It’s estimated to cost 10 thousand dollars for every meth lab processed by the MDEA and police agencies.
Is it worth the return on investment?
Some within law enforcement believe money is better spent elsewhere in the war on drugs.
The question within the halls of justice is, should the focus be on Meth Labs or is that actually taking away from agents being able to investigate other drugs and out of state drug traffickers?
“It typically involved with a couple of exceptions, you know pretty unsophisticated individuals most of them who have methamphetamine habits or drug habits themselves who are really producing just enough to feed their own habit,” says Maine DEA Commander Peter Arno. “They might be selling a little bit in order to get enough cash to purchase the materials to make their next round of Meth so they aren’t, in the scheme of things, overly sophisticated drug trafficking organizations.”
The majority of the meth lab busts in Maine are the one-pot variety where someone is basically making enough for their own use. They are still dangerous and pose a risk of fire or explosion, but some people like MDEA commander, Peter Arno think there are bigger problems to tackle. “In this state right now there is a more significant threat posed by the availability of heroin and other prescription opiates on the street combined with the threat posed by these out of state traffickers than there is methamphetamine manufacturing.”
Governor Paul LePage agrees. “The gang that comes to Maine and puts its footprint in Maine they are going to take ownership of that and then we have major problems.”
Governor LePage has been asking for more drug agents for months, even years…at one point he suggested using the Maine National Guard if agents weren’t going to be added. What is happening in Maine now is what was happening is what we saw 10 years ago in the big cities it’s a pandemic it is in all 50 states and it’s killing Americans.”
Extra agents and the funding for them was approved by the legislature, and they are now working cases. But it was something in December that took the Governor’s frustration to a new level. “Christmas Eve the murder in Manchester finally hit me right side the head and said you know now this is murder, this is outright murder, they couldn’t do it with the drugs so they pull a gun. It’s got to stop. And I’ll tell you drug gangs want to fight let’s incarcerate them and let them fight in jail, but let’s not let them hurt our families.”
Penalties range widely, depending on many factors. “There are too many deals being made on drug dealers and there are too many, they downplay, they reduce, they make a deal between the lawyers and they go to the courts and we slap them on the hand and in 6 months they are back on the streets, I don’t think that’s an appropriate way to view it.” The Governor favors the ultimate punishment for drug dealers whose products kill people. ” I honestly believe it should be a class A felony from the get go and I really think that Maine people ought to consider the death penalty.”