Pruitt calls for focus on criminal element to combat meth

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 22-Oct-2010

The Republican candidate for attorney general, Scott Pruitt, has joined local law enforcement officials in calling for an increased focus on combating the international trafficking of methamphetamine. In comments sent to CapitolBeatOK this week, Pruitt identified the focus as a critical component to reducing the epidemic use of meth in the state.

Pruitt highlighted the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) partnership with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office as one example of a successful program that could be expanded to other local law enforcement agencies throughout the state to significantly reduce meth trafficking.

Pruitt said, if elected, his plans would focus on expanding law enforcement tools to go after Mexican drug cartels trafficking meth and illegal immigrants working to facilitate cartel operations in Oklahoma:

“There is no question Mexican cartels have made a deliberate expansion into trafficking meth, and as a result, Oklahoma has seen a significant increase in meth and drug-related crimes. As attorney general, I believe we need to increase our focus on going after these cartels and drug-related criminal immigration as an expanded component of our strategy to fight meth in Oklahoma.”

Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz said, “In the last two years, we have processed through our jail more that 7,400 illegal aliens associated with criminal activities including; trafficking meth and other illegal dangerous substances, many of whom are working with drug cartels. In my opinion, our ICE enforcement partnership is an effective way to get dangerous criminals out of the business of trafficking meth in Oklahoma.”

McCurtain County Sheriff Johnny Tadlock said, “McCurtain County is facing epidemic trafficking of meth that is representative of what is happening all over the state. My deputies need to be equipped to protect our communities and neighborhoods. I think a shift in focus to put greater emphasis on combating criminal illegal immigration would be a significant opportunity to reduce meth in Oklahoma.” 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, large-scale moves by organized crime groups operating from Mexico into methamphetamine production has fueled violence in the U.S. and redefined the methods of production and distribution of methamphetamine.

Pruitt continued, “Oklahoma has led the nation in its efforts with our pseudoephedrine ‘behind the counter’ laws limiting access to meth ingredients. We need to lead the nation again by focusing on criminals that bring mass quantities of meth into our state.”

Pruitt indicated there is only so much the state can do to regulate access to pseudoephedrine before law abiding citizens bare the brunt of restrictions to needed medications, while criminals continue to find ways to route the law. He contended the recent tidal wave of meth-related incidents, despite pseudoephedrine control laws, indicates different strategies are needed.

Pruitt said a comprehensive strategy that includes supporting the recent meth offender registry, coordinated data sharing between states for tracking convicted meth criminals and pro-active education on the harms of meth must all be utilized.

“I can think of no greater law enforcement challenge to keep our communities and our children safe than getting tougher on combating meth. As attorney general I will aggressively work with law enforcement to do just that,” said Pruitt.