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Illinois State Police say drug enforcement rates were up considerably last year, including in Peoria metro

Tim Shelley
Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly speaks at a press conference at the District 8 ISP headquarters in Metamora on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.

Illinois State Police metropolitan enforcement groups across the state seized nearly $71 million worth of illegal drugs in the last fiscal year.

That's up considerably from the previous year. ISP Director Brendan Kelly said the higher totals are a result both of beefed-up enforcement efforts, and more drugs circulating throughout the state.

"You have to have enforcement pushing back on the people who are profiting off the misery and addiction of others to create the space to give those things like prevention and treatment a chance," he said. "And that's exactly what these MEG units are designed to do."

The Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Group seized $665,000 worth of illegal drugs in fiscal year 2021, up from $561,000 in the previous year. Those numbers were the result of 42 opened investigations, including 25 seizures of cannabis, cocaine, meth, crack, ecstacy, heroin, LSD, fentanyl, and illegally possessed prescription medications. PMEG's territory includes Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Knox counties.

"The enforcement numbers continue to demonstrate PMEG's agents focus on high level narcotics traffickers in an ongoing enforcement to take large amounts of illegal drugs off the streets," said Woodford County Sheriff Matt Smith.

Smith said several illegal firearms were also seized in the course of the investigations.

Fentanyl seizures statewide were up 400 percent from the 2020 fiscal year and heroin seizures were up 260 percent.

Kelly says MEG agents closed more than 1100 cases statewide last year.

"They're being effective. They're having an impact. The numbers speak for themselves. And these units are doing exactly what we expect, in terms of law enforcement's role in this particular challenge," said Kelly.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.