegal, but their purchase of the product is legal, because they are staying within the daily, monthly or annual limits that have been set," Crawford said.
Using several people to buy meth within legal limits is known as smurfing, and Crawford says meth users have also been known to pay cash to homeless people or others to buy pseudoephedrine for them, with the offer to let them keep the change.
State lawmakers have so far resisted requests to make pseudoephedrine available only by prescription, but Crawford says the two states which have done that have made an impact on meth production.
"Oregon has not worked more than 20 labs since they made pseudoephedrine a Schedule 3 controlled substance, and Mississippi's labs, I believe, have dropped by about 76-percent," Crawford said.
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