New drug task force forming in eastern Ky.

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Associated Press

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 6:01 PM

CORBIN, Ky. (AP) — A new drug task force is forming in southeastern Kentucky.

WYMT-TV (http://bit.ly/1pPNyBQ) reports the Cumberland River Drug Task Force will focus on catching upper-level dealers in Knox, Bell and Harlan counties. It will be a joint effort between local police agencies, state and federal officials.

"We will be targeting mid- to upper-level drug traffickers instead of the street level we have usually gone after," Harlan Police Chief Mike Thomas said.

The Harlan County Fiscal Court voted Thursday to approve the measure.

"There are kingpins who are not being shaken down and need to be arrested and put in jail," Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop said.

The officers will be funded by local police departments and the federally funded Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas will pay overtime costs.

The police departments will collaborate with one another.

"Crime doesn't stop because you cross a county line or a city line. A lot of times they overlap. We'll be able to work together and share information," Thomas said.

He said aiming for upper-level dealers should make a real difference.

"It's sort of like cutting the head off the snake. You keep attacking the tail and it keeps coming back. When you cut the head off, you stop the problem," Thomas said.

The plan still needs the approval of Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

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Information from: WYMT-TV, http://www.wkyt.com/wymtnews

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