CUMBERLAND — Allegany County has been approved by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Drug Enforcement to become part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program, U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) said Friday.
The program was created by Congress in 1988 when it passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act and provides assistance to critical drug-trafficking areas across the country by working to facilitate resources and cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including reliable intelligence and coordinated law enforcement strategies.
"Allegany County has suffered from the opioid epidemic, and this news is a victory for local leaders who need increased federal support to fight this growing crisis," Trone said in a press release. "We need all the support we can get to combat drug trafficking in Western Maryland."
The Washington/Baltimore HIDTA has a 34 person executive board and its 2019 investigative budget was $13.2 million. They removed more than $116 million in drugs, money and other assets from the market place.
There are 33 HIDTA programs across the country and their combined annual budgets in 2016 totaled $250 million.
Now that Allegany County is a part of program, it is eligible to receive support that includes intelligence and equipment resources, said Tom Carr, Washington/Baltimore HIDTA executive director.
"Information sharing is a big part of this," he said.
George Mason University, Mercyhurst University and University of Baltimore are financial partners with Washington/Baltimore HIDTA.
"I applaud Allegany County for their continued efforts to fight the addiction epidemic in the country," said Trone.
Follow staff writer Brandon Glass on Twitter @Bglass13