Tulsa, OK – The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN) is teaming with local law enforcement agencies to halt the illicit purchasing of pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. OBN Spokesman Mark Woodward says agents and officers from dozens of departments have been working a sting operation in several northeastern Oklahoma communities over the past several days, targeting customers who purchase pseudoephedrine to cook meth.
"Northeastern Oklahoma has seen an epidemic in meth labs over the past several years. Meth cooks are routinely recruiting people to purchase the key ingredient, pseudoephedrine, for their labs. It's not uncommon to see carloads of people going from store to store to buy pseudo products, a trend called "smurfing". If their sales are blocked at one pharmacy, they simply go to other stores" said Bureau spokesman Mark Woodward.
Over the past several days, agents and officers have been doing surveillance on customers and stores, focusing on suspicious individuals. Woodward says those targeted include customers with unusual behavior as they attempt to buy pseudo products, customers being blocked as they try to complete the purchase, or people in line at stores who already have previous methamphetamine-related criminal convictions.
Since Friday, November 4, Woodward says 305 individuals have been arrested and 10 meth labs seized. These sting operations have taken place at 20 different pharmacies located throughout northeastern Oklahoma, including Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Owasso, Claremore, Pryor, Owasso, Jay, Grove, Miami, Bartlesville and Tahlequah. The defendants face a variety of charges including Obtaining CDS by Fraud, Illegal Possession of Pseudoephedrine, Possession of a Precursor with Intent to Manufacture, Conspiracy or Endeavoring to Manufacture, Possession of Schedule V CDS (Pseudoephedrine) with Intent to Distribute, and Distribution of Pseudoephedrine with Reckless Disregard as to How It Will be Used. OBN Director Darrell Weaver wants this operation to send a strong message to anyone attempting to illegally buy or possess pseudoephedrine.