by Detective David Schucker, Lawton Police Department, Special Operations
We're all narcotic enforcers, wether we wear a uniform or not. Some of the best cases we make are when we work together. Patrol officers, K-9 officers and plain clothed narcotics investigators all working together toward the same goal. By working together we can cover all of the bases from different perspectives leaving less margin for error. Don't kid yourselves though. The Dope God will always find an opportunity to test that margin of error regardless of how minimal it may be.
The patrolmen were dispatched to the residence, at 3:30 in the morning, on a disturbance call. Upon arrival, they made contact with two women in the front yard. When posed with the question about where they lived, they appeared to be nocturnal bird watchers giving out the night owl call of, "Whooo, me". The Dope God smiled.
It was soon determined that they, along with seven other amnesiac bird watchers, neither lived at the residence in question nor could say where the resident was. At last, contact was made at the front door. As the door opened the odor of ether emanating from the entrance was overwhelming, reminiscent of some 1800's surgical center or the local automotive carburetor service. The patrolmen inquired as to the strong chemical odors coming from within the house, at which time the occupant began an Abott and Costello "Who's on First, What's on Second" routine. The occupant claimed that he could not smell any ether and the patrolmen ponder that with his IQ, he probably couldn't spell it either. The Dope God smiled once again.
A sudden noise was heard projected from the side of the house. This was a disturbance call and this noise was disturbing. One patrolman went around the side to investigate. Rounding the corner, the patrolman was besieged by a powerful wave of aromatic fumes. The concentration of ether was mind numbing. The patrolman looked down, aghast at what he saw. In a box, on the ground, was a jar containing a two layered liquid. "I've seen this before", thought the patrolman. "In class, and I remember it's bad". Suddenly, the sentence on the top of page three, of the NES® Clandestine Laboratory First Responder Field Guide, First Edition, Copyright 1999, published by Network Environmental Systems, Inc. appeared in his Head. "If you find a clan lab Get OUT!" The patrolman backed away from the box, "moon walking" to put Michael Jackson to shame. The Dope God chuckled.
Meanwhile, another patrolman happened to glance at the corner of the front yard and observed fifteen large, dark colored plastic bags stuffed with empty pizza boxes, McDonalds cartons, coffee filters, plastic tubing, dozens of empty HEET bottles, old clothes, news papers and other assorted items. From this casual observation, the patrolman deduced that it must be trash day. (He'll be a detective some day!) "Wait a minuet. Coffee filters, plastic tubing, dozens of empty HEET bottles. I've seen that before."
"Was it in the NES® Clandestine Laboratory First Responder Field Guide, First Edition, Copyright 1999, published by Network Environmental Systems, Inc.? No. It was in that clandestine methamphetamine lab class put on by the Association of Oklahoma Narcotic Enforcers. This could me evidence of a meth lab!" The dope god chuckled once again.
His phone rang at 4:30 am, and in a sleep clouded stupor, through the scratchy cellular phone, ("I should have got a digital", thought the patrolman.) the investigator heard the patrolman rattle off the story of what had just occurred. "Let them go. Tell them they got away with it this time. Meet me in the office and we'll write a search warrant.", the investigator said to the patrolmen. With a performance worthy of an Oscar, that's exactly what the patrolman did. The Dope God chuckled on.
They met in the office and the investigator began to type at a blinding pace. (He been doing this for several years now and could use two fingers.) While he was doing this, two other investigators suited up and headed to the residence for surveillance where one of the patrolman stood by on vigilant watch. Suddenly, seven, suspects (say that three times fast) walked out of the door carrying a large plastic bag. The all climbed into a Suburban and then headed down the road. "Yikes!", thought the patrolman. Making an urgent phone call (with the scratchy cellular phone) he contacted the investigator. The investigator, knowing that sufficient exigent circumstances existed to lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe that evidence of a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory might easily and readily be transported from the residence, the investigator instructed the patrolman to stop the vehicle and put a K-9 on the vehicle. The vehicle was stopped, the K-9 alerted and nothing was found. "Yikes!", thought the investigator. The Dope God laughed.
Undaunted, the investigator went back to his speedy typing of the probable cause. Once this mini literary masterpiece was completed, the investigator carried it to the Judge and it was signed. Gathering at the office, men clad in black uniforms, burdened by heavy entry vests and ballistic helmets briefed for their operation. This was a meth lab. Careful, calculated and specific plans were drawn on the dry erase board and mapped out for every member of the raid team. Two investigators still kept surveillance on the residence to be searched. This was going to be a good one. The Dope God continued to laugh.
Suddenly, the surveillance team observed the large, lumbering, orange garbage truck turn the corner. They intercepted the crew instructing them to delay picking up the trash on this route. They understood and drove away. Drove away down the street where they commenced picking up the trash for every single residence except the residence to be searched. (They're garbage men . Brains are not required on the job.) A wiry "crankster" exited the house, screaming at the garbage crew for their apparent blunder. From a distance, through high tech surveillance equipment (a pair of old hunting binoculars) the investigators could see the garbage men pointing their way. They could almost read the man's lips, "The police told us not to". The Dope God laughed out loud.
