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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 22, 2014

MHIT “Blitz” Leads To Arrests, Recovery Of Drugs


1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Chris Zumpetta-Parr, Public Affairs Specialist

Board Members announce results of extra patrols

BRIDGEPORT, WEST VIRGINIA – Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker, Clarksburg Police Chief Robbie Hilliard, and Captain James Merrill of the West Virginia State Police today announced the results of an enhanced operation by the Mountaineer Highway Interdiction Team (MHIT South) that occurred over the past week in Harrison County.

Leaders of the MHIT South agencies explained that a “Blitz”, or saturation patrol, took place between May 19 and May 22 with increased patrols on highways and secondary roads throughout the area. Neighborhoods in Harrison County received extra attention as part of the project, as did parcels and packages that were being shipped to and from Northern West Virginia. In addition to the three regular members of MHIT South, an additional twenty-three officers participated in the saturation patrols this week.

Captain Merrill explained that as a result of the effort, five felony charges and eleven misdemeanor charges were filed, and sixty-eight citations were issued. There were also arrests for driving under the influence, transferring stolen property, and a fugitive warrant was served. Drugs with a street value of $48,060 were recovered, and one active felony warrant was served. Substances recovered included heroin, synthetic cathinones, and marijuana.

“We listened to our citizens and increased our presence in certain hot spots in the county,” said Chief Walker. “I encourage the public to continue to make us aware of areas that need extra patrols. While MHIT South will continue to operate on a daily basis, we look forward to organizing enhanced patrols like this one again in the future.”

The leaders of MHIT South explained that the resources now available to the team on a regular basis include three officers and two K-9 handlers. The agencies involved have been very pleased with the team approach to interdiction.

“MHIT South increases our presence on local roadways and serves as a partner for the Greater Harrison Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force,” said Captain Merrill. “We work with the Task Force every day to disrupt drug trafficking organizations that attempt to operate in the region.”

Between February 1 and May of 2014, MHIT South officers have filed twenty felony charges, thirty-nine misdemeanor charges, and have issued thirty-six misdemeanor citations. Nearly one hundred searches have been conducted, including sixty-three by K-9 units. Marijuana worth $18,765.00 has been seized, and other drugs valued at $37,690 have been seized.

MHIT’s primary purpose is to enhance regional interdiction operations in order to slow the flow of illegal drugs into and through the State of West Virginia. The major focus of MHIT South is on highways and state routes but it also concentrates on airports, bus terminals, hotels, motels and parcel and package interdiction.

Besides enhancing regional highway interdiction operations, MHIT South has the added benefit of preserving citizen safety on West Virginia highways through effective traffic and commercial vehicle enforcement. MHIT South also assists in investigating kidnapings, bank robberies, carjackings, Amber Alerts and interstate theft; the detection and enforcement of firearms and explosives; human trafficking and immigration violations; and fugitive apprehension.

Regular updates on the work of MHIT South will be made via press releases from its member agencies as well as via the official Twitter feed of the United States Attorney’s Office,
@NDWVnews.

Updated January 7, 2015