FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — Sebastian County has seen its number of court cases jump in recent years, and a large share of them are drug-related.

Prosecutor Dan Shue told the Times Record newspaper that many property crimes and assaults could also be connected to drugs.

The state prison system says that, in 1970, only 27 inmates were locked up for drug crimes. Crack and methamphetamine epidemics in later decades boosted the population. Dina Tyler of the Arkansas Community Correction office says that as much as 80 percent of the criminal activity state is drug-related.

The newspaper reported that courts had been handling about 900 cases each October, but the past two years the number has jumped to more than 1,300. The local jail has 486 detainees in a facility built for 356.

___

Information from: Southwest Times Record, http://www.swtimes.com/