Timing, luck play into size of drug busts

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Area police have made a number of drug arrests recently, but they say the larger-than-average quantities of drugs found are something of a fluke.

On Thursday, police arrested Christopher L. Klughart, 29, of Benton, Mo., after a search warrant for his residence was executed. Police say they seized methamphetamines, marijuana and assorted prescription pills. Klughart was charged with possession with the intent to distribute, possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana, and promoting sale of drug paraphernalia.

On Sept. 5, Cape Girardeau police arrested and charged three suspects after a raid following a warrant at 2852 Larkspur Court. About $25,000 worth of crack cocaine was seized in connection with the bust.

Wednesday, six pounds of marijuana were seized during a bust at 614 Sycamore St., a haul of about $10,000, according to Cape Girardeau police Sgt. Barry Hovis. Curtis D. Simmons was arrested in connection with the search and seizure.

"In all actuality, we're really doing nothing differently," said Sgt. Kevin Glaser, director of the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force.

The larger quantities of drugs -- pounds or multiple grams as opposed to half-gram amounts -- brought in over the past few months have had more do with timing and a little luck than anything else, Glaser said.

The task force and local police departments investigate potential leads in drug cases, and search warrants are served, but usually they go unreported because the amounts are small.

Timing plays a critical role in securing a large amount of drugs and consequently in securing more arrests and lengthier sentences.

In many cases, police receive information from informants or neighbors that a residence is being used for drug deals, but they have a small window between when drugs arrive or are produced and when they are distributed.

"A lot of times, a large amount of drugs doesn't remain at that location very long," Glaser said.

In July, August and September, the task force recovered $36,014 worth of controlled substances, including crack cocaine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana. One methamphetamine lab was broken up.

The task force served 13 warrants and seized 48 grams of cocaine, 80.5 grams of crack cocaine and 1,830.65 grams of marijuana.

Even if only a small amount of drugs is seized following a warrant, the raid can still help the task force curtail the drug trade, Glaser said.

"It's a lot of success even if we don't find anything, because we've made a statement -- shut down your business or we're going to be back," he said.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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