Vic Brown, the executive director of the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, revealed recently that the Central Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force has been awarded the Appalachia HIDTA Task Force of the Year for West Virginia.

The CRDVCTF was selected for the honor from among 16 HIDTA task forces from throughout West Virginia, according to a press release from Brown.

The CRDVCTF is led by the West Virginia State Police, but it features a joint effort with participation from the Oak Hill Police Department, the Fayette County Sheriff's Department, the Fayetteville Police Department, the Nicholas County Sheriff's Department and the Summersville Police Department. The task force functions in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"HIDTA requires multiple department investigators working together under one roof daily to disrupt or dismantle drug trafficking organizations," said WVSP Sgt. C.L. Adkins, director of the Central Regional Drug and Violent Crime Task Force. "The investigators within the Central Regional Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force come to work daily possessing tremendous amount of investigative experience and work ethic."

The key attribute of the task force's success is "the ability of assigned officers from multiple agencies working together as 'one' team," said Adkins.

Adkins said the CRDVCTF works daily under the HIDTA motto and a Ronald Reagan quote, "There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit."

"This award is a direct reflection of this mantra," he said.

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program is administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. A component of the executive office of the president, ONDCP was created by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. ONDCP advises the president on drug control issues, coordinates drug control activities and related funding across the federal government, and produces the annual national drug control strategy, which outlines administration efforts to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences.

According to Brown, Appalachia HIDTA is an important component of the president's drug control strategy, which provides additional federal resources to help eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences. Law enforcement organizations within HIDTA assess drug trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to reduce or eliminate the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution and chronic use of illegal drugs, as well as money laundering.

"The CRDVCTF's commitment and dedication to the mission is unsurpassed and is to be commended," said Brown. "Although 2020 was the first year that CRDVCTF was a HIDTA-funded initiative, they hit the ground running and have proven to be a perfect fit for the HIDTA program."

In the fall of 2019, Fayette County became the 23rd West Virginia county to receive the HIDTA designation.

At the time, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) applauded the designation and what it would mean as Fayette and other counties continue to combat the opioid epidemic.

— Steve Keenan

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