Police: Gangs not prevalent West of the I; drugs about the same

Police officers from the Kenosha Police Department and the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department that presented  a program on drug and street crimes at the County Center on Wednesday night said gang activity is not strong right now West of the I, but drug crime is much like it is in the city, just less concentrated.

Vicente Correa, an officer with the KPD Gang Unit, and Sgt. Ken Urguhart, supervisor of the Kenosha Drug Operations Unit, known as KDOG, gave a presentation Wednesday night at the Kenosha County Center in Bristol on illegal drugs and street crime. The program was sponsored by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Citizens’ Academy Alumni.

Correa said gang activity at present is more of a city problem than a West of the I problem. However the unit is watching gang activity in western Lake and McHenry counties to track whether it might be migrating to Western Kenosha County.

“That’s something we’ve been keeping an eye on,” Correa said.

There also has been some graffiti in Waterford and Burlington that Correa doesn’t feel is a sign yet of hard-core gang activity.

“That’s something else you might see come this way,” Correa said.

A marijuana plant. /US Fish and Wildlife Service photo -- Public Domain

Urguhart gave an overview of drug activity throughout the county. Marijuana is the most common drug here, but cocaine, heroin and increasingly prescription drugs used illegally are also problems. Seen less often, but still present, are black tar opium, ecstasy  and K2/salvia.

Methamphetamine is not common anywhere in Kenosha County, Urguhart said.

The illegal drug scene is not particularly different west of I-94 than it is in the city, Urguhart said, other than being less concentrated.

“I don’t think there is a huge difference,” Urguhart said. “I think we’re dealing with the same problems. Your abusers are the same. It’s the same problem, it’s just a different setting.”

One aspect that is different is how marijuana is grown. Indoor growing operations are more common in the city. Outdoor grows, some in secluded wooded areas, are more common out west, Urguhart said.

KDOG, which was founded in 2009, is a joint operation of the KPD and the Sheriff’s Department. Here are some stats on the unit’s activities last year that were shared by Urguhart:

  • 201 felony arrests — a 254 percent increase from the year before.
  • 75 misdemeanor arrests.
  • 61 executed search warrants.
  • 178 controlled buys where officers or informants buy drugs to get arrests.
  • $4.5 million in drugs seized.
  • $680,000 in assets seized.

“We had a pretty good year last year,” Urguhart said.


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