Drug-related crimes increase; counselor says crack cocaine use r - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Drug-related crimes increase; counselor says crack cocaine use resurging

Matthew Lennen arrested in connection with burglar of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Kennard. Matthew Lennen arrested in connection with burglar of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Kennard.
ADAC of Deep East Texas is seeing an increase in people abusing crack. ADAC of Deep East Texas is seeing an increase in people abusing crack.
HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - We have an update for you tonight regarding the investigation of the church burglary and van theft in Kennard. Houston County Sheriff's Office are still investigating the case.

So far, they've charged 34-year-old Matthew Lennen with the break-in, theft, and trying to run for authorities.

From the beginning of the case, church deacon Willie Mitchell, Sr., believed someone on drugs was responsible.

"We got a lot of crack heads in Kennard whether you know it or not,” Mitchell said Sunday outside the church.

Those words from the 82-year-old Kennard resident are echoed by many folk in the town of 300. They say drugs are a problem. Houston County Chief Deputy J.P. Shearer sees the evidence in many crimes in the county,

"It's a consistent problem at least in this country, drugs are a problem,” Shearer shared. “Whether it's methamphetamine or if it's cocaine.”

Phyllis Grandgeorge is Executive Director of the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas located in Lufkin, but serves up to 12 counties.

"The State of Texas they have tried to reduce methamphetamine as problem,” Grandgeorge explained. “In doing that we passed a law that putting methamphetamine behind the counters.”

She says with that meth being harder to come by and producer, she's seen the resurgence of crack cocaine, which ran rapid throughout East Texas 20 years ago.

"We are seeing it come back. It's inexpensive. It's easy to make. We are seeing that on the streets right now," Grandgeorge said.

Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches said his office is seeing a lot of crimes being committed by drug addicts, who are stealing and doing home and business break ins to get little to no cash to buy drugs.

"I've seen people who have lost stuff, things that were destroyed by these thieves and burglars, that they never recover," Sanches said.

What's worse, Sanches disclosed case after case where drug impaired people make bad decisions and become violent against their own family, including sexual assault.

"And who pays the price? The kids do or maybe their spouses do because of the sexual assault," Sanches explained.

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