Sheriff Marcum concerned with rise in drug traffic

Posted September 20, 2023 at 11:58 am

Illegal drugs have been a problem in the U.S. for decades and here in Clinton County, and across the state and region, the epidemic of addiction and trafficking–although on a smaller scale than larger metropolitan areas remains a problem and leaves misery, and often times death, as a result.
Law enforcement has to deal with the illegal drug issues on a daily basis and see the harm it causes on several fronts, and now, Clinton County Sheriff Ricky Marcum is concerned because of the increase in drug related activity, not only locally, but around the area.
The sheriff said he began seeing an uptick last year, primarily due to the most commonly used drug–methamphetamine–selling much cheaper that in years past.
“It used to be a gram of meth would cost about $100…now you can get it for about $75 or less,” he said. “That’s as cheap as I’ve ever seen it.”
Marcum, who has been in law enforcement in Albany and Clinton County for several years now, says “it’s coming in from the southern border in droves.” He said it goes through interstates to large cities and spreads throughout all regions from there.
“I know we have a serious addiction problem, but we have a serious trafficking problem as well,” he added.
Other than meth, another cheaper drug is heroine, which is often laced with fentanyl, a dangerous drug that often causes overdose and deaths. Sheriff Marcum, who notes that surrounding counties/states share information, said area counties in Kentucky and Tennessee have reported cases of fentanyl laced drugs.
In reference to most of the illegal drugs coming from the southern border into the states “is not a political issue,” said Marcum, “it’s bare facts” put out by the federal government.
Not only is drug usage and addiction a problem, but a huge percentage of overall crimes committed are either directly or indirectly related to illegal drug activity.
Sheriff Marcum estimated that up to 75 percent of most crimes committed locally involve drugs in some way. For example, people stealing property to sell to have money to purchase drugs, or deals gone bad between people who sell drugs and those who purchase them, as well as domestic violence caused by substance abuse.
The sheriff also said there has been a large increase in drug arrests because of the increase in traffic stops made by law enforcement officers.
“There have been an increase in arrests for trafficking off traffic stops and serving warrants when there is probable cause to search,” the sheriff noted.
“We used to have to make undercover buys, but now many illegal drugs are found during traffic stops and serving warrants,” he said.
Marcum did give credit to the Kentucky Legislature for passing a law that made possession of two grams (instead of one) of methamphetamine a felony offense.
Marcum realizes that drugs are highly addictive, but added there are counseling and rehabilitation programs for those on drugs “that really want to stop.”
He said law enforcement was increasing vigilance, gathering intelligence and keeping a log, especially on those who traffic (sell) drugs, “because once you make a trafficking arrest, there is a high probability they will do it again.”
Marcum said his office has worked closely with the Albany Police Department and surrounding agencies and increased vehicle stops.
He also thanked the Community Based Intervention Program for itsdonations in helping supply field test kits, protective gloves and other equipment. “They have been pro-active in supporting law enforcement,” he said.
He continued that not all people who sell drugs actually use themselves, but are in it for profit only. However, he added that about three-quarters of those who traffic in illegal drugs may sell one type drug but use another.
When asked what advice he would give to those, especially young people who have never used drugs, in relation to the dangers they cause, Marcum admitted there are a lot of “temptations” in life, but he would tell them there are a lot of things to experience in life other than that (drugs).
“I would encourage people to step back and look at what life has to offer and also see how some people have become hooked by using drugs,” he said.
“As a family unit, we should become good role models,” he added. “You have to draw the line.” He noted family members on drugs effects other people’s lives and that becomes a problem.
Sheriff Marcum believes penalties for actual drug traffickers should be tougher at both the state and federal levels.
“If a person is addicted, there are systems in place to help get them clean and can be effective…but only if the person addicted actually wants to be helped,” he said.
“There should be tougher sentences for those actually selling illegal substances. They should be prohibited from ruining people’s lives,” adding that such illegal activity is as amoral as it gets.
The sheriff said there were a lot of community partners in Clinton County that will reach out and help you, but people are so sick and tired of drugs, but they don’t just quit trying to help, they press harder and keep fighting the epidemic.
Marcum also encouraged more people in the community, including parents, to become involved in the fight on the war on illegal drugs.
He also said law enforcement have had an increase in complaints about vapes, adding that intervention in most situations is the key, especially for teenagers and young adults.
“For everyone, it is hard to have to see some family members or friends go to jail for drugs, but it is better than them being dead,” he stressed.
“People may get tired of hearing about the drug activity, but I think more people should be aware of the problem and the hazards it causes.
“Law enforcement has been fighting this on a day-to-day basis more than I have ever seen,” the sheriff said.
“Vigilance from the community has always been an asset in the fight against illegal drugs, as well as any other crimes,” Marcum reiterated.
“All tips and information from the public are kept totally anonymous, and no names have to be given. We keep a log of the information gathered and follow up on it.
“We have made many arrests by good information given to us by concerned citizens.”
Anyone wishing to report any suspicious illegal drug activity, or suspected crime of any nature, are asked to contact the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office at 606-387-5111, Albany Police Department, or Kentucky State Police. In case of any emergency, always dial 911.
Callers giving a tip  about suspected illegal activity never have to give their name.

Ricky Marcum 09-23