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Methamphetamine Lab Seizures in Marshall County Take Huge Drop

by David R. Holmes, Marshall County Prosecuting Attorney on August 25, 2014

     The detection and seizure of methamphetamine labs in Marshall County has dramatically decreased as of June, 2014.  Statistics released by the Indiana State Police have shown Marshall County to consistently be within the top 10 in Indiana since 2008.  That year, Marshall County was 8th in the state with 41 labs seized; in 2009, we rose to 2nd with 83 labs seized; 2010, we were 8th with 53 seizures; 2011 we were 9th with 41 seizures; 2012, we were 9th again with 42 seizures.

     "In 2013, we began to see a statiscally significant drop in lab seizures with 33.  We quietly celebrated that we had dropped out of the infamous top 10 list," said Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman.  "But our drop in lab seizures is nothing like we are seeing in 2014, with, and I say this very guardedly, 'only' eight as of June."

     Prosecuting Attorney David R. Holmes credited the vigorous efforts of local law enforcement, including the State Police, the Marshall County Sheriff's Department, Plymouth PD, Bremen, Argos, and Culver, to detect labs in vehicles and homes and to meticulously build cases resulting in search warrants that end with lab seizures, arrests, and successful prosecutions.

     Holmes also credited the strategy of insisting upon lengthy prison sentences for those caught manufacturing the meth for either personal consumption, or sale, or both.  Chipman added, "In the last year and a half, we have gone to trial or secured guilty pleas from some of the most prolific meth cooks in our area, such as Travis Chizum and Otis Young.  The resolution of those cases with prison sentences of 20 years or more has certainly deterred manufacturing in our county."

     "In fact," Holmes added, "the word from area law enforcement agencies is that they are seeing an influx of Marshall County people coming to their counties to get away from our vigorous detection efforts and long sentences."

     Chipman expressed regret that, "Perhaps our efforts are resulting in more trouble for other counties."  He noted though, "There's nothing really we can do about that.  People make their choices, and if that includes traveling elsewhere to cook this poison, then we live with it.  Our office will assist anyway that we can."

     Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter, a retired State Police Detective who has built a state-wide reputation as a municipal leader in fighting the scourge meth creates in communities, expressed encouragement with the statistics.  Senter added, "I am hopeful and confident this decrease will continue in Plymouth and Marshall County.  Many people have made this happen, including officers from the Plymouth Police Department, the Sheriff's Department, other area law enforcement, and the Indiana State Police."

     "Working with the Marshall County Prosecutor's Office, these officers have shown that great teamwork gets things done.  I also thank the citizens of our community for their vigilance throughout this process."

Bremen District Clandestine Lab Seizures  2008-2014

2008 - District 24
Elkhart - 65  (2nd)
Kosciusko - 28
Marshall - 41  (8th)
St. Joseph - 12
Total - 146

2009 - District 24
Elkhart - 109  (1st)
Kosciusko - 65  (6th)
Marshall - 83  (2nd)
St. Joseph - 15
Total - 272

2010 - District 24
Elkhart - 71  (4th)
Kosciusko - 85  (2nd)
Marshall - 53
St. Joseph - 23/*6
Total - 232/*6

2011 - District 24
Elkhart - 71  (2nd)
Kosciusko - 58  (3rd)
Marshall - 41  (9th - tie)
St. Joseph - 13/*15
Total - 183/*15

2012 - District 24
Elkhart - 46  (8th)
Kosciusko - 47  (7th - tie)
Marshall - 42  (9th)
St. Joseph - 9/*21
Total - 144/*21

2013 - District 24
Elkhart - 63  (5th)
Kosciusko - 33
Marshall - 33
St. Joseph - 13/*27
Total - 142/*27

2014 - District 24 (through June, 2014)
Elkhart - 29
Kosciusko - 28
Marshall - 8
St. Joseph - 7
Total - 71

Number in parentheses is state ranking
* - Other agency labs reported to ISP via EPIC submission

Top Ten Counties - June, 2014
1)  Delaware - 68
2)  Allen - 31
3)  Elkhart & Noble (tied) - 29
4)  Kosciusko - 28
5)  Decatur, Dekalb, & Vanderburgh (tied) - 25
6)  Miami, Monroe, & Tippecanoe (tied) - 23
7)  Madison - 20
8)  Starke - 17
9)  Montgomery - 16
10)  Clark & Howard (tied) - 15
Total - 412


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