CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Federal lawmakers applauded the designation of Fayette County as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

James Carroll, the director of National Drug Control Policy, announced the decision on Tuesday, making Fayette County the 23rd county in the state to receive such designation

County bodies can receive federal resources to assist with drug control efforts between federal, state and local law enforcement officials.

“I am proud to announce that ONDCP has designated Fayette County as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which shows that Director Carroll understands the crisis we are facing across our state and the challenges facing Fayette County as they combat the opioid epidemic,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said. “We have advocated for Fayette County to receive this designation because of their unique qualifications in combatting the opioid crisis.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., stressed the importance of the extra financial resources.

“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ve worked hard to secure funds like those provided through the HIDTA program, and I will continue working with Director Carroll, others in the administration, and those on the frontlines here at home to finally put an end to this epidemic that has hurt so many across our state,” she said.

Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., called the designation important in addressing the opioid crisis.

“West Virginia is ground-zero for this tragic epidemic and has affected us all in heart-breaking ways.,” she said, “I am committed to continuing to find solutions to keep our community safe.”

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart also applauded the decision.

“West Virginia and the Southern District is once again the recipient of great news in the fight against drug peddlers. This is big news and Fayette County earned its HIDTA designation. I was happy to go to bat for Fayette County throughout the designation process, but it was Fayette County law enforcement that hit the ball out of the park,” he said.

Stuart pointed out Operation Mountaineer Highway as an example of successful collaboration between federal, state and local units; more than three dozen drug traffickers were arrested last September for distributing heroin, fentanyl and other drugs as part of a multi-state operation.

Hardy, Nicholas and Tucker counties were also up for designation but were passed over. Manchin said they will work on approving the designations in the future.

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