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    Still ready, still active: Texas Counterdrug continues fighting drugs amid COVID-19

    Still Ready Still Active Texas Counterdrug continues fighting drugs amid COVID-19

    Photo By Master Sgt. Michael Leslie | The Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force members continue support law...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Michael Leslie 

    Texas Joint Counterdrug Task Force

    AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force supports law enforcement agencies across the state to detect, interdict and deter the manufacturing and distribution of narcotics to keep communities safe. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this rings true more than ever.

    “They are not free to distribute narcotics in Texas just because there is a pandemic going on,” said Staff Sgt. Walter Oduk, an analysis support task force member at the Dallas Police Department.

    Since Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide stay-at-home executive order, the task force has continued to support law enforcement, including several investigations leading to large seizures.

    “For this case at DPD throughout March, investigation and enforcement activities resulted in more than $8 million is U.S. currency and more than $3 million in illicit narcotics, vehicles and weapons seized,” said Oduk.

    A lot of the work was already in place prior to the social distancing requirements giving our law enforcement partners advantages they required.

    “Law enforcement agencies are monitoring support systems already in place,” said Maj. Robert Cowart, the Counterdrug Ground Reconnaissance Detachment officer-in-charge. “The ground reconnaissance detachment is available for additional support, even from Austin.”

    This was clear during the last few weeks as Customs and Border Protection captured several traffickers leading to the arrest of major cartel members, seized more than 1,200 pounds of marijuana, and disrupted a large trafficking chain.

    “The fruits of our previous efforts are still helping to take out drugs,” said Cowart. “We helped the agency find their center of gravity, creating a common operating picture to revolutionize what was going on in the area.”

    The unique military techniques learned from years of combined experience of the National Guard task force members allowed CBP to defeat extensive cartel counter surveillance.

    Texas Counterdrug analysis support members at law enforcement agencies throughout the state have continued to work on cases and complete counter narcotics training even with social distancing or telework standards in place.

    “While supporting operations remotely, I research the authenticity of the information received by officers,” said Oduk. “I also analyze information from the location using DPD, Dallas County, open source information and other law enforcement databases using my agency’s equipment and access.”

    Oduk’s agency gave him a laptop, cell phone and virtual private network access to log in remotely and access the same databases he normally has access to in the office once the order came to adjust work schedules.

    “DPD issued masks to everyone and staggered work schedules to avoid having many people in the office at once,” said Oduk. “They are also ensuring everyone is wearing their proper personal protective equipment,”

    The Texas National Guard Joint Counterdrug Task Force has been supporting law enforcement agencies for more than 30 years bringing new capabilities and assets to help protect Texas children, parents, grandparents and friends.

    “Our slogan is “Protect Texas! Stop Drugs!” Now is not the time to let our guard down or lessen our support,” said Lt. Col. Erika Besser, the Texas Counterdrug Coordinator. “If our law enforcement partners are out there on mission, we will continue to support them to our fullest extent through this or any other challenge.”



    Date Taken: 04.15.2020
    Date Posted: 04.15.2020 17:03
    Story ID: 367492
    Location: AUSTIN, TX, US 

    Web Views: 358
    Downloads: 0