COLUMBUS, Ohio —
With the high number of opioid deaths across the country, the Department of Homeland Security is heavily involved in trying to fight this epidemic. The Resident Agent In Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Columbus says Central Ohio has been the epicenter of the heroin epidemic.
“It’s coming through here. What’s going to the east coast, to Chicago, to Pittsburgh. It’s the crossroads of America here in Central Ohio, ” said Nathan Emery.
To combat the drugs flowing through our city, agents have formed unique partnerships with local law enforcement.
“Day in and Day out our agents are embedded with state and local law enforcement officers. We work it from the ground up,” Emery said.
Agents have seized not only drugs but guns and money.
“We have cases where we’ve worked it up from the street level buys and take down full cells here in Central Ohio, ” said Emery.
Last year agents seized more than $15 million in drug money. Their efforts caught the eye of Hollywood, and now HSI and Franklin County’s Hope Task Force are both spotlighted in Showtime’s docu-series “The Trade.” Cameras followed investigators for six months as part of the show.
“It was a little surreal having cameras in your face around the clock,” said Emery.
The show gives viewers an inside look into how these agencies are going after the dealers.
“There’s no place they can hide in the country or in the world for that matter, ” said Emery. “We’re able to take our tools, especially from Homeland Security Investigations and go after these organizations in their home countries.”
Bottom line, they say they’re refusing to let the drug war win.