New Meth Laws Mean Tougher Punishments

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(Memphis) So far this year, police have already busted two meth labs in Memphis.

The most recent was this Tuesday, when a mother and father were allegedly cooking meth in their two-year-old daughter's bedroom.

Investigators were able to gather additional evidence in this case thanks to relatively new state legislation.

 If someone decides to cook-up some meth, they are going to have to buy one of the key ingredients at a drug store.

But when they buy it, law enforcement will know they did that’s because pharmacists, Like Charles Champion, must put customers' names in a database.

The database is operated by law enforcement.

Pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in meth, is one of those things you can't pick-up off the shelves anymore.

 “If they say this is the only product that can help me then a red flag goes up,” said Champion.

 And in 2011, Tennessee strengthened its meth laws, only allowing someone to buy nine grams of pseudoephedrine a month.

In Tuesday’s meth lab bust in East Memphis, police say Matt Richardson confessed to supplying the pseudoephedrine to Amanda Elrod, who uses it to cook meth.

Police checked the database and found Richardson bought pseudoephedrine 37 times since 2009.

He didn't break the law, but police had been tracking him.

“What happens, when we catch that individual we go back and we run his history,” said Lt. Frank Winston, who supervisor’s the Memphis Police Department’s meth team.  “Once we run his history and he has exceeded his purchases by law, we are able to put another charge on him as well.”

 Another tougher Tennessee law targets meth cooks who have children.

 “I personally contacted the Department of Children’s services who made the scene,” said Lt. Winston about Tuesday’s bust.

Police say Richardson and Elrod were cooking meth in the same room where their two-year-old daughter slept.

The new law forces the State to charge them with aggravated child endangerment.