Local sheriff gains perspective after trip to border

Local sheriff gains perspective after trip to border
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 5:34 PM CST
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ROCKPORT, Ind. (WFIE) - A group of Indiana sheriffs just returned from a trip to the southern border. Spencer County Sheriff Sherri Heichelbech was part of that group.

While we’re a thousand miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border in the Tri-State, Heichelbech says what’s happening there is impacting us here.

“It is a massive, multi-dimension problem,” she said.

In just two days, Heichelbech says it was clear to see how it’s impacting Spencer County.

“It’s important for us to see how things are coming our way and Spencer County, Indiana,” Heichelbech said. “The meth we have in the area and the fentanyl we have in the area, we know are coming from the southern border.”

Drugs aren’t the only thing crossing the border that worried Heichelbech. She says conversations with border patrol officers opened her eyes to the way the cartel is abusing a chaotic situation — forcing families and children to pay them thousands of dollars for a chance to make it into the United States.

“So the cartel’s profit weekly on that with the amount of people they’re bringing across the border is $12 million,” Heichelbech said, sourcing data given to her by border patrol officers.

U.S. Senator Mike Braun of Indiana also took the trip. He says it’s important for our local sheriff’s to witness the border issues first hand.

“I think a lot of times you have to hear it right from where it’s occurring to kind of put it into perspective what’s happening in your own back yard,” Braun said.

Heichelbech says what you see on the news doesn’t do the border problem justice. Now she’s focused on spreading the word. While she may not be able to slow down the supply of drugs, which she says is endless, she hopes to create programs in the community and within the jail to help those battling drug problems.