East Central Drug Task Force increases drug seizures
MEXICO - The East Central Drug Task Force seized more heroin and methamphetamine in the first quarter of 2016 than in the first quarter of 2015.
The task force is run by the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate narcotics and enforce drug laws. The report for January 1 through March 31 showed a 400 percent increase of methamphetamine and a 1,000 percent increase of heroin.
Drug Task Force Project Director Matt Oller said the heroin increase is the most concerning.
“The numbers that surprised me the most, I think, is probably heroin. You know, heroin’s a very scary drug, and we always hope that we never see it get really bad because it’s a very deadly drug,” Oller said.
The task force seized less crack cocaine in the 2016 first quarter than in the 2015 first quarter. Oller said many drug users traded cocaine for other drugs.
“The trend on the street seems to be the people that were at one time using crack cocaine have now switched to methamphetamine, simply because it’s cheaper and easier to get,” Oller said.
According to Oller, community efforts had a big impact on the increase in drug seizures.
“A lot of that is based off of the good work our task force officers do while they're out, and it’s also a product of a lot of community help,” Oller said.
The report also showed 48 seized firearms compared to 2015, which had 3 firearm seizures. There also was a 200 percent increase in marijuana seizures.
The East Central Drug Task Force serves the Audrain, Cooper, Howard, Montgomery, Pike, and Warren Counties.