|Drugs remain most common charges in Van Wert County in 2013|
|Sunday, December 29, 2013 9:00 PM|
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT — The number of cases in Van Wert County Court of Common Pleas declined in 2013, but one thing remained the same — the most prevalent charges again this year were drug charges.
Approximately two of every five cases through the court this year was for drug charges. Drugs were number one for the year by a very large margin. There were 67 drug defendants who were heard in Common Pleas Court. The second-highest number was for burglary or breaking and entering with just 26 cases.
Oddly, the statistics are actually good news. In 2012, there were 228 cases in the court with 128 being charges for drugs. That works out the 56 percent. The second largest total last year was for theft with a mere 30 cases.
The statistics,which were released by the court on Thursday, do not tell the whole story of the effects of drugs on Van Wert County. Defense attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement and defendants have admitted that many other cases have drugs as the root cause. For instance, it has been determined that cases like theft, burglary, robbery, tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property are likely committed to obtain money to purchase drugs.
Overall, the caseload is very similar to 2011 when 162 Common Pleas Court cases went through in the system. That year, 49 of the 162 were drug cases, or about 30 percent.
The most common cases in 2013, after drug cases, were burglary and breaking and entering, sex offenses, theft and assault. There is one murder cases that was filed in 2013 against Tammy Menke. There were no murder cases in Van Wert County in 2012, and only one was filed in 2011, that against Shawn Jones for the murder of his grandmother.
The 2014 court calendar will begin after the Van Wert Grand Jury meets for the first time of the year on Friday.