MDEA: National Tracking System Aids in Arresting Suspected Meth Criminals

Published: Nov. 29, 2017 at 7:11 PM EST
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A national data exchange is helping to prevent the making of methamphetamine in Maine.

Students, law enforcement, and state officials gathered in Bangor Wednesday to discuss the role Inplex has cracking down on meth-related-crimes.

"This is it. Real simple, ok? This is what you use to manufacture methamphetamine."

In January of 2013, Maine implemented the state's pseudoephedrine retail sales tracking system as a way to combat the methamphetamine crisis.

"Last year, we did approximately 126 lab incidents and we're about 55 incidents this year."

One pseudoephedrine box can be converted into $300 worth of meth.

The sale of certain over the counter cold medicines used in meth making triggers Inplex.

"Our system tracks and plots in real time and let's law enforcement see people that try to buy too much."

We're told in 2016, Inplex helped block the illegal sale of more than 7,000 boxes of pseudoephedrine in Maine.

"Meth labs have gone down in all the states that we operate our system. People aren't going to be knocking on their door because they're buying pseudoephedrine. But it's more like the people who are making methamphetamine. They're going to have a tougher time doing that."

Law enforcement in the Greater Bangor Area were trained on the system Wednesday morning followed by a panel discussion at Husson University with pharmacy and criminal justice students.

"As they move into their careers, we hope that they see that this is another tool that they can use and they can be part of."

The goal is to target and arrest suspected meth criminals before manufacturing occurs.

"You and I probably go to the same pharmacy to get our prescription medication because it's convenient, it's where we shop. Those who illegally manufacture these kind of drugs, they go to all different places. And we're able to identify that."

MDEA officials say they're seeing a decrease in meth labs across the state, and this tool will help keep those numbers down.

"For us, we call them lab incidents because we try to get them before the lab is actually made. And we have been very successful with that, rather than being so responsive that it's either a fire, or somebody's been injured or overdosed."

This tool was first used in Kentucky in 2008 and was created by Appriss.

The public safety data company operates in Maine and 33 other states.