Violent Meth Trade on the Rise in Tulsa, OK

By Shawn Dwyer 12/03/13

Despite fewer meth labs being found by police, the highly-addictive drug has been the cause of a growing number of slayings.

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Tulsa has seen 11 meth-related murders this year
Photo via Shutterstock

According to the Tulsa Police Department, methamphetamine has been the cause of 11 murders so far in 2013, including two grisly quadruple homicides, even though the number of meth labs being found has decreased.

Following a peak of 429 meth labs found in 2011, Tulsa has seen a dramatic drop to only 143 found so far this year. But that hasn’t stopped a steady rise in homicides that have been linked to the meth trade, and that has police concerned. "Something's going on. There is an increase in violence at this moment," said Sgt. Dave Walker of the Tulsa Police. In January, police raided a home and found a large amount of meth inside the residence. That same home was the scene of a gruesome slaying the weekend before Thanksgiving, where four people were found shot to death. Earlier in November, meth was to blame in the beating death of a 34-year-old man, while at the beginning of the year two victims in another quadruple murder were known meth dealers. Walker speculated that the uptick in violence was partly due to meth suppliers settling old scores and dealing with turf disputes.

But while meth-related homicides continued, there was a 65 percent drop in the number of meth labs found. Police attribute the drastic decline to legislation that passed in July 2012 limiting access to pseudoephedrine, an essential ingredient in manufacturing meth. "The more you control pseudoephedrine, the (fewer) meth labs you're going to have," said Cpl. Mike Griffin. "If you (revert) pseudoephedrine back to a Schedule III drug like it once was, they would go down even further, so it's really simple."

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.