The Drug Shuffle

In 2002, there were more than 60 methamphetamine lab raids in the Parkersburg area alone. So far this year, there has only been a handful.

The two drug raids in the county during 2004 have netted mainly cocaine and marijuana. Police say the meth problem has gone elsewhere.

"Charleston has had about 60 labs this year, and about four or five lab fires," says Parkersburg Police Chief Bob Newell. "When we were having a problem, they didn't have any labs. It's just moving east, and the numbers here really went down."

While it looks as if the cocaine problem is getting worse, Chief Newell says that isn't necessarily so. It's just that with methamphamine raids decreasing, the emphasis is shifting to other drugs.

"We really didn't have a chance to get onto other drug cases here," Newell says, "and once those started going down in numbers, we had time to get into cocaine and other drugs."

The raids of this past year also aren't as large as they've been in the past. A federal crackdown in the 1980's netted nearly 40 arrests.

The five wood county suspects apprehended in yesterday's raids remain behind bars, under cash bonds of up to $50,000.


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