Drug task force efforts push on despite legislative struggles

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 5:48 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A failed House bill may still make a difference in fighting drug trafficking throughout Rolette County by bringing together multiple law enforcement agencies.

House Bill 1428 laid the ground work for establishing an Attorney General State Narcotics Task Force in Rolette County. Despite failing 30 to 64 last week, sponsors say the task force could still happen.

“It did what it was intended to do, it raised the awareness of the issue and when they get into an agency budget, in this case the Attorney General’s Budget, it’ll lose its identity but it will be a part of a comprehensive program that comes out of that office,” said Rep. Jon Nelson, R-Rugby.

The task force would assign a criminal and narcotics investigator to Rolette County to identify disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations coming into the area.

The task force would include surrounding law enforcement and representation from the Turtle Mountain Tribe.

A partnership between authorities would end a question of jurisdiction between on and off the Turtle Mountain Reservation.

Turtle Mountain Chairman Jamie Azure voiced his support for the bill on Facebook with the following statement:

“Without a unified approach, every agency is limited. This bill would mark the line in the sand stating it must and will stop now. We stop it by putting past transgressions aside and working together as separate nations to combat the narcotic suppliers who have taken too many and has absolutely put our future generations in jeopardy.”

According to Nelson, work has already been done finding where the task force could fit into the Attorney General’s budget.

The Task Force would come with a more an $300,000 price tag to include salaries, wages and operating costs.

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