Pubdate: Sun, 20 Feb 2005
Source: Daily World, The (LA)
Copyright: South Louisiana Publishing 2005
Author: Alain A. de la Villesbret
SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES MAKE UNUSUAL DRUG BUST
The biggest drug bust in the history of St. Landry Parish happened
Tuesday, but it took narcotics detectives two days to figure out what
What detectives had was 37 liters of liquid Dimethyltryptamine, said
St. Landry Parish Sheriff Howard Zerangue. Known as DMT, the Schedule
I narcotic is a powerful hallucinogenic that has never been seen in
the parish before Tuesday.
"This part of Acadiana is not familiar with it. We had to call an
expert with the DEA and experts from local agencies in Texas who have
dealt with it before," said Chief Deputy Laura Balthazar. "It is 10
times more potent than LSD. We fear this may be the new drug of the
Not only is the drug new to the area, but the size of the shipment is
unusual even for places familiar with DMT, said Chief of Narcotics
Detective Darren Zachary.
"This particular drug has been seen in small quantities around
California, Mexico, Dallas and Miami. But it has never been in our
parish, and the law enforcement agencies that we contacted told us
they have never seen such a large amount," he said.
Zachary said two California people were transporting the drugs from
California to Florida when they were caught in the parish.
St. Landry Parish Interstate Criminal Enforcement Unit deputies
arrested the two after a routine traffic stop on U.S. Route 190
between Port Barre and Krotz Springs. They pulled over the couple's
red, two-door, 1986 Mazda because of an obstructed view caused by
piles of clothing in the back seat of the car.
Upon investigation, the couple began to act suspicious and the ICE
team deployed their canine unit.
"Their stories did not add up. Deputies then noticed a small amount of
a substance suspected to be marijuana in easy view, so the canine unit
assisted. The dog alerted on the vehicle," Zachary said. "When
deputies searched the vehicle, they discovered 10 ounces of marijuana
and 37 liters of DMT under clothes in the back seat. The DMT was in
five sealed plastic bags, like the milk bags they have at the schools,
Arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute
marijuana, possession with intent to distribute Schedule I
hallucinogens and possession of drug paraphernalia were Hugo Arana,
46, 11437 Lakeview St., Felton, Calif., and Luzia Krull, 51, 1065
Westridge St., Portola Valley, Calif. Arana also was charged with
driving with an obstructed view. Both are in parish jail. Bond has
been set at $41,000 each.
"He was heading from California to Florida, so the drugs were not
headed for the parish. But this new narcotic will be here soon
enough," Balthazar said. "Education and awareness are two of the many
things that Sheriff Zerangue and I are concentrating on to create one
of the best narcotics divisions in the state within our office. We
have to continue to be knowledgeable about new and existing illegal
drugs that threaten our community."
Zachary said the drug is transported and distributed in liquid form,
then dried to a crystal and smoked in a pipe. He estimated the street
value of the DMT to be $497,250, figured on 1,105 grams when dried and
a price of $450 per gram.
The nearly half-million-dollar price tag of the drugs makes the arrest
the largest drug bust in parish history, Zachary said. The previous
record was an October 2004 bust involving 56 pounds of marijuana and
2.5 kilos of cocaine with an estimated street value of $306,000.
"We didn't know what we had," Zachary said. "It took the Acadiana
Criminalistics Laboratory three hours just to identify the drug. They
bent over backwards helping us. We also called other law enforcement
agencies and researched the drug on the Internet. Tribes in South
America have been using a derivative of this drug for years in their
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