Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an executive order in July 2019 creating a specialized criminal intelligence unit to assist local law enforcement in conducting intelligence-driven drug trafficking investigations. The Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center (ONIC) operates as part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety in locations in Columbus and Cleveland. It consists of criminal intelligence analysts and computer forensic specialists who will be available to provide investigative, analytical, and digital forensic support to local law enforcement agencies and drug task forces throughout Ohio.
By the numbers:
In 2019, drug task forces operating as part of the Department of Public Safety's Office of Criminal Justice Services reported seizing 218 kilos of methamphetamine; 324 kilos of cocaine; 63 kilos of heroin; 63 kilos of fentanyl and fentanyl mixtures; and 2 grams of carfentanil.
“ONIC Announcement – August 1, 2019:
“Local narcotics investigators are exhaustively working to stop the flow of illegal drugs into our state, but they are also facing complex challenges because drug traffickers aren't only selling drugs in dark alleys, but now, they're using the dark web too," said Governor DeWine. "Our new Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center will enhance the work already being done on the local level by giving authorities advanced support in dark web and cryptocurrency investigations, while also offering highly-specialized analytical assistance through the use of a new data-sharing system for Ohio's drug task forces.”
“Right now, Ohio lacks an information-sharing network for drug cases, so this will be a game-changer for trafficking investigations," said Tom Stickrath, director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety. "The new system will help local authorities make connections between drug trafficking enterprises operating all over the state. In the future, we hope to further develop the system as part of a larger data-sharing and analytics infrastructure for every law enforcement agency in Ohio.”
“With this additional funding, local drug task forces will be able to accelerate their results," said Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti. "Through building new and strengthening existing partnerships with law enforcement across the state, together we will better combat Ohio's drug epidemic.”
“The ONIC will assist Ohio's narcotic task forces in improving investigative efficiencies and increasing analytic-based evidence," said the Ohio Task Force Commanders' Association President Dennis Lowe. "This assistance will act as a force-multiplier during a time of increased caseloads and limited resources.”