NEW JERSEY – The opioid epidemic is so bad locally that Monmouth and Ocean counties will have a “Post of Duty” task force run by the Drug Enforcement Administration New Jersey Division.
The increase of heroin and prescription opioid threats to these counties led to the creation of this new DEA office, according to a press release. The DEA will work with other area agencies in enforcement operations, intelligence sharing, community outreach, as well as prevention measures.
“The creation of this new office means the permanent assignment of DEA special agents and task force officers. The office will aim to disrupt the trafficking of narcotics throughout Monmouth and Ocean County,” DEA Special Agent Valerie A. Nickerson said. “It will also allow for the increased use of federal resources to combat the current heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkiller epidemic that has taken a toll on the area resulting in an unprecedented number of drug overdose fatalities.”
There was no word on where this office’s physical location would be.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, Senator Cory Booker, Rep. Tom MacArthur, and NY/NJ HIDTA Executive Director Chauncey Parker helped bring this office to the region.
Coronato tells Jersey Shore Online, “I’m thrilled with the official partnership and the significant difference it makes in terms of our pro-active narcotic operations. This past March our cooperative investigations with the DEA already played a major role in a massive drug bust, leading to 28 arrests, the seizure of more than 90,000 doses of heroin and 191 pounds of cocaine.”
He added “that was just the beginning to a tremendous partnership that will send a resounding warning to those who choose to transport narcotics into Ocean County. The official office will not only bring more manpower to the Shore area but also more federal funding. This will give us access to more tools to really do our jobs. It’s beyond significant!”