Comments Off on Napa County drug agents target Methamphetamine as biggest local threat

Crystal methamphetamine remains the biggest drug threat in Napa County, according to the countywide unit that focuses on drug-related offenses.

Detectives in 2013 made 108 arrests for suspected methamphetamine-related offenses. They also seized 1,368 grams of methamphetamine — or about 3.2 pounds — with a street value of about $136,800, according to the Napa Special Investigations Bureau (NSIB).

Methamphetamine has been, and continues to be, our priority,” said Napa Police Lt. Gary Pitkin, who heads NSIB.

“The addictive properties and behavioral changes caused by methamphetamine is cause for concern,” according to NSIB’s 2013 annual report. “Methamphetamine continues to be trafficked into our county from Mexico by way of Southern California, the Central Valley and through surrounding counties including Solano, Contra Costa, and Sonoma. Methamphetamine has crossed every gender, age, and cultural line in our community.”

The recent passage of Proposition 47 imposes new rules on how drug and theft allegations are charged in California, with drug possessions prosecuted as misdemeanors instead of felonies.

This new law, which went into effect Nov. 5, the day after California voters approved the statewide measure, will not affect NSIB investigations, according to the task force.

“NSIB targets drug dealers, manufacturers and cultivators,” Pitkin said.

NSIB detectives can either book offenders into the jail or cite and release those arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor drug offenses.

In 2013, drug agents also eradicated 25,555 marijuana plants, including 24,181 plants grown outdoors, according to the report. Marijuana grown in Napa County is transported across state lines and sold in other states, the agency reports.

Citizens’ reports of strong odors, armed trespassers and water theft, spurred many of NSIB’s investigations.

Most of the outdoor marijuana plants that were eradicated were grown in large-scale operations on privately owned lands. In most cases, the landowners did not know the marijuana was being cultivated on their property, according to NSIB.

NSIB detectives seized 20 grams of powder cocaine — or 0.70 ounces – far less than in 2012, when agents seized nearly 16 ounces of the drug. That may be due to methamphetamine prices falling, the agency said.

The illicit sales and abuse of prescription painkillers and sedatives have increased and may lead to a resurgence of heroin use and abuse, according to the report. “This theory is predicated on the fact that many of the highly desired prescription painkillers are more expensive and harder to acquire than heroin, a substance that provides a similar high.”





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