‘Ice’ is on the increase say local law officials

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 10, 2006

Law enforcement officials say they have noticed an increase inthe amount of the crystal methamphetamine known as “ice” andanother narcotic called “ecstasy” in recent weeks.

“There’s been a big influx of ice and ecstasy, not just here butpretty much throughout the state,” said Lincoln County Sheriff’sDepartment Narcotics Investigator John Whitaker.

The investigator underscored his belief in the rise of ice bypointing to arrests made Thursday night, when a man and a womanwere accused of possessing 16 grams of the narcotic with a streetvalue of approximately $1,600.

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According to Whitaker, a narcotics investigator with thesheriff’s department made a traffic stop on Interstate 55 forcareless driving and received consent to search the vehicle whenthe occupants began acting strangely.

“While searching the vehicle, they found a bag containing ahalf-ounce of crystal meth ice,” Whitaker said.

Tony Evans, 39, of Vidalia, La., who was working in LincolnCounty in the oil fields, has been charged with possession of acontrolled substance with intent and conspiracy in regards to theincident.

Evans’ passenger, Lavenda Nettles, 39, also of Vidalia, has beencharged with possession of a controlled substance andconspiracy.

Ice is a purer form than the average homemade meth lab-producedproduct, Whitaker said. While crystal meth is often found as acrushed crystalline powder, ice is typically found as smallcrystals resembling their namesake. The crystals are normally clearand sparkle slightly under bright light.

Whitaker said the small surge in ice and ecstasy is a trend mostlikely based upon availability, “which means someone has found anew supplier.”

“It could be ice now and in six months it could trend intosomething else,” he said.

Crystal meth and its ice variant are similar in productiontechniques, but ice is a little more difficult to make, hesaid.

“It’s about the same, it just takes a little longer,” Whitakersaid.

Reports from law enforcement agencies nationwide have suggestedmeth use has declined in the last year based upon fewer arrests ofabusers and captures of laboratories.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department Maj. Dustin Bairfield saidhe believed meth use here has also declined, but that could not bebased on similar figures, which would show no, or little,change.

“I think we have less meth here now than we did last year, and Icredit that to local officers being aggressive on drugenforcement,” he said.

The aggressiveness of officers in enforcing drug laws hasresulted in more arrests, which would skew the data, he said.