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Meth lab incidents lower in Kansas in 2012

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- There were fewer meth lab incidents in Kansas last year compared to 2011, but demand for the drug remains high, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

The KBI reported 143 meth lab incidents statewide in 2012, down from 214 a year earlier, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1bmMBtx ). Such incidents are listed under three categories: seizures of meth chemicals, equipment and labs.

"The numbers have decreased in terms of manufacturing, but we're still seeing arrests for possession and distribution of methamphetamine in all parts of the state," said Kelly Ralston, KBI special agent in charge.

The drop in Kansas follows an apparent nationwide trend. The Drug Enforcement Administration said there were about 12,700 meth lab incidents nationwide in 2012, down 5.5 percent from the 13,390 such incidents in 2011.

Of Kansas' 143 meth lab incidents reported last year, about half were in five counties in southeast Kansas. Crawford County reported 25 meth lab incidents, which is the highest number in Kansas, according to the KBI. Of the other four, Montgomery County reported 17 meth lab incidents, while Cherokee County had 11. Labette and Neosho counties each had nine.

In 2011, Crawford County also had the highest number of meth lab incidents reported in the state, with 45. Montgomery County was second with 36, followed by Labette County with 35 and Cherokee County with 27.

Crawford County Sheriff Dan Peak attributed the numbers to the region's poverty, limited drug treatment resources and location.

"I think a lot of it has to do with our proximity to Missouri and Oklahoma," he said. "We are here bordering the Ozarks. ... And it does make for a clandestine-type situation for a lot of people."