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Harrison 17th W.Va. county to get federal drug designation

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The Office of National Drug Control Policy has added Harrison County to its list of designated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).

With the new designation, Harrison will become one of 17 West Virginia counties participating in the HIDTA program. There are currently 28 regions in the HIDTA program, comprising 16 percent of counties across the U.S.

Michael Gottlieb, the HIDTA program’s national director, said the designation will mean additional federal resources coming into Harrison County to help in the fight against drugs.

“With this designation in Harrison County, what that does under the law is it enables additional HIDTA dollars to go to Harrison County to combat drug problems in that area,” Gottlieb said, noting that the designation reflects the county’s “strategic importance” in combating the drug trade in Appalachia.

Roughly $1.1 million annually goes to West Virginia counties that fall under HIDTA’s Appalachia region, Gottlieb said.

The HIDTA funding will be allocated to the Greater Harrison County Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, according to Gottlieb. He said he expects this additional funding to start rolling in by the end of the year.

But more than providing financial resources, the program’s focus is on facilitating collaboration and intelligence sharing among areas heavily impacted by drug trafficking, Gottlieb said.

“What we’re trying to do here is we’re trying to enhance collaboration between federal, state and local law enforcement…

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