Iowa law enforcement dealing with new meth-making method - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Meth Recipe

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - After a downward trend in the numer of methamphetamine arrests, a new cheap and easy recipe could give the drug a rebound. Making meth used to require an elaborate lab with hundreds of pills that gave off foul odors, and was so hard to conceal that dealers often "cooked" in rural areas.

A new "shake and bake" lab can fit in a bookbag and be mixed on the run.

A state narcotics agent we spoke with told us this variety of meth is made by putting ingredients like household chemicals and crushed pseudoephedrine pills in a plastic pop bottle, shaking them, then baking the mixture.

"Shake and bake" meth requires no open flame to be made, and produces only a small amount, but Special Agent John Graham says it's no less addictive or toxic.

"It's a simpler version of manufacturing meth," said Graham. He says the mixture of metal lithium strips and chemicals is volatile, and can blow up. "If there's too much contact with air, it can then cause it to ignite," Graham told us. "There was an individual who was manufacturing in Fort Dodge, and it exploded on him, and caused him to have second-degree burns over forty percent of his body."

This kind of meth also requires no anhydrous ammonia. Instead, Graham says, a combination of household chemicals and fertilizer sticks is used to the same effect. A challenge from an enforcement perspective, he says. That's because regulating the sale of those components will be difficult, unlike the state's existing law, which limits the sale of medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

"The pseudo law has been absolutely fantastic for us, because we've had a consistently dramatic reduction of the number of meth labs that law enforcement responds to, statewide."

Agent Graham has seen more than a dozen shake and bake meth cases in the Ft. Dodge area of Webster County in the past year. Muscatine County is experiencing a similar problem.

Graham says if you encounter a pop bottle on a roadside or at a redemption center with a strong odor, containing and unidentified liquid, or coated with a powdery residue, to call police.

Law enforcement officials in Linn County, Johnson County, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, say they haven't yet come into contact with shake-and-bake meth.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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