Twenty-seven drug-related arrests have been made in Morgan County this year with 14 in the month of May, according to information from the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office. Twenty-three involved the possession of marijuana or methamphetamine.
“I don’t think there is an increase in drug usage,” said Chief Deputy Keith Howard. “There’s a new philosophy in our Criminal Investigative Division, and they’ve been collaborating more with patrol.”
Of the 27 arrests, six originated from traffic stops. The other 19 stemmed from investigations.
“Whenever they’re out on patrol and see something odd or make a traffic stop, they’re quick to call us,” said Sgt. Brandon Sellers, Investigations Division.
The coordination between patrol and investigation has led to greater efficiency within the department. The following arrests lead to more information.
“Each arrest prompts investigation,” Howard said. “We have a trilogy of specificity, surprise and haste.”
Investigators explore the issues and gather as much information as possible to make objective judgments, Howard said. They act quickly to develop the facts and deny suspects the opportunity to create alibis.
“We’ve added an extra investigator and one focuses solely on narcotics,” said Howard. “We also added a foreign investigator and a new administration sergeant supervisor in the unit to help coordinate.”
According to the arrest records, marijuana is popular regardless of age, race or gender. Sixteen in total involved the possession, sale or distribution of marijuana.
Age and gender were not a factor in the widespread use of methamphetamines, but there was a correlation with race. All of the 11 people arrested for the possession, sale or distribution of methamphetamine were white.
“Whites may be more prevalent users, but the manufacture and distribution has evened out of the years,” Sellers said.
However, the officers typically do not take these demographics into considerations during the course of their investigations.
“Methamphetamines and certainly marijuana as well doesn’t abide by those limits or boundaries. Everyone uses it, so we don’t factor that in. It’s not necessary,” said Sellers.
While methamphetamine and marijuana were the most common charges, other arrests involved cocaine, THC-oil, psilocybin and LSD.
The growth of the department combined with better communication between the units has led to increased arrests, according to Sellers.
“I will say that we are full-staffed for the first time since I can remember given what we’ve been allotted,” Sellers said. “But we could always use more bodies.”