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Highly dangerous ‘meth ice’ shows up in Harrison County

An undercover investigation led to the arrest last week of two Harrison Countians in rural Greenville on federal drug charges and confiscation of 3-1/2 pounds of highly refined methamphetamine ‘ice.’
Tina Lacy, 49, and James Lynch, 46, Nadorff Road, were taken to Floyd County Jail pending an indictment by a federal grand jury in Indianapolis, said Tony King, the agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in Louisville.
Charles Quire, 46, and Jesus Ruiz-Rivera, 31, were also arrested at their homes in Shelby County, Ky. They face federal charges with Lacy and Lynch of possession of the drug with intent to distribute it.
‘What will eventually happen is the whole case will be heard by a grand jury in Indianapolis, and probably additional charges will be filed,’ King said.
King said meth ice is much more potent than the meth that is made and/or distributed here. It is also highly dangerous to the novice user, who would likely overdose, King said.
‘That goes hand in hand with it,’ King said. ‘If there are enough meth addicts using ice, somebody is going to die.’
The difference between meth and meth ice is comparable to beer and grain whiskey, he said. ‘Ice is to meth what crack is to cocaine. It has a higher purity level.’
A teenager last Thursday took meth ice, passed out at school, and police were summoned. ‘We forcefully transported the subject to the hospital for treatment and tests, and he was later arrested,’ said Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. Chief Gary Gilley. ‘He tested positive for meth.’
After taking the meth, the boy told Gilley, he had instantly begun bleeding through his nose and throat and started throwing up blood. ‘He just made it through, luckily,’ Gilley said.
Gilley said the teen had been using meth for 1-1/2 years.
The investigation leading to the Feb. 28 arrests and drug seizure began last year in Floyd County by an undercover officer with the Southern Indiana Drug Task Force. He was later joined by a task force undercover officer with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept., said Gilley.
Gilley said when the officers realized they were investigating meth ice that probably had been transported across international and state lines, and not the regular meth made locally, they summoned the federal DEA.
‘Most meth ice is made in Mexico in a super lab. They would make 100 to 200 pounds of meth ice at a time, probably daily,’ Gilley said. ‘That was brought from Mexico to somebody in Kentucky by a ‘mule’ (a person hired to carry illegal drugs, Gilley said), and the guy in Kentucky was getting up to 100 pounds at a time.
‘The Lacy subject got seven to eight pounds a week, some distributed in Harrison County,’ Gilley said. ‘She did not deal locally for the most part in one gram or a half gram to the locals.
‘It would attract too much attention,’ Gilley said.
Gilley said during the investigation, undercover agents made buys for as much as $10,000 to $20,000.
The meth ice would have cost the distributor $14,000 a pound.
The 3-1/2 pounds of meth ice had a resale value of more than $235,000, Gilley said.
Figured at 1/8 of a gram per dose (a minimum) of meth ice, the drug confiscated by police would translate into 12,544 doses, Gilley said. ‘That’s how many times somebody could get high and crazy.’
So getting that much of the drug off the street ‘is a Godsend,’ he said.
But another problem is cropping up.
Gilley said there is a new ‘fad’ among meth cooks in Harrison County.
Two black plastic bags filled with items used to manufacture meth, including glassware and plastic tubing, was left behind a church in northwest Harrison County, to be retrieved. But in this instance, Gilley said, a passerby who became suspicious told police about the bags.
Harrison County Police Officer Marty McClanahan guarded the items until the Indiana State Police Clandestine Lab Team arrived to ‘dismantle’ the items. The plastic hoses tested positive for meth, McClanahan said.