Donnie Harrison may figure that, having been sheriff of Wake County since 2002, the Wake Board of Commissioners ought to respect his opinion and follow his recommendations without much question. To some degree, Harrison is right. But it would have been good if the sheriff, seeking more money to expand his drugs and vice unit, had offered up a few more specifics on arrests and seizures and had produced a report on drug busts and Mexican drug cartels he cited in justifying his request for funding.
That said, the sheriff got his additional money, and he had the unanimous support of commissioners. Harrison’s arguments about why Wake County is a prime target of Mexican drug organizations seem logical. The Triangle has a plethora of highways, and its population is growing. Harrison wrote to commissioners that Mexican traffickers are moving cocaine, for one example, directly into the Triangle rather than shipping it through the larger metropolitan area of Atlanta.
Harrison also had some strong and scary news on his side: His deputies, a month or so ago, seized about 100 pounds of cocaine, and a little more than a year ago, seized a large amount of the drug with a high purity level. What that means, Harrison told commissioners, is that the drugs are being moved by expert traffickers. “That tells us,” he said, “that we’re beginning to be the center, the hub.”
The well-scrubbed Wake County that many residents know, where the big debate lately has been over bike lanes, is not the Wake County many thousands of other residents know. There has long been a strong, dangerous drug culture in this area, and the sheriff is right to focus on it.