THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2019
U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister in Kansas and U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison in the Western District of Missouri recently announced that the Jackson County Drug Task Force will be part of a new Kansas City Metro Strike Force to target drug traffickers and violent criminals on both sides of the state line.
“The Strike Force already is conducting investigations and filing charges against the criminals who are poisoning our community with drugs and violence,” McAllister said. “Crime does not stop at the state line and neither does the Strike Force.”
“This new Strike Force presents a united front against drug trafficking and violent crime throughout the metropolitan area,” Garrison said. “We are marshaling agents and officers from both Missouri and Kansas under the same roof and equipping them with additional investigative resources to better protect our community from the violent scourge of drug trafficking.”
According to a Justice Department news release, the Jackson County Drug Task Force (JCDTF) is one of four local agencies participating in this Strike Force, along with the Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, police departments and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Dan Cummings, Officer-In-Charge of the JCDTF said, “Being a member of the Strike Force will maximize our efforts and bring the entire weight of Federal Law Enforcement to the ‘finger tips’ of Detectives assigned to the Jackson County Drug Task Force.”
Local agencies will be joining forces with multiple federal agencies, including the FBI, ATF, Drug Enforcement Administration, Postal Inspection Service and Internal Revenue Service. Federal prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Kansas and the Western District of Missouri will prosecute the Strike Force’s cases in federal court.
Cummings said, “The Strike Force “formalizes” what we have been doing ‘informally’ over the last several years and provides narcotics buy funds and reimbursement of overtime costs on specific investigations.”
The Task Force has already partnered with multiple Law Enforcement Agencies including, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and the Kansas Bureau of investigation. “Sources of supply” of illegal drugs have been identified, and prosecuted in Mexico and multiple states including California, Arizona, Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan to name a few, according to Cummings.
“Over the last several years, multiple JCDTF cases have been prosecuted with other cases currently under investigation, on both sides of the Kansas, Missouri state line,” he said.
“Almost every case investigated by the Task Force is a local drug dealer involved in the sales and distribution of illegal drugs transported into Jackson County and, the metropolitan area, by Mexican Drug Cartels,” Cummings said.
“As the majority of violent crime has some kind of drug connection, the Strike Force places a special emphasis on addressing local violent drug dealers involved in the distribution of drugs in local neighborhoods all over Jackson County,” he said. “The arrest and prosecution of these individuals should have an impact on crime in our communities and hopefully, prevent some of our young kids, or anyone, from having that “first opportunity” to use an illegal drug and becoming an addict.”
Kansas City Police Chief Richard Smith said, “Drugs and violence have no boundaries in Kansas City or the metropolitan area. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Strike Force to combat violence and provide a safer community for all. Working together provides additional tools and resources to identify violent offenders and remove them from our streets.”
The goal of the Strike Force, which was launched in April 2019, is to disrupt and dismantle criminal organizations, including gangs, cartels, and others that are trafficking in drugs and firearms, or engaging in money laundering.
Participating agencies have agreed to assign full-time personnel to the Strike Force. Police officers, federal agents, and prosecutors are working together under one roof. For security reasons, the location will not be made public.
An FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge manages the Strike Force’s three teams: a major crime squad, a major threat squad, and a fugitive squad. A Strike Force Executive Council, whose members include both U.S. Attorneys, will oversee the Strike Force.
“As only one of four local agencies participating, I consider it an honor and privilege for the Task Force to be a part of the first ever Kansas City Metro Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. This is a direct result of the caliber of cases investigated by the Task Force,” Cummings said.
The Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) oversees the Strike Force initiative. Kansas City joins OCDETF Strike Forces in major cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, El Paso, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, North Texas, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, San Juan, Southeast Michigan, and Tampa.