Coke, Cash Confiscated From Gulfport Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/03/04

Coke, Cash Confiscated From Gulfport Home

The Coastal Narcotics Enforcement Team represents police departments from all over the coast. Half of its investigators come from the Gulfport Police Department. Their main mission is to work around the clock to snuff out suspected drug dealers.

Pat Pope heads up the CNET team.

"You think you're getting the handle on one drug, or starting to figure it out," he said in his office, "and something else pops up."

Pope is the man with the combination to his agency's drug locker. He just can't find the right combination to keep illegal drugs off city streets.

"There is no magic pill," he said. "There is no one sure way to do it. They will literally do anything to get drugs. Addiction is that powerful."

For 15 years, Pope has filled law enforcement drug locker with the kind of illegal narcotics that make people really high, and really rich.

"The biggest problem is still probably crack cocaine. That's the drug of choice," he said. "That and marijuana."

In 2003, the Coastal Narcotics Enforcement Team made more than 700 drug buys. Pope expects his agents to fly past that total this year.

Pope says there are three keys to winning the drug fight -- better education, better enforcement, and better rehabilitation.

"It's a pyramid. And all three sides have to work simultaneously and together," he said. "And a lot of time in a lot of jurisdictions, including this one, they don't all three work together."

Pope believes the drug courts recently set up in Harrison and Jackson Counties are a step toward that simultaneous effort to curb drugs use. He thinks the courts will play a vital role in rehabilitating drug offenders.

by Brad Kessie

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