Lacking of federal funding could spell doom for Bryan Co. Drug Task Force

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

BRYAN COUNTY, Okla. -- The Bryan County Drug Task Force could be in its final days of serving the community if no more money comes in to help fund the program. Daniel Gotera reports.

Narcotics investigators in Bryan County busted yet another meth lab and arrested two men on Thursday night. It is their second in the last two weeks, but breaking up labs might be a thing of the past come the end of June, as those narcotics investigators could find themselves out of a job because of a lack of federal funding.

Chemicals, containers, and pitchers-- all of which are used to make methamphetamine-- are collected almost every week by Bryan County Drug Task Force investigators, a group which might be out of work in a matter of months despite keeping busy.

"Our program might be refunded but we don’t really know. It’s a wait and see situation."

David Cathey is an investigator with the Bryan County District Attorney's office and says the drug problem in southeastern Oklahoma is not going away anytime soon, which is why not having any money to do a job they say protects the community is so shocking.

"It is an ongoing drug problem in the us and to have the funding taken away is very discouraging, it’s discouraging for the officers who do those jobs and i think its discouraging for those communities."

Due to an omnibus spending bill passed in Washington back in October of last year, funding for several social services including drug task forces across the country was combined with money for defense, and while money might now be attached to war spending which could bring funds back into the program, Cathey says nothing is certain.

"Historically, this has been a federally funded program, and right now nobody is getting any money from the state of Oklahoma. In fact, it’s kind of a zero growth zone."

Cathey says if the county loses its investigators, only city and county law enforcement would be left to take care of a rising drug problem.

Last week, officials in Atoka County, where there are more people being treated for meth use by state run centers, said they are having problems keeping up.

"We’re stretched out pretty thin, and I think the state wastes a lot of money where it can be put towards us," Atoka County Sheriff Gary McCool says.

Not to mention dealing with drugs requires training...

"We have to have special training and special equipment to go into these hazardous environments that meth labs are and the average police officer on the street that’s not his job, and that’s not what he is trained to do."

As of now, Cathey says investigators will continue to go through the county and break up meth labs, but if no more money comes their way all drug-related issues will be handled by local law enforcement or by state narcotics officials.

We tried contacting local elected officials about the funding crisis, but they were unavailable for comment.

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  • by Jen Location: ok on May 21, 2008 at 03:54 PM
    For those who don't believe meth abuse is a medical problem, know this, it is, it is a disease...addiction IS a disease. No one has any place to judge anyone else because we are all at fault at some point in our lives for making a bad choice, and for those of you who have no sympathy, not to worry because sympathy is not what is needed, help, guidance, support, and treatment is needed for the DISEASE of addiction. And as for Bryan co. they are as crooked as they come, they are hypocrits and one day or another it will all catch up to bite them in their fat ones and until we have a truly legit enforcement of the law it is not going to get any better ya know they point the finger at so called 'criminals' when they're are the criminals....Bryan Co. Drug Task Force......Don't throw rocks if you live in a glass house.
  • by Deputy Sheriff Location: southern oklahoma on Apr 22, 2008 at 02:18 PM
    Hey nothing's changed,...why dont you do a little research before you get on here a make a fool out of yourself...I dont think i have ever heard of a cop telling a tweeker how to cook dope, but I have heard a lot of tweekers talk trash about the cops. If you would do a little research you would find that meth was first made in China, and I then used by Hitler..and since you have been all over the U.S. it shows that you are not really paying attention to the growing problem. since Oklahoma passed the phudo law, our rates of meth production have fallen well below that of the national average.. And we still have a problem with the drug. I support all the cops in the local county's for risking there lives to get rid of the meth labs in this area. And the next time your house gets broken into by a tweeker trying to find somthing to sell for drug money, dont come crying to the cops, because YOU said they were the criminals!
  • by Ralph Location: Denison on Apr 21, 2008 at 08:10 AM
    If the good people of Oklahoma believe the taskforce is needed, then the good people of Oklahoma should fund it without federal assistance.
  • by Nothing's Changed Location: Southeast Oklahoma on Apr 19, 2008 at 09:05 PM
    Ur right about the outlaws living in oklahoma but your looking in the wrong place meth is no different from drinking it's a person's choice what the do to their body's But the real problem is if the law hadn't shown people how to cook meth in the first place ( for job security) it wouldn't be as bad as they say it is. lol it's now worse in oklahoma than anyother state and i've been all over the U.S. and Europe But the more the law makes it seem big the more people panic about it. The only real criminials are the socalled law-in-forcement Ive seen more go to jail for not suppling the cops than . Atoka and Bryan Co. are still in the 1800's Here in Oklahoma the Criminials are the good guys. lol
  • by Officer Location: Oklahoma on Apr 19, 2008 at 11:52 AM
    Due to the high number of drug cases that the District 19 Task Force is handling currently it is easy to see that they do not need to be disbanded. Without them working these cases the drug problem in Coal, Atoka & Bryan counties is going to soar sky-high.
  • by me Location: somewhere on Apr 19, 2008 at 03:05 AM
    Well, in my opinion...when see that the the hoopty vans "in tow" driving up and down hwy 35 and they are not being pulled over by anyone, you must question it. Hwy 69/75 is the new drug traffic highway until they build the new trans Texas Corridor. Just wait you will see.
  • by natedog Location: ardmor on Apr 18, 2008 at 05:17 PM
    Amendment V No person shall be....deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. i hope the whole program gets shut down. the war on drugs is bogus. VOTE RON PAUL
  • by p1 Location: sherman on Apr 18, 2008 at 03:46 PM
    Texas, I think you're the only one in this group with a brain. Read the story people, and stop mouthing off for the heck of it. Ridiculous.
  • by To "yeah" Location: oklahoma on Apr 18, 2008 at 01:55 PM
    If you feel that way when your child or someone in your family shows up with drugs call your local hospital and see how they will laugh at you
  • by Sick Of Meth on Apr 18, 2008 at 12:58 PM
    Hey Yeah: A medical problem?....Get real. Colds, heart disease, flu, cancer,broken bones etc. are medical problems. Willful use of meth is not. Well I guess you are partially right, clinically they are paranoid schizophrenics. I have no sympathy for these idiots that choose to use this junk, fully aware of their consequences.
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