HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) - It's been a growing problem across the state, and police say drug dealers spreading chemical drugs, like spice and bath salts constantly try to stay a step ahead of the law. Now, the Albuquerque Police Department is helping out smaller departments around the state to give them the knowledge they need to catch spice dealers.
It's police training police. In this case Albuquerque detectives are sharing with Hobbs Police what they know about synthetic drugs, like spice and bath salts.
"That's one of the biggest challenges that we have in law enforcement is trying to keep up with the new trends that come out," explained an undercover Albuquerque Police detective, who did not want to reveal his identity. "As soon as we start detecting one type of chemical, then we know that those chemical compounds are going to be changed."
The Albuquerque Police detective is helping train other agencies on what to look for, and how to build cases specific to these drugs. "Many times a larger agency like that, they see these things a little bit sooner than we do out in the rural areas," said Chris McCall, Interim Chief for the Hobbs Police Department.
In the last year, Hobbs Police said they've seen spice become a growing problem . They hope more knowledge from APD can help them get it off the streets.
"There's no sense in reinventing the wheel, if you have somebody that's doing something out there that's effective, we want to take that and try to put that to use for our community as well," said McCall.
Both departments agree, sharing information about these chemically-based drugs will hopefully help officers be more knowledgeable and efficient on the streets when tackling these crimes.
In October, Hobbs police seized hundreds of items from a local smoke shop. However, when lab results came back, they did not show illegal chemicals, and police had to return all the merchandise .
"We have I believe it's 27 of these chemicals that are currently banned, however there's over 400 of these type of chemicals out there," explained the Albuquerque detective.
McCall said the class gives officers a base knowledge of what they're battling on the street, and "some ideas of how other agencies are handling these situations through the courts and through their investigations."
Police say the way to stay ahead of the crooks is to share knowledge with other law enforcement agencies. APD has taught the class on synthetic drugs roughly 30 times in the past five months to other agencies and civilians.
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