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$3.7 Million Worth of Meth Seized During Traffic Stop

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Bag of crystal meth with partially filled syringe. | Image by wing wing

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A Dallas resident has been arrested out of state on drug charges after a routine traffic stop. According to KXAN, around 11:50 pm on September 29th, a 2006 Chevy Silverado was pulled over by an officer of Neodesha Police Department in Wilson County, Kansas, for speeding.   

After deciding there was probable cause for further investigation, the officer was able to search the vehicle. Upon the search, the officer found 82 pounds of methamphetamine, which has a worth of $3.7 million.

The driver of the Silverado was 19-year-old Alejandro Salazar from Dallas, Texas. He was arrested on the spot for “possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell, possession of drug sale paraphernalia, and driving without a valid license,” according to KXAN.   

The passenger of the vehicle was 19-year-old Roger Mercado from Garland, Texas. He was arrested for “possession of methamphetamine with the intent to sell and possession of drug sale paraphernalia.”  

WIBW stated that police pulled the Chevy Silverado over for speeding in Neodesha at the 400 block of Main Street. Neodesha, KS, is approximately 360 miles away from Alejandro Salazar’s hometown of Dallas.   

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation stated in a media release that Alejandro Salazar and Roger Mercado were sent to the Wilson County Jail in Kansas to be booked.  

The Topeka Capital-Journal reported how the Kansas Bureau of Investigation measures the street value of methamphetamine per pound. Buyers of illegal drugs receive discounts, “similar to when we buy from Sam’s Club or Costco,” said Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s communications director, Melissa Underwood. The value of street drugs varies depending on how much someone buys at once.

To that end, the Topeka Capital-Journal goes into more depth to explain how the $3.7 million value was calculated: “Underwood said the street value of the meth seized was calculated using the estimated value for street-level purchases of that drug in Kansas of (sic) $100 per gram, which isn’t listed in the KBI’s annual meth recommendation report. We chose to use the per-gram price calculation since the gram amounts are the quantity that a typical street user is most likely to purchase.”  

There are twenty-eight grams in one ounce and sixteen ounces in one pound. The exact amount of meth found in the Silverado was 82.57 pounds, which converts to 36,991.36 grams. That amount of grams, multiplied by the street value (of methamphetamine in Kansas) per gram, which is $100, equals a $3,699,136 total street value for the meth seized from the truck.    

Methamphetamine is relatively popular. In 2018, 205,000 people ages 12 and older started to use methamphetamine in the U.S. That amount averages to around 560 people per day. Given these numbers, it’s easy to see how meth “is the second most popular illegal drug in the world,” according to American Addiction Centers. 

Drug Policy Facts mentions the mortality rate of users of stimulants within the United States. “Stimulant mortality has risen rapidly since 2010. The mortality rate involving all stimulants rose from 2.913 deaths per 100,000 population in 2010 to 9.690 in 2017,” the website states.  

Changes in American drug policies have altered the way users get their supply.

According to Drug Policy Facts, “Law enforcement pressure and strong precursor chemical sales restrictions have achieved marked success in decreasing domestic methamphetamine production. Mexican DTOs, however, have exploited the vacuum created by rapidly expanding their control over methamphetamine distribution — even to eastern states — as users and distributors who previously produced the drug have sought new, consistent sources. These Mexican methamphetamine distribution groups (supported by increased methamphetamine production in Mexico) are often more difficult for local law enforcement agencies to identify, investigate, and dismantle because they typically are much more organized and experienced than local independent producers and distributors. Moreover, these Mexican criminal groups typically produce and distribute ice methamphetamine that usually is smoked, potentially resulting in a more rapid onset of addiction to the drug.”  

The list of symptoms that an individual can experience from methamphetamine use is long, and death by overdose can quickly happen.

“A paranoid psychosis may result from long-term use; rarely, the psychosis is precipitated by a single high dose or by repeated moderate doses. Typical features include delusions of persecution, ideas of reference (notions that everyday occurrences have special meaning or significance personally meant for or directed to the patient), and feelings of omnipotence. Some users experience a prolonged depression, during which suicide is possible. Recovery from even prolonged amphetamine psychosis is usual but is slow. The more florid symptoms fade within a few days or weeks, but some confusion, memory loss, and delusional ideas commonly persist for months,” explains Drug Policy Facts.   

These aren’t the only hazards of meth use, however. The American Addiction Centers has another list of problematic symptoms that users can experience during an overdose. Individuals could have enlarged pupils, irregular heart rate, difficulty breathing, heart attack, stroke, chest pains, high body temperature, high blood pressure, kidney failure, stomach pain, altered mental state, agitation, paranoia, coma, seizures, and suicidal thoughts.  

Methamphetamine abuse can be fatal, and long-term use of meth can cause permanent physical damage. If you or someone you know needs help to overcome a methamphetamine addiction, contact Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) by calling 1-800-662-4357.

They “can help you find drug treatment facilities, support groups, and other forms of help for drug abuse,” according to American Addiction Centers. However, if an overdose is suspected, dial 9-1-1 immediately.  

The official charges are still pending, and an investigation is underway when it comes to Alejandro Salazar and Robert Mercado.   

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