U.S.-Mexico border driving Idaho’s growing drug threat

Wednesday July 14, 2021

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little today hosted a roundtable with law enforcement leaders at Idaho State Police (ISP) headquarters in Boise to discuss Idaho’s growing drug threat and the connection to the United States-Mexico border.


“The sustained availability of drugs and the impact from crime related to drug abuse – including property and violent crimes – present continuing threats to the health and safety of Idahoans,” Governor Little said. “Meth and fentanyl are the most serious and growing drug threats in Idaho and there is a direct tie to the loose border with Mexico.”


For example, in the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), law enforcement reporting shows the supply of illicit fentanyl from Mexico in the region has become more prevalent. More than half of officers surveyed this year reported that investigations involving fentanyl were directly tied to sources in Mexico.


Law enforcement reporting shows meth is primarily transported into Oregon and Idaho from Mexico through California.


Of the Drug Trafficking Organizations investigated last year, 23 of 24 identified Mexico as the source country for drugs trafficked into the region.

The trend reinforces the Governor’s decision to send a team of five ISP troopers to the border to assist the State of Arizona with their drug interdiction efforts. The troopers are five of ISP’s expert criminal interdiction team. 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 the experience of seeing and learning up-to-the-minute enforcement techniques.


The troopers deployed are trainers themselves and help teach hundreds of other state and local law enforcement right here in Idaho on illegal drug trends and updated enforcement techniques.


“It is truly a fantastic opportunity to send our best criminal interdiction troopers to learn what’s happening and what’s working with law enforcement efforts to fight the flow of illegal drugs, and to be a force multiplier along the border when it is badly needed,” Governor Little said. “I want to thank these law enforcement leaders here with me today for sharing with us what they are facing.”


Law enforcement leaders who participated in today’s roundtable include ISP Colonel Kedrick Wills, Twin Falls Chief of Police Craig Kingsbury, Bannock County Sheriff Tony Manu, ISP Lt. Colonel Sheldon Kelley, ISP Lt. Colonel Bill Gardiner, ISP District 1 (Coeur d’Alene) Captain John Kempf, and Fusion Center ISP Sgt. Bret Kessinger.    


Additional information about drug activity in Idaho is available in the Oregon-Idaho HIDTA 2022 Threat Assessment available at https://oridhidta.org/reports.


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