Friday, February 19, 2010

Miss. Now Requires Prescription for Drugs Containing Pseudoephedrine

ABOVE PHOTO: Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine smurfing is a method used by some methamphetamine traffickers to acquire large quantities of precursor chemicals. Methamphetamine producers purchase the chemicals in quantities at or below legal thresholds from multiple retail locations. Methamphetamine producers often enlist the assistance of several friends or associates in smurfing operations to increase the speed of the operation and the quantity of chemicals acquired. For instance, an October 2007 investigation in Fresno County revealed that a couple conducted daily precursor chemical smurfing operations, soliciting homeless individuals to get into their car and ride from store to store to purchase pseudoephedrine. In exchange, the couple paid each person approximately $30 and sometimes gave the individuals alcohol. Evidence seized from the couple's vehicle included packages of pseudoephedrine, pharmacy listings torn from an area telephone directory, and several cellular telephones. Furthermore, a smurfing operation infiltrated in Fresno in April 2008 yielded evidence including a handwritten price list, store receipts, pseudoephedrine packaging, paper shredders and blister packs that had been removed from their paper packaging and placed into plastic shopping bags in 24-gram increments for sale to brokers. The price list indicated that each 3.6-gram box of pseudoephedrine-type product was to be sold for no less than $32. According to FMTF reporting, much of the pseudoephedrine evidence discovered at superlabs and dumpsites in their jurisdiction can be directly traced to smurfing operations, and of those, most are traceable back to smurfing operations based in southern California, particularly San Diego County.

In a move intended to hamper production of illicit methamphetamine, the governor of Mississippi has approved a law requiring a doctor's prescription to buy any drug containing pseudoephedrine, the Associated Press reported Feb. 11.

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