Kitsap Crime and Justice

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Five Things You Might Not Know About WestNET

May 27th, 2010 by josh farley

The West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team — WestNET for short — often emerges briefly from complex drug investigations with a story of arrests and prosecutions. But most of its work is done in the depths of the drug trade, following up tips, working with informants and going up the supply chain to bigger criminal enterprises.

But what do we know about our local drug task force? Here are five things about this cadre of detectives you might not know. Many of these questions are ones I often get from readers. The answers come directly from detectives on the task force.

How are they funded? Yes, they do get federal money. But local agencies also pay to send their personnel to work there. The Bremerton Police Department, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and others make up the seven detectives in the unit. Its sergeant is Carlos Rodriguez, who comes from the Washington State Patrol.

Is any medical marijuana user safe from them? WestNET’s busts of people who have medical marijuana cards from a doctor have made the news recently and frequently. But are there those with cards whom they ignore? Rodriguez says yes. They look to the state’s rule of a maximum of 15 plants and 24 ounces of pot for medical users. He said they leave those within that rule alone, unless there’s evidence of trafficking or selling. In cases where there are more than 15 plants or 24 ounces, he said they take the plants or product over limit, leave the rest and then forward a report to the appropriate prosecutor’s office for review.

How many of WestNET’s cases involve those who have medical marijuana recommendations? Rodriguez said that in 2009, 20 of their 57 marijuana grow investigations claimed to use pot for medical purposes. This year, five of 13 have said the same.

Does WestNET investigate anything besides marijuana? Yes. They have mobility to move up the ladder of sellers of drugs of any kind. Because they are a small unit, a big case can often skew their stats. For instance, one such investigation took the amount of club drugs they confiscated in 2008 to 2009 from 281 doses to 27,500.

What’s a breakdown of the amount of drugs the task force took in 2009? According to Rodriguez:

Marijuana: about 3,500 plants in 57 cases;

Cocaine: 37.6 grams in five cases;

Club drugs and doses: 27,500 in five cases;

OxyContin and other prescription drugs: 2,350 grams in 11 cases;

Meth: Almost 2,000 grams in 22 cases;

Heroin: About 310 grams in five cases.

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13 Responses to “Five Things You Might Not Know About WestNET”

  1. enough already Says:

    Kitsap has a massive meth, Oxy and heroin problem. Most all break-ins, robberies, car jacks, home invasions, are directly related to Meth or Oxy.

    So, needless to say, I am less than impressed to see Marijuana cases leading by more than double. If WestNet wants any credibility at all, they will focus on serious drugs, not recreational pot smokers.

    With numbers like these, I would vote to shut this program down if they cannot get their priorities straight.

  2. Pat Patterson Says:

    One leads to the other,Proven fact.Illegal means illegal.Candy is dandy,liquor is quicker,pot is not.Ogden Nash 1940′s

  3. enough already Says:

    that is a myth Pat. Read some research from this century. Goodness.

  4. Pat Patterson Says:

    Read about what?legal and illegal drugs or how drugs do not screw up our youth?Flying dragons are myth’s .Illegal use of drugs will get you jail time and that is a fact.
    Glad to read your comment,shows you are still in the 1900′s.Long live flower power some of you are still around.

  5. enough already Says:

    actually Pat, smoking pot is a misdemeanor in most states, and in some, its decriminalized. Good to know that some are paying attention and not basing all their decisions on 1940′s theories.

  6. Pat Patterson Says:

    True smoking pot is a misdemmenor,it is the sale of the product that gets the jail time and of course the reciepient is going to the joint over a joint.(s)
    There may be a time when all this is moot,such as legalizing the stuff,of course the Govt will have total control over the sales of the product.i.e. State controled Liquor sales.I am sure the tabacco companies all hold patents or what ever on the manufactoring side.

    If the Govt can make money on it by legalizing it as they have liquor and gambeling.Then you can change Pot is not to;\: Pot is hot.Have a nice day.

  7. Derek Says:

    WestNET is a joke and they dont focus on the real problems in the area.

  8. nina beheim Says:

    I am terrified by the stories I hear from my kids about the use of heroin, meth, ecstasy, and oxy in our community. It is RAMPANT!!!!

    I could really care less about pot right now – what bothers me about pot is the manner it enters the country!!! My worry is focused on the other drugs our youth seem to accept casually….

  9. Colleen Smidt Says:

    A few years ago I was selected to serve on the Jury for drug case in which WestNET had made the bust on a personal residence that included meth, illegal weapons and pot. We, the Jury, ended up handing down a guilty verdict on all charges and it was thanks in large part to the excellent, detailed, professional work local law enforcement and the WestNET team had done before, during and after the bust.

    People tend to try to avoid Jury Duty for all sorts of reasons. I was grateful for the opportunity to serve from start to finish and have a front row seat on some of the more detailed inner workings of our local justice system.

    Colleen Smidt

  10. Pat Patterson Says:

    Meth and such drugs have been rampant in this County for the last 20 plus years.Belfair/Shelton were the choice places to cook in. The only reason you notice it now is because you have teen agers.As parents we were all ways aware of the problem but it never hits home until it hits home.When parents take a stance on hey its just POT they encourage the use of other Drugs. Kinda like telling your kids obey the law as you do, but over look a little Pot.No such thing as a little Pot.Condoneing use of illegal drugs (POT) condones flaunting the law.

  11. notTellin Says:

    I’ve been one of their informants. You couldn’t even begin to imagine how many meth labs there are in Kitsap County. How many heroin dealers there are. How many OxyContins are being MAILED to dealers locally. You don’t know how many people are hurt every single day because of drugs. I can’t even begin to count how many times I have seen somebody sell drugs to a child! Middle school aged! CHILDREN! I have seen somebody who’s been robbed because the person who robbed them, owed money for MARIJUANA! It doesn’t matter what kind of drug it is. If you sell drugs, weed or cocaine, you’re breaking the law. How many other laws are they breaking selling drugs? Do you think they claim the money they make on their taxes? Hell no! I’ve been raided by WestNet. If it wasn’t for one of their detectives, I would be dead right now.

  12. Bert Chadick Says:

    Lets face it. The figures prove that Westnet is in the “Pot Busting Business”. Sure they will nab a bit of meth and crack in the process, but marijuana is easy to find. It’s everywhere and has a permeating odor that no other drug even remotely approaches. If oxycontin had that sort of smell Rush Limbaugh couldn’t spend a week outside jail. Most of these special federally funded mini police departments are not answerable to anyone, lazy and corrupt to the core.

  13. Dave Says:

    99.999% of the Crime related to Marijuana (break ins, robberies, etc) are directly attributed to PROHIBITION. If cigarettes were illegal, its pretty safe to say, people selling them would be breaking the law. You might possibly hear of people stealing them, robbing a local underground tobacco grow, etc. JUST LIKE ALCOHOL when it was illegal.
    Pot is remarkably non-toxic, no harmful side effects, and if discovered today, would be considered a wonder drug’. The only negative risk is the fact that it is illegal alone.

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