Villa Hills invites residents to discuss the epidemic plaguing the region and their city: heroin

Hope may lie in recent high-profile arrest

VILLA HILLS, Ky. – When the city of Villa Hills holds its town hall meeting Wednesday on how to address the plague of heroin, there may be a glimmer of hope.

Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is under arrest. His tentacles that reach into America’s heartland have been severed… at least for now.

“He’s ‘Enemy No. 1,” said Bill Mark, director of the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force.

He’s the de facto head of the Sinaloa Cartel… very influential for supplying drugs to the Midwest. Hopefully it will have a positive affect on the availability,” Mark said.

“It’s difficult to gauge how quickly this will affect [Northern Kentucky]… only time will tell the impact his arrest will directly have.”

Mexican authorizes captured the Sinaloa Drug Cartel’s 56-year-old leader early Saturday morning in Mexico City.

Mark calls Guzman the modern-day equivalent to Al Capone, since he said that he was the highest-priority target in drug investigations.

He gave kudos to the Mexican authorities.

“The Mexican government has a vested interest in cleaning up Sinaloa’s mess just as much as we do. They have a different face on the problem,” Mark said, referring to the thousands of murders in Mexico, allegedly linked to Guzman reign.

“It speaks to the commitment of the Mexican government, federal forces to do something about the problem, negatively impacting our country,” Mark said, going on to say he hopes that Guzman is extradited to the United States swiftly.

For the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force, the arrest in Mexico emphasizes the need to continue to put as many drug dealers behind bars.

The Sinaloa Drug Cartel’s tentacles extend to Northern Kentucky.

Mexico supplies 90 percent of Northern Kentucky’s cocaine, heroine and methamphetamine, according Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders. Mark said it’s hard to say exactly how much is from the Sinaloa Cartel.

“Sinaloa’s area of influence is Northern Mexico. Odds are pretty good that you’re seeing a Sinaloa influence in the Cincinnati area,” Mark said.

Kenton County, where Villa Hills is seated, has seen a spike in heroin possession and trafficking cases in recent years.

Possession Cases

Year  Number of Felony Cases
2009   101
2010   134
2011   191
2012   225
2013   175 (through July 2013)

Trafficking Cases

Year  Number of Felony Cases

2009   30
2010   13
2011   21
2012   58
2013   38 (through July 2013)

Like many other communities over the past year, Villa Hills will be holding its own town hall meeting to discuss the magnitude of the addiction to heroin in Northern Kentucky.

Speakers will include local police, fire and EMS, medical and rehabilitation professionals and members of the criminal justice system.

For updates and more information contact the Villa Hills Police Department at (859) 341-3535 or visit nkyhatesheroin.com.

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If you go:

WHAT: Villa Hills Town Hall Meeting on heroin

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 26, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Villa Madonna Academy Auditorium, 2500 Amsterdam Road, Villa Hills, Ky.

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READ LAWMAKERS PROPOSE SOLUTIONS.

 

For more stories by Jessica Noll, go to www.wcpo.com/noll . Follow her on Twitter @JessicaWCPO.

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