Task Force News
October 3, 2023
More Charges In Case Involving Fatal Fentanyl Overdoses
Jackson County Drug Task Force-spearheaded investigation earlier this year resulted in a Kansas City man being charged with distributing fentanyl linked to three fatal overdoses. Last week, a federal grand jurly indicted that man and six others for drug trafficking that also involved illegal firearms and money laundering.
» OD DEATHS
July 21, 2023
Peers Recognize Drug Task Force's Award-Winning Efforts
The Jackson County Drug Task Force is headquartered in an undisclosed location, and its detectives work undercover. Given the secrey in which the Task Force operates, it essentially must shun reconition. But the Tas Force's law enforcement has recognized its effort with two recent awards.
» TASK FORCE AWARDS
January 30, 2023
Jackon County Task Force Spearheads OD-Related Investigation
An investigation the Jackson County Drug Task Force spearheaded has led to multiple federal charges against a Kansas City man linked to at least three fatal fentanyl overdoses in 2022. Firearms, numerous pills containing fentanyl and hundreds of thousands of dollars seized.
» OVERDOSE-RELATED INVESTIGATION
June 22, 2022
Investigation Breaks Up Major Cartel Trafficking Operation
Enough Fentanyl Seized For Potentially Millions Of Lethal Doses
An investigation that the Jackson County Drug Task Force and federal Homeland Security officials initiated more two years ago has culminated in 39 defendants being indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute more than 335 kilograms (738½ pounds) of methamphetamine and 22 kilograms (48½ pounds) of heroin. Especially alarming was the amount of fentanyl also seized: 10.4 kilograms (22.9 pounds), enough for millions—literally millions—of potentially lethal doses.”
» 'DEADLY' DRUGS KEPT OFF STREETS
March 8, 2022
149% Increase In Overdose Deaths Linked To Fentanyl
Just a speck of fentanyl—seven hundred thousandths of an ounce (0.00007)—can kill a person, but drug dealers are using the synthetic opioid more and more to manufacture counterfeit pills or to mix it with other drugs (like a fentanyl-meth combo being distributed in baggies with a "red lips" logo). They’re recklessly doing this to increase their profits, with a wanton disregard for the fact fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the Kansas City metro have increased 149%.
» ABOUT A 50-50 CHANCE OF GETTING A LETHAL PILL
April 10, 2021
Drug Task Force Honored By Peers
The Jackson County Drug Task Force has earned high praise from its peers in law enforcement yet again. During the organization’s annual conference, the Missouri Narcotic Officers Association (MNOA) named the task force the “Law Enforcement Unit of the Year” for the fifth time in the last 10 years. The Jackson County Drug Task Force, comprised of detectives from 12 local police departments and the Sheriff’s Office, often collaborates with federal authorities on cases involving international drug trafficking cartels seeking to sell methamphetamine, heroin and other dangerous drugs in our community.
October 13, 2021
Counterfeit Pills—‘Widely Available’ & ‘More Lethal’
Prescription pills not obtained from a licensed pharmacy are not only illegal to possess, but when taken can also be dangerous. There’s a good chance those pills might be fakes with potentially fatal side effects. According to the DEA, counterfeit pills are “widely available” and “more lethal than ever before.” Seizures of phony pills containing fentanyl have increased 420% since 2019. Just two milligrams of fentanyl can be a deadly dose.
September 24, 2020
Drug Task Force Seizes 3,000 Pills Laced With Fentanyl
Just a two milligram dose of fentanyl can be lethal. That’s why the Jackson County Drug Task Force’s seizure of 3,000 pills stamped as OxyContin but laced with fentanyl almost certainly saved lives—and sounded alarms. As COMBAT Director Vince Ortega points out, swallowing a tablet with fentanyl in it “could be every bit as deadly as biting down on a cyanide capsule.” While morphine is 1½ times stronger than oxycodone, the semi-synthetic opioid in OxyContin, fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
February 24, 2020
Drug Task Record-Setting $30.4 Million In Seizures
The Jackson County Drug Task Force had never before seized more than $20 million in illegal substances in a single year. But the Task Force discovered nearly $12½ million worth of methamphetamine during a single search last fall as that record-setting day led to what would be a record-setting year in 2019—with $30.4 million in illegal substances confiscated or purchased in “controlled buys.” COMBAT Director Vince Ortega emphasizes most of those drugs were seized before they could be distributed on the streets, “which is when we would see the surge in violence associated with drug trafficking.” Therefore, he says the COMBAT-funded Drug Task Force is “very much an anti-violence task force too.”
December 13, 2019
County Drug Task Force 'Striking' At Criminals Crossing State Lines
The COMBAT-funded Jackson County Drug Task Force has joined a federally-formed Strike Force that will pursue drug traffickers and violent criminals who crisscross Greater Kansas City’s state line. “Crime does not stop at the state line and neither does the Strike Force,” said Stephen McAllister, the U.S. Attorney for Kansas. For years the Jackson County Task Force has been seizing drugs that can be traced to Mexican cartels, including 144 pounds of methamphetamine during one recent search. These international cases have had the Task Force working with federal authorities on a regular basis, making the Task Force a logical fit for this initiative targeting “drug trafficking organizations that are making the streets of metro Kansas City less safe and more violent.”
October 18, 2019
Equivalent Of More Than 250,000 'Doses' (144lbs.) Of Meth Seized
The COMBAT-Funded Jackson County Drug Task Force seized 144 pounds of methamphetamine during a recent search of a Kansas City property. The drugs, valued at more than $12 million, were hidden in metal containers that were sealed inside four tires. Task Force Officer-In-Charge Dan Cummings believes the meth—the largest amount the Task Force has ever recovered at one time—was probably within a day of being distributed for sale throughout the metropolitan area. "I don't think anyone was going to sit on that much meth for very long," he said.
July 19, 2019
Case Illustrates Cartel Activity In Jackson County & Beyond
What started off as a seemingly simple case—a Kansas City, Kan., undercover police officer asking the Jackson County Drug Task Force with assistance when a drug deal made in Kansas was to be completed in Missouri—turns into a months-long investigation involving multiple federal and local agencies. When it was completed, multiple indictments were made as the case illustrated the reach of Mexican cartels into Jackson County and beyond.
June 11, 2019
'Demand' For Meth Remains High In Jackson County
Each year throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, the Jackson County Drug Task Force and other law enforcement agencies would shut down dozens of meth labs—sometimes more than 100 labs in a single year. With these local supply lines being severed, Mexican cartels have stepped in to fill the void and meet the ongoing “demand” for methamphetamine. The Task Force is striving daily to stop these cartels from feeding Jackson County’s meth addiction—still the county’s No. 1 drug problem.
June 4, 2019
Jackson County Drug Task Force Changes With The Times
The Jackson County Drug Task Force is now routinely engaged in joint investigations with federal authorities as they pursue drug supply lines across city limits and county lines, as well as state and international borders. Their objective is to "get the head of the snake," rather than just chasing the tail. With several of their cases having roots that trace back to Mexican cartels, the Task Force confiscated more than $16 million in illegal drugs last year.