CHICO, Calif. - The Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force, or BINTF, is made up of Butte County's law enforcement leaders. Thursday, they held a news conference to release the 2016 annual report.
The North State has had its fair share of butane honey oil explosions, but Thursday, the Chico Police Chief said the number of labs in Butte County is decreasing.
"We only had 28," said Chief Michael O'Brien. "I said 'only' 28 because certainly when you reduce it from 56 from the year before I think that also is significant."
Chief O'Brien said he thinks this reduction can be attributed, in part, to the butane restriction ordinance passed last year. Unfortunately, he also thinks people are likely just using more sophisticated methods of extraction.
"[It's] good in the sense that they're not blowing their apartments and their houses up anymore and people are not getting burned, but some of those extraction methods are still occurring, we suspect," said Chief O'Brien.
As those numbers go down, the 2016 stats for cocaine and heroin are up. Police said they seized 369 grams of cocaine last year, which is up from only 49 grams of cocaine in 2015.
The statistics for heroin in Butte County are alarming too. Nearly 732 grams of heroin seized in 2016, compared to the 216 grams in 2015. That's well over three times as much.
"We're concerned about the heroin increase," said Chief O'Brien. "In fact, it's the largest increase in heroin that I am familiar with in the recent memory of BINTF."
86 percent of all arrests were drug related, but those were down to 139 from the 273 in 2015. "We value quality over quantity and while we are unsure definitely as to the decrease, we remain confident in our staff and to their competence," the Chief added.
Ironically, it was a year review of drug use for 2016 on a day known for its drug use.
"I can assure you that was not intentional," Chief O'Brien smirked. "It always comes on the April board meeting, it just happens to fall on 4/20."
Below is a full report of the 2016 statistics.