Authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Justice, held a news conference Friday to discuss the Cleveland Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Strike Force. The new federal program will combat illegal drugs and violent crime across Northeast Ohio.
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was in Cleveland to make the announcement.
The Strike Force will target violent street gangs involved in retaliatory homicides, carjackings, commercial robberies and other violent activities, as well as people and organizations involved in trafficking opioids.
"The Strike Force will increase sharing of intelligence so we can more quickly and effectively target drug trafficking organizations," said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman.
The Strike Force will be led by the DEA and FBI.
"We are committed to a long-term partnership that allows law enforcement to reduce the illegal drug supply by aggressively targeting criminal organizations operating throughout northern Ohio," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Timothy Plancon.
"Combining under one roof the unique skills, talents and capabilities of the participating agencies will enable us to better address the wide variety of significant drug and violent crime threats facing our community," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony.
The Strike Force designation will put more money toward fighting the opioid epidemic and violent crime in Northeast Ohio by pooling federal, state and local law enforcement resources.
The Cleveland Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Strike Force will bring more than 200 local police, federal agents and prosecutors to work side by side under one roof as part of the new initiative in Cleveland including:
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Homeland Security Investigation
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
- U.S. Marshals Service
- U.S. Border Patrol
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service
- Internal Revenue Service - Criminal
- Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department
- Cleveland Police Department
- And more than a dozen state and local law enforcement departments