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NY National Guard Counter Drug Task Force wins fed honor

Members of the New York Army National Guard Counterdrug Taskforce. accepting the 2013 Outstanding State National Guard Civil Operations Program Award in National Harbor, Maryland.

Members of the New York Army National Guard Counterdrug Taskforce. accepting the 2013 Outstanding State National Guard Civil Operations Program Award in National Harbor, Maryland.

— The New York State Army National Guard Counter Drug Task Force won national recognition recently from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA).

The 72 member strong task force, which includes six soldiers stationed locally from Morrisonville to Ogdensburg, was awarded the 2013 Outstanding State National Guard Civil Operations Program Award at a ceremony in National Harbor, Maryland.

“We assist law enforcement so that they can spend more time out in the field,” said Sergeant First Class William Tavernia of the National Guard’s Morrisonville Armory. “We utilize the specialized tools and experience we have with all the training we’ve done to assist as analysts.”

Two thousand-five hundred participants representing anti-drug coalitions from around the country met for the four day CADCA forum.

“They got together to see which plan was working the best, and they chose New York,” said Tavernia.

National Guard units have been assisting law enforcement with counter-drug efforts for over two decades, but in 2012 the Department of Defense changed their role from more hands-on, seizure type operations, to focusing on planning and organizational skills.

“This award is a testament to the hard work our soldiers and airmen have put into these initiatives during the last two years,”said Army Colonel Michel Natali, New York Counter Drug Task Force coordinator in a statement. “It’s a validation of protocols that we are developing in conjunction with the NGB Counter Drug program.”

In 2012, Task Force operations resulted in the seizure of 80 pounds of heroin, and in 2013 they assisted in the seizure of 312 pounds of heroin. The heroin had an estimated street value of $2,185,000.

“It’s about making communities better...That’s it,” said Tavernia.

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