Wisconsin Tax Dollars Spent on Illegal Drugs During Busts

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Wisconsin Tax Dollars Spent on Illegal Drugs During Busts

Ever wonder how drug busts happen? Well, first there has to be an exchange of money. And sometimes, that money is never seen again. That’s right – in order to catch drug dealers, law enforcement has to buy illegal drugs to make that happen.

Indeed, every year law enforcement spends insane amounts of money to buy illegal drugs during investigations of dealers and suppliers. Logic would imply that dealers could be arrested the first time they sell to police – hence, the money could be immediately recovered.

But that’s not always how it goes down. Sometimes several transactions take place before an arrest is made, and by then, the money is no longer recoverable.

Where does the money come from?

In 2015, the Central Wisconsin Task Force reimbursed over $46,000 to local agencies. Most of the money was used to elicit undercover drug buying. According to official documents, the funding was a combination of state and federal grant money. Wisconsin Department of Justice records were gathered by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force allows law enforcement from several sheriff and police departments to collaborate, share resources, and coordinate on large drug investigations. Agencies are reimbursed via grant money for a portion of the costs incurred. The nearly $47,000 was up from $36,000 in 2014, and was the highest amount reimbursed since 2011.

Given the length of most investigations, the money given to dealers for illegal drugs is often spent in the course of the bust. Worst yet, the money is often used to buy more drugs.

But the point of most investigations is to find the kingpin, so to speak. That’s why arrests of small time dealers aren’t made right away. So for some, money spent is considered a necessary evil.

And not to be taken lightly, is the danger faced by undercover police officers during these investigations.

However, this is all a product of the failed war on drugs – trying to cut off the supply instead of the demand. For every dealer arrested, one steps up to take his place. So what good is all this money spent? Would it be better spent on education, treatment, and prevention programs aimed at helping addicts, and thus, cutting off the demand?

And certainly, Wisconsin is no exception to the rule. Over the last 40 years, the government has spent an estimated $1 trillion to support the war on drugs.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A.. Psychology

Related: Meth Problem in Wisconsin Just Won’t Go Away

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