Enhanced drug-investigating division

The St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners has agreed to move forward on a plan to enhance a drug-investigation division of the sheriff’s department.

With the cities of Sturgis and Three Rivers agreeing to pledge their support, commissioners signed off on financially backing the St. Joseph County Area Narcotics unit.

Spearheaded by Undersheriff Mark Lillywhite, the initiative will involve training and bringing on to the SCAN unit one officer from the Three Rivers Police Department and one from the Sturgis force.

Lillywhite said methamphetamine production and distribution will be the focus of the enhanced SCAN unit during what will be a three-year program. County commissioners on Tuesday committed more than $300,000 to fund the enhanced SCAN unit.

Lillywhite said the plan is endorsed by Prosecutor John McDonough and judges Paul Stutesman and Jeff Middleton, who are preparing for what they expect to be an increase in meth-related cases.

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