A recent drug bust in Oklahoma highlights the role of the Drug Enforcement Agency's special unit, the Mobile Enforcement Team, in curbing drug-related gang violence across America.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents have arrested 90 persons in raids on suspected violent street gangs in Oklahoma that purportedly distributed methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana at the Creek Indian gaming facilities and adjacent Indian lands.... [M]embers of the agency's Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) seized more than 725 grams of methamphetamine, 345 grams of cocaine powder, 500 grams of crack cocaine, and 255 grams of marijuana in the probe, along with six weapons.
The MET program was created in 1995 to help local police take on the most violent drug gangs. According to the DEA's MET page, the teams' job description include:
- Identifying major drug traffickers and organizations that commit homicide and other violent crimes.
- Collecting, analyzing, and sharing intelligence with state and local counterparts.
- Cultivating investigations against violent drug offenders and gangs.
- Arresting drug traffickers and assisting in the arrests of violent offenders and gangs.
- Seizing the assets of violent drug offenders and gangs.
- Providing support to federal, state, and local prosecutors.
In an age of shoestring police budgets that result in fewer police officers, the MET program is an effective way of getting a booster shot of experienced personnel when necessary.
But how does a police department get a MET's help?
First a formal, written request for a MET must be made to the regional DEA special agent in charge. Then a pre-deployment assessment team meets with the requesting official and any other cooperating agencies to evaluate their need. If approved, a MET will deploy to the area and begin investigating its target.
According to James L. Capra—special agent in charge of the DEA's Dallas field division that sent his MET to Oklahoma— the MET program has reduced drug-related violence in hundreds of communities nationwide.