Is the St. Louis Metro Police Department Hiding a Drug Task Force?

Categories: Drugs, Police

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St. Louis Metro Police/Facebook
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department received $200,000 in grant funding for a drug task force that they say does not exist.

That might sound strange, but city officials tell Aaron Malin, a researcher for Show-Me Cannabis, the marijuana reform group, that they don't know about any so-called "drug task force." And that's despite several government records showing that grant money has been awarded to the non-existent drug task force and other records that tally the number of arrests the unit has made. These records were obtained by Malin via Missouri Sunshine requests.

Malin tells Daily RFT that he believes there can only be two explanations.

"They're deliberately misleading the public or worse, are genuinely ignorant," Malin says. "And that's more concerning because that means there's an armed task force running around St. Louis enforcing drug laws and, if history is any indication, in a manner that is somestimes violent."

So is the SLMPD hiding a drug task force? That sounds strange, given that there's nothing inherently controversial about having such a unit.

The inquiry started last November when Malin was looking over the different drug task forces around the state and saw that there was a separate DTF for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Interested in what this DTF does, Malin sent a Sunshine request to the SLMPD.

Mark Lawson, the Attorney Manager for the SLMPD, responded, saying that he doesn't know of any such unit.

See also: Missouri Drug Task Forces Seize a Lot of Money and Don't Keep Close Records Of Where it Goes

"The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, whose jurisdiction extends over the City of St. Louis, does not have a 'St. Louis Metro Drug Task Force,'" Lawson wrote, concluding that Malin might be confusing the City with the County, which certainly does have a drug task force.

What followed was a long and, for Malin, frustrating back-and-forth about whether or not the SLMPD has a drug task force.

Lawson wrote that he couldn't provide documentation of a thing that doesn't exist and that Police Chief Sam Dotson has never heard of any so-called "drug task force" in the SLMPD.

But it turns out that both Dotson and Lawson are named as principals on the SLMPD's drug task force, according to documents Malin acquired:

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Show-Me Cannabis

That's a lot of money to not know anything about. But there's more.

Below is an excerpt from a 2013 status report for the non-existent drug task force. It lists that the unit consists of 55 full-time police officers and most of its activity involves arresting people for drug possession, with the largest number of those arrests being for marijuana:

Click on the next page for the report...

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16 comments
Gary Muich
Gary Muich

The money has probably been diverted to some elected officials pocket!

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

All the Marijuana seized by the police is only a fraction of what ends up getting sold in the unregulated black market. Every dollar spent fighting the war on marijuana is another tax dollar wasted. St. Louis MO. needs to get hip to what many other states have already figured out and that is legalization, regulation and the taxation of marijuana is much more effective at reducing crime and underage consumption. Instead of throwing our tax dollars into the void of the justice system we could be creating jobs, generating tax revenue and reducing crime all at the same time, but instead we doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

Paula Williams
Paula Williams

All I know is St. Louis is quite a crime center these days?

Jesse Rehmer
Jesse Rehmer

Read the article people, Don't leave stupid comments without reading the article that answers your stupid questions. It makes you look dumb.

Joyce Boswell
Joyce Boswell

55 FTEs and only 91 arrests in 3 months? Someone isn't pulling their share.

Andy Crossett
Andy Crossett

$200,000 ? Thats a drop in the ocean for a "Task Force." 3 FTE's max. Not hardly a dent in crime.

Corwin Gibson
Corwin Gibson

Not much of one at least. They sell hell a drugs at the metro stop right by the station........

Gary Muich
Gary Muich

Ism sure the money is used other ways as most grant money is,never for what it was intended for!

Chris Awalt
Chris Awalt

Have you looked into convictions and looked up some of these people? Are they real?

Zac Nevill
Zac Nevill

What is this? St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (OFFICIAL)

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