Crime Tracker: Task Force cracks down on West Tennessee drug running - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Joe Birch

Crime Tracker: Task Force cracks down on West Tennessee drug running

David McGriff, leader of the West Tennessee Drug Task Force David McGriff, leader of the West Tennessee Drug Task Force
Drugs seized recently by the West Tennessee Drug Task Force. Drugs seized recently by the West Tennessee Drug Task Force.

A stretch of Tennessee Highway will be named to honor Calvin Jenks, the trooper shot to death during a roadside stop in Tipton County.
    
Maury County Commissioners voted to name a stretch of State Route 50 for the trooper, who grew up in Maury county.
    
Two suspected teenage drug runners from Texas are charged in Jenks' murder.  On Crime Tracker, the leader of West Tennessee's drug task force tells Action News 5 he knows the drug smugglers strategy to avoid getting caught in Memphis.

Police patrol Interstates 40 and 55 through Memphis constantly, on the look-out for vehicles that fit the profile of a drug smuggler. Memphis and Shelby County have become so famous for busting drug runners that many people sneaking drugs across the country have learned to avoid the city.

"Part of the West Tennessee Drug Task Force strategy is a constant sharing of intelligence information and that's through approximately 28 agencies that make up the West Tennessee Drug Task Force," said David McGriff, leader of the West Tennessee Drug Task Force.

According to McGriff, drug runners generally enter the Midsouth from the west on Interstate 40, but many now take a detour north on I-55 in Arkansas to avoid the city.  "Drug smugglers and couriers are often times given instructions to avoid Memphis, Tennessee by way of Interstate 55, going to Dyersburg through the 155 corridor, and back down to 40," he said.
   
Tragically, it appears the suspected drug runners accused of killing Tennessee State Trooper Calvin Jenks may have been in Tipton County for precisely that reason.

"We seize thousands and thousands of pounds of marijuana," McGriff said. "We seize hundreds and hundreds of pounds of cocaine."

These successful seizures that indicate just how pervasive the drug runners' business remains.

In addition to serving as leader of the West Tennessee Drug task force, the hard-driving McGriff was promoted this month to chief investigator for Shelby County D.A. Bill Gibbons' office.


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