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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Arizona

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Arizona United States Attorney’s Office Establishes Task Force to Combat Heroin and Opioid Trafficking

     PHOENIX - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona has formed an Opioid Task Force to combat the serious opioid, heroin, and fentanyl crisis in Arizona.  The Task Force includes include federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officers and prosecutors and will be managed by Phoenix Criminal Division Chief Raymond K. Woo, who has been designated as the District’s Opioid Coordinator.   Criminal Chief Woo will be responsible for developing, implementing, and coordinating a robust prosecution response to this crisis.  He has already assembled committees of experienced federal and state prosecutors to assist law enforcement with the prosecution of transnational criminal organizations that smuggle heroin and opioids into the United States, medical professionals who unlawfully prescribe or divert highly addictive opioids, cyber criminals who distribute heroin and illicit opioids through the darknet, and drug traffickers or persons who are criminally responsible for opioid overdose deaths. 


     Elizabeth A. Strange, First Assistant U.S. Attorney, stated, “It is critical that we also support our smaller law enforcement agencies and communities when addressing this horrific crisis.  This epidemic affects every corner of our state, and we must join forces with our tribal and local law enforcement partners to successfully combat this crisis.”    


     The USAO’s Opioid Task Force was created in response to President Donald J. Trump’s designation of the opioid epidemic as a “national health emergency” and to directives from Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions, who has made combating the opioid epidemic a top priority for the Department of Justice.  Earlier this year, Attorney General Sessions formed an Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit to focus on identifying and prosecuting health care fraud related to prescription opioids and funded twelve experienced federal prosecutors to focus on these types of fraud.  As Attorney General Sessions stated, “[t]he Department is determined to attack this opioid epidemic,” and this Task Force is on the forefront of that effort for Arizona.   



RELEASE NUMBER:           2017-117_ Opioid_TF


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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az

Follow the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, on Twitter @USAO_AZ for the latest news.

Prescription Drugs
Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 
2017-117_ Opioid_TF
Updated November 30, 2017