It has now been a month since the Sikeston Department of Public Safety joined with state and federal drug agencies to bust a major drug ring centered in our community. The drug operation stretched from Mexico through Texas and Arkansas before reaching the doorstep in Sikeston.
In all, the drug sweep - named Operation Clean Sweep - named around 65 people on state and federal drug indictments.
Let there be no mistake. This was not a nickel-and-dime operation. This drug ring was big business to the tune of literally millions of dollars each year. This drug conspiracy handled nearly 500 pounds of cocaine each month and much of that drug reached into our own backyard.
In Sikeston alone, 31 individuals were arrested for their participation in the drug business. And if all goes according to plan, this 18-month investigation will result in some substantial prison terms for many of those involved.
All of the law enforcement agencies involved deserve substantial credit for their tireless efforts and dogged determination to bring this drug conspiracy to a halt. But the efforts of the Sikeston officers stand head and shoulders above the others and the results clearly speak for themselves.
Until you understand the depth of this drug ring, you will never fully appreciate the relief that our community should feel. We're not talking grams of cocaine but kilos. We're not talking hundreds or even thousands of dollars but rather MILLIONS of dollars in drug sales centered in our community.
Sadly, there remains some in Sikeston who would rather ignore this community plague. There are those who want to put this issue far away from the headlines for fear of bringing a bad reputation here.
But the stark reality is that this reputation is in fact here and - from the results a month ago - it's no small potatoes.
Headlines don't create problems, they are only a reflection of actions. And in this case, like it or not, we have some major players in the drug business who happen to call Sikeston home.
Law enforcement here spent thousands of lonely hours doing the legwork that made this major case unfold. In the end, their efforts paid off for the entire community.
But here's the bottom line. Until all residents of our community accept the reality that problems exist, we'll continue to downplay our problems.
Ignoring the issue will not make it go away. And if you don't like the dismal headlines, then by all means, join others in addressing our issues and finding solutions.