Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Drug and Violent Crime Task Forces

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): OK

Jurisdiction(s): Multiple Jurisdictions

Grantee Agency: Oklahoma District Attorneys Council
Subgrantee Agency: District 6 District Attorney District, District 1 District Attorney District

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2011/3504205; FY 2012/2694327; FY 2013/2670477

About the Program:

In Oklahoma, the primary use of the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) is for the funding of 13 Drug and Violent Crime Task Forces (DVCTF). A DVCTF is a multijurisdictional task force that includes: 1) full-time officers; 2) from a variety of different law enforcement agencies; 3) within a specific geographic region; 4) that conduct drug and violent crime investigations and drug enforcement activities; and 5) that conduct investigations across a geographic region that spans individual departmental jurisdictions. The following are the recent activities of two such DVCTFs.

  1. District 6 District Attorneys District - Caddo, Grady, Stephens, and Jefferson Counties: Murder of an Australian Student. In August 2013, Christopher Lane, a Australian student attending school in Duncan, Oklahoma, was jogging down the street. He was fatally shot by three juveniles in a drive-by shooting. Upon receiving the report, local law enforcement requested assistance from the DVCTF. Within hours, with the cooperative investigative efforts, the juveniles that were responsible for killing Chris Lane were arrested. The DVCTF assisted with the interrogation of one of the suspects in which new evidence was discovered. Based upon this information, 23 search warrants were prepared by the DVCTF and physical evidence was recovered from the vehicle used in the shooting. In addition, cell tower records and data was recovered pursuant to the search warrants prepared by the DVCTF placed the shooter in the area of the crime scene at the time of Christopher Lane’s death. The suspects are pending preliminary hearings and have been charged with First Degree Murder.
  2. District 1 District Attorneys District - Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, and Harper Counties: Price Scams. Through the use of a confidential informant, agents with the DVCTF uncovered a group of individuals who were engaged in a price scamming scheme. After buying cheap products from WalMart, the scammers would take the item home and scan the barcode. They would then reproduce the barcode of the cheap item and print it onto a new sticker. Taking the barcode they had printed, they would affix the new barcode on a more expensive item while in the store, go to self-checkout, and purchase the expensive item at a reduced price using the fictitious barcode. After that, another member of the group would return the item and get cash back with the actual barcode. Through this scam, these individuals were obtaining cash to purchase illegal drugs, along with food and other items. This scam happened in WalMarts in a four state area including Guymon and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; Liberal, Kansas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Dumas, Texas. It is estimated that over $70,000 was scammed just from the WalMart in Guymon, and over $700,000 from all of the WalMarts combined.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

The sensless death of Christopher Lane has caught worldwide attention. Without the efforts of the DVCTF, this case would not have been resolved so quickly and resulted in immediate justice for a family that is grieving the loss of a son and living half a world away. The second success story provides an example of the multijurisdictional and multistate law enforcement efforts. The Drug and Violent Crime Task Forces focus not only on drug intervention but crimes that require a high level of investigative skills.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
DeLynn Fudge
Federal Grants Division Director
Oklahoma District Attorneys Council
Email: delynn.fudge@dac.state.ok.us
Phone: 405/264-5008

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