Atorney General Lockyer Praises Decision to Provide New Federal Funding to Fight Drug Trafficking in Central Valley
(Sacramento)-- Attorney General Bill Lockyer today praised the decision by the federal government to provide necessary funding to the Central Valley in order to combat drug trafficking in the region. During a press conference in Washington, D.C. this morning, Barry McCaffrey, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced that the Central California region had been designated as one of five new "High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas" (HIDTA) which qualifies for federal funding to develop initiatives to expose and prosecute drug money laundering and trafficking organizations.
Over the past several months, Lockyer has worked closely with local law enforcement officials, federal Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, Vice-President Al Gore and others to ensure that the problem of illegal drug trafficking throughout the Central Valley, especially the tremendous increase in the production and distribution of methamphetamine in recent years, was recognized by the federal government and adequate resources were provided to effectively combat the problem.
"Illegal drug trafficking in the Central Valley is a multi-million dollar industry that breeds criminal activity and destroys lives," Lockyer said. "In recent years, California's Central Valley has seen a tremendous rise in methamphetamine production and distribution, especially in the form of super-sized dangerous clandestine laboratories. The federal government's action will give local, state and federal law enforcement agencies throughout the Central Valley additional resources to effectively investigate and apprehend criminals who fuel the drug trade in California."
The new Central Valley HIDTA includes the following counties: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare. Federal funding of $800,000 will be provided to the Central Valley HIDTA for the purpose of designing and implementing strategies to combat drug trafficking. Attorney General Lockyer has appointed his Law Enforcement Deputy Director Patrick Lunney, former Police Chief for the city of Merced, to serve as a member of the Central Valley HIDTA Executive Committee.