Metro VNI Section

General Information

The Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Division,  or "Metro VNI" for short, is a multi-agency, co-located drug task force divided into multiple units, responsible for specific enforcement.  Detectives assigned to the Narcotics Street Teams investigate, control, and prevent the illegal sale, possession, and/or manufacturing of illegal narcotics and/or controlled substances.  Their primary focus is on individuals, businesses and groups of individuals involved in street level and mid-level distribution of narcotics throughout El Paso and Teller Counties. 

Detectives assigned to the Marijuana Regulatory Team are responsible for conducting marijuana regulatory investigations within the 4th Judicial District. 

The Division also employs detectives whose sole responsibility is to investigate prescription fraud, and provide alcohol and tobacco enforcement / auditing within El Paso County, CO. 

The Intelligence Unit is committed to developing, analyzing, enhancing and disseminating criminal intelligence to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies with emphasis given to Homeland Security crimes.  The division routinely shares criminal intelligence information with all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The Human Trafficking Unit conducts in-depth, quality investigations for the prosecution of individuals, involved in human trafficking related crimes and activities, be it for commercial sexual exploitation or labor. Detectives may at times conduct undercover investigations of social media sites used to facilitate human trafficking, massage parlors, escort services and other avenues utilized by those engaged in human trafficking, which affect the quality of life in our community.

In addition, MVNI has law enforcement personnel assigned as “task force officers” to federal agencies such as:

Drug Enforcement Administration  (DEA)

DEA’s mission is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

ATF works, directly and through partnerships, to investigate and reduce violent crime involving firearms and explosives, acts of arson, and illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products.

Federal Bureau of Investigations Safe Streets Task Force (FBI SSTF)

SSTFs focus primarily upon street gang and drug-related violence, address specific violent crime problems through the teaming of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers and prosecutors to conduct long-term, proactive investigations. In addition, the SSTF addresses the most significant violent fugitive investigations.

Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)

The Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) investigates, detects, interdicts, prosecutes and removes terrorists and dismantles terrorist organizations.

Trends within El Paso County, Colorado

Marijuana

When Colorado voters decided to legalize recreational marijuana starting in 2014, proponents said there would be a healthy side effect:  It would kill the cultivation and sale of illegal marijuana in Colorado. 

But something unexpected has happened in the years since.  More people are being charged with serious marijuana-related felonies, like cultivation and possession of large amounts of the drug, in Colorado than in the years before legalization.  Charges of these kinds of crimes, which are indicative of large-scale black market marijuana activity, are up nearly seven-fold from 2014 to 2019.

Local, state and federal law enforcement officials say that statistic points to a robust and well organized underground market for illegal marijuana, grown in Colorado and transported to other states where the drug is still banned.  A pound of marijuana grown in Colorado for hundreds of dollars can be sold for thousands of dollars in other states. 

Data shows the black market has infiltrated nearly every corner of the state.  Law enforcement across Colorado have found large illegal marijuana grows hiding deep in our national forests, flourishing on rural farmland, and even obscured in new homes in suburban subdivisions.  Experts indicate that the thing nobody predicted (was that) normalization, commercialization, would be a magnet for international black market activity.  The two major mistakes Colorado made when legalizing marijuana was allowing for home cultivation and doctor recommended extended plant counts, which allowed cultivation of up to 99 plants per person.  The extended plant count law was amended in 2018, limiting individuals to just 12 plants.

Opioid Abuse 

There has been a significant increase in the distribution and abuse of heroin in the community. Highly addictive and dangerous heroin use is also increasing among high school aged juveniles. Prescription drug abuse, especially among teenagers is usually the “gateway” to heroin abuse. The majority of medications being obtained by teens are coming from their own homes. It is important for parents to keep track of all their medications and keep them secure.

An alarming trend of abusing the drug known as “Fentanyl” has been increasing in our community. This illegal drug is highly addictive and potentially deadly, and is also easily overdosed.   The intentional and unintentional use of Fentanyl which is typically used to cut heroin has been responsible for numerous emergency room visits, as well as several overdose deaths of individuals in our community. 

Detectives assigned to the MVNI Street Teams have been aggressively pursuing distributors of this highly dangerous drug.

To report an illegal marijuana grow or other suspected narcotics or vice related crimes or activities, please contact Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence at  (719) 444-7766, or CRIMESTOPPERS at (719) 634-STOP.