Detective Ernie Kazmar

 

Q&A with

ERNIE KAZMAR

Detective with the Regional Street Enforcement, or SET, Team.

All narcotic complaints are funneled through the SET Team.

 

Q: How long have you been working for/with the Reno PD’s SET team?

Almost 2.5 years

 

 Q: Have you worked with any other police departments?

A:        Nye County Sheriff’s Office for a couple years prior.

 

 

 

 

Q:   In your experience, how has the Ecstasy problem evolved in Reno?

A:    I don’t know, going back however many years, the whole subculture started expanding. I don’t know when it started. But as far as my experience with the last few years, it’s been pretty steady. But when you look at statistics it seems like it’s increased. We’ve started targeting Ecstasy more now.

The way we typically operate is we utilize a confidential informant to let us know where we can buy what. We don’t start the day looking for E, when we get in contact with these people, who are usually in jail, and they tell us where/what we can buy from whom. We don’t know what we’re going to get on a day to day basis, when we get a call that someone can get 200 pills we set up an operation to do that. In regards to raves, the past couple years they’ve been getting more attention but the raves are hard for us to work. It’s not logistically an ideal place to work because it’s so loud. Doing [a bust] inside the raves is near impossible.

 

 

Q:  Who can you say are its most avid users? (How old?)

A:        It’s not gender-specific but the raves we’ve been at, they’re really young-looking kids. I’ve heard of 12 year olds being there, but the average is probably 15-25.

 

 

Q:  The average cost of Ecstasy in Reno?

A:        It goes for about $10 a pill. It depends, based on the bulk. If you take the Costco principle you may be able to get them down to $8 per pill. If you only want to buy a couple, it could be around $15.

 

 

Q:  In your experience, has Ecstasy always been popular or has there been a more recent boom in its activity?

A:        That’s subjective from our perspective. Within the last couple years it’s gained more notoriety/attention from police, so it seems like it’s boomed but I don’t believe it has. I think it’s been consistent for however long it’s been around. The club scene/raves may have influenced the frequency because of the demand.

 

 

Q:  About how many raves do you bust per month/year?

A:        Patrol deals with the complaints dealing with that. The flyers never give a date or time, just the theme and the DJ. We know there’s a spot on Valley Rd. by 2800 Enterprise where they host raves. I’m not too familiar with the other spots.

 

 

Q: What has been Ecstasy’s impact on Reno?

A:        I don’t know, you’re going to have the typical impact of an illegal narcotic in a community. It’s viewed on the same scale as Meth. The perception by the public is that it’s not as dangerous as other Schedule 1’s, which is clearly false because Meth is in E, it’s the active ingredient in MDMA. I don’t think a lot of people know that the active ingredient is Meth.

But I don’t think it’s a gateway drug, there’s been a huge boom in Heroin in the 15-25 age group and I attribute that to prescription pills – it was a supply and demand thing, an Oxycontin goes for around $40-$50 a pill which is a lot more than a $10 balloon of Heroin. It’s far more dangerous to evolve that way. You don’t see a lot of kids using E and going into more hardcore drugs.

 

Q: Where on Reno’s drug scale does Ecstasy fall? (Marijuana, prescription pills…?)

A:        It depends on how you’re breaking that down, if you’re breaking it down by demographics. Within the 15-25 demographic, it’s probably more towards the top. But, if you’re looking city-wide, talking about everyone, it’s pretty low. Once you get out of that scene, that subculture, the more popular drugs are obviously Cocaine and Meth.

 

 

Q:   What is the best way to tell if someone is on Ecstasy?

A:   Grinding of the teeth, pupils dilated, hyper-alertness, cold sweats, dry mouth, increased heart rate, fatigue,  agitation, increased emotional responses (more empathetic than usual.)

 

 

 

 

 Q: Are there certain areas in Reno where E is more prevalent?

A:        You can get it wherever, like I said we normally do deals around town. I think it’s more prevalent in high schools/UNR – since that’s the majority of your users, that’s where you’ll find majority of the drugs. But you can get it anywhere.

“Cold Hits’ – we assign someone as an undercover, they’ll go downtown along like, 4th street, and hit people up that look like they’re dealing but I don’t remember us ever getting E off that type of deal.

 

Q: Please tell me the legal implications of getting caught with Ecstasy. (Over/Under certain amount?)

A:        Since it is a Schedule 1 narcotic it falls under the same legislation as others, legal trafficking is over 4 grams, a usual pill is .3 grams. Getting caught with that is a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 1-6 years. If you have multiple pills, depending on the packaging, that’s possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of sales – felony. Different weights yield different levels of trafficking, there are levels 1, 2, 3. Once you get to level 3, over 28 g, you’re looking to 25-life, mandatory 10 year sentence before being eligible for parole, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time getting caught or not. If someone provides substantial assistance [in a sting operation], they may be subject to a lesser sentence.

 

 

Q: Please tell me why you do or don’t believe Ecstasy is an underestimated problem in our community.

A:        I think its gotten a lot of attention, people are aware of it, but I don’t think the average person sees it as as big of a problem as meth/heroin. Meth gets majority of attention, it’s obviously a problem being a Schedule 1 narcotic, especially with younger children, who’re more likely to continue using and experimenting with drugs. I don’t think [Ecstasy] is necessarily a gateway drug, with what we see typically we don’t get a lot of kids that are transitioning the gap to heavier drugs from E.

 

**********

The below is a graph with information that was provided by the Regional Street Enforcement Team showing the amount of ecstasy seized between 2004 – 2008.

 

Created By Gary Thomas

Created By Gary Thomas

 

 

 

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