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About the CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force that serves west central Minnesota

The CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force serves a population of approximately 100,000 residents in the west central Minnesota counties of Meeker, Kandiyohi, Swift, Chippewa and Yellow Medicine.

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WILLMAR — The CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional body that coordinates with multiple law enforcement agencies throughout a 3,610-square-mile service area in west central Minnesota. It is tasked with reducing felony-level criminal activity.

“We cover essentially from Dassel to South Dakota,” said Bill Hudson, a deputy with the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office who serves as an agent with the task force, speaking Monday to the Willmar City Council. He added that cases will also take him out of state, as well as to the Twin Cities area.

The task force serves a population of approximately 100,000 residents in the counties of Meeker, Kandiyohi, Swift, Chippewa and Yellow Medicine. It includes a commander, an agent and an administrative assistant from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office; an agent from the Willmar Police Department; two agents from the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office; and an agent from the Swift County Sheriff’s Office.

Fentanyl seizures, which were previously rare in the west central Minnesota area served by the CEE-VI Drug and Gang Task Force, have become more commonplace, but methamphetamine is still "king," task force representatives told the Willmar City Council during a presentation earlier this week.

The decision by the Willmar City Council to authorize the hiring of a forensic officer for the Willmar Police Department has been an effective tool for the task force and its abilities to investigate crimes.

“He’s an incredible asset to the Police Department, and he helps us with our cases, downloading phones and helping with doing reports on forensic analysis of phones. He’s incredible,” said Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Ross Ardoff, who serves as commander of the task force.

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Hudson noted that federal agents working with the task force are astonished Willmar has a forensic officer. Going through the state for forensic evidence can take up to six months.

Local residents who wish to report illegal drug activity can contact local law enforcement at 320-235-1260 .

Jennifer Kotila is a reporter for West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minnesota. She focuses on local government, specifically the City of Willmar, and business.

She can be reached via email at: jkotila@wctrib.com or phone at 320-214-4339.
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