Drug Enforcement

The Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) was established in October 2005. The unit was formed to investigate all narcotic activity affecting Etowah County residents. In March of 2008, the DEU was designated as a FBI Safe Streets Tasks Force.  On average, the Drug Enforcement Unit investigates 1200 cases per year.

The unit is under the command of Woody Johnson. Under his direction the DEU is ranked as the number one task force in the State of Alabama.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit is to prevent, deter, and investigate narcotic activity.  The unit seeks to educate the residents of Etowah County about the dangers of drug use and addiction through various drug awareness and prevention programs within our community and area schools.


The DEU is a multi-functional task force partnered with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and other first responders. The team works closely with the FBI, Alabama Bureau of Investigations, Alabama National Guard Counter Drug Program, and the North Alabama Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The DEU is comprised of 14 agents assigned from the Etowah County Sheriff’s Office, Gadsden Police Department, Alabama National Guard and the FBI.

The unit’s main responsibilities are to identify, investigate, and infiltrate narcotics dealers and their organizations within Etowah County and the surrounding area.  The DEU coordinates and assists other organizations and local police departments in combating street level drug crimes. Recruitment of informants to help remove narcotic producers and violators from the streets is essential.

The team also works long-term protracted cases, those involving multiple persons or jurisdictions, those of a historical nature, and those involving oral, wire, and/or video intercepts and smuggling. The Drug Enforcement Unit is also responsible for all tactical response and is the command center for the Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG).

Contact Information

To provide information on narcotic related activity or for any other related requests please contact us at 256-549-5465 or confidential tip line at 256-546-3131.

The Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit is located at 103 Commerce Parkway, Gadsden, Al.

Thank you for helping us “fight the war on drugs.”

Red Ribbon Week

The oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country is observed locally during the last week of October. Red Ribbon Week aims to spread an anti-drug message to school-aged children.

During Red Ribbon Week, young people are encouraged to pledge a drug-free life. The special emphasis on drug prevention also allows the community to unify in a stand against drugs and to show intolerance for illicit drug use as well as trafficking.

Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 to commemorate the death of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique Camarena who was killed while investigating drug traffickers in Mexico. Locally, Red Ribbon participants also honor Chris McCurley, Etowah County Drug Task Force Commander, who lost his life in the fight against illegal drugs in 1997.

The aviation unit and drug agents annually visit county and city schools during Red Ribbon Week in an effort to encourage students to stay drug-free.

Message From the Sheriff

Sheriff Jonathon W HortonWelcome to the Etowah County Sheriff's Office official website. I am pleased you have visited our site and hope you find it informative. It is my Honor to Serve as Your Sheriff. The Sheriff's Office provides law enforcement services to the people of Etowah County through...

Continue Reading →

Quick Links