Police discuss recent large-scale drug busts spanning multiple central Wisconsin counties
CENTRAL WISCONSIN, Wis. (WSAW) - In the last few weeks, we’ve seen several large-scale drug busts across multiple counties in our area. Police found mostly heroin and methamphetamine in high-value quantities. Several of those busts took place in Marshfield, and one in Weston.
The weight of the heroin Everest Metro police found, 78 grams, is equivalent to about 17 sheets of paper, but police say it would have sold in the community for $24,000.
Police Chief Clayton Schulz says the size of drug busts only seems to increase. Everest Metro police arrested a 40-year-old man in this incident who they say came from Milwaukee to distribute the heroin, which was mixed with fentanyl.
“I think the thing that was concerning was the amount. We used to deal in grams of heroin, and now we’re seeing it in ounces,” Schulz said, adding how deadly small quantities of fentanyl can be. “Speaking to one of our drug investigators that was in the unit about 5 years ago, he said, you know, when we got a gram of heroin, that was kind of a big thing.”
One factor right now is that Marathon County needs to keep its jail and staff safe from COVID-19. To make that happen, they’re jailing fewer non-violent offenders.
“It’s difficult to track, just because of the pandemic and where we are with that, so if you’re not getting caught, they’re still kind of doing business as usual,” he said, explaining he still understands why they’re not kept in custody right now.
Another issue, Schulz says, is geography. Whatever drugs are popular probably cross through the central Wisconsin area.
“Sometimes I think we can be the hub just because of where we’re located. I think our geographic area, where we have the intersection of 29 and I-39 has always been something we’re aware of, just how we’re positioned in the state,” he said.
To the east, Langlade County had a large drug bust almost two weeks ago.
Down Highway 29 west, the Marshfield Police Department also had two larger-scale drug busts last weekend. Their K-9, Rika, was crucial to the larger find.
“The officers are the key to getting it going, but the K-9s are the tool to making this possible,” said Lieutenant Dennis Keffer.
Rika helped officers find 90 grams or $9,000 of methamphetamine in one stop. That’s hundreds of highs.
“To arrest for 90 grams is pretty significant. I think for our community, it’s important to understand the prevalence of drugs that are here,” Keffer said.
They’re able to keep some of those drugs from making it to people who live here because of help from Rika and their other K-9, Steffi.
“The officer calls over the K-9, who does a walk around the vehicle, and they’re trained to smell and then alert to the presence of controlled substances in the vehicle,” he said. “When a K-9 alerts on a vehicle, it provides probable cause to do a search of that vehicle.”
You can support the K-9 program by purchasing a stuffed toy of Rika or Steffi. Call Marshfield Police for more information at 715-387-4394.
Lieutenant Keffer says while the amount they find in busts is increasing, it’s too early to say if those two recent arrests are an indication of what they’ll be looking at in the future.
But, he says, police see the ripple effects of the drugs in the community through thefts, burglaries, and mental health issues.
“They have some significant effects on how our community thrives or doesn’t thrive,” he said.
If you are struggling with drug addiction and need assistance finding treatment, call 1-800-662-4357.
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