CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS12) - The war on drugs just got tougher and police say the poor economy is to blame.
Drug investigators say they are trying their best to get a handle on cheap drugs flooding the market while they deal with budget cuts themselves.
Investigators say with many people losing their jobs and fighting to make a buck, peddling drugs appears to be a quick fix in more ways than one.
Police video shows a recent chase where police arrested three alleged drug dealers in Charleston. Sgt. Kevin Glaser with the SEMO Drug Task Force says agents found 33 pounds of cocaine on the suspects.
"People are becoming more desperate in trying to make some money," Glaser said. "They are getting laid off from jobs, finding times are getting pretty hard and a lot of them are turning to the drug trade."
Glaser says they are also arresting more drug abusers.
"More and more people are getting involved because of the availability, and the prices seem to be coming down a little bit too."
Just last week drug agents found 458 pounds of marijuana in a tractor trailer in New Madrid County. A bust outside a bar in Advance netted them six ounces of methamphetamine.
Still, the busts come amidst a growing concern that drug task forces across the state could face huge cutbacks.
"This is the most serious I've seen it. As far as the amount of money we're losing from the federal government goes, our budget on a national level is cut 67 percent. That is about a five million dollar cut for the state of Missouri," Glaser said.
Lana Bohannon owns that bar in Advance where agents arrested the meth suspects in the parking lot.
She watched the action unfold and says she hopes the task force in Southeast Missouri isn't affected, because it's just too important.
"I see a lot of people who abuse drugs," Bohannon said.
Glaser also wants you to know you can help fight the war on drugs.