CHAMBERS COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - We met with Chambers County Drug Task Force Commander Johnny Wood on Thursday to discuss year-end arrest numbers and drug seizures.
He also spoke with us about challenges the task force faces this year in their ongoing war on drugs.
2014 was a busy year for the Chambers County Drug Task Force:
- Agents arrested 154 suspects on 289 drug related charges.
- They seized 16 weapons, including handguns and long guns, along with three vehicles used to transport narcotics and close to $8,500 in cash.
- Agents discovered close to 32 pounds of marijuana worth about $57,000, six pounds of cocaine worth $76,000 on the street, 439 pills valued at $3,500, one pound of meth worth $50,000 and more than two pounds of Methylone, similar to MDMA or X, valued at $40,000.
- In all, agents seized and destroyed nearly $137,000 worth of illegal narcotics.
Agents say recent meth laws, regulating sales of pseudoephedrine, means meth lab seizures are way down because cooks can't get their hands on the main ingredient.
"It was not uncommon for us to have 40 to 60 labs a year, down to two, we don't have to clean those up, saving taxpayers money cleaning them up and also cut down on individuals being around those deadly chemicals, not being exposed," Wood explained.
Meth labs are down, however, agents have noticed an increase in crystal meth imported from other areas. This year, agents will work interdiction traffic stops along Interstate 85 and other roadways, searching for meth traffickers.
"We are right between Atlanta and Montgomery so we are right between two major distribution hubs, and we are trying to interrupt that flow," Wood said.
The Chambers County Drug Task Force says meth is no longer the biggest drug issue they face in Chambers County. Now, it's the abuse of prescription pills, specifically pain pills like oxycodone and mood stabilizers like Xanax.