Methamphetamine beats path through Friendswood
With its population of about 38,000, Friendswood is home to excellent schools, beautiful parks and a laid-back small-town atmosphere that is the envy of many other cities its size.
That's the good news.
The sobering news, police and city officials say, is that Friendswood has become a transit city for illegal drugs moving in and out of the area. Since Jan. 1, police have made 31 drug arrests along FM 2351 and FM 528 - both east-west corridors through the city.
About 10 percent of the arrests were for methamphetamine possession, said Police Chief Robert Wieners. Most of the suspects were over 30 years of age, all were white, and about 15 of them were women, the chief said.
"It is remarkable that none of the persons arrested are residents of the city," Wieners said. "Last year, we made about 12 drug arrests. Now we're on track to about 35 (drug arrests) of the 350 (total) arrests."
Most of the drug arrests this year have stemmed from traffic stops along the farm-to-market roads leading in and out of the city. The drug seizures range from 1 to 12 grams in size, the chief said.
"From my perspective, they've probably been doing meth for a long time," Wieners said of some of the suspects.
"They got strung out early, and unfortunately meth use has been a lifestyle activity for them. The volume indicates to us that there is a large amount of meth here in the area.
"It's cheap, and the product that we've largely encountered has been relatively pure, which means the high lasts for an extended period of time," Wieners said.
Police have identified two strains of methamphetamine in this year's seizures - some that was likely manufactured locally and other meth originating from south of the border.
"For us, the fact that there's so much moving through the community has us concerned," Wieners said. "And we don't intend on being passive because of the significant and negative impact it can have on community standards."
Mayor David Smith shared the chief's concerns.
In addition to the east-west routes through the city, Smith said drug smugglers "are using our major thoroughfares as a corridor back and forth to the Gulf Freeway, going both north and south.
"Our police force is well-equipped and well trained, and they pick up on those elements," Smith said.
"This is not a city where you want to be stopped if you are a criminal."
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