Hoeven Works to Get Support for Drug Enforcement Effort in Western North Dakota

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven this week spoke with Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michelle Leonhart to secure more support for western North Dakota’s drug enforcement effort. The agency currently has agents assigned to Fargo and Bismarck.

“It’s critical that the DEA dedicate sufficient staff, both fulltime and on an as-needed basis, to help fight drug crimes,” Hoeven said. “This includes assigning DEA agents to local narcotic taskforces in western North Dakota and providing more agency support. I urged Administrator Leonhart to work with local and state officials to get DEA agents into the field as soon as possible.”

Hoeven earlier this month wrote to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, calling for additional support for local communities in light of new crime statistics showing an increase in drug related activities. The senator pressed the agency to dedicate more resources, including additional DEA agents, to help investigate drug cases in western North Dakota.

Leonhart said she is taking several steps to assist western North Dakota law enforcement officers:

• The DEA has made its Internet Connectivity Endeavor, or DICE, program available to law enforcement in North Dakota. The program is an extensive database of information about suspects and drug activity that helps law enforcement officers work together by sharing information and determining if the federal government has the same or similar information.

• Leonhart said she has scheduled two basic drug investigation training sessions in North Dakota during the last two weeks of August.

• The DEA has scheduled 40 separate temporary duty agents assigned to western North Dakota since October to work with local law enforcement and task forces. Leonhart said she is evaluating the agency’s resources to see what can be deployed to help law enforcement in western North Dakota on a more permanent basis. Because the region has been designated a federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, it is also on the list of special needs locations, Leonhart said.