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Press Release

Federal law enforcement leaders collaborate in Detroit to combat regional heroin, painkiller trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA – United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld, II, joined federal law enforcement leaders this week at a summit in Michigan to finalize plans for an initiative designed to enhance interstate collaboration in order to slow the southward flow of drugs from Detroit to the Appalachian Region.

Federal agents and prosecutors, led by Barbara L. McQuade, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, met on Wednesday to develop a strategic initiative designed to disrupt the flow of heroin and opioids from the Detroit region to West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee.  Under the initiative, law enforcement and prosecutors across the region will identify key transportation routes and concentrate resources to target the criminal organizations that use those routes, sometimes referred to as the “Southern Pipeline.” The goal of the initiative is to dismantle drug trafficking organizations by enhancing coordination, data gathering, targeting and information sharing.

“We need to take more of a data-driven approach to the investigating heroin and painkiller trafficking in West Virginia and elsewhere,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld.  “The demand for illegal drugs does not stop at arbitrary borders between jurisdictions. As long as drug dealers can profit from this demand, they will continue to find creative ways to transport drugs cross state lines using intricate distribution networks.  Collaboration among law enforcement agencies across the Midwest will allow us to more clearly understand and quickly respond to drug trafficking patterns.”

United States Attorneys from Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia participated in the summit. The meeting was also attended by Directors of the Ohio, Appalachia, and Michigan High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, as well as Special Agents in Charge from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Updated January 8, 2016

Community Outreach
Drug Trafficking