Making a Dent in the Drug Scourge

The arrest of over two dozen predators in the illicit drug trade in Falmouth, while welcome news, is a necessary step in a never-ending battle, according to a longtime local law enforcement veteran.  "We're swimming against the tide," said Roman A. Medeiros, who retired late last year after nearly 32 years with the Falmouth Police Department.  He explained that although the arrests send a chilling message to those involved with the drug trade in Falmouth, another set of misguided and profit-seeking outlaws are waiting in the wings to replace those nabbed in the raid.

"We were a town of 11,000 then," explained Medeiros,  "As the town grew, we began to deal with more city-type issues." Medeiros, who retired with the rank of Captain and led the Falmouth detective division when he hung up his cuffs, recognized some changes since his early police work in the late 1970s.  "We were a town of 11,000 then," explained Medeiros, known affectionately as "Skip."  "As the town grew, we began to deal with more city-type issues."  Among them, of course, is an increase in the drug trade in a community that has more than tripled to nearly 35,000.  Although heroin has been grabbing recent headlines with no less than five Falmouth deaths in 2007, a direct result of the cheap and accessible opiate, cocaine is still the primary drug for local dealers.  Medeiros explained that the profit margin for this deadly stimulant is still attractive for those who prey on their neighbors stricken with the disease of addiction, despite the potential legal consequences.

Yesterday's roundup by the Falmouth Police, with the assistance of the Massachsuetts State Police, the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office, and other local departments, has become nearly a yearly occurrence in Falmouth in recent years, something not seen in other Cape communities. When asked if this is because the drug problem is worse in Falmouth, Medeiros explained that Falmouth is the only area community with a full-time drug task force to combat the drug trade.  Other departments have a full-time detective to work on the myriad of leads and cases, but Falmouth can have as many as seven officers working the "drug beat" at the same time.  This intensity, coupled with Falmouth's accessible location to major distribution centers like New Bedford, make the Upper Cape's own drug war an important but potentially overwhelming priority.

The recent rash of convenience store and gas station holdups in Falmouth, Mashpee, and Bourne is likely linked to the search for illegal drugs, according to another local source. 

Under Medeiros' leadership, the Falmouth Detective Division became a model for narcotics investigation on Cape Cod.  Here's hoping that laser-like focus continues.  The drugs and drug dealers aren't taking a break, as yesterday's roundup proves. 

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