DTF gets $100K grant

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 16, 2011

DTF agents dismantle a meth lab found on U.S. 29 in August of this year.

Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded grants totaling $678,701 to combat illegal drugs and drug-related violent crime in seven south Alabama counties – including nearly $100,000 for the fight in Covington County.

The total funding will also help support drug task forces that operate in Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Escambia, Mobile and Washington counties. The task forces conduct undercover operations to arrest and prosecute drug offenders, find and dismantle dangerous methamphetamine laboratories and assist with other violent crime investigations.

“Illegal drugs are a destructive force that damages lives and communities,” Bentley said. “I commend the agents of these task forces for their dedication to protecting Alabama families by removing drugs and drug offenders from our neighborhoods.”

Formed in 2000, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force will use the $98,800 grant to continue its operations and investigations. The unit is comprised of five investigators from the county Sheriff’s Office and the police departments of Andalusia and Opp, and one prosecutor from the District Attorney’s Office. Local matching funds of $32,933 have been committed to the unit.

“The war on drugs is everlasting and the Drug Task Force is the best tool we have to fight that war,” said District Attorney Walt Merrell, whose office is tasked with prosecuting drug cases. “Without this money, there would be no task force. So, we are extremely grateful to the Governor and ADECA for awarding us this grant.”