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Law Enforcement Strike Force Targets Organized Crime In The Bakken Region

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A new strike force will target organized crime that law enforcement  says continues to plague the Bakken oil patch.

According to Montana U.S. Attorney, Mike Cotter, those offenses range from drug and weapon trafficking to environmental and white-collar crimes.The new strike force includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and dozens of individual agents. It will build on another collaborative law enforcement program created in 2013.

Cotter says three full-time FBI agents will soon be based in Williston, North Dakota.

"And on the Montana side in Sidney, we will have two FBI agents there on long-term detail and duty."

They'll be accompanied by two state agents who will be sworn-in as federal officers. That will let them conduct investigations across state lines.

Cotter says these are valuable additions to the Bakken.

"Actually it's boots on the ground. It's men and women who are going to be able to organize the effort of local law enforcement to target, investigate, disrupt and dismantle the organizations that are moving drugs into that section of the state."

Cotter predicts more investigators and prosecutors will be available in the Bakken in coming months.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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