Thursday, May 23, 2019

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Drug trafficking discussion illuminates issues on a local level


Ziebach County police share drug trafficking concerns at Dupree city meeting

Drugs, roads and donations topped the Dupree City County meeting agenda.

Ziebach County Police Officer Charles Red Crow presented with Sheriff Gary Cudmore the monthly patrol report to the council, which led to an extensive sharing of concerns about drug use and trafficking across the state.

Red Crow said that after attending the interdiction conference in Kansas, he is more aware of the paths drug traffickers take through South Dakota, and that path runs through the reservation — Highway 212.

Councilman Sam Owen said it was good to see Red Crow on the highway in the morning, a comment that prompted the discussion about the possibility that drug traffic will continue to increase through Ziebach and other SD counties as traffickers look for the least policed routes on which to travel.

Red Crow said the trafficking of drugs has increased 175 percent in the past three years.

Those who traffic drugs, Cudmore said, carry guns, and Red Crow added to that statement, “Drugs and guns go hand-in-hand.”

Red Crow’s presence on the Highway 212 was in direct response to the warnings from the Kansas conference and a concerted effort to keep an eye out for potential traffickers.

When a driver is pulled over, Red Crow said the police look for certain indicators, and if those indicators are present, they start a conversation with the driver in an effort to acquire consent to search the vehicle. If consent is not given and the police are still suspect, they will call in the K-9-unit, Red Crow said.

Red Crow called the drug problem in America an epidemic, and he said that it could even be called a pandemic (meaning it reaches world-wide proportions).

Red Crow sourced the issue to the “upper echelon” letting the states run wild — such as Colorado legalizing marijuana.

The legalization of marijuana will be like the development of the tobacco industry, and pretty soon everybody from a nine-year-old up will be smoking marijuana like they did tobacco, because it will be a money-making industry, Red Crow said.

Green states like SD are impacted by the states that have legalized marijuana, Red Crow said, as people carry their goods though the states that have not legalized it. Red Crow also said that Colorado is about to vote on the legalization of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

“We can’t roll over and accept what’s happening. We have to keep fighting,” Red Crow said to the council, all of whom nodded in agreement.

Mayor Jim Veit said, “One of the things I can’t figure out is how people without jobs are addicted to drugs.”

Red Crow explained that around here, there are a lot of children being raised by grandparents. Grandparents feel guilty that their children are not there for the kids, so when the kids ask for money, the grandparents give it to them. Kids decide to spend the money on various drugs and become addicted.

Addicts without money will sell everything in the house to get the money for the drugs, whether those things belong to them or not, Red Crow said.

In addition, addictions develop when a non-addict is fronted a drug, takes it, becomes addicted and now owes the dealer for the freebie. This is how dealers gain not only more dependent addicts, but also more distributors.

Other factors mentioned in the meeting that have influenced the rise in addictions were the media’s romanticization of drugs and drug dealing and the corporate greed of big pharmaceutical companies.

Red Crow said that the system makes it hard for law enforcement to apprehend dealers — that the rights of potential perpetrators are better protected than the rights of victims.

“Miranda rights protect the suspect, but what about our victims,” Red Crow said.

Cudmore expressed bafflement that equaled Veit’s when he said that he could not understand why people who even consider using meth knowing from public service announcements and numerous reports about the dangers of meth and the potential that is could be laced with fentanyl which is a chemical deadly in miniscule doses.

Red Crow concluded his report with an invitation to city officials that he is organizing a full-scale HAZMAT emergency training drill, and hopes that the sheriff’s office will be able to get a semi turned on its side to make the drill as realistic as possible for what the emergency responders might have to face here in rural SD.

Carl Schauer returned to council to discuss the road in front of his property, a continuation of the concern he presented to council last month about the water accumulation and runoff on that road.

Veit and the council said they plan to have the road surveyed and will propose the most cost-effective solution to the problem after the survey is completed.

The city’s large roll-off dumpster is currently at the CRST dump. Weather conditions have prevented its return to town, and this absence may impact events such as the clean-up day organized through the school or other entities, explained Financial Officer Maurice Lemke.

The council received a letter of complaint from a local resident concerning missed garbage pick-up. The council discussed the concern and said they would write a response clarifying pick-up time frames and suggesting that should the city workers miss pick-up for one reason or another, residents should call into the office and let them know and they will make sure to swing back around and pick up the trash.

Mayor Veit said that the workers have made a more concerted effort to ensure they stop at all the required sites, but sometimes the trash is not set out when they come by, which would result in a missed pick-up.

The garbage truck typically makes its rounds after 8:00 a.m., and most people can expect the trash to be picked up by noon, said councilperson Sandy Lemke.

For more specific information about garbage collection, contact the Dupree City office.

The council also discussed holding on to the old loader for a few more months until they can get confirmation on where they will collect gravel so they do not risk damaging the new loader hauling gravel from rough locations.

The council ended the meeting in executive session concerning a water service matter.