The Collier County Sheriff’s Office was named one of 16 departments in Florida eligible for special funding and resources from the federal government to combat drug trafficking Tuesday.
The county was announced as part of South Florida’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, part of an initiative by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which opens CCSO up to receiving federal funding and resources to be used in drug operations such as undercover drug buys.
“Frankly, we’re looking into the future and we suspect there’s a possibility we’ll see an increase in drug trafficking in South Florida,” said Captain Thomas Storrar.
The program was created in 1988 to coordinate law enforcement agencies operating in areas deemed to be critical drug trafficking regions. There are currently 28 HIDTAs in 49 states, along with the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who represents eastern Collier County, wrote in support of CCSO getting the designation.
“Designation as part of the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area will provide the Collier County Sheriff’s Office with the resources it needs to combat this problem,” Diaz-Balart said in a release. “It will also offer CCSO the opportunity to partner with federal, state and local agencies to address the drug-related issues that our community faces. Drug trafficking cases can be complex and costly, and no single agency has sufficient resources to adequately address drug crimes. Collaboration with other agencies is vital, and I was proud to support the Sheriff’s Office in this initiative.”
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