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Story Archives: Drugs stats for 2007; most offenders from Vidalia area, more white than black
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|Drugs stats for 2007; most offenders from Vidalia area, more white than black|
Most drug offenses in Concordia Parish are committed in the Vidalia area, most offenders are white and male, and prescription fraud to obtain narcotics is on the rise.
These are some of the facts found in a statistical report on drug offenses in Concordia Parish during 2007. The report was compiled for the Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office by Katrina Jackson and based on drug arrests in Concordia for the past year.
The parish was divided into six regions for the report -- Deer Park, Clayton, Ferriday, Monterey, Vidalia and Wildsville.
"The results are surprising in some ways but the figures don't lie," said Maxwell. "We're not pointing at any one spot in the parish, but the figures do show that the Vidalia area is the area where the most drug offenses occur."
He said this area includes the town of Vidalia and the heavily-populated subdivisions from there to Ridgecrest.
"I'm not sure most realize just how many people live in that area," said Maxwell.
Last year, there were 107 drug cases and 253 drug offenses worked by the sheriff's office and its narcotics task force. Of the 253 offenses committed by 164 offenders, 139 were white, 112 were black, and two were of other races. Men committed almost twice the number of drug offenses than women.
In terms of age, 102 offenses were committed by individuals in the age bracket of 25 to 40, while those 40 years of age and older were responsible for 65 offenses. Eighty-six offenses were recorded by individuals 17 to 24 years of age.
Pharmaceuticals are the most used drugs following marijuana.
The report notes: "Pharmaceutical drug possession and distribution is increasing and its usage outweighs that of both crystal meth and powder cocaine. Investigations by CNTF (Concordia Narcotics Task Force) exemplify pharmaceutical drug abuse as becoming a major problem within the parish. Primary methods reported of obtaining these drugs for illegal sale and distribution is from 'doctor shopping' (going to a number of doctor to obtain prescriptions for a controled pharmaceutical.)
Most used pharmaceuticals include Hydrocodone, Codeine, Lortab, Xanax, Valium, Fentanyl, and Oxycodone.
Prescription fraud is on the rise throughout the region, notes the report.
Of the drug offenses committed last year, almost half -- 48.2 percent (122) -- were in the Vidalia area, 30.4 percent (77) in Ferriday, 9.1 percent (23) in Clayton, 5.9 percent (15) in Wildsville, 4.3 percent (11) in Monterey, and two percent (5) in Deer Park.
Further breaking down the statistics, the report revealed that in Vidalia, the 122 offenses there were committed by 81 offenders, while in Clayton, 16 offenders committed 23 offenses; Deer Park, five offenses by five offenders; Ferriday, 77 offenses by 45 offenders; Monterey, 11 offenses by seven offenders; and Wildsville, 15 offenses by 10 offenders.
The report notes that "there are no signs of a decrease in drug activity" in the parish.
The narcotics task force's most effective tools in fighting the drug problem has been through "surveillance, undercover buys, and (Intel) gathering from concerned citizens and confidential informants. The working of undercover agents on cases is by far the most effective tool in achieving the goals of the task force."
The report also notes:
-- Pressure from undercover operations unnerve drug dealers leading to their arrests.
-- This pressure makes drug dealers "paranoid and afraid" and forces them to change tactics which leads to arrests.
-- Only the types of drugs being used has changed as drug activity remains the same.
-- The public is becoming more involved in reporting illegal drug activity in neighborhoods, is providing more information to police, supports the task force efforts, values anonymity, encouraged when arrests are made based on their tips and feel they are making a difference in combating the drug problem.
"I'm very proud of our drug task force," said Maxwell. "Greg Jackson and his team do an outstanding job. This is something that we're expanding but it is an endless fight. You put five people in jail and six more pop up the next day."
He said drug cases are difficult to make.
"People say I know this or that person uses drugs, but catching them and building a case is much more difficult," said Maxwell, who said he appreciates the public's effort in providing information.
"And if you're fooling with drugs, we're going to get you," said Maxwell.
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