Grayson Co. meth problem impacts citizens, economy

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GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas -- As the number of meth crimes climbs in Grayson Co., according to law enforcement and prosecutors, with it comes a big impact on citizens and the economy.

Previously, News 12 told you that the number of meth crime indictments this far into 2014 surpasses the total number of indictments in 2013. We spoke to officials to find out what this means in a monetary aspect.

"They steal for meth, they rob for meth, they assault for meth," Assistant District Attorney Britton Brooks said of people addicted to methamphetamine.

In order to keep up the addiction, Brooks explained, meth users need funds -- which can turn them onto other crimes.

David Russell, a sergeant at the Grayson County Sheriff's Office, says these crimes directly impact citizens.

"Through insurance premiums going up on burglaries...through making arrests and having to house these individuals," Russell said.

Russell said local and county officers put a big emphasis on tackling the meth issue and a lot of money is put toward the resources to tackle the problem.

But once the criminals are caught, they fall into the lap of the District Attorney's office.

"I think jurors are very tired of getting stolen from," Brooks said. "I've seen juries really put the hammer down on the punishment."

If convicted, the criminal continues through the criminal justice system, sometimes ending up in a state jail or prison.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), the average cost of an inmate is roughly $18,000 per year.

Most recent data shows that 49 Grayson Co. offenders are located at various correctional facilities throughout the state on meth-related charges.

If you do the math, that means about $882,000 is spent on those 49 people per year.

Comparatively, there are only 11 people serving for meth charges out of Cooke Co. and only 1 out of Fannin.

"It's costing our taxpayers, our law enforcement, our county government a lot of man hours and a lot of money," Russell said.

Editors Note: This story on meth is part of series of stories News 12 is doing about the drug. Next week, we'll take a look at what county-wide and local law enforcement is doing to curb the problem.