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It’s a mixed bag: Meth, marijuana are prevalent in Jamestown, Stutsman County

Scott Edinger1 / 2
Chad Kaiser2 / 2

Methamphetamine continues to be a problem in Jamestown and Stutsman County, according to local law enforcement agencies.

Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police, said Friday that police officers in Jamestown are dealing with methamphetamine either directly or indirectly on a nightly basis.

“They (the officers) are either seeing people in possession of the drug, dealing with someone who is under the influence, or seeing its effects in one way or the other,” he said.

Edinger said there are related impacts that Jamestown Police Department officers see on a daily basis from people using methamphetamine, like someone seeking an emergency committal to a drug rehabilitation center to try and get away from meth.

“Or maybe it’s someone who is agitated because they haven’t received their supply,” he said, “or someone trying it for the first time.”

Statistics from the Stutsman County Narcotics Task Force, which covers Stutsman, Barnes, LaMoure, Eddy and Foster counties, show 81 grams of methamphetamine were purchased or seized by the task force in 2016. This is about the same amount the task force took in 2014. In 2015 the task force seized or purchased 546.5 grams of meth. No explanation was available as to why the amount of meth taken by the task force in 2015 was so big.

Edinger said the statistics on drugs aren’t as cut and dried as they used to be. He said law enforcement officers are seeing other drugs as well, like opiates and marijuana.

“We still see a lot of meth, but it’s not just meth by itself,” he said. “Now it’s meth and marijuana, or meth and an opioid.”

Edinger said the drug scene has changed quite a bit since he served on the Stutsman County Narcotics Task Force 10 years ago. He said back then the drugs he saw all the time were meth and marijuana.

“Every once in awhile you’d see cocaine,” he said. “Maybe once a year or once every two years you would see heroin. Now it’s heroin all the time, it’s meth all the time.”

Stutsman County Sheriff Chad Kaiser said meth is prevalent in the rural areas of the county, but not as much as in Jamestown.

“We encounter it (methamphetamine) at times once a week,” he said.

Kaiser said it’s not unusual for his deputies to find meth and marijuana together when they do find meth.

“If you find some meth paraphernalia (items used to smoke or ingest the drug), you find some marijuana as well,” he said.

Deputy Matt Thom, the K9 handler for the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office, said based on his experience over the last three years in assisting local law enforcement agencies with detecting narcotics, that meth and marijuana are the two most prevalent drugs in the area.

He said most of the time he and Dreamos, the sheriff’s office Belgian Malinois dog trained in drug detection, find narcotics at a traffic stop, the amounts are for personal use.

“With methamphetamine, personal use would be less than a gram,” he said. “When you’re looking at distribution amounts in our area, that is a couple of ounces (for meth).”

He said the largest amount of meth he has seen in one traffic stop was 4 ounces. Thom said he and Dreamos have been involved in criminal interdiction efforts on Interstate 94 and U.S. Highway 281 in the area.

“A couple of weeks ago we got a female with 18 pounds of weed and an ounce of cocaine, which are distribution amounts,” he said.

Thom said the 81 grams of meth the task force seized or purchased in 2016 is quite a bit.

“With the harder drugs like meth and cocaine, it doesn’t take as much to get high,” he said.

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454