SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Access to illegal drugs is at an all-time high in Springfield according to a new annual report provided by police.
“We have all the problems that St. Louis or Kansas City have, maybe not the volume, but we have all the same problems,” said Lieutenant David Meyer.
He leads Springfield Police Department’s Special Investigations Section.
He’s been with the department since the late 1990′s and says he has never seen the level of illegal narcotics activity as high as it is now.
“There are more drugs on the street now than ever before, fentanyl, meth. It’s unprecedented,” he said.
Local officers work with federal agency partners to track down major dealers.
“We are looking for the big fish,” said Meyer.
In 2021 officers reported record amounts of drug seizures.
Illegal marijuana was the highest at nearly 24,000 ounces. That’s an increase of 1500 percent over the year before.
“We have a task force officer that was working a case with the DEA. They received information about a shipment that was coming in and it was over 1,000 pounds,” explained Meyer.
Cocaine and meth are still big problems. Meth confiscations 124 percent at nearly 844 ounces. The amount of cocaine taken off the streets was up 635 percent at just over 1,200 ounces.
“Meth is still king in Springfield. We seize more meth than any other drug around here,” he said.
However, opioids are the biggest issue plaguing the community.
“The opioid crisis that we have, with people overdosing, I largely contribute that to fentanyl,” said Meyer.
There were more than 550 overdoses reported last year, and over 60 people died.
Meyer says it shifted his section’s focus. Officers were able to seize large amounts of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl earlier this year.
He says it’s already made a difference.
“We didn’t have any overdose deaths during the month of March which is huge for us because we’ve been having multiple overdose deaths every month for the last couple of years,” explained Meyer.
He hopes to keep that trend going.
“It’s an uphill battle but we’ll continue to fight it,” he said.
Police credit the community with helping them track down illegal drug activity.
Meyer says a lot of their investigations begin with tips called in.
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