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Amount of drug seized 'really big' for Hays





Authorities aren't releasing many details about Thursday's drug bust, netting the Ellis County Drug Enforcement Unit 2.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine.

One thing certain is the amount seized is highly unusual, according to Ellis County Undersheriff Bruce Hertel, who heads up the unit.

"That's a really big amount for Hays," he said. "Around here, an ounce is a big amount."

In the crystal meth trade, users generally buy it by the gram.

There are, Hertel said, 454 grams to the pound -- 28 grams to the ounce.

Street values vary wildly, depending on quality.

In the Hays area, he said, it's believed the drug sells for approximately $100 a gram.

That means the crystal methamphetamine seized Thursday has a street value of approximately $115,000.

Crystal meth can be smoked, but generally is heated in a glass pipe and inhaled, producing a high.

A lot of the drug that arrives in Hays is believed to come from California, Hertel said.

"A lot of it comes out of Mexico," he said.

While Hertel wasn't prepared to release many details from the ongoing investigation, he's hoping the drug unit will be able to forward its reports to Ellis County Attorney Tom Drees today or Tuesday.

Charges likely would be forthcoming against the four people arrested after Drees receives the reports.

The four were arrested when authorities executed four search warrants, two in Hays and two in Ellis.

Arrested were:

Karen R. Knoll, 46, Ellis; Ricky L. McBee, 39, Hays; Nathaniel B. Ward, 25, Hays; and Rick Grecian, 39, Ellis.

Grecian, who was hospitalized shortly after his arrest, was arrested on behalf of Trego County authorities. Hertel said Grecian's hospitalization was unrelated to his arrest, but he didn't want to specify what prompted him to go to the hospital.

In addition to the crystal methamphetamine, authorities also seized drug paraphernalia and an unspecified amount of cash.