The Associated Press
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A drug-enforcement task force led by
the Colorado Springs police continues to lead the state in uncovering
The team, which covers El Paso and Teller Counties, busted 156
clandestine labs in 2003, most of them in Colorado Springs. There
were 153 labs uncovered in the area in 2002 and 87 in 2001.
By comparison, the Denver police department busted 25 labs last year.
The North Metro Task Force, which covers Adams and Broomfield
counties, uncovered 66 labs.
"They have led the state for the past couple of years," Bev Walz of
the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area said of the
Colorado Springs-based group.
Police Cmdr. Kurt Pillard doesn't think the city has more meth labs
than others. He attributes the high numbers to aggressive enforcement
and community-education efforts.
The methamphetamine team, which includes the El Paso County sheriff's
office, Fountain police, the Teller County sheriff's office and the
Colorado Springs police, held 62 community presentations in about the
drug last year.
Police Sgt. Terry Curry, who heads the team, still wants to reach
more people. He said lax sentencing for methamphetamine makers is a
big part of the problem.
"You cook meth three times here, and you get probation," he said. "If
you go to Wyoming and cook methamphetamine, you'll go to prison the
first time. I don't have to worry about you until you get out of
Assistant District Attorney Dan May said his office is working for
"We are using the opportunity at sentencing to put on these experts
to educate these judges to the seriousness and dangerousness of the
meth labs," May said.
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Methamphetamine, which can be made with over-the-counter cold
medicine and common household chemicals, can be made in clandestine
labs that create explosive and corrosive byproducts. Users can become
addicted the first time, and are prone to violence and paranoia, said
Dr. Kathryn Wells of the Denver Family Crisis Center.