By Jesse Wood
Dec. 27, 2012. More meth labs, by far, were busted in North Carolina this year than ever before.
Last year, a new record was set with 344 meth labs. As of Dec. 10, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigations reported that 444 meth labs were busted in 2012. That’s a 29 percent increase with three weeks of 2012 not accounted for.
Watauga County law enforcement officials busted 14 meth labs, while Ashe County officials busted 7, and Avery County officials busted 8. While Watauga and Ashe County’s figures were well below previous highs, Avery County officials busted more labs than it had ever had before.
In 2011, the three counties had a total of 32 busts. This year, 29 labs were busted.
Law enforcement officials have attributed the rise of meth labs to meth manufacturers adapting. No longer are large-scale operations the norm. Today, the he shake-and-bake or one-pot method is the preferred way to make meth because of its mobility.
This method is also preferred because people can make meth using a two-liter soda bottle, which requires fewer and smaller quantities of ingredients. In September 2005, the N.C. General Assembly passed a law limiting access to pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth production. The bill limits purchases of certain products that contain pseudoephedrine to 2 products per transaction and no more than three product purchases in a month.