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GBI Director Vic Reynolds

MACON – The Department of Justice‘s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) announced recently nearly $42 million in funding to support state-level law enforcement agencies in combating the illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and prescription opioids. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will receive $2,474,918 in funding to support investigations into trafficking in heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil or the unlawful distribution of prescription opioids.

“Georgia will benefit greatly from this federal support backing our state’s fight against illegal drug trafficking,” Charlie Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in a news release. “The professionals at GBI are heroically engaged in combatting the manufacture and sale of deadly drugs in communities across the Middle District of Georgia. We are all grateful for their relentless effort in this battle.”

“The GBI is a steadfast law enforcement partner in combatting the scourge of drug trafficking in the Southern District,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “This funding is a welcome boost for our work to seek and destroy the poison piped into our communities.”

COPS officials said the drugs are taking a heavy toll on all parts of the state.

“The scourge of opioid and methamphetamine use continues to take a devastating toll on our nation’s communities,” COPS Office Director Phil Keith said. “By providing these resources to law enforcement to help combat the further spread, the COPS Office is demonstrating our commitment to this administration’s priority of reducing drug use and protecting our citizens from this public health and safety crisis.”

“The GBI is honored to receive these grant funds from the Justice Department to enhance our current drug strategy to combat illegal and harmful opioids,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds said. “Having this additional support from our federal partners will help us in our effort to keep Georgia communities healthy and safe.”

Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. Deaths from drug overdose are up among both men and women, all races, and adults of nearly all ages, with more than three out of five drug overdose deaths involving an opioid. More than 130 people die every day in the United States after overdosing on opioids, while methamphetamine continues to be one of the most commonly misused stimulant drugs in the world and is the drug that most contributes to violent crime.

The COPS Office is awarding more than $29.7 million in grant funding to 14 state law enforcement agency task forces through the Anti-Heroin Task Force Program, of which the GBI is a recipient. AHTF provides three years of funding directly to state-level law enforcement agencies with multijurisdictional reach and interdisciplinary team (e.g., task force) structures, in states with high per capita rates of primary treatment admissions for heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil and other opioids. This funding will support the location or investigation of illicit activities through statewide collaboration related to the distribution of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil or the unlawful distribution of prescription opioids.

Through the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program, the COPS Office is also awarding $12 million to 12 state law enforcement agencies. These state agencies have demonstrated numerous seizures of precursor chemicals, finished methamphetamine, laboratories, and laboratory dump seizures. State agencies are being awarded three years of funding through CAMP to support the location or investigation of illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine, including precursor diversion, laboratories, or methamphetamine trafficking.

The AHTF and CAMP funding has a tremendous impact on state investigative and seizure work. During the five month period between October 2019 and February 2020, current AHTF grantees reported the seizure of more than $4 million in cash and 1,213 firearms. Similarly, for CAMP, grantees reported seizures of more than $7 million in cash and 1,577 firearms.

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