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McLean County Meth Cases Surged In 2020

Bloomington Police

The number of felony methamphetamine cases in McLean County continued its multiyear rise last year.

Felony drug cases in McLean County rose by 32% last year to a record high, though the five-year trend is not as stark as the one-year jump. State's Attorney Don Knapp said a lot of the increase came from methamphetamine offenses.

"Judge (William)Yoder has said, 'I've seen more cases in my courtroom in the last year than in the 12 years I was state's attorney,'" said Knapp.

Meth cases accounted for 40% of all drug felonies last year in McLean County. Five years ago, the figure was 10%.

"We've seen an amazing amount of meth. It's no mystery that the cartels who had distribution networks for cannabis have changed up and started flooding markets with methamphetamine that is of a purer quality," said Knapp.

He said the rural home meth lab industry that created low-grade crank has given way to crystal meth.

"We haven't seen meth labs like you were accustomed to seeing because of this methamphetamine coming in from other sources," said Knapp.

Most meth comes from suppliers outside the state, said Assistant State's Attorney Jeff Horve, adding sometimes local people even go to other states such as Missouri or Arizona where prices are lower and supply higher and bring it back.

Last year, there were nearly 200 meth cases in McLean County out of an overall total of 492 drug felonies. For comparison's sake, there were more meth cases last year than there were total drug felonies in the county in 2001. Horve said significant increases in meth caes began two years ago.

McLean County Drug Felony Cases

  • 2020 - 492
  • 2019 - 372
  • 2018 - 433
  • 2017 - 435
  • 2016 - 456

By comparison, 1997 had just 262 such filings, according to Horve;  2001 was a recent historic low at comparable population levels with 96 drug felony filings in the county.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.