The arrests of more than a dozen suspects in four meth rings throughout Erie County, are shining a light on the issue of meth manufacturing in our area.
"Make no mistake, we are very aware of the fact that meth is a big time problem in northwestern Pennsylvania,” said PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “We are dedicating the resources to address it."
A total of 15 people, ranging in age from 25 to 58, were arrested in those four cases, which happened in Erie, Lake City, and Millcreek.
"This is not just a law enforcement issue,” said Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri. “This is a health care issue as we know from what's going on across the country."
According to Daneri, over the past five years, his office has seen a spike in the number of meth lab operations.
"Certainly, it has increased over the years,” said Daneri. “It's always been there, and we find a majority of it is in the west or southwestern part of the county, but also in the last few years, we've seen it come into the city."
Daneri says the two contributing factors to this trend, are price and accessibility.
"The drugs that are the cheapest and easiest to get their hands on, those are the ones that drive the individuals towards those drugs,” said Daneri. “That's what we're seeing."
With an uptick in meth lab operations, Daneri says there's also an increase in robberies and burglaries.
"You have an increase in crime, because those addicts, the need money to fuel their drug habit." said Daneri.