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Officials: Meth not spreading here despite recent cases

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GINA R. HEINE
March 24, 2009
— Two methamphetamine cases in counties on both sides of Rock County within a week don’t mean the highly addictive drug is moving into the area, officials say.

Law enforcement officials actually are seeing a drop in the number of cases statewide, said David Spakowicz, director of field operations for the state Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation.


“We are not seeing any statewide trend relating to the increase of methamphetamines,” he said.


On Friday, Brodhead police arrested Roy A. Van Brocklin, 32, of W446 Red Cedar Lane, Brodhead. They say a traffic stop revealed materials used to make meth. He appeared in court Tuesday on four felony meth charges and two misdemeanor drug charges.


Six days earlier, authorities in Walworth County began investigating materials at sites in Richmond and Delavan townships that they believe are associated with methamphetamine production.


The number of meth cases analyzed by the state crime lab has dropped from 726 in 2005 to 370 in 2007, according to data from the Department of Justice.


“I wouldn’t say we’re out of the woods, but we’re making good headway,” Spakowicz said.


Meth problems in the state still are focused in the northwest and southeast, he said.


The crime lab analyzed the following number of cases for this area:


n Rock County: No cases in 2005, two in 2006 and one in 2007.


n Walworth County: Three cases in 2005, three in 2006 and two in 2007.


n Green County: Two cases in 2005 and none in 2006 and none in 2007.


Van Brocklin’s arrest is the first meth case in Green County that Jeff Skatrud, chief deputy at the Green County Sheriff’s Department, could recall.


“Is it shocking? No,” he said. “I think it was a matter of time, but is it a regular occurrence? That’s a big, ‘No,’ also.”


Skatrud worked in the department’s drug unit in the 1990s until 2001, and worked on a meth investigation in the late 1990s and early 2000, when a meth lab and dump sites were discovered a few miles west of the Green-Lafayette county line near South Wayne.


The people making meth in Lafayette County bought supplies and equipment from places in Green County and beyond, he said.


A meth lab usually is used by a core group of individuals who stick close to home, Skatrud said. They do, however, branch out to buy materials because most of the medications cooked into meth, such as Sudafed, are regulated.


Skatrud and Spakowicz don’t think the recent cases mean meth is moving into the area.


“I think there was more of a threat of it spreading and becoming a regional thing in the ’90s and early 2000 than it is now,” Skatrud said. “There’s still individuals that are going to do it, obviously.”


Both men attributed the decrease to tighter laws regulating meth ingredients.


“Things have changed in the last eight years,” Skatrud said. “That made a big difference.”


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Roy Van Brocklin had about 5 grams of methamphetamine, chemicals used to make meth and a meth recipe when pulled over in Brodhead for traffic violations Friday, according to court documents.


Roy Van Brocklin, 32, of W446 Red Cedar Lane, Brodhead, made his initial appearance Monday in Green County Court.


He is charged with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, possession of materials for manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of waste from manufacturing methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.


He also was arrested on a charge of drunken driving.


Court records allege Van Brocklin had about 5 grams of meth in a plastic bag, an ephedrine or pseudoephedrine product, red phosphorus, lithium metal, sodium metal and ammonia in his truck when stopped by Brodhead police at about 3 p.m. Friday. He also had flammable liquid, corrosive acid, tubing, containers, iodine, antifreeze, aluminum foil, coffee filters and a recipe to make meth.


Van Brocklin remains jailed on a $5,000 cash bond. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.


Brodhead Police Chief Thomas Moczynski said Van Brocklin had the materials needed to set up a meth lab on “short notice.” He said there was a risk to public safety from the flammable liquids and other materials in Van Brocklin’s truck.


“It’s dangerous when anyone transports chemicals whether they are legal or illegal,” Moczynski said, “that’s why we called in federal authorities.”


The Green County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation and the Stateline Area Narcotics Team assisted at the scene.


Moczynski wouldn’t say if Van Brocklin’s arrest would lead to other arrests.


“This is out of the ordinary for Brodhead,” Moczynski said. “Now that we’ve had this arrest, officers will be more vigilant.”



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