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New strike force to combat drug trafficking, gangs and violence in St. Louis

The strike force will combat major drug trafficking organizations and drug-related gangs and violence in the St. Louis region
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS — U.S. Attorneys and local law enforcement officials announced the formation of the St. Louis Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Gateway Strike Force at a press briefing Tuesday.

The strike force will combat major drug trafficking organizations and drug-related gangs and violence on both sides of the Mississippi River.

The OCDETF Program was established in 1982; the St. Louis strike force joins 18 other OCDETF strike forces across the country.

“It is a privilege to acknowledge the multi-agency effort demonstrated today by the announcement of the opening of the St. Louis Gateway OCDETF Strike Force," said Adam Cohen with the Department of Justice OCDETF office. 

"This new Strike Force team doesn’t just join 18 other Strike Forces, it joins the largest anti-crime task force in the country – OCDETF is made up of over 550 federal prosecutors, 2,000 federal agents, 40,000 state and local law enforcement officers from almost 1,200 police agencies, and an intelligence fusion center.”

Participating agencies will assign full-time employees to the Strike Force, which will consist of officers, federal agents and prosecutors who will work together under one roof. For security reasons, the location won't be made public, the Department of Justice said.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the strike force designation would give law enforcement more resources to make the St. Louis region safer.

"Removing the most violent criminals from our streets is our top priority, and I am proud of the collaboration that exists between Local Law Enforcement, our Federal partners and the United States Attorney’s Office," Belmar said. "Congratulations to all who have worked so diligently to move this forward in the effort of a safer St. Louis.”

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