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Racine County experiences a 350-percent increase in meth arrests in six months

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58)- Toxicology reports show three Racine County deaths all in less than a month were due to meth related overdoses. It’s something the Racine County Medical Examiner says he’s never seen before.

Sheriff Christopher Schmaling says in the last 6 months meth arrests and controlled buys have increased by 350-percent.

The meth related deaths happened in November, but results recently came back. Toxicology reports typically take two months to process.

“We saw three deaths within about a three week period. The first one was November the 3rd, followed by November the 9th and the next one was November 27th,” said Michael Payne, Racine County Medical Examiner.

Some of the deaths were a mix of meth and other drugs, now a half of a dozen overdose reports are still awaiting results.

“Those I could expect them to contain methamphetamine involved in the death,” adds Payne.  

“We have predicted a number of years ago that methamphetamines were going to start making their way back to the Midwest and our prediction has been accurate,” said Sheriff Christopher Schmaling with the Racine County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff says a vast majority of the meth is being supplied from Mexico.

“In the state of Wisconsin we’re seeing an uptick in methamphetamines,” said Sheriff Schmaling. “We’ve noticed that with areas that seem to have an economic boom or growth, if you will.”

That ‘economic boom’ is something the Racine County area is currently experiencing.

”Foxconn or Amazon or ULINE or any of these major companies that bring in hundreds and thousands of jobs into our community, we notice an uptick in construction workers and individuals who are coming here to seek employment,” Sheriff Schmaling adds.

Sheriff Schmaling says, the growth brings in not only construction workers. It’s also tracking in criminals.

“Individuals who are looking to further their illegal business adventures into either sex trafficking or methamphetamines drug trafficking,” says Sheriff Schmaling.

”Sadly we’re catching up with the rest of the state,” said Payne. “I hate to see that.”

Sheriff Schmaling hopes to combat the flow of meth getting in through education and enforcement

“We have planned for this,” he says. “We have individuals that are out on the street today as I speak, they’re actively pursuing investigative leads.”  

Sheriff Schmaling says to make matters worse, some of these drug dealers are selling meth at extremely discounted prices to get users hooked. It’s something he wants the community to be aware of.

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