Cutting into meth traffic


Thumb up

New state laws targeting the purchase of pseudoephedrine has resulted in the lowest rate of methamphetamine lab seizures since they began keeping records on the illicit drug.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel told a Pine Bluff civic club Thursday the law requires purchasers to swipe their driver’s license to purchase pseudoephedrine — a key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine — resulting in estimates that the program has “stopped more than 126,000 illegal purchases of pseudoephedrine.”

The program has become a national model for other states.

Methamphetamine use reached epidemic levels in our state several years ago and police were amazed at the steps some traffickers took to “cook” the drug for sale.

The attorney general’s office, the General Assembly and law enforcement are trying to stay ahead of what’s next and that’s synthetic drugs, the state’s chief law enforcement officer noted. “Arkansas has already outlawed some of them before other states even knew there was a problem,” he added.

McDaniel, who is in his second term and has announced plans to run for governor in 2014, has established the Cybercrimes Unit located within his office. It is one of only 20 operated by attorneys general in the nation and focuses on Internet crimes against children.

McDaniel was a street cop before he graduated from law school and has seen the damage caused by drugs and crimes involving violent sexual assaults against children.

In addition to the law enforcement role of his post, McDaniel emphasized the role his office plays in consumer protection, particularly the “We’ve got your back, Arkansas,” website, www.gotyourbackarkansas.org, where the office helps people address their consumer complaints.

“What we’re doing is cutting-edge stuff,” he stated.

He said in 2011, 161 consumers from Pine Bluff and Jefferson County contacted his office with consumer complaints and the office was able to recover $18,500 without lawsuits.

McDaniel and the attorneys in his office can take credit for shutting down payday lenders in Arkansas, who preyed on the poor by charging as much as 900 percent interest on loans.

Victims were taking out payday loans to pay off another payday loan,” McDaniel observed. “Payday lenders are no longer operating in Arkansas and they’re not coming back.”

The payday lenders and meth cooks will not be missed.

Go Lions

Thumb up

It has been noted that the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s Golden Lions hadn’t hit their offensive stride when they defeated the Jackson State Tigers here Oct. 6 by a 34-24 margin.

It was the turning point in the Lions’ season, kicking off a six-game winning streak.

Today’s noon rematch with Jackson State for the SWAC championship at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., gives the Lions an opportunity to show how they have matured during the season.

Support the Golden Lions.

Why change?

Thumb down

We don’t understand the reasoning behind an ordinance requesting the Jefferson County Democratic and Republican parties’ committees to conduct primary elections for municipal offices beginning in 2014.

For years municipal candidates have sought election as independents, avoiding hefty filing fees assessed by the party committees. However, Pine Bluff Aldermen Charles Boyd, Irene Holcomb, George Stepps and Thelma Walker maintain it’s time for a change.

Nine independent candidates filled out the November general election mayoral field, with Holcomb contending voters might be better served with a more restricted field.

Voters can thin out a crowded field with their ballots, just as they did last month.

We sometimes wonder if voters are better off when local candidates run without a “D” or “R” after their name. Better yet, the last line on a ballot could simply read “None of the above.”