The Ashley County Sheriff’s Office made eight felony drug arrests during the week of April 8.
Ashley County Sheriff Tommy Sturgeon said the department is strengthening its efforts to get the rising drug problem under control.
ACSO Narcotics Investigator Tad Huntsman said that methamphetamine is a growing problem in Ashley County.
“People talk about opioids, but here, we don’t have an opioid crisis, we have a meth crisis,” Huntsman said.
Huntsman said that while Opioids are in the area and are regularly confiscated during arrests, the amount of opioids on the street is substantially lower than the amount of methamphatemine that is available.
“I can tell you how much the market has changed just in the two years I’ve been with ASCO,” Huntsman said. “When I first started in 2017, a gram of meth was $100, now it’s $45. The market is flooded.”
Law enforcement statistics show that 96 felony drug arrests have been made in the 10th Judicial District so far in 2019 and 58 of those have been in Ashley County.
Drew County only has 22 felony drug arrests on record so far this year. Bradley County has the lowest number with a total of five felony drug arrests. Chicot County only has five on record and Desha County has eight.
Huntsman said a large majority of those felony drug arrest in Ashley County involved methamphetamine.
“There is so much of it, and it’s so cheap right now,” Huntsman said.
In the month of March alone, the ACSO made twenty five meth-related arrests and in just the last seven days, the ACSO has made eight other meth-related busts.
On April 12, Clyne Ashley Yarbrough was arrested and charged with possession of controlled substance- methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of a minor first degree.
Huntsman said deputies responded to a disturbance call at Yarbrough’s home which led to an arrest. Yarbrough was already on probation at the time of the arrest.
Other felony drug arrests in Ashley County this week included Rebecca Shaw, Shauna Scales, Kimberlee Anderson, Brandon Anderson, Brandon Paskel and Kelly Gray, who were all arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Melissa Adcock was arrested with drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of a minor.
Huntsman said the department has made several busts which they consider “dealer busts,” but they don’t think it is being manufactured in Ashley County.
“People aren’t really cooking it here, but it is getting brought in cheap,” Huntsman said.
The large quantities that have been confiscated in recent weeks were some of the largest Huntsman has seen in his nearly 10 years of law enforcement.
Huntsman said investigators occasionally find small amounts of cocaine and other hard drugs, but meth is by far the biggest problem.
“We will keep being proactive and keep this as a priority until we get it under control,” Huntsman said.