WHAT: Electronic systems that track sales of cold medicine, which can be used to make methamphetamine drugs, have actually created a vast, highly lucrative market for profiteers to buy over-the-counter pills and sell them to meth producers at a huge markup.
HOW: Pseudoephedrine-buying crooks use vans with GPS units that list pharmacy retailers. They spend the entire week going store to store and buy to the limit. They can buy a box of cold pills for $7 to $8 and sell it for $40 or $50.
WHY: The meth epidemic made states set up electronic systems allowing pharmacies to check instantly whether a buyer already purchased the legal limit of pseudoephedrine. But since then, meth-related activity is on the rise nationally again, up 34 percent in 2009.