Cocaine cheaper, easier to get, cops say |

Cocaine cheaper, easier to get, cops say

Steven Sekelik

EAGLE COUNTY – The Eagle County Drug Task Force is seeing a countywide increase in cocaine use, as well as indicators that dangerous methamphetamine labs are making their way towards the valley, said Lt. Mike McWilliam, a detective with the Eagle County Sheriff’s department.McWilliam said that the biggest drug problem Eagle County is facing right now is rising use of cocaine, which comes in two forms: A white crystalline powder that can be snorted through the nose, dissolved in water, or injected; and crack, an off-white chunky material that is usually smoked.The cost of cocaine per ounce has decreased from $1,200 to $700, McWilliam said. “Cocaine is getting cheaper everyday. That tells me there is more of it and it is easier to get a hold of,” says McWilliam.One disturbing trend is increasing cocaine use in the high schools, he said. “Kids who started using marijuana and alcohol are now using cocaine,” McWilliam said.

Since December 2004, numerous cocaine related arrests have been made by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Drug Task Force just in Gypsum and Eagle. Much of the cocaine on the street is produced in Columbia, Peru, and other Central American countries, then transported across the border to the U.S. from Mexico, McWilliam said.According to U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.Gypsum town leaders, such as Councilman Tom Edwards, said more needs to be done to educate local kids on the dangers of drug use. “I think that the community as a whole has a responsibility to support youth activities and create opportunities through recreation, school, library, 4-H and support of other positive areas of youth interest,” Edwards said.Meth labsAnother fear police have it that methamphetamine labs are moving toward Eagle County from Denver and Grand Junction, McWilliam said. Although though the most recent meth lab found in Eagle County was discovered in Wolcott two years ago, the drug task force is preparing to deal with the highly-addictive drug and hazardous methods use to make it, he said. “The only reason we are not seeing a big problem here is because there so many more cocaine users than meth users. It kind of pushes the meth out, but it’s coming this way in the future,” McWilliam said. Making methamphetamine – whether in large or small “laboratories” – involves at least one step, and sometimes more, where the risk of explosion is high. Some of the chemicals used to produce methamphetamine are toxic and others, when combined, they can also become toxic and flammable. Vail, Colorado

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