CASEYVILLE, Ill. – The Caseyville Police Department recently seized enough street drugs to kill a small army.
It is one of many recent drug busts that the department has made, mostly near hotels off Interstate 64.
Chief Tom Copotelli of the Caseyville Police Department called it “self-initiated proactive policing.”
Copotelli said most of his department’s drug busts begin as regular traffic stops.
“You’re getting ready to write a ticket, but something from your training experience will set you off and say there might be more to this,” he said.
In a recent bust, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of drug products were discovered, including cocaine and 10 pounds of fentanyl pills.
“It could be in the hands of users,” Copotelli said. “Unfortunately, we might be having to make notifications, or the coroner’s officer might have to be making some very uncomfortable notifications.”
He said lab tests found just one fentanyl pill could be deadly.
He added, “It shouldn’t be a death sentence for a young kid,” Copotelli said. “There should be ramifications, but death is not one of them.”
“They are coming for our children,” said Chris Budde.
Budde lost her son Mathew Humphrey in May.
“He did not know what it was,” she said. He thought he was getting heroin, and he got straight fentanyl.”
Budde said she keeps her son’s grade school picture on her wall. Humphrey was 33 when he died.
“…beautiful heart and a beautiful soul, and one that has ended in a terrible destiny that I could have never imagined,” she said.
Budde said she disagreed with the argument that police cannot win this battle.
“His best friend told me that in a text, take out one dealer, another one rises,” she said. “That is a terrible view. This drug death, this poison, is just like someone coming in your house and shooting you dead. It’s almost like a prescription for legalized murder.”
It may give a user one more day to seek help, which is why Copotelli said his officers will keep watching.
“We’ve seen doing nothing is not an option,” he said.