JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — The Alaska Army National Guard’s Counterdrug Support Program and a LUH-71 Lakota helicopter crew of the 207th Aviation Battalion assisted in a drug bust in Southcentral Alaska last winter in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Alaska State Troopers, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
“The mission of Counterdrug is to support law enforcement and their efforts to reduce the flow of drugs impacting our communities,” said Master Sgt. Chris Mattson, an analyst with the AKNG CDSP.
Analysts with the CDSP are embedded within federal and state law enforcement to help support with the deterrence of drugs across the state. When one agency requests mission assistance to CDSP, the analysts help facilitate coordination between the different organizations. In this case, Mattson sent the mission request to the 207th AVN for the Lakota support.
“[The Lakota] is particularly useful for this type of mission,” said Mattson, “mainly because of its communication capabilities, its camera capabilities, and it has a small signature in the sky.”
The target was known to traffic significant quantities of meth and heroin through the U.S. mail system. The Lakota helicopter allowed the investigators to follow their target with a safe stand-off distance.
The AKNG helicopter provided almost three hours of continued overwatch and vehicle-following as the target made his stops. Because of this, the DEA made a successful search warrant raid on the target house and seized large quantities of drugs and weapons.
By partnering with the 207th AVN, CDSP improved public safety and public health by reducing the illegal flow of illicit drugs to Alaska streets and home addresses through the mail system.
“Alaska’s a small community when it comes to law enforcement, so there’s a lot of interagency cooperation,” Mattson said. “We bridge the gap in a lot of ways between different agencies and the community.”