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Gov. Little announces new effort to 'meaningfully reduce' flow of illegal drugs into Idaho

The Idaho governor said "Operation Esto Perpetua" will bring together law enforcement and communities in new ways.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little mentioned "Operation Esto Perpetua" in January's State of the State Address as he talked about efforts to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S. and the state of Idaho. Thursday afternoon, he outlined the details in a press conference at the Governor's Ceremonial Office.

Gov. Little is asking lawmakers to appropriate $250,000 to carry out the objectives of Operation Esto Perpetua.

"We are bringing together law enforcement, lawmakers, cities, counties, tribes, families, and the public in new ways with one goal – to meaningfully reduce the flow of fentanyl and meth into the State of Idaho,” Governor Little said.

The governor also called methamphetamine and fentanyl the "most serious and growing drug threats in Idaho."

"And there is a direct tie to the loose border with Mexico," he said, adding that the high supply, low price and "totally unpredictable potency," along with drug-related abuse and crime, threaten the health and safety of Idahoans.

Gov. Little sent a team of Idaho State Police troopers to the U.S.-Mexico border in the summer of 2021 to assist the State of Arizona with their drug interdiction efforts. He said the troopers returned with better knowledge and intelligence to fight the drug battle in Idaho.

According to the governor's office, law enforcement reporting shows drugs are primarily transported into Oregon and Idaho from Mexico through California. Also, approximately 96% of drug trafficking organizations investigated identified Mexico as the source country for drugs trafficked into the region.

In Operation Esto Perpetua, Gov. Little is establishing a Law Enforcement Panel and Citizen's Action Group on Fentanyl. The Citizen's Action Group will meet regularly around Idaho over the next several weeks, taking comment from local residents, including local law enforcement. More information about Operation Esto Perpetua and those upcoming meetings is posted here.

The Citizens Action Group on Fentanyl includes:

  • Shoshone-Paiute Tribe Chairman Brian Thomas
  • Custer County Commissioner Wayne Butts
  • Coeur d’Alene Mayor Jim Hammond
  • House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley)
  • Senator Abby Lee (R-Fruitland)
  • Dana Kirkham, former mayor of Ammon, eastern Idaho mother
  • One other public member to be named
  • Luke Malek, an attorney and former prosecutor, will chair the group

“I encourage Idahoans to participate in the regional meetings coming up over the next two months and share their personal experiences with the Citizens Action Group on Fentanyl. We need to hear from Idahoans about the impacts of fentanyl and meth in the lives of their loved ones,” Gov. Little said.

The public may also submit comments about their loved ones’ experiences with fentanyl and meth by e-mailing Governor Little at governor@gov.idaho.gov.

The Law Enforcement Panel includes:

  • Col. Kedrick Wills of the Idaho State Police
  • Pocatello Chief of Police Roger Schei, representing the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association
  • Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue, representing the Idaho Sheriffs Association
  • Boise Police Detective Mike Miraglia, representing the Fraternal Order of the Police
  • Marianne King, director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Policy
  • Luke Malek, attorney and former prosecutor

Operation Esto Perpetua gets its name from the Idaho state motto, which means "may she endure forever."

The press conference was streamed live on KTVB.COM and the KTVB YouTube channel.

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