Policing and leadership change for Trumbull County drug task force

Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe announced Tony Villanueva will become TAG's new commander

TRUMBULL COUNTY, Ohio (WYTV) – Changes are coming to the Trumbull-Ashtabula Group Task Force (TAG).

Trumbull County Sheriff Paul Monroe announced Tony Villanueva will become TAG’s new commander. Commander Jeff Orr’s last day is May 1.

Villanueva is currently a detective with the Howland Police Department. He’s been with the department for nine years.

The leadership change comes after both Monroe and Orr say they’ve had philosophical differences in the direction of TAG. Monroe said what the task force has been doing has failed, and major changes needed to be made, including speeding up drug arrests.

Orr had been commander for the past 20 years.

Monroe worked with Villaneuva at the Howland Police Department and said Villanueva will be able to hit the ground running when he starts his role.

“He does bring a little more diversification to the table. He is young; he is aggressive; he is the type of guy who will lead from the front,” Monroe said.

TAG’s main function is to enforce drug laws in Trumbull and Ashtabula counties. Right now, that service critical. Trumbull County has been hit hard recently with 189 overdoses and 26 deaths just last month. Monroe says they plan to beef up TAG and make sure they operate faster.

“We are going to be on sprint. There is no reason we can’t go out and address the problem quickly and react to it. We are targeting people within our county that we will be going after very quickly, and these purveyors of death will expedite their prosecution in Trumbull County,” Monroe said. “I’ve heard over and over we can’t arrest our way out of it, well, we are going to try. Every time I hear that statement, I think it devalues law enforcement.”

Monroe said TAG is working with Niles police, the Warren Street Crime Unit, as well as the courts.