Meth cooks employ heroin users to fuel drug trade

GEORGETOWN – It may come as no surprise to anyone looking over this past weeks indictments handed down from the Brown County Grand Jury that there is a drug problem among residents, what may come as surprise to those not involved is how far these operations spread.

According to Deputy Prosecutor Zac Corbin, the multitude of indictments this week come from three separate drug rings in the county involving as many as 50 person, all whom were indicted this week.

“What we have now in these networks are the meth cooks who need pseudoephedrine are either buying or trading with heroin users to get it,” Corbin said. “So a cook might have several heroin users buying box of Sudafed because the cook doesn’t want to use their ID at the store, and he buys the boxes for $8-10 each or trades heroin for it.”

Methamphetamine is an old problem that has made its way back around according to Brown County Drug Task Force Commander Josh Black.

“It was about midsummer when we started getting more and more meth labs coming back,” Black said. “At least for Brown County the meth problem had sort of slowed down prior to that.”

The production of methamphetamine has also changed over the course of time. Often times people think of meth operations with Bunsen burners and looking like something off the popular television show Breaking Bad. However, a new method of meth production has become more the norm. This method is known as “shake and bake” and involved the production of methamphetamine in two-liter bottles or 20 oz soda bottles allowing cooks to make meth virtually anywhere.

The intricate networks of drug users trading different substances is nothing new to the world of drugs or law enforcement communities. According to Chief Deputy Carl Smith, these things work in cycles.

“I can tell you that in 29 years in law enforcement, these things circle around,” Smith said. “For awhile it will be cocaine, then crack…then it was pills and heroin and back to meth.”

Black said the new task for doesn’t have much data on how long the meth cooks and heroin users have been trading good because of how new the task force is, but said over the last year they have seen an increase in both meth cooks and heroin users trading or being involved in these networks of drugs.

The latest spree of indictments and arrests could be the beginning of a soon to be long year for the drug task force.

“I see no end in sight for this,” Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little said. “I see it getting worse before getting better. The addicts and criminal elements get resourceful. It is amazing thing to see their ingenuity to feed their addictions. We have to work to keep countering their resourcefulness.”

By Brian Durham

Reach Brian Durham at 937-378-6161