“It was the snowball that got it all started for DEA,” that’s how Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Regional Supervisory Special Agent Michael Scalise described Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver’s work on the synthetic drug epidemic.
“Mr. Oliver is the first state prosecutor in this area to receive this award because his leadership and work on the frontlines of this new battle in the war on drugs has been instrumental in law enforcement’s advancements against the growing threat of synthetics,” Scalise explained at an award ceremony on Monday at the Federal Courthouse in Cape Girardeau. “Russ’ work was one of the catalysts that initially got DEA’s attention and eventually lead to ‘Operation Log Jam’ in which a nationwide sweep of convenience stores and ‘head-shops’ netted hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal property seizures and thousands of pounds of synthetic drug product.”
Also present at the awards ceremony was Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, Emerson, who sponsored the “Bath Salt Ban” legislation thatrecently was introduced in the US Congress, and State Senator Rob Mayer, who also passed multiple synthetic drug bans while in the Missouri legislature. Emerson said of Oliver’s work, “we’re all proud of the work that Russ has done. These drugs have truly scary consequences. While working on the Bath Salt Ban legislation, we learned so much about the effects that these substances have on individuals. It is vital that the families of this area become aware of these dangers in their backyard. Russ’ work no doubt has saved lives and informed thousands of these dangers.”
Also on hand was State Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer. “These drugs are a menace to our communities. We passed multiple pieces of legislation to give law enforcement the tools they needed to fight this epidemic. It’s great to see the efforts of our local law enforcement recognized on a national level” said Mayer. During media interviews Oliver was asked if because of this award he considered this a good day, Oliver responded “any day that the media talks about synthetic drugs it raises awareness of the dangers of these substances. Awareness of these dangers saves lives. Any day that lives are saved is a good day.”