Meth-related cases ‘skyrocketing’ in Trempealeau County

Thirty-one meth-related cases have been filed this year, 17 last year

The number of meth-related cases in Trempealeau County is ‘skyrocketing’ this year according to county District Attorney Taavi McMahon, and he said it’s causing problems for the entire county.

McMahon said the increase of meth-related cases is shocking and takes a major toll on the community.

He said it had been decades since cases of possession of heroin, opiates or meth were prosecuted in the county, but now it’s a common occurrence.

McMahon said meth isn’t just a big-city problem like some people expect. He said rural Trempealeau County is proving that right now.

“La Crosse is a regional hub for some of the issues we’re seeing here, but we have our own people delivering, our own residents delivering methamphetamine and other drugs and possessing them,” McMahon said.

Trempealeau County prosecuted one meth-related case in 2013, but in 2014 17 cases were prosecuted. This year 30 meth-related cases have been filed in Trempealeau County. Case No. 31 was brought before a Trempealeau County Circuit Court judge Wednesday.

“This issue affects everybody,” McMahon said.

McMahon said some of the 30 cases involve property damage, theft or burglaries from meth addicts trying to feed their addiction. He said the most tragic part of this meth problem is the harm it’s causing to children.

“You also see the drug-endangered children, and the department of human services has responded to 61 complaints of drug-endangered children. Today we’re dealing with three more children who are out of home because of parents whose addiction has incapacitated them,” McMahon said.

“The availability and the cost, I think, is what drives the drug,” Trempealeau County Sheriff Richard Anderson said.

Anderson said his department is investigating an average of five drug-related cases per week this year — most, but not all, related to heroin and meth. He said it’s a hardship on his department and the community.

“We need the community to step up to the plate and help the individuals make sure they get the proper resources and people to go to to help them with their addiction,” Anderson said.

Both McMahon and Anderson said the increase in meth is not specific to Trempealeau County. McMahon also said it doesn’t seem to be going away.

“It appears to me that we can make a lot of arrests and we will not, probably, stop this problem.”

McMahon said the county is not seeing meth being produced locally, charges are typically the use and/or delivery of meth. He and Anderson attribute it to a more global problem, saying they believe the meth is actually coming from Mexican drug cartels.

Anderson said residents play a big part in ending the increased drug use in the county. He said county residents should always be on the lookout and never be afraid to call law enforcement if they see something suspicious.