In last month's feature on meth in East Texas, veteran Angelina County speed freak James "Bull" Durham was positively exultant about the drug's ease of manufacture these days. Gone are the days whereby expert "chefs" needed isolation and lots of time to whip up a batch. With the resurgence of the "shake n' bake" one-bottle method, every meth-head can be his own cook.
Here's how Durham put it to us when we spoke to him in the Angelina County Jail:
"Now I can walk in one store and come out with all the ingredients for a lab," Durham enthuses. "One store! I can go to Walmart right now and come out with the best dope you ever seen in your life. Throw some lithium in there, a little fuel, a little bit of red lye, you got it goin' there. It's called a reaction and you've got a good reaction, you've got good dope."
As bad as the meth epidemic is in rural East Texas, it's probably worse in Oklahoma, and the epicenter is Tulsa: America's meth capital, according to police. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that a Tulsa meth-head attempted to streamline the meth-cooking process even further.
Simply put, 45-year-old Elizabeth Alisha Greta Halfmoon was caught trying to cook a batch of meth inside a Tulsa Walmart.
Police say the woman was too broke to buy the chemicals so she loitered in the store for about six hours, collecting the ingredients in her cart. Is that what it means to be livin' on Tulsa time these days?
Finally Halfmoon allegedly just started mixing 'em up right there in the store. A cop said that when he arrived, she had just mixed sulfuric acid and starter fluid in a bottle, and had an active reaction going. The brew burned through the bottle and a cop's gloves. (He was treated at the scene for chemical burns.)
Halfmoon admitted to police that she was cooking meth, and also confessed that "she was not very good at it," according to Tulsa's Fox TV outlet.
At the time of her arrest, Halfmoon was fresh out of jail, on bond in a "Smurfing" case. (Smurfing is the illicit purchase of ephedrine and/or pseudoephedrine for the purpose of cooking meth.) She is set to be arraigned on the new meth charges tomorrow.
Police said that the area around this Walmart is a hive of meth activity -- literally. They told the TV station that tunnels and drainage ditches that honeycomb the neighborhood are full of little worker bees cranking out that satanic honey.
Wow. Ditches crawling with desperate meth freaks...subterranean meth chefs...An Oklahoma Walmart... Shudder.
Sounds like an update of William Hogarth's Gin Lane: