Drug task force in southern Utah seeks more resources in face of rising arrests

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ST. GEORGE, Utah – Officers in St. George made more than 570 felony drug arrests in 2014, and it’s one reason the police chief is asking for more resources for the drug task force.

Thursday, Chief Marlon Stratton addressed the St. George City Council and told them how busy the drug task force is. He asked the council to consider budgeting more to keep up with the cases that take officers all over the county.

“They do a good job,” said Sgt. Sam Despain. “Without them here working these drug cases, the drug problem would be much, much worse here in Washington County.”

With 572 felony arrests and 247 misdemeanor ones in 2014, it appears the war on drugs is increasing in Washington County. Tuesday, task force officers made another arrest after a months-long investigation.

Sherry Pace Larsen, 48, faces distribution of meth charges, and her sister, 41-year-old Robyn Lee Swanson, faces meth possession charges. Despain said the arrests come after a lengthy investigation.

Neighbors didn’t want to appear on camera but said it’s shocking to find out that’s going on in their neighborhood. Despain said Washington County’s location makes it a target for drug trafficking.

“Where we’re located, right here on I-15, so close to Las Vegas,” Despain said. “It is a major drug throughway, and a lot of drugs are coming through.”

Licensed Clinical Social Worker Russ Talbot also said drug abuse is a growing problem. He works with drug abuse recovery at Talbot Recovery Solutions, and he said many times what starts out with experimentation becomes addiction before the user knows it.

“I know of people who have gone to Vegas to get their product,” Talbot said. “The people they meet up with in Las Vegas, they’ve been described to me as, these aren’t Sunday school choir boys.”

Despain said the task force usually focuses their efforts on larger targets in the distribution chain. Officers work closely with attorneys and the DEA office to build strong cases in their arrests, that’s often why it can take several months.

They urge citizens to watch for suspicious behavior to help them identify drug distribution, and say if something doesn’t appear right, it’s probably not.

4 comments

  • C"MON ST. GEORGE

    One rule of thumb when it comes to the criminal world.. Where there’s money, which St. George has A LOT of (city & residents), there’s drugs. Plain & simple.

  • Jonathan Peterson

    http://norml.org/news/2015/02/12/feds-thc-positive-drivers-no-more-likely-to-be-involved-in-motor-vehicle-crashes
    OUR DRUG LAWS CREATED A MONSTER,a MONOPOLY with Prisons.
    DeseretNews Comments ‘Senate committee seeks further debate on modifying forcible entry laws’ (2-3-2015)
    http://www.deseretnews.com/user/comments/865621016/Senate-committee-seeks-further-debate-on-modifying-forcible-entry-laws.html
    brotherJonathan,
    SLC,UT
    @Happy Valley Heretic- Portugal emptied 77% of prisons, drug offenders, and they did not do other crimes.
    Portugal high school kids had the same rate of drug use as the USA about 50%.
    After the decriminalization laws took effect in 2003 within 2 years.
    Drug use dropped to below 30% for the same age group.
    What this means is a lot of people try and use drugs because of laws that tell them what they can put into their own bodies.
    So believing drug laws help prevent drug use, is not supported by any evidence.
    What we have is our status quo being operated with equality violating drug laws that take the power of choice from citizens and give it to a select group.
    Doctors don’t hold a public office or are under oath to treat citizens impartially.

    Maybe you like being told what to do and how to treat your own pain or suffering.
    That is your belief not mine.
    Sheep don’t mind being slaves. Citizens with equal rights, do object.

    And of course there is the damage done to our neighbors to the south.
    Cause and effect logic clearly demonstrates we are responsible for 200,000+ murders.
    ————–
    brotherJonathan,
    SLC, UT
    We are missing the big picture.
    Drug laws cause criminal behaviors filling prisons.
    1- Our Slavery-based drug laws violate citizen equality.
    2- Democracy Demands All Citizens Must Be Equal to Each Other Under All Laws, not some of them.
    3- Doctors do not hold a Public Office to sell permits required by our drug laws.
    4- Doctors and the partners Pharmacies operate a closed monopoly.
    Having power to set pricing on drugs. Not Fair Market Value or true competition. Oxy-codone sells for $13 per pill and what do you believe it costs to produce?
    5- Prohibition of a drug or chemical can be lawful. But only if it is applied uniformly to all citizens alike.
    Giving special power to doctors, justified by education: creates a Master/Slave Status Quo.

