Drug crime soaring in North Dakota

Local authorities struggling with crime in state oil patch.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  July 16, 2014 at 9:55 AM
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BISMARCK, N.D., July 16 (UPI) -- More federal drug enforcement agents are needed in western North Dakota, the heart of the state's oil boom, Sen. John Hoeven said.

Hoeven said he's been working with the office of the state's attorney general and local law enforcement officials on how best to tackle drug-related crimes in western North Dakota. The result of talks was that more agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency are needed to back up local and state officials.

"That's why we're requesting that DEA station additional agents in North Dakota to help us investigate drug crimes and prevent drugs from coming into the state," he said in a statement.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple in June boasted gross domestic product in the state had increased for the fourth year in a row and topped all other U.S. states.

The state's mineral resources accounted for 3.6 percent of the GDP growth. Oil production from the Bakken and Three Forks regions of western North Dakota helped push output to a record 1,039,635 barrels per day.

In addition, the North Dakota Attorney General's Office says drug crimes are up 19.5 percent from last year. Hoeven said local officials are frustrated with the lack of federal assistance in tackling the issue.

"It is critical that DEA dedicate sufficient staff, both fulltime and on a needed basis, to help investigate drug cases," he said.

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