Credit: Contributed photo / Grangeville Police Department
Nearly 84 grams of methamphetamine was discovered in a bathroom garbage can last month. GPD estimates the amount pictured here would provide around 820 individual uses.
As of Wednesday, April 15, 2015
GRANGEVILLE – Its discovery was bittersweet.
Nearly 84 grams of packaged methamphetamine was found stashed in a motel bathroom last month. The find was made possible by Grangeville Police Department’s (GPD) narcotics detection dog, but the amount involved greatly exceeds the average illegal substance confiscations normally made by city law enforcement.
Just how greatly?
“A gram to date is a very big find for us,” said GPD Chief Morgan Drew, with officers on average recovering between one-fourth to one-half amounts of meth in individual criminal drug cases.
In this case, they recovered meth in three approximate one-ounce packages roughly larger than a golf ball in size — estimated at $8,000 street value — that broken apart would provide around 820 individual uses.
“In an area like this, that is a large supply of narcotics,” Drew said.
No arrests were made concerning the recovery, and the case is currently under investigation.
The discovery followed a March 17, 6:34 p.m., suspicious persons report at the Super 8 Motel regarding two nervous acting men in the lobby. According to Drew, GPD Officer Wes Walters and Idaho State Police Trooper Zach Nichols responded, at which point one of the men was exiting the bathroom. On questioning the man said his vehicle had broken down on White Bird Hill, and he and a companion were using the motel Wi-Fi for their phone, waiting for a friend from Nampa to come help.
During this, Nichols informed Walters he had smelled what he thought was marijuana when they entered the building, which provided the probable cause to deploy GPD’s narcotics dog, Taser. According to Drew, the dog subsequently alerted on a bathroom trash can where the meth was found inside a sock placed under the plastic liner.
At this point the second man came back in the building, and the suspects were questioned on the substance and denied any knowledge of it.
Obviously, they are persons of interest in the case, according to Drew; however, probable cause was insufficient at that time to connect the men to the meth, and no arrests were made. Police suspect the pair – white males in their early 20s from California and Nampa — was using the Wi-Fi to arrange for delivery of the drugs, a common method to arrange times and places, but whether to local sources or elsewhere is unknown.
“This stuff is coming through the community,” he said.
Idaho County is well-situated for transportation and trafficking of methamphetamine, according to Drew, due to its central location within the state for product and payments to trade hands, and its being situated at the U.S. Highway 12 and 95 intersections for north to south and east travel. Traffickers also try to “stay off the beaten path,” he said, utilizing back roads and traveling in rural areas where they know law enforcement and its available resources will be limited to scarce.
“If we wouldn’t have had Taser, we’d never have found those narcotics,” Drew said, which for this reason, as well as the county’s placement on the drug transport route, are good reasons for the city to have a narcotics detection dog.
Assigned to Officer Walters, Taser, a German Shepherd, is certified to find methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin and cocaine. He is the first GPD narcotics detection dog in the city’s history and came onto duty in 2014. Drew complimented Walters for his hard work and dedication to this canine program.
“That’s what has allowed us to locate narcotics coming into our community,” Drew said.