PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) –
Drug agents uncovered one of the largest meth labs ever found in Maine this week.
Officials say a couple and their two children were living in the home in Madawaska.
Meth busts are down this year compared to the same period last year.
But recently, Maine has still had more meth busts than any other New England state.
The director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, Roy McKinney, says giant meth labs seen on AMC's Breaking Bad won't be found in Maine.
The problem, he says, are small meth labs producing less than two ounces of meth at any one time.
Maine broke a record last year with 125 meth busts
This year's numbers are down, so far.
“As of April 20, we've had 15.” Said McKinney. “The same time last year through the end of April, we had 51.”
McKinney says meth affects all parts of the state, rural and urban from northern Maine to York County.
People who cook meth usually do it for themselves and may sell or trade some.
Big drug operations don't bring meth here yet, but cartels from Mexico have started smuggling to other U-S states.
“That is a concern. and that's what we're watching for because that's what's happened in other states where they've seen the number of labs decrease,” said McKinney.
For now though. most of Maine's meth is produced in homes using mostly household items and pseudoephedrine.
The MDEA says meth-labs will usually contain tell-tale items:
n Large two-liter plastic bottles with residue on the inside -- meth is often prepared in these.
n Empty fuel canisters, used for heat during cooking.
n Stripped lithium batteries -- metal in the battery can be added to the meth.
Heroin and opioids continue to be a bigger problem for the MDEA, especially in terms of overdose deaths.
Opioids take up 50 percent of the agency's resources.
Still, it says meth is a serious issue.
“We cannot overlook the methamphetamine situation and how that has grown in the last number of year,” said McKinney.
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