Gubernatorial candidates Kristi Noem and Marty Jackley discussed crime in South Dakota at a recent debate. Argus Leader
Drugs and syringe found in a Friday morning traffic stop in Sioux Falls.(Photo: Sioux Falls Police Department)
South Dakota has a drug problem.
It’s a problem that the next governor will have to face. And it’s one the gubernatorial candidates have different strategies to tackle.
The Argus Leader examined 10 years of data from the State Attorney General’s office, focusing on drug and drug equipment related arrests. The numbers reveal that drug offenses and arrests have tripled in the last decade far outpacing population growth over the same period.
Combined, drug offenses and drug equipment offenses increased 222 percent over the last decade. The state’s population grew 8.23 percent over that period, per estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
And in some instances, those drug violations fueled a rise in violent crime, law enforcement officials said.
Candidates competing for the governor’s office pointed to growing drug crime as a significant problem in South Dakota and laid out plans to address it in interviews with the Argus Leader.
Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Marty Jackley speaks during an interview at the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Photo: Loren Townsley / Argus Leader)
“The one number that’s continually rising is meth, it’s drugs,” Attorney General Marty Jackley said. “The one area that Washington failed us on is drugs. We’ve known for a long time.”
Jackley said Congress’ inaction in passing immigration reform allowed for the country’s Southern border to remain accessible for drug dealers. In turn,