Gov. Bryant and MBN react to drug task force cuts - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gov. Bryant and MBN react to drug task force cuts

Local agencies have expressed concerns about the impact it could have on the drug culture. MBN Director Marshall Fisher says those concerns are valid. Local agencies have expressed concerns about the impact it could have on the drug culture. MBN Director Marshall Fisher says those concerns are valid.
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Funding cuts are being made to the state's drug task forces, and state leaders say it's leaving gaps that can't be filled.

The cuts are a result of sequestration. Now that the funding lines are drawn, Gov. Phil Bryant is speaking out.

"The lack of enforcement will put people in danger. If I had to choose, I would put enforcement first and drug courts and treatment second," Bryant said.

But DPS says a series of meetings determined the money would be best served in the courts.

"If you can't apprehend the people who are manufacturing and distributing drugs, then you're going to have more users. And of course you overburden the entire system," explained Bryant.

Local agencies have expressed concerns about the impact it could have on the drug culture. Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director Marshall Fisher says those concerns are valid.

"Believe it or not, this kind of word gets out into the drug distribution community and it'll be interpreted as we've got free reign to do whatever we want in city x,y or z over here," described Fisher.

The other issue being raised is what aspect of the drug trade will be the target without the task forces.

"It will be a significant impact on the enforcement of street level drug dealing. As you know, MBN is focused on higher level drug dealers, if you will. We focus on organizations," said Fisher.

DPS pointed to MBN as a resource that could fill the void that's created.

"We do not have enough agents at MBN. We've not properly funded it," said Governor Bryant.

MBN Director Marshall Fisher says he's felt the crunch already.

"The fair assessment is we're going to do the best we can. Do we think we're going to fill in all those gaps, no I don't. That's an honest answer. I can tell you that we're going to do the best we can with the assets available," Fisher said.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

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