The Jackson County Drug Task Force is clearly—and officially—setting the standard for excellence in law enforcement. For the fourth straight year, the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association (MNOA) has honored the Task Force as its Law Enforcement Unit of the Year.
In the 22 year history of the organization, no other law enforcement unit has ever been awarded the honor for four consecutive years, according to the MNOA.
“What is most impressive about this recognition is that it’s coming from law enforcement peers,” said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. “For four years running, the Narcotics Officers Association has determined no other agency in Missouri is doing a better job than the Jackson County Drug Task Force, when it comes to pursuing drug traffickers.”
In 2014 the Task Force seized 157 pounds of methamphetamines, made 140 arrests and presented 203 cases to state and federal prosecutors. Combined, the estimated street value of all the confiscated drugs—meth, marijuana, crack/cocaine, PCP, heroin, synthetic narcotic—exceeded $8.6 million.
“We had another busy year in 2014, and we’re not letting up in 2015,” said Task Force Officer in Charge Dan Cummings.
Last May, the Task Force — acting on a citizen’s tip about suspicious activity in and around a house near a local school — seized 22 pounds of methamphetamine. A canine from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office promptly alerted officers to a vehicle on the scene. The drugs — valued at about $2 million—were stashed in the vehicle’s fender.
“This award proves that the COMBAT tax is effective,” said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp. “In addition, it is nice to see the men and women that work for the Task Force recognized from those all around the State.”
The Task Force also participated in a joint investigation with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Homeland Security that targeted a major trafficking organization during 2014. Based in Mexico, this organization was responsible for distributing in the Kansas City metropolitan area approximately 746 pounds of meth, 240-360 kilograms of cocaine and 120 kilos of heroin. The investigation cumulated in the indictment of 26 defendants on 70 counts for various drug, firearms and financial crimes.
“Not only is the task force putting meth labs out of business in Jackson County, they’re also going after the traffickers from out-of-state and other countries who are trying to distribute their poison here in our community,” said County Executive Sanders. “Dan and all the officers on the Task Force are relentless. They’re doing a commendable job.”
The county’s Community Backed Anti-Drug Tax (COMBAT) funds the Task Force. Originally formed in 1986, the Task Force is now comprised of investigators and analysts from 11 different local police departments, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri National Guard.