Rural Wisconsin Fertilizer Tanks Target Of Meth Makers

A main ingredient used to make methamphetamine has some users stealing from farmers and agriculture co-ops.

Juneau County Sheriff Brent Olson says meth makers are stealing anhydrous ammonia nitrate, a farm fertilizer that can be used to make the highly addictive drug.

The sheriff says in one case, the thief tried to drain a storage tank on some farmland and left it leaking.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Department has investigated dozens of cases of meth labs and Lieutenant Wayne Smith says the majority are in rural areas.

The fertilizer tanks often sit out during planting season. Smith says it's easier for the thieves to steal from a farm than a gated co-op.

Iowa, Richland and Grant counties have had such a problem with the fertilizer thefts that authorities have provided locks to farmers. Iowa County used a federal grant to buy the valve locks.