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Multi county raids net 175 arrests

 

More than 60 mug shots cover a table inside a conference room at the Florence Police Department Thursday as officers from a five-county area joined together to announce that 175 meth-related arrests were made during a three-day period this week. | Nathan Strickland/FCT

 

More than 60 people were arrested by Franklin County law enforcement agencies this week during a five-county methamphetamine round up.

In all, 175 people were arrested as part of Operation SINUS in Lauderdale, Colbert, Franklin, Marion and Winston counties.

“For the last three and a half days, multi-jurisdictional officers have been working on the second round of Operation SINUS,” Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said during a press conference at the Florence Police Department Thursday afternoon. “We started Monday and we’ve made a dent in the amount of meth producers we have in our region.”

The operation involved 65 officers from 22 agencies.

When Operation SINUS began, task force agents started looking at pseudoephedrine sales in Lauderdale County.

Pseudoephedrine is in most over-the-counter cold medicines and is the active ingredient in methamphetamine manufacturing.

“Agents began looking into the pseudoephedrine logs and discovered several people making multiple purchases at several local pharmacies,” said Tim Glover, who is the commander of the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force.

The department noticed that a large number of those people were from Franklin, Marion and Winston counties.

“We targeted residents from those counties who were coming to Lauderdale County to purchase pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine,” Glover said.

“The methamphetamine epidemic has affected larger cities such as Florence, Muscle Shoals, Russellville, Hamilton and Haleyville, but this week the Drug Task Force witnessed the destruction in small towns such as Winfield, Phil Campbell, Jasper, Lynn, Nauvoo, Hackleburg, Guin, Brilliant, Bear Creek and Arley. This shows that there is not a meth problem here – it’s an epidemic,” Glover said.

Stanley Webb, director of the Marion Drug Task Force, said that meth use continues to grow there.

“We battle meth on a daily basis in my area,” he said. “Our problem has seemed to grow and grow.”

Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said that a large number of people from outside Franklin County purchase meth-making materials at Russellville businesses.

The state of Mississippi will begin requiring prescriptions to purchase items with pseudoephedrine in July, Webb said, and he expects this region to see an increase in people from that state trying to buy the items in northwest Alabama.

“We are all close to the state line, so we should be prepared for an increase when that goes into effect,” he said. “I hope everyone will encourage their lawmakers and legislators to enact a similar law in Alabama.”

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