NEW JERSEY – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) Wednesday announced that NJSP has been awarded two competitive grants of over $5 million combined to crack down on illegal drugs in New Jersey.
The grant awards for the Methamphetamine Eradication and Opioid Enforcement Task Forces, respectively, will provide training and equipment to disrupt the production and distribution of illicit drugs across New Jersey.
The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP) grant from the U.S. Department of Justice aids law enforcement agencies in states with high seizures of chemicals used in the manufacturing of illicit drugs, finished methamphetamine, laboratories, and laboratory dumps.
Similarly, the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force (AHTF) grant provides funds directly to state law enforcement agencies in states with high per capita rates of people with a history of opioid treatment admission. Funding will allow law enforcement to locate or investigate illicit activities through statewide collaboration relating to the distribution of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, or the unlawful distribution of prescription opioids.
“My number one priority is ensuring the safety of New Jersey residents, and shutting down destructive, illicit drug operations helps us further that goal,” Platkin said. “I applaud Colonel Callahan and the State Police for their winning applications and am thankful for the additional funding that will allow them to expand their operations and reduce the damage that methamphetamine, heroin, and opioids bring to our communities.”
“The allocation of these grants will not only aid our efforts in combating the opioid epidemic, but also help us in our efforts to target criminal activity associated with the illegal drug trade,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Since their inception, the task forces have been critical in the reduction of drugs reaching our communities and as a result of their seizures, countless lives have been saved. With access to additional resources, the task forces will have the opportunity to expand and continue their mission of making communities safer across New Jersey.”
Since its inception in 2020, the Methamphetamine Eradication Task Force has monitored overdoses, collaborated with community and medical partners, and examined methamphetamine hotspots throughout New Jersey. The NJSP Hazardous Material Response Unit within the Task Force aids in the response and reduction of covert methamphetamine laboratories and drug dump sites, and assists with the safe and efficient processing of methamphetamine trafficking locations.
The Opioid Enforcement Task Force was launched in 2018, serving all 21 counties, and targeting illicit opioid packaging facilities as they convert raw heroin and fentanyl into individual doses before street-level distribution. With the assistance of the NJSP Office of Drug Monitoring and Analysis (ODMA), the Task Force has dismantled or disrupted 61 illicit packaging facilities and 8 fentanyl-based pill-pressing operations. The Opioid Enforcement Task Force will allocate additional resources to conduct community outreach to those in need of treatment.
The federal award will also play a crucial role in the continuation of statewide operations of the Opioid Enforcement Task Force, allowing NJSP to train and support specialists as well as purchase equipment needed for surveillance and investigations, including:
- Mobile labs
- An undercover vehicle
- Automated License Plate Reading systems
- GPS devices
The Task Force will also expand its efforts to target mobile opioid packaging facilities operating out of hotels and motels and fentanyl-based pill pressing operations throughout the State, in the same manner it targets opioid packaging facilities.
Funding will be used to purchase equipment and supplies for the Hazardous Material Response Unit to be able to continue and expand operations of the Methamphetamine Eradication Task Force to critically disrupt the trafficking of methamphetamine throughout the State, and locate and eradicate clandestine methamphetamine laboratories and dump sites. NJSP will continue working with our public and private sector partners regarding methamphetamine hazard awareness, but plans on expanding participation to other local, county, and state partners, hopefully increasing operational tempo and leading to significant seizures of methamphetamine throughout New Jersey. The Methamphetamine Eradication Task Force, through the assistance of the NJSP ODMA, will continue to conduct community outreach to monitor methamphetamine treatment levels, overdoses, and deaths and alert public health partners.
The COPS Anti-Meth and Anti-Heroin grants began in 2014 and 2015 to reduce violent crime through programs focused on methamphetamine use and production, and the distribution of heroin and other opioids. NJSP has previously been awarded COPS grants in 2020, 2021, and 2022.