As a Birmingham criminal defense lawyer, I find interesting the ingenuity of some people to invent new ways of doing things. From a criminal perspective, drug manufacturing is one of the more scientific pursuits. Not long ago, an Associated Press report disclosed that illegal drug manufacturers were using a new mix of ingredients to produce methamphetamine. But apparently this is nothing new to Alabama's illicit drug industry.
While it may take a while for state and federal legislation to catch up with the new recipes that clandestine meth labs use to make their product, I'm certain that law enforcement agencies will still be arresting individuals for alleged drug manufacture and sale. The trouble for police and federal drug agents is the less conspicuous nature of this new approach.
According to news reports, most every meth lab in Alabama is using the new approach. “That's all we're seeing now as far as labs go,” said Albertville police Chief Benny Womack. “It's much easier and quicker and doesn't get as much attention. Somehow or another, these guys are better chemists than the ones who have degrees.”
Apparently, the new formula, or process, is called “shake and bake.” It uses a more simple recipe that requires just a two-liter soda bottle, cold pills and chemicals. The maker only has to mix the components by shaking the bottle. The resulting meth powder is reportedly highly addictive.
Reports for the AP reviewed lab seizures in 14 states, including Alabama, and found that the new method is spreading across the country and is contributing to a spike in the number of meth cases after years of declining arrests.
Because the volatile mixture requires fewer pills of common decongestants ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, it allows makers to skirt the law restricting over-the-counter sales of these medications. According to authorities, many meth userstraveling from pharmacy to pharmacy, buying small quantities of pills to avoid attention.
The drug legislation and last year's formation of the Safe Streets Task Force for Northeastern Alabama have combined to reduce the number of meth labs in the region, authorities said. The Birmingham Division of the FBI works directly with the Safe Streets Task Force, which includes 22 federal, state and local partners in Marshall, Etowah, DeKalb and St. Clair counties.
New meth formula avoids anti-drug laws, SandMountainReporter.com, September 8, 2009