Chesterton Tribune

Feds make Porter County part of region drug enforcement zone

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U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, has announced that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has designated Porter County as part of the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).

“Drug trafficking is at the root of much of the crime in Northwest Indiana’s communities,” Visclosky said in a statement released on Monday. “The inclusion of Porter County into the Lake County HIDTA will help local law enforcement use federal resources to support their efforts to reduce drug crime and distribution in Northwest Indiana.”

The federal government designated Lake County a HIDTA in 1996 to aid Northwest Indiana in addressing drug and gang crime. The HIDTA, which is administrated by the ONDCP, provides federal resources to help reduce drug trafficking and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution, and chronic use of drugs and money laundering.

“This designation is very welcome and has been a long time coming,” said Lake County Sheriff John Buncich, who chairs the HIDTA Executive Board. “The drug problem that afflicts our communities, especially among our youth, knows no borders. Increased coordination of drug-control efforts between local, state, and federal law enforcement will allow us to better deal with these problems.”

“Public safety agencies throughout Porter County have received a powerful new team member in our ongoing battle against those who facilitate and encourage drug abuse in our communities,” Porter County Sheriff David Lain said. “We are excited to have a new partner to fight the single largest threat to our residents’ quality of life. HIDTA will now be able to unleash its considerable resources and expertise within Porter County’s borders, and we look forward to making that organization even stronger. Without the support of so many city and county officials, and especially Representative Visclosky, this important expansion of HIDTA may not have come to fruition.”

“We’re hopeful that our involvement in a more regional initiative will help us deal more effectively with the borderless crime associated with drug use and trafficking,” Porter County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Gensel told the Chesterton Tribune today.

Gensel noted that Porter County’s HIDTA classification will make it eligible for “more resources” to fight the drug problem, “both financial and with personnel from some of the federal agencies.”



Posted 6/21/2011