23 arraigned on 34 separate counts of drug violations in Arenac County
STANDISH — The Sting Narcotics Team of West Brach and the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department have arraigned 23 people in Arenac County for a total of 34 counts of drug violations.
Violations include, maintaining a drug house, delivering and manufacturing of marijuana, selling of prescription drugs and conspiracy to deliver and manufacture drugs.
Arenac County Undersheriff Donald McIntyre said the bust is one of the biggest in the county’s history, and is the result of ongoing Sting Narcotics investigation.
“A number of these subjects are second offenders,” he said. “That’s the goal of the Sting Narcotics Team. They target the serious offenders.”
The 23 subjects were arraigned last week in district court and McIntyre said other investigations are still ongoing.
“This is not over yet,” he said. “We still have more work to do.”
McIntyre said there was no one area in the county where the subjects were caught. He said the arrests were made across the county.
“Some people might be surprised that their neighbor, they never suspected, could be a part of this,” he said. “The purpose of the (Sting Narcotics Team) is going after the people who are selling and manufacturing of dangerous drugs.”
McIntyre said the narcotics sting is important for the reduction of crime in Arenac County. He added that people who die from overdosing on illegal drugs are buying the drugs from offenders like the ones arraigned.
“Anyone who is selling drugs in Arenac County is contributing to the (overall) crime rate,” he said.
“If (we) address the drug problem now we will lower the overall crime rate,” McIntyre said. “We have been aggressively pursuing crime. Many of these (people) are major players in other crimes in Arenac County.”
The Arenac County Sheriff’s Department is currently operating in the second year of a two-year, $144,000 federal stimulus grant through the Recovery Act that allows the department to fund an undercover officer for narcotics stings.
“All investigations and arrests made would not be possible without this grant,” McIntyre said. “The biggest benefit to utilizing (Sting Narcotics) is that by contributing one officer, we get the full use of the Sting Team comprised of 10 officers.
McIntyre said the Sting Narcotics Team, based in West Branch, covers surrounding counties and is run by the Michigan State Police.
“The whole team goes through advanced training,” he said. “The officer we have is 100 percent dedicated to his job. He is busy every day.”
McIntyre said without the undercover officer and the Sting Narcotics team, the sheriff’s department would not be able to catch drug offenders