Armed robbers storm into a Willis convenience store.

A 15-year-old Floyd County girl is lured via the Internet into a car and abducted to Pennsylvania by a predatory couple.

A county woman flees an abusive husband in South Boston and comes home. She returns to retrieve her daughter and is gunned down by the husband who then turns the shotgun on himself.

A county man gets out of jail after serving time for a third DWI offense and brutally rapes the pre-teen-aged daughter and then claims the attack was justifiable revenge because the father, he said, slept with his girlfriend.

What is happening to our quiet little community?

The front page of The Fl0yd Press 10 days ago was dominated with stories about crime. Home and business break-ins are up. So is vandalism.   A sheriff’s department investigator says Roanoke area gangs are operating in the county.

Sheriff’s deputies recently descended on a crystal meth lab. Many cops say the explosive growth of the highly-addictive drug is responsible for much of the increase in crime.

“According to the National Association of Counties, forty-seven percent of county sheriffs report meth as their number one drug problem,” says a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice.  “Sixty-two percent of counties with populations less than 25,000 reported an increase in meth abuse by women.  Forty-five states show a ninety percent increase in meth-related crime in the past three years.”

Many of the drug cases I cover in Floyd County Circuit Court involve production, sale and/or use of crystal meth. Use of the drug is growing to epidemic proportions among both adults and teen-agers.

“The methamphetamine crisis, which began more than 20 years ago in western and southwestern regions of the country, is now affecting all areas of the United States, especially rural communities,” says Mary Lou Leary, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs.

Murder and violent death used to be rare in Floyd County. Juries had to deliver a verdict on two shooting death cases last year and another jury will deal with a murder case later this year. Sexual abuse cases — many involving attacks on family members — have become regular parts of the Circuit Court docket.

This increase in drug use and crimes associated with it could not come at a worse time for Floyd County and other rural areas. Budget cuts have hurt the ability of both the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department and Commonwealth’s Attorney to deal with the explosive growth in cases.

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