Federal Proposal Could Hinder Western Slope Drug Fight

Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilke says he is concerned that a proposal in the federal budget could cut back and even close some local drug task forces. 34 counties in the Rocky Mountain region, including Colorado, get about $9 million a year from the Drug Enforcement Administration to fight drug trafficking through a program called the High–Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program.

Some federal proposals would cut funds for that program. Hilke says the cuts would take the decision–making on combating drugs out of local hands and give control to the federal government.

Bill Weinman with the D.E.A. in Denver says the funding cuts are only a proposal and it's difficult to comment on what may happen. He adds, it could make an impact in the ability of local communities to fight drug trafficking, especially if officers funded by the program are lost.

Hilke says increased attention to methamphetamine nationwide may make it possible to stop funding cuts, but he says either way he will keep the Mesa County Drug Task Force funded.


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