TUESDAY, APRIL 17, 2018
The Jackson County Drug Task Force (JCDTF) was recently awarded the 2017 Outstanding Cooperative Effort Award by the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington D.C. This was the second year in a row that the Task Force was given this award.
The Task Force was also awarded the 2017 Outstanding Investigative Effort Award by HIDTA. It was one of 17 Law Enforcement Agencies involved in an investigation which had direct ties to investigations in Utah and California. According to Officer in Charge of the JCDTF, Dan Cummings, the Task Force initiated its part of the investigation in Jackson County and coordinated all the undercover work in Kansas City and Jackson County with the F.B.I.
Both awards covered the six state area of the Midwest HIDTA region; Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and part of Illinois. Both cases were also forwarded to the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington D.C. for National consideration.
“When you are recognized by your peers in law enforcement for doing an outstanding investigation it definitely makes all of those late night hours worth the while,” Cummings said. “Some of these guys worked 24 hours or 48 hours straight, which is kind of hard on their home life, but when the family finally realizes what the officers did, then it kind of made it all worthwhile for them. Now they can see what they are doing and what they are accomplishing and how important it is. When the guys are recognized by their peers for doing a good job everybody appreciates that little pat on the back.”
According to Cummings this was a high level investigation that local law enforcement doesn’t often come by, “honestly the only reason we were able to do those types of investigations was because of the COMBAT money used to fund the task force. The money provided to this organization for local law enforcement allows us to do much more than any local agency in this county can do without it. It allows us to go further with the investigations. We have resources and leeway in what we can do.”
In July 2016, the JCDTF and the DEA’s Kansas City District Office began an investigation targeting the Rodriguez drug trafficking organization (DTO), which was responsible for the distribution of 60 to 120 pounds of methamphetamine per month in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Working together, members of the the two Midwest HIDTA Initiatives conducted numerous undercover purchases, hundreds of hours of surveillance and eight Title III wire intercepts aimed at disrupting and dismantling the DTO. It was discovered that the DTO was operating in numerous states, as well as Mexico.
The investigation also resulted in two “spin-off” investigations targeting multi-pound methamphetamine DTOs that were also operating in the Kansas City metro area. During August 2017, 20 defendants were federally indicted on 52 counts of drug and firearms violations. So far the investigation has resulted in the federal indictment of 40 defendants on 73 charges, the seizure of approximately 210 pounds of methamphetamine, soft body armor and 14 handguns.
The Task Force has also been awarded the 2017 Law Enforcement Unit of the Year by the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association.
Members of the Jackson County Drug Task Force include the Independence, Missouri, Police Career Criminal Unit, Drug Enforcement Unit and Tactical Unit, the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Career Criminal Unit, Drug Enforcement Unit, Street Narcotics Unit, Illegal Firearms Unit and Tactical Unit, the Kansas City, Kansas, Drug Enforcement Unit, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the National Guard Missouri Counter Drug Operations Group.