Drug Felony Charges Soared in '98!

Drug Felony Charges Soared in '98!
Posted by FoM on January 15, 1999 at 07:23:07 PT

West Bend The number of drug-related felony charges, especially for possession of LSD, were up dramatically in 1998, according to information released Thursday. The Washington County Multi-Jurisdiction Drug Enforcement Group investigated 20 LSD incidents, of which 19 led to felony charges of delivery or possession with intent to deliver. 
"It's absolutely huge," Lt. John Buck, who is with the drug unit, said of the LSD confiscations. "We took a huge amount of LSD off the streets." Buck said the group confiscated 3,801 hits of LSD, the majority coming from one seizure of 3,150 hits. That investigation involved cooperating with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and resulted in two arrests. By the time the investigation was completed, 6,000 hits had been confiscated. "Let me tell you what surprised me," Buck said about the arrests made by the drug enforcement unit. "(It was) the percent of cases that were felonies -- delivery, possession with intent to deliver or manufacturing." Of 184 drug-related incidents investigated, 72% resulted in felony charges. Buck said the number of people involved also said something about the group's work. "We had 140 suspects. We had multiple cases with more than one person. So we had a lot of people acting in concert, so to speak," he said. And 1999 shows no signs of slowing down. "We've investigated 21 incidents this month, so if you calculate that out, that's over 200 for the year," he said. The group is comprised of four full-time sheriff's deputies, including Buck. One full-time officer is assigned to the unit by both West Bend and Hartford, while Germantown assigns a part-time officer. The group received a $95,450 grant in December made up of federal, state and local money to help fund its work. The drug unit's activities for 1998 included: Marijuana: The drug unit confiscated 18.8 pounds of marijuana during 1998. That included 28 plants taken from people growing the drug for sale. Twelve of those plants came from an August raid on a rented home in the Town of Jackson. Karl M. Witt, 27, and Cherise A. Raflik, 24, were each charged with multiple felonies. A total of $15,839 in cash was also seized in that raid. Marijuana accounted for 98 of the group's investigations. Cocaine: The number of investigations nearly doubled in 1998 for cocaine and crack cocaine from the previous year. The unit logged 25 incidents and confiscated 223.4 grams of cocaine and crack cocaine in 1998. In 1997, the unit took in just 46 grams. "There are many reasons to offer for the increase," Buck said. "We're growing in population. We have more workers from other areas. Or maybe we're working our sources better." Mushrooms: Three of the five investigations involving hallucinogenic mushrooms resulted in felony charges. The amount of confiscated mushrooms increased to 305 grams, up from 17 grams the previous year. 
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