While crystal methamphetamine production often produces toxic, volatile fumes, the pipes used to smoke ice are sold as incense burners and air fresheners at convenience stores across Kaua‘i.
One product, which can easily be used as an ice pipe, is legally sold as an incense burner and available for $25. A convenience store in Wailua is among the shops that sell them. Another store, in Lawa‘i, that reportedly sold such incense burners, said that they did not sell them when reached on the phone.
The pipes are ready to use as sold, said Lt. Ale Quibilan, commander of the Narcotics, Vice Division of the Kaua‘i Police Department.
“The label shows a guy blowing into it, but instead of blowing, he can just inhale,” said Quibilan. “We know what they’re used for.”
The three-inch piece contains a small, round bulb on the bottom, and a mouthpiece on the top. It turns up frequently in police investigations, said Quibilan.
“Possession of the pipe is not a crime,” said KPD Deputy Chief Wilfred “Willy” Ihu, until it is used and methamphetamine residue can be found on the pipe.
But, Quibilan said, there is a danger to stores that sell the pipes, as they might be more likely to be victims of crime.
One store on the Eastside which sold the glass bowls was burglarized recently, he said, and only a few items were taken, mostly pipes and micro-scales used by dealers to measure packets of ice, which are sold in tenths of a gram. It was not J.C.’s, said the owner, adding that the store does not carry the scales.
A cheaper pipe is sold as an air freshener, and can be bought at quite a few locations around the island, said “Stan,” a former methamphetamine user from the North Shore. The freshener comes in a three-inch glass tube, and contains a sweet-smelling liquid.
After pouring out the freshener, “all you have to do is get a torch and heat the glass,” Stan said. You then blow one end of the tube into a ball, and then poke a hole into it, he said.
“The rock melts into the bowl as you heat it,” when one smokes ice, Stan said. “As the liquid drips down, you smoke the fumes.”
After finishing toking on the ice pipe, “they use a straight metal rod, just bigger than a paper clip straightened out, and scrape” the insides of the bowl, said Quibilan, to get another hit.
“They try to make them out of the air-freshener bottles,” the lieutenant said. When KPD seizes them, “we can still see the threads from the twist-off cap.”
“Anything that is glass can be made into a pipe,” said “Jimmy,” another recovering addict. “The best pipes are small, like three inches,” so a user can wrap them in a cloth and hide them in a pocket or purse, he said.
“They are no more than five inches long,” said Quibilan.
Staff Writer Tom Finnegan may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 226).