United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Rising scourge of methamphetamine in America : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, October 26, 1995 online

. (page 9 of 9)
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courts, maybe, stiflfer penalties, rehabs, whatever the case may be
for those people that may be users.

Mr. HEI^fEMAN. Mr. Waller.

Mr, Waller. I strongly encourage us to start education for the
people about the problems of methamphetamine. We also have to
start the funding for treatment. I guess I'm the furthest most East
for the law enforcement men up here, and the problems that these
gentlemen have seen over the years, we are starting to see those
in Florida, The problems with needing treatment, recent news-
paper articles have been written about this problem. Several of the
people that we have arrested recently over the past few years for
methamphetamine that are now cooperating with us have thanked
us for putting them in jail because that is the only way they got
off of it. And it is amazing to look at their photograph when they
were arrested, the circles in their eyes, the way they looked as com-
pared to the way they look now.

Mr. Heineman. Thank you. In summary, in conclusion, Mr.
Chairman, I think this panel profiles the dilemma that we were in
debating the crime bill. The dilemma of a fire on the streets in the
Western part of the country and a heavy dose of prevention as it
relates to methamphetamine here in the Northeast or the Midwest.
Even though you do differ somewhat in your explanation, you were
valid in where you were coming from. Thank you.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Heineman.

I just want to follow up with a couple of quick ones so we can
get the record clear on it. I asked a question that I think I just let
Agent Waller answer, and I should ask of both of you. Lieutenant
Mayer and Sergeant Sanchez. With regard to designer drugs, gen-
erally how, in your areas does the production use, law enforcement
interest, etc. in methamphetamine compare to others, PCP, or any
other drug, other than crack, cocaine and heroine? Lieutenant
Mayer?

Mr. Mayer. Methamphetamine is about 99.9 percent of it.

Mr. McCoLLUM. How about you. Sergeant Sanchez?

Mr. Sanchez, I would say that marijuana is probably more plen-
tiful on the street, but methamphetamine is definitely right behind
it.

Mr. McCOLLUM. Let's take out the traditional plant products,
heroine, cocaine, and marijuana. Do you have other designer drugs.
We used to have PCP a lot. Mr. Waller says that they're hardly ex-
istent in Florida anymore right now. Do you have other labs, clan-
destine labs that are making products that are designer drugs as
opposed to plant based derivatives?



60

Mr. Sanchez. Basically, right now methamphetamine is, in that
respect, the number one along with amphetamine which is using
diet pills. PCP is still very prevalent out there also in our State.
It's just not as prevalent — we don't run into it as much because of
the volatility of the chemicals involved which is ether. It's bucket
chemistry, two buckets, mix the chemicals, and you can make it.

Mr. McCoLLUM. So, you don't see it as much, but you know it's
still there?

Mr. Sanchez. Yes.

Mr. McCoLLUM. And with regard to methamphetamine as op-
posed to crack or heroine or marijuana, marijuana is the most com-
mon still or not?

Mr. Sanchez. I think you do find the marijuana more so in
smaller amounts as far as the person to person basis. But what
we're finding out is, whenever we make an arrest for somebody
with marijuana, they've also got methamphetamine.

Mr. McCoLLUM. How about you, Mr. Mayer?

Mr. Mayer. We have a lot of marijuana in Oregon. I think that
is one of our success stories there. I can't say that we have eradi-
cated it totally off Federal lands. A lot of our lands are Forest Serv-
ice and BLM lands, but we have gone a long way in getting it off
Federal lands. Unfortunately, now it's in an area that's more dif-
ficult to locate, indoor growes, huge indoor growes. There's still a
lot of marijuana.

Mr. McCoLLUM. But you've indicated that methamphetamine is
more of a problem for you than crack or heroine right now, right?

Mr. Mayer. Yes, we've — I believe your question was designer
drugs.

Mr. McCoLLUM. That was to begin with.

Mr. Mayer. We have a tremendous heroine, marijuana, and
methamphetamine problem. But two-thirds of what we do is meth-
amphetamine.

Mr. McCoLLUM. OK, that makes it clear. I had occasion to visit
a Federal penitentiary that has all the women federally housed for
the Western States, which would of course include yours, and I
think yours, too. Sergeant Sanchez. I was told that a good percent-
age of them — I've forgotten the exact percentage, but it was very
hi^h — were there because of their relationship to some family oper-
ation in growing marijuana or methamphetamine labs or some-
thing of that nature. They're just part of that family that's doing
business. Is that what you run into? You're shaking your head, Ser-
geant Sanchez. Is this a family business usually, making meth-
amphetamine, or is it

Mr. Sanchez. Yes, I think it is, and as I talked about earlier,
that's where the conspiracy nature comes in. It's a source of in-
come. If I was going to get into the narcotics field and make good
money at it, this would be where I would go. I wouldn't waste my
time with marijuana. I would build designer drugs because of the
fact that they are kind of like a family type situation. But the one
thing that happens with clandestine labs is that they are not open
to everyone — they are very secretive. People don't want others to
know where they exist. So it's usually kept pretty tight within a
family, and you're talking about females in the prison system —
most generally people don't look at females being involved in this



61

type of production. So it's one of those stigmas, I think, if you want
to say, that you would probably look at a female buying particular
products as not being a methamphetamine cook or part of that con-
spiracy.

In retrospect to that, when we first started seeing this with the
bikers, the women would actually be the ones that would go out
and buy a lot of the chemicals and be the go between and that kind
of thing. So, yes it is, it is a family type setup which is kept very
close knit.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Is that the same thing you're experiencing, Mr.
Mayer?

Mr. Mayer. I'm a little confused on the family term. If you con-
sider family of being of criminal association as well as blood, yes,
that's true.

Mr. McCOLLUM. I was thinking blood particularly. I was think-
ing in terms of either blood or live-ins or live-togethers, families
like you've got a mother and father and kids, whether they are
married or not is another story.

Mr. Mayer. To a certain degree, that's true. I'll give you a quick
example. We had a father who through visitation came to visit his
14-year-old son. Well, evidently, his 14-year-old son, come to find
out, is one of the methamphetamine cooks we have locally. And he
learned it from his father.

Mr. McCoLLUM. One last question I have. Somebody said earlier,
I think it was one of you, that you asked — Sergeant Sanchez
maybe. Kids that raise their hands in classrooms — ^you said that,
Lieutenant Mayer. You got from 50 percent to 90 percent of these
9th graders who said that they either had or they knew somebody
who was close to them in some way who has used it in the last 30
days. Do you have any knowledge, or do we have any basis upon
which we could determine, as a committee, how many of those kids
that are using it, or at least experimenting with it, go on to become
addicted to it? Is it addictive the first time they use it? Does that
mean that they are going to be using it within the matter of a few
months or once a week, once a day? Or are we talking about — while
the kids used to try marijuana, they might have smoked it one
time.

You can go back in the Vietnam War era and find a huge quan-
tity who said, "Once." Not many of that percentagewise did it more
than that. You gave a figure that is startling to hear, and it is an
important figure to hear, but at the same time, how do I put it in
context?

Mr. Mayer. Well, I'm sure there's a lot of experimentation going
on. Of course, I phrase it so that is within the last 30 days. In talk-
ing to kids, they do it repeatedly. It isn't only once. An addiction
to methamphetamine can be kind of like alcohol. Different people
are more susceptible to the addiction of methamphetamine than
the next person. So you don't know. The first time you could be-
come addicted, I'm told. So it's a tough question to answer, but
what just literally flabbergasts me is the number of kids at the 8th-
and 9th-grade level that are involved with methamphetamine.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Point's well made. Anybody else want to com-
ment on that?

[No response.]



62



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY



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Mr. McCoLLUM. If not, I'm going to wrap it up.

I really appreciate your being here today. A couple of you have
come a long, long way, and my friend from Florida has traveled a
route that is not real short, because I travel it all the time. It may
not be quite as far as California, Oregon, or Arizona.

Thank you very much for being witn us.

This hearing is adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 1:18 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned.]



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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JRising scourge of methamphetamine in America : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, October 26, 1995 → online text (page 9 of 9)