Using proper police radio procedure, the surveillance team investigator contacted the raid team and calmly inquired as to the present location and estimated time of arrival. (This was accomplished by stating, "Get over here now! This whole deal is going to hell in a hand basket!!") With that said, the surveillance investigators and their lone uniformed sentry rushed the door and served the search warrant (adapt and improvise) leaving the gallantly clad raid team standing in a parking lot wondering what happened.
The investigators searched the residence finding numerous important items of evidence linking the occupants to manufacturing methamphetamine. One investigator was overheard stating how much he loved his job, as he bent over elbows deep in the putrid garbage bags, in the front yard. A bad guy went to jail and a dangerous meth lab was shut down. Patrolmen and investigators, working together for the same goal and the Dope God getting a good laugh in the process!
Be careful out there and may the Dope God be with you.
The "Dope God" is a very funny guy. Sometimes no matter how hard you look, or how long you wait for that proverbial phone call, nothing happens. Then when you least expect it, WHAM, he hits you with the big deal.
After completing an eight hour shift of driving around aimlessly looking for dopers and finding none, it was time to call it a night. My partners and I were just getting ready to leave the office for the night when I got a phone call from a friend, who had come in from out of town. It just so happened that my friend is a Police Officer, in Cement. My friend asked what I was doing. I naturally replied that after a hard night of work, I was going home, after all it was 1:45 in the morning. My friend told me that a mutual friend of ours was in town from New York City, and wanted to meet me at a local greasy hamburger joint. I told him that it would be nice to see some friendly people for a change so I would meet him there. My coworkers and I closed up shop and I was on my way to some easy conversation with some good friends.
Ten minutes later, I was settling into a nice bacon cheeseburger, fries, a coke and some good conversation with some friends. After a while, I realized it was getting late and I needed to be going home to my family. So my friends and I went outside to the parking lot and as friends will do, we continued talking in the parking lot. After a while, a red camaro came into the parking lot and backed into a parking space. Out of the car came a guy with his shirt unbuttoned halfway and wearing his "Mister T" starter kit. This guy, who had obviously been drinking, was holding a small piece of tin foil in his hand as he staggered into the restaurant. Initially, I thought that it was a wrapper from a piece of gum that he was going to throw away. But just as he was about to enter the store, a female in another car in the parking lot, shouted the guy, " Boy, you ain't got nothing but trouble in your hand!" Now, being the ever alert narcotics officer, this statement did peak my curiosity. But it was his reply that really got my attention. He shouted back to the girl, "I ain't got nothing to worry 'bout, ain't no one to worry 'bout here!" Naturally this made alarms go off in my head. My friend, the Cement police officer, and I just looked at each other and laughed. There, right in front of the guy stood two off duty Police Officers in plain clothes. Little did he know, how much he truly had to worry about.
We decided to stay outside as the guy went in and just watch for a little while. We continued in our conversation and watched as the guy went about ordering his food and then joining some females that were already inside. The whole time he continued to hold onto his tin foil package. A couple of times, he would start to open it and then close it again. My curiosity was running rampant now and I could no longer resist the temptation. I asked my friends to continue watching the guy and then went to my car, got on my radio and had some on duty uniform officers call me on my cell phone. When they called, I explained the situation, and asked them to come to the restaurant and go in as if on their coffee break. Once they did this, I would continue to watch from outside and watch the guy's reaction to their presence.
Within minutes, the uniforms arrived and went inside without acknowledging that I was there. They went in and sat down in the booth right next to the guy. At first, it appeared that he did not notice them as he was engaged in conversation with his lady friends. After a few minutes, he looked over at the uniforms, who were reading the local newspaper, and instantly turned so that his back was to them and was obviously trying to conceal the hand with the tin foil. Now all kinds of whistles and bells were going off in my head.
One of the officers then came outside and asked what I wanted to do. I then decided to go back inside and see if the nice gentleman wanted to come outside and speak to us. So in we went. I pulled my badge chain out of my shirt, walked over to the guy, and identified myself as a Police Officer. Immediately, he became nervous and began to shake. More alarms in my head. As politely as I could, I asked him to step outside so that we could talk to him. As he stood up, he dropped his tin foil package on the floor. Being observant, because that is what I am paid to do, I saw this and told him, "Hey, you dropped something on the floor." Amazingly enough, he said, "That's not mine." So while the two uniforms stood by, I bent over and picked up the tin foil package. Believe it or not, when I opened it, there was some powder cocaine inside the package. I then explained to the guy that he was under arrest and the uniforms put the magic bracelets on him. Then as we began to pat him down, we found a paper cup folded up in his back pocket that contained several tin foil packages that contained numerous rocks of crack cocaine. Since he was kind enough to drive to the parking lot, we went outside and checked out his car. Lo and behold, more dope! We found some more rocks of crack cocaine in a work shirt, with his name on it! It turned out that the rocks weighed out at 6.1g and the powder weighed in at .3g. More than enough weight for Trafficking charges. The bad guy also had $645.00 in cash in his pocket, a nice little addition to our coffers.
The "Dope God" had smiled upon me this night and let one fall right into my lap. But as you can see, the work isn't over until the "Dope God" says it is. What started out as a long uneventful night at work and then some casual conversation with some friends turned into a good deal, all because the "Dope God" has a sense of humor and the guy had nothing to worry about.