Break Up of Regional Task Force Results in More Drug Busts in Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/27/05

Break Up of Regional Task Force Results in More Drug Busts in Lubbock

Local authorities are actively working to get drugs off the streets by conducting raids with warrants. 28-year-old Passion Perry is the latest to be arrested after Lubbock Police served a narcotics warrant at her home in the 1500 block of 82nd St. on Thursday, January 27th.

Monitoring narcotic activity takes manpower, and police say that's one way they've benefited from the break up of the South Plains Regional Narcotics Task Force.

The Lubbock Police Department was the largest entity involved in the Task Force before it ended in August. Agents were responsible for drug activity in 18 total counties, which they say can be hard to monitor. Now the police department is concentrating on the area they know best.

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Flashing lights and the arrest. Lubbock Narcotics Officer, Lt. James Shavers says get used to it.

"We can get a whole lot more done right here, we can make several cases a day, where we were making several cases a week before," said Shavers.

Almost six months after dropping out of the Task Force, officers are able to hit the immediate area in full force. Two perfect examples happened within two days of each other; officers served a narcotics warrant Tuesday, January 25th, then another Thursday, January 27th. Shavers says that is a success for Lubbock.

"You know it's a quality of life issue for you and that's all you're concerned about now is getting them out and that's what we're hoping we can start helping the citizens here do," said Shavers.

The South Plains Task Force assisted in one of the largest meth busts ever in Garza County in 2003. One man was arrested, but Shavers said time spent driving to those outlying counties took away from stopping all drug activity.

Now, officers can stop that activity in Lubbock, but Lubbock County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy, Paul Scarborough is concerned about what will happen to rural counties, such as Garza County.

"They don't have the manpower, don't have an operating task force any longer to help them with their drug problem," said Scarborough.

Lubbock Police Officers and the Sheriff's Office know what's going on in their immediate area, but the drugs that escape them go to outlying counties. Scarborough asks: who will now catch that.

Shavers said, "we were the largest entity in the task force, the Lubbock Police Department, and we weren't able to devote the kind of time that the citizens here deserved."

So what's potentially bad for rural counties may be good for Shavers and for Lubbock.

Lubbock narcotics officers are changing their tactics. In the past, if a person was arrested for narcotics, they were sometimes given the option of giving up information or going to jail. Now, Shavers wants everyone to go to jail.

They also have several more cases pending., many are a result of being able to spend more time in Lubbock.

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Take a look at the Courts & Crime news from around Lubbock.

Rep. Delwin Jones has been working on funding for other counties to continue the fight against drugs, which is still in the process, but a definite timeline of when funding would will become available isn't ready.

Grant money that currently funds drug programs will run out in May, so the existence of those programs are possibly in question unless the current state legislative session approves more funding.

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