Earlier this year, the Bush Administration proposed slashing High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) funds by more than half (56 percent), and transferring the program from the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to the Justice Department. This would have seriously hindered the HIDTA program’s effectiveness. As a Member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking Democrat on the TTHUD Appropriations Subcommittee, Murray fought to reject that proposal and now the HIDTA program is slated to remain at ONDCP and be fully funded.
“I’m pleased that the TTHUD appropriations bill rejects this cut entirely and fully funds the HIDTA program,” Murray said. "Our state and our nation depend on the great work done by our police forces, drug task forces, and prosecutors to fight illicit drug manufacturers and distributors. It's important that we don't undermine their efforts by playing with the funding they need.”
The grants are being issued by ONDCP for use by HIDTAs in various US regions. The Northwest HIDTA is based in Seattle and serves 14 Northwest Counties: Benton, Clark, Cowlitz, Franklin, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Pierce, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Thurston, Whatcom, and Yakima. It will receive funds as follows:
- $200,000 for domestic highway interdictions operations, which aim to assist in the training and operations of law enforcement initiatives targeting drug trafficking on and through our nation's highways;
- $150,000 for accelerated domestic market disruption in Yakima, which will allow for purchases of information and evidence, and operational funding to disrupt mid-level drug trafficking organizations through a systematic and coordinated effort;
- $50,000 for the domestic marijuana eradication program, which aims to investigate and eradicate cultivated indoor and outdoor marijuana; and
- An additional $300,000 for marijuana eradication programs that was allocated on July 19, 2005.
"This funding is great news for our efforts to fight the organizations that manufacture and distribute illicit drugs in Washington state," Murray said. "Drug abuse is destroying too many families in our state, and I'm proud to provide this federal support to provide the tools to investigate, arrest, and prosecute the people who are profiting from illegal drugs."