VANDERBURGH CO., Ind. (WFIE) - Vanderburgh County was declared as a high-intensity drug trafficking area (HIDTA) Wednesday.
The announcement came during a news conference where local law enforcement was joined by federal and state officials.
“The violence in our community, you can trace almost every bit of it back to narcotics,” Evansville Chief of Police Billy Bolin said.
Now with the county designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, federal and state funds will be available to help go after the drug dealers who are distributing harmful drugs in the community.
“They’ve sought to infest the Tri-State area with methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said.
The state’s HIDTA Budget of $4.7 million will now be accessible to agencies like EPD and the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, specifically for resources used to combat the drug problem.
“Whether it’s for undercover purchases, surveillance techniques, equipment, training, and just being part of the HIDTA initiative,” Michael Gannon, Assistant Agent in Charge said.
“We are looking for people who are ruining our society. They are introducing illegal drugs to young high school students, to young men and women who become forever addicted,” Sheriff Dave Wedding said.
“The problem persists... and this designation will help us make a better dent in that illegal drug activity and will help make Evansville and Vanderburgh County safer, we’re very grateful,” Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said.