McGrath Announces Relocation of Drug Enforcement Team
HELENA — Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath Thursday announced the relocation of the Department of Justice state drug enforcement team to Great Falls. McGrath made the announcement at a press conference at the Cascade County Sheriff’s Department. Cascade County Sheriff Kent Funyak — who had requested the team be moved to Great Falls from Missoula — Great Falls Police Chief Bob Jones and Division of Criminal Investigation Administrator Mike Batista joined him.
“Meth is a severe problem in Montana and nowhere is it worse than Cascade County,” McGrath said. “With this change, we’re refocusing existing state resources in an effort to get this drug off the streets of Great Falls.”
Over the past five years, 20 percent of the Drug Enforcement Agency lab cleanup requests in the state have been from Cascade County. Crime rates in the area are higher than the state average, McGrath noted, and local law enforcement attributes those numbers to the dramatic increase in meth usage.
“This is an important response to the area’s documented meth problem,” Funyak said. “We can always use more manpower and support.”
Cascade County is not covered by one of the seven multi-agency drug task forces in the state.
“This move just makes sense,” McGrath said, adding that Great Falls offers a location closer to the center of the state.
Batista said the six officers who will be located in Great Falls will continue to work statewide, offering training, public education and investigative support to agencies around Montana. He said the move should be complete by July 1.