January 26, 1998 Mesa County Sheriff's Office and Grand Junction Police Department announced the formation of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Initiative which would receive funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington, D.C.
This $330,000 grant would allow then Police Chief Gary Konzak and Mesa County Sheriff Riecke Claussen to dedicated 5 employees each to comprise the Mesa County Narcotics Enforcement Team (MCNET). The main focus of this new task force was to make Mesa County, "a real unhealthy place for drug dealers", as was stated by Sheriff Riecke Claussen in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Sgt. John Zen with the Grand Junction Police Department and Sgt. Stan Hilkey with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office would be the first to head this team.
In May of 1998, the Mesa County Narcotics Enforcement Team expanded to form the Grand Valley Joint Drug Task Force which included the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Grand Junction Police Department and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
In August 1998, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell proposed a DEA Field Office in Grand Junction to encourage further collaboration between multiple law enforcement agencies and provide federal assistance in dealing with the increasing drug trafficking problem on the western slope. That request became a reality in September of 1998 when the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agreed to open an office in Grand Junction.
Since 1998 this special investigative team has expanded to what is now known as the Western Colorado DEA Drug Task Force. This mission of this unit is to collaborate with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to target, disrupt, and dismantle multi-jurisdictional drug trafficking organizations. Funding for this unit is provided by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area grant.
The task force is managed by a DEA Resident Agent in Charge and group supervisors from the DEA and Mesa County Sheriff's Office. The Mesa County Sheriff's Office and Grand Junction Police Department each provide one off-site commander to oversee the task force supervisors. These commanders report directly to the Sheriff of Mesa County and Chief-of-Police of Grand Junction who hold ultimate responsibility for the task force.
- Mesa County Narcotics Enforcement Team (01/26/98)
- Grand Valley Joint Drug Task Force (05/29/98)
- Western Colorado DEA Drug Task Force ( 09/01/2004)