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(KVTI)- What do you call people who cross the border with a satchel full of cash to buy drugs? You would call them the people in charge of Missouri’s inmate executions.

Due to shortages of execution drugs, Missouri had decided to use the drug propofol to kill death row inmates. But propofol is used in hospitals. It’s manufactured in Europe. The European Union is opposed to the death penalty.  So the E.U. said if propofol was used in executions they would stop exporting it to U.S.  hospitals. So Missouri canceled the propofol use.

But they had to find another drug to use in the execution chamber at Bonne Terre. They chose pentobarbital. But the only way to get the drug was to get it from a so-called compounding pharmacy that would create the drug mixture itself, one batch at a time. The FDA hasn’t approved the drug.

The Oklahoma pharmacy where Missouri gets it wasn’t licensed to do business in Missouri. The name of the pharmacy is being kept secret. And officials from the Missouri Department of Corrections get the drug by crossing the border to Oklahoma and, literally, exchanging cash for the drug.

The death penalty is legal in Missouri. It’s a matter of public policy defended by the governor and attorney general and, if you believe the polls, supported by a large majority of Missourians. So why is it being treated like a Mexican cartel drug deal with secrecy and piles of cash? Charles discusses that with Jeremy Kohler, and investigative reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.