Drug Enforcement Section
The Drug Enforcement Section (DES) was established to provide full-time attention to the enforcement of drug laws in Virginia, and is committed to supporting local law enforcement agencies in their efforts.
- DES Regional Field Offices
- Marijuana Eradication/Operation Grand Slam
- G.I.A.N.T. Operations
- Pharmaceutical Drug Diversion Program
- Asset Forfeiture
- Multi-Jurisdictional Task Forces
- Joint VSP/Federal Task Forces
- Report illegal drug activity
DES has in excess of 100 special agents across the Commonwealth responsible for performing operational narcotics enforcement investigations, including special undercover, wire intercept and marijuana eradication efforts. DES also routinely assists with federal and local law enforcement narcotics investigations.
The Commonwealth remains a prime location for the cultivation of the marijuana plant. Virginia’s domestically grown marijuana has the potential for being a major cash crop. With DEA funding, the Department of State Police, along with the assistance of other state and local law enforcement agencies and the Virginia Army National Guard, Reconnaissance Air Interdiction Detachment (RAID), operates year-round eradiation initiatives to eliminate domestically-grown marijuana and growers.
The G.I.A.N.T. mission is to facilitate and assure coordination and cooperation among member agencies. Six special agents are assigned to G.I.A.N.T. The five facets of the G.I.A.N.T. mission are:
- Developing intelligence pertaining to domestically grown marijuana, both indoor and outdoor, with the eradication of this marijuana and successful prosecution of the growers as a primary goal of G.I.A.N.T.;
- Developing intelligence concerning air smuggling into Virginia by the use of contacts to monitor suspicious activities of all known airports in the Commonwealth, and by locating clandestine airstrips and identifying users;
- Reducing the supply of illegal drugs entering and being transported within the Commonwealth by interdicting drug shipments via land, air, and waterway;
- Developing procedures that eliminate duplication of activities and breakdowns in communication among the various state agencies and law enforcement authorities, and;
- Utilizing the resources of county and city law enforcement agencies to the maximum extent possible.
The diversion of legitimate pharmaceuticals to illicit purposes continues to be a severe problem in Virginia. In fact, drug diversion predates the massive abuse of other drugs we know so well today. The Pharmaceutical Drug Diversion Program works with the DEA, the Department of Health Professions, and the Department of Medical Assistance Services, plus local law enforcement agencies, to eliminate the diversion of prescription drugs to illicit purposes.
A major educational role of the program is teaching local law enforcement officials about the extent of the drug diversion problem in their own jurisdictions and what they can do to end it. This program also includes the education of health care professionals, both physicians and pharmacists, about the magnitude of the problem and the importance of self-policing and ensuring the integrity of their individual health care delivery systems.
Asset forfeiture occurs under Code of Virginia Section 19.2-386.22, and various state and federal statutes. Cash and proceeds derived from the sale of forfeited assets are placed in the Drug Investigation Special Trust Account and the Asset Forfeiture Account and drawn from as the need arises. In 1991, the Asset Forfeiture Unit was formed to identify and seize assets that could be traced to the sale and/or manufacture of illicit narcotics. So as to more efficiently and effectively serve the Department with financial investigations, the unit was decentralized in 1995. Currently, special agents operate out of the field offices across Virginia.
This unit also assists local and other state asset forfeiture units by providing investigative support, technical training and development program techniques.
DES participates in 22 multi-jurisdictional task forces throughout the state. These task forces consist of state and local investigators pooling resources and personnel to combat illicit narcotics manufacturing, trafficking and usage in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Federal agencies and DES personnel have combined their resources to reduce criminal activity and to enforce state and federal narcotic laws.
Personnel from the VSP Drug Enforcement Section and Aviation Unit, the Lebanon Police Dept., Russell County Sheriff's Office, and the Washington County Sheriff's Office recently collaborated in an investigation that netted a half-ton of marijuana worth an estimated street value of $3 million dollars.
If you have information about illegal drug activity, email your tips to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Support Services Division.