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10-25-05 - The war on Meth is changing and evolving. There is a more potent form showing up on local streets, and this stuff is not home grown.
It's called meth ice. The difference can't be seen with the naked eye, but it can be felt.
"According to the drug enforcement administration, ice is not ice till its 80 percent pure or better," Grayson County Lt. Jay Whitney said. "We routinely see 95-99 percent pure meth. Our meth cooked locally is generally 30-50 percent so you can see the difference."
So what is the difference? It lies in the process.
A powder form of meth is faster and easier to make, but it contains more chemicals. Meth ice takes a few more steps in the lab, but more chemicals are removed leaving behind a crystal form considered more pure which translates to a more intense high.
"They can make a more pure product that comes with better bang for your buck," Whitney said.
It's a similar story across the Red River in Bryan County. Drug agents once devoted to tracking down local labs are now turning their attention to importers and dealers who travel to bring in the ice.
Undercover drug enforcement agents are on the front lines of this war which has undoubtedly changed. The ice now comes from massive labs in Mexico, and smugglers take it across the border and into Dallas where local dealers pick it up.
Another reason that ice is so popular is the price. Meth ice is no more expensive than the old powder form of meth.
Agents say they have seen about a 75 percent decrease in the number of labs, but the number of dealers has also gone up by the same amount.