CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More law enforcement officers in West Virginia are receiving training this week on how to stop meth labs before they’re even built.
The state began using NPLEx or the National Precursor Log Exchange on Jan. 1, 2013. It’s an on-demand, real-time tracking system for medications used to make meth. Christopher Comeaux, a detective with the St. Tammany Parish Police Department in Louisiana, headed up the training session in Charleston Tuesday which included members of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police.
NPLEx allows law enforcement to track how much pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in meth, a person is purchasing while the sale is being made.
“With NPLEx you can focus on real-time activity. When these guys are out there purchasing their ingredients to actually make meth, you can get behind them, tail them, survey them and do search warrants before the lab actually starts,” stressed the detective.
So far this year, St. Tammany Perish law enforcement has busted fewer than a dozen meth labs. Comeaux said that’s because meth makers know police are targeting them and the court system is handing out stiff penalties to those who are prosecuted. NPLEx has had a big impact on those handing down the verdicts.
“What the jurors want to see is how much did this person actually buy, where they’re blocked and they also want to see the information the government is keeping,” said Comeaux.
In the first four months of 2014, pseudoephedrine sales declined 27 percent and Comeaux said that number will continue to go up as more officers receive training for NPLEx.
Comeaux will be in Barboursville Wednesday to conduct a training session. Other sessions were held earlier this year in Beckley, Bridgeport and Vienna.