(Idaho Governor’s Office Press Release, March 3, 2022)
Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little kicked off “Operation Esto Perpetua” today, a new strategy mentioned in his January 10 State of the State address that will serve to combat Idaho’s growing drug threat.
“Meth and fentanyl are the most serious and growing drug threats in Idaho, and there is a direct tie to the loose border with Mexico. There is much more we can do to make Idaho’s communities safer. With Operation Esto Perpetua, we are bringing together law enforcement, lawmakers, cities, counties, tribes, families, and the public in new ways with one goal – to meaningfully reduce the flow of fentanyl and meth into the State of Idaho,” Governor Little said.
Governor Little said the increasing availability of drugs – high supply, low price, and totally unpredictable potency – along with the impact on Idaho communities from abuse and crime related to drug abuse, present continuing threats to the health and safety of Idahoans.
Operation Esto Perpetua includes both a Law Enforcement Panel and a Citizens Action Group on Fentanyl. The Citizens Action Group on Fentanyl will meet regularly throughout the state over the next couple of months. They will hear from local law enforcement and members of the public about their loved ones’ experiences with fentanyl and meth. The Citizens Action Group will take input and comments from the public at each stop.
“I encourage Idahoans to participate in the regional meetings coming up over the next two months and share their personal experiences with the Citizens Action Group on Fentanyl. We need to hear from Idahoans about the impacts of fentanyl and meth in the lives of their loved ones,” Governor Little said.
More information about Operation Esto Perpetua and upcoming meetings is available at https://gov.idaho.gov/operation-esto-perpetua/.
The Law Enforcement Panel includes:
- Col. Ked Wills of the Idaho State Police
- Pocatello Chief of Police Roger Schei, representing the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association
- Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue, representing the Idaho Sheriffs Association
- Boise Police Detective Mike Miraglia, representing the Fraternal Order of the Police
- Marianne King, director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Policy
- Luke Malek, attorney and former prosecutor
The Citizens Action Group on Fentanyl includes:
- Shoshone-Paiute Tribe Chairman Brian Thomas
- Custer County Commissioner Wayne Butts
- Coeur d’Alene Mayor Jim Hammond
- House Speaker Scott Bedke
- Senator Abby Lee
- Dana Kirkham, former mayor of Ammon, eastern Idaho mother
- One other public member to be named
- Luke Malek will chair the action group
To reinforce Idaho’s commitment to this effort, Governor Little is seeking $250,000 to carry out the objectives of Operation Esto Perpetua.
Last year, Governor Little joined fellow governors in Texas to see firsthand the crisis playing out at the U.S.-Mexico border. The border crisis affects all states, not just Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. The governors strongly suggested 10 concrete policy solutions.
Idaho’s growing drug threat is a direct consequence of the loose border with Mexico. Law enforcement reporting shows the supply of illicit fentanyl from Mexico in the region has become much more prevalent. The majority of officers surveyed reported that investigations involving fentanyl were directly tied to sources in Mexico. Law enforcement reporting shows drugs are primarily transported into Oregon and Idaho from Mexico through California. Approximately 96-percent of Drug Trafficking Organizations investigated identified Mexico as the source country for drugs trafficked into the region.
Governor Little sent a team of Idaho State Police troopers to the U.S.-Mexico border last year to assist the State of Arizona with their drug interdiction efforts, and they returned with better knowledge and intel to fight the drug battle here in Idaho.