Attorney General William P. Barr today announced that the Department of Justice has awarded more than $1 million in forensic grants to help Wyoming officials protect citizens from dangerous drugs, sexual perpetrators and violent criminals.
The Attorney General made the announcement during a roundtable meeting with state and local law enforcement officials in Wyoming, where he joined Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill, U.S. Attorney for the District of Wyoming Mark Klaassen, Interim Director of Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Forrest Williams, and DEA Acting Administrator Tim Shea.
“Wyoming law enforcement work diligently every day to combat drug traffickers and dangerous criminals in their state,” said Attorney General Barr. “The important investments in building lab capacity and expanding forensic capabilities announced today will help squelch the flow of illegal drugs, prevent sex offenders from doing additional harm, and keep violent criminals off the streets of Wyoming’s communities.”
“Every day across Wyoming, traffickers and dangerous criminals look to bring lethal drugs and violence into our communities, while law enforcement agencies across the state are working around the clock to keep crime and addiction at bay,” said U.S. Attorney Klaassen. “These new resources will give our investigators and crime lab professionals state-of-the-art tools that they can leverage in the fight to protect Wyoming’s citizens and ensure that justice is served.”
The three grants from the Department’s Office of Justice Programs are being made to the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office. Awards from OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) will allow analysts to test samples and interpret results in cases involving violent crime and dangerous drugs. Some of the funds will go specifically to help toxicologists analyze opioids and reduce the backlog of opioids and synthetic drugs that have been submitted for testing. BJA funds will also cover training, equipment and overtime costs for DNA analysts. A grant from OJP’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART Office) will allow the entry of DNA evidence from sex offenses into the sex offender registry and help to upgrade technology, collection methods and storage capacity in an effort to link sexual perpetrators to other crimes in the DNA database.
States across the country are seeing a surge in activity involving methamphetamine and dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl. Wyoming is no exception. Drug traffickers use the state’s highways to transport illicit substances and introduce them into communities, where they fuel a cycle of addiction and crime. In July, a convicted drug courier received a 20-year prison sentence for carrying 46 pounds of meth along with significant quantities of cocaine, fentanyl and heroin. The case was the largest drug bust in the state’s history.
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components is located at www.ojp.gov.