Saturday, Sept. 30

Logan included in counties receiving state and federal funds to fight drugs

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[SEPT. 30, 2006]  CHICAGO -- On Thursday, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced more than $5.3 million in federal funding that will be used to help fight the production, distribution and use of methamphetamine and other illicit drugs throughout Illinois. The governor also announced a new database, developed by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, that will help the state eliminate existing gaps in the information network that records the growing methamphetamine problem in the U.S. The database will be ready for use early next year.

"Methamphetamines and other illegal drugs destroy the lives of individuals, families and entire communities," Blagojevich said. "We should use every resource at our disposal to fight the production, distribution and use of these drugs throughout the state. This funding will help us take another step forward by strengthening our ability to fight illegal drugs at the county level."

The federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act, also known as the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program, and the Justice Assistance Grant funding will aid 20 narcotics enforcement units and eight narcotics prosecution units in fighting drug crimes in 66 Illinois counties.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority will administer the funds to narcotics units throughout the state. The units are also known as metropolitan enforcement groups, or MEG units, and drug task forces. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority is the state agency designated by the governor to administer Anti-Drug Abuse Act and Justice Assistance Grant funds awarded to Illinois by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Each unit will create specific strategies to address trends in the manufacture, use and distribution of illegal drugs in each of the 66 counties. Methamphetamine use remains a major focus of task forces in central and southern Illinois, while units in northern counties, such as DuPage, Kane and Lake, focus on marijuana, heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy and other designer drugs.

The multicounty narcotics units were introduced in 1991.

In 2005, metropolitan enforcement groups and task force enforcement units:

  • Made 3,470 drug arrests and obtained 2,233 convictions.

  • Identified and seized 954 clandestine meth labs.

  • Seized 166,583 grams of meth.

  • Seized 29,465,964 grams of marijuana.

  • Seized 1,156,216 grams of cocaine.

"MEG units and other special task forces are impacting the drug trade in Illinois," said Lori G. Levin, executive director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. "Illegal drug usage is epidemic, and we're going after it with all the resources we have available."

Eight multicounty drug prosecution units will work with the metropolitan enforcement groups and drug task forces to develop legally sound drug cases, prosecute offenders and conduct forfeitures.

Enforcement unit grants will be given in the following amounts and serve the following counties:

  • State Line Area Narcotics Team Task Force, $119,996
    Stephenson County
    Winnebago County
    Boone County

  • Lake County MEG, $271,209
    Lake County

  • North Central Narcotic Task Force, $139,670
    McHenry County
    DeKalb County
    Kane County

  • DuPage County MEG, $145,625
    DuPage County

  • Blackhawk Area Task Force, $69,579
    Jo Daviess County
    Carroll County
    Whiteside County
    Henry County
    Lee County

  • Joliet Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad, $139,644
    Grundy County
    Will County

  • Zone 3 LaSalle Task Force, $58,634
    LaSalle County
    Bureau County

  • Quad-Cities MEG, $31,895
    Rock Island County

  • Kankakee MEG, $150,730
    Kankakee County

  • Multi-County MEG, $71,179
    Peoria County
    Knox County
    Marshall County
    Tazewell County

  • Zone 6 Task Force, $64,106
    Livingston County
    McLean County
    DeWitt County

  • Vermilion County MEG, $143, 581
    Vermilion County

  • Central Illinois Enforcement Group, $138,569
    Logan County

    Mason County
    Sangamon County
    Morgan County
    Christian County

  • West Central Illinois Task Force, $133,389
    Henderson County
    Hancock County
    McDonough County
    Fulton County
    Adams County
    Brown County
    Pike County

  • South Central Illinois Drug Task Force, $85,064
    Greene County
    Macoupin County
    Montgomery County

  • East Central Illinois Task Force, $107,122
    Shelby County
    Moultrie County
    Douglas County
    Coles County

  • Southeastern Illinois Drug Task Force, $134,002
    Cumberland County
    Clark County
    Crawford County
    Clay County

  • Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois, $467,598
    Madison County
    St. Clair County
    Monroe County

  • Southern Illinois Drug Task Force, $201,393
    White County
    Franklin County
    Saline County
    Washington County
    Clinton County

  • Southern Illinois Enforcement Group, $142,498
    Jackson County
    Williamson County
    Union County

