DEA Says Methamphetamine is Highest Trafficked Drug in the Basin - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

DEA Says Methamphetamine is Highest Trafficked Drug in the Basin

 by Kim Powell

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - The DEA office in Midland handles nine counties, and about 70-80% of their narcotics investigations include methamphetamine, and most of those are based right here in Odessa. 

An increase in population means an increase in crime, and with that, an increase in drug problems. Over the last few years, methamphetamine has been popping up more and more. 

"We've got a great boom going on, a lot of people making money, a lot of people are coming in to the Permian Basin from out of town, with them we have a criminal element that is following them," DEA Agent, Dante Sorianello, said. "So they're pedaling the methamphetamine to the people who are so inclined to utilize methamphetamine. People have money to spend, so there's an active market here for the methamphetamine." 

Other drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana continue to be a growing problem in West Texas, but none of them bring the violence that meth does. 

Over the weekend, Shelley Tolley was arrested when officers were responding to a disturbance. They learned that Tolley had been attempting to strangle her daughter. Officers later found meth inside the home that Tolley had been using. 

Odessa Police also arrested Jamie Dwayne Williams, who was violently kicking and banging doors at a motel before officers found three bag of the drug on him. 

"Once you get hooked on methamphetamine, it really causes your body to deteriorate over a period of time. Then you can't hold a legitimate job or you've been fired from your job through drug testing, so you have to find another way to get your fix," Sorianello said. 

Odessa Police also say that a lot of their meth-related arrests come from traffic stops, which is how they busted China Mendenhall and Brandon Lovett with bags of methamphetamine and cocaine on Sunday. 

And because meth can come as a solid or a liquid, it's easier to be smuggled in. 

"It's easier to transport and to hide, but it definitely has been an issue here in Odessa," Steve LeSueur, spokesperson for the Odessa Police Department, said. 

"We are a consumer area for the methamphetamine right now. What I'm getting at is--methamphetamine is not being transshipped through the area here, it is coming here for sale and use," Sorianello said. 

The DEA also says that most of the meth found here in the Basin is coming from other states, and the majority, if not all methamphetamine, is coming from outside of the United States. 

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