HPD and agencies focus on “high-level targets”


HUNTINGTON, W.Va., (WOWK) –  It’s a partnership like no other. 

“If you’re a drug dealer this is not the place for you anymore,” Captain Rocky Johnson with the Huntington Violent Crime-Drug Task Force said. 

It’s been two weeks since the Huntington Police Department announced a new partnership with federal agencies and the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (AHIDTA). 

“The invaluable thing that comes with it are the resources we have across the country as far as intel goes and as far as training goes,” Cheif Hank Dial remarked during the announcement April 2. 

Captain Johnson said officers with HPD’s Violent Crime-Drug Task Force, the DEA, the ATF, AHIDTA, and federal prosecutors are all working together making their reach far greater than ever before.  

“So now if you’re a drug dealer we have the support from federal agencies, we have the financial backing, we’ve got the horse-power to shut your lights out,” Johnson said. “This is a huge deal  Huntington, for the Huntington Police Department. The fact that we have two federal agencies and Appalachia HIDTA and a strong US attorney’s office Partnered with us here at the Huntington police Department and all this work is out of the Huntington Police Department. That is a huge deal for us nothing like we’ve ever had in the past.”

Captain Johnson highlights the fact they’re already seeing a return on the investment with Wednesday’s arrest of Akron, Ohio, man Tyson Davis. Johnson claims Davis was considered a “high level target” and was working in a neighborhood on 9th Avenue. Johnson explains the partnership may have just started, but they are seeing results. 

“It’s not just some guy with a small amount of drugs on the street corner. Medium or high level target for us is someone who is tied to a drug trade organization,” Johnson said. 

In addition to intelligence from other agencies, the partnership with Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area will fund HPD’s task force with NEARLY $100,000 for help with investigations. 

Johnson explained it’s not just the support from these additional agencies that helps. He recalled making drug arrests in one location and hearing neighbors cheering and passerby honking in support.

“That’s a good feeling; you know it’s working. You know people appreciate what we’re doing, because we spend a lot of hours on this,” Johnson said. 

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