August 3, 2006

Local Officers Take Part In Largest Drug Enforcement Operation In State History

Colonel Roger Stottlemyre, Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, announced a local, state, and national day of drug enforcement took place last week with impressive results.

During the last meeting of the National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies (NASDEA), it was decided that a national day of drug enforcement would be organized. The date chosen for the operation was Thursday, July 27, 2006. More than 35 states participated in this national drug enforcement effort.

This operation is a national effort to show how effective concentrated drug enforcement can be. This initiative has been given the name Operation Byrne Drugs. The Edward Byrne grant program is named for a New York City police officer who was killed at a young age by organized drug traffickers who were trying to prevent a witness from being able to testify in a drug case.

Locally Operation Byrne Drugs saw the North Missouri Drug Task Force swing into action. Officers from the Scotland County Sheriffs Department and the Memphis Police Department teamed up with officers from the Linn County Sheriffs, Brookfield Police, Marceline Police, Macon County Sheriffs, Macon Police, Sullivan County Sheriffs, Milan Police, Randolph County Sheriffs, Moberly Police, Adair County Sheriffs, Knox County Sheriffs, Edina Police, Clark County Sheriffs, Kahoka Police, Putnam County Sheriffs, Chariton County Sheriffs and Salisbury Police departments as well as the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The officers made an area-wide drug sweep in north Missouri resulting in 33 arrests on charges ranging from sale of a controlled substance near a school to possession of a controlled substance. The officers arrested individuals on outstanding warrants, did consent search investigations and worked on marijuana eradication efforts. Many additional charges are pending from results of the one-day mass effort.

Each year, the United States Congress appropriates money to the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) in the Department of Justice. BJA distributes the formula grant component of the Byrne appropriation according to a states population.

State police and highway patrol agencies, local police departments, sheriffs departments, HIDTA units, and multi-jurisdictional drug task forces throughout the nation collectively conducted search warrants, consent searches, marijuana eradication efforts, undercover investigations, drug interdiction and arrest warrants during the day. This collective effort was conducted to highlight the need and effectiveness of the Byrne grant funding and the impact cuts to this funding could have on local and statewide drug enforcement. Due to Federal drug funding cuts, all 26 of Missouris multi-jurisdictional drug task forces are in jeopardy of losing their Byrne funding. This would significantly impact the ability of the State of Missouri and its law enforcement agencies to combat the drug problem.

During the operation, 59 police agencies and 163 police officers conducted investigations in 24 counties throughout the state. As many as 267 subjects were sought by investigators which resulted in at least 239 arrests throughout the day. Sixteen searches were conducted, which resulted in the seizure of $289,300.00, 152 pounds of marijuana, 99 grams of cocaine, two drug labs, oxycontin, drug paraphernalia, heroin, pseudoephedrine and four illegal firearms.

This organized effort between Federal, state, and local law enforcement, should emphasize the dedication that the police have in fighting the drug problem. This is believed to be the largest one-day drug enforcement operation in Missouri History.

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