Franklin County Detective Rob Gibson was presented with an Enrique S. Camarena award for his work in narcotic enforcement Tuesday, Oct. 31, on behalf of the St. Clair Elks Lodge.
“When I was contacted by the Elks about the award, I immediately thought of Detective Gibson,” Sheriff Steve Pelton told The Missourian.
“His passion for making a difference when it comes to combatting drugs is exceptional. He is a hard, dedicated worker; a true professional.”
Gibson has worked for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for 16 years. In August 2015, he was accepted into the Multi-County Narcotic and Violent Crime Enforcement Unit.
The specialized unit consists of officers from Franklin, Lincoln and Washington counties who concentrate on illegal narcotic enforcement.
“To have somebody as dedicated as Rob locally combatting the effects of elicit drugs ... a person of his caliber really makes a difference and we appreciate his efforts,” Pelton said.
Lt. Scott Reed has worked with Gibson for 2 1/2 years. He said writing the nomination letter was easy.
Gibson is “a hard-working, conscientious guy,” Reed said.
The nomination letter states that Gibson “has proven to be a natural leader and is well respected by his teammates, prosecutors and judges.
“Detective Gibson has initiated and brought to fruition numerous high-profile cases in Franklin County.”
So far this year, Gibson was responsible for the seizure of 22 grams of cocaine, 4,217 grams of marijuana and marijuana edibles, 2,176 grams of methamphetamine, 54 grams of heroin, 63 firearms, and $59,880. In addition, he has made approximately 43 felony arrests and has investigated 15 opiate overdose cases including three deaths.
Gibson is also committed to helping the victims of the crimes break their addictions to return to a more stable and productive life.
He “works very closely with the Division of Family Services in Franklin County to ensure that the drug endangered children he comes in contact with during the course of this investigations receive the kind of care and treatment needed and are in a healthy environment,” the letter states.
Gibson recently began working with the Franklin County Drug Court system, which enables drug offenders to break the cycle of addition and become productive citizens.
Over the course of three years, participants of the drug court program must show improvement by maintaining a residence and a steady job.
Gibson “has shown empathy toward the people who are genuinely attempting to change their lives and their situation in life for the better.”
He is “a resourceful and productive officer. His dedication to his vocation and the communities he serves is an inspiration to all who know and work with him.”
About Enrique Camarena
Enrique S. Camarena was a special DEA agent in California in the mid-1970s, according to an article found on dea.gov.
He was later transferred to Mexico where he worked out of the Guadalajara resident office for 4 1/2 years. The article states that Camarena was on the trail of one of the country’s biggest marijuana and cocaine traffickers. In 1985, he was extremely close to unlocking a multi-billion dollar drug pipeline.
However, before he was able to expose the drug trafficking operations to the public, he was kidnapped by five armed men on Feb. 7, according to the article.
It was the last time anyone saw him alive. His body was found in March 1985. He was 37 years old and was survived by his wife, Mika and their three children, Enrique, Daniel and Erik.
During his 11 years with the DEA, Camarena received two Sustained Superior Performance Awards, a Special Achievement Award and, posthumously, the Administrator’s Award of Honor, the highest award granted by the DEA.
Shortly after his death, Congressman Duncan Hunter, and high school friend Henry Lozano launched Camarena Clubs in his hometown of Calexico, Calif.
Hundreds of club members including Calexico high school teacher David Dhillon wore red ribbons and pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Enrique Camarena and others.