October 24, 2014

STING nabs five subjects

Program could end in Arenac County

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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ARENAC COUNTY — The multi-county Strike Team Investigative Narcotics Group task force (STING) and the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department have apprehended five individuals for multiple felony counts of drug trafficking in Arenac County.

Marie Wood, Joleene Kedron and John Tobian, all of Sterling, David Mann of Twining, and Jack Long of AuGres were charged individually with counts varying from conspiracy to deliver/manufacture a controlled substance, to maintaining a drug house. All subjects were arrested over the past two weeks and were arraigned on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Arenac County Sheriff’s Department Undersheriff Donald McIntyre said the subjects were apprehended due to the work of STING.

“All of these subjects were caught either processing drugs, growing drugs (or) growing marijuana,” he said. “These people were caught as the result of ongoing investigations developed through informants, tips from the community and surveillance.”

McIntyre said STING has investigated 109 drug-related cases in Arenac County over the past two years, leading to 76 arrests. He added that he believes the program has been a success.

“I think the results speak for themselves,” he said. “When (we) have 109 cases, that are not just marijuana cases, but are narcotics trafficking, growing and trafficking, and we have seen a lot of cases where people were selling pills. All of this has seen a decrease because everyone has done their part.”

Although STING has been a success in the Arenac County area, McIntyre said a grant that the Sheriff’s Department uses to fund the program will expire in October.

He added that the county does not have the funding to continue supporting the program.

“We are doing everything we can to keep this program in this county,” he said. “We have applied for a (grant) to try and help fund this program.”

McIntyre said STING has helped reduce other areas of crime as well.

“We are seeing the numbers of other criminal activity come down as a result of the things that STING is doing,” he said. “Many crimes are linked to narcotic activity. If they do a raid on a drug house, sometimes STING will find stolen property. Many people also steal and sell things to help fuel their (operation).”

McIntyre said he is concerned about seeing a rise in drug trafficking if STING is forced to shut down.

“When we first started this program two years ago, things in the drug community were definitely at a high,” he said. “Things have curtailed ever since the program began in the area.”

McIntyre said he believes the program was a success for the area, but added that it needs to continue in the future.

“In the short term, the impact was great,” he said. “However, I don’t think that two years of STING is long enough. We need ongoing undercover drug investigations.”

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