New Smurfing Law Lands Four People In Jail

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A new Alabama law to cut down on “smurfing” has already netted four arrests in Franklin County.

Investigators say smurfing is when people gather the drug used to make meth from several different stores so they don’t raise red flags at the pharmacy.

And since January 1st, 2013, smurfing has been illegal in Alabama.

Instead of going store to store looking for coveted meth making materials, Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver says Joseph Walker, Mary Millwood, Stephanie Edwards, and James Andresen will  be going to jail, thanks to the state’s anti-smurfing law.

“The purpose of it is to keep them from buying the ephedrine which is used to make methamphetamine,” said Sheriff Oliver.  “It`s a huge problem, so it`s just to curb that and to slow it down.”

The law set up a state-wide database of convicted drug offenders and tracks the sale of pseudoephedrine.

“I feel like it will be very effective,” said Sheriff Oliver.

As investigators with the Franklin County Drug Unit followed up on reports of several pseudoephedrine purchases, detectives ended up at the home of Walker in Phil Campbell.

“Every law you have, there`s going to be someone who tries to figure out a loophole and go around it and I think that`s probably what happened in this case,” said Sheriff Oliver.

The four suspects in this case are all charged with more than a dozen counts of attempt to commit a controlled substance crime.

Sheriff Oliver says throughout this investigation, detectives learned all four suspects have been involved in smurfing throughout several counties since 2010.

With the law in place comes new restrictions for people legitimately in need of the medicine.

However Sheriff Oliver says the extra steps go a long way in the growing battle against meth.