FRANKLIN COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith has waged a very public 6-year battle against meth dealers and users.
“Today is National Meth Awareness Day and of course, (in) Franklin County every day is meth awareness day,” Smith said.
Sheriff Smith hosted a roundtable on Wednesday where several inmates shared their stories about their use of methamphetamines. One inmate said his addiction has kept him away from his family during holidays.
“This will be my second Christmas in jail, this is my second Thanksgiving in jail,” Bailey Millender said. “I spent very much of the last two years in jail.”
Smith and his deputies have made drug abuse a priority in their community.
“We have zero tolerance, understand if you come here, we are going to catch you, we are going to kick your door in, we’re going to do whatever it takes to stop illegal drug sales in this community,” Smith said.
“He’s on Facebook, he’s on TV commercials telling you, ‘hey, if you drugging, I’m coming, I’m looking for you,'” jail inmate Jason Shuman said. “You might hear a knock at the door, or you might hear banging at the door but he’s coming.”
Despite their circumstances, some of the inmates said they’ve come to appreciate what Smith is doing.
“Man, I just went ‘man this dude always got it out for me, always got it out for me, man’, but really after you get sober and get your mind together he’s really a good dude,” jail inmate Lawrence Russell said.
“From the day I came into office, my number one goal was to increase awareness of the use and sale of illegal drugs in Franklin County and to eliminate illegal drugs in Franklin County,” Smith said. “So that’s been my mission from day one, and it will continue until either I’m no longer sheriff or there are no more drugs in the county.”
Sheriff Smith began the Fresh Start Drug Rehab program in 2017 to provide inmates with resources to kick their drug and alcohol addictions.