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 investigation.”

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.” 

This means 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.


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