Task Force Battles Drug and Human Trafficking - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Task Force Battles Drug and Human Trafficking

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North Dakota is in need of more federal law enforcement agents to battle drug and human trafficking.

That was the recurring theme during Senator Heidi Heitkamp's visit with various law enforcement agencies today.

The FBI currently has five agents in Minot and four in Bismarck.

The agency is hoping to add four agents in Williston next year, however, the plan to add agents previously fell through when housing became a problem.

Minot Chief of Police Jason Olson says Western North Dakota also needs a DEA agent.

Olson says officers frequently seize pounds of methamphetamine, and the drug is almost always imported from out of state.

He also says prostitution cases are 'through the roof,' but as a B misdemeanor, limited man power and jail space prevents the police department from aggressive pursuit of prostitution cases.

(Senator Heidi Heitkamp, (D) North Dakota) "And it can be very coordinated with the drug trade which is what we're seeing in Mexico. So it's not just that they're trafficking in humans but typically also in drugs. It's gotten so much more complicated and it's gotten so much more national. Which is why we can make a good argument for a national resource to address this."

Senator Heitkamp toured the northern border with U.S. Senator Tom Carper from Delaware.

Senator Carper is the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

He says it's important to look at root causes of drug and human trafficking.

Carper says training, technology and teamwork are important in the law enforcement effort and says he will be looking into the possibility of stationing DEA agents in Western North Dakota.

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