Breckenridge Texan

Police raid local businesses for drug paraphernalia

Police raid local businesses for drug paraphernalia
October 28
17:22 2017

Officers from the Breckenridge Police Department, Stephens County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Comptroller’s Office served a search warrant at Breckenridge Tobacco Plus in the 1200 block of West Walker Street Friday afternoon. The raid was part of an investigation into the sale of drug paraphernalia. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Breckenridge police executed search warrants at two local businesses and made one arrest Friday afternoon in a case involving alleged drug paraphernalia. Officers from the Breckenridge Police Department, Stephens County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Comptroller’s Office converged on the EZ Stop in the 800 block of West Walker Street and Breckenridge Tobacco Plus in the 1200 block of West Walker Street around 3:20 p.m.

Lieutenant Bacel Cantrell with the BPD headed up the investigation and said several items listed as drug paraphernalia were confiscated and a male employee at the EZ Stop was arrested on the charge of delivery of drug paraphernalia, a class A misdemeanor, and booked into the Stephens County Jail. During the raid Friday, he said, an ambulance was called to the scene at EZ Stop because a man in the store was feeling light-headed. Cantrell said the man refused treatment.

“We’ve had numerous complaints throughout the community about these smoke shops and some other stores selling what they call novelty items but what we see out there, as police officers, as drug paraphernalia,” Cantrell said.  “We’ve made several arrests of people with drug paraphernalia that match these same descriptions, so we got a plan, got a goal together and got something done.”

Cantrell said that during the undercover investigation officers from the Graham and Olney police departments made controlled buys of the alleged drug paraphernalia at the businesses, since Breckenridge police officers would have been recognized.

He said the two businesses raided on Friday were not the only locations that had been targeted; they investigated any business that was allegedly selling drug paraphernalia. Cantrell said that, if during the undercover operation, an employee of a business sold the officers items considered to be drug paraphernalia, they got a search warrant for the business. During the investigation, Cantrell said, undercover officers tried to make a couple of buys from each of the locations.

“For it to be a crime, the people selling it have to know what the intended use of it is,” he said. “We can’t just go over there say were going to buy a tobacco pipe. We had to go in there say, for example, that, ‘We want that marijuana pipe right there,’ and they sell it to us. That makes it a paraphernalia item, and that makes it a class A misdemeanor.”

He said the reason the employee was arrested at EZ Stop on Friday was because he was the same individual who allegedly sold the paraphernalia to the undercover officers during the investigation. As a result, an arrest warrant was issued for him. Since he was at the EZ Stop on Friday when police served the search warrant, he was arrested.

According to Cantrell, the BPD executed the search warrants at the businesses and the Stephens County Sheriff Department assisted with outside security, checking IDs and helping secure the scene. He said officers from the Texas Comptroller’s Office did a general inspection of both places because they regulate the sale of tobacco. He said Breckenridge Tobacco Plus also had some gaming systems and the Comptroller’s Officers conducted an inspection of those, as well.

In a written statement, Cantrell said, “More often than not, we fight drugs on a higher level than what we did today. I think it is important to remember there are many levels involved in the world of drugs, and today we went low level because the lower levels can be overlooked, although it contributes to the ones above it. I have seen several comments about why would we waste our time on the paraphernalia, but to be effective in the fight against drugs, we have to fight all levels.”

Another low-level community drug prevention effort Cantrell and the Breckenridge Police Department participated in on Saturday was National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The program encourages people to bring in their old prescription drugs to the police department for disposal. Cantrell and other officers set up a booth in front of the police department to accept the drugs.

Cantrell said pills are second to marijuana for abuse by people. He said many times when people have something such as surgery they’ll get a prescription and get it filled and then the pills end up sitting in the cabinet. He said then there’s the risk a curious young person – like a grandson, granddaughter, niece or nephew – who’s heard about the effects of the hydrocodone pill, runs across them and their curiosity gets the best of them. He said the BPD participates in the Take Back program in the hopes of getting all that old medication out of the cabinet, so it’s not there for anyone to find and abuse.

“Sometimes you want to go after the big guys and kick down doors, make traffic stops, tow the cars and all that, but you eventually have to go back to the little guys, start from very beginning where it all starts and  progresses,” Cantrell said. “Marijuana and pills are both gateway drugs to bigger things like methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine. You start small and work up, sometimes you just have to go that way with it.”

 

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline, top photo: Local law enforcement officers and emergency medical personnel were at the EZ Stop in the 800 block of West Walker Street Friday afternoon as a search warrant was served. According to the Breckenridge Police Department, several items listed as drug paraphernalia were confiscated and a male employee at the EZ Stop was arrested on the charge of delivery of drug paraphernalia. The ambulance reportedly was called because a man in the store was light-headed, but he refused treatment, officials said. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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