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Gov. Brad Little kicks off "Operation Esto Perpetua" to tackle illegal drug access in Idaho

Brad Little
Posted at 5:15 PM, Mar 03, 2022

BOISE, Idaho — Gov. Brad Little is taking action to try and cut down on illegal drug availability in Idaho. Inside the Statehouse Thursday, Little held a press conference kicking off “Operation Esto Perpetua” which is the new strategy he announced during his State of the State address.

“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,” Little said.

Little said increased availability, low prices and higher potency combine to present a serious drug threat to the health and safety of Idaho communities.

“Fentanyl has come into Idaho faster, is more addictive and more dangerous than any drug we’ve ever seen. Meth and heroin continue to be available and take lives in our state,” Col. Kedrick Wells said.

Esto Perpetua

Officers reported investigations on fentanyl directly tied to sources in Mexico, according to Little. Law enforcement says the drugs are primarily transported into Oregon and Idaho through California.

"96% of drug trafficking organizations invested and identified Mexico as a source country for drugs coming into our regions," Little said. "With Operation Esto Perpetua we are bringing together law enforcement, lawmakers, cities, counties tribes, families and the public in a new way with one goal; to meaningfully reduce the flow of fentanyl and methamphetamine into the state of Idaho."

The plan includes a law enforcement panel and a citizens action group on fentanyl and Little wants Idahoans to participate.

“The citizen's action group 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 experiences with fentanyl and meth,” Little said.

The law enforcement panel members are:

  • Col. Kedrick Wills, ISP
  • Roger Schei, Pocatello Chief of Police
  • Kieran Donahue, Canyon County Sheriff
  • Mike Miraglia, Boise Police Detective
  • Marianne King, director of Governor's Office of Drug Policy
  • Luke Malek, attorney and former state legislator

The citizens action group on fentanyl includes:

  • Brian Thomas, Shoshone-Pauite Tribe Chairman
  • Wayne Buttts, Custer County Commissioner
  • Jim Hammond, Coeur d'Alene Mayor
  • Scott Bedke, House speaker
  • Abby Lee, Senator
  • Dana Kirkham, former Ammon mayor
  • Luke Malek, attorney and former state legislator

He is seeking $250,000 from the general fund to carry out the plan.
Little joined 10 fellow governors at the Texas/Mexico border to witness the crisis. He also sent a team of Idaho State Police troopers to the border last year to assist Arizona with drug interdiction efforts and to learn more about how to fight the problem in Idaho.

More information on Operation Esto Perpetua can be found here.