By Mira Oberman, The Dallas Morning News
Sherman, Texas -- With two colleges and with a major interstate coming
through town, police in Denton say they have more than their share of
Not only are there clandestine meth labs popping up all over town,
but police also have to deal with drug dealers driving up Interstate
35 from Mexico.
That's why Capt. Lee Howell says he welcomes a new initiative
launched Monday by the U.S. attorney's office to combat the growing
"It provides a lot of concentrated manpower you wouldn't be able to
do yourself and the ability to get large groups of people into the
federal system," he said.
Capt. Howell was one of a number of local and state law enforcement
officers attending a news conference to announce the Operation
The program will coordinate the efforts of federal, state and local
law enforcement officers to pursue federal drug conspiracy charges
against major dealers in East Texas. Federal charges often result in
longer prison terms and more stringent requirements for posting bail.
"A small percentage of the offenders commit the largest number of
crimes," said U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Orwig of the Eastern District
of Texas, which includes Sherman.
Task forces will target not only major dealers and producers but also
store personnel who violate laws regulating the sale of products
containing pseudoephedrine, commonly used in cold medications but
also a key ingredient in the manufacture of methamphetamine. There
will also be a public information campaign.
"The drugs today are stronger, the users are younger and the dealers
are more dangerous," Mr. Orwig said. "It's a problem we need to get
out in front of."