A lawsuit seeking the forfeiture of $5035 in alleged narcotic proceeds offers a revealing look at some of the tricks of the drug trade including one officer’s account of what led to the island’s largest codeine seizure.
Knowing those tricks and phoning those tips to narcotics hotlines can help ”take back” neighborhoods blighted by prostitution and drug trafficking narcotics officers said.
On May 18 Galveston police seized a record 24 pounds pounds of liquid codeine from a house in the 4100 block of Avenue R12. The drug is a mild pain-reliever that is used in a variety of ways. Police also find the drug soaked in cigars.
A narcotics officer observing activity in the neighborhood next to Galveston College reported in a sworn affidavit some of the details that led to the codeine discovery. That affidavit is the basis of a lawsuit brought by Prosecutor Brent Haynes against the man police arrested on a felony drug possession charge. Police claim to have seized the cash from his residence.
Two narcotics officers were on patrol at 41st Street and Avenue R as a response to tips of narcotics trafficking in the area of the college. They saw a bicyclist riding north on Avenue R 12. He looked all around both sides of the street.
”He appeared to be looking at every parked vehicle and yard” the lawsuit states.
The officer wrote that he’d seen such suspicious behavior on many occasions. He concluded the bicyclist was confirming there were no potential witnesses parked on the street or in the nearby yards to watch him enter the alley at 41st Street and Avenue R12.
The officer made the block and saw the unmanned bicycle in the middle of the alley blocking passage of automobiles. The officer waited for the man to return to his bicycle.
After confronting the bicyclist officers went to a residence in the 4100 block of Avenue R and smelled marijuana coming from inside the lawsuit states. The lawsuit also claims officers discovered containers of codeine and bags of marijuana and cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
Narcotics officers rely heavily on tips from residents seeing the kind of suspicious activity mentioned in the lawsuit a Galveston narcotics officer said.
What are the signs of drug trafficking?
Here is a list of tips from narcotics officers:
Heavy traffic at a residence
When cars stop at a residence and someone runs inside for a brief time that could be a sign drug dealing. Also be aware of people making short contact on the street or in an alley.
Awareness of surroundings
Those engaged in drug dealing could appear very aware of their surroundings. They’re constantly looking back and forth looking for police.
Hiding in abandoned homes
Galveston’s large number of vacant or abandoned homes attracts those seeking shelter or a place to conceal their vices.
Officers want residents to report automobiles seen constantly riding around the same area of town. Police ask for details such as the make model color and license plate number. Police also asked for descriptions of the occupants.
Windows covered in foil
Some homes have windows covered in foil. This could be an indication of a marijuana grow house League City detective Bryan Campbell said.
Where’s the trash?
If you see neighbors hauling trash somewhere else rather than dragging it to the street they could be throwing away drug-related items Campbell said.
At A Glance
BacliffSan Leon: 281-534-3515 (Calls are answered by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office)
Bayou Vista police: 409-935-0449
Dickinson police: 281-337-4700
Galveston police: 409-765-3702 or narcotics tip line: 409-765-3670
Galveston County Sheriff’s Office (including Bolivar Peninsula): 409-766-2322
Hitchcock police: 409-986-5559
Jamaica Beach Village police: 409-737-1800 (sheriff’s dispatch) or 409-737-1143
Kemah police: 281-334-5414
La Marque police: 409-938-9269
League City police: 281-338-8210
Santa Fe police: 409-925-2000
Texas City police: 409-643-5760
Tiki Island: 409-935-6579
Be On The Lookout
Law enforcement officers often rely on tips from the public to stop illegal activities like drug dealing and encourage calls reporting suspicious activity. Officials said residents should watch out for these signs:
When cars stop at a residence and someone runs inside for a brief time that could be a sign of drug dealing. Also be aware of people making brief contact on the street or in alleys.
Checking It Out
Those engaged in drug dealing might appear very aware of their surroundings — constantly looking back and forth for police and to make sure nobody witnesses their activity.
Galveston’s large number of vacant or abandoned homes attracts those seeking to conceal their vices.
Officers want residents to report automobiles that constantly ride around the same area. Police want details such as the make model color and license plate number of the car and descriptions of its occupants.
Homes with windows covered in foil could be an indication of a marijuana grow house League City detective Bryan Campbell said.
Where’s The Trash?
If you see neighbors hauling trash somewhere away from their home rather than dragging it to the street they might be throwing away drug-related items Campbell said.