RICHMOND – The Virginia State Police is heading into 2018 with $1,169,546 in grant funding from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to aid the Department’s ongoing efforts to combat the illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine within the central and western regions of the Commonwealth. State police is one of only six state law enforcement agencies nationwide to be awarded the COPS grant and received the second largest amount of funding among the six agencies. Virginia State Police also received this grant in 2014 and, during its two-year funding cycle, doubled the amount and number of meth seizures.
The COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP) awarded more than $5 million to six state law enforcement agencies. According to the COPS press release announcing the grant recipients, “These state agencies have demonstrated numerous seizures of precursor chemicals, finished methamphetamine, laboratories, and laboratory dump seizures. State agencies will be awarded two years of funding through CAMP to support the investigation of illicit activities related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.”
The grant monies will be utilized in the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s (BCI) Appomattox, Culpeper, Salem and Wytheville Field Offices, as they encompass the regions experiencing the greatest methamphetamine availability and seizures. In 2016, state police initiated/participated in 776 meth-related investigations through its multi-jurisdictional drug task forces statewide, which resulted in the seizure of 37,744 grams of methamphetamine with an estimated street value in excess of $4.5 million. State police also dismantled 293 meth labs across Virginia in 2016.
“In 2016, these four field offices accounted for 72 percent of state police meth seizures statewide, as well as 87 percent of known meth lab incidents and 93 percent of new meth investigations initiated by state police,” said Lt. J.A. Robinson, Virginia State Police BCI Wytheville Field Office Drug Enforcement Section. “The funding awarded pursuant to this grant will enable our Department to purchase new equipment and provide additional training to enhance special agents’ investigation, identification, and dismantling of local drug trafficking organizations involved in the clandestine manufacturing or distribution of methamphetamine operating within the grant service areas.”
The training and updated surveillance equipment will ultimately benefit 64 state and local law enforcement member agencies of state police multi-jurisdictional narcotics task forces located within the four BCI Field Offices. Additionally, the grant will allow for overtime funding so state police can pursue and focus on mid- to upper-level methamphetamine distributors and manufacturers.
This is the seventh COPS grant the Virginia State Police has been awarded since 2004 that provides federal funding to address the methamphetamine problem in Virginia.