Wednesday, October 7, 2009

KCPD detective named 2009 Kansas City Crime Stoppers Officer of the Year

The Crime Stoppers Officer of the Year Award is presented each year to a Kansas City metro-area officer for outstanding career achievement in investigations. This year’s winner was chosen by a volunteer panel of Crime Stoppers Board of Directors members from five finalists and announced at the organization's annual luncheon yesterday. The winner: KCPD Detective James Svoboda.
Detective Svoboda joined KCPD in June 1987, and has since served as a district officer, Tactical Response Team member, Narcotics and Vice Unit detective, undercover detective in the Drug Enforcement Unit, Gang Unit detective, and currently is assigned to the Drug Enforcement Unit - FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.

During his 22 years of active service, Detective Svoboda has received KCPD’s Distinguished Service Medal, Certificate of Commendation, and numerous Letters of Commendation from Chiefs of Police. Since his assignment to the FBI Task Force, this he has been involved in several significant investigations to include federal Title III (wire intercept) investigations as well as serving as a liaison between the KCPD and the FBI, assisting state and municipal law enforcement agencies and working closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In November 2004, Detective Svoboda investigated the drug-related double homicide of a husband and wife in Kansas City, Mo., that was unsolved. He developed an informant, who subsequently got critical information from a suspect who was in custody on an unrelated drug charge. Ultimately, a confession was obtained, and two suspects were found guilty in federal court.

In January 2006, the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, of which Detective Svoboda is a part, started investigating a career narcotics trafficker that had plagued the KC Metro area for more than 20 years. The suspect had been involved with an organized drug and money-laundering ring with ties to California, Arizona and Mexico. Detective Svoboda, through the use of a federal wire intercept of the suspect’s phones, developed the suspect’s narcotics source and method of operation, which involved the mailing of narcotics to the KC area through the U.S. Postal Service. The case just concluded in August 2009 with 32 suspects federally indicted on multiple counts of trafficking and money laundering. Seizures in California led to the recovery of 1,000 units of ecstasy pills with a street value of $15,000. In Arizona, 140 pounds of high-grade marijuana was recovered with a street value of $168,000. The primary suspect is facing a minimum 25-year sentence.

The investigation also led to the seizure of more than $300,000 in cash, real estate, a Cessna airplane, several firearms and three vehicles purchased with illicit funds. The arrest of the primary suspect disrupted a major narcotics pipeline into the Kansas City area, and the investigation continues to yield additional federal indictments.

For his work in these investigations and others over his 22+ year career, the Kansas City Crime Stoppers selected Detective James Svoboda as the 2009 Officer of the Year.
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