Tester Brings in Resources to Fight Drug-Trafficking in Eastern Montana

Senator’s request to Pentagon results in increased funding for the Montana National Guard Counterdrug Program

(U.S. Senate) – After calling on the Pentagon to help combat the surge of drugs and crime in eastern Montana, Senator Jon Tester announced today that the Montana National Guard Counterdrug Program (CDP) will now receive a 60 percent funding increase as a result of his efforts.

“I strongly urge you to invest in additional National Guard Counterdrug Program resources in Montana and similar states,” Tester wrote, in in his letter last month to National Guard Bureau Chief General Frank Grass. “These additional resources would be put to very effective use by assisting efforts to combat international and domestic cases of drug trafficking, particularly in the Bakken region where National Guard Counterdrug assets could reduce the lapsed time due to intelligence gaps and communication constraints.”

General Grass heeded Tester’s advice, sending a response earlier this week in which he writes, “I share your concern over the increase in illicit narcotics activity in the Bakken region…in response to this emerging threat and the current national heroin crises, I have directed an additional 60 percent increase in funding to the CDPs in [High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas] HIDTA.”

National news outlets, like CNN and National Geographic, have reported on the spike in drug-trafficking and substance abuse brought on by an influx of money and workers to the Bakken area since the oil boom began a few years ago.

Tester traveled to Eastern Montana to hold a Congressional field hearing about the increase in drug-related crimes in the region. During the hearing, local law enforcement officials testified that, between 2008 and 2012, the number of arrests for all crimes, including drug trafficking, had increased by 80 percent.

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

Grass’ response to Tester is available HERE.