Illegal-drug chemists who mix up batches of methamphetamine, commonly known as speed, using ingredients readily available in Utah would find their work made more difficult by a bill approved in a House committee Monday.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Arrington, D-Ogden, parallels a federal law requiring companies using chemicals that can be "cooked" into the illegal stimulant to report what they do with the substances.The requirement drew concern from industry officials and some members of the House Judiciary Committee members, but Arrington and law enforcement officials said that other states have similar laws that have helped stem drug manufacturing.
Officials of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency have called Utah the "state of choice" for the illicit methamphetamine manufacturers in recent years because the sale of the needed chemicals has not been regulated.
"In the last few months we've had people come here from out of state and purchase 1,000 pounds" of one of more popular chemicals used in the western United States to make methamphetamine, Steve Lough, DEA special agent in charge for Utah, told the committee.
- He won't get the new helicopter he wants, but Utah Public Safety Commissioner Doug Bodrero may get to spend up to $200,000 of the money his officers seize from drug couriers in the next fiscal year.
That was the compromise reached between members of an appropriations committee and Bodrero, whose spending of more than $1 million seized last year on a used helicopter and other crime-fighting gear drew concern from committee members.
The allowance the committee wants to give him, though, isn't anywhere near enough to pay for some of the items Bodrero planned to buy this year and other gear - including a $325,000 helicopter - appearing on a "wish list" he presented to lawmakers.
The committee decided that at least some of the seizure money should be used to pay for the state's participation beginning next year in the Automated Fingerprint Identification System along with other Western states.