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Hoeven and DEA head talk Bakken drug issues

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven spoke with the Drug Enforcement Administration chief this week to talk about getting more help in western North Dakota.

The DEA currently only has agents in Fargo and Bismarck, and is criticized by some for a lack of visibility in the West.

Earlier this month, Hoeven wrote to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart to ask for more support after new crime numbers showed increased drug activity, according to a press release from his office.

Leonhart said in their meeting that she’s scheduled two basic drug investigation trainings for later in August; that the DEA has scheduled 40 temporary duty agents for western North Dakota since October to work with local officers; and the DEA has made an Internet database of suspects and drug activity available to the state’s law enforcement.

Leonhart also said she’s looking at the agency’s resources to see what can be done on a more permanent basis.

“It’s critical that the DEA dedicate sufficient staff, both full-time and on an as-needed basis, to help fight drug crimes,” Hoeven said in the release. “This includes assigning DEA agents to local narcotic taskforces in western North Dakota and providing more agency support. I urged Administrator Leonhart to work with local and state officials to get DEA agents into the field as soon as possible.”

Katherine Lymn

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.