City officials share dangers officers face during spice drug bust

City leaders are calling for tougher penalties for spice users

Posted: May. 3, 2018 6:32 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)-- Police officers, mayors, and prosecutors want the charges for spice users to be higher than a class A misdemeanor.

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City officials came together after Wednesday's arrests involving 800 pounds of damiana leaf and other narcotics from a storage unit in Battle Ground. Detectives said five people were arrested and 13 guns were taken off the street.

But for law enforcement who have to handle these cases, they are also putting themselves at risk. During Thursday morning's press conference, they're wanting tougher penalties for users.

Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly said the drug's effect on users is incredibly unpredictable and can cause complications for officers making an arrest.


"We provided some video from our body cameras that have made it down to the state house to show folks how dangerous it is and how combative its users can be," said Flannelly.

Tippecanoe County Drug Task Force uncovered a large number of narcotics including damiana leaf and more than 2,000 pills.
According to Prosecutor Patrick Harrington, the charge for spice is a class A misdemeanor but to him, that isn't enough.

"It should be a felony," Harrington said. "It should be in the same level as heroin, methamphetamine, ice, it should be at that level."

For now, cracking down on this rising problem is the department's main priority,

"It's really important for us to stay on top of this problem and try to get in front of it as much as we can and to get everyone on the same page about the gravity of the situation and how important it is." said Flannelly.

Lafayette Police Lieutenant Tim Payne says this is still an on-going investigation, but is encouraging anyone to report information if they see anything suspicious.

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