Archive for Monday, March 15, 2010

Records request sheds light on drug interdictions

March 15, 2010


Note: This article is part of a weeklong series, running March 14 to March 20, honoring Sunshine Week.

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Kansas Highway Patrol troopers in 2009 seized nearly $27 million in drugs from the state’s highways, according to information obtained through an open records request.

Among the drugs officers took from suspects were nearly 8,100 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of about $16.2 million; 116.7 mushrooms, worth $10 apiece; and one dose of LSD, valued at $10. Officers also seized cocaine, methamphetamine and crack.

In response to a broad 6News/Lawrence Journal-World records request for information regarding drug seizures, the highway patrol said it was able to provide only limited information about last year’s drug seizures, because some of the evidence was tied up in current investigations or litigation and could not be made public.

The highway patrol said it also seized 75 vehicles and 27 firearms and made 506 arrests in connection with its drug busts last year.

As part of an identical open records request, Lawrence police said 497 cases were associated with narcotics charges in 2009 in the city. Sgt. Bill Cory, police spokesman, said the agency could not release any hard numbers regarding drug seizures.

“The Lawrence Police Department does not maintain a detailed report of those drug seizures or any forfeitures that arise out of a drug case,” Cory said.

Kansas Highway Patrol 2009 drug seizures

Drug — Amount — “Street value”

Marijuana — 8,090.923 pounds — $16,181,846

Cocaine — 461.565 pounds — $9,692,865

Methamphetamine — 42.522 pounds — $850,440

Crack — 106.7 grams — $13,337.50

LSD — 1 dosage unit — $10

Mushrooms — 116.7 — $1,167

Total street value — $26,739,665.50

How the information for this story was obtained

What information and records were requested?

A detailed report of all drug seizures made in 2009, including information about what drugs were seized and what items were seized for forfeiture.

Which agencies?

Kansas Highway Patrol, Lawrence Police

How quickly did they respond to the request?

Both agencies responded to request within three days and asked for clarified information about what records were desired.

Information was received from the highway patrol two business days later.

Lawrence police did not respond to a second open records request that clarified what information was being requested. A spokesman several weeks later said there was a breakdown in communication.

How much did records cost?

Information was provided by the highway patrol at no charge.

Was any information from the request denied?

Yes. Some information was not available from the highway patrol under the Open Records Act, because it “is tied to an outstanding criminal investigation and/or litigation,” said Herman Jones, records custodian.

Is this information currently accessible by the public?

A complete list of drug seizures is not available online, though Lawrence police sometimes list information about them on criminal offense reports, which are available online.


peacock 8 years, 2 months ago

i am wondering how they calculate how much these things cost on the street..... my math skills aren't the best, but i find it hard to believe that some of that would really sell for what i came up with... then again, drugs are addictive and maybe some people would do what it takes to come up with the money???

matahari 8 years, 2 months ago

woop de do and la de da, I was gonna do the math but 462 lbs for 9 large sounds like a good deal to me..... and btw LSD is $10 a hit now?

altho crack seems to be a bit expensive these days, according to whom? LPD? or is this a national data?

matahari 8 years, 2 months ago

Oh scuse (no coffee yet)...9 mil! now that I can believe what the state determines, sorry for my errorl! I am laughing now

imastinker 8 years, 2 months ago

$2000 for a pound of pot?

I didn't think it was that expensive, but what do I know?

Maddy Griffin 8 years, 2 months ago

It's not. What kind of pot was that?Must have been some Maui Woweee or some thing. Grown on Mars.

