(WKBN) – Illegal drugs continue to be a major problem.

On Wednesday, the state reported that drug task forces seized more than $42 million in illegal drugs this year.

What Ohio drug task force officers collected this year is shown in the chart below:

Heroin8 pounds15 pounds
Fentanyl87 pounds187 pounds
Cocaine135 pounds297 pounds
Marijuana3,227 pounds2,478 pounds
Money$6.6 million$4.5 million
Drugs Seized by Ohio Task Forces

Heroin seizures almost doubled from last year; fentanyl and cocaine easily doubled.

The head of the Mahoning Valley Drug Task Force, Larry McLaughlin, believes locals have made a direct connection with the southern border.

“That’s concerning because they’re skipping the middle man and coming directly to the Valley, and that’s what we’ve seen as a seizure increase within the Mahoning Valley,” he said.

Officers say the biggest trend in 2021 was THC cartridges.   

Fentanyl12 pounds
Cocaine12 pounds
Marijuana22 pounds
THC Cartridges1,186 pounds
Drugs Seized in 2021 by the Mahoning Valley Task Force

Tasks forces are concerned as they watch the drug trade grow again. Cocaine and crack cocaine have surged the last several years, presumably as people get out of prison and get back into the trade.

“They don’t know the fentanyl, they know the cocaine and crack cocaine, so they go back to exactly where they were, and that’s why we’re seeing that demand for it,” McLaughlin said.

Since 2012, state task forces have seized illegal drugs with an estimated value of $285 million dollars and over 1,000 guns.