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Drug Task Force honors outstanding officers

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The 25th Judicial District Drug Task Force held its quarterly board meeting on December 10, 2013, in Covington.  The Task Force is made up of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police from the participating agencies within the five counties of the 25th Judicial District, and meets quarterly to review and make decisions regarding the DTF operations, budget, training, and other issues relevant to the investigation and interdiction of illegal narcotics in our communities.  
State Representatives Barrett Rich, Craig Fitzhugh, and Debra Moody attended and participated in the meeting, in order to better understand the structure, operation, responsibilities,  requirements, and accomplishments of the Drug Task Force.  
Fayette County Sheriff and DTF Board of Directors Chairman Bobby Riles was recognized for his outstanding leadership, service, and contribution to the 25th Judicial District Drug Task Force.  
Trooper Matt Sipes of the Tennessee Highway Patrol was also recognized for his outstanding service and contributions to the 25th Judicial District Drug Task Force.  When THP Trooper Matt Sipes was assigned to the DEA Resident Memphis Office as a Task Force Officer, he was immediately assigned to "Operation Sick Puppy" an OCDETF case that targeted a significant cocaine drug trafficking organization (DTO) in Lauderdale County, Tennessee.  This operation was initiated in January 2011 by the DEA, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), and the 25th Judicial District Drug Task Force after multiple murders occurred in a short period of time in Lauderdale County, including the October, 2010 double homicide of two U.S. Postal Service employees in Henning Tennessee.  This operation was targeted to investigate the relationship of increased incidents of violence to the drug trafficking organization and activity in the Lauderdale County area.
As a result of TFO Sipes’ dedication to the operation, On April 10, 2012 a total of 21 members of the DTO were indicted by a federal grand jury in Memphis for violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), by conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and more than 500 grams of cocaine base. On April 12, 2012 the drug suspects were arrested during a large scale round-up by multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
TFO Sipes’ efforts continued in Operation "High Cotton" that targeted a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana in West Tennessee, including Lauderdale County.  Oct. 30 more than 120 law enforcement officials from 13 different agencies participated in a large scale drug takedown of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) in Jackson Tennessee.   Thirteen individuals, including one Lauderdale County man were charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana; and one count of distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana.  TFO Sipes’ dedication to this operation dismantled a significant drug distributor located in the 25th Judicial District.

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