By RICK HAYES
---- — MT. VERNON — Methamphetamine cases in Jefferson County increased slightly this past year, although local officials say it has reduced greatly from previous years and continues a downward spiral.
Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch issued his end of the year report — for the fiscal year ending on Nov. 30 — and he indicated the drug of choice within the boundaries of Jefferson County is crack cocaine, followed by cannabis and methamphetamine.
Mulch reported two methamphetamine/meth labs were discovered and dismantled. His office also investigated 22 cases of controlled substances, crack cocaine and powder cocaine; two prescription drug cases; two synthetic drug cases; 17 cannabis cases; and 16 drug equipment/paraphernalia violations.
During the 2013 calendar year, the Joint Narcotics Division — which also includes the Mt. Vernon Police Department — investigated 82 methamphetamine cases and discovered 20 meth labs. There were 33 crack cocaine cases, 28 for cannabis, 20 for prescription pills, and 16 heroin cases. Investigations led to seven federal indictments on drug and/or gun related charges. The Division seized $37,000, two vehicles and one television.
Mulch was not immediately available to explain why there were a high number of meth cases, yet crack cocaine remains the drug of choice in Jefferson County.
Detectives and deputies investigated a number of major crimes tracked by the Illinois Uniform Crime Reporting Program. These included: five criminal sexual assaults, 85 aggravated assault/battery cases, 107 burglaries, 157 thefts, 19 motor vehicle thefts and three arsons.
Of the remaining offense codes tracked and documented, deputies investigated an additional 795 reports directly related to crime, the sheriff reported.
The sheriff’s department made 73 driving under the influence arrests in 2013. Of these arrests, 59 were adults over the age of 21; two were under the age of 21. The remaining 12 arrests were for under the influence of another type drug, such as prescription or controlled substances.
A total of 505 arrests were made this past year and 250 arrest warrants were served. The department issued 1,042 traffic citations and investigated 468 traffic accidents.
Dispatchers received 23,137 calls for service. Of those calls, 17,393 were logged as 911 emergencies, and of that number, 14,558 were actual emergencies that generated a patrol response.