Officials Fighting Drug Problem in Smithers

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

SMITHERS, W.Va. (WSAZ) --Tom Cosgrove grew up in Smithers and moved back there to retire.

But he says the place he remembered from childhood has all but disappeared.

"It's the drugs," he said. "There's traffic up and down this alley constantly, and fights here almost every night."

Officials say drug trafficking is taking over the town, and they're setting out to stop it.

City police say they're working with state troopers and sheriff's deputies to stage undercover raids - hitting the source of the substances hard.

"A lot of it is tips we get from neighbors, things they see going on," Police Chief Gerald Proctor said.

Officials say they tend to see the most drug-related activity near apartment buildings and temporary housing.

"You don't have a problem with the people who have lived here for years and years," Mayor Thomas Skaggs said. "But there is a lot of rental property in this town that didn't used to be here."

Police say Wilson Street was a crime hub until they started cracking down.

They arrested LaToya Spillman there on drug-related charges and say she's now in federal prison.

Neighbors like Cosgrove say they hope the cleanup continues.

"This used to be one of the greatest places in the world to live," he said. "But that's all gone now."

City leaders say the use of crack cocaine and oxycodone pills is particularly a problem.

Keep clicking on for updates.

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