Although his deputies have made 15 drug-selling arrests in the past year, Wyoming County Sheriff Allen L. Capwell said that the full extent of drug trafficking in the county remains unknown.
"Since last November, we have made two important drug dealer arrests, one of four people in Attica and the other, eight persons in Perry," he said. "We still need more information before we can act in Arcade and Warsaw and other small communities. No community in Wyoming County is immune to drugs."
To help find and arrest drug dealers all over Western New York, the sheriffs of Wyoming and five other counties, Erie, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Genesee, have formed a task force. Not only do their departments supply each other with information, but they also exchange undercover agents to detect and arrest drug dealers, Capwell said.
In Wyoming County, Capwell sees a shift from marijuana dealing to cocaine. "We have not yet come across any crack," he added, referring to the cocaine derivative that has plagued urban areas.
In an effort to attack the drug problem another way, the Sheriff's Department and the state's Substance Abuse Office have invited parents to a meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Warsaw Masonic Hall, 755 Main St., to discuss raising children to avoid using drugs and alcohol.
"Last November, we arrested a 13-year-old selling drugs in the Attica schoolyard," Capwell said.
Speaking at the Dec. 11 meeting will be Donald Monk, a substance abuse specialist, and Undersheriff Ronald Ely. In addition to their talks, the pair will show a film on drugs and display samples of drug pills and powders.
Capwell said that drugs and alcohol are involved in most of the county's crimes.
Meanwhile, on a tract next to the county's aged and inadequate 22-bed jail and Sheriff's Department office, the first steel girders of the county's 68-bed jail have been erected. The $7 million structure is scheduled for a December 1991 completion.
"Often when we make new arrests these days, our judges, to make room for new prisoners, must order the early release of people already in jail," Capwell said. "Too often, we rearrest some of those released early either for violating their paroles or new crimes."
The new jail will enable the county to retain its own prisoners instead of sending the overflow to other counties at costs ranging from $70 to $96 a day.