UPDATED: Thursday, April 21, 2011 --- 9:44 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard
Tonight two people are behind bars after Monroe police discover a heroin operation where they say they were making their money by selling to kids.
The battle against heroin is one just about every police department in our area is dealing with but when a man allegedly used his apartment to target kids he upped the ante.
Just one block from Monroe's downtown square an apartment building housed a drug operation catering to the most vulnerable population.
Victoria Holland lives in the building and says, "I never thought, I never thought that was what is was."
A several month investigation led police to an apartment in the building where they say heroin and cocaine were being trafficked to young people, many of them in high school.
A Wednesday night raid resulted in the arrest of 44-year-old Norman Wells who police say lived and sold drugs in 11th street apartment.
Monroe Police Chief Fred Kelley says, "The fact is their investigation tells us this is pretty prolific, pretty active there and that's what led us to it to begin with."
Police say they found "moderate" amounts of suspected heroin, cocaine and marijuana, along with cash.
Also taken into custody was 43-year-old Vicki Carlson and a 14-year-old boy, both charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Victoria Holland lives in the building and says the traffic in and out was constant.
She says, "It's bad that they're selling it to anyone."
Neighbors say cars would often stop in the alley while someone ran upstairs, only to return and leave a few minutes later.
Others in the building say it's bad enough they were selling drugs and when you throw in the fact they were selling to kids, they're especially glad an arrest was made.
Police believe the use of the drugs was leading to other crimes in the area like thefts and robberies and say it was only a matter of time before a kid would end up dead.
Kelley says, "it stood out to us that there was a good chance we'd end up with a very serious overdose."
The bust was only a few blocks from a school and police say they're looking into whether the apartment was close enough to the school to warrant additional charges.
Posted Thursday, April 21, 2011 --- 11:44 a.m.
Press Release from the Monroe Police Department:
On Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at about 5:30 PM, Monroe Police and agents of the State Line Area Narcotics Team conducted a drug search warrant operation at an apartment in the 1700 block of 11th street, in Monroe’s downtown.
The search warrant was part of a several month long, ongoing investigation into alleged heroin and cocaine trafficking to young people in the small community in south central Wisconsin. Criminal justice authorities in the area have been extremely dismayed by the presence of these hard drugs, particularly heroin in this mostly rural area. The use of these drugs, law enforcement believes, has led to other crimes in the area, such as thefts and robberies. There has also been great concern that potentially serious overdose situations could happen.
Moderate amounts of suspected heroin, suspected cocaine and suspected marijuana were all seized subsequent to the search, as well as an undisclosed amount of cash and drug paraphernalia.
During the operation, law enforcement agents took three (3) persons into custody. Norman Jay Wells (44), Monroe has been initially charged with felony possession with the intent to deliver heroin, felony possession with the intent to deliver cocaine, felony possession with the intent to deliver marijuana, and felony maintaining a drug house. All of these charges carry penalties of several years in prison. Wells is being held in the Green County jail pending a future court appearance.
Vicki L. Carlson (43), Monroe, has been initially charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Carlson was summoned and released pending a future court appearance.
A 14-year-old Monroe male was also taken into custody and referred to juvenile authorities for a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. The juvenile was released to a parent, pending action by juvenile authorities.
These charges are all initial and all persons are still considered innocent until convicted in a court of law.
This investigation remains ongoing.
The State Line Area Narcotics Team is a multi agency task for consisting of law enforcement officers from the Illinois State Police, Rockford, Loves Park and Freeport, Illinois Police Departments, Stephenson County, Illinois Sheriff’s Department, Green County, Wisconsin Sheriff’s Department, and Monroe Police Department.