The Lee County Iowa Narcotics Task Force says they're stepping up their effort in tracking down meth cooks and the people who are helping supply the ingredients to cook the drug.
But as the times change, so does the way currency is exchanged between the cooks and the users.
Task force commander Stacy Weber has been fighting crime for the last 15 years and this is his second stint as part of the county wide drug fighting unit. He said his agents are seeing an increase in meth use, but what they're seeing now is more of a conspiracy between several people to cook up the additive drug.
"If someone has knowledge of the items they are giving to someone and are going to be used to manufacture an illegal substance, then they are just as guilty as the person who stirs it up in a pot or shakes it up in a one pot method," Weber said.
In the last 30 days, 10 people have been arrested by the task force in Keokuk for either supplying cold medicine to the meth cooks or for actually cooking up the drug itself. In one case, the alleged suspects lived next door to one another.
"It use to be, if a guy wanted to buy meth he would take cash and buy meth. Today because of the restraints we put on the sale of pseudoephedrine we see more and more the guys who make methamphetamine are not risking the purchase of the pseudoephedrine, they ask the guys that they're selling the meth to, to go and get that for them. So it's becoming currency," Weber said.
He went onto say, "The main choice that everyone likes to get is meth. We handled the bath salts and now were back to old hat. People go back to what they know and that's manufacturing meth."
According to the Iowa criminal code, if a person is convicted of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine in excess of five grams, they could face up to 25 years in prison.