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Sheriff: Rural areas not safe place for drug criminals

SHAWANO, WI (WTAQ) - Budget cuts have hit all types of government -- and convicts have told officers it's easier to commit drug crimes in rural areas.  

Not true, says Shawano County sheriff's captain Tom Tuma.

He tells the Green Bay Press-Gazette that more rural counties are partnering with others to nab drug dealers on a regional basis -- with the goal of eliminating the perception of "safe zones." Tuma says rural officers have spoken with jail inmates who are doing time for drug crimes -- and because smaller agencies have fewer resources, drug criminals are working in those areas more extensively.  

Tuma says drug officers are trying to get the message out to dealers that, "We're on to you" -- and they'll work aggressively to prevent drug criminals from further exploiting remote areas.  

State lines are not an issue, either.  

In Marinette County Wisconsin and Menominee County Michigan, officers made 76 joint arrests last year for distributing illegal drugs. That's a 50 percent increase from the previous year.  

Also, federal agents get involved when drug lines flow to places like Milwaukee and Chicago.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)