The presence of illegal drugs in the Ketchikan area isn’t just a local issue — most of these substances are manufactured elsewhere and transported here by air and sea.
As such, stopping the flow of drugs isn’t just a task for Ketchikan law enforcement. Drug interdiction can be occurring before shipments get close to the First City, and we’re pleased to hear that various agencies are working together to do so.
This past week, representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard and Alaska State Troopers were involved in a joint operation with some of Alaska’s police departments — including the Ketchikan Police Department — to “detect and deter illegal activity” aboard Alaska Marine Highway System ferries.
The Coast Guard Investigative Service, troopers, KPD and Juneau Police Department are participants in the Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs Task Force.
The joint operation occurred at AMHS terminals at Ketchikan, Juneau, Whitter and Bellingham, Washington, according to Coast Guard information.
The effort included sweeps by canine teams from Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team San Francisco, MSST Seattle, troopers, Anchorage Airport Police and the Juneau Police Department, according to the Coast Guard.
Authorities contacted passengers and vehicles, resulting in the “consent search” of six vehicles and numerous individuals, according to the Coast Guard, which noted that “no seizures of illicit drugs were made in Alaska by authorities and therefore no arrests or charges filed.”
There was, however, one seizure of methamphetamine made at the ferry terminal in Bellingham.
While portions of this effort likely were unique to this past week, they underscore that the various agencies are in contact and cooperating with each other. That’s the basis for successful operations every day.
As Randy Thompson, the Coast Guard Investigative Services’ assistant special agent-in-charge for Alaska said: “We appreciate and look forward to the continued support from our partner agencies in our fight against the opioid crisis.”
Here in Ketchikan, where we see the day-to-day efforts of the Ketchikan Police Department and Alaska State Troopers against drugs, it’s good to see the outside agencies actively interested in helping to stop drugs from reaching Ketchikan in the first place.
— Ketchikan Daily News,