Increased Drug Activity In Blue Ridge Task Force Area

Increased Drug Activity In Blue Ridge Task Force Area

Photo: WINA

Counties to the north saw a lot of drug activity last year. Numbers covering Greene, Madison, Orange, Culpeper and Fauquier have been compiled by the Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force. Special Agent Tom Murphy says prescription drug abuse has caused more people to turn to heroin. Murphy says this year is off to a bad start. There have been 11 overdoses of heroin so far in 2014 with two deaths as a result. Murphy says Blue Ridge agents seized 33 pounds of marijuana last year compared to only six pounds in 2012. (Photo from Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force)
The news release from Agent Murphy:

The Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force (BRNGTF) is a multi-jurisdictional drug and gang task force that is responsible for narcotic and gang investigations in the counties of Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Madison and Orange.

The BRNGTF is one of approximately 30 multi-agency drug task forces in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The task force is responsible for the largest geographic region in Virginia, which expands over 1,850 square miles. 

In 2013, the BRNGTF seized over $1.2 million in illegal narcotics and initiated 265 investigations involving drugs, gangs and other criminal activity.    Of the 265 investigations, 244 occurred within the task force region.  The remaining 21 investigations occurred in other jurisdictions, to include Albemarle County, Fairfax County, Fluvanna County, Rappahannock County, Spotsylvania County, City of Charlottesville, and the Town of Gordonsville.

Last year the BRNGTF executed 37 search warrants and facilitated 99 undercover drug purchases.  Other types of investigations included, but not limited to, “Buy/Bust” (an arrest made immediately after a drug sale), “Conspiracy” cases (usually investigated with federal agencies: ATF, DEA and FBI), “Eradication” (searching for Marijuana plants), “Fugitive” arrests and “Interdiction” based investigations.

The drug of choice in our area of responsibility is Heroin, Marijuana and prescription medications.  According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the predominant drugs seen in our region are consistent with the national trends.

In 2013, the BRNGTF seized 205 doses (grams) of Heroin, compared to 3 doses (grams) in 2012.

Marijuana seizures increased significantly in 2013 compared to previous years.  In 2013, the BRNGTF seized over 33 pounds of marijuana compared to 6.7 pounds in 2012.  In 2013, the BRNGTF saw a 40% rise in the number of prescription tables seized compared to 2012.  A rise in the number of individuals illegally possessing firearms, Methamphetamine labs and gang activity in our community is a growing concern. 

The BRNGTF seized 29 firearms in 2013 compared to 9 firearms in 2012 and 19 in 2011. The BRNGTF located and dismantled 4 Methamphetamine laboratories in 2013.

In 2013, the BRNGTF identified 265 outlaw motorcycle and street gang members and/or associates.  The gangs with the most identified members include the Bloods, Crips, Pagans, and Warlocks.

In 2013, the BRNGTF seized $82,278 in U.S. Currency and numerous electronic devices, to include televisions, stereos, computers and other equipment.  The BRNGTF seized $31,609 in U.S. Currency in 2012 and $18,491 in 2011.

Some of the largest seizures in 2013 included a one (1) ounce seizure of Heroin in Orange County (street value: $10,000), 195 Marijuana plants in Greene County (street value: $665,000) and over $31,000 in U.S. Currency in Fairfax County.

The Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force is comprised of Detectives and Investigators from the Culpeper Police Department, Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office, Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office, Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Orange Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Office and Special Agents from the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Drug Enforcement Section.

All officers assigned to the task force are deputized as Special State Police Officers, which grants them specific arrest powers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Task Force Officers work closely with local, state, and federal agencies in an effort to identify, target, arrest, and convict those individuals/organizations responsible for distributing and/or manufacturing illegal narcotics in our area of responsibility.

Anyone with information regarding the possession, distribution or manufacture of illegal narcotics or gang activity (outlaw motorcycle or street gangs) is encouraged to contact the Blue Ridge Narcotics and Gang Task Force at (540) 547-2997 or via e-mail at BRNGTF@GMAIL.COM.    You may remain anonymous and any contact information (telephone or e-mail address) will be kept confidential.  Please help us keep our communities safe and free from drugs and gangs.

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