In 2022 alone, the law enforcement task forces established under the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) seized illicit substances worth more than $64 million. Attorney General Dave Yost claims that eliminating Ohio’s drug trafficking industry will inevitably save lives.
Outside of narcotics, Ohio task forces also seized 437 firearms and $7.7 million in currency last year. With the 2022 figures, the total amount of contraband seized by the task force during Yost’s first term is $239.9 million in drugs, 1,374 guns, and $56 million in cash.
“Every ounce of fentanyl taken off the street can prevent an overdose, just like every illegal gun seized has the potential to save a life. The work of our task forces is often covert, but the results do not go unnoticed,” Yost, who chairs the commission said.
Task forces are established by cooperative efforts and frequently include local, state, and federal law enforcement organizations under the guidance of OOCIC. Major drug interdiction task forces specifically operate all over the state with an emphasis on capturing illegal drugs, guns, and money before they have an impact on Ohio communities.
RecoveryOhio, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and Ohio Criminal Justice Services, funds a number of significant drug task forces.
The Central Ohio Major Drug Interdiction Task Force‘s March seizure of four kilograms of cocaine is one illustration of a task force operation that was effective in 2022. After receiving a tip about a suspicious package, the task force’s detectives looked into it further and eventually got a search warrant. They opened the package and discovered the cocaine inside.
Another successful operation occurred in May when High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA1) task force officers seized 1,000 grams of fentanyl and throughout further investigation seized an additional 7,750 grams in a residence on the west side of Columbus.
In July the Licking, Guernsey, and Muskingum County Major Drug Interdiction Task Force, additionally referred to as the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force (CODE), received a tip from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) about a questionable shipment at a parcel depot. They were able to collect about 4 pounds of methamphetamine using a K-9 unit.
The Medina and Summit Counties Major Drug Interdiction Task Force, also known as Ohio Northeast Smuggling Enforcement Team (ONSET) had a number of productive seizures in 2022, $30,700, 69 pounds of marijuana, 49 suspected fentanyl pills, 12 bottles of promethazine and 3 guns seized in August and $1,054,130 in bulk money from a car in April.
In June, the Northwest Ohio Bulk Currency Task Force collaboratively with the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office seized 40 pounds of marijuana, drug trafficking ledgers, and $166,597 in an investigation regarding a deceased individual.
The Hamilton County Drug Interdiction Task Force, Belmont County Major Drug Interdiction Task Force, and Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force all made further seizures and arrests.
Drugs having an estimated street value of $426,626,894 have been confiscated by OOCIC task forces since 2012, including 752 pounds of heroin, 1,002 pounds of fentanyl, 12,316 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,328 pounds of cocaine, and 42,262 pounds of marijuana. Additionally, 2,736 guns and $87,924,006 in US money have been seized by the task forces.
In 2022 alone, OOCIC task forces have confiscated 15.37 pounds of heroin, 40,774 prescription pills, 305.89 pounds of cocaine, 3,336.77 pounds of marijuana, 1.58 pounds of crack cocaine, 511.89 pounds of methamphetamine, 22.01 pounds of khat, 237.74 pounds of fentanyl, 437 firearms, and $7,666,250. The street value of drugs equates to $64,284,275.
Overall, these task forces’ actions have had a big influence on Ohio’s battle against illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking. According to Yost, “It’s only going to get better from here for Ohio.”
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Narcotics” by Ohio Attorney General.
Read More: Drug Interdiction Task Force Confiscates Millions in Narcotics During 2022