DEA trains local law enforcement in drug overdose death investigations

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – The fight against fentanyl is growing as steps are taken to save lives in the St. Louis area.

The DEA has trained local and state law enforcement on how to better investigate overdose deaths.

The St. Peters Police Department was one of 50 law enforcement agencies in this formation. Chef Rick Struttmann says it’s important to learn how to better fight the fentanyl crisis.

“These types of cases where people overdose and die cross all the borders of different communities and this training is about coming together as law enforcement,” says Chief Struttmann.

Chief Struttmann says drug trends are constantly changing and impacting many communities.

“There are people who prey on other people with all kinds of drugs in our community,” says Chief Struttmann. “It is very important that we follow up on these cases and prosecute those involved in bringing this poison to our society.”

With 1,030 people on the subway dying of drug overdoses in 2021, DEA Special Agent in Charge Michael Davis says he wouldn’t be surprised if that number were even higher in 2022.

“Based on the number of cases we get, the number of drug seizures we get, fentanyl in powder and pill form, as well as fentanyl mixed in with other drugs,” says Special Agent Davis .

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri Saylor Fleming said that by prosecuting people for drug trafficking resulting in overdose deaths, drug dealers get off the streets for longer periods of time. These types of cases have become a high priority for federal prosecutors.

“We are able to send a message through lawsuits,” Fleming said. “We can show them that we are watching them, that we are chasing them.”

Fleming says the U.S. Attorney’s Office is looking to hire a prosecutor specifically for these overdose death cases, which will allow the department to take on more cases.

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