Ohio drug task forces seized $42 million in narcotics this year

Drug task forces in Ohio seized more than $42 million in narcotics in 2021, nearly double the $29 million worth of drugs seized in 2020, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, which is a collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, confiscated more than 200 pounds of fentanyl and heroin this year.

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In 2021, the OOIC seized the following:

  • Heroin: 15 pounds (8 pounds in 2020)
  • Fentanyl: 187 pounds (87 pounds in 2020)
  • Methamphetamine: 472 pounds (168 pounds in 2020)
  • Cocaine: 297 pounds (135 pounds in 2020).
  • Marijuana: 2,478 pounds (3,117 pounds in 2020)
  • Firearms: 167 (106 in 2020)
  • Currency: $4,582,640 ($6,640,020 in 2020)

Task forces also confiscated 7,906 opioid pain pills and 1,205 other prescription pain medications.

“The law enforcement officers of our major drug interdiction task forces are guardians on the wall, protecting Ohioans from overdoses and death by seizing narcotics before they are distributed into our communities,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “Substantially larger quantities of heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine were interdicted in 2021 than prior years, proof of our task forces’ vigilance to stay ahead of drug traffickers.”

The attorney general’s office attributed the increase in drugs seized to the addition of an OOIC task force, the expansion of other OOIC task forces, increased drug trafficking in Ohio and the result of long-term investigations.

The task forces are created through partnerships with Homeland Security Investigations and local law enforcement agencies.

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“The continued success of the task forces this past year can directly be attributed to the tireless efforts of police officers and special agents working together to arrest and prosecute those who seek to profit on the addictions of others,” Vance Callender, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Detroit Field Office said, “HSI brings national and international resources to Ohio law enforcement so not only local dealers are arrested, but the leader/organizers who are the source of supply for local criminal networks and across the U.S.”

Earlier this month, the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force arrested Jose Noriega-Rodriquez on drug trafficking charges, according to the attorney general’s office. The investigation led task force officers to 10 kilograms of fentanyl, 2 kilograms of cocaine. 1 kilogram of heroin, 336 grams of methamphetamine and 4 pounds of marijuana.

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