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Duarte Introduces Legislation to Combat Fentanyl and Illegal Drugs in the Central Valley and Across the U.S.

STANISLAUS COUNTY, CA — Today, Congressman John Duarte (CA-13), along with Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-7), Congressman David Valadao (CA-22), Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Congressman Greg Pence (IN-6), and Congressman Gabe Vasquez (NM-2), announced the bipartisan High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Reauthorization Act that provides over $300,000,000 annually to help stop the spread of fentanyl and other illicit drugs in the Central Valley and across the United States.

Congressman John Duarte issued the following statement:

“The Valley, like many communities across our country, has been devastated by the fentanyl and drug epidemic in the United States. Throughout our district, I've seen the toll it's taken on families, children, and our law enforcement. That is why I am proud to introduce this bill to provide both financial support to help law enforcement get these drugs off our streets and judicial resources to put drug traffickers behind bars.

For Americans aged 18 to 45, fentanyl is considered the leading cause of death, and in 2023 alone, approximately 112,000 Americans died from this drug. Additionally, children and young adults are becoming more impacted.

Protecting our communities from illegal drugs is not a political issue. That is why the The HIDTA Reauthorization bill is supported by both Republican and Democrats, as well as local law enforcement officials. I look forward to working to advance this bill in the House.”

Local law enforcement officials and other stakeholders issued the following statements:

“The Central Valley HIDTA has seized 8,800 pounds of methamphetamine in the last year. Over 900 pounds of cocaine, 321 pounds of powdered fentanyl, and over 4.1 million doses of pills of fentanyl. Of the 4.1 million pills of fentanyl pills, 60 to 70% have a fatal level of fentanyl in them. This is a massive impact on our community. In Stanislaus County alone, we seized 58 pounds of powdered fentanyl which is enough to wipe out half of the United States.

As a Sheriff, everything comes down resources. This funding for the HIDTAs provides us the resources to go after these dealers to keep our communities safer.

  •  Jeff Dirkse, Stanislaus County Sheriff

 “Fentanyl is ravaging this county. We are losing hundreds of people in this county, annually. Our citizens are suffering thousands of life-threatening overdoses annually from this poison. These are people. They are not statistics. It’s our sons. It’s our daughters. It’s our neighbors and loved ones.

The law enforcement community is doing everything we can to combat this epidemic, but we need help, and this legislation provides that help. This HIDTA gives us the tools to effectively combat this crisis.”

  • Wendell Emerson, Stanislaus County Chief Deputy District Attorney

“Fentanyl has taken over drug trade. This is a disaster which people are starting to ignore. It’s a plague that people are treating as normal. Everyone we lose are individual tragedies. Every one of these people deserve dignity and justice, and they deserve all of us to respond to it.”

  •  Patrick Hogan, Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney

“The nice thing about these funds is the discretion it allows to pay for things of need. We use it to pay for large ticket equipment such as radios and trackers, helmets, vests, gas masks, drug identification equipment for fentanyl, subscription services for trackers, and miscellaneous supplies that are needed to conduct surveillance and process crime scenes.  If any funds are left over, it is used as “buy money”.  The Sheriff’s Office exhausts all HIDTA funds each year.”

  •  Patrick Withrow, San Joaquin County Sheriff

“I urge our members of Congress to stop playing games and pass the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Reauthorization Act of 2024. Fentanyl is killing our kids and poisoning our communities. Passage of HIDTA will give me and my office the tools we need to fight the current fentanyl epidemic. It’s taking the lives of our youth and robbing them of their future and robbing countless mothers and fathers of their sons and daughters.”

  •  Ron Freitas, San Joaquin County District Attorney

“It is only through our collective effort that we can make a positive impact on the well-being of our community.”

  •  Kevin Panyanouvong, Stanislaus County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services, Associate Director

“StanHOPE stands for Stanislaus Healing from Overdose Poisoning through Education. We’re trying to do our part to help stop the stigma and show that this can happen to all kinds of families. They can happen to our family. They can happen to you.

  •  Christie Hoffmann, StanHOPE families

“The HIDTA Reauthorization Act of 2024 is a critical component of our collective effort to fight the fentanyl and drug crisis threatening our nation. For smaller counties like ours in Madera, the Act's emphasis on bolstered funding and strategic enhancements in drug interdiction efforts is a game-changer. It fosters unparalleled collaboration across local, state, and federal agencies, enabling us to extend our reach beyond county lines to combat the major drug trafficking organizations that plague our communities. As Sheriff, I am confident that this legislation will provide our law enforcement teams with essential tools and support needed to help safeguard our citizens and hold traffickers accountable.”

  •  Tyson Pogue, Madera County Sheriff

Members of Congress co-leading the HIDTA Bill issued the following statements:

“Fentanyl has continued to plague communities across the nation, especially here in the Central Valley. It is critical that we combat this epidemic with every tool at our disposal to save lives and keep our communities safe. I’m proud to support this bill to ensure our local, state, and federal law enforcement have the tools they need to get fentanyl and other illegal drugs off our streets.”

  •  Congressman David Valadao

“Every single day, law enforcement has the unenviable task of telling mother and fathers all throughout America the devastating news that their child or loved one has died from a fentanyl-related overdose. Don’t just take my word for it – sheriffs all throughout the Sixth District of Indiana have told me that fentanyl is the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever seen. As this lethal drug continues to kill more and more Americans, the Biden administration cannot continue to stand by and watch. Their radical open-border policies have allowed for this flood of illicit fentanyl to enter our nation, and the increase in crime rates, as a result of their soft-on-crime policies, have resulted in a lack of proper resources for police departments and local prosecutors to tackle the fentanyl crisis. Our legislation will aid with reversing these damages. Expanding the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program will help to stop the spread of deadly fentanyl in this country, save American lives, and make our communities safer, and I am proud to be a co-lead on this important legislation.”

  •  Congressman Greg Pence

“In a border district with highways that connect our ports of entry with cities all across America, the HIDTA program is essential to cracking down on smuggling dangerous drugs like fentanyl. I’m proud work with Rep. Duarte to reauthorize this program and make sure that our communities have the federal support they need to keep people safe."

  •  Congressman Gabe Vasquez

Background and Summary of the HIDTA Reauthorization Act

  • The HIDTA program was created in 1998 by Congress to combat the spread of illegal drugs by enabling local, state, and federal law enforcement officials to coordinate and share information with each other. The HIDTA program expired at the end of the Fiscal Year 2023
  • HIDTA Reauthorization Act enhances and renews the HIDTA program through Fiscal Year 2030.  Specifically, this bill
    • Provides $302 million to reauthorize HIDTA program until 2030
    • Authorizes an additional $14.2 million for the creation of a new grant program that law enforcement agencies can apply for to enhance fentanyl seizure and interdiction activities
    • Directs the U.S. Attorney General to assign not less than 16 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) to individual HIDTAs to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of organizations and individuals trafficking fentanyl to ensure that these criminals are prosecuted to the full extent of the law; and, 
    • Requires better coordination between law enforcement and immigration authorities to crack down on international drug cartels


Additional Information