North Dakota’s drug problem
By Chris Erickson
Although Mercer County expanded its regional partnership with McLean County to include Dunn County, drug-related issues are still likely to increase elsewhere as entities bringing drugs into the state expand.
The Mercer-McLean-Dunn Narcotics Task Force has been able to share information with each other and respond as necessary due to the recent cross deputizations and at least one meth bust last month in Mercer County. Even so, other agencies at higher levels are seeking to put a stranglehold on criminal organizations elsewhere in the state to stem the flow of drugs into the region.
U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon serves as the state’s top ranking federal law enforcement official, supervising prosecutions out of Bismarck and Fargo offices in federal court. According to him, the increase in drugs and drug-related crime could be traced to specific criminal organizations moving into the state. The U.S. Attorney’s office was primarily concerned with prosecuting cases on large-scale, multi-state or international drug trafficking organizations.
“We are seeing cartels, motor-cycle gangs and street gangs move into the area as they see it as a profitable place to sell drugs,” Purdon said.