Initiative aimed at disrupting drug pipeline from here to there

Published 4:47 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

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The current drug trafficking pipeline “between here and there” could get a serious kick in the broadside if a new initiative by several east Tennessee attorneys general has its way.

The 313 Initiative was recently announced by those who are serious about disrupting the trafficking of narcotics between the eastern third of Tennessee and Detroit, Michigan.

The Initiative is a group effort organized by numerous state and local law enforcement agencies. The aim is to identify, target and dismantle groups and individuals based in Detroit who have chosen to target Knox and surrounding counties by their continuing distribution of prolific amounts of narcotics.

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Attorneys General James Dunn (4th judicial district), Ryan Desmond (5th judicial district), Charme Allen (6th judicial district), Dave Clark (7th judicial district) and Jared Effler (8th judicial district) are working together to insure that ‘the serpent’ will one day be obliterated – that the current increased numbers of associated violent crimes and overdose deaths see a dramatic downtick in numbers.

The Initiative uses law enforcement agencies along with their available resources and investigative tools to identify these individuals and groups. Law enforcement uses both traditional detective work and 21st-century technology to stop the pipeline of illegal drugs into our communities.

Just since December, the Initiative has seized 42 pounds of Methamphetamine, nearly 8 pounds of Fentanyl/Heroin and multiple pounds of other drugs along with the seizure of 29 guns. There have been 46 Detroit-connected arrests as well.

“I am confident that the 313 Initiative will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our drug investigations and prosecutions and send a message to Detroit drug traffickers that this area is not a place where they want to set up shop,” said Effler.

Those working under the Initiative will be entering information and intelligence into a database that will be shared with the partner agencies rather than being locked away in case files – all to the benefit of east Tennessee.

Partnering agencies include the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, 4th Judicial Drug Task Force, Sevier County Street Crimes, 5th Judicial Drug Task Force, 7th Judicial Crime Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration – DEA, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and the District Attorneys General of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Judicial Districts.