Although the use of crack cocaine has dramatically dropped over the past decade and more, it’s apparent people are still using crude methods to get the drug into their system. In Suffolk County, New York, vending machines featuring alleged makeshift crack pipes cropped up and police there have been cracking down in locating and destroying them.
As students in Suffolk County, New York were heading back to their first week of school, locals in the community started to notice some makeshift blue vending machines crop up around the neighborhood on street corners and at bus stops. Labeled “PENS,” the boxes looked innocent enough, but after loading in eight quarters, locals found something a bit more concerning inside.
According to officials in Brookhaven, Long Island, the so-called pen dispensers were actually doling out crack pipe kits, ABC 7 New York reports. Feed one of the three machines labeled “PENS,” “S PENS,” and “SKETCH PENS” two bucks, and you’d get what looks like a pen.
Many people thought the dispensers were offering simple writing material. But upon removing the ink filler and the pen top, locals found a glass tube and filters inside—what officials have called a “pretty obvious” disguise for drug paraphernalia.
“You think you’ve heard of everything,” Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine told reporters on Monday. “I continue to be surprised by the audacity of those that would break the law in promoting drugs and drug paraphernalia.”
Displaying a sample of the vending machine’s wares, Romaine said, “It’s a crack pipe. It’s a ceramic, glass pipe disguised as a pen … There’s a filter in there that you use to smoke crack.”
“It is an interesting situation: Is it a pen? Is it drug paraphernalia?” Dean Murray, a New York Assemblyman, said at the same press conference. “I don’t remember ever buying a pen that came with a pack of filters, so I think it’s pretty obvious.”
Suffolk County police are considering pressing charges against whoever installed the machines — if they can find them.
Brookhaven council member Michael Loguercio mused, “To sell a pipe is not illegal, but this is considered drug paraphernalia. And it also is being dispensed from a machine that was installed illegally per town code.”
Watch the video below for more details: