Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)
mmerz@atg.state.il.us

March 17 , 2006

MADIGAN REQUESTS HELP FROM FARMERS, AGRI-BUSINESS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT TO GUARD AGAINST ANHYDROUS THEFTS

Chicago − With field preparation and anhydrous application underway in Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan today asked farmers and agricultural dealers to assist local law enforcement by being alert for criminals attempting to steal anhydrous ammonia, a key ingredient used in “cooking” methamphetamine.

“You are well aware of the tremendous economic and social cost of anhydrous ammonia theft and methamphetamine production,” Madigan wrote in a recent letter to agriculture leaders, sheriffs, chemical and fertilizer dealers and University Extension advisors. “Most importantly, you are well aware of the dangers of anhydrous ammonia, and the threat to public safety of its improper use.”

Accompanying Madigan’s letter was a revised pamphlet produced by her office, Methamphetamine and Agriculture, that contains tips to help prevent theft of anhydrous:

  • Deliver nurse tanks to the field as close as possible to application and return them immediately after use.
  • Inspect tanks daily for signs of theft or tampering.
  • Use brightly colored plastic ties or wire seals on the valves to assist in determining if tampering has occurred.
  • Remove hoses and store them separately from the tank. There is typically enough ammonia in a standard decoupling hose to make meth.
  • Do not approach or confront suspected anhydrous thieves. They could be under the influence of meth and can be dangerously violent. Call the authorities immediately.

Madigan also informed the agriculture community about important legislation drafted by her office that is now law.

In 2005, the General Assembly passed and in August 2005, the Governor signed into law the “Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act” (PA 94-0694), which imposes stricter controls on the display and sale of cold and sinus products containing meth’s key ingredient − pseudoephedrine (PSE).

Earlier last year, the General Assembly passed and the Governor signed into law the “Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act” (PA 94-0556), which better protects communities by streamlining and strengthening the criminal laws against meth production, distribution and use by consolidating all meth-related offenses into a single, unified law, ensuring that prosecutors will have the tools they need in one location. The Act also increased penalties for possession of anhydrous in an unauthorized container and tampering with anhydrous ammonia equipment from a Class 4 to a Class 3 felony.

“My office will continue to explore initiatives to help protect farmers and citizens against meth-related incidents,” Madigan said. “Additionally, my office will prosecute and will assist state’s attorneys in prosecuting meth makers and dealers.”

More information about meth legislation and issues can be found at the “MethNet” link at Madigan’s Web site: www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov. The pamphlet, Methamphetamine and Agriculture, also can be downloaded at the Attorney General’s Web site at http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/brochures/methag_0505.pdf

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