KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Thursday morning, district attorneys general from around East Tennessee including Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen held a press conference in Knoxville to announce a new joint plan, the “313 Initiative, ” which began in December 2022.
The 313 Initiative, according to the Office of the 6th District Attorney General, will focus on disrupting the drug trafficking pipeline between Detroit, Mich. and East Tennessee. The press conference to formally announce the joint initiative occurred at 10 a.m. at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Knoxville Office.
Other district attorneys general in attendance at the press conference included 4th District Attorney General James Dunn, 5th District Attorney General Ryan Desmond, 6th District Attorney General Charme Allen, 7th District Attorney General Dave Clark and 8th District Attorney General Jared Effler.
During the press conference, Allen said the 313 Initiative will be a collaborative effort between prosecutors and law enforcement as they build cases to disrupt the illegal drug pipeline from Detroit. Allen also said that most crime in the greater Knox community is related to drugs; she added that drug trafficking certainly goes hand-in-hand with gang activity in Knox County.
“I can tell you that the vast majority of crime is related directly to drugs,” Allen said. “Every crime you look at, you can really trace it back – if you go far enough – to some drug nexus. So anything we can do to stop the drugs from coming in is not only going to decrease our drug crimes, they’re going to decrease everything from our violent crimes, all the way down to our shoplifting. When you think about it, the influx of drugs affects everything.”
Following the press conference Thursday, the Office of the 6th District Attorney General stated in a press release that since the 313 Initiative began in December, they have seized 42 pounds of methamphetamine, nearly 8 pounds of fentanyl/heroin, multiple pounds of other drugs, 29 guns and also made 46 Detroit-connected arrests.
“We want everyone to know that Knoxville and the surrounding counties are a hostile market for would-be drug traffickers,” Allen stated.
Allen’s office also says that through the 313 Initiative, information and intelligence will be entered into a database to be shared with partner agencies instead of being locked away in a case file, benefitting all of East Tennessee.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with the press conference event and additional relevant information.