Spring Break travel brings money to South Alabama, but that is not all that is coming through Covington County.
It is Spring Break season, and in the past two weekends Covington County authorities say they have found more than $100,000 worth of illegal drugs just from stopping Spring Breakers for traffic violations. River Falls Police Chief, Greg Jackson, describes one of the many drug busts, "They were headed from Greenville to Panama City Beach, Florida for Spring Break and when we walked up to the vehicle I could smell the odor of marijuana. Asked the female about the marijuana. She said they had smoked all of it. We began a probable cause search of the vehicle and found 18 bags of marijuana in the center console."
Officers say all four people in the car were between the ages of 18 and 19 years old. Each were arrested and charged with having drugs and drug paraphernalia. They say normal traffic stops lead them to find drugs. Although the majority is marijuana, they say over the past two weeks they have also collected ecstasy, molly, and even heroine, "Just River Falls has made 49 marijuana arrests and other drug arrests and now we've actually made 53 marijuana arrests, so we've been pretty steady," says Jackson.
But the battle is not just in River Falls. Authorities all over Covington county have made more than 150 arrests so far this season, and Sheriff Dennis Meeks says it is an effort to keep people safe, "Whether it be off of our streets here in Covington County as it flows through or, you know, we're keeping it off Florida streets because it's not making it's way down there."
Authorities also say the difference they are seeing this year is the rise in what they call 'club drugs,' like ecstasy and molly. They warn parents to talk to their children and check their bags before they leave for Spring Break.
The sheriff also says although drug possession arrests are steady, they have seen a drop in drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.