The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) has built a strong collaboration among law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and local levels to interdict illegal drugs. But Jim Rauh, who co-founded Families Against Fentanyl with his wife Valorie in Akron after their son suffered a fatal overdose in 2015, is circulating a petition to take the fight overseas.

Within OOCIC, federal agencies provide intelligence on border crossings and drug dealers’ traffic patterns; local agencies develop confidential sources and supply the manpower and the Commission itself provides state funding to support covert operations and legal expertise. Together, they focus on the specific methods used by transnational drug-trafficking organizations to smuggle bulk narcotic shipments into the U.S. and, ultimately, Ohio.

In 2020, OOCIC’s cooperative efforts seized more than $29 million in illegal drugs, including 168 pounds of methamphetamine, 135 pounds of cocaine, 8 pounds of heroin, 3,117 pounds of marijuana and 87 pounds of fentanyl.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the work of Ohio’s new drug interdiction task forces and the investigators who are working tirelessly to stop the flow of illegal drugs into our country and state,” Gov. Mike DeWine said. “I have no doubt that their work saves lives. These enforcement efforts are critical to our comprehensive RecoveryOhio plan to prevent the sale, distribution and use of illegal drugs throughout Ohio, as well as to expand law enforcement’s role in preventing substance abuse through prevention, education and proactive outreach.”

Rauh argues that fentanyl and similar drugs should be classified as weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

“The news that Ohio seized 87 pounds of fentanyl this year should serve as a wake up call as to how much of this deadly chemical is making its way into our country,” Rauh said. “Eighty seven pounds of fentanyl is enough to kill the entire population of Ohio.”

Nearly one-third of the fentanyl seized in Ohio (25.3 pounds) was discovered in a single operation in Lima in July, he said.

“The threat to American lives is real and massive and our country needs a massive response,” Rauh said. “We’re calling for our leaders to declare illegal fentanyl and synthetic opioids as weapons of mass destruction. Instead of waiting until fentanyl has crossed our borders to begin tackling the problem, a WMD designation would allow the U.S. to go after the foreign, illegal manufacturers of these deadly chemicals.”

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