Tester, Hoeven Roll Out Bipartisan Bill to Boost Critical Resources for Law Enforcement to Combat Drug Trafficking

Senators’ Assisting Narcotics and Trafficking Officers in Interdicting (ANTI) Drugs Act would help combat drug trafficking, secure the border

As part of their continued efforts to support law enforcement officers and keep communities safe, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) today introduced their bipartisan Assisting Narcotics and Trafficking Officers in Interdicting (ANTI) Drugs Act to support law enforcement efforts to combat the drug epidemic and boost border security.

The Senators’ bipartisan legislation would increase resources for three programs – High Intensity Drug Task Forces (HIDTA), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and Operation Stonegarden – that law enforcement rely on to keep communities safe. The bill also includes new language to cut red tape and ensure that smaller law enforcement agencies and those in rural communities have access to COPS grants.

“Keeping Montana’s communities safe is one of my top priorities, which is why I’ll always fight to ensure our brave men and women in law enforcement, including those in smaller departments and rural communities, have the resources they need to get their challenging jobs done safely and effectively,” said Tester. “That’s why I’m proud to team up with Senator Hoeven on this bipartisan bill to give law enforcement better tools to crack down on the flow of dangerous drugs like fentanyl coming into our state, secure our borders, and protect Montana families.”

“This legislation reauthorizes and strengthens three important programs that empower law enforcement at all levels of government to better combat the smuggling and sale of illegal drugs,” said Hoeven. “Doing so will help stop the flow of dangerous drugs across the border and into local communities, improving public safety across the country.”

“Police departments across Montana work hand-in-hand with HIDTA taskforces and utilize Operations Stonegarden and COPS funding to support their mission of keeping our communities safe,” said Allen Fulton, Sheriff of Rosebud County and President of the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. “These programs are critical resources that help Montana law enforcement officers keep fentanyl and other dangerous drugs off our streets and secure the northern border. MSPOA thanks Senators Tester and Hoeven for supporting these important programs, making them work better for rural and small departments, and ensuring that all our officers and departments have the tools they need to keep Montana safe.”

“The scourge of narcotics throughout our communities in the western United States remains a constant reminder of the need to enhance law enforcement’s ability to interdict the movement of drugs,” said Sherriff Corey Helton, President of the Western States Sheriffs’ Association. “On behalf of our membership, we provide our full support of the ANTI Drugs Act. As an organization that supports over 1,100 Sheriffs in 18 western states, we believe the passage of this bill stands to support the efforts of our membership and improve the safety of our communities.”

“The HIDTA taskforces, Operation Stonegarden, and COPS play a critical role in supporting law enforcement officers in their fight against drug trafficking and efforts to keep our communities safe,” said Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. “We must support our brave Federal, State, local, and Tribal law enforcement officers across the country and give them the tools and resources they need to do their job. We look forward to continuing to work with Senators Tester and Hoeven to increase funding for these important law enforcement programs.”

“America’s narcotic officers put their lives on the line every day to stand between predatory cartels and their victims,” said Eric Brown, President of the National Narcotic Officers Associations’ Coalition. “The NNOAC thanks Senator Tester and Senator Hoeven for recognizing the critical importance of providing law enforcement agencies with more resources to combat the deadly surge of illegal narcotics.”

The ANTI Drugs Act would provide enhanced support for three critical law enforcement programs:

High Intensity Drug Task Forces (HIDTA) – $400 million

  • HIDTA grants fund regional task forces made up of members from local, state, Tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies that combat the drug epidemic in hard-hit communities. Montana is home to five regional HIDTA task forces that combat the drug epidemic in hard-hit communities— currently operating in Cascade, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Missoula and Yellowstone Counties. North Dakota is part of the Midwest HIDTA, with the following counties designated as HIDTA counties—Burleigh, Cass, Grand Forks, Morton, Richland, Walsh, Ward, and Williams.

Operation Stonegarden – $110 million

  • Operation Stonegarden provides funding to state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies to enhance coordination with Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol to defend America’s borders.

Community Oriented Policing (COPS) – $665 million

  • The COPS program awards grants to state, local, and Tribal law enforcement agencies in an effort to reduce crime and advance public safety through community policing. The program also supports state law enforcement agencies in combatting the manufacturing and trafficking of meth and opioids.
  • The bill also includes new language requiring the Department of Justice to increase efforts to:
    • Improve and streamline the COPS grant solicitation process to make it easier for law enforcement agencies in rural areas and with fewer than 200 officers to apply for funding;
    • Address barriers that prevent eligible law enforcement agencies in rural and underserved areas from utilizing the COPS Hiring Program to increase staffing; and
    • Conduct additional outreach and provide additional technical assistance to law enforcement agencies in rural and underserved areas.

Text of Tester and Hoeven’s ANTI Drugs Act is available HERE.