Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Token Deterrent for Methamphetamine

So, where has been the Drug Enforcement Administration on the Methamphetamine Epidemic?

Holes in the system
Thousands of bottles of pseudoephedrine tablets turned up in superlabs during the late 1990s. Many people convicted of supplying the tablets, including the distributor of Breeze brand, held licenses from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Prison entrepreneur
Robert Occhifinto's company applied for a DEA license to distribute pseudoephedrine while he was in federal prison for money laundering. The agency allowed the company to sell the product during the two years it took to turn down the application.


Express lane
DEA officials identify the two men in this 1999 bank security photo as Hamed Awad (left) and Hassan Zaghmot (right). Both were later charged with distributing pseudoephedrine to meth dealers as part of Operation Mountain Express.


Fresh batch
Police say these 6 pounds of newly made meth, found at a hastily abandoned California superlab, would cost a dealer about $50,000 to $60,000. Once diluted and sold on the street, it would be worth many times more.

FREDRICK D. JOE/The Oregonian

Read about it here.

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