The Platte County Sheriff will continue a 9-year-long partnership with state and federal law enforcement agencies directed at combating drug transportation and distribution.
During an April 6 meeting, the county commissioners signed a memorandum of understanding extending county law enforcement’s participation in the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, an initiative created to siphon federal funds to support local law enforcement’s efforts against illegal drug activity.
The agreement brings a $222,414 grant to the Platte County sheriff’s office. The funds go to support for prosecution of high-level drug offenses, according Public Information Officer Sgt. Jarin Almond. The sheriff’s office will use the grant to fund three positions in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The grant comes from $2,795,212 the Missouri Highway Patrol secured for state funding related to this program.
As a signatory to the program, the sheriff’s office recognizes a regional analysis that included Platte County in a high-activity drug area that encompasses the greater Kansas City area.
A 2011 HIDTA activity report — the most recent one made available to the public — identifies Kansas City as one of four primary markets located in metro areas. The drug distribution analysis states Kansas City is key area, with a network of interstate travel and distribution point that contains “significant consumer market.”
The report details a drug distribution pattern of narcotics that originate from Mexican cartels and are sent from as far as El Paso, Texas, and Los Angeles to Kansas City. Law-enforcement intelligence shows methamphetamine being moved by wholesale and mid-level dealers in the city’s northeast side, which then distribute it to outlying and suburban areas.
Almond could not furnish specific crime data, but generally agreed with the report’s premises.
“With Kansas City being the center of the country and interstates running in and out, it is a hub,” Almond said.
The funding will ensure high-level drug offenders and distributors can be prosecuted.
Omaha, St. Louis and Des Moines, Iowa are the other three metro areas with high drug activity identified in the report.
While methamphetamine is consistently identified as the top narcotics threat in the Kansas City area, the report states law enforcement agencies are tracking a rise in the distribution and abuse of prescription opiods.
The HIDTA encompasses 72 counties in a seven-state region that includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois. Most of the designated counties are either in metropolitan areas or contain a primary traffic highway or interstate.
The designated area contains 15.35 million people, 428,000 square miles and 4,300 miles of interstate highway.