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New technology to fight drug crimes comes to Toledo

The fight against drugs in our community is going digital
The fight against drugs goes digital
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 11:15 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The fight against drugs in our community is going digital. There are new tools right in our back yard to figure out how those drugs are getting here.

As we all become more and more dependent on our computers and phones, so do drugs dealers and their clients. Investigators are trying to stay ahead with new resources to get into those phones and computers.

One major place police go to solve things like drug crimes are tablets, phones and computers. With larger storage space comes more opportunities for clues.

“Now we’re seeing computers with multiple terabytes but it’s also to the point now where it’s out there in the cloud somewhere. So we’re having to get data from multiple sources in order to put the whole case together,” said Chief Patrick Jones, Perrysburg Police.

Departments like Perrysburg Police can now use the resources of the Ohio Narcotics Intelligence Center that’s just opened in Toledo. Investigators there comb through raw data and turn it into useable intelligence for law enforcement.

“Whether you’re talking about terrorists or drug traffickers or homicide suspects this information is vital for law enforcement,” said Benjamin Suver with the Department of Public Safety.

Ohio governor Mike DeWine toured the Toledo facility Tuesday and believes this state resource will have a ripple effect.

“We have over 900 local police departments and so our job is to help them. Some of them are very small departments and they don’t have the ability to pull information down from a phone and once they have a case like that, they have to have some place to go,” said Governor DeWine.

Data collected could be anything from text messages, photos, time stamps that puts a puzzle together.

“They video tape people that are overdosing. They think it’s funny to them. People have lost their lives where we have recordings of their final moments,” said Suver.

This work will includes combing the dark web to see how people are getting the drugs or maybe identify other suspects. Already this department has assisted in 2000 case statewide and there are plenty more to be done.

“This is statewide. Criminals know no boundaries,” said Chief Jones. “We want to define what we’re doing here in Northwest Ohio by what is the need of northwest Ohio,” said Suver.

This unit will spend almost all of its time on drug cases. If needed on an emergency they’d help but with so many crimes rooted in drugs their work will be needed.

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