Trooper Jason Lemery, Trooper Jimmy Davis,
DEA Director ASA Hutchinson, & Lt. Marty Duncan
On July 22, 2002, several members of the Florida Highway Patrol attended the "METH in America: Not In Our Town Tour 2002" meeting held in Tampa, Florida. This was one of several such meetings held throughout the United States and hosted by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Director Asa Hutchinson.
The meeting was open to all law enforcement, treatment and prevention specialists, and the news media. The panelists selected to participate in this forum were Director Hutchinson (DEA), Representative Mark Foley (Florida 16th District), Honorable Paul Perez (U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida), Commissioner James T. Moore (Florida Department of Law Enforcement), Director James McDonough (Florida Office of Drug Control), Honorable Judge Jack Espinosa, Jr. (13th Judicial District), Sheriff Lawrence Crow (Polk County), Sheriff Cal Henderson (Hillsborough County), Dr. Daniel Haight (Polk County Department of Health), and Ms. Liz Harden (Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Agency). Each of the panelists delivered their message on the ills of methamphetamine in Florida and its destructive power over the addict and the community.
According to DEA, aside from methamphetamine being transported to Florida via trafficking organizations in California and Texas, the illicit drug is being produced at an explosive rate in Florida. For example, in CY 2002, through June 30th, there have been 66 labs seized, compared to 33 labs seized for all of CY 2001. According to Director Hutchinson, last year in conjunction with DEA, Florida’s state and local law enforcement agencies seized more than 30 meth lab sites, a nearly 125% increase over the year 2000. In addition, more than 40 people died in Florida last year due to methamphetamine overdose. The emphasis of this meeting was to encourage citizens to win back their communities through a balanced approach of education, law enforcement, prevention, and treatment.