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Ohio state troopers seize 5 times as much meth and heroin as last year

Published: May. 18, 2021 at 8:36 PM EDT
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Ohio (WOIO) - Weapons and drugs seized off our streets have skyrocketed compared to the last several years, 19 Investigates has uncovered.

The increase is even alarming state troopers.

The prevalence of guns and drugs is a growing problem in Northeast Ohio that can lead to violence and addiction.

But this is about more than numbers. It’s the people behind the tragedies.

“What we get caught up in is just the numbers, and what we don’t realize is behind those numbers is a potential tragedy,” said Sgt. Ray Santiago with Ohio State Highway Patrol. “There’s a family member that gets addicted to a drug or a young one that gets lost due to gun violence.”

Weapons violations statewide, including guns and knives, are up nearly 70 percent so far in 2021 compared to the three-year average, a 19 Investigates analysis of Ohio State Highway Patrol data shows.

Santiago said Cuyahoga County and surrounding counties are seeing some of the biggest increases in gun seizures statewide.

“A lot of our communities are dealing with tragic losses due to gun violence, and this is just our part to try to remove those community safety threats before they get to that part,” he said.

Santiago said weapons and drug seizures usually go together.

“Usually when we get one, we’re getting the other,” he said.

But there are always more out there.

The drugs they’re watching closely include methamphetamines and heroin. Both are up nearly 500 percent compared to last year.

Crack seizures are up more than 300 percent.

“Those were all headed to our communities, to our families, our friends. Those are all potential tragedies that we’re just trying to prevent,” Santiago said.

Statistics from OSHP show dramatic increases in many drug contraband seizures.
Statistics from OSHP show dramatic increases in many drug contraband seizures.(Ohio State Highway Patrol)

Santiago said that while the numbers are alarming, having the data allows the highway patrol to be more transparent with the public.

“Being data-driven into how we respond to what we see is making us see increases in our level of success in removing some of these things,” Santiago said.

You can see their statistics here.

To really fight the problem, state troopers share what they learn with other police agencies.

“We’re able to show them, this is what we’re seeing, these are the black and white numbers behind it,” Santiago said.

We did find some good news in all of this data.

Under drug contraband seizures so far this year, prescription pill opiates are down almost 50 percent from last year.

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