Drugged and deadly: Police finding the drug PCP in more Tulsa murders

TULSA - Right now the city of Tulsa is setting a record for number of homicides in a year. 

Through their investigations, police have found a dangerous drug, sometimes used as a horse tranquilizer, connected to several of these murders -- PCP.

Known in the 1980s as Angel Dust, PCP is a drug so powerful police officers say they can stun gun a suspect and they won't feel a thing.

Every day the Tulsa Police Department's Gang Unit is on the hunt for illegal drugs and guns in Tulsa. Officers say it's easy to find marijuana, prescription pills and an abundance of cash.

In one search police found $9,000 in a man's pocket.

While those drugs are in the spotlight and show up frequently in large quantities, there's a drug in the shadows even more powerful and more dangerous.

"Help! Help!" screamed Antoine Jackson as police arrested him, naked in front of his grandmother's north Tulsa home.

Police tell 2NEWS Jackson was on Phencyclidine, also known as PCP, when he allegedly killed his 78-year-old grandmother in the home they shared.

This is one of two murders this year police are linking to PCP, and they say Tulsa is on track to break 2011's record of three murders associated with the drug.

Below is a map of the homicides in 2011 and 2013 in which Tulsa Police have connected to PCP. If you're reading this story on your phone click http://bit.ly/pcptulsa to view the map.


"It basically shuts off your brain. Your cortex up here," said Dr. William Yarborough, who specializes in drug addiction.

Yarborough says PCP shuts off the brain steam, which controls awareness, then travels to the top of the brain, producing dark and disturbing hallucinations.

PCP was originally introduced as an anesthetic, but as time passed researchers discovered it sends its users into a temporary psychosis. PCP is now sometimes used as a veterinary anesthetic or tranquilizer.

"I've seen people think they're dead while they're on it. They often take their clothes off because they don't like how it makes them feel," said Yarborough.

Shane Davis knows those side effects all too well.

"It's day by day, hour by hour, second by second," said Davis.  "Last time I did it, I got butt naked off that stuff," said Davis.

PCP and marijuana are his drugs of choice.  Davis says he combines the two by rolling a marijuana joint then dipping it into the liquid form of PCP, known on the street as "water."

"The first time I tried it it had a good high," he said.

Davis' first hit came at 16 years old.  Now 23, he says he smokes once or twice a week and regularly fails court-ordered drug tests. That's what got him into Tulsa's 12 & 12, a rehab center where he is currently admitted.

Asked if he thinks he's damaged his brain using PCP, Davis said, "Probably so, probably not. I don't know. I haven't been to the doctor."

Police say people on PCP are a threat to everyone.

Officers pepper-sprayed Jackson to combat his rage.

At the crime scene, investigators wore gloves because simply touching a bottle of PCP can cause one to feel the effects of the drug.

Police tell 2NEWS PCP has shown up in the area in waves after it makes its way to Tulsa through Mexican Drug Cartels and California where it's made in labs.

Three months ago, officers arrested two people for selling PCP out of a home where they recovered 438 grams in a Snapple bottle.

Police say they don't actively search for PCP unless they get a complaint or receive confidential information someone is selling the drug, and there's no way to know just how much PCP is in Tulsa because the department is not currently keeping that data.

For Davis, he says staying drug free is hard, especially after he's expected to leave.

"If I go back to it, it's death or the penitentiary," said Davis.

With his last shot before prison, Davis hopes to score.

"I have all the techniques, all the strengths, the power to do it all," he said.

Do you have concerns about PCP in Tulsa? Tell us in our Comments section online, on our Facebook page or tweet us @KJRH2HD using #2investigates.

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