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Knox County DA: 313 Initiative a 'success' with nearly 100 Detroit-connected arrests so far

The 313 Initiative specifically targets drug dealers from the Detroit Area. District attorneys from 12 East Tennessee counties are participating.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — At least 142 people have died from suspected drug overdoses this year, according to the Knox County District Attorney General's office.

It's a deadly trend that appears to be getting worse. On April 1 alone, the DA's office reported six suspected drug overdose deaths. 

"We are seeing spikes," Gen. Charme Allen said. "This is not the first time that we've seen a six-person spike, but it is only the second or third time that we've seen that many."

She has her eye on the I-75 drug corridor — which she's watched closely since law enforcement targeted East Tennessee pill mills.

"Because these individuals couldn't get the pills, they turned to the streets and started buying on the street," she said. "That's where the demand came in this area."

East Tennessee authorities launched the 313 Initiative in mid-December to focus on individuals selling drugs with ties to the Detroit area. 

Credit: WBIR


"Not only do we collaborate here locally, but we also collaborate out of state with law enforcement there in Michigan," she said. "It has been very successful and very helpful for both communities."

In the first several months, she said law enforcement officers have arrested 93 people with ties to the Detroit area and seized 73 guns, as well as about $400,000 worth of methamphetamine and $1.3 million worth of fentanyl.

"We are hitting the drug dealers and they are feeling the results of this initiative," she said. "Those of us that are involved in the 313 Initiative really want to get the word out that people who are coming into our community for the purpose of bringing drugs are not welcome. We will find you, we will target you, we will dismantle your organization."

The partner agencies in the 313 Initiative include the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, 4th Judicial Drug Task Force, Sevier County Street Crimes, 5th Judicial Drug Task Force, 7th Judicial Crime Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and the District Attorneys General of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Judicial Districts. 

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