Officials say federal assistance will help in fight against Marion County drug problem

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The fight to keep drugs off the streets in Marion County continues as local leaders held a press conference to talk about additional federal resources.

Just last week an announcement was made, saying White House officials are now calling Marion County a “high intensity drug trafficking area.” Overall, there are 28 specialized HIDTA areas the U.S., most which are located around the biggest cities. Lake and Porter counties in Indiana near Chicago make-up one, Marion will be added to that group, along with Laporte County.

Locally, IMPD information shows there’s been at least 22 homicides this year because of drugs. Officers say they’ve been placing their narcotics teams in each district to fight those issues.

Now, area leaders say the new HIDTA designation will open up a variety of federal funds to help fight drug trafficking and addiction.

“Central Indiana has an emerging drug problem and we’ve done a lot of things to stem that, but hopefully the designation will free up some money and some other things that will allow that to happen at a faster and greater rate,” said Scott Watson of Heartland Intervention.

Officials say U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly helped the Marion County prosecutor’s office with the application. He was at Tuesday’s press conference along with Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, IMPD Chief Troy Riggs and others.

“This (drug problem) is taking some of our most precious youth, some of our most precious gifts. The loss of life has to end,” said Donnelly. “We won’t be happy until every person who wants to sit out on their porch on a Friday night, no matter what street, can do so in peace.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has 589 agents assigned to HIDTAs. Riggs said these resources will help connect the dots on a national or international level when it comes to tracing the source of drug trafficking.

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