BISMARCK, ND – A BCI drug agent and a forensic scientist with the Attorney General’s Crime Laboratory have received further national recognition for their roles in the multijurisdictional investigation “Operation Stolen Youth.”
BCI Special Agent Steve Gilpin and Crime Laboratory Forensic Scientist Charlene Keller received notification of the honor earlier this week. The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) of the US Department of Justice announced that Operation Stolen Youth had been named the 2014 OCDETF Outstanding Investigation for Creative Response to Emerging Public Safety Threat. Seventeen individuals from various state, local, and federal agencies were named in the award.
“Special Agent Gilpin and Ms. Keller are exceptional individuals, hard-working and dedicated state employees, and I am very proud to say they work for the Office of Attorney General,” said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.
Special Agent Steve Gilpin said “I’m just one person on the narcotics task force. It was a team effort and the credit should be shared by everyone on the task force.” The 17-member Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force is comprised of BCI agents, federal agents, and local law enforcement officers from agencies across the region. Charlene Keller echoed Gilpin’s sentiments, saying “We all work as a team, and I was just one part of the team. It was a very interesting and challenging investigation because it involved dozens of substances, many of which we had never seen before.”
Operation Stolen Youth was initiated in June 2012, after two teenagers in the Grand Forks area died of a drug overdose. The OCDEFT award recognizes the efforts of the state and federal investigation that shut down a nationwide synthetic drug trafficking ring and resulted in the successful prosecution of 15 individuals. It is the first time a North Dakota investigation has received this national award.
Special Agent Gilpin has been employed with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation division since January 2002. Ms. Keller has been employed with the Crime Laboratory division since May 2006.