Sun, Dec. 15

Editorial: Back to drawing board on bath salts battle

Just when we thought the hammer had come down in eliminating the newest drug scourge in the Verde Valley, it’s back to the drawing board in the battle against bath salts.

The decision by the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office to decline prosecution in the arrests of those involved in selling the designer drugs commonly known as bath salts is troubling. One can’t help but ask if the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing between law enforcement and the county prosecutors.

The arrests in question involved the March raids on The Don’s Smoke Shop in the 900 block of North Main Street in Cottonwood and at the Black Pearl store, located in Cornville. The arrests by the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Special Crimes Detectives and the Partners Against Narcotic Trafficking Taskforce seemed to legitimize a new state law making these substances illegal to possess or sell.

One would expect the agencies involved to have gotten their ducks in a row with the County Attorney’s Office before executing these search warrants, arresting people, throwing them in jail and then proclaiming a new victory in the war on drugs.

But with the decision by the county attorney to decline prosecution, something fell through the cracks. Now, the legitimacy of the new law will be called into question. Further, those arrested will be viewed by some as victims of overzealous law enforcement.

What was first viewed as a major step forward in ridding our community of bath salts, has instead turned into a big step backward.

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