Wyoming County a designated drug trafficking area - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Wyoming County a designated drug trafficking area

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Wyoming County is getting help from the federal government to reduce drug abuse and drug trafficking.

Office of National Drug Control Policy director Gil Kerlikowske announced the county's designation as a high intensity drug trafficking area on Thursday.

The designation increases Wyoming County's access to federal resources and information sharing among federal, state and local law enforcement.

Wyoming County is the 16th county in West Virginia to receive the designation.

Rep. Nick Rahall says drug abuse and drug trafficking, along with accompanying crimes, require a coordinated response across all levels of government.

Following is the full news release from Rahall's office:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) Thursday announced Wyoming County will be included in the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) enabling the County to receive additional Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts.

"The added Federal muscle that this new HIDTA designation brings to Wyoming County, and which I pressed hard to secure, will help our state and local law enforcement authorities in their tireless fight against drug abuse," said Rahall.  "Drug abuse and trafficking and the crime that accompanies it requires a coordinated response across all levels of government, and I am working hard to ensure our State's law enforcement officials have access to the resources and training and information that they need to help them protect our communities."

Rahall has been meeting with members of the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA), as well as the Director the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), who visited southern West Virginia earlier this year at Rahall's request, about the drug abuse and trafficking problems in the region and to advocate the expansion of the Appalachia HIDTA to bring more resources into the State.

The new HIDTA designation will increase access to federal resources and information sharing in southern West Virginia. Law enforcement organizations within HIDTAs assess drug-trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution, and chronic use of drugs and money laundering.

"The West Virginia State Police has a great partnership with Appalachia HIDTA which provides invaluable resources to our fight against the illegal distribution of drugs in our state. With the ever growing plague of prescription pill diversion this designation could not come at a better time. We are very grateful to Congressman Rahall, who has worked tirelessly with ONDCP to get this designation which provides resources to our state," said West Virginia State Police Major T.D. Bradley, Chief of Field Services.

"Congressman Rahall is a great friend to not only the Appalachia HIDTA, but to drug law enforcement nationwide. His assistance in obtaining the much needed designation of Wyoming County is invaluable. This designation is long overdue," said Kenneth Burner, Deputy Director AHIDTA.

"A multi-prong strategy is needed in waging a successful battle against the epidemic, and that includes both increasing law enforcement and substance abuse education and treatment.  I intend to keep pushing hard on all fronts to ensure that our communities have every resource available in our fight to protect our homes and businesses from the harmful consequences of drug abuse and trafficking," said Rahall.

With Wyoming County, the Appalachia HIDTA includes fifteen West Virginia counties, including nine in southern West Virginia:  Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Hancock, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Ohio, Putnam, and Wayne Counties. 

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