By Pete Soyer
The number of intelligence reports from the public and members of law enforcements agencies has increased dramatically to the Tri-Agency Task Force.
The agency processed 893 intelligence reports in the last fiscal year. The intelligence reports detail information the three members of TATF receive about suspected drug activity.
The group had set a goal last year of collecting 130 intelligence reports each quarter of last fiscal year but found it had trouble reaching that goal.
A spokesman for the task force gave the public a lot of credit for the big increase this year. Also, task force members make a point of reminding officers from other law enforcement agencies, on the local, state and federal levels, to share information about suspected activity.
But a lot of the increase "is attributed to more public reporting," said the spokesman, who works undercover and asked not to be named.
"Nobody is turning a blind eye anymore," he said. The public is calling in with information and concerns it wants TATF to know. The spokesman said TATF will take all the public help it can get.
TATF provides narcotic investigations for the Havre, Chinook and Harlem police departments and the Hill, Liberty, Blaine, Judith Basin, Chouteau and Phillips County sheriff's offices.
TATF on Monday released a report for the fiscal year that started July 1, 2000, and ended June 30, 2001.
The task force reported that it:
Arrested 25 people suspected of selling marijuana or methamphetamine to high school-age people.
Arrested 10 people suspected of dealing cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana on or from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
Arrested 22 other people suspected of dealing methamphetamine or cocaine.
Developed 440 new suspects.
TATF goes after all violations of drug laws, "whether it's big or small," said the spokesman.
If the agency has a large caseload, it goes after the larger targets first, but "nothing gets overlooked. We do it all." He said arrests range from people who have several pounds of marijuana to those who have paraphernalia.
TATF has arrested four people it believes were distributing pounds of marijuana from Texas and California in Blaine County and on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
The four men accused of transporting the marijuana were outside sources and are believed to be involved with a drug ring, he said.
TATF confiscated 1.14 pounds of methamphetamine worth an estimated $39,000 on the street, based on a sale price of about one gram for $100. TATF confiscated 7.95 pounds of marijuana worth $36,000, based on a common price of $50 for a quarter ounce. TATF also confiscated 32.58 grams of cocaine worth an estimated $3,200, based on a street sale price similar to that of methamphetamine. Members of the task force also confiscated 1.3 grams of heroin worth $200. The spokesman said the agency confiscated eight cubic centimeters of mushroom spores in a syringe. TATF confiscated 1,011 pills too. Any controlled substance, like Zanax, Ridalin, Demerol, Valium, Percoden and others, can be confiscated if it is being used without a prescription.
People can get information to the task force by calling the Havre Police Department at 265-4361, the Hill County Sheriff's Department at 265-2512 or Crime Stoppers at 265-4444, or by calling their local law enforcement agency.