Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Teen girls accused of selling ecstasy

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Butler County authorities say they're concerned about three young drug suspects — and about the potential buyers of the “ecstasy” capsules they are accused of selling.

        “This is what scares us to death in law enforcement: If they put the wrong ingredient in there, what's going to be the effect on the people taking these drugs?” said Detective Sgt. Mike Craft on Monday. Three girls, ages 17, 17 and 15, appeared in Juvenile Court on charges that they sold 100 ecstasy capsules to an undercover officer.

        “It's extremely alarming. ... It's very odd that you see three teen-age girls with that amount of such a dan gerous drug.”

        The drug generally sells for $30 apiece on the street; the girls allegedly agreed to sell their 100 capsules for $1,400, allowing their “customer” a sizable potential profit margin, officers said.

        Deputies arrested the girls Saturday in the Kmart parking lot, and were continuing to look for whoever was manufacturing the drug and trying to figure out why the girls came to Butler County. Authorities also were sending the capsules for analysis.

        “What's in them, we don't know yet,” said Sheriff Harold Don Gabbard, adding this was the county's first significant bust involving suspected ecstasy. “They could be fake; we don't know,” said Sgt. Craft, displaying the clear capsules containing a salt-and-pepper-looking powder.

        Ecstasy is a stimulant known as a “club drug” because it has become increasingly popular among teens who go to all-night dance parties at “raves,” dance clubs and bars. Because the drugs are homemade, the dosages and ingredients can vary widely — so what might be just a good “high” from one dealer could be a lethal overdose from another, health authorities have said.

        Club drugs are often colorless, odorless and tasteless, so they easily could be slipped to an unsuspecting person.

        The suspects — the 15-year-old from Fort Mitchell, the 17-year-olds from Elsmere and Cincinnati — were ordered to remain in the county's Juvenile Detention Center. Their next hearing is Nov. 1.

        Sgt. Craft said the girls were friends and as of Monday they were not tied to any gang.

        The Elsmere girl is a Dixie High School student and the Fort Mitchell girl attended Beechwood; the Cincinnati girl's school status was unknown.

        Officers began receiving tips about the girls' alleged activities about two weeks ago, Sgt. Craft said.


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