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DTF releases statistics

The 21st Judicial Drug Task Force made 374 arrests between Oct. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010 — a rate of just more than one per day.

But as quickly as officers are tracking the problem, new cases are cropping up, said Mike Lambert, chief deputy with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department.

The task force seized nearly $10,000 worth of cocaine, $5,100 worth of crack cocaine, more than $20,000 worth of marijuana and 6,358 pills, Lambert said.

The statistics show that the drug problem is growing across the board, but two specific types — prescription drugs and crystal methamphetamine — seem to be on the rise the fastest, he said.

“Every one of them is growing,” Lambert said. “But pills and meth have exploded.”

In just the past few weeks, officers with the task force made arrests associated with the discovery of three separate meth lab cases, including one man who was on probation from Florida and was allegedly busted with four meth labs in a home in Flomaton.

Officers have also made several busts over the past year associated with individuals illegally possessing or distributing prescription drugs. Those cases can be harder to track, Lambert said, because sometimes a suspect has a prescription for the narcotics.

“In that case, it’s not illegal for them to possess it, but it’s illegal for them to distribute it,” he said.