MADISON COUNTY, Ill. - Interstates 55 and 70 and the crossroads of the nation come together in Madison County Ill.
"Call it the heroin highway, this is a pipeline for heroin and other drugs going through the country," said Tom Gibbons, Madison County state attorney.
Drug traffic on the heroin highway is exploding. Gibbons said it is up "hundreds and hundreds of percents,". Heroin was almost non-existent in Madison County eight years ago. But he said more people got addicted to painkillers. The Mexican Drug Cartels saw a niche.
"Heroin was a cheaper, more potent answer to the by the drug cartels. They moved in and took advantage of a large population of people who were already addicted to opiates," Gibbons said.
"While the increase in heroin came to our region, law enforcement didn't have the resources to deal with it," he said.
Budget cuts are taking away the boots on the ground to go after the drug movers, shakers and dealers. He said a lot of drugs are getting through because there aren't enough officers to stop them.
The big busts officers were able to make paid off. A Pontoon Beach officer found $3 in drug money in a truck at a Flying J on 270 and Highway 111 several years ago. IT was the biggest cash seizure in the county. Last year officers stopped more than a million dollars of drug money.
"That's money that was taken away from the drug cartels," he said.
He wants to use more of that money to put officers on drug patrol.
"You take a shipment of drugs off the streets you may save lives. Heroin kills.It's ruining families ruining, lives its killing young people," he said.
Gibbons knows the traffic on heroin highway wont' slow down. He's started a drug task force after several heroin deaths in the county.