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Rave drug ecstasy sales hit area streets

August 31, 2000

Rave drug ecstasy sales hit area streets



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI and MARLO BARNHART / Staff Writers

The risks of MDMA



Many problems Ecstasy users encounter are similar to those found with the use of amphetamines and cocaine.

Psychological difficulties can include confusion, depression, sleep problems, severe anxiety, and paranoia.

Physical problems can include muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating.

Use of the drug has also been associated with increases in heart rate and blood pressure, a special risk for people with circulatory or heart disease.

Recent research also links Ecstasy use to long-term damage to those parts of the brain critical to thought, memory, and pleasure.

- National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health



A hallucinogenic drug more common to metropolitan regions has found its way to the Tri-State area, according to authorities said Thursday.

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Police in Hagerstown and Martinsburg, W.Va. have made several arrests involving the drug Ecstasy within the past two months.

Ecstasy, or MDMA, is a synthetic psychoactive drug that has the properties of both a stimulant and a hallucinogen, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration's Web site.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joe Michael said the drug causes young people to lose interest in school and other productive endeavors and parents should be alert.

The drug has moved into the community by way of teenagers attending Rave parties and clubs in the metropolitans areas, Sgt. Rick Johnson, director of the Washington County DEA Task Force, said.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, police made four Ecstasy arrests in Hagerstown resulting from a joint investigation by federal, state and local narcotics agents.

"It's our first organized Ecstasy joint investigation with the Regional DEA Task Force and the NTF," said Johnson.

More arrests in Hagerstown were expected, he said.

Those arrested included:

- Ryan David Tolerton, 19, of 13501 Olde Mystic Circle, who was charged Wednesday with distribution of Ecstasy, possession with intent to distribute the drug, possession and possession of paraphernalia. He was released after posting $10,000 bond, according to Johnson.

Tolerton was charged with selling 10 pills to an undercover agent who was wearing a tape recorder in the parking lot at the Centre at Hagerstown on June 23, charging documents said.

- Alex Rowland Hoeckel, 19, of 1819A Abbey Lane, was charged with two counts each of distribution of Ecstasy and possession with intent to distribute, possession and possession of paraphernalia.

Hoeckel allegedly sold a quantity of drugs to an undercover informant on March 29 at 31 1/2 E. Franklin St., charging documents said.

Hoeckel was released Thursday after posting $20,000 bond.

- Donald Garvin Kirby II, 18, of 115 N. Potomac St., Apt. 7, was charged with possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute fake Ecstasy, charging documents said.

Taken into custody Tuesday, Kirby was released after posting $20,000 bond.

- Casey Richard Martin II, 28, of 12024 Mapleville Road, Smithsburg, was released Wednesday after posting a $10,000 bond.

Charges against Martin include possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute fake Ecstasy.

Johnson said that on March 22, Martin and Kirby approached a confidential informant and offered to sell him 1,000 pills for $9,000.

They had bought the drugs from a Baltimore man, learned they were fake and were trying to get rid of them, according to allegations in charging documents.

Conviction on a distribution charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

In an Ecstasy drug bust on June 29, West Virginia State Police in Martinsburg alleged they recovered 16 Ecstasy tablets, 4 1/2 grams of crack cocaine and 7 grams of marijuana when they stopped Benjamin O. Westmeyer's car.

Westmeyer of 908 Clohan Ave., and his passenger, Michael W. Wright, of 700 W. Burke St., Apt. 3, were charged with possessing Ecstasy tablets, crack cocaine and marijuana in a car.

Police alleged they found 132 more Ecstasy pills, drug paraphernalia, plastic bags and a marijuana bong during a subsequent search of Westmeyer's room at home.

The tablets were worth about $3,300 on the street, or $25 each, Droppleman said.

Westmeyer and Wright were both free on $22,500 bail.

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