Drug task force presents findings, outlines trends
WORTHINGTON — During a Wednesday special city council meeting, council members listened to a presentation from members of the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force about the force's work throughout Nobles, Murray and Pipestone counties.
Officers explained that the task force has created a BRDTF Tips smartphone app, which is 100% anonymous and cannot be traced back to the tip reporter. They encouraged citizens to use the app and to watch for signs of illicit drug use in the community.
Task force members said that methamphetamine, marijuana and misused prescription drugs are the substances they most commonly encounter and seize.
In the cases of meth and marijuana, the production and consumption of the drugs is evolving, officers noted.
They told city council that meth can now be created in a space as small as a 20-ounce plastic bottle. If the materials are agitated, they can explode into a fireball large enough to level a mobile home. If community members are cleaning up trash along roadways and notice a plastic bottle with a couple inches of white liquid in the bottom, they should not touch it and alert authorities immediately.
Officers said marijuana users are more commonly ingesting the drug using THC cartridges inserted into an e-cigarette. What users often don't realize is that possession of marijuana in a liquid or resinous form is an automatic felony, whereas the leaf form is considered a misdemeanor in small amounts.
The reason drugs are so often linked to crimes such as robbery and burglary is the sheer expense of sustaining a drug habit, officers explained.
A typical meth addict will use at least a gram per day, and a gram costs between $100 and $250. THC cartridges go for $60 to $75, because they are commonly trafficked across state lines from a state where a dealer can buy one legally for $5. That kind of budget is unsustainable for long, so sometimes users will look for other ways to finance their habit — namely, robbery and burglary. Because of this association, the drug task force will often investigate theft suspects for evidence of drug abuse.
The task force members committed to reporting to city council at least annually.