Investigators warn of creative drug paraphernalia
ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - Officials in Jones County say people are finding more creative ways to hide and use drugs around the community.
"Don't be oblivious to the fact that this stuff is not out there, because it is," said Ellisville Police Chief Bruce Russell. "They are coming up with more and more innovative ways of hiding and using drugs. We who are concerned for our loved ones and law enforcement needs to be aware."
Chief Russell said this week, an officer found what appeared to be a bracelet during a traffic stop that turned out to be a pipe for marijuana use. Police and Jones County Deputies said it was the first time they had seen the bracelet in the county.
"This is a normal looking bracelet that someone is using for the consumption of marijuana, that most law enforcement officers have no idea this is being marketed, and toted and walked into schools and business everyday," said Russell.
Chief Russell showed WDAM 7 drug paraphernalia collected in the past years. Those included an empty soda can or Skoal can with a secret contraption to hide drugs, as well as lighters and key chains turned into smoking pipes.
He wants to urge the parents and the community to pay attention to what your children, family members or friends may be in possession of.
"We have several stores in Jones County that are selling this. There are several gas stations that our children are walking into and this is there for them to see," said Russell. "It's just as easy for them to buy a marijuana pipe or a crystal pipe as it is to buy a candy bar."
Russell said it's easy to walk into a gas station or convenience store and find a glass smoking pipe or drug paraphernalia. However, under Mississippi state statute, it is legal for these stores to sell the items if it is for tobacco use only.
"These gas stations know what they are doing," said Jones County Narcotics Supervisor Lt. Robert Little. "You don't see people walking around smoking tobacco out of a glass pipe."
Lt. Little said one of the most commonly-used pipe for meth they find on people is often sold by the register in a gas station. It's a glass holder with a flower inside, marketed as a "glass rose" or "Valentine flower."
Lt. Little said there are also stores in Hattiesburg selling pine tree logs, hollowed out to store drugs inside. As well as a belt and marijuana grinder that looks like a battery.
Law enforcement officers say it is legal for people to buy the items and have them in their custody. However, they will be charged if there is an intent to use for illegal drugs or if the items are found with drug residue on them.
Chief Russell and Lt. Little are urging parents to be more cautious and aware of cans or containers their children may have access to. Chief Russell also suggests looking into small containers, where many people usually hide drugs to tuck out of the way.