Tester: Montana is on the frontlines of the fight against drug trafficking

Senator calls on Pentagon to devote more resources to combat drug use in Montana

(U.S. Senate) – In an effort to assist law enforcement’s fight against drug trafficking, Senator Jon Tester is calling on the Pentagon to devote more resources to stem the tide of drugs and crime in eastern Montana.

Last Congress, Tester held a Congressional field hearing in Sidney where law enforcement officials testified that the number of arrests for all crimes, including drug trafficking, increased by 80 percent between 2008 and 2012.

In a letter to National Guard Bureau Chief General Frank Grass, Tester urged the Guard to invest more resources in the National Guard Counterdrug Program in border states like Montana that have seen drug trafficking increase dramatically in recent years.

“We’ve got to step up and protect our families from the crime and drugs that are putting our families at risk,” Tester said. “Greater Pentagon support will empower the counter-drug efforts of our local Guardsmen and help reduce the burden on our over strapped police forces fighting to keep our communities safe.”

Major General Matthew Quinn, Montana’s Adjutant General, also praised the Guard’s Counterdrug Program and stressed the need for additional resources.

“We appreciate Senator Tester’s advocacy on behalf of the Montana National Guard’s counter drug program, one of the most efficient and effective programs in the nation, in spite of its minimal budget,” said Quinn. “We’ve heard from across Montana that there’s more that can be done to help our Montana citizens and Senator Tester’s letter of support should help gain the additional resources necessary.”

The Senator brought Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to Montana last summer and heard about efforts to combat drug trafficking from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

In a recent news story, Montana law enforcement officials blamed methamphetamine and heroin use for a 700-percent increase in abuse and neglect cases.

Tester’s letter to National Guard Bureau Chief General Frank Grass is available online HERE.