Auburn police plan to hire drug detective

AUBURN - Auburn's 7,400 residents will soon have some assistance in their war on drugs.

Police Chief Fred Brown announced recently his intention to hire a narcotics investigator. City Council members approved a corporal-level salary of $35,000 to $37,000 for the newly created position when they passed the 2007 budget.

Auburn's rural location attracts producers of high-profit drugs, Brown said.

"We have a circuit of dealers and manufacturers in certain parts of town," Brown said. "They like to remain mobile and they target rental units. We are looking for a skilled, experienced detective whose job it will be to interact with other jurisdictions and drug enforcement agencies."

Two large drug labs were discovered in Auburn this year.

On March 10, Barrow County Sheriff's deputies uncovered an underground cocaine lab at 134 Ga. Highway 324, the home of Gary Krist. Officials seized 38.6 pounds of cocaine valued at about $1 million that they believed had been processed in the Auburn-area lab.

In July, Auburn police discovered a lab at 1618 Summit Ridge they believe was churning out 150 pounds of methamphetamine per year.

"We determined that amount by the quantity of cat litter found in the backyard," Brown said. "They used cat litter to filter it out and cut down on the smell."

Auburn has reached a point where residents need a skilled narcotics investigator, council member Dorissa Shackelford said.

"We have a tremendous amount of domestic violence, and the drug problem is mounting," Shackelford said. "We need a dedicated officer who will work with other agencies."

Auburn resident Pam Padgett favors the hiring.

"It would be good to get the streets cleaned up," Padgett said.