NEWS | April 2, 2019

VNG supports Roanoke area law enforcement operation resulting in hundreds of arrests

By Staff Reports JFHQ Public Affairs

ROANOKE, Va. — The Virignia National Guard joined more than a dozen law enforcement agencies throughout the Roanoke Valley announcing the results of Operation Triple Beam, an intensive law enforcement operation that recently came to a successful conclusion, April 1, 2019, in Roanoke, Virginia.

Analysts from the Virginia National Guard Counterdrug Task Force supported Operation Triple Beam, which brought together federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in an effort to reduce crime in the Roanoke area by identifying and arresting violent fugitives, targeting unlawful gun possession and narcotics trafficking, and collecting information to allow for the systematic removal of individuals who have committed and are committing crimes in the city of Roanoke.

The Counterdrug Task Force mission is to provide military unique skills to state law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations in the prevention, detection, interdiction, disruption, dismantling and curtailment of drug trafficking activities in order to reduce drug and criminal activity within state and local communities.

“Over the past two months, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the Roanoke Valley worked collaboratively to apprehend wanted fugitives and target individuals engaged in drug trafficking and potentially violent activities,” United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen said. “The results of Operation Triple Beam speak for themselves—over 200 fugitives were arrested and nearly 50 guns and half a million dollars of illegal narcotics were taken off the streets. I am grateful for the leadership of Marshal Sellers and his team and the commitment of our numerous federal, state, and local partners in this critical public-safety initiative.”

“Operation Triple Beam was a unified event, within the Roanoke valley law enforcement community, aimed at reducing those elements that contribute to violent crime rates,” said Acting United States Marshal Brad Sellers. “Our success is directly attributable to the cohesive support of our area’s law enforcement agencies and the Prosecution teams serving those communities. This force-multiplier, team focused, event allowed for greater emphasis towards the common goal of making our communities safer; which I believe we accomplished.”

“We thank all of our law enforcement partners, with whom ATF has worked to ensure justice for the victims, their families and the communities adversely affected by the thoughtless and selfish actions of those criminals in our streets,” stated Ashan Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Washington Field Division. “Today, and every day, ATF is committed to working with our partners to reduce violent crime and secure the safety of our communities.”

“The strong working relationships that have existed for years among the local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in the Roanoke Valley made it much easier for the agencies to work together effectively during this operation,” said Assistant Chief Chuck Mason of the Roanoke County Police Department.

Between January 2019 and March 2019, Operation Triple Beam made 209 arrests, seized 49 firearms, seized narcotics with a street value of $497,340, and seized $79,821 in currency. In addition to the arrests and seizures, officers engaged in Triple Beam operations gathered intelligence as part of ongoing investigations. Those arrested are charged with various state and federal crimes, such as distribution of a controlled substance or possession of a firearm in furtherance of a felony, among other charges.

The Counterdrug Task Force consists of 36 full-time Soldiers supporting state counternarcotic efforts, and it is comprised of four elements that support operations: headquarters, criminal analysis, civil operations and aerial reconnaissance.

The headquarters element consisting of three personnel provides program management, administrative support and liaison support. The criminal analyst comprise a majority of the program, consisting of 28 personnel who provide analytical support to law enforcement agencies. The civil operations element consists of two personnel who assist community organizations in developing anti-drug strategies enabling community coalitions to become more efficient and effective. The aerial reconnaissance element of three personnel provides aviation capability to requesting agencies.

During 2018, the efforts of the criminal analyst and aviation aircrews supporting federal, state, and local law enforcement assisted in illicit drug seizures which totaled over $50,000,000 and resulted in more than 1,000 arrests. The civil operators supported 226 community events and provided training, planning and implementation guidance to 17 community coalitions.

Operation Triple Beam was a success due to the partnership of the following agencies:

U.S. Marshals Service

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

Drug Enforcement Administration

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Virginia State Police

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Roanoke City Police Department

Roanoke County Police Department

Salem Police Department

Virginia National Guard

Virginia Department of Corrections

Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Roanoke

Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the County of Roanoke

Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Salem

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