Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Roundtable

As a part of her 99 County Tour, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) today held a roundtable discussion in O’Brien County with the new director of the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Dan Neill, Sioux City Police Chief Rex Mueller, and other local law enforcement officials to discuss the ongoing fentanyl crisis.

“Due to a wide-open Southern border, cartels have turned drug trafficking into a multi-million dollar business, with fentanyl flooding into every corner of our country. Iowa is not immune to this epidemic. We are feeling the devastating impact right here in our communities,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Programs like the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area are critical in helping law enforcement combat this crisis and provide our local agencies with the needed reinforcement.”

The Midwest HIDTA region contains more than 4,300 miles of interstate highways and 300 miles of an international border, including the intersection of I-80 and I-35 in Des Moines. Three out of every four overdose deaths in the Midwest HIDTA region in 2021 involved heroin or other synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. In 2021, the Midwest HIDTA supported training for over 300 officers, agents, analysts, and support staff on drug-related subjects.

Earlier this month, Ernst joined Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in introducing legislation that would make the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death punishable by federal felony murder charges.

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