Oklahoma Meth Registry Aimed at Curbing Manufacture, Abuse

by OKCDefenseLaw on June 5, 2013

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Low cost, easy access, the ability to be manufactured with common ingredients, and a powerful, addictive high all make methamphetamine one of the most widely abused drugs in Oklahoma. Crystal meth has been a bane of the state’s law enforcement agencies for some time. According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (OBNDD), in the late 1980’s, the state ranked fourth in the nation in the number of annual meth lab seizures. The number declined, but with the advent of one-pot labs or “shake and bake” labs, the number of meth labs in the state grew once again.

Earlier this year, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) National Clandestine Laboratory Register 2004-2012 reported 979 contaminated meth lab sites in Tulsa County over the eight-year span of the study. The report prompted CNN Money to dub Tulsa the “Meth Capital of the U.S.” The second-ranked county on the list had only 472 meth labs—fewer than half of those found in Tulsa County.

For decades, Oklahoma legislators and law enforcement have attempted to battle meth manufacture, distribution, and use across the state. With each new act of legislation, meth producers have found a way to circumvent the law and produce crystal meth, or crank. First, state and federal laws restricted the chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine, but a new recipe appeared using ephedrine, a common ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) cold and sinus medications.

Then, the state required ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine to be kept behind the counter at pharmacies. Anyone wishing to buy the drug had to submit ID and the pharmacist was required to submit the purchaser’s name to an in-state database of meth offenders. However, meth cooks simply began traveling across Oklahoma’s borders to purchase meth precursors from other states.

Effective January 1, 2013, Oklahoma has become a part of a multi-state meth offender registry called NPLEx, the National Precursor Log Exchange. Oklahoma and 16 other states currently participate in the database, which the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADII) provides “at no cost to states that have legislation requiring real-time electronic monitoring of precursor purchases, and agree to use the system.” See the full list of participating states here.

In addition to being submitted to a multi-state database of meth offenders, what else can someone expect from being placed on the Oklahoma Meth Offender Registry?

The Oklahoma Methamphetamine Offender Registry Act requires the registration of anyone convicted of possession, manufacturing, distributing, or trafficking of meth or precursors, or of conspiracy to commit these acts. It is illegal for anyone convicted of these offenses to purchase or possess pseudoephedrine or any other precursor, and a prescription for pseudoephedrine does not provide exemption to the law. A person may be removed from the Registry after ten years if he or she has not been convicted of any other crime. If a deferred sentence is completed prior to ten years, a person may apply to the OBNDD to be removed from the Registry; however, application does not guarantee removal.

Violating the Oklahoma Methamphetamine Offender Registry Act is a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Assisting someone to violate the Act is a misdemeanor on the first offense but a felony upon subsequent offenses. As a second offense, helping someone subject to the Registry to purchase pseudoephedrine is punishable by a maximum of two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Contact an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney to learn more about new developments in Oklahoma drug laws or to find a drug defense attorney to handle your case.

At the Oklahoma Legal Group, Adam R. Banner specializes in criminal defense and has a solid record of favorable results for his clients through both jury trials and motion hearings; as such, he has been recognized by The National Trial Lawyers as one of the top 100 Trial Attorneys in Oklahoma. Aside from his courtroom experience, Adam is also an accomplished appellate attorney, having drafted various high-profile Oklahoma appeals.

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