While the number of meth labs is in decline in Tennessee, arrests on drug charges related to methamphetamine continue to rise. In 2017, authorities claimed that meth was the second most trafficked illegal drug in the state, and problems associated with meth continue to be a significant concern. The state was previously known for a large number of meth labs that served as distribution points for the drug throughout the area. The signs of these old labs can still be seen as there are hundreds of boarded-up homes that remain contaminated from their use in meth manufacturing.
However, 2018 marks the fifth straight year of declining arrests related to the manufacturing of methamphetamine. In 2012, police conducted 2,000 raids on meth labs. That number was reduced to only 200 in 2017. However, there were almost 10,000 incidents associated with meth reported by Tennessee police last year. This means that arrests for drug crimes related to methamphetamine have risen by 41 percent from 2016. Police say that most of the meth available in the area is now being brought in by more organized syndicates.
Law enforcement officials claim that while imported meth is a serious concern, the decline in meth labs indicates successful enforcement of laws prohibiting the distribution of meth precursors. One sheriff said that his county seized 23 kilos of meth in 2017. He says that the intensive efforts to pursue drug arrests have reduced crime by 23 percent in the previous three years.
When people are arrested on drug charges, they could face serious ramifications, including jail time and felony criminal records. Even people with low-level involvement or addiction problems of their own could face severe criminal penalties. However, a criminal defense lawyer can help an alleged offender mount a strong defense by challenging police and prosecution evidence.