FWPD on drug problem: ‘The battle is constant’

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Two drug busts in less than 24 hours. That may sound like a lot for Allen County, but Captain Kevin Hunter with the Vice & Narcotics Division for FWPD said these raids are more common than you think.

“We try to do a raid a week, if not more than that. We get tips every day,” Hunter said. “The battle is constant. I have two different shifts that work all of the time and are out there trying to close drug houses, as many as they can. My people have orders to go out and do as many buys as they can on heroin houses and effectively shut those dealers down.”

Monday night, police arrested two people at the Knights Inn on Goshen Road on meth-related charges. A house in the 500 block of McKinnie Avenue was also the sight of two arrests, this time related to heroin. Two overdoses, one fatal, happened there earlier this year. The windows and door were still boarded up Tuesday afternoon, but it hardly covers the problem found inside.

“Drug houses are all over the place. It’s all over Allen County, all over the city, north, south, east, and west. These drug houses touch every walk of life,” Hunter said.

In just three months, FWPD and ISP have processed 19 meth labs.

“We’re not even through March yet, and that tells me we’re going to have a very busy year as far as meth labs go,” Hunter said.

15 years ago, Allen County had zero meth labs. It’s a number that’s continued to rise with 37 five years ago and 59 just last year. Here’s a look at the last 15 years:

Meth Lab Seizures in Allen County By Year:

2000: 0

2001: 0

2002: 1

2003: 1

2004: 4

2005: 6

2006: 2

2007: 2

2008: 13

2009: 12

2010: 22

2011: 37

2012: 32

2013: 64

2014: 56

2015: 59

2016: 19 so far

Click here to see more in-depth information for the state.

Since 2012, Allen County has consistently ranked as one of the top 10 counties in the state for meth labs. Hunter said those high numbers are also thanks to dedicated detectives.

“They’re very good at what they do. They’re going out and really focusing on meth and meth labs and trying to catch the people in the act versus going up and cleaning up a trash lab,” Hunter said.

Several laws passed this year make pseudoephedrine more difficult to get, but it still doesn’t require a prescription for everyone. Hunter said making it that way would significantly help the meth lab problem.

“It’d be huge for us. The states that have passed prescription only pseudoephedrine laws basically have next to no meth lab problem. Now, they can still have meth issues, but they don’t have the lab issues which is the expensive part.”

With nearly 27 years on the force, Hunter said the addictions in the area are the worst he’s ever seen.

“The three problem drugs right now, heroin is the top. Spice is probably second along with meth. Meth and spice are very similar as far as prevalence in Fort Wayne and Allen County,” Hunter said. “Crack was big in the early 90’s. That was a huge problem, but I’ve never seen the addiction issues that I’ve seen with heroin. Heroin is our top priority right now and will be for some time until it starts subsiding. But, at this point, I don’t see it lessening any time soon,” Hunter said.


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