Drug arrests, seizures in Janesville increase in 2010
The unit made 257 felony drug arrests in 2010, compared to 149 in 2009, an increase of 72 percent, Sgt. Jim Holford said.
Investigators also seized drugs with a street value of $226,458 in 2010, compared to the 2009 total of $72,520, an increase of 212 percent, Holford said.
The street crimes unit includes one sergeant and six officers. The unit is involved in undercover work, drug and gang investigations and other activities.
Arrests on charges of cocaine delivery, maintaining a drug trafficking place and possession of drug paraphernalia had the largest spike in 2010, Holford said.
The increase can be attributed to police creating more relationships in the community to get information, he said. Police talk to landlords, private businesses, schools, parcel carriers and motel managers to gather drug intelligence.
"We try to get early information so we can nip it before it gets too bad," Holford said. "We don't have to go out and look for as much information as we used to. It's coming in all the time."
The boost in drug seizures was largely because three marijuana-growing operations were busted, he said. The operations provided most of the pot in the city.
"If we take down a lot of marijuana early and a lot of marijuana dealers, hopefully we're eliminating a lot of those people who are going to venture into those other drugs," he said.
Drug overdoses doubled to eight in 2010 from four in 2009 because of more heroin overdoses, although the amount of heroin seized dropped and the number of heroin arrests remained the same, Holford said.
The city had an active heroin dealer causing overdoses, but the dealer has since been arrested, he said. The number of overdoses dropped after the dealer's arrest.
Heroin was hard to find in Janesville earlier in 2010, and users had to leave the city for the drug, Holford said. Now, heroin is making a comeback.
"It showed that our efforts had some impact for a period of time, but now we're going to have to give it more attention," Holford said.
The first indication that heroin is in town is overdoses, he said. Investigators then work cases to find the sources of overdoses.
When heroin dealers are arrested, the number of overdoses drops again, he said.
Cocaine use in Janesville trends wildly, Holford said. Powder cocaine is not prevalent, but crack cocaine replaced the heroin void for a while.