HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) — Law enforcement agencies across the Tri-State are teaming up to disrupt the drug pipeline from Detroit.
On Wednesday, officers from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia took part in a training course in Huntington.
They learned about new tip-offs to look for in traffic stops and more about how they can work together to stop criminals from trucking in drugs.
“Drug trafficking doesn’t stop at the river over here, it goes across state lines,” FBI Agent Chris Courtright said.
Courtright is talking about the drug trade from Detroit.
Police across our region are teaming up to nab drug dealers on their way here.
“Detroit’s a source city for drugs into our area,” Huntington Police Capt. Rocky Johnson said.
More than 140 officers from Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia now have new insight into how dealers move their product, cash and weapons.
“They get drugs into our areas, by bus, by rental cars, or whatever,” Johnson said.
Police said some use hidden compartments in cars, which Ohio troopers have already found.
“Eighty-five percent or higher of drug stops, narcotics stops we’re getting are coming to West Virginia,” Ohio Highway Patrol Lt. Karla Taulbee said.
Police said behavior during those stops can also tip them off something isn’t right. That includes everything from speech to driving patterns.
“What’s normal, what’s abnormal, things that you’ll see a car go down the road and say, ‘Hey, something’s not right,’ ” Taulbee said.
Last year, the Huntington Violent Crime Drug Task Force made 60 arrests, seized eight pounds of heroin and found more than $200,000 cash.
That’s why task force officials said it’s so important to communicate across the region.
“Information they feed us is definitely making a difference,” Johnson said.
“We’ve had calls from Huntington, like, ‘Hey we have this person here, he has these tattoos, have you seen these tattoos?’ ” Taulbee said.
Investigators said this training adds another layer of protection. A dealer may pass through Ohio, but an officer could be waiting just across the river.
There are things you can do to spot drug activity where you live.
Police said you shouldn’t follow any cars or approach any homes, but you can call them with details about license plates, cars and homes.
They said other details about homes where activity is happening, like time frames or detailed descriptions about people there can also help.
Troopers said in their stops, they also like to confiscate money from dealers because it stops them from buying more drugs, which they turn around and sell in our area.