New investigative unit digs into the dark web to help OH law enforcement stop drug trafficking

Ohio Statehouse News

How much do you know about technology? Could you find your way to the dark web? Would you even know what you were looking for if you did?

Some high-tech savvy criminals do and are using that advantage against law enforcement to traffic drugs and commit other crimes.

Smaller law enforcement agencies often don’t have the manpower or the money to attack crime being conducted on the internet and through technology.

Instead they catch the drug dealer the traditional way, with tried and true police work.

But then what? In some ways, this is only creating a minor disruption in a much bigger problem that stretches statewide, region-wide, even nationwide depending on the cartel behind the source of the drugs.

Wednesday that may all begin to change here in Ohio.

Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order launching a new unit at the Department of Public Safety that will assist law enforcement all over the state with their investigations into drug trafficking offenses.

Through intelligence gathering and data analysis, this unit will help police connect the dots further up the drug chain than they normally may be able to, depending on the size of the agency and their funding.

Smaller agencies will see a greater benefit than larger ones, but overall it expects to impact in a positive way the success rate of all agencies the new unit works with.

Based out of two locations, the unit will support north and south Ohio.

Within the next few months they expect to be fully staffed and operational.

Some of those working for the unit have specialized training not commonly found in police departments.

Their analysis and data crunching will make following the path of drugs easier and hopefully result in bigger arrests making the disruptions to the drug trafficking more painful.

The forensic side of the unit will be able to employ technology to assist in these efforts, also in ways that may not be possible for some police departments.

Currently, the unit operates in a responsive way; taking in investigations brought to them and assisting with them.

Ultimately, the unit wants to operate in a proactive way; ferreting out leads for law enforcement agencies to follow and make arrests on.

The unit was created as part of the Governor’s RecoveryOhio initiative, which in turn is being funded with nearly $10 million annually. Roughly $3 million of that is going to the unit and its efforts.

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