Police find hundreds of meth pipes in grocery store raid

Police find hundreds of meth pipes in grocery store raid
This photo shows some of the hundreds of confiscated pipes.
This 'crack kit' comes with steel wool, a pipe and a lighter.
This 'crack kit' comes with steel wool, a pipe and a lighter.

LAWTON, Okla._Lawton police swarmed a small grocery store Tuesday morning as it opened, operating on a tip that there was drug paraphernalia inside.

Police raided the Kwik Chek Grocery at West Gore Boulevard and 27th Street. During the raid, detectives found hundreds of glass pipes used to smoke crack cocaine and meth. They did not find drugs, but the pipes were discovered behind the counter and in a back room within minutes of the warrant being served.

The store owner looked visibly shocked when he was handed the warrant listing the illegal items police were going to look for inside his store. For the 30 minutes or so that detectives searched, the owner was cooperative and sat at a table inside silently reading the warrant to himself.

Lawton Police Department's Lieutenant John Mull says the types of pipes they found are only used for one thing; to smoke narcotics.

"This pipe right here a lot of people remember back in the day you could go to the store and it has got a little rose in it. A little novelty item. You take the rose out and you use it to smoke narcotics," Lt. Mull explained.

Lieutenant Mull says most people who went into the grocery store probably had no idea that anything illegal was going on.

"You have to ask for it. But a lot of times you might be in a store, somebody walks up to the counter they are going ask for it and they are going to hand these out, right in front of you," Lt. Mull said.

He says the crack kits they recovered—which contained steel wool, a pipe and a lighter— was something he and his detectives had never seen before.

"We thought that was unusual. It was like a pre-made set that you go in and buy it and you could go down the street and smoke your dope," Lt. Mull said.

Lieutenant Mull says the only thing missing from those kits were the drugs. He says the raid will hopefully serve as a warning to business owners that if they choose to sell illegal products, they will be caught and prosecuted for breaking the law.

"Don't sell the stuff that's illegal. You know what the purpose of this is for. Let's stop selling it, because we are watching," Lt. Mull warned.

The investigation is still ongoing in this case, but charges are expected to be filed this week against the store owner for illegal sale of glass pipes. The charge is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.