Drug funding supplements drug programs<BR>

In the world of drugs, the old phrase, "what goes around comes around," definitely applies.

The Arizona Criminal Justice Commission released a report for 2000 showing an almost 11 percent increase in drug arrests in Arizona from last year, thanks to money coming from a drug account fund, commission spokeswoman Rebecca Jahn said.

The drug and gang enforcement grant, which comes from fines paid by convicted drug offenders, is dumped back into drug enforcement, prosecution and prevention programs, Jahn said.

This year in Arizona, $13.8 million released from the drug account went to fund 72 anti-drug projects, she said.

"Drug and gang enforcement funds are used on a yearly basis by law enforcement, prosecutors and others in the criminal justice system to fight illicit drug trafficking in our state," commission Director Michael Branham said.

This year, Mohave County received almost $600,000 in drug funds.

Of that, more than $344,000 went to law enforcement efforts such as MAGNET, (Mohave Area General Narcotic Enforcement Team) Jahn said.

MAGNET was organized to identify, arrest and prosecute drug traffickers, seize drugs and cash assets and investigate narcotic smuggling and drug lab activity in the county, she said.

The task force is made of up of officers from Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City police departments, Mohave County Sheriff's Office, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, she said.

Since the grant's inception in 1988, more than 5,350 people have been arrested in the county for drug-related offenses.

This year, 549 drug arrests were made.

Of those, 269 arrests were for possession or use of drugs, and 280 arrests were for drug sales or trafficking, Jahn said.

So far this year, drugs worth almost a million dollars on the street have been seized by MAGNET.

More than $9.2 million worth of drugs had been seized since 1988, she said.

This year, law enforcement throughout the state has confiscated more than 135,000 pounds of marijuana, almost 2,000 pounds of cocaine and 183 pounds of methampethamine, she said.

In Mohave County, 621 pounds of marijuana, nine ounces of cocaine and 17,024 grams of methampethamine have been confiscated this year, she said.

The Mohave County Attorney's Office has received $203,000 toward the prosecution of drug violators and to sue to collect assets seized from drug traffickers, Jahn said.

Of 632 cases this year, the county attorney's office convicted 277 felony offenders and 108 misdemeanor offenders.

More than 110 people have been sentenced to prison and 209 have received county jail sentences, she said.

More than $260,000 in non-drug seizures has been collected.

Since 1988, more than $2 million of non-drug seizures has been collected, she said.