Tester touts bill he says would help fight drugs and crime

by Q2 News

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., was a guest on Q2’s Montana This Morning Friday, discussing a bill he believes will help cut down on illegal drug use and crime in Montana.

Tester is sponsoring the Assisting Narcotics and Trafficking Officers in Interdicting Drugs Act or the ANTI-Drugs Act

The bill calls for reauthorizing grants for High Density Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and Operation Stonegarden (OPSG).

Operation Stonegarden would help local, tribal and federal agencies intercept illegal drugs while defending our borders.

The bill is the result of meetings Tester held with Billings area law enforcement last December.

Tester heard from Billings Police Chief Rich St. John, who told him meth trafficking and meth use results in a myriad of violent crimes.

“It’s a big problem throughout the state of Montana and I think it’s a big problem throughout the country, “ Tester said. “Whether you’re talking opioids or meth or whatever it might be, there’s a lot of different ways to attack the problem. Have to make sure the ports are secured because it’s coming in, a lot of it through Mexico, some through Canada. Make sure those ports have the technology and the manpower they need. But then there’s this angle, making sure local law enforcement has the resources that they need to catch the offenders when they happen to keep the people safe.”

The senator’s bill would add more than $800 million a year to the three programs.