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12.01.17 | GUSTO! Events | by Kay Champagne

    2017-2018 Gusto! Brochure

    Monday, April 9, 2018, 10 am

    Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering in North Texas
    Vance Johnson, Narcotics Detective, Balch Springs Police Department

    You drive to Walmart, Home Depot or Whole Foods. You pull in, park and head in to the store. You are pretty oblivious to what’s going on around you. But did you realize that one or two or even more drug deals are going down while you shop? And that any number of drug task force officers are out there too, preparing to make an arrest.

    Vance Johnson, a narcotics detective with the Balch Springs Police Department, may be that guy waiting and watching. Or conducting searches. Or kicking in the door to catch a known perpetrator. Johnson will tell how it all happens when he visits GUSTO! at 10 a.m. Monday, April 9.

    For instance, in early March, the Balch Springs PD was handed a case involving a local woman suspected of money laundering. During a stakeout of her home, Johnson saw a man leave and called for patrol officers to stop him on a traffic charge. The stop resulted in confiscation of a kilo of methamphetamine—street value $35,000—and two arrests, while preserving the woman’s anonymity. Further information from the woman led to the arrest of five other people and recovery of $600,000 in drugs. And the investigation is ongoing.

    Johnson, who counts 23 years in law enforcement and nine as a detective, began his career in Mabank in 1994. He became a certified Crime Prevention Inspector in 2003 and worked with the Dallas County Constables Office, where he conducted multiple traffic stops for the Drug Enforcement Agency.

    An introduction to a Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security Financial Investigations led to drug interdiction work and Johnson’s cross-designation as a Task Force Officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. While working with ICE, he participated in numerous drug trafficking arrests.

    Shortly after joining the Balch Springs Police Department in 2012, Johnson was assigned to the special investigations unit as a narcotics detective while branching out as a Task Force Officer with the DHS’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Commercial Smuggling Group. He also speaks to high school students about his work, both to discourage them from getting involved with drugs and to recruit them to investigative work as a future career.

    “Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering in North Texas” is free to the public and will be held at King of Glory Lutheran Church, 6411 LBJ Freeway, Dallas. Coffee is served at 9:45 a.m., the program is at 10, and a Q&A and reception follow. Friends are always welcome.

    Tuesday, April 24, 12:00 Noon

    Nature’s Hidden Jewel
    Field Trip to the Trinity River Audubon Center, Dallas

    Living in the very urban environment of greater Dallas, it is hard to find wilderness areas where we can experience nature. But the largest urban hardwood forest in the United States—the 6,000-acre Great Trinity Forest—lies just 10 miles south of Dallas. Its gateway is the Trinity River Audubon Center, the destination for a GUSTO! field trip on Tuesday, April 24.

    The Audubon Center sits on 120 acres of a former illegal dump site in the Central Flyway for migrating birds. The site is now a reclaimed haven for a vast array of birds, animals and plants. Its 5 miles of trails wander through hardwood forest, wetland and prairie ecosystems, and along the Trinity River. The Center building, designed in 2006 as an ecologically green, LEED-certified building, contains hands-on exhibits, classrooms, meeting spaces, and a nature store. In addition to the trails, you’ll find a butterfly garden and bee hives.

    The Center protects the habitat for migrating birds, giving priority to endangered species such as the little blue heron, norther harrier, and pileated woodpecker, to name a few. A Christmas bird count is held every year, led by experienced Audubon birders.

    The GUSTO! field trip will start with lunch at noon at Trinity Groves, followed by a visit to the Audubon Center at 2 p.m. that will include a one-hour guided tour along one of the many nature trails. Cost for this field trip is $10 per person, payable the day of the tour, plus lunch on your own.

    Registration for the field trip to the Audubon Center starts at the Monday, April 9, GUSTO! meeting. The KoG bus holds 24 people. Carpools can be arranged for overflow. The King of Glory bus will leave church promptly at 11:30 a.m. and return to church about 4 p.m.

    Please note that this field trip is on a Tuesday rather than a Monday. To find out more about this field trip, email .

    2017-2018 Gusto! Brochure