By Emily Bialkowski
Year end statistics from the Houston County Drug Task Force were presented to the county board by the sheriff’s department Feb. 26 and indicate an overall rise in drug activity.
Sheriff Doug Ely, in a follow-up interview, said he believes part of the problem lies in the fact that meth is getting harder to find and the clientele is growing.
He explained that some drugs carry a higher penalty, so users/sellers switch products to compensate. “They are finally putting some teeth into people getting caught, so sellers stay way from first degree offenses,” Ely said.
Investigations, arrest numbers, search warrants and drug seizures are all up over 2011. “We did 40-some search warrants, and that’s a lot of search warrants for this county,” Ely said.
In one incident alone, the task force seized 29 grams of cocaine. “That’s like a half of a sandwich baggy full of cocaine,” Ely said.
This disconcerting trend can be addressed, in part, by residents reporting suspicious activity, the sheriff said. “If you see anything suspect, just call. It could be your neighbor – you don’t know.”
The drug task force includes all police departments in Houston County as well as the sheriff’s department.