New London police are taking to the web to target cyber criminals and those who are trafficking fentanyl and other drugs on the dark web.
They’re one of 11 municipal police departments, along with seven federal agencies and state police to join the newly formed Connecticut Cyber Task Force.
It will go after criminals using computers to steal company’s finances and information, and target criminals on the dark web buying or selling fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.
"It’s happening in this city. You don’t see it often. It’s not prevalent because it’s not happening on the street corner. But it is taking place," said New London Acting Police Chief Peter Reichard.
One of his detectives is part of the task force – a way to keep up with the way crimes are evolving, he said. Over the last few years, the amount of heroin and fentanyl in the city has increased.
"We get reports all the time that people are changing their methods of selling narcotics to ads on Backpage and Craigslist," according to Reichard.
New London's involvement could help surrounding towns as well since detectives are in constant contact with other detectives in the area, Reichard added.
Two parents affected by addiction said New London’s involvement could good by keeping some of the drugs from getting into the community.
"You wonder if at the end of the day, you’re still going to have your child," said Lori Forbes of Montville.
Her son is four days sober as of Wednesday. She said fentanyl, among other drugs, are to blame for his 13 overdoses in a five-year addiction battle.
"Every day I start my day with a prayer and I ask God to keep my son with me," Forbes said. "And every night I thank him when he does."
It's not an uncommon story. Lisa Johns lost her 33-year-old son, Christopher, to an opioid overdose back in 2014. He struggled with the use of fentanyl. One time, she even saved his life.
"He did overdose. It happened to be in my home. I did do the CPR on him," said Johns, an Uncasville resident.
While she longs to stop the sale of fentanyl completely and knows that some of it is coming from other countries. But thinks this task force could do some good.
"If we can stop it from coming in the mail for our particular areas or the state of Connecticut, yes it’ll help. Absolutely," Johns said.
Reichard said New London Police are also working to create a safe transfer site for people meeting to exchange good bought online. There have been cases where people pick a spot to meet and one person robs the other.