Two additional counties in Indiana will receive federal support in combating drugs through law enforcement measures and prevention initiatives.
Marion and LaPorte counties have each been designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by President Obama’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. The designation will enable the two counties to receive federal resources to increase coordinated drug enforcement operations, support prevention efforts and improve public health and safety.
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly announced Thursday that Marion County had been selected to join HIDTA.
“This designation by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and additional federal support will expand our ability to conduct multi-agency, long-term investigations and prosecute cases aimed at dismantling these drug operations,” Curry said.
Previously Lake and Porter counties were the only places in Indiana with HIDTA designations. Currently there are 28 HIDTAs located in 49 states as well as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia.
The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office submitted the application for the northwestern Indiana County. Marion County Prosecutor's Office submitted an application to join the existing HIDTA in Indiana. Terry credited the success of the county’s application to the support from Donnelly, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office along with other federal, state and local law enforcement partners.
Donnelly, who sent letters of support for both LaPorte and Marion counties, believes cooperation among every level of government and community partners is needed to root out the drug traffickers, expand prevention efforts and increase access to treatment and recovery services.
Donnelly said he was proud to support the two counties in applying for this designation, citing the drug epidemics devastating families and communities in Indiana and around the country.
The HIDTA program, created by Congress in 1988, is seen as a catalyst for coordination among federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug trafficking regions of the United States. Law enforcement working within HIDTAs assess drug-trafficking issues and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, transportation, distribution and chronic use of drugs and money laundering.
A press conference is expected to be held later this month to give additional details about how the HIDTA designation will impact Marion County.