Tester to FBI: Keep agents in eastern Montana
Senator says officials needed to combat rising crime, drug trafficking
(U.S. SENATE) - Amid increased threat of crime in eastern Montana, Senator Jon Tester is calling on the FBI to "permanently station" its two agents currently based in Sidney.
Tester told FBI Director James Comey that while the Bakken oil boom is creating new economic opportunities in the region, it is also presenting new challenges. Crime is up 32 percent in the region since 2005, including 855 percent in Roosevelt County.
Tester invited Comey to visit eastern Montana to see the situation firsthand. The Senator said he is responding to reports that the agency is considering moving the agents to North Dakota.
"Moving agents from eastern Montana to western North Dakota is not an effective response to our region's growing problems," Tester said. "Local cases often involve federal issues of interstate drug trafficking, violent crime and crime in Indian Country. Permanent presence of federal law enforcement is needed."
Tester said that local Montana law enforcement officials are making incredible efforts to combat increased crime, but that strong local, state and federal cooperation is needed to fully increase public safety in the region.
Tester previously brought then-Office of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske to the Bakken to discuss ways to reduce drug abuse in the region.
The FBI has not made any official decision with regards to the agents.