BOISE, Idaho — On Wednesday afternoon, Idaho Governor Brad Little said Idaho State Police troopers will act as a "force multiplier" when they help Arizona State Police along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Meth and fentanyl are the most serious and growing drug threats in Idaho and there is a direct tie to the border in Mexico," Little said.
Gov. Little announced on July 1 that he was sending five Idaho State Police troopers on a 21-day mission to help Arizona State Police. While there, troopers will help with investigative work and intelligence gathering on cases regarding drugs at the southern border.
In a statement at the time, Gov. Little said certain drug seizures have doubled under President Joe Biden's administration.
“We did our homework and worked closely with Arizona State Police to determine the true needs and how Idaho can help in a meaningful, impactful way without compromising public safety here at home,” Little said. “States frequently assist each other through the emergency response system with fires, floods, and other emergencies, and this situation is no different.”
On Wednesday, Little said the flow of illegal drugs runs through California and into Oregon then Idaho.
"More than half of officers surveyed this year reported that investigations involving fentanyl were directly tied to sources [in Mexico]," he said.
It will cost Idaho taxpayers $53,391 to send the Idaho troopers to the southern border, the governor's office said.
"They are in Arizona to serve both as a force multiplier for local efforts at a time when it's needed along the border and, importantly, to bring back to Idaho on the illegal drug trends and updated enforcement techniques," Little said.
Idaho State Police Colonel Kedrick Wills said troopers will learn about new techniques and technologies used in the war on drugs along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Wills said nearly everyone has been or knows of a victim of a crime and most crimes are fueled in part to get money for drugs.
"I'm extremely proud of the work that our Idaho troopers are doing in Arizona," Wills said, "and I'm excited for when they get back to Idaho to tell them so."
ISP Captain John Kempf said there's been a spike in overdose deaths from fentanyl in North Idaho.
"I've also have had an increase in violence, recently, directly tied to the fentanyl trade, including a drug deal that had gone wrong, in which a 20-year-old man was killed, so it's absolutely a problem," he said.
The Twin Fall chief of police, Craig Kingsbury, said the current state of the drug epidemic is the worst he has seen in his 31-year-long career in law enforcement in Idaho.
"Fentanyl is truly taking over our state with some really negative consequences," Kingsbury said.
In the last 12 months, Kingsbury said Twin Falls police officers have used Narcan, a life-saving drug overdose medicine, more than 30 times.
He added that he hopes the troopers who return from their 21-day mission will be able to help local law enforcement officers with the war on drugs.
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