Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
KSP-led Drug Task Force Praised By Feds
(FRANKFORT, Ky.)--- A multi-agency marijuana eradication team under KSP leadership has received two national recognitions for its efforts in 2005.
The Kentucky Eradication Task Force received a Citation and a Director’s Award for Distinguished Service from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
“Last year, this task force helped to eradicate more than one billion dollars worth of marijuana,” reported KSP Commissioner Mark Miller. “Since Kentucky is ranked as one of the top five marijuana producing states, this hard work has had a definite impact by taking drugs off the streets in communities throughout Kentucky and around the country.”
Miller added that the task force’s success is especially relevant considering the increased use of marijuana by 12 to 17-year-olds, which was cited as 342,000 in a 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. “According to a 2002 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,” he says, “the younger children are when they first use marijuana, the more likely they are to use cocaine and heroin and become dependent on drugs as adults.”
The Director’s Award, signed by ONDCP Director John P. Walters, was presented “in honor and in great appreciation of the individuals whose outstanding accomplishments greatly enhanced the results of The National Marijuana Eradication Initiative ¾ your remarkable efforts have helped protect America from crime, drugs and violence.”
The citation praised the interagency flight and eradication operations and intelligence, investigations and surveillance activities of the task force. “Their efforts,” it said, “resulted in the eradication of more than 450,000 marijuana plants and seizures of more than 1,100 pounds of bulk marijuana, 90 weapons, $172,000 in cash and property and the arrest of 174 suspects involved in drug-related operations.”
The Kentucky Eradication Task Force is comprised of KSP, the Kentucky National Guard, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Marshal Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Kentucky Motor Vehicle Enforcement, the Civil Air Patrol, the Appalachia HIDTA Intelligence Center and numerous local agencies.
“To be recognized by the Executive Office of the President is a special distinction,” said Miller. “It indicates that our teamwork in eradicating marijuana in Kentucky is being recognized at the national level. I commend Lt. Ed Shemelya, the KSP Drug Enforcement Branch and all members of the task force for their hard work and dedication. Their activities are making a real difference.”
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