Ashtabula County Detective Taylor Cleveland appeared on “Fox & Friends” Monday to explain how the current border crisis has magnified Ohio’s methamphetamine problem.
“It’s an economics problem. For years, Summit county in Akron and Ashtabula county east of Cleveland have led the state in meth labs. Traditionally that’s generally how people were producing meth in those two counties,” he said.
“And the drug cartels in Mexico seized upon that demand problem up there in those two counties and realized that they could produce meth for cheaper, ship it in using already established distribution networks and logistics networks and make a higher profit selling it cheaper in those counties.”
Cleveland said thedrugsare hidden in legitimate parcels andsmuggledacross theborderthrough legal ports of entry.
“It’s placed in legitimate loads that are coming across. Meth is generally from Mexico diluted in some type of hydrocarbon solvent. Usually diesel fuel. You can place it in the tank of a truck that’s bringing tomatoes over across the border, drop off the legitimate load of tomatoes, and then make a pit stop to have that meth and diesel fuel pumped out and then shipped to a point north near the source city.”
Cleveland also said there are several different issue that must be addressed including the problem of addiction and increased law enforcement.
“It’s not just one thing. It’s not just border security,” he added. “From our aspects … we have an addiction problem. It’s not just meth, it’s not just opiates, it’s not just cocaine. We have addiction problem and there’s about four different things that we need to focus on to fix this problem in our counties.”
“We need good enforcement options. We’re staffed about 50 percent for police officers at the state and local level. We need to increase those police officer staffing. We’re losing good cops to burn out. specifically from having to deal with a drug crisis. We need appropriate incarceration options. Most of the people we arrest for drug trafficking are in an out of jail in same day and we have to arrest them four or five or six times before they’re put away.”