Youngstown sees no violence tied to influx of Detroit drugs

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


Authorities say drugs are coming into Youngstown from Detroit, but Youngstown has thus far been able to escape the violence from Detroit criminals setting up shop in the city.

In recent weeks the city of Warren has seen a series of arrests and criminal acts tied to people with connections to Detroit. Charges in Warren range from murder to carrying a concealed weapon and drug offenses.

Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley said police know that unsavory characters have been filtering drugs from Detroit to the Youngstown area but not staying in the area wreaking havoc.

“We do get drugs from the Detroit area here, too, but we just have not yet seen any known violence from that,” he said. “A lot of this stuff is just logistics. Someone knows someone from Detroit, and they decide to set up shop in the area — and there you have it.”

Foley said groups bringing in drugs and crime from not only Detroit but other large cities are a constant concern for law enforcement. He said the increase in heroin use has meant an increase in drug smuggling to the area at large.

“We have known this is going on for years, and it has increased over the years with the increase in heroin use. We are concerned about this and anything that can touch off more violence, but we haven’t seen anyone from that Detroit area setting up shop here,” he said.

Foley said local law enforcement combats the problem with long-term investigations that help flush out the key players in large drug rings from bigger cities. He said state and federal task forces are a big help in keeping the problem at bay.

Greg Wilson, a detective with the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force, said he cannot speak directly to any ongoing investigations, but said there have been no recent arrests by the task force of people with a Detroit connection.

Wilson said drugs are often disseminated from Detroit because, like New York City and other larger cities in Arizona, Texas and California, cities with a larger population become filter cities for drug activity.

“I would assume that the population and geographical location of those places make it desirable to these people,” he said.

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