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Six honored for Operation Blue Storm

Six honored for Operation Blue Storm

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Bellevue police assisted with Operation Blue Storm, which resulted in the dissolution of a group responsible for transporting nearly 16,000 pounds of marijuana worth $7.75 million.

Six officers and one civilian employee received national recognition during a May 7 ceremony for their dedication and hard work in the effort.

The police department members honored were Officer Dennis O'Connor, Sgt. John Brazda, Officer Shawn McAlpin, Officer Zeb Simmones, Officer John Stuck and retired Officer R.J. Radik.

“The outstanding work done by this collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies disrupted a major tentacle of the Sinaloa Mexican Cartel to the Midwestern region,” U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg said during the ceremony. “This demonstrates law enforcement teamwork at its best.”

Operation Blue Storm included officers, agents, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials from several state and federal organizations.

The group was named the top Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force for 2012, part of a federal program established in 1982 to investigate drug trafficking organizations.

“Those are great examples of what can be done when you work together and partner with other people and all work toward the same objective,” said Police Chief Mark Elbert. “There's no way to do that without excellent relationships and partnering with people.”

Other organizations recognized were the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the Omaha Police Department, the Peoria (Ariz.) Police Department and the District of Nebraska U.S. Attorney's Office.

The Nebraska case resulted in the indictment and conviction of 15 people, and the seizure of property valued at nearly $600,000. This led law enforcement to an investigation in Arizona, which led to 11 additional indictments.

Stuck and O'Connor will also be honored Thursday during a law enforcement conference in Kearney.

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