Drug Busts Are Becoming More Dangerous For Police Departments

Sunday, September 26th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Investigators say serving warrants and making arrests is more dangerous than in recent past, because of the ever increasing combination of methamphetamine and guns.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol Tactical team that went to arrest Kenny Barret Friday in Sallisaw, say they found meth. Officials say the home-made drug often increases people's paranoia, making them feel they need the ultimate protection.

Investigators say Kenny Barrett had plenty of fire power. They believe he illegally converted his high powered rifle to shoot like a machine gun. They say he was also packing a handgun.

"That was in his belt... just as a normal course of business. As you would wear a pager, or have a cell phone for your job, he has a gun in his belt for his job," says District Attorney Dianne Barker-Harrold.

Prosecutors say they wanted Barrett behind bars because they believed he was making methamphetamine and he had skipped a recent trial where he was fighting charges for selling meth. Officers say often times where they find meth, they find guns.

"It's a different type of person you are dealing with," says Rob Cowen with the drug task force.

Cowen is the director of the multi-county drug task force that waited in the wings when the OHP tactical team approached Barrett's house. Cowen says the homemade drug is an upper, which keeps people awake, sometimes for days and eventually brings on a paranoid feeling.

"They think someone is out to get them, somebody is out looking for them, someone is going to raid their house and steal their dope," says Cowen.

So, they know when they approach the home of a possible meth user, they face danger.

"Everybody has a job to do and they believe in their job," says Cowen.

Despite the increased dangers, Cowen says the tactical teams are well trained and believe in keeping society safe from meth users. Some prosecutors believe first time meth users need treatment. But they feel people who are dealers should get the same jail time as the people who commit crimes like armed robbery, rapes and murder.