Texas A&M MJ Crack Down Affects Small-Time Dealers

Texas A&M MJ Crack Down Affects Small-Time Dealers
Posted by FoM on February 01, 2000 at 07:12:03 PT
By Brooke Hodges & Stuart Hutson, The Battalion
Source: U-WIRE
John returns to his apartment after a long day of classes, stretches out on his beaten-up plaid couch, turns on his TV and smokes a bowl of pot. This is the daily routine for an A&M student and small-time drug dealer, who wishes to be known as John. "I smoke pot because it relaxes me after I go through all the stress of my day," John said. 
"It leaves me in more control than alcohol would, and when you break it down, it's really cheaper than having a couple of beers at a bar every night." But John has been more careful about his use of the illegal substance in the past few months because of a steady increase in arrests related to marijuana possession by local police. "Everyone I know is really laying low right now," John said. "It seems like every time you turn around, someone you know is getting busted for handling pot. People are starting to get more careful about when and where they use it." In 1999, the College Station Police Department (CSPD) recorded 332 arrests for marijuana possession, a rise of 103 from 1998. "When the Brazos Valley Task Force started in 1987, we had one commander and about four investigators,We now have a couple of supervisors and a dozen investigators," Dan Jones, commander of Brazos Valley Narcotics Task Force, said. Jones attributes the increase in arrests to additional officers and new technology. John said the continuing rise in marijuana arrests has led to an increase in the number of "novice" dealers who sell small quantities of what they have purchased for themselves. "About four years ago, there were constantly four or five major dealers who distributed to a specific area and knew what they were doing," John said. "Now, there are maybe one or two at any given time, but your major source of pot in this area is students who go to some place like Houston to buy some for themselves, and end up selling some of that for a little extra cash. Anyone who needs a little extra cash can do it." John said these students are often inexperienced at hiding their marijuana use, and therefore account for a large number of the marijuana arrests. "One officer did a traffic stop, and when the guy stepped out of his car, he had a baggie of marijuana sticking out of his front pocket," Sgt. Allan Baron, an officer for the Crime Prevention Unit with the University Police Department (UPD), said. Baron said the majority of the UPD's marijuana seizures come from traffic stops or the smell of marijuana coming from a dorm. If an officer has probable cause, such as a burning marijuana scent, they can search a vehicle or residence without a warrant. Baron said if the officer can not see or smell marijuana, but wishes to search a vehicle, the officer must ask for consent. If the person does not grant the officer consent, the officer will detain the vehicle and driver while a search warrant is obtained from a judge. Baron said officers often use random arrests to find the source of the drugs. "Most people get it from their hometowns or bigger cities," he said. "If they give us [UPD] a name, we contact the Task Force." "The Task Force sets up connections between local agencies to focus on dealers and suppliers," Jones said. "We have to start with street dealers and continue to work up to big dealers." While Jones said the majority of the marijuana suppliers to the Bryan-College Station area originate in Mexico and filter through Houston, John said the source varies depending upon the season of the year. "February through April is the biggest time for pot, because there is a lot of high-quality stuff coming from Mexico straight through San Antonio," John said. "After April, it will drop off for a couple of months, and then start coming out of both East Texas and Mexico for the summer months by way of Houston and Dallas." John said Dallas usually supplies marijuana that is grown in the densely wooded areas of East Texas during the summer months, while Houston may supply marijuana that originates from either East Texas or Mexico, where marijuana is grown year-round because of the warm climate. Although John said marijuana use is prevalent among A&M students -- he estimates two to three students out of 10 probably have some contact with it every semester -- he said the "harder drugs" such as cocaine and heroin are very rare. "It takes big dealers to be able to afford to move those kind of drugs, so they were around a few years ago," John said. "But now that it is mostly students doing it on the side, you don't see many people who are willing to pay the large amount of money with the risk of not selling it. Personally, I never touch the stuff." Jones said the use of harder drugs seems to fluctuate. "Drug trends seem to go in cycles," Jones said. "Brazos County's crack cocaine problem hasn't gotten worse, [but] it is pretty easy to set up a distribution network being so close to Houston, which is a cocaine hub." Published: January 31, 2000(U-WIRE) College Station, Texas (C) 2000 The Battalion via U-WIRE Copyright  1995-2000 Excite Inc. Related Articles:Law Cracks Down on Aid for Student Drug Offenders-1/26/2000 With Drug Convictions Will Soon Be Denied-11/02/99
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: