HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University is partnering with Homeland Security Investigations in an attempt to stop criminal activity related to the opioid epidemic.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., announced recently Marshall will receive more than $4 million to develop and implement a tool to aid Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Marshall University

John Sammons

John Sammons, director of the digital forensics and information assurance program in the College of Science at Marshall told MetroNews his program is honored to work with HSI.

“Unfortunately we have had a front-row seat to just how devastating this epidemic can be. We look forward to working with them to counter the criminal aspects of this tragic opioid epidemic,” he said.

Sammons said Capito brought Marshall and HSI together through several meetings in Washington D.C. and on campus.

Shelley Moore Capito

Discussions between the university and the department have been ongoing for several months, and earlier this year, Capito toured the Marshall University Forensic Science Center with DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, a release from Marshall said.

“Our program is a very practitioner-focused program that applies science and technology to solve investigative and cybersecurity problems,” Sammons said.

A release from Marshall added the partnership will enhance the ability to fight the opioid crisis and enlists the help of the Marshall digital forensics and information assurance program’s students, faculty, and facilities.

“This is such a huge issue not only here in our local community but across the United States,” Sammons said. “This is a problem that is devastating family members, friends and towns around the United States and it has to be addressed sooner rather than later.”