Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith reports that the department’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit had a busy 2013. In releasing the unit’s statistical data, Sheriff Smith reported that narcotics officers have tracked a marked increase in the amount of heroin in Putnam County. In fact, narcotics officers have seized three times the amount of heroin in 2013 than they did in 2011.
According to investigators, it appears that the implementation of more stringent controls placed on physicians and pharmacies on dispensing high potency prescription pain medications has made it more difficult to obtain these drugs by users and sellers. Those who are addicted to those medications are no longer able to easily obtain pain killers and now turn to heroin. Heroin is currently a less costly way to obtain the same effect.
The Sheriff’s Narcotics Enforcement unit is dedicated to the detection of illegal drug-related activity and the apprehension of offenders. They investigate all illegal drug activity, may it be street-level pushers or major drug dealers. Members of the Narcotics Enforcement Unit operate both in undercover and uniformed capacities while conducting their investigations.
Some investigations are initiated through public tips left on the department’s drug hotline - (845) 225-DRUG. Other avenues include information gathered from local and county courts, probation and parole officers, and other law enforcement officers.
In 2013, the unit investigated 726 narcotics-related cases. More than 200 defendants were charged with a total of 1,239 criminal charges – many of them felony crimes. Twenty-three motor vehicles valued at approximately $204,000, along with nearly $13,000 in cash and a variety of illegal drugs were seized as the result of arresting drug dealers.
“Heroin-related deaths have dramatically increased in an alarming rate over the past two years in Putnam County,” said Sheriff Smith. “This has to stop! The best way to combat this epidemic is by confronting it with a multi-pronged approach. We need to continue to provide educational and public awareness programs while apprehending offenders, seizing illegal drugs, affording treatment opportunities and prosecuting those who should be incarcerated” concluded the Sheriff.
Anyone wishing to report drug information is urged to call the Sheriff’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit hotline – (845) 225-DRUG. The hot line is operational 24 hours a day every day. Please be sure that the information be offered is as detailed as possible. Remember, anyone can leave information anonymously. All hotline calls are fully investigated by narcotics officers.