Stauber Announces High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Designation for St. Louis County

September 11, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08) announced that St. Louis County, Minnesota was approved to become part of the existing High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program.

The HIDTA Program, a key component of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), provides counties with federal resources to assist the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement officials.

Of this announcement, Stauber stated, “As a former law enforcement officer in St. Louis County, I have seen firsthand the devastating impact that heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioids have had on families across northeast Minnesota. Our law enforcement officers are doing an exceptional job combatting this drug crisis, and this designation will help expand their efforts. In various counties across the nation, the HIDTA Program has successfully prevented drugs from making their way into schools, households, and communities, and I look forward to seeing the same results in St. Louis County.”

Commander of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, Lieutenant Jeff Kazel stated, “We are truly grateful for the assistance received from our local, state and federal partners during this process. It’s no secret our region has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, so the HIDTA designation for St. Louis County will provide much needed supplemental resources at a crucial time.”

Prior to his swearing-in, Stauber wrote to former national HIDTA Director Mike Gottlieb, requesting that he designate St. Louis County as a HIDTA. Stauber followed up his letter with a call to Director of National Drug Control Policy James Carroll, making the same request.

In 2018 alone, the HIDTA Program dismantled nearly 3,000 drug trafficking organizations, removed $16.5 billion worth of drugs from the street, and made nearly 99,000 arrests.