Off the streets: Chambers County Drug Task Force provides update on work to curb illegal narcotics – Valley Times-News

VALLEY — On Monday night, Robert Chambers spoke about a shift he’s seen in the illegal drug trade for more than 35 years as he tries to stop it.

Chambers was the guest speaker at a Valley Lions Club meeting. He has been a public servant since his early days with the East Alabama Fire Department in the early 1980s.

“Sid Lockhart used to talk to me about going into law enforcement,” he said. “I got into it when I joined the Lanett Police Department in 1983.”

Lockhart was one of the first officers of the Valley Police Department when it was established in 1981. He will retire as Chambers County Sheriff next January after nearly a quarter century in the role.

In 1988, Chambers was hired as a drug enforcement officer for the state of Alabama. He worked there for several years before joining former Governor Don Siegelman’s security team. He then returned to the narcotics force and in 2004 was promoted to head of the narcotics division. He retired from that position in 2008, then took a position leading the Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force.

This covered Chambers, Tallapoosa and Macon counties.

What’s coming here now is powdered cocaine.

“He’s from either Montgomery or Georgia here,” he said.

When an undercover officer is working on the streets and asking for crack, he can’t find it, but there’s no problem finding powder cocaine, marijuana and especially methamphetamine.

Something that existed not so long ago, but is disappearing, is the meth lab. Drug addicts would rather buy it now than try to manufacture it.

Homemade meth is extremely dangerous.

“You can overdose on it before you know it,” Chambers said. “Every time we entered a house where it was made, we wore gloves. It was so deadly.

Chambers said the big problem today is crystal meth and prescription drugs. Fentanyl is particularly dangerous, especially when sold on the street as oxycodone.

“When you take it like it’s oxycodone, it can break your heart,” Chambers said.

In calendar year 2021, a total of 138 people were arrested by the drug task force on 475 counts. A total of 55 arrest warrants were signed. 34 weapons ranging from handguns to long guns, just under $44,000 in cash, approximately five pounds of marijuana with a street value of $20,000, two ounces of powdered cocaine with a street value of $2,790, 279 prescription pills with a street value of $2,790 were seized. and 3.84 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $104,060.

GHB is another dangerous drug. Gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is better known as the date rape drug. It is sometimes called “the club drug” because it is often found at dance clubs, concerts, bars and parties.

Chambers said that in many cases drug dealers are habitual offenders.

“It seems like we arrest the same people over and over again,” he said. “We arrested a guy five times for trafficking. In many cases, when released, they go back to doing what they were doing before. I caught a guy who just got out of jail. He was driving a car. I knew he didn’t have a license, but he was on the streets and going back to his old ways.

Chambers said it takes a special person to be a drug operative.

“You spend a lot of time away from home and family,” he said. “You sometimes dress up to look like someone running in the streets. I worked undercover for six years. I came home once and my little girl hadn’t seen me for so long that she didn’t recognize me. She asked my wife who I was. I knew then that I was spending too much time away from home.

Chambers County has a new drug-addicted dog. It’s called Peoria and it cost $20,000. Lawrence Howell is its manager. He is the longtime manager of Goose, who is about to retire.

Something offenders should know about the new dog: He has the right to bite.

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