US Marijuana Party

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Governor awards grant to fight use and sale of illegal drugs

By Jaine Treadwell and Ken Rogers, The Messenger

(AL) - Gov. Bob Riley has awarded a $147,500 grant to the Pike County Commission to help fight the use and sale of illegal drugs in Pike and Coffee counties.

The grant will enable the 12th Judicial Circuit Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force to continue undercover operations, conduct raids on unlawful drug labs and investigate and prosecute drug offenders in an effort to rid the area of illegal drugs.

Since it was established in 1990, the task force has made more than 5,200 arrests. Task force agencies include the district attorney's office, sheriff offices in Pike and Coffee counties and the police departments of Elba, Enterprise, Troy and Brundidge. The unit often works with state and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate drug cases.

Assistant district attorney Larry Jarrell said the grant requires a local match. In other words, local matching funds of $147,500 will supplement the grant.

A press release issued by the governor's office said the task force will use the funds to purchase specialized equipment, including drug test kits, surveillance equipment and body armor. In reality, however, the grant will go toward salaries.

"Drugs and crime often got hand-in-hand, so we must continue aggressive efforts to removed illegal drugs from our communities," Riley said. "I commend the efforts of the task force to make our neighborhoods safer."

Riley award the grant from funds made available to the state from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the grant.

"This money is coming from Homeland Security funds," Jarrell said.


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