HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — In a News 8 exclusive, we were with Connecticut State Police as an elite unit of undercover detectives surveyed the streets of Hartford. Their goal is to get drugs off the streets and get those suffering from addiction the help they need.
Working side-by-side, this team took to the streets of Hartford on Thursday to stop drug deals as they happen.
“Domestic highway enforcement is an all threats, all hazards, all crimes approach,” a state police sergeant told the team. “We’re focusing on narcotics interdiction within the opioid family. Please understand that the people we encounter today could very well be one of your family members. The opioid epidemic hits home with all of us.”
Only News 8 got to be in the passenger seat, as members of the Connecticut State Police Bureau of Special Investigations Statewide Narcotics Task Force, the DEA Hartford Task Force, and the Hartford Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Unit fanned out, surveying city streets.
“We have plain-clothes detectives in unmarked police vehicles,” the state police sergeant told News 8. “We’re in direct communication with our uniformed troopers. When we make an observation of a narcotics exchange, we’ll relay that information to a uniformed trooper, and that uniformed trooper will conduct the motor vehicle stop.”
One man was stopped following a witnessed hand-to-hand exchange. On him, these detectives found cash and crack cocaine, packed for distribution.
“You’ll notice that those bills are in smaller denomination, consistent with the distribution of a $20 piece, a $20 rock of crack cocaine, or a $40 rock of crack cocaine,” the state police sergeant said.
They’re also on the lookout for stolen cars and other illegal activity, along the way. During our time with them Thursday, a man who had an active arrest warrant for assault was pulled over.
They’re not just doing this in Hartford, but in other communities across the state as well. The hope is to not only get the drugs off the streets but to get help for those stuck in the cycle of addiction.
“Without the support of our command staff, we couldn’t do these operations,” the state police sergeant said. “We know we can’t win the war on drugs, but we’re going try and we’re going to make a difference, and we’re going to save some people out here.”