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New taskforce, fentanyl enforcement efforts announced


TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) yesterday announced a new collaborative initiative to combat fentanyl in Kansas called the Joint Fentanyl Impact Team (JFIT).

The objective of JFIT is to identify and disrupt fentanyl trafficking and distribution networks, and remove the deadly drug from Kansas streets. The team is comprised of KBI special agents, KHP troopers, and HSI agents experienced in complex narcotics investigations. Team members are embedded alongside federal, state and local law enforcement officers operating all across Kansas. This task force should allow for increased coordination of intelligence, personnel, and resources.

One component of JFIT’s strategy is the introduction of the KBI’s new K-9 unit. With funding assistance from Midwest HIDTA and the Wichita Metro Crime Commission, four K-9 officers were recently trained and certified in detecting illegal drugs, including fentanyl. These are the first fentanyl-detecting K-9 officers in Kansas. They will work closely with this narcotics team to interrupt all methods of fentanyl movement into Kansas. This will include intercepting drugs coming into the state through the mail, on roadways and railways, and flown in by air.

JFIT was formed as the enforcement component of Attorney General Kris Kobach’s strategy to prevent fentanyl overdose deaths.

"When I campaigned for attorney general, I promised to utilize our resources to fight against fentanyl. This task force and these dogs will be powerful weapons in our arsenal," said Attorney General Kobach.

The task force has implemented several proactive strategies to address the dangers inflicted on Kansans by fentanyl manufacturers and dealers.

“Drug trafficking investigations are especially successful when we collaborate with our state and local law enforcement partners,” said Taekuk Cho, Acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Kansas City. “This cooperative approach by the Joint Fentanyl Impact Team ensures that the best resources are being used to put an end to drug trafficking operations in our community.”

“The Kansas Highway Patrol and law enforcement agencies across this state are doing everything they can to keep dangerous and deadly drugs out of your community,” added KHP Colonel Erik Smith.

“It is our hope that these targeted enforcement efforts reduce the growing number of fentanyl deaths, but we must recognize that we won’t be able to enforce our way out of this crisis,” said KBI Director Tony Mattivi. “To make real progress, we must increase awareness about how lethal fentanyl is, and how any street drug or pill can contain this poison.”

Anyone with information about the trafficking or sale of illegal drugs is urged to contact the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME, or report it to local law enforcement.