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By Betsy Taylor
The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS - Savvy homebuyers and residents have long taken it upon themselves to do a little amateur sleuthing, checking on the quality of schools, crime rates and whether sex offenders live in the neighborhood.
Now, a law enforcement agency outside St. Louis is providing the public with a new piece of information by identifying where it's finding materials linked to illegal methamphetamine production.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department recently started listing on its Web site addresses where it has seized evidence tied to meth production. The county has one of the worst meth problems in the United States.
"We keep raising the bar on awareness," sheriff's Capt. Ralph Brown said. "You either do something about it, or you stick your head in the sand."
The postings list addresses where the department has seized a meth lab or found discarded materials that indicate the past presence of a clandestine drug lab in 2007 or 2008.
The Web site doesn't provide details about what occurred at each address. Brown said the department would try to provide additional information to members of the public with questions if it can by law.
Real estate agent Phyllis Alexander, who already provides clients with a list of Web sites that contain information about their potential neighborhoods, said the new tool could further educate homeowners.
She noted that the county's meth reputation typically doesn't come into play for people looking to buy a home. Instead, they are attracted to the school districts and how much house they can get for their dollar, she said.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol did not know of any other counties in the state that listed similar information linked to meth-lab seizures.
Sgt. Jason Clark, spokesman for the Division of Drug and Crime Control, said Missouri leads the nation for meth-lab incidents - which includes seizing labs and finding dump sites and meth-making equipment.
Missouri recorded 770 meth-lab incidents for the first six months of the year, including 108 in Jefferson County.

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