Exclusive–Mission Creep: EPA Agents Enter Drug War
A large-scale narcotics investigation and sentencing in Montana has
revealed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has entered
the enforcement of U.S. war on drugs.
The EPA has full federal law
enforcement capabilities, and their charter allows them to participate in
the investigation and prosecution of “criminal conduct that threatens
people's health,” according to the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division (EPA CID).
The federal case involved two men, Tomas Alvarado and Eliseo Lopez
Martinez, who were sentenced for their role in conspiracies to possess
and distribute controlled substances: cocaine, methamphetamine,
and heroin. The operation stretched from California to Idaho, Montana,
and South Dakota, according to court documents.
The usual federal
agencies were credited with
the operation, which was part of “Project Safe Bakken,” a cooperative
effort between a number of federal and state law enforcement agencies
such as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives (BATFE or more commonly called the ATF), and others.
However, the press release also specifically credited the EPA for
involvement in the project.
Project Safe Bakken was initiated specifically to help law enforcement
deal with the increase in crime that was occurring as a result of a
major influx of workers on the Bakken Shale deposit.
In an exclusive interview with me for Breitbart News, a spokesperson for
the U.S. Attorney’s office, Victoria Francis, stated: “Yes the EPA is
part of Operation Safe Bakken and that’s why they were credited in the
press release we sent out.” Francis added: “This doesn’t necessarily
mean they were part of this specific investigation, just that they are
part of Operation Safe Bakken, and that operation led to this
However, the recently formed Operation Safe Bakken was discussed by law
enforcement officials in a press conference. U.S. Attorney Michael
Cotter, who announced the initiative to the public, specifically stated the goals of Operation Safe Bakken: “The long-term project’s purpose is to detect, disrupt, and dismantle
drug trafficking organizations and criminal enterprises that are
operating in the Bakken region of Montana and North Dakota.”
that the EPA has now entered the U.S. war on drugs in an operation with
the DEA, the FBI, and the ATF. U.S. Attorney Carter also specifically
mentioned in the press conference that much of the area's
methamphetamine was coming from Washington State. Breitbart News
previously wrote on methamphetamine in Washington State and on Mexican cartels sending operatives into that region from Mexico to oversee and run their narcotics operations.
Breitbart News received a response from EPA Spokesperson Rich Mylott,
who is the public information officer for the region Operation Safe
Bakken exists within, and he stated:
“My understanding is that EPA involvement to this particular case
was limited, but our involvement and commitment to Project Safe Bakken
still stands." He added: "We stand ready to continue to support that effort. We
refer you to the Justice Department for any further details.”
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, one of the foremost
experts on the U.S. Drug War, border issues, and Mexican Cartels, Sylvia Longmire,
stated: "This is unexpected and a bit of a stretch for the EPA to
interpret their charter in this manner." She added: "The EPA has been
involved in the construction of the border fences because of possible
environmental effects, but I’m not familiar with anything like this."
The FBI told Breitbart News that they had no comment on the relationship
between the FBI and the EPA on matters of narcotics investigations. The
DEA responded by declining to comment and referring us to the FBI.