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17 July 2002 - The San Diego Union-Tribune
Strike force releases its meth report

By Irene McCormack Jackson

Federal, state and local officials Monday issued an annual report on methamphetamine in San Diego County, saying there are fewer people producing the drug here but just as many users.

In 2001, hazardous materials specialists were called to fewer than half the meth lab cleanups as the year before, said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, a member of the San Diego Methamphetamine Strike Force.

Crews responded to 22 sites throughout the county that required the removal of leftover chemicals dumped by makers of illicit drugs. In 2000, the specialists were called to 47 sites, according to Strike Force statistics.

Most of the dump sites were in the rural areas of North County, she said. A handful were in the city of San Diego.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the county held the title of methamphetamine capital of the country when the drug was produced here primarily by outlaw biker gangs and small-time drug dealers. Now, about 70 percent of the drug comes from Mexico and Los Angeles, said Special Agent Donald Thornhill of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The number of users has remained steady, he said.

"There has not been much of a change in the volume of the drug," said sheriff's Capt. Glenn Revell. What has changed is where the drug is produced.

The Meth Strike Force maintains a toll-free hotline for people to anonymously report illegal drug activity at (877) 662-6384 or (877) no2meth. Information is also at www.no2meth.org.

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