Abilene police concerned about I-20 drug trafficking increase

Authorities say I-20 a busy drug corridor

ABILENE, Texas - For decades, America has been fighting the war on drugs, especially in Texas.   Now, more than ever, drugs are being brought in from Mexico on many familiar Interstates, including I-20.

Deputy Brad Birchum has been in narcotics for more than fourteen years and said illegal drugs come with being close to the border.

"Being in Texas, we're a border state, and so whatever is in Mexico comes into Texas pretty frequently, and is then transported throughout the United States through our Interstate system," said Birchum.

There is a supply and demand, as with any industry. But, because of high regulations on ephedrine, an over-the-counter medicine used to make meth, drugs are purchased in Mexico, where it is cheaper and easier to get, and brought into the U.S.

Birchum also said that most violent crimes come back to a drug addiction or a need to feed a drug addiction. Most of the federal cases out of the sheriff's department last year were methamphetamine related. According to Birchum, out of the 207 felony cases, almost 170 cases involved meth. But, Birchum said that there are many different ways that investigators are combating drug trafficking.

"We have a dedicated division of a sergeant and 5 investigators working narcotics investigations," Birchum said. "We also work hand in hand with Abilene police department."

He also said that there is now a federal prosecutor and judge in Abilene that allows investigators to file federal cases locally, which they were unable to do in years past.

Birchum said a child is never too young to learn about drugs.

"The most important thing as far as parents, or or grandparents or loved ones is is teach your kids about drugs early," said Birchum.

Possession of illegal narcotics is a felony, the sentence depends on the amount, but it must be measurable by weighing more than .1 grams. A first degree felony charge can receive between five and 99 years in prison. A second degree felony is between 2 and 20 years. A third degree felony is between two and 10 years.

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