Building Drug Cases
While the Narcotics Division has realized some early success, the task of curtailing drug activity in Clarksville presents formidable obstacles.
Chief of Detectives Darrell Rayborn said one of the primary impediments faced by the drug squad is limited funding.
“You got to have money to do this,” Rayborn said. “We are on a limited amount of money, but we are making do with it, and we are accomplishing things with that.”
DeMoss said a drug investigation requires significant amounts of money for officers to orchestrate undercover buys.
“When you are talking about buy money and when you go into really in depth with investigations, and the investigations that are going to take you to that main, main source and you try to just keep on working up that ladder, it takes money,” DeMoss said.
DeMoss explained how money can be lost while building a drug case.
“If we are going to come out here and do a buy for an ounce of cocaine or an ounce of heroin, you are talking $1,300 to $1,400 of buy money. We have some money, but we can’t just let $1,300, $1,400 go and then down the road expect to get that money back. There is a possibility that we may not get that money back. We might make an arrest, but may not get that money back,” DeMoss said. “And we need that money for other things, also.”
Even with limited funding and equipment, the drug squad is building cases and making arrests.
“We are trying to do as much as we can with the limited resource we have,” Walls said.
Clarksville’s Drug Cycle
The detectives said the drug scene in Clarksville unfolds in a cycle as specific substances gain wide-spread use, then go out of style to be replaced by a more popular drug.
“In the 1980s we had the crack and the cocaine, then we started with the meth issue,” DeMoss said.
He said methamphetamine use was a larger issue in Clarksville 15 years ago, then laws passed by legislators curtailed the use of the substance in the area.
“Prescription pill abuse, primarily Opana and Oxycodone, then became very prevalent among young people,” he said.
DeMoss said prescription pill manufactures assisted the efforts of law enforcement by reformulating production to make the pills more difficult to be crushed and subsequently snorted.
While police, lawmakers and manufactures have made drugs less obtainable, drugs remain easily accessible in Clarksville.
“But, we can still walk out the door and buy cocaine (and other drugs) in the next half hour,” Walls said. “It is there.”
With the decline in prescription pill abuse, a door has been opened for a different, dangerous drug to become widely used in the area, heroin.
“We are seeing a lot of heroin now. Kids are going to heroin because it is cheaper, and you get the same high,” DeMoss said.
The detectives said in recent months they have seen an upsurge in reports of heroin overdoses, including reports of people overdosing from heroin in restaurants and public bathrooms.
“Heroin seems to (account) for a large number of overdoses. It is being recklessly abused right now,” Walls said.