Postcard from Texas Meth Country

In one East Texas town, a new brand of meth lab has business -- and the occasional house -- booming.

Hill believes that while cops are supposed to report the discovery of a small-batch shake-and-bake bottle to federal authorities, few take the time to do more than mention it in an in-house report that never gets tallied by the feds. (And some don't even bother to do that.) He also thinks it's a "serious mistake" to underestimate the production capability of the shake-and-bake cooks.

"A one-pot cook can make ten to 15 grams at a time and do so in just a few minutes," he writes in an email. "That's over a half ounce at a time and they can do this many times a week easily surpassing the production of a large lab that makes 100 to 200 grams at a time and is only set up and used once or twice a month."

Hill loves Henson's openness approach, but thinks meth can be fought much more effectively at the national level. And there might just be a silver bullet. In 2006, Oregon, a state once so meth-plagued that it gave us the "Faces of Meth" mugshot series, enacted legislation making medicines containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine prescription-only. Since that elegantly simple solution was enacted, meth lab seizures have fallen from 192 in 2005 to a mere 10 last year. Meth-related arrests were half of what they were in 2006.

Durham has visited the Angelina County Jail 48 times, by his
own count. And why wouldn't you trust this guy's counting?
Courtesy of Angelina County Sheriff's Office
Durham has visited the Angelina County Jail 48 times, by his own count. And why wouldn't you trust this guy's counting?
Lufkin's jail encourages artistic expression. Here, Durham expresses himself in front of a painting by a dead meth head named Iodine Mike.
Joel Andrews, Lufkin Daily News
Lufkin's jail encourages artistic expression. Here, Durham expresses himself in front of a painting by a dead meth head named Iodine Mike.

Hill acknowledges that the Mexican cartels would leap at the chance to try to fill the domestic void, but thinks that assets could be redeployed to partially check that flow at the border. In 2010, Mississippi became the second state to pass such a bill. However, experts predict that lobbyists from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Merck, mindful of the collective $500 million a year these cold medicines bring to their coffers, would fight a similar national bill tooth and nail.

Hill also believes that drug education should be mandatory in high schools. Kids will be exposed to drugs at some time in their lives, he says, but at least they would know what they were getting into. The 11-year-old catfish skinner James Durham certainly didn't have that wisdom. He went on to flunk three grades at school, and it took him seven years to get his GED in prison, and he says it was the only time his mother was ever proud of him.

And Durham says he is desperately seeking a way to make her proud again. Much of Lufkin continues to heckle and "jeckle" him even as he heads for his longest stint in the pen. They've heard his lies and broken promises before.

Durham doesn't care. He dreams that his sentences will be overturned and that someone will make a movie of his life, earning him millions and making his mama proud, he says. Failing that, he says, he could serve his time and become a drug counselor, spend the rest of his days telling kids not to do as he has done.

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15 comments
Lan
Lan

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Lan
Lan

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Lan
Lan

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Sakara
Sakara

just kill all these junkies.

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

fourth photo down, left most column = Dave Grohl's stunt double. I cast no aspersions on Mr. Grohl, but, damn! if that isn't the spit n image!

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

FTFA on the industry response to making these medications available only by prescription:

"However, experts predict that lobbyists from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Merck, mindful of the collective $500 million a year these cold medicines bring to their coffers, would fight a similar national bill tooth and nail."

Yeah, these companies understand upon which side their bread is buttered. Thank the lord for the good intentions of our pharmaceutical lobbyists.

Jw2400
Jw2400

my next door dude does this shit for 5 days in a row and he takes everything apart in his unit including his computer and is a total freak. He thinks that it is curing his AIDS and he is crazy

Iceman
Iceman

Interesting piece--I like your style, Mr. Lomax. Additional props on getting through a 5000 word article about meth without referencing "Breaking Bad." Awesome show, by the way.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

What's really sad is, listen to how the guy describes hunting for certain chemicals and getting the perfect reaction. If he had applied that kind of diligence in school, where would he be now?

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

Look forward to reading the article but right now, all I want to say is "what a great image for your front page". Reminds me of the old '50's postcard colors.

NatWu
NatWu

There's never a time not to talk about Breaking Bad!

Phil
Phil

looks like dave grohl to me

 
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