North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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September 17, 2013

Gardendale police assist in big federal heroin crackdown

GARDENDALE — Gardendale Police Department officers were part of a federal task force that arrested more than 40 people in central Alabama as part of a crackdown on the heroin trade.

The Drug Enforcement Agency enlisted the aid of numerous local law enforcement agencies, including seven officers from Gardendale at various times over the last six months, according to GPD spokesman Lt. Brian Lynch.

“There are just a handful of federal agents that are involved in this locally, so they rely on local agencies to help out a lot,” Lynch said. “On Monday, we had several officers out serving arrest warrants.”

The relationship between Gardendale Police, the DEA and the FBI has been in place for several years, and includes one GPD officer who went through training at an FBI facility in Quantico, Va. for cleaning up drug labs.

“We’ve already used that training twice recently here in Gardendale,” Lynch said. “We like to think of it as a force multiplier. We get a lot of training, they reimburse many of the expenses, and we help them in task forces.”

None of those arrested in Monday’s sweep were from Gardendale or northern Jefferson County. Most were from Birmingham, but they still had an effect on the local area.

“A lot of the users in Gardendale go to Birmingham to buy. There are no boundaries when it comes to this,” Lynch said.

Even with the crackdown, the heroin problem continues to spread through central Alabama. “Right after the press conference on Monday [to announce the sweep], we had a call for a heroin overdose here,” Lynch said.

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