In a special called meeting Friday the Middlesboro City Council unanimously voted in favor of launching the Cumberland River Drug Task Force which is a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force. The task force will encompass the counties of Bell, Harlan and Knox under the direction of Roy Pace.
Pace is retired from the Kentucky State Police and is currently working with the Harlan Police Department. He also has contacts in over 60 related agencies which should allow for the most effective execution of the program.
“I hope this will help to rid us of the mid and upper level drug dealers, not just the streetwalkers that sell their prescription pills or whatever. We want the top dogs so that’s what we’re going after in the three-county area,” said Pace.
The goal is to target and disrupt drug trafficking organizations in the area and seize their assets. Prosecutions will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
This task force has been months in the making. Pace has hopes that the task force will eventually spread to 10 surrounding counties.
“Less drugs means a safer area. That’s just the short and simple of it,” said Pace.
Mayor Bill Kelley and Chief of Police Jeff Sharpe entered into an agreement with such agencies necessary to create the HIDTA task force. This agreement also allows for the execution of any documents necessary for the implementation of the task force.
Local officers will still be working as usual, but would assist with task force work if necessary.