COLUMBUS — The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) – a collaborative effort involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies – seized more than $42 million in illegal drugs in 2021, surpassing the $29 million in confiscations the previous year.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Gov. Mike DeWine and Homeland Securities Special Agent-in-Charge Vance Callender announced that OOCIC’s major drug interdiction task forces confiscated the following drugs this year versus the previous year.
The notable one-year increase in seizure amounts is attributable to the addition of an OOCIC task force, the expansion of other OOCIC task forces, increased levels of drug trafficking in Ohio, and the culmination of long-term investigations. Also in 2021, OOCIC task forces seized 7,906 opioid pain pills and 1,205 other prescription pain pills.
“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,” 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. I look forward to OOCIC’s continued success in 2022.”
The task forces, formed through partnerships with Homeland Security Investigations and local law enforcement agencies statewide, are funded through RecoveryOhio, in concert with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and Ohio Criminal Justice Services.
“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 (HSI) 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. We want to ensure the broadest impact is brought to those who ultimately profit from these international conspiracies.”
The strength of the task forces stems from the multi-level involvement. Aided by federal intelligence, local agencies operating under OOCIC’s jurisdiction carry out drug interdictions to remove illegal narcotics from Ohio communities.