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Cartels bringing more meth into Ohio: Authorities

August 6, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Cartels bringing more meth into Ohio: Authorities Hudson Police Department

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Seizures of meth in Ohio are on the road to quadrupling this year after last year’s record, according to Ohio Highway Patrol data.

“Methamphetamine will eclipse heroin as the most common drug in Ohio,” Lieutenant Rob Sellers told the Mansfield News-Journal. “There’s a serious problem — it’s going to wreck lives.”

Through the first half of this year, officers have seized over 300 pounds of meth. Conversely, they confiscated a total of 145 pounds in 2017, 94 pounds in 2016, and seven pounds in 2015.

“The drug is so highly available in Ohio that if you’re a user, your dealer has it,” Sellers stated.

Nearly all of the meth in Ohio originates from Mexican drug cartels. Since the cartels are now manufacturing an almost pure meth and selling it at all-time low costs, fewer users in the U.S. are producing their own. Troopers have discovered that most traffickers are even giving dealers samples of meth to distribute to drug users for free.

A trooper in Hamilton County pulled over a car back in March to discover 107 pounds of meth, the largest seizure in the patrol’s history. Sellers noted that it wasn’t long ago that finding only a couple pounds of meth was considered a significant seizure.

“This is off the charts,” Sellers added.

Recovering drugs while they’re still on the freeway, before they make it to communities, is the trooper’s primary goal. They stop a lot of vehicles, keep an eye out for vehicle abnormalities, and recruit drug-sniffing K-9s when possible.

Since 2011, officers have seized over $421 million worth of drugs and contraband off the streets of Ohio.

Lieutenant Larry Firmi, who manages the criminal patrol unit at their Bucyrus post, said officers usually locate secret compartments in vehicles, trucks, and even trailers.

Police have noticed that cartels are now making meth in a pill form and concealing it as other drugs, not only to evade authorities but also to make users feel like they’re using a less severe drug.

Many individuals have turned to methamphetamine because they’ve already been caught with using heroin, and are subject to drug testing by the court system — those tests for heroin do not test for meth. Others take meth in hopes of getting away from heroin.

Sellers said those who take the drug are more likely to act violently than someone who has taken heroin.

“They get strung out,” Sellers stated. “If they haven’t slept in 72 hours and all they’ve done is meth, they’re not making coherent decisions. Their mind is in a different place.”

He also added that it only takes one dose of meth to become addicted.

Troopers are worried that the issue will only intensify as the cartels expand, getting more and more drug users addicted to meth.

“There are cartel members in every city in Ohio,” Firmi stated. “These are sophisticated organizations.”

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