Officials in Carthage, Mo., are worried this morning that their town's reputation will be hurt by Wednesday's major drug raid by federal officials that resulted in the arrest of at least 47 people. I think just the opposite is true. I commend the Carthage police as well as the other law enforcement officials involved. It looks like a sign of progress that would be welcome in many communities including Sikeston.
Drug officials have long known that Carthage is the source of some major drug activities. Police say an investigation began back in 1999 that resulted in the major drug raids Wednesday.
Federal weapons and drug charges were filed against 36 Carthage area residents. The drug ring had distributed drugs from California, Texas and Guatemala to a five-county area in Southwest Missouri.
As many as 150 federal agents took part in the early morning raids. We can only hope it puts a major dent on the cocaine and meth traffic in that area.
So could a similar drug raid occur in Sikeston? Well of course it could and probably should. Our community, by all accounts, has long had a reputation as a major source of crack cocaine. Some reports put us at the center of the meth trade, but I personally doubt much of that talk. The issue of crack cocaine however is real.
Some neighborhoods in Sikeston are infested with crack cocaine. That drug leads to violence in virtually every instance. Combine crack with weapons and you have the formula for disaster.
We are proud of local efforts to address the drug problem. They have been successful. But the issue of crack cocaine - not marijuana or meth - remains a serious one. Some rumors in Sikeston indicate that pounds and pounds of crack cocaine make their way to our community. Weapons are of major concern as well.
If the same drug raid happened here that happened in Carthage, Sikeston would be better off. It might hurt our short-term reputation but it would remove an element that preys on the whole of our community. Bring on the helicopter and the feds. We would welcome the help.