State Police interdiction unit finds great success going after drugs

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. — A special unit of the West Virginia State Police has quietly made a significant mark into drug activity in the Mountain State by out of state dealers.

“In 2022, up through the middle of December, the ACE Team or interdiction team has seized $2.2 Million in illegal narcotics in the state,” said Major Eric Widmeyer, commander of the Interdiction Team.

The team was formed two years ago as an additional duty unit to concentrate in areas of high crime and drug activity. Most recently the team made more than 50 arrests and seized a sizeable amount of narcotics from the streets of Huntington and Charleston in a concentrated effort in the Kanawha Valley.

“Interdiction troopers are looking past the traffic stop and traffic citations. They’re actually looking for illegal narcotics being trafficked into the state. We’re looking for fugitives and we’re looking for stolen property,” Widmeyer said.

There are 60 members of the unit across the state. They recently added a dozen patrol K-9’s to their ranks and also utilize equipment like license plate readers to help identify potential drug trafficking activity.

According to Widmeyer they’ll often work with local troopers who are able to identify areas of high crime and drug activity, then establish a concentrated enforcement effort. In other cases, he said they’ll rely on the public to direct their next assignment.

“Any citizen can submit a tip through our West Virginia State Police website. We monitor that daily. If somebody in the community knows or has a good idea about a drug dealer in their neighborhood, drop us a tip and we’ll follow up on it,” he said.

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