140 Law Enforcement Officers Awarded with Outstanding Honors
East Peoria -- The Illinois Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG) Directors/ Task Force (TF) Commanders Association presented its annual awards to police officers, special agents, federal prosecutors, and other law enforcement personnel who have demonstrated extraordinary skill through narcotics enforcement.
The Annual Awards Ceremony honored 140 federal, state, county, and local police officers assigned to MEG Units and State Police Drug Task Forces for the dangerous and professional work accomplished through hundreds of drug investigations.
Hundreds of law enforcement professionals, top brass, and their families attended the awards ceremony and included opening remarks from Stateline Area Narcotics Team Task Force Commander John Biffany, and a presentation on how illegal drugs fund terrorism were made by retired Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Operations Chief Michael A. Braun.
“These awards represent the finest examples of how our officers, teams, drug units, and law enforcement resources collaborate on a daily basis to ensure that communities across Illinois are safe and protected,” said Chairman Biffany. “Narcotics enforcement is dangerous work, and despite the tough economic climate and fewer law enforcement resources, these men and women continue to risk their lives to ensure our streets are free from the dangers of criminal activity,” he added.
Many of the enforcement initiatives are funded through federal grants, like the Byrne/JAG Funding grant. “Grants like Byrne/JAG make it possible for local, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to partner resources that target gangs, guns and drugs, and our work would not be possible without the support of this continued funding,” Biffany stressed.
Special agents, prosecutors, police officers, and inspectors from regions and zones in DuPage County, East Central Illinois, Kankakee, Kendall County, Lake County, Southwestern Illinois, Kane County, North Central, Multi County, Quad City, Rock Island, South Central, Illinois, Southern Illinois, State Line Area, Boone County, Belvidere, Green County, Vermillion County, Danville, West Central, Adams County, Quincy, and Will County, were honored for their successes in the fight to keep communities safe and neighborhoods drug free.
Some of the exceptional awards include:
Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group for its leadership during Operation Street Sweeper – a week long, multi-jurisdictional effort that resulted in 8 search warrants, 28,455 grams of cannabis, 18 firearms, 200 grams of cocaine, 127 arrests, and $39,887 USC. Lake County MEG also performed an airport interdiction at Waukegan Regional Airport where agents received information about an aircraft flying from Colorado to Waukegan carrying a load of cannabis. Agents dismantled a major distribution operation and were able to locate 170 pounds of cannabis and conducted multiple search warrants which resulted in the seizure of $617,630 USC.
Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group for its exceptional efforts from July 2010 through June 2011 which resulted in 325 case initiations, 284 arrests, 114 Class X Felony arrests, seizure of $346,000 in assets, 144 drug purchases, 24 seized weapons, and the Federal indictment of eight dangerous offenders.
Narcotics And Currency Interdiction Team for the diligent work and interdiction skills leading to the arrest of three subjects from the Gulf Cartel, the controlled delivery of 2,444 pounds of cannabis, and the seizure of $1.6 million USC and two vehicles.
North Central Narcotics Task Force for the exceptional case work which involved multiple undercover cocaine purchases, resulting in the arrests of nine suspects, and the seizure of $415,000 USC, three kilograms of cocaine, three vehicles, and one house.
Southeastern Illinois Drug Task Force for the seizure of 136 kilos of cocaine, $269,000 USC, and the arrest of two individuals.
Southern Illinois Drug Task Force for the arrest of two individuals and the seizure of 26 firearms, 5 stolen firearms, 3 machine guns, thousands of ammunition rounds, 5 sticks of dynamite, 6 electric blasting caps, finished methamphetamine, morphine pills, processed cannabis, and outdoor cannabis grow operation worth over $65,000 USC.
Illinois State Police First Deputy Director Jack Garcia commended the award recipients and echoed the need to ensure that law enforcement personnel continue to get the training resources they need to counter new and emerging crime trends.
“Combating the pervasive influence of organized crime will require our officers to obtain the best, most up-to-date training on new technologies, surveillance techniques, analytical methods, tactical safety, pharmacology, and other international trafficking trends that are emerging into our daily fight against a sophisticated narcotics market,” said Garcia.
“Working undercover makes it difficult for these men and women to publically share the successes, but we have a duty to educate and inform the public when law enforcement uncovers illegal criminal and drug activity which can have a devastating impact on the quality of life for all Illinois communities,” he added.
Keynote speaker, Michael Braun, Retired Drug Enforcement Agency Chief of Operations, underscored the importance of aggressive drug enforcement and the need for training and intelligence sharing through Fusion Centers. Braun also noted the growing nexus between terrorism and drugs.
The MEGs/TFs are comprised of local, county state, and federal law enforcement officers, and the Association’s mission is to collaborate and partner on a multi-jurisdictional level on the enforcement of gangs, guns, and drug violations throughout the state of Illinois.
Specially-trained officers provide personnel and resources to enforce violations and to improve the quality of life for all Illinois citizens.
These investigations culminated in the arrest of 1,112 individuals, the confiscation of more than $6.1 million USC, the seizure of more than 184 kilos of cocaine, 2,050 kilos of cannabis, 5.1 kilos of crack cocaine, 15.1 kilos of methamphetamine, and 1.5 kilos of heroin.
The award recipients were also honored for dismantling 36 sophisticated marijuana grow operations, including the seizure of 10,000 cultivated marijuana plants and the seizure of over 5,000 dosages of Ecstasy, LSD, and psilocybin mushrooms.
Fifty-52 (52) vehicles, 4 motorcycles, 5 homes, including 14 acres of land, and 1 boat were also seized. The officers’ investigative diligence also resulted in the removal of 468 firearms and 6 sticks of dynamite with blasting caps from Illinois communities.
Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau recently applauded the efforts and hard work of the Illinois MEGs and Task Forces at the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies’ Fall Conference.