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State embarks on anti-smurfing campaign

ULSA, Okla. — The state attorney general and a representative from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics were in Tulsa to launch a new campaign to create public awareness of “smurfing.”

Smurfing is when people buy or sell pseudoephedrine to give to meth cooks.

The drug is the one ingredient that all meth cooks have to have and they either have to buy it themselves or have someone do it for them. That’s why officials told FOX23 they want signs and posters visible in pharmacies so that the public knows exactly what smurfing is and what the consequences are.

District Attorney Tim Harris said many cases start the same way; with meth cooks in need of pseudoephedrine.

“They become very desperate. They go to homeless shelters, they approach teenagers,” Harris said.

Harris said cooks target vulnerability and convince people to buy the ingredients sometimes knowingly and sometimes not.

“Those people who are doing it just committed a felony,” Harris said.

He hopes people will think twice after seeing the new signs.

“They are going to look at that sign and say, ‘Maybe I’m a smurf,’” said Harris.

The signs will be posted at pharmacy registers and Attorney General Scott Pruitt told FOX23 it’s part of a new anti-smurfing campaign.

“What this particular initiative is about it going after those individuals who are gaming the system,” Pruitt said.

Pharmacist Chris Schiller said he thinks the campaign is a step in the right direction.

“The about it is we don’t know if someone else has talked them into buying pseudoephedrine. We don’t know that on our level. So hopefully they will be educated and that number will decrease,” Schiller said.

State laws passed two years ago reduced the amount of pseudoephedrine that people could buy and a tracking system was introduced. Harris said this helped decrease meth labs by 50 percent.