Law enforcements officials across the South are stepping up efforts to combat the use and transport of methamphetamine across the region.
The state of Georgia is now ranked No. 1 nationally for the highest value meth bust after five men were arrested Friday in Dahlonega, Ga. for trafficking 30 kilos of meth, with a street valued at more than $3 million.
“Historically these types of labs have only been seen in the metro Atlanta area,” Mitchell Posey with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations told Fox News. “For the smaller area of North Georgia, the smaller jurisdiction, the smaller communities, this is very unusual for us.”
That was the fifth bust totaling more than $1 million since the beginning of the year. Overall, more than $5 million worth of meth were discovered by authorities in Georgia, New Jersey, Mississippi and Texas.
“The impact of meth use in the U.S. is straining our health care system and economy. Billions of dollars in treatment is being spent and billions in law enforcement strategies is being spent. Not successfully,” Steven Rogers, a retired New Jersey police department lieutenant told Fox News. He said law enforcement resources are being strained fighting the production and distribution of meth. He added that there needs to be a change in strategy to combat the epidemic.
The drugs found during Georgia’s recent bust may have come from Mexico, Posey said.
Retired Drug Enforcement Administration supervisory special agent Gregory D. Lee said Interstate 20, which links major U.S. cities like Dallas and Atlanta, may be a contributing factor for the spread of the drug. The route acts as a conduit for drugs from Mexico to southern states.
“You’re going to get those individuals that are going to try to come up with what they call mom and pop labs,” Lee said, “and none of those can compete with the production that goes on in Mexico."