President Bush’s plan for streamlining the war on drugs could end a regional anti-drug task force based in Denver, the Denver Post reports. Police officials say the group’s departure could hamper drug-fighting efforts. Bush wants to cut the “High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area” programs by 56 percent, from $227 million this year to $100 million next year.
The Rocky Mountain program, which serves four states, likely wouldn’t survive such a budget cut, said Tom Gorman, the local program’s executive director. Nationally, there are 28 HIDTA programs, which work with local and state law enforcement agencies to coordinate anti-drug efforts in their regions. If the Denver-based program is eliminated, said, Colorado Springs police Commander Kurt Pillard. “Colorado could potentially be placed in the position that they were in during the 1960s, where drug enforcement on the Western Slope of Colorado was nonexistent and drug trafficking organizations were basically given free rein.”