US Attorney General Barr talks meth epidemic with Montana law enforcement

KALISPELL — U.S. Senator Steve Daines hosted U.S. Attorney General William Barr in Kalispell Friday to discuss Montana’s meth crisis. 

Local law enforcement voiced concerns to the Attorney General including Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino and Kalispell Police Chief Doug Overman.

Research from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services shows 23 deaths were attributed to methamphetamine in Montana in 2017.

The study shows more than 1,800 criminal violations involved meth in Montana that same year.

Senator Daines said the numbers jump off the page.

“The stats are staggering with what’s happening right now with methamphetamines right now in Montana. Meth crimes are up 690 percent from 2011-2017,” Daines said. 

Attorney General Barr said that Washington D.C. is working on adding additional resources to help Montana law enforcement fight the meth epidemic.

“I’m going back to Washington and taking a look to see how we can help build up more law enforcement infrastructure in some of these rural areas, and some of these reservation areas that are being hard hit right now and how we can help with additional resources,” Barr said.

Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino said our northern and southern borders are both avenues for meth coming into Montana and impacting the Flathead Valley.

“Majority of what we’re still seeing is that the narcotics are still coming from our border nexus, from Canada and our southern border and it is a huge aspect of what we see on the majority of larger case narcotic investigations,” Heino said.