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Violent Crime and Drug Trafficking Unit

The work of the Violent Crime and Drug Trafficking Unit focuses on prosecuting violent crimes, firearms crimes and violations of the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which prohibits unlawful importation, possession, distribution, and manufacture of controlled substances.  The Act also has rules concerning civil and criminal forfeiture of contraband, facilities used to further unlawful drug trafficking, and the proceeds of unlawful drug trafficking.  Finally, the unit handles drug-related crimes such as homicides and other gang-related activities.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods

While many drug-related crimes can also be prosecuted in the state court systems, the federal judicial system often prescribes much stiffer punishment for drug offenders, including no parole (early release), and conspiracy laws that allow for the effective prosecution of large networks of individuals who might be scattered across several cities, states or nations.  Therefore, larger, more complicated, multi-jurisdictional cases come to the United States Attorney's Office, while street-level dealers and users typically are prosecuted in state court.  It is typical for a federal drug investigation that originates in Kansas City, Mo., to include charges against traffickers/suppliers in Texas, California, New York, Illinois, Mexico, Latin American, and/or European countries.  Sentences of up to life imprisonment are a real possibility for defendants in these types of cases.

The Violent Crime and Drug Trafficking Unit works with a wide variety of federal (DEA, FBI, ATF, DHS-ICE, IRS, INS), state (Missouri Highway Patrol) , local (Metro Meth and Jackson County Drug Task Force) as well as all the investigative agencies with all municipalities of the Kansas City, Springfield, St. Joseph, Joplin and Jefferson City metropolitan areas in the battle against narcotic trafficking.  In addition, eight rural task forces manned by a combination of federal, state and local agents present cases for review, allowing the United States Attorney to prosecute drug criminals across the entirety of the Western District of Missouri.

In the recent past, the Violent Crime and Drug Ttrafficking Unit has paid particular attention, first to cocaine in the 1980s, and then to methamphetamine, which had been dramatically increasing in use and distribution in the Midwest.  Missouri, second only to California in methamphetamine production since the early 1990s, was seriously overwhelmed.  In response to the meth problem, in December of 1996 the Office of National Drug Control Policy created the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which included Missouri.  Under the HIDTA Initiative, dozens of local, state and federal agencies received an infusion of federal funds to reduce and disrupt the importation, distribution and clandestine manufacturing of methamphetamine.   HIDTA's mission has since evolved into a poly-drug strategy as methamphetamine has leveled off and new drugs such as Ecstacy, GHB, Ketamine, and Oxycontin have become popular.

Additionally, gang-related drug crime has significant impact within various communities across the Western District of Missouri.  The Narcotics and Violent Crimes Unit is committed to prosecuting gang-related criminal offenses in an effort to reduce this troubling behavior.

To contact the Violent Crime and Drug Trafficking Unit, call 1-800-733-6558, or locally in Kansas City call 816-426-3122.

Updated June 24, 2022

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