(Chillicothe, Ohio) – The Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center (ONIC), RecoveryOhio, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) joined nearly a dozen law enforcement and treatment agencies in Ross County this week to conduct the state’s fourth coordinated drug/outreach saturation event.
The two-day Operation Bridging Recovery and Interdiction Data Gathering Enforcement (BRIDGE) event was aimed at removing drugs and drug traffickers from the streets as well as connecting individuals with substance use disorder to help and treatment. The enforcement surge combined the efforts of area drug task forces, law enforcement agencies, quick response teams, and harm reduction and treatment providers for a comprehensive approach to the substance use crisis.
“The only way to make headway against Ohio’s substance use crisis is through a coordinated, comprehensive approach,” said Cindy Peterman, ONIC Executive Director. “ONIC supplied intelligence analysts and forensic personnel to help law enforcement build cases that connect the dots between drug traffickers and the people using illegal substances.”
Law enforcement agencies fanned out across Ross County to confiscate illegal drugs and to stop the couriers responsible for supplying drugs to the area. Quick Response Team (QRT) personnel connected individuals in need of recovery support to services and treatment.
During Operation BRIDGE, law enforcement seized fentanyl, marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, crack cocaine, and counterfeit prescription drugs.
Officers made four drug-related felony arrests, four non-drug-related felony arrests, two drug-related misdemeanor arrests, and six non-drug-related misdemeanor arrests. Seven warrants were executed.
RecoveryOhio supported the mission by working with local agencies to have 129 naloxone kits on hand. Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (heroin, fentanyl, or prescription pain medications). To access naloxone, visit www.naloxone.ohio.gov
“Substance use disorder is not something we can simply arrest our way out of,” said RecoveryOhio Director Aimee Shadwick. “By connecting people with evidence-based treatment, we are providing resources and support to help them in their recovery so they can go on to live healthy, productive lives.”
Participating agencies included: Ross County Sheriff’s Office, Chillicothe Police Department, Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, U.S. 23 Pipeline Major Crimes Unit Drug Taskforce, ONIC, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Ohio Investigative Unit, F.O.R.T. QRT, Lawrence County Drug/Major Crimes QRT, RecoveryOhio, and the DEA.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order in July 2019 creating ONIC, a specialized criminal intelligence unit to assist local law enforcement in conducting intelligence-driven drug trafficking investigations. ONIC has locations in Cleveland, Columbus, southwest Ohio, and Toledo. ONIC’s criminal intelligence analysts and computer forensic specialists provide investigative, analytical, and digital forensic support to local law enforcement agencies and drug task forces throughout Ohio. The Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center is a division of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Immediately after taking office in 2019, Governor DeWine signed an executive order creating the RecoveryOhio initiative to support aggressive measures to combat the opiate epidemic by investing in the health and well-being of Ohio citizens.