Exclusive-Mission Creep: EPA Agents Enter Drug War

Exclusive-Mission Creep: EPA Agents Enter Drug War

A large-scale narcotics investigation and sentencing in Montana hasrevealed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has enteredthe enforcement of U.S. war on drugs.  

The EPA has full federal lawenforcement capabilities, and their charter allows them to participate inthe investigation and prosecution of “criminal conduct that threatenspeople’s health,” according to the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division (EPA CID).

The federal case involved two men, Tomas Alvarado and Eliseo LopezMartinez, who were sentenced for their role in conspiracies to possessand distribute controlled substances: cocaine, methamphetamine,and heroin. The operation stretched from California to Idaho, Montana,and South Dakota, according to court documents. 

The usual federalagencies were credited withthe operation, which was part of “Project Safe Bakken,” a cooperativeeffort between a number of federal and state law enforcement agenciessuch as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the FederalBureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearmsand Explosives (BATFE or more commonly called the ATF), and others.However, the press release also specifically credited the EPA forinvolvement in the project.

Project Safe Bakken was initiated specifically to help law enforcementdeal with the increase in crime that was occurring as a result of amajor influx of workers on the Bakken Shale deposit. 

In an exclusive interview with me for Breitbart News, a spokesperson forthe U.S. Attorney’s office, Victoria Francis, stated: “Yes the EPA ispart of Operation Safe Bakken and that’s why they were credited in thepress release we sent out.” Francis added: “This doesn’t necessarilymean they were part of this specific investigation, just that they arepart of Operation Safe Bakken, and that operation led to thisinvestigation.”

However, the recently formed Operation Safe Bakken was discussed by lawenforcement officials in a press conference. U.S. Attorney MichaelCotter, 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 dismantledrug trafficking organizations and criminal enterprises that areoperating in the Bakken region of Montana and North Dakota.” 

This meansthat the EPA has now entered the U.S. war on drugs in an operation withthe DEA, the FBI, and the ATF. U.S. Attorney Carter also specificallymentioned in the press conference that much of the area’smethamphetamine was coming from Washington State. Breitbart Newspreviously 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 SafeBakken exists within, and he stated:

“My understanding is that EPA involvement to this particular casewas limited, but our involvement and commitment to Project Safe Bakkenstill stands.” He added: “We stand ready to continue to support that effort. Werefer you to the Justice Department for any further details.”

In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, one of the foremostexperts 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 tointerpret their charter in this manner.” She added: “The EPA has beeninvolved in the construction of the border fences because of possibleenvironmental effects, but I’m not familiar with anything like this.”

The FBI told Breitbart News that they had no comment on the relationshipbetween the FBI and the EPA on matters of narcotics investigations. TheDEA responded by declining to comment and referring us to the FBI.

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