By MORGAN MANNS
Since 2007, drug overdoses have become the leading cause of accidental death in Ohio, according to a 2010 Ohio Drug Abuse Task Force report.
In an effort to reduce drug trafficking throughout the community, Fostoria Police Department joined forces with local law enforcement agencies to fight drugs and criminal activities in the city over a two-day period.
Officers from the department, along with troopers from the state Highway Patrol and deputies from Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, could be seen throughout the city making multiple traffic stops Thursday and Friday, focusing on criminal activity in an ongoing effort to combat a rise in drug abuse problems in the area.
“It was a job well done,” Police Chief Keith Loreno said. “We worked very well with the other agencies making these arrests for drug violations. I believe we are making a difference in the city of Fostoria as a result.”
During the multi-agency drug enforcement saturation, Fostoria officers made more than 40 traffic stops within city limits. One traffic stop seized 5 grams of crack cocaine worth $500 and another seized less than 5 grams of marijuana.
In addition, officers arrested one individual for impaired driving, four for driving under suspension and four from outstanding warrants.
A total of seven citations, including one misdemeanor drug citation, were issued over the two-day period. Officers let 13 drivers go with warnings.
“Any numbers are good numbers if it’s reducing the drug activity in this community,” Loreno said. “We make it high profile so the people know that this community is not tolerant of the drug abuse. … People want to be free and clear of these criminals in our town.”
Loreno said he has yet to finalize any official totals resulting from the two-day enforcement effort.
Also working the detail were Seneca County METRICH-Enforcement Drug Task Force, Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office, Seneca County Probate Court, Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office, Sandusky County Prosecutor’s Office, Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office, Sandusky County Probate Court, Fremont Police Department, Tiffin Police Department, Clyde Police Department, Woodville Police Department, Ohio Investigative Unit, Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, and Ohio’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force.
The multi-agency drug enforcement saturation patrol netted 884 traffic stops with 243 arrests throughout Seneca and Sandusky counties, according to a news release. Of those, 10 involved impaired driving and nine driving under suspension. In addition, there were 29 cases initiated, including 11 felony cases.
More than $70,000 worth of counterfeit perfume was seized and over $1,800 of U.S. currency was seized, including $500 counterfeit money. According to the release, a total of 30 grams of marijuana, 10 grams of hash, 1 gram of cocaine, 3 grams of powder ecstasy, and one vehicle was seized during the detail.
According to Loreno, Fostoria’s department has participated in the operation in previous years, will continue to do so and educate the public in an effort to reduce drug activity to make the community safer.
“I still ask that the public continue to call in information (relating to drug activity) so we can make our community even better yet,” he said. “We only do this once a year, but this is a group organized operation. Our officers continue on a daily basis performing the same task of working towards a drug-free city.”