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Prosecutor: Kenton Co. Seeing Spike in Crime Fueled by Meth

Crime in Kenton County is on the rise, Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders said.

"Our case numbers are through the roof," Sanders told The River City News. His office has seen three hundred cases more than it had last year, which had also seen an increase of two or three hundred over the previous year, he said.

"The simple answer is drugs," Sanders said. 

But this year, unlike previous ones, the drug primarily in question is not heroin.

"Heroin is still very prevalent but we are getting more methamphetamine than we've ever seen of any other drug, on top of the heroin," Sanders said. "These days, meth is far and away more plentiful in terms of case numbers."

Meth, he said, is much cheaper and more readily available. 

As in other years, drugs are fueling what Sanders called tangential crimes, such as people driving high or committing burglaries and thefts, or forging checks and stealing identities. 

No single spot in the county is to blame. "I think it's pretty much evenly spread," Sanders said. "Covington is our population center so they are also our crime center, but the crime numbers seem to follow populations. It's very proportional. It's not any one part of the county. We are not seeing more or less crime than anywhere else."

The case load is a strain on the prosecutor's office's resources, though Sanders said that in the last state budget cycle, another prosecutor was assigned to Kenton County. 

Though crime numbers are up across the state, Sanders said, Kenton County is seeing a disproportionate spike. 

And the meth making its way into the county is higher in volume and potency.

"The Mexican drug cartels are very capitalistic in nature. They know the government - local, state, and federal - is putting lots of resources into combating opiate trafficking and so they are producing meth in labs with unprecedented quantities and qualities than in the past.

"It used to be one-pot shake and bake methods, with meth in a two-liter bottle. Now we're seeing scientists cooking up huge quantities and shipping it across the border."

Because there is so much supply, the price is low, meaning addicts can get their hands on it more frequently.

The Kenton County Detention Center is also seeing heavy loads of inmates. "They are busting at the seams," Sanders said. The prosecutor noted that the number of inmates is up despite the fact that more people than usual are being released more often and more quickly than before. 

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

Photo: Meth seized in an arrest of a Latonia Lakes woman (via Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force)