Narcotics/Gang and Violence Task Force

Narcotics/Gang and Violence Task Force

The Narcotics Task Force Unit is responsible for investigating, suppressing and prosecuting violations of New Jersey’s Controlled Dangerous Substances statutes. The Prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force Unit, together with the narcotics officers from other law enforcement agencies within the county, constitute the Passaic County Narcotics Task Force; a multi-jurisdictional operational organization instituted in 1988 in accordance with the New Jersey Attorney General’s "Statewide Action Plan for Narcotics Enforcement", a concept to enhance the coordinated enforcement of the laws directed against illegal drugs.

As part of this multi-jurisdictional effort, municipal police departments detach officers to the Prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force Unit for a period of time, and the municipalities are reimbursed a portion of these officers’ salaries from grant monies. The Prosecutor’s Office, in turn, detaches a number of investigators to federal law enforcement agencies, including the United States Customs Service, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The Prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force Unit is divided into two main divisions: the Street Squad and the Investigative Squad. The focus of the Street Squad is to suppress street level trafficking in illegal drugs, including sales from residences, on the streets and in public parks and buildings. The effort is directed at both sellers and buyers. The daily investigations and operations of this squad include "buy-bust" techniques, street arrests and search warrants based upon undercover purchases, informant and citizen information, and other intelligence concerning illegal drug operations.

Mid-level and higher narcotics distribution networks are the targets of the Investigative Squad. These investigations are usually complex and long term. Undercover investigators, wiretaps, intelligence information, sophisticated electronic communications equipment, computers and surveillance vans and cameras assist in investigations. Since the mid-level and higher distribution networks often stretch beyond the boundaries of Passaic County, the Investigative Squad coordinates and cooperates with federal law enforcement agencies, the New Jersey State Police and other prosecutors.

Enhanced criminal penalties, broader laws and accurate, readily accessible intelligence information have been effective in combating illegal narcotics activity. Forfeiture laws are also valuable tools in the fight against drug trafficking.