    2 questions.
    Is every U.S. Citizen equal under U.S. Law?
    .
    Do you believe you are equal to doctors of medicine;
    under U.S. law?
    Why would I: have to keep going back to a doctor for the same prescription; month after month – year after year?
    Because I have to, by law.
    It’s great to be a slave master isn’t it?
    And not even have to feed them.

    It’s great to be a slave master isn’t it?
    And not even have to feed them.
    Sincerely,
    Jonathan L. Peterson
    Behavior Research for Humanity LLC.
    3670 S. Red Maple Rd. Salt Lake City, UT 84106 208-650-1346 ph. (or P.O. Box 802, SLC,UT 84101) jlp1997@msn.com

  • Jonathan Peterson

    http://norml.org/news/2015/02/12/feds-thc-positive-drivers-no-more-likely-to-be-involved-in-motor-vehicle-crashes
    OUR DRUG LAWS CREATED A MONSTER,a MONOPOLY with Prisons.
    DeseretNews Comments ‘Senate committee seeks further debate on modifying forcible entry laws’ (2-3-2015)
    http://www.deseretnews.com/user/comments/865621016/Senate-committee-seeks-further-debate-on-modifying-forcible-entry-laws.html
    brotherJonathan,
    SLC,UT
    @Happy Valley Heretic- Portugal emptied 77% of prisons, drug offenders, and they did not do other crimes.
    Portugal high school kids had the same rate of drug use as the USA about 50%.
    After the decriminalization laws took effect in 2003 within 2 years.
    Drug use dropped to below 30% for the same age group.
    What this means is a lot of people try and use drugs because of laws that tell them what they can put into their own bodies.
    So believing drug laws help prevent drug use, is not supported by any evidence.
    What we have is our status quo being operated with equality violating drug laws that take the power of choice from citizens and give it to a select group.
    Doctors don’t hold a public office or are under oath to treat citizens impartially.
    Maybe you like being told what to do and how to treat your own pain or suffering.
    That is your belief not mine.
    Sheep don’t mind being slaves. Citizens with equal rights, do object.
    And of course there is the damage done to our neighbors to the south.
    Cause and effect logic clearly demonstrates we are responsible for 200,000+ murders.
    ————–’ below comment ON HOLD”
    brotherJonathan,
    SLC, UT
    We are missing the big picture.
    Drug laws cause criminal behaviors filling prisons.
    1- Our Slavery-based drug laws violate citizen equality.
    2- Democracy Demands All Citizens Must Be Equal to Each Other Under All Laws, not some of them.
    3- Doctors do not hold a Public Office to sell permits required by our drug laws.
    4- Doctors and the partners Pharmacies operate a closed monopoly.
    Having power to set pricing on drugs. Not Fair Market Value or true competition. Oxy-codone sells for $13 per pill and what do you believe it costs to produce?
    5- Prohibition of a drug or chemical can be lawful. But only if it is applied uniformly to all citizens alike.
    Giving special power to doctors, justified by education: creates a Master/Slave Status Quo.
    2 questions.
    Is every U.S. Citizen equal under U.S. Law?
    .
    Do you believe you are equal to doctors of medicine;
    under U.S. law?
    Why would I: have to keep going back to a doctor for the same prescription; month after month – year after year?
    Because I have to, by law.
    It’s great to be a slave master isn’t it?
    And not even have to feed them.
    It’s great to be a slave master isn’t it?
    And not even have to feed them.
    Sincerely,
    Jonathan L. Peterson
    Behavior Research for Humanity LLC.
    3670 S. Red Maple Rd. Salt Lake City, UT 84106 208-650-1346 ph. (or P.O. Box 802, SLC,UT 84101) jlp1997@msn.com

  • mikey jordan

    Its time to end the war on drugs. Your wasting your time fighting this proibition an wasting billions in tax payer dollars. Its time to wake up an legalize. Shut these prisons down! Nomore death! Legalize regulate an controll. GAMEOVER!

Comments are closed.