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Persistence nets big bust for DTF


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St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon (right) and Lt. Rick Mouilleseaux with some of the 164 pounds of marijuana seized last week.

January 20, 2010
Editor's note: The following guest column was written by Doug Hunter, a lifelong Capac area resident. Hunter attended a press conference held at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 15 detailing the confiscation of 164 pounds of marijuana by the St. Clair County Drug Task Force, Special Response Team and the Huron County Sheriff's Dept.

The opinions expressed are the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.

Vigilance and persistence coupled with intelligence and forbearance was the successful prescription for the St. Clair County Drug Task Force on Wednesday, January 13.

The DTF and the SRT (Special Response Team) aligned with Huron County's DTF Team and struck a major blow to the Mexican drug cartels and their American distribution network.

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The merged forces under the direction of St. Clair County Sheriff Lt. Rick Mouilleseaux raided one of the largest suppliers of marijuana for southeast Michigan.

The raid in Port Austin netted illegal drugs worth $420,000 and hard cash of $6,555. The four individuals arrested were in the process of unpackaging and repackaging the contraband product for redistribution in St. Clair and surrounding counties. Other assets confiscated, including vehicles and equipment used in the operation, totaled another $23,000.

The 164 pounds of the illegal goods were concealed in a false floor under the box of a 1995 Ford pickup truck. The marijuana, pressed into bricks, was multi-packaged and sealed in grease to prevent detection by drug sniffing dogs. The refabricated Ford pickup was done in such a professional way that the untrained eye could not detect any appearance of tampering.

Joshing with me, Lt. Mouilleseaux says, "Doug, show me the hidden compartment on that pickup."

Knowing it's there I scour the vehicle to find where the cache was carried. The attention to detail was so well done that I can't find it.

This brings up another interesting point to me, and something for all to ponder.

If drug smugglers can move almost freely inside our borders with contraband received from foreign countries, how vulnerable are we to terrorists? Some condemn the Drug Task Force. But remember a couple of things if you hear this argument. St. Clair County is the second largest point of entry into the United States and the deputies of this Drug Task Force are a part of our front line of defense against illegal contraband. I feel confident in predicting one day they will stop a terrorist attack before it materializes.

Although this was a major seizure, it ranks only number six in size and scope in the last 12 months.

Sheriff Tim Donnellon says he's "extremely happy with the confiscation and four arrests." He reiterates that this fight is far from over.

"We have interrupted the flow and closed this operation down, but many others will fill in the void," he remarks.

The profits garnered by drugs is so great that intelligence gathered shows another group has already been interviewed and hired by the Mexican cartel and the drugs already in transit.

Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson concurs that the War on Drugs, so aptly named, is an uphill battle. It cannot be won without the support of us all.

Doug Hunter is a lifelong Capac resident, a farmer, historian and writer. His great-great grandfather, Noble Hunter, founded the Capac Journal in the late 1800s.
Castle Creek
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