The Lake County Drug Task Force had their most successful year in 2016, deputies were able to recover $1.26 million worth of illegal drugs.
Throughout 2016, the Indiana task force made 289 arrests, 164 felony charges and 213 misdemeanor charges, according to a statement from the Lake County sheriff’s office.
Deputies also seized 11,400 ecstasy pills, 111.5 pounds of marijuana, 68.8 ounces of heroin, 62.75 ounces of cocaine, 253 prescription pills, and 7 ounces of crack, the sheriff’s office said.
A rise in heroin and opioid overdoses has become an epidemic in the area and across the country, the sheriff’s office said. “The brave men and women of the Lake County Drug Tast Force put their own lives at risk to identify drug dealers and get them off our streets. Their service truly keeps our communities safer,” Sheriff John Buncich said in the statement.
During investigations the task force confiscated over 5,000 Xanax pills, 7.6 ounces of synthetic marijuana and 240 marijuana plants discovered in illegal growing operations, police said. They also recovered 45 firearms, 36 fraudulent credit cards, 293 vehicles and more than $112,000 in cash.
The gang unit identified 95 new gang members and performed 43 search warrants as a result of those investigations, police said.
On many occasions tips called in to the Report-A-Crime Hotline helped the sheriff’s department investigate and make arrests, deputies said. Residents can provide tips and remain anonymous by calling 800-750-2746. In 2016, the hotline received 255 tips.
“I commend the personnel of the Lake County Drug Task Force for their record year. We are constantly battling illegal drugs, and the overdoses they cause are tragedies in our communities.” said Buncich. “We are very proud of what everyone at the Lake County Sheriff’s Department has accomplished this past year.”