Note: I wrote this story at the end of December 2013, for the Hannibal Courier-Post. The message is the same today as it was them: ' Heroin is killing our young people' - Law enforcement efforts targeting the flow of heroin into Hannibal
Mary Lou Montgomery
Hannibal Courier-Post (MO) - Friday, December 27, 2013
Author: Mary Lou Montgomery, firstname.lastname@example.org
William E. and Deanna R. Motley of Hannibal are just two of the 100 or more inmates who spent Christmas in the Marion County Jail at Palmyra.
Each is charged with a Class B felony drug charge.
When the Northeast Missouri Narcotics Task Force executed a search warrant at their home in Hannibal on Nov. 7, 2013, among the items found by officers was heroin, a currently popular drug with casual users, with potentially deadly consequences.
With their individual bond set at $100,000, cash only, each, it is unlikely that the Motleys will be released prior to their scheduled jury trials, which are scheduled for March 2014.
While the Motleys are just two of a number of people arrested this year for possessing or selling heroin, they are accused of being part of a dangerous network at work in the region.
" Heroin is killing our young people," said Jimmy Shinn , Marion County sheriff. "We've seen 6-7 deaths this year alone."
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, meth was the drug of choice, Shinn added. " Heroin has taken over in the past year on the streets. It is cheaper and they don't have to take chances on manufacturing it.
"It comes from the cities, St.
Louis, Columbia and Chicago. Our people don't know how much they can take, what the purity is, or what kind of agent it is cut with," Shinn said.
"If a dealer gets one ounce of heroin, he wants to spread it as far as he can." Agents are added, such as lye, baking soda "or any powdery substance," so the dealer can make more money.
The user "picks up the heroin at a party or a local bar, and has no idea the purity. It is very dangerous," Shinn said.
"It comes like a powder, a gummy substance. They smoke it or shoot it, those are the two predominant methods used in this area," he said.
It is popular with those in the 17-to-40 age range, he said.
Shinn not only has professional knowledge of the fatal consequences of heroin use, but he shares a personal experience, too.
Close to home Sheriff Shinn had a young relative die last year after using heroin.
"One day he was out and about in town. He had no criminal problems, he was a very good father, never been in trouble. I couldn't believe it. One night of his life he went out to have a good time with his buddies. He gets some heroin, takes it, and doesn't wake up."
Even with Shinn 's life-long background in law enforcement, he was not able to connect any dealers with his relative's death.
"Getting people to come forward" is a problem, Shinn said.
"They won't come forth and help us." There were many rumors circulating following his relative's death. "People give tips, but we have to collaborate the tips with surveillance, to basically put pieces of the puzzle together in order to prosecute.
"Just because someone says their neighbor is selling drugs, that doesn't give us the right to go to their house. It takes time to conduct surveillance and to get background checks," Shinn said.
"Knowing it and proving it are two different things. We have to be able to prove it."
On Oct. 11, 2013, the Hannibal Police Department's Narcotic Investigations Unit made a series of arrests aimed at disrupting the supply of heroin in the City of Hannibal.
Among those arrested:
· Keith Ashford, 51, of Hannibal, $100,000, cash-only bond; plea/trial setting scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 6, 2014, Marion County Circuit Court, Hannibal.
· Kazuhl Simms, 22, of Hannibal, $100,000, cash-only bond; plea/trial setting scheduled for 9 a.m. Jan. 6, 2014, Marion County Circuit Court, Hannibal.
· James Ivey Jr., 32, of Hannibal, $100,000, cash-only bond; pre-trial conference, 9 a.m. Feb. 3, 2014, Marion County Circuit Court at Hannibal; Jury trial scheduled 8 a.m. Feb. 24.
· Jermale Miller, 38, of Ewing, $100,000, cash-only bond; pretrial conference, 9 a.m. Feb. 3, 2014, Marion County Circuit Court at Hannibal; Jury trial scheduled 8 a.m. Feb. 19.