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Operation Tongue Twister Case Receives National Marijuana Initiative Award
MADISON - Ken Peters, a Special Agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation was recognized during this year's National Marijuana Eradication Conference on December 4, 2008 for his work on an undercover narcotics investigation code named Operation Tongue Twister. Peters works as part of the Drug and Gang Initiative in the Milwaukee HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area).
Members of a Sacramento based Asian Drug Trafficking Organization offered to provide Milwaukee drug dealers with 50 to 100 pounds of Sensimilla marijuana every two to 4 weeks from their indoor grow houses in Sacramento. With this as a foundation, the Tongue Twister investigation began with two HIDTAs working cooperatively against three California based Drug Trafficking Organizations distributing drugs in 5 states.
The Central Valley California HIDTA initiative Sacramento Area Intelligence Narcotic Task Force (SAINT) joined efforts with the Milwaukee HIDTA Drug/Gang Task Force in October 2007. Their targets were Laotian and Hispanic Drug Trafficking Organizations operating out of the Central Valley of California. SAINT team members learned that the Drug Trafficking Organizations were responsible for the distribution of large amounts of high grade marijuana, Ecstasy, cocaine and methamphetamine throughout California and to Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Alaska.
SAINT members worked with many other agencies. They utilized intelligence and case support from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Milwaukee HIDTA, Illinois State Police and the Anchorage Police Department. The multi-jurisdictional cooperation between the agencies was key to the overall operational success.
The year long investigation resulted in three Drug Trafficking Organizations being totally dismantled. The 28 search warrants that were executed throughout the Central Valley of California yielded 1,373 marijuana plants, 16.8 kilograms of processed marijuana, 2 kilograms of methamphetamine, over 13,000 pills of Ecstasy, cocaine, psilocybin and anabolic steroids, 11 handguns and approximately $80,000.
"This operation was an excellent example of a joint investigation between two HIDTA's," said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "The dismantling of these organizations truly has had a nationwide impact."
"Ken should be commended for his spirit of cooperation and continued commitment in the investigation of such a significant drug trafficking organization," said Van Hollen. "Ken exemplifies the commitment to excellence that we look for throughout the Department of Justice."
The Sacramento Area Intelligence Narcotics Task Force (SAINT) Operation Tongue Twister was nominated for the award by the Central Valley California HIDTA. Participating agencies included the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Milwaukee HIDTA Drug/Gang Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Illinois State Police, Anchorage Police Department, Nevada County Sheriff's Department, Yuba/Sutter County Narcotics Enforcement Team, Vallejo Police Department, California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team (CalMMET) and the Sacramento Police Department.