By Patric Hedlund
There may be no place in America now that is completely free of drug problems, but in just one 20-hour slice of time last week, the full spectrum of the Mountain Community’s struggle popped into sharp focus.
Drug Take Back
On Friday afternoon April 25, volunteers for the Mountain Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse (McCASA) were getting prepared for the National Drug Take Back Day planned for Saturday morning.
McCASA Project Coordinator Lisa Walters had already “packed up my brochures and tote bags” to be ready to set up a booth in front of Frazier Park Market, where the public could turn in unused pharmaceutical drugs. Dangerous substances are disposed of safely and kept out of the hands of youths.
Meanwhile, at 1:50 p.m. Friday, Frazier Park substation deputies showed up with a search warrant at a home on Wyoming Trail in Frazier Park.
José Guardado, one resident of the home, told The Mountain Enterprise about the experience this way: “I was in the bedroom playing cards on the computer when the door flew open and an AR-15 [automatic rifle] was pointed at me. I was so alarmed I couldn’t see the deputy, I could only see the weapon. But the guy was really calm.
“He said, very calmly: ‘Sheriff’s Department. We have a warrant,’” Guardado said. “They were the most professional team I’ve ever seen. They treated everybody with respect. Sergeant Brown…that man is a damn pro.”
Arrests for meth
Sergeant Mark Brown circulated a press statement two hours later saying that deputies from the Frazier Park substation and officers from the California Highway Patrol had served a search warrant at the home on the 500 block of Wyoming Trail.
Deputies seized 35 grams of suspected methamphetamine and suspected drug sales paraphernalia. “About one third of the material was packaged for sale,” Brown said. [A retired narcotics agent who spoke to The Mountain Enterprise about the incident explained, “I always tell people one gram is about equivalent to a packet of Sweet’N Low.”]
The Frazier Park substation sergeant said that Alice Hobbs was arrested for suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia and suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Dawn Swanson was arrested for suspicion of possessing methamphetamine, suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia and suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Catherine Langford was arrested for suspicion of possessing methamphetamine and suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance.
All three women were booked into the Central Receiving Facility in downtown Bakersfield. All three would be spending that night—and many others—in jail.
Meanwhile, up in the Mountain Communities, temperatures dropped sharply. A sudden frigid storm dumped rain and two inches of snow in parts of Pine Mountain and about a quarter inch of rain in Frazier Park. The prospects for setting up the Drug Take Back Day booth in front of the market did not look good. Volunteers thought it might have to be cancelled. Lisa Walter and Sergeant Brown decided to move the event to the inside of the Frazier Park substation, but wondered if the public would be able to find them. They put up signs and sent out emails and web postings.
The McCASA volunteers were astonished to be visited by 42 people turning in unused drugs, despite the changes. The collection of pills weighed in at 25 pounds, plus seven boxes of syringes and two bags of liquid medications.
“We were really surprised,” Walter said, “It was the best day we ever had.”
In surveys, Walter reports, several people said they wanted to dispose of the drugs safely so they didn’t fall into the wrong hands. “They said they wanted to get them off the streets,” Walter explained.
Mountain Community residents have turned in 227 pounds of drugs for the year.
It appears that the team is growing of those who want to join in with the McCASA mission to make the community a safe place for young people to grow to their full potential.
Another Drug Take Back Day will be held with the Health Fair on June 28 at Frazier Park School. A third event will be held in October.
Update on arrests…and a surprise note on Michael Cook
The three women arrested for possession of meth had a brief hearing on Tuesday, April 29. Langford and Hobbs are still in jail as we go to press.
Dawn Swanson was released on bail and returned home with her mother and Guardado.
The Mountain Enterprise has reported twice previously about Catherine Langford. She was arrested in 2012 with David Michael Cook, who went to jail for possession of stolen property twice. She was still serving her sentence of three years probation when she was arrested last Friday.
Court files show that Michael Cook was arrested in February 2014 in Los Angeles for possession of a controlled substance, two possession of stolen property charges, forgery and counterfeiting and two counts of possession of stolen credit cards.
He was released in March. Trial is set for June 3.
Left, Three women were arrested Friday at this property for alleged possession of 35 grams of methamphetamine for sale. Above and at left, after they were in jail, this sign appeared in front of the garage.
Some will recognize the address on the sign as that of the Kern County Sheriff’s Frazier Park substation, with an apparent humorous reference to Sgt. Mark Brown.
Pine Mountain resident Will Bummer proudly displays the medications he is disposing of at the Take Back event. McCASA volunteers (l-r) Jenny Giffin and Jessica Zuniga helped community members dispose of their medications early in the day.
This is the garage on Wyoming Trail from which meth was allegedly being sold. The sign appeared Monday.
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This is part of the May 2, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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