Heroin investigations consume Springfield SIS

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/SKPR) - The Commander of the Special Investigations Section (SIS) of the Springfield Police Department said they are spending a majority of their time combating heroin and meth in town.

Drug Enforcement Administration / MGN

The SIS is made up of nearly 30 specially trained officers which are divided into two groups. There is a portion devoted to narcotics, while the rest fall into the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). In the SIU, they work on fighting a variety of things such as prostitution, human trafficking, and uncovering violent felons. The commander said the two groups will often overlap. "All of those investigations lead them to drug activities, there's a lot of overlap between the two units, but they have separate and distinct missions."

Every officer in the SIS also works undercover and their identities are kept a secret. The Springfield Police Department’s Public Affairs Officer, Lisa Cox, said this is usually why people don't know about the groups accomplishments. “It’s not the officer that pulls them over for speeding or the officer in uniform at a public event, most of their work is covert,” said Cox. “They're taking care of getting really dangerous criminals off the street, criminals that are involved in huge drug conspiracies.”

When talking about 2017 as a whole, the SIS commander said statistics look very similar to 2016. However, the commander said there would be one exception. "There will be one difference in the amount of heroin seized, that was down in 2017 pretty significantly, as far as weight goes," the commander said. "That was probably actually a pretty normal year for seizures, but in 2016 we had a rise in it because we had one big case that lead to a big seizure."

The Springfield Police Department’s SIS broke more than half a dozen records in 2015 and 2016, including several major drug busts.

One of the record breaking drug conspiracy investigations involved suspects from out of town who were bringing heroin into Springfield for distribution. This investigation was titled “Southside Hustle.” The “Southside Hustle” investigation led to various federal indictments, with the two main targets being sentenced to 32 years and nearly 20 years respectively.

The second major drug conspiracy investigation was called “Operation Picket Fence.” This task focused on a gang member with ties to a Mexican cartel who was distributing methamphetamine in Springfield. By the end of the investigation, six targets were sentenced in federal court to a total of 1,017 months, or almost 85 years.

As the commander mentioned, even though the numbers are down, heroin and meth are still a major problem in Springfield. "Heroin and meth eat up a majority of our investigative time," the commander said.

That commander also spoke about addiction in the area. The Springfield Police Department encourages people struggling with addiction to go to a local hospital where various treatment options are available.

Read the original version of this article at kspr.com.