Belmont County Drug Arrests Escalate, Residents Speak Out
In the past week there have been several drug busts as a result of investigations by the Belmont County Drug Task Force, and now, residents are speaking out about drugs infesting their neighborhoods.
In the last week, several drug busts have been made in Belmont County, and on Monday, another was made in Martins Ferry at 415 North Eighth Street. Two men, 47-year-old Richard Flowers Jr. and 35 year-old Benjamin Cutlip were both arrested. Flowers is being charged with one count of trafficking drugs and cutlip faces three counts of trafficking drugs, possession of drug abuse instruments, and possession of drugs. One resident thinks that the string of drug related activities in the are is due to unemployment. Martins Ferry resident Gary Pugh said, "Unemployment ... no work ... They want to go out and sell drugs to make money. That's scary, you have all these young kids running around, it's just scary."
The bust that took place on Monday is just one of five in less than a week. Two meth labs in Bellaire, a drug raid in St.Clairsville, and three drug arrests in Martins Ferry have all occurred just since Thursday of last week. Other residents believe a lack of activities for young people in the area is also to blame. Nancy Powell, of Martins Ferry, said, "They need more things for the ... between teenage and the adults for these kids to do."
The drug task force is working tirelessly to combat the issue and is working to ensure that the people involved in illegal drugs know that it won't go unnoticed for long. John Russell is grateful for the work being done. He said, "I think that they are doing everything that they can do, I mean in a situation like this, because you don't always know who's doing what and where and when they're doing it, but I think the fact that they've got as many people as they have, doing what their doing, they're doing a great deal to help out."