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Project Safe Bakken

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With the arraignments of the people allegedly involved in the Bakken drug-trafficking ring, the Montana US Attorney and our state's Attorney General launched Project Safe Bakken.

Project Safe Bakken is a collaborative initiative between multiple agencies including federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement.

"The goal is to eradicate drugs, violent crime, economic fraud, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and environmental offenses," said Michael Cotter, Montana US Attorney.

The initiative's purpose is to detect, disrupt, and dismantle organized criminal groups. Law enforcement agents say it's important to have this program because of the rapidly growing population in Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota.

"Today, notice is given to lawbreakers in the Bakken and a warning to organized crime in the Bakken," Cotter said. "If you violate the law, agents of the Project Safe Bakken will find you and hold you accountable for your federal, state, and tribal crimes."

All defendants pled not guilty in court to charges ranging from conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Some of them face charges that can lead to imprisonment for 10 years to life.

Cotter says the initiative is effective. And they say the project will go on for as long as it takes to achieve its goal.