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Cold pills fuel West Virginia’s meth lab ‘epidemic’


By Eric Eyre and David Gutman

Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In the weeks before their arrest, Jennifer Boggs and Jennifer Funk went on a shopping spree for cold medicines used to clear up stuffy noses and make illegal methamphetamine.

Boggs and Funk shopped at Walmart, Target, Meds-2-Go Express and Rite Aid stores from Charleston to Huntington, records show. They bought Sudafed 12 Hour, Allegra D, Sunmark and Health Mart brands — nasal decongestants containing pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in meth.

And then they checked into Room 217 at the Economy Inn in Nitro.

On Nov. 21, Nitro police, acting on an anonymous tip, conducted a “knock and talk” at Room 217.

Inside, they found Boggs and Funk, along with an 18-month-old boy. There were bugs everywhere. Officers found beakers, rubber tubing, scales, razor blades, bags of red phosphorous, syringes, sulfuric acid, coffee filters, bulk matches and empty blister packs of pseudoephedrine cold medicine tucked into a box of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal.

Boggs and Funk were charged with attempting to operate a meth lab.

“They are getting [pseudoephedrine] wherever they can get it,” said Maj. David Richardson, a Nitro police officer. “They steal it, trade things for it, have other people they know buy it, whatever they need to do to get it.”

Across West Virginia, drugstores are selling cold medicines to criminals, helping fuel a massive increase in meth production this year, according to a Sunday Gazette-Mail investigation.

West Virginia law enforcement agencies have busted more than 500 meth labs since January — the most in state history.

As a result, West Virginia is suffering from an unprecedented wave of explosions, fires, burns, toxic poisonings and environmental destruction.

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