Trafficking a challenge for law enforcement

Deemed the “drug of choice” in both Auglaize County and the state of Ohio, heroin trafficking is a long-standing, ever-growing challenge for law enforcement.

“It’s an effort by all of my officers and all the officers within the county,” Wapakoneta Police Chief Russ Hunlock said. “We have regular round-ups two, three times a year. It’s not just heroin, it’s all drugs, but we are seeing a trend in this area.”

The trend seems to be coming from Dayton, Hunlock said.

“It’s a trickle-down theory,” Hunlock said about drug trafficking. “You go from a bigger city to a little bit smaller until you get to our areas.”

Big or small, Hunlock said heroin use in the county is a problem.

“I don’t know if it’s because of the availability or the price or a combination of those two factors,” Hunlock said about the growing trend.

However, once an exposed to heroin, Hunlock said the addiction will lead to other crimes.

“It will lead to thefts and burglaries and other crimes that we have to contend with,” Hunlock said. “We’re told by offenders that they did what they did in order to fuel their habit. That’s where the addiction comes into play — it’s a snowball affect.”

Field Commander Mike Vorhees, who handles the daily operations of the Grand Lake Task Force in Auglaize County, agreed that heroin addicts will become dealers out of desperation.

“What we see in our community, probably 75 percent of our trafficers are our users,” Vorhees said, noting that selling heroin enables them to continue their addictions.

“They can go to Dayton to get heroin,” Vorhees said. “One tenth of a gram of heroin is in a capsule. They’ll buy a capsule of heroin for about $10-15 and sell it for about $20-25 a capsule. If they buy five capsules and use three, well then they can sell two and go get more.”

Vorhees said he has been on the task force for six years, and, within the second year, the use of heroin throughout the county has “more than doubled.”

For the full story, see the Saturday, Jan. 11 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.