MANCHESTER – As if heroin and fentanyl aren’t creating enough of a crisis in Manchester, the Queen City is also facing a potentially explosive problem with methamphetamines.
“Whatever the users are looking for, the drug dealers are going to do everything they can to get it to them,” says Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard.
So, we’re going back to the front lines with MPD’s Street Crime Unit, showing you how this expanding and evolving drug trade is impacting people who call this city home.
“A lot of killings, stabbings, shootings, all because of drugs,” says Manchester Native Jessica Corbin
“I was born and raised here, this is where I grew up and I’ve watched it deteriorate to what it is now,” says her boyfriend Alan White.
Corbin and White speak to NH1 news as they take one of their last walks through their Manchester neighborhood before packing up and leaving Manchester—for good.
“We’re moving to get a new start, away from all of this,” says Corbin. “We can’t be around it. I have a son.” She adds, “All of my friends can’t seem to grasp onto the concept that they’re losing their lives slowly because of what this drug is doing to them. It’s tearing apart our families and friends.”
“It’s hard for me as, particularly the new chief, to hear people that, people want to move out of the city because of crime,” says Chief Willard.
That’s why Manchester PD—along with state police and DEA—are aggressively tracking the addicts and tackling the dealers.
“There are some really bad people that are in that mix that are going to do violent things to get money to get their heroin,” says Willard. “They’re still pumping drugs on the street, so to me, that’s no different than if they just hit a corner store at gunpoint.”
In this case, police say the heroin dealer is 16 years old.
“Yeah, I have to be honest, I was shocked,” says Willard. “This 16-year-old is going to be a dangerous character for a long time.”
In the meantime, police are facing a new threat – meth.
“Big in other parts of the country, and they say it’s making a swing this way. So, we’ll have to wait and see,” says Sgt. Chris Sanders, Manchester PD Street Crime Unit.
Just hours after saying that, Sgt. Sanders and the Street Crime Unit follow a lead and seize more than 100 grams of meth and thousands of dollars in cash from this Laurel Street apartment.
“This is not what you’d consider for personal use. This is obviously someone distributing,” says Sgt. Sanders.
CELINE: “As a police officer, how concerning is that for you to know that this is in your city?”
SANDERS: “Very concerning. We haven’t seen the push with methamphetamine, but apparently it’s made its way to Manchester.”
With more meth, may come more violence.
“For some reason, there appears to be a lot of violence that surround that drug for whatever reason, kind of like the crack cocaine of the early 90s. There was a lot of violence that surrounded the crack cocaine epidemic,” says Willard.
“The reason why is probably the amount of paranoia that it causes. It completely distorts your cognitive reasoning, so you kind of find yourself in a fantasy land, so to speak,” says Det. Aaron Brown, Manchester PD Street Crime Unit.
While these street sweepings aren’t pretty, they’re needed to get the job done.
“It sucks to see people being taken down on the street like this, but at the same time, it’s what needs to happen,” says White. He adds, “I can only hope for the best that you know all of these people can finally clean up, and this area can maybe get back to normal and get better.”
These missions are part of the joint law enforcement initiative called Operation Granite Hammer. In the first 4 weeks, 46 people have been arrested. You can learn more about it on my Facebook page, Celine McArthur NH1 News.