News 8 hits the streets for a series of drug busts - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

News 8 hits the streets for a series of drug busts

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - We're seeing first-hand how the sheriff's department is working to keep meth off the street, and keep drug offenders clean.

One-hundred thirty people got a wakeup call Thursday from San Diego County probation officers. It's part of an ongoing program to check up on former convicted drug users who are now on probation, and to serve warrants for others.

"I think we're more effective in doing this so it's a whole new way of doing business for us," sheriff's Deputy Emory Wallace said.

That's because instead of just arresting them for probation violations, would-be offenders are given a lifeline.

"This is what it's about, it's not just arresting them, that doesn't fix the problem. It's getting them hooked up with resources in place becoming partners with them and making this work," sheriff's Deputy Wallace said.

"We want these probationers to do well and the only way is to keep them on their toes, but at the same time we want to give them the treatment to get better," Gigi McCalla of the sheriff's department said.

While a good concept, some fall back into old habits.

"[A probationer] had marijuana on him and inside the residence they had 12 small marijuana plants," Deputy Wallace said.

In addition, deputies found 12 mature plants in an outbuilding.

At another home, another probationer is caught off guard by the surprise visit. Deputies discover 12 meth pipes and more.

"He said he did meth two days ago and smoked Marijuana yesterday," Sultin Salih of the sheriff's department said.

"This is one of those where he was arrested for this he was doing fine, Probation puts him into that bank system where they're not required to report, he's faltered and now we're back here to pick him up again," Deputy Wallace said.

Offenders are given the chance to go into a drug treatment program. Twenty-four out of the 28 arrested this time agreed to give it a try.

Arrests during this sweep ranged from drug charges to probation violations. A drug counselor involved told News 8 that one of those who was picked up and agreed to enter treatment admitted it's a necessary step for him to change his life.

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