Two Counties in the Permian Basin Labeled "Major Trafficking Areas"

by Antonio Lujan
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA - Many have moved to West Texas to take advantage of job opportunities available in our area, but an unwanted business is also booming.

"There is a major corridor of drug smuggling between Ojinaga-Presidio and continuing up into the Midland-Odessa area," FBI Supervisory Resident Agent, Matthew Espenshade, said.

To help catch drug dealers, the Federal Government has sent in some money to expand its H-I-D-T-A Program.

Ector, Midland, and Andrews counties among others are now considered a high intensity drug trafficking zone.

FBI Supervisory Resident Agent, Matthew Espenshade, says their department applied for these monies years ago, and their request was finally granted.

But how much money are we talking about?

"About 200 thousand dollars from the H-I-D-T-A programs. A significant portion of that will be shared with state and local agencies," Espenshade said.

The FBI will use these funds to implement more sophisticated techniques in targeting drug hot spots.

"What I hope we see for the public's sake is that we will be taking down large scale trafficking organizations," Espenshade told NewsWest 9.

Even though the number of drug busts in the Basin are not as high as in larger metroplex areas, local officials say it's best to take action now before the problem gets out of hand.