St. LOUIS - Police and sheriff's departments in states that produce much of the nation's methamphetamine have made a sudden retreat in the war on meth, at times virtually abandoning pursuit of the drug because they can no longer afford to clean up the toxic waste generated by labs.
Despite abundant evidence that the meth trade is flourishing, many law enforcement agencies have called off tactics that have been used for years to confront drug makers.
The steep cutbacks began after the federal government in February canceled a program that provided millions of dollars to help local agencies dispose of seized labs.
Since then, an Associated Press analysis shows, the number of labs seized has plummeted by a third in some key meth-producing states and two-thirds in at least one, Alabama.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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