Cass County to vote on drug enforcement mil

DOWAGIAC, Mich. – In a few weeks Cass County voters will decide if they want to keep paying for drug enforcement.

A half mil will be on the ballot in the August 7th election to pay for the Cass County Sheriff Department’s drug team.

Methamphetamine enforcement is, far and away, the most popular and expensive drug to fight in the county.

A home on the corner of Railroad and Telegraph Streets in Dowagiac is the latest example. On Friday a mobile meth lab was found inside. The bust was the second in Cass County last week and the 56th bust in 2012.

“Glad that it was taken care of finally,” said 70-year-old Carol Nace, who lives nearby.

Nace is an avid walker in her neighborhood. She said things have changed drastically in just the past decade. “I’m uncomfortable walking on the back streets,” she said. “I just walk on the front streets now.”

“We’re averaging over two a week so,” said Sergeant David Toxopeus with the Cass County Drug Team.  “That’s a lot.”

Toxopeus said Monday that meth is just as popular in the Cass County as it was in 2004 when it ranked third in Michigan for meth lab recoveries.

 Now the highly addictive drug is easier to make and it’s getting in the hands of younger addicts. “Back in 2004 it was a lot of 40 and 50-year-olds now I’m seeing more 20 and 30-year-olds,” he said.

In 2004, Cass County asked voters to help pay for extra drug enforcement.

Toxopeus said the county has averaged about the same in number of labs busted while the rest of Michigan has increased its busts. He says nearly 1000 people have gone to jail since the mil passed and now they’re asking voters to help again.

“It could bankrupt the sheriff’s department if we didn’t have this mil to clean up these meth labs,” said Toxopeus.

 “We’re senior citizens and we want to be protected,” said Nace. She said there’s still more work to do in her neighborhood.

A half mil would cost $20/month for a home with $100,000 value.

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