Meth labs down but Tenn. task force chief leery of funding cuts

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- The director of Tennessee's methamphetamine task force says Congress should buck the Bush administration and reverse drastic cuts in funding for drug enforcement, despite a decline in clandestine meth labs.

Task Force chief Tommy Farmer says a report on Tennessee that shows a 59 percent reduction in meth labs since 2004 reflects heightened enforcement and tighter controls on sales of products used to make the addictive stimulant.

But he says enforcement is in trouble. The White House is pushing to eliminate the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program that supports multi-jurisdictional drug agencies. Congress reduced it by more than 60 percent, to $170 million, in the budget currently under negotiation.

The crunch would hit agencies in Tennessee on July 1.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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