The Narcotics Unit is part of the larger Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, which is a multi-agency effort led by the Sheriff’s Office. The Narcotics Unit is comprised of 10 certified officers, with eight investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, and one each from Maryville and Alcoa Police Departments. One agent is assigned to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. There are also two administrative employees assigned to the Drug Task Force.
In 2012, Drug Task Force investigators arrested 412 persons on 509 charges for drug-related crimes in and around Blount County. These arrests were the result of 459 cases and 30 search warrants. The Drug Task Force verdict statistics show a 97 percent conviction rate. They seized $87,499 in U.S. currency, 24 conveyances, and 46 firearms from drug offenders.
Investigators seized 20 methamphetamine labs in 2012 compared to 12 in 2011, five in 2010, and one in 2009. They continue to work with area businesses to monitor the sale of pseudephedrine and identify violators that are manufacturing methamphetamine as well as using it. Drug Task Force efforts led to 38 people being arrested for promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine in 2012 compared to 50 in 2011. In addition, 20 people were charged with initiating the process to manufacture methamphetamine in 2012, compared to eight in 2011. There were 43 additional persons charged under the new statute of immediate meth precursors in 2012.