While alcohol, domestic violence and marijuana-related crimes still keep police busy, another alarming element has reared its ugly head in the last year – Heroin. Local law enforcement agencies have made dozens of arrests in 2009 involving the resurgence of heroin in Chenango County.
“Most of what we’re seeing has been happening since late winter of 2008. Basically there’s a lot more prevalence of heroin on streets,” said Acting Chenango County Sheriff Ernie R. Cutting. “Currently about half of the calls received in our detective’s division involve crimes directly or indirectly related to heroin.”
Norwich City Police Chief Joseph Angelino agrees. “The department hasn’t seen this level of heroin activity since sometime in the 1970s,” he said.
On Sept. 30 the city police and the New York State Police joined forces to raid a Norwich residence on Lee Avenue suspected of trafficking heroin and charged two people with high level felonies – 39-year-old David A. Cahill and his 21-year-old live-in girlfriend, Rachael A. Cummings.
Since Sept. 19, the Sheriff’s Office and the Norwich Police have charged seven different people with possession of heroin; two of those were felony level arrests.
“There’s a lot more crime you’re seeing that’s related to individuals seeking out the drugs or a means to pay for them,” said Cutting.
The Sheriff said in addition to an increasing trend of heroin arrests, his office has also seen a simultaneous increase in burglaries and larcenies.
In July, a rash of crimes – including several auto thefts, a home burglary, and a number of vehicle break-ins – occurred in the Chenango Lake area over a three-week period.
In another case, two suspects allegedly victimized more than 21 people in the Towns of Norwich, North Norwich and Plymouth by stealing items from their unlocked cars over a month-long spree. Investigators also believe the crimes were motivated by a need for drugs.