A little more than a month after Saline County law officers formed a new drug task force, that force is already proving its worth.
Over the weekend, the Multi-Agency Drug Enforcement team (MADE) took nine accused meth makers off the streets of Harrisburg, along with thousands of dollars in drugs.
Early Saturday morning, Saline County officers got a call from the Harrisburg Wal-Mart, where an 18-year old was buying ingredients to make methamphetamine. The officers arrested that man, and based on comments he made, obtained search warrants for two homes in the area. They say they were able to investigate those tips, thanks to manpower from the new drug task force.
“There are a lot of places where it would’ve ended in a first arrest,” says MADE Commander Rob McConnell. “And it would have gotten no further.”
But if Saline County MADE officers had stopped investigating after their first arrest on Saturday, they may never have discovered nearly 250-thousand dollars’ worth of meth and meth-making ingredients, “and” nine more accused meth makers. They all lay hidden inside two Saline County homes, along with a ten-gallon drum of anhydrous ammonia, dozens of lithium batteries, and thousands of Sudafed tablets. “There were about twelve thousand of those,” said McConnell. “That’d be enough to cook a little over three pounds of finished meth.” That, he says, is a tremendous amount of the addictive drug.
In addition to methamphetamine and meth making ingredients, MADE investigators found guns, a multi-camera surveillance system, and even a night vision scope inside the homes…all evidence of a high-tech operation. Even so, it may have been easily missed in the past, under the wide scope of a state task force. That’s why Saline County Sheriff Ed Miller says he’s glad that officers in the county are now focusing their efforts closer to home. “I felt the citizens of Saline County would be better served by using our men, who we're paying a salary for, to work full time in Saline County on this very serious problem,” he tells Heartland News.
Now that MADE officers have made their first drug bust, and a big one at that, McConnell hopes other meth makers in Saline County will get the message that their time is short. “I believe it says that we’re going to do something about the meth problem in this county,” he declares. “You’d better quit making meth or go somewhere else.”
Members of MADE include officers from the Harrisburg, Eldorado, Galatia, and Carrier Mills police departments, and the Saline County Sheriff’s Department.