Montana Highway Patrol Receives $1 Million Federal Grant to Combat Meth
HELENA – The Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) will receive a significant federal grant to combat meth trafficking. Today the U.S. Department of Justice announced that its Office of Community Oriented Policing awarded the MHP a $946,981 grant for anti-meth activities. Montana was one of only nine states to receive such a grant.
“The meth epidemic is killing Montanans and wreaking untold damage upon our children, families, and tribal nations,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “This grant allows us to expand our ongoing work to intercept meth before it gets into our communities.”
The grant will fund additional MHP troopers, equipment, and training to intensify meth interdiction efforts on Montana’s highways.
“The vast majority of meth in Montana is coming from Mexico, and our highways are the arteries upon which it travels,” said Colonel Tom Butler, MHP Chief. “Traffickers are getting more creative in their efforts to evade detection, and so it is important for us to not simply respond but to strengthen our proactive approach on the known trafficking routes.”
“I am grateful for the work of Montana’s law enforcement community,” said Montana Sen. Steve Daines, who worked to advance legislation authorizing and funding the grant. “Their work over the last several years has resulted in the critical seizure of meth and enforcement of meth related crimes. These funds will help fight back against the devastation meth has on our tribes and families.”
The federal grant builds upon ongoing efforts that the Montana Attorney General’s Office and Department of Justice have been engaged in since Fox took office in 2013.
Last year, the Montana Department of Justice formed a specialized Criminal Interdiction Team to focus on the more organized drug trafficking activities. Cartels and other trafficking organizations account for most of the meth coming into Montana.
In 2014, the MHP launched its first-ever K-9 narcotic units. The six units operate out of strategic locations throughout Montana and travel the state regularly to conduct drug-interdiction operations. Deployment of the K-9 units has resulted in increased meth seizures. In 2017, the MHP seized 68 lbs. of meth, up from 13 lbs. in 2013.
All of these efforts dovetail into Attorney General Fox’s Aid Montana initiative, a broad-based effort launched in 2017 to understand and combat substance abuse in Montana.