Over the past several years, the St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Drug Enforcement has evolved into one of the largest locally controlled multi-jurisdictional drug task forces in the Midwest. The Bureau consists of several specialized units that include the Street Enforcement Team, the Interdiction Unit, two Long Term Investigations Units, and detectives specializing in the investigation and removal of methamphetamine laboratories. The Bureau of Drug Enforcement has commissioned and civilian personnel assigned full-time to the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Additionally, all members of the drug task force work closely with other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Bureau has a long history of cooperating with municipal police departments in the area. Currently, the drug task force is comprised of full-time detectives from the cities of Ballwin, Bellefontaine Neighbors, Chesterfield, Creve Coeur, Ferguson, Manchester, St. Charles City, Webster Groves, and Woodson
Terrace, along with troopers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The operations of the St. Louis County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force are overseen by a board of directors made up of command personnel from member departments and the Missouri Highway Patrol. Lieutenant Mark Cox, Deputy Commander of the Bureau of Drug Enforcement, manages the investigations.
The Bureau won national and international acclaim for its innovative methods of attacking the drug problem. It has been featured on the Sixty Minutes news program for combating methamphetamine production, on National Geographic Explorer and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 for its work in stopping the influx of heroin into the area. The Bureau was named the Midwest’s Outstanding Task Force of the Year by the White House Office of Drug Control Policy in 2003, 2006 and 2008.
Drug traffickers are not restricted by jurisdictional boundaries and neither should an effective enforcement plan. A goal of the Bureau of Drug Enforcement involves expansion in regional collaboration with surrounding law enforcement agencies. Just as the methamphetamine problem has found its way from rural areas into metropolitan neighborhoods, the use of traditionally “inner city” drugs, such as heroin and crack cocaine, have increased their presence. Only through cooperation among all levels and jurisdictions of law enforcement will we be able to curtail drug trafficking and safeguard our communities.