SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Illegal drugs, specifically meth, are a serious problem in KELOLAND.
Wednesday night, KELOLAND News reported that Sioux Falls police seized more than 130 pounds of meth in 2019, exceeding the record set in 2018.
Its not just a problem in Sioux Falls.
Meth is also impacting communities across South Dakota.
Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman says from 2018 to 2019, felony filings in his office went up by 40 percent.
But since about 2013, felony filings are up by 145 percent.
What’s primarily driving the felony cases in Lincoln County? Meth.
“Whether that’s a storage unit burglary, a car burglary, a residential burglary, more often than not they’re directly connected back to the drug methamphetamine,” Lincoln County State’s Attorney Tom Wollman said.
In fact, the increased caseload is the reason more staff will be added to the Lincoln County State’s Attorney’s Office.
When Wollman started at the Lincoln County State’s Attorney’s Office in 2000 he was one of five who worked there.
Now, there’s a staff of 13, and a request for an additional paralegal and attorney was recently approved.
Wollman says it will take more work at the state level to get a handle on the meth problem.
“I don’t want to see more offenders back in the courtroom. I want to see people get better. I want to see people make a change in their life and their families’ lives and put this drug behind them, but the tools that we have are lacking,” Wollman said.
Meth continues to be a problem in western KELOLAND, too.
A sergeant with the Pennington County Sheriff’s office says over the last several years there’s been an increase in meth use and distribution in the county each year.
“In 2018, there was 1,220 arrests for methamphetamine and last year we broke the record again at 1,239 arrests,” Sgt. Taylor Sperle with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with meth use, click here for resources.