Montana, N. Dakota Seek Federal Help for Oil Patch Crime Wave


The Bakken oil boom has created a crime wave, says the Billings Gazette. Small towns like Sidney and Glendive in Montana and Williston and Minot, North Dakota, are seeing big city law enforcement problems but lack the law enforcement resources to deal effectively with the increase in crime. Law enforcers, county attorneys and drug treatment professionals appealed for federal help last week when Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D, hosted forums in the two states.

At both stops, the senators and drug policy czar heard that Bakken area jails are filled over capacity and that law officers are stretched thin. Montana U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter said that in early 2012 Mexican drug cartels were trafficking cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine in the Bakken area. Mexican drug cartels are suspected of distributing roughly 145 pounds of methamphetamine, several kilograms of cocaine and a kilogram of heroin in the Bakken. Meanwhile, Department of Justice sequestration cuts totaled $672,000 in 2013 in Montana, and steeper cuts loom in the coming fiscal year.

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