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Bills Aimed To Combat Meth ‘Smurfing’ Signed By Gov. Rick Snyder

LANSING, MI — Law enforcement officials combating methamphetamine production added another tool to their arsenal Friday when Gov. Rick Snyder signed a package of bills aimed to target people who buy ingredients for meth cooks.

"Smurfs," as these meth suppliers are known, purchase small amounts of pseudoephedrine and sell them to meth producers. Smurfing has grown in popularity since a law took effect in Michigan last year that limits the amount of pseuoephedrine products, such as Sudafed, that people can buy and requires purchasers to enter their names into a law enforcement database.

State Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, the sponsor of House Bill 5090 (now Public Act 218), which makes the act of purchasing pseudoephedrine knowing it will be used to manufacture meth punishable by up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine, said the approval of this package is a way to fight back against a drug that shatters families and ruins lives.

"By making it more difficult for those who make methamphetamine to obtain the necessary ingredients, we are fighting back against the production of this addictive substance," Nesbitt said in a press release.

The bills followed a 2013 Kalamazoo Gazette investigation that found pseudoephedrine sales in Southwest Michigan remain high despite the law that caps the amount of the product people can buy.

Kalamazoo and St. Joseph Counties lead the state in sales of pseudoephedrine per capita, selling more than double the state average, the investigation found. Law enforcement blame smurfing for the high pseudoephedrine sales and for methamphetamine production continuing to run rampant in Southwest Michigan.

Other bills included in the package are Senate Bills 535, 563 and 756, as well as House Bills 5089, 5363 and 5615.