The Virginia Guard Counterdrug Program places Army Guard Soldiers and Air Guard Airmen in communities throughout the Commonwealth supporting community substance abuse prevention coalitions, as well as law enforcement agencies with criminal analysts and aviation support. We are a supporting effort at the local, state, and federal levels working both supply interdiction and demand mitigation sides of our nation’s drug problem. We are collaborative members of the Virginia Office for Substance Abuse Prevention, as well as the Governor’s Initiative Against Narcotics Trafficking.
Our Civil Operations personnel leverage their military skill set while providing support to a number of Drug Free Community and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America community coalitions. Helping to develop mission statements, strategies, decision processes, and self-assessment tools, our Counterdrug Civil Operators have become an integral part of these coalitions.
Our Aviation Section utilizes light observation helicopters to provide optical and infra-red surveillance, body wire signal retransmission, and video downlink support to local, state, or federal drug investigations. Typically flying between 350 and 450 hours annually at no cost to the requesting agency, our aviation capability has been instrumental in assisting our law enforcement partners in stemming the flow of drugs onto the Commonwealth’s streets. The Virginia National Guard Counterdrug aviation section also supports the Virginia State Police and local law enforcement in conducting the annual operation ‘Green Harvest’ marijuana eradication program.
Our criminal analysts provide a military approach to analytical and technical case support ranging from traditional link analysis to cutting edge social media exploitation to ion scanning of seized money and evidence for excessive drug residue levels. The Counterdrug Program has provided support to the Virginia State Police, the Commonwealth’s Fusion Center, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the I-95 corridor High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, as well as multiple state and local task forces. Every year, our criminal analysts and Aviation Section support multiple law enforcement operations that result in the seizure of: significant illegal drugs, drug proceeds in the tens of millions, multiple illegal weapons, as well as multiple arrests.
Due to our small size, our personnel cross-train in multiple skill sets in order to maximize our flexibility and effectiveness. Our headquarters staff provides surge support across the counterdrug mission set. Our criminal analysts also serve as the ground component of our helicopters' video downlink capability.
The program injects $1.5-$2 million dollars annually into the Commonwealth’s economy funding 20 full-time positions as well as providing multiple short-term opportunities for traditional Guardsmen to support specific events.
The diversity of our successful programs in the Virginia National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force demonstrates the professionalism, flexibility, and community involvement that are the hallmarks of our Commonwealth’s Guardsmen.