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Task force arrests 8 on drug charges

Eight people have been indicted on federal drug charges stemming from their methamphetamine-related arrests, but Michigan officials said there is no guarantee that their arrests will wipe out problems linked to drug production and sales.

The sweep by federal authorities led to the arrests of five men and three women, ages 26 to 40, from the Ottawa County, Michigan, area. According to court records, each has an extensive police record, with some of them having a number of arrests.

Authorities said people need to understand that meth has become more prevalent in parts of Michigan, with growing manufacturing of the drug in two-liter soda bottles. Meth manufacturing lets off a strong smell of ammonia, and people who smell that should notify police, especially if they have seen a lot of people coming and going.

So far in 2012, law-enforcement officials in the area have stopped 73 meth labs. Even with the Ottawa County arrests, officials have located 95 percent of the labs in Allegan County.

Officials said there are telltale signs of someone using meth. They include hollowed-out eyes, often missing teeth, frailness and a lack of appetite.

Additionally, it's a drug that tricks the user, authorities contend. The first usage of meth brings a feeling never before felt, officials said. As times goes on, users will continue using in hopes of getting that first-time feeling, which often never comes again.

The Western Michigan task force arrested a variety of defendants with varied criminal backgrounds. Perhaps the task force was wrong with the level of involvement of each of the defendants, who will have a chance to disprove their participation in the crimes committed as the case progresses in court. Law enforcement is right to take drug manufacturers off the street, but officers must be correct with each allegation.

Source: The Holland Sentinel, "Holland-area arrests illustrate expanding influence of methamphetamine, expert says," Peg McNichol, Nov. 27, 2012

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