Crime

Ozarks meth warning: Your drugs may be contaminated, so bring them in for testing

Caution, a Missouri sheriff’s department says on its Facebook page. Your meth may be contaminated with hepatitis. So just bring it on down to our office.
Caution, a Missouri sheriff’s department says on its Facebook page. Your meth may be contaminated with hepatitis. So just bring it on down to our office.

The post from a southwest Missouri sheriff’s department about a new batch of methamphetamine on the street seemed professional enough. Almost downright helpful.

“Breaking Information,” read the Facebook message on the Christian County sheriff’s social media page. “Southwest Missouri Supply Possibly Contaminated with Hepatitis and Staph.”

The meth, according to the post, hails from Texas. And it’s important, the authorities from Christian County say, that cooks bring in their Texas meth — or meth brewed from ingredients purchased in the Lone Star State — to be screened.

“First I heard of it,” said James Keith, chief communications officer of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department in southern Texas.

Keith said he’d probably know of any contaminated meth coming out of Texas. His county, which includes the San Antonio area, has ranked high in the state for meth lab busts dating back to 2004.

But sure enough, the Facebook post said, some batches are contaminated. And just to be sure, the sheriff’s department said it was stepping up its screening process.

“Please bring your Meth to the Christian County Sheriffs Office at 110 W Elm inside the Justice Center on the square in Ozark to have it screened,” the post read. “If a positive test is detected using our test ampules, a 100% safe collection will take place by our trained Deputies.”

But if the drug tested negative and there wasn’t any contamination? The department doesn’t say what would happen. Who would get the contaminate-free meth?

“They can’t give it back to you, because they’d be guilty of distribution,” said Doug Younger of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. “We can’t distribute drugs.”

Younger also saw the post on Facebook. “KBI has not seen that,” said Younger, who has worked many meth cases over the years. “We’ve not heard of that occurring in the state of Kansas.”

The post went on the Facebook page Tuesday morning. By Wednesday, it had been shared 11,000 times and liked more than 3,000.

One man commented: “Just passed by the sheriff’s office and a line is already there. I guess there's a lot of meth users concerned about their health!!! Lol.”

According to the Facebook post, other police and sheriff’s departments have seen positive results from similar meth screenings. No specific departments were mentioned.

As for Texas? Keith sees the irony in a public service announcement saying the stimulant — which can be brewed at home with household cleaning products — could be contaminated.

“Meth itself is made up of contaminates — it’s harmful to your health, period,” Keith said. “And it’s not necessarily something you are going to traffic from multiple states; it can be made and produced anywhere. Our meth is no more special than Missouri or Kansas meth.”

But just to be sure, Keith said: “I’ll go ask our narcotics unit.”

He called back later and left a message. Nope, narcotics officers hadn’t heard of it either.

A spokesman for the Christian County Sheriff’s Department didn’t call back.

Laura Bauer: 816-234-4944, @kclaurab

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