Combined Illegal Drugs Seized Valued at $71 Million in FY 2021 

The Illinois State Police is touting its drug enforcement efforts last year. State Police Director Brendan Kelly announced yesterday that troopers recovered illegal drugs valued at around 71-million-dollars in 2021. Agents made more than 22-hundred seizures of illegally possessed cannabis, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, fentanyl, heroin, LSD, meth, and other dangerous drugs. That resulted in more than 800 arrests.

Full press release by Illinois State Police below:

Citing the urgent need to address the continued epidemic of opioid and meth addiction across the state, Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly announced today that ISP Metropolitan Enforcement Groups (MEGs) dramatically increased the percentage of dangerous drugs and weapons seized in FY 2021, recovering illegal drugs valued at approximately $71,000,000.

“Through the strong state, local and federal partnerships of the MEG units, drug enforcement across our state is focused on apprehending violent, drug-trafficking criminals profiting off the pain of those losing loved ones to dangerous drugs” stated Illinois State Police Director Brendan F. Kelly.   “The ISP is thankful for the community-based partnerships like those of the MEG units because it leads to a more united, more effective front pushing back against these merchants of misery causing of this ongoing epidemic.”

The Illinois State Police (ISP) Metropolitan Enforcement Groups (MEGs) are on the front lines of narcotic enforcement strategies, prevention, and treatment strategies. MEGs represent a collaborative effort among state, federal, and local law enforcement agencies to enforce Illinois drug laws and investigate street gang activity. MEGs partner with the Statewide Terrorism Intelligence Center (STIC) and Illinois National Guard Counterdrug analysts to reduce crime through intelligence led policing which focuses enforcement efforts on felony level drug distribution and trafficking.  MEGs partner with community groups, health organizations, and local stakeholders to address and prevent substance abuse disorders affecting communities throughout Illinois.

During FY21, MEG agents in nine different units opened approximately 1,404 investigations and closed approximately 1,131 cases, with approximately 1,247 ongoing investigations.  MEG agents made 2,229 seizures of illegally possessed cannabis, cocaine, crack, ecstasy, fentanyl and carfentanyl, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, pharmaceuticals, psilocybin and other dangerous drugs with an estimated street value of just under $71,100,000, resulting in 878 arrests for either delivery or possession of those illegal substances.  They also made 68 gang-crime related arrests.

A 2017 report by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) concluded MEG units were effective at making proportionally more felony and manufacture/delivery arrests than their local counterparts alone.  Applying the principles and conclusions of this report has the MEG units concentrating their efforts on felony trafficking investigations and arrests rather than personal users.  This key focus on felony level drug offenses paves the way for the education and treatment programs to function effectively by breaking the cycle of drug addiction.

In their efforts to address and prevent substance abuse, MEG Agents also partnered with and/or provided prevention and education seminars to the following community groups: DuPage County Prevention Leadership Team, DuPage County Heroin/Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Task Force, Citizens Police Academy at Glendale Heights Police Department, Life Tough Kids youth group, Kankakee Area Pledge for Life Partnership, Riverside Medical Center, Kankakee County Opioid Task Force, Boy Scouts of America, Grundy County Area Vocational Center, Behavioral Health Alliance of Will and Grundy County, Chestnut Health and Treatment Center, Kettler Behavioral Health Services, Gateway Foundation Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center, The JOLT Foundation, Dunlap School Program, Peoria Fire Department Methamphetamine Lab Education, Rock Island Council on Addictions, Massac County Drug Awareness Coalition, Herrin High School, Williamson County Sheriff’s Department Drug Court Program, and various other community groups, schools, police departments and treatment organizations.

Kelly noted that effective January 1, 2022, the statute governing the MEGs was amended by the Illinois General Assembly to expand their jurisdiction to include the investigation and enforcement of human trafficking, firearms offenses, and violations of the Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) Act. This will enable the MEGs to better prioritize operations in the on-going effort to reduce drug-related violent crime in metropolitan areas within the State of Illinois.

In FY20, nine MEGs received a total of $1,170,000 in funding. Funding was derived from Federal Asset Forfeiture Funds, State Asset Forfeiture Funds, and Drug Traffic Prevention Funds (DTPF).

Illinois’ nine (9) MEGs encompass 20 counties as depicted in the map below.  They are DuPage County Metropolitan Enforcement Group (DuMeg), Joliet Metropolitan Area Narcotics Squad (JMANS), Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group (KAMEG), Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group (LCMEG), Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois (MEGSI), Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Group (MCNEG), Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group (QCMEG), Southern Illinois Enforcement Group (SIEG), and Vermillion County Metropolitan Enforcement Group (VMEG).  Each MEG is overseen by a policy board composed of ISP officers, elected officials, and chief law enforcement officers or their designees.