SIKESTON -- Several Southeast Missouri law enforcement agencies teamed up Wednesday to arrest 28 individuals on drug-related charges during Operation Byrne Blitz.
Officers served two search warrants and located and dismantled three methamphetamine labs. A total of 972 grams of marijuana and 11 grams of cocaine were seized.
Sgt. Kevin Glaser, coordinator of the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force, said these types of arrests and investigations are the norm for his unit.
"We will average 70 to 80 drug cases a month and conduct around 10 search warrants a month," Glaser said. "We took a typical day in the life of a drug task force unit, and we are putting those totals in with the totals being collected by the National Narcotics Officers Association. This should give a pretty good picture of the work being done by task force units across the country."
Organized by the National Narcotics Officer Association, Operation Byrne Blitz was established to show the impact that drug task force units have on combating illegal drug activity across the country.
Missouri is one of 38 states that participated in the operation. Statewide totals for Operation Byrne Blitz are: 247 arrests, 33 search warrants served, 24 weapons seized, 16 meth labs discovered, 27 endangered children and $8,098 in currency seized. Drugs found included 16.6 pounds of marijuana, 2,014 grams of cocaine, 152 grams of crack cocaine and 691 miscellaneous pills.
Locally, the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force coordinated their efforts with the Cape Girardeau Police Department, Poplar Bluff Police Department, Sikeston Department of Public Safety and the sheriff's departments in Butler, Dunklin, Ripley and New Madrid counties.
Operation Byrne Blitz is in response to the elimination of federal funding for the operation drug task force units. The Byrne grants which fund drug task force units were once again eliminated from the congressional budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
Glaser stressed that without these grants, drug task force units will cease to exist. He said: "It is our hope that our congressional leaders will see the value and importance of these units and restore the Byrne Grant Program."