Opinion

Deterring pushers who invade area

An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register 

WHEELING, W.Va. — We can’t arrest our way out of the epidemic of drug abuse in the Ohio Valley. It should be obvious that ending it will require a mix of tactics, including treatment for addicts.

But we can deter some drug dealers who venture into East Ohio and the Northern Panhandle from the cities where they are based.

A Cleveland man, Andre Diggs, was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison by Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato on Monday. Charges against the 34-year-old man included trafficking in both heroin and crack cocaine in Bellaire and Martins Ferry.

Justice came swiftly for Diggs. Charges against him stem from his activities on Feb. 15. He went to trial just slightly more than three months later and was convicted by a jury.

In sentencing Diggs, the judge reviewed his prior criminal history. “This has been a history, a lifestyle, a permanent way of life for this defendant,” Fregiato remarked.

A large amount of drug trafficking in our area involves pushers from outside the area. Reportedly, many have local ties and may have even lived in the Ohio Valley before moving to Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh or other urban centers.

Perhaps they consider people in our area to be easy pickings. Or it may be they think law enforcement agencies here are pushovers.

Wrong. Ohio Valley police and deputies “bust” out-of-town drug dealers regularly.

They are, as Fregiato said of Diggs, “a danger to the community … and probably many other communities.”

Putting them behind bars for a long time may deter others like them from coming here. At least it gets known threats off the streets of our towns.

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