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Police & Fire News

April 3, 2012

Police: Dealers exchanging drugs, money via clothes in stores

Clarksville police say they get reports of drugs found in stores at least once a week

CLARKSVILLE — Paula Uhl got more than she bargained for after taking her 14-year-old daughter shopping at the Green Tree Mall last week.

The two returned to their Lanesville home with various clothing items from the store Body Central. What they didn’t know was that they also brought home prescription pain pills that had been hidden in the pocket of a new pair of shorts with the intention of being picked up by someone else.

“She was trying them on at home. I was at work ... The next thing I knew, she was texting me a photo, saying ‘Look what I found in the pocket,’” Uhl said.

After doing a Google search, Uhl found out they were Lortab pills, which is a combination pill of acetaminophen and hydrocodone, according to drugs.com.

She called the store and police, who both said this isn’t the first time this has happened.

“We found them in our store before,” said Jessica Terry, first assistant manager at Body Central. “I have heard of it happening at a few other stores in the mall and out of the mall.”

Clarksville Police Detective Nathan Walls said this seems to  be a growing trend.

“It is something we take seriously. We have stores maybe once a week call and say they found drugs or paraphernalia,” he said. “If it is something that can be investigated, we will.”

He said teens and young adults are exchanging pills and money through new clothing items in stores, and letting the person who is supposed to receive the pills/money know which item to look for in the stores. Walls said he has heard of this happening in various clothing stores in Clarksville as well as gas stations.

“What they are trying to avoid is the hand-to-hand contact between the dealer and buyer,” Walls said.

Walls said this trend is something parents need to be aware of.

“Parents should be vigilant with their children, period,” Walls said. “They should be careful with their medications. Medications, for the most part, are the drugs to be concerned about. It gateways into heavier painkillers and [drugs like] heroin. A lot of the drug use is in the early teenage years with pills and medication, because it is so readily available to them.”

Walls said this case is being investigated.

Uhl said she is shocked that this is happening locally.

“I would have never thought of anything like that,” Uhl said. “Maybe I’m naive. I never thought that it would be an issue to take my kid to the mall to buy clothes,” she said.

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