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Prosecution unit grants will be given in the following amounts and serve the following counties:

  • Cook County State's Attorney's Office, $1,271,946
    Complex Drug Prosecutions Program

  • DuPage County State's Attorney's Office, $156,415

  • Kane County State's Attorney's Office, $143,967

  • Lake County State's Attorney's Office, $204,858

  • McHenry County State's Attorney's Office, $83,394

  • State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor, $440,486
    Champaign County
    Jefferson County
    Kankakee County
    Macon County
    Madison County
    McLean County
    Peoria County
    Rock Island County
    Sangamon County
    Tazewell County
    Winnebago County

  • St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office, $108,003

  • Will County State's Attorney's Office, $132,528

In addition, the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority will use a $50,000 federal grant to create the Clandestine Laboratory Reporting Information System, known as Claris; an online database; and a website that will allow all law enforcement agencies in Illinois to report meth lab seizures. All agencies, including Illinois State Police, will report data through Claris to the federal El Paso Intelligence Center data repository, known as EPIC. This comprehensive information-sharing network will provide data to help pinpoint allocation of resources for:

  • Training and safety equipment for responders, since both offenders under the influence of methamphetamine and the toxic chemicals used in the labs pose particular dangers to firefighters, police officers and other responders.

  • Services for innocent victims, since children or neighbors living near a meth lab may suffer adverse health effects.

  • Analysis to help law enforcement agencies identify offenders.

  • Data to support treatment efforts for offenders.

Access to the EPIC national network requires membership fees to be paid through a regional information-sharing system, presenting a hardship for small police departments.

Another drawback to the present system is that the Illinois State Police network's information is not completely assumed into the EPIC database. About 85 percent of Illinois methamphetamine lab seizure reports appeared in EPIC's 2004 compilation.

Reporting lab seizures to EPIC will be required in order to receive federal funding for meth reduction activities. Claris allows the state to obtain credit for all Illinois meth lab seizures. Accurate data will help in the process of obtaining federal grant funding to address meth issues in Illinois.

Since 2003, Blagojevich has taken several actions that make it harder for meth producers to obtain ingredients and that stiffen penalties for manufacturers, dealers and users.

Last June, the governor announced that in their first year of operation, the Illinois State Police's six Meth Response Teams handled a total of 750 meth-related incidents, made 653 arrests and seized nearly 213,000 grams of drugs and materials related to the production of meth. The governor created the teams last year as part of the state's ongoing effort to combat the proliferation of one of the fastest-growing and most dangerous illegal drug trades in Illinois.

Additionally, the governor has signed several meth-related bills into law, including the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act, one of the most significant anti-methamphetamine statutes enacted to address meth. Senate Bill 273 created and designated pseudoephedrine as a Schedule V substance. The bill was signed by Blagojevich in November 2005 and became effective on Jan. 15, 2006. The new law restricts the retail sale of pseudoephedrine-containing products to pharmacists or pharmacist technicians only and requires purchasers of pseudoephedrine-containing products to show identification and sign a log.

Other significant meth-related bills signed by the governor include legislation:

  • Establishing a statewide methamphetamine offender registry in Illinois for people convicted under the "participation in methamphetamine manufacturing" statute. The bill requires the Illinois State Police to establish, maintain and publish the registry via the Internet, tracking conviction reversals and court orders requiring the sealing or expungement of records relating to the reportable offenses.

  • Creating the new offense of meth trafficking for individuals who knowingly bring methamphetamine or its precursors or cause methamphetamine or its precursors to be brought into Illinois with the intent to make, deliver or sell meth. The new law will help prevent meth manufacturers from trying to get around Illinois' tough restrictions on access to pseudoephedrine by going to other states for meth ingredients.

  • Authorizing the establishment of an anhydrous ammonia security grant program by the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The grant will create a pilot program with goal of increasing security measures around anhydrous ammonia facilities by encouraging the industry to use industry-approved ammonia additives and install tank-locking devices and security systems to prevent the theft of anhydrous ammonia for the illegal manufacture of meth.

  • Setting up the Methamphetamine Law Enforcement Fund, which assesses a $100 fine on top of other fines and sentences for anyone found guilty of a drug-related offense involving possession or delivery of meth.

[News release from the governor's office]


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