Merchants and Meth

By: Jarrod Aldom
By: Jarrod Aldom

Virginia finds itself in the middle of a meth crisis. And the state Attorney General's office is taking notice. WHSV found out about a new program intended to bring retailers into the fray.

It's called Virginia Meth Watch, a partnership between retailers and the Attorney General's office that will hopefully identify people making large purchases of meth-related products.

"We're asking for their help to contact us when they see this, or they suspect this, just like any other citizen would giving us an anonymous tip, pointing us in the right direction," says RUSH Drug Task Force coordinator Special Agent Tom Murphy.

The RUSH Drug Task Force has been running a similar program for two years in the Rockingham/Harrisonburg area. Special Agent Murphy says a meth user is fairly easy to spot if you know what to look for.

"Buying 50 boxes of pseudo ephedrine, a blender, a heat source, Coleman fuel," explains Murphy. "There's more going on than just going out and camping."

Retailers say it will be difficult to track the sale of the products, even if they do know what to look for.

"You can come in and buy three gallons of paint thinner and nobody would think anything of it," says Pee Wee Litten, the manager of Rocking R Ace Hardware in Harrisonburg. "Go to another store and buy another three gallons and nobody would think anything about it. Same thing with the drug stores."

Special Agent Murphy says the RUSH Drug Task Force has gotten tips from the program in the past. He hopes the renewed interest in retailers tracking the criminals will make his job easier.


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