MEDFORD, Ore. -- A program to help combat drug trafficking is coming to Josephine County. This program has been used in Jackson County for more than ten years.
Newswatch 12's Cassidy Delamarter is digging into why this program is beneficial — and why one neighborhood said it even changed their area for the better.
"We wouldn't even let our daughter play outside," Jim Bosworth, lives in the neighborhood.
Bosworth had just moved into the neighborhood when he said he realized something was off about one of his neighbors.
"It's pretty obvious when people are coming and going and the stays are short and the visits were frequent," Bosworth said. "The cops were here every single day."
Bosworth and other neighbors NewsWatch12 spoke with said people were coming all day and all night to buy drugs on their street. It got so bad that, they said, police were constantly being called and at one point: "Their truck almost got stolen from in front of their house when they were home."
That homeowner confirmed it. Their truck was almost stolen during broad daylight, by one of the people buying drugs from their neighbor.
Now the neighborhood is "totally different," Bosworth says.
Medford police were able to perform a drug bust that ultimately changed everything. Lt. Mike Budreau wih the Medford Police Department said the drug bust took almost a full year to organize. The suspect was 36-year-old Thomas Dargie. Budreau said the funds from the high intensity drug trafficking area program are what helped make this bust a success.
"It provides funding for overtime, it provides funding for buy-money — which it basically our ability to purchase drugs undercover which can be pretty expensive," he explained.
The neighbors couldn't be more thankful.
"A clean community is going to be a stronger community and a safer community," Bosworth said. "I think we're better off now that they're gone."
Bosworth said he's no longer afraid to let his kids play in the front yard and that goes for other neighbors too.
Both Jackson and Josephine County officials agree that one of the problems is that Interstate 5 runs through these counties. Police said most Oregon drugs are produced in Mexico and brought up to the area via I-5. They said that being right on I-5 makes the area an easy target for big shipments of drugs.
Now all the counties in Oregon that have I-5 running through it are a part of the high intensity drug program. Josephine County was the last county along I-5 to join the program.
"I think there has been some banter on social media that it's because our county is so bad that we were given this designation, it's actually a positive thing because it gives us more tools to combat what's coming to our area," said Lt. Todd Moran with the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety.
Now there will be extra funds to cover any trafficking that occurs along the interstate.
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