Valley task force seizes over $42,000 worth of illegal drugs

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LURAY, Va. (WHSV) – Dozens of illegal narcotics distributors and manufacturers were arrested late last week as part of the Northern Virginia Regional Drug Task Force’s 10th Annual Operation Valley Venue -West.

The three-day operation ran from October 26-28 and spanned the city of Winchester and Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah and Warren counties.

The task force is comprised of law enforcement officers from the Clarke, Frederick, Page and Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Offices and Front Royal, Luray, Strasburg and Winchester Police Departments as well as City Police. of Virginia.

During the operation, the task force seized over $42,000 worth of illegal drugs and made 58 felony arrests.

“That includes more officers, more patrolmen and a greater scale of trying to interdict drugs from the transportation and distribution side,” Luray Police Chief Bow Cook said.

The drugs seized included: 237 grams of methamphetamine worth $23,700, 35 grams of heroin worth $3,500, 20 capsules of heroin worth $2,000, 7 grams of fentanyl worth $700, 80 pressed fentanyl tablets worth $3,200, 35 grams of cocaine worth $3,450, 51 grams of crack cocaine worth $5,100 and 60 grams of marijuana worth $450.

Officers also seized two firearms and $1,326 in cash. Chief Bow Cook said a troubling thing is that many of those arrested were repeat offenders.

“Usually we’re dealing with repeat offenders, people we’ve had sometimes multiple times before and are back on the streets in no time to sell drugs,” Cook said. “It gets quite frustrating for law enforcement because we could make a drug arrest and before long they’re back on the streets.”

Cook said the main reason for this was a change in case law that reduced sentences for first and second drug offenders. He said probation checks also could not be enforced as strictly due to understaffing in parole services which have overstretched parole officers.

“I think on the law enforcement side we are making progress, but in the justice system there seems to be more opportunity to be returned to the streets for probation and it seems that the person on probation is more likely to come back right away. in the game if they choose not to follow the direction in which the court directs them,” Cook said.

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