Law enforcement are now calling the meth epidemic a “crisis.” The new tally from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office shows meth arrests are running well ahead of last year.
Authorities have arrested 956 people this year. That’s up from 853 at this time last year.
“Through my 13 years here at the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, it’s just been a constant
increase in the amount of methamphetamine that we’re seeing come into Rapid City and the Pennington County area,” said Taylor Sperle, with the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office.
Why is this happening now? One big reason is that meth is getting cheaper. Another reason — meth is
much more widely available.
“You see that the increase in numbers is due to the the ease of availability, and the fact that it is such an addictive drug, it’s hard for people to get off it once they get on it,” said Sperle.
Where is the flood of meth coming from? Mainly from the south, across the Mexican border, through the Gulf of Mexico and up the western coast.
Meth used to be made in remote locations in the Dakotas and other midwestern states. But Mexican meth has now become so cheap, dealers can buy it for less.
“The primary hub, if would say, for people in our area is to just travel to the Denver or Twin Cities area to pick it up. But ultimately it’s coming across the border from the south, from Mexico. And then they have pipelines that go from there throughout the U.S.,” said Sperle.
Law enforcement agencies in Rapid City have responded with a new initiative to combat the growing
threat from meth. And they say they are already making progress. But the question still remains, can the increased law enforcement effort stay ahead of the meth supply?