Shane Garrett 8 years, 2 months ago

Mexican swag goes cheaper than Northern Lights, blue rhino, or humbolt county. So an avg of two grand a pound breaks down to less than 40.00 for 7 grams.

somedude20 8 years, 2 months ago

sounds like the budget for Keith Richard's drugs when on tour

frankwiles 8 years, 2 months ago

If sold and taxed at even just normal sales tax rates for Lawrence, that weed would have generated nearly $1.2 million dollars. And that's just in what they managed to confiscate. Silly drug war.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 2 months ago

you guys are missing the point. at least they got like 1/2 of a percent of drugs off the streets, even though it was probably replaced in the market the very next day. The real good news here is that billions upon billions of dollars are still going to the cartels where it belongs and without any tax revenue brought to our local & national governments. Not only that, but the really good news is that the country still arrested more than 800,000 people last year causing lost wages and broken homes.

rlmtyco 8 years, 2 months ago

The calculate the drug street value by as if the seller was selling it in very small doses, for example, weed.....they wouldnt break it down as lbs, they would calculate it as if the seller was selling 1/8's of it the whole time and multiple that out.

Hektor 8 years, 2 months ago

If you view this a proxy for the relative levels of drugs on the street, it appears that LSD is basically extinct.

Graczyk 8 years, 2 months ago

I, too, was surprised by the lack of LSD in the busts. LSD used to be ubiquitous.I think Ecstasy filled the niche that LSD used to occupy - at least for my little group of ahem experimenters.

ralphralph 8 years, 2 months ago

This is really a "tip of the iceberg" situation. There is so much dope flowing up the highways that this doesn't really make a meaningful dent. The "interdiction" method of enforcement, basically involves just paying attention to passing traffic and looking for people who look like they might be smuggling drugs. This leads to some problems in the "driving while Mexican" area, but it manages to catch a surprising number of people. Unfortunately, the people caught tend to be the dumbest-of-the-dumb or the tweakiest-of-the-tweaky. The more sophisticated transporters seem to find it possible to drive through Kansas without exceeding 90 MPH or freaking out whenever a cop so much as looks at them, and they rarely get caught.

There is so much money being made by the folks hauling dope up the highways that if the KHP was given the green light to shoot bazookas at everybody they thought might possibly be a mule, the vast majority would still get through, and the ones who didn't would be replaced the next day. Law enforcement is grossly under-resourced for this fight, and is working for a public that hasn't really committed whether it even wants to fight in the first place. That makes for a dangerous workday for a lot of people out there trying to do what is asked of them.

If we want drugs to be illegal and to stop their use, it will take a draconian system of enforcement to make that happen. It would be somewhat possible, but very unpleasant. If we are not really serious about the fight, then perhaps we need to look at the factors that make it so profitable to the cartels, and look at some kind of regulation and taxation that would take out some of the profit for the suppliers and some of the danger for the officers were sending out to face that flow.

KansasPerson 8 years, 2 months ago

Nothing to do with the story, but:

I really like the picture that heads up this article on the front page of the website. Usually when you click on the picture, you get the article with the picture at the top, and then you can click on the picture to see a bigger version of it. But in this case, the only way you can see it is on the front of the website. The article itself doesn't have the picture at the top to click on. And I kinda wanted a bigger view of it. Does a link to it not exist anywhere?

I just like those distant rainclouds with the rain slanting out of them!

Casey_Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

$2000/lb is not at all unreasonable for what's available in Lawrence, and that's if you're buying by the pound. As for the acid, my guess would be it's harder for cops to find. Often on paper and I dunno, can dogs smell it?

Casey_Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

And if ecstasy filled that niche why isn't there any info on seized ecstasy?

Bucker00 8 years, 2 months ago

It breaks down to something like $125 per ounce. That's that far out of line? I'm not in that game anymore, but 15 years ago it was near that. Has the price dropped? They did say street value, not wholesale.

Casey_Jones 8 years, 2 months ago

I have no idea what the average quality is throughout Lawrence but the best stuff around goes for $400/oz street value. But then again I've seen some for $60/oz...

Graczyk 8 years, 2 months ago

Ecstasy is a type of methamphetamine. The article doesn't say what type of methamphetamine was seized. Is it possible that all forms of meth (crystal, etc.) were lumped into the same category?

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