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Police look to make Marengo meth arrests

March 02, 2011
Two houses in Marengo believed to be associated with the production of methamphetamine were the recent focus of police when officers, acting on tips, obtained search warrants for both places.

On Friday, Feb. 18, search warrants were obtained for a house at 201 Old Main St. and another one at 270 Pleasant Ave. Officers failed to find anyone at either residence but were able to confirm that the house along Pleasant Avenue had been used to manufacture meth.

"We haven't made any arrests yet," said an Indiana State Police detective who works in the Drug Enforcement Department and asked not to be identified. "But the investigation is ongoing, and we have multiple suspects. This investigation actually started back in early 2010 and has been enhanced by help from the We-Tip program and other good tips coming into the state police post. These tips make a big difference in our investigations."

When the officers discovered the meth lab at the Pleasant Avenue house, the ISP Meth Suppression and Clean-up team was called in to remove the material and secure the location until the clean-up was completed.

"My big concern was that this house was within 1,000 feet from the elementary school and was also close to a public park," the detective said.

"But we have a suspect, and we'll be acting on that soon. We also have more suspects and, as tips continue to come in, I believe we will see more arrests. I don't think we've seen a peak in meth labs and meth use here yet. But the community is becoming better educated and a lot of local businesses are also stepping up to the plate. They know the products that are used to make meth and can help keep us informed when someone makes questionable purchases. And the good people in the community are starting to get tired of it all. That helps us a lot."

According to the officer, there were about 1,400 meth labs busted in Indiana in 2010.

"And we've made several busts in this area as well," he said. "But we know there are others operating in Crawford County and the surrounding area. There's a lot of information coming off good tips. And a lot of those are anonymous tips."

"A lot of people don't realize all this is going on," said Lt. Debra Young of the Crawford County Sheriff's Department. "But every bit of information we get, every tip, is a piece of a puzzle. Sometimes we have to wait for other pieces of the puzzle to come in before we can act, but every tip is appreciated. We look into almost every tip we get, to be sure it's correct, and we share that information."

"Yes, don't feel that the information you have is not important," the ISP detective added. "The community is our eyes and ears and can really help. And a lot of the families in this community are effected by meth, and they're getting fed up. Some people are reluctant to tell on others, but we need all the help we can get. We can't do this alone. And those tips never fall on deaf ears. Sometimes one tip isn't enough to prosecute a suspect, and we can't do much with hearsay, but the more tips we get, the better understanding we'll have of a case. And it's not just the Indiana State Police who are working on this. The Crawford County Sheriff's Department and even local town officers are involved. In the Marengo case we are working on, we even received help from the Orange County police.

"There's a lot of good people here in Crawford County, but, like any other county, we have problems with meth and there are new drugs coming in all the time now. We all have to work together on this issue. It's important."

To report information about meth use and manufacturing in the county, call the Indiana State Police Post at Jasper at 1-812-742-7475, the Crawford County Sheriff's Department or the We-Tip line at 1-800-78-CRIME. All callers will remain anonymous.

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