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US prosecutors establish Arizona unit to target opioid abuse

This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

PHOENIX — Federal prosecutors in Arizona are establishing a new task force to combat opioid abuse.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the task force will include federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officers and prosecutors and be managed by Raymond Woo, chief of the office’s criminal division.

The office said targets include smuggling rings, physicians who unlawfully or divert opioids and traffickers responsible for opioid overdose deaths.

Woo has already established teams of experienced prosecutors to assist law enforcement officers, especially those in smaller agencies.

The office said creation of the task force is a response to President Donald Trump’s designation of opioid abuse as a national health emergency and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ directive making opioid abuse a top priority for the Department of Justice.

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