K9 on I-44 locates 64 pounds meth in spare tire; Joplin region is connector for drug traffickers through Midwest HITDA

Joplin News First

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — Saturday of Memorial Day weekend Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop D located 64 pounds of Methamphetamine hidden inside a spare tire.

“Patrol K9 ‘James’ located 64lbs of packaged meth in a spare tire during a traffic stop on I-44 in Greene County this morning. Nice work buddy!” MSHP tweeted over the weekend.  K9 James is one of latest additions to Troop D’s patrol. 

The I-44 corridor and soon to be completed I-49 corridor are hot spots for drug traffickers moving product.

According to a Missouri Department of Public Safety Report, “Missouri serves as a conduit for transportation of significant amounts of illicit drugs between out-of-state points of origin and destination. Missouri’s central location in the nation and extensive interstate roadway system increases its likelihood of being involved in illicit interstate drug trafficking.” MDPS (page 28)

Jasper, Greene and Christian counties in SW Missouri and the SE Kansas counties of; Crawford, Labette and Cherokee are designated as part of the Midwest HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area).

For counties to qualify for designation as HITDA they must meet these requirements according to the DEA. 

MIDWEST HIGH INTENSITY DRUG TRAFFIC AREA — US GOV UNCLASSIFIED INFORMATION — JOPLIN, Mo. — Missouri interstates are the perfect connecting roads that cartels and gangs can use as they get their products to Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, and other underground distribution channels in the highly-populated cities north of our region. SOURCE: US GOV MIDWEST HIDTA THREAT ASSESSMENT
  • The area is a significant center of illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation, or distribution;
  • State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies have committed resources to respond to the drug trafficking problem in the area, thereby indicating a determination to respond aggressively to the problem;
  • Drug-related activities in the area are having a significant harmful impact in the area and in other areas of the country.

Directly in Crawford County the KBI have a Special Operations Division (SOD), “The SOD manages the Southeast Kansas Drug Enforcement Task Force (SEKDETF), located in Pittsburg. The SOD also coordinates the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program.”

 MISSOURI INTERSTATES ARE THE ROADWAYS USED BY DRUG TRAFFICKERS — JOPLIN, Mo. — Unclassified 2018 report shows that as drugs pass through Missouri they will be hidden in normal vehicles. SOURCE: US GOV 2018 MIDWEST HIDTA THREAT ASSESSMENT

In Southwest Missouri the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team (ODET) coordinate operations across five counties, including Jasper, which is designated as a HITDTA county (page 56).

In Green County COMET (Combined Ozarks Multi-Jurisdictional Enforcement Team) coordinate operations in the Springfield area.

If you see illegal drug activity you are encouraged to contact your local law enforcement, or county Sheriff’s office.

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