LINCOLN, Maine — An alert patrolman’s observations led police to charge two residents with possession of bath salts as part of a three-track effort to combat illegal drug use, Police Chief William Lawrence said Wednesday.
Kaci Munson, 25, and Brent Davis, 40, were arrested and charged late Tuesday with unlawful possession of synthetic hallucinogenic drugs. Munson also was charged with Class C felony possession of a hydrocodone pill and violation of conditions of release, police said.
Munson was being held at the Penobscot County Jail late Wednesday afternoon after a court appearance in Bangor, while Davis was released on a promise to appear in Lincoln District Court on Dec. 21, police and jail spokesmen said.
Officer John Walsh was patrolling on West Broadway about 7:10 p.m. Tuesday when he said he saw a pickup truck drive by with Munson riding in the passenger seat. Aware that Munson had bail conditions as part of a previous arrest that allowed her to be searched for drugs at any time, Walsh stopped the truck, searched her, and said he found drug paraphernalia, bath salts and a hydrocodone pill in the passenger area of the truck, Lawrence said.
Walsh searched Davis and the driver’s side of the truck and said he found bath salts in the truck, Lawrence said.
Munson was taken to Penobscot Valley Hospital of Lincoln after she was booked because she hit her head in the cruiser while acting up after being taken into custody, suffering minor injury, Lawrence said. Walsh then took her to the jail in Bangor.
Lincoln police officers such as Walsh are being especially watchful for illegal drug activity during their patrols as part of police efforts to educate residents on drug abuse, enforce the law and wherever possible encourage drug-abuse suspects to seek treatment for addiction, Lawrence said.
“Once they have been arrested somebody will tell them that they need help,” Lawrence said. “We make sure that this is part of the message, and wherever possible we recommend [to the courts and prosecutors] that they undergo evaluation at a medical facility before they can be released.”
Police also recommend that suspects be required to undergo drug treatment as part of the conditions of their release from jail, which sometimes leads to their getting admission to a short-term drug-abuse program, Lawrence said.
“It eventually lays on their shoulders. You can only do so much — point them in the right direction,” he added. “Bath salts is a strong, addictive drug and anybody who is on them really needs help. As far as we are concerned, just locking them up is not cutting it. We need to really encourage them to seek help if we can.”