SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. -- As law enforcement officials continue to fight the influx of illegal drugs into northern Michigan, Dan Benishek said he does not believe federal authorities should play a role in helping to keep drugs off the streets. At a Sept. 5 Tea Party event in Mackinaw City, Benishek said the federal government should not be involved in the fight against drugs.*
"Dan Benishek’s position on drugs is not only dangerous but insulting to the men and women in law enforcement who work everyday to keep drugs away from our kids and off of our streets," said State Representative Gary McDowell, a candidate for Congress in Michigan’s First Congressional District. "As we continue to see illegal drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine in our communities, our police forces and sheriffs’ departments need more, not less, federal resources to help combat this problem."
Multi-jurisdictional task forces including UPSET (the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team), SANE (Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement), HUNT (Huron Undercover Narcotics Team), TNT (Traverse Narcotics Team), BAYANET (Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team) and STING (Strike Team Investigative Narcotics Group) fight drug-related crime in the First Congressional District using a combination of federal, state and local funds.
The Iron Mountain Daily News reported recently that the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET), a drug task force partially funded with federal funds, assisted federal law enforcement officials with the U.S. Forest Service in busting and dismantling a meth lab in Delta County.
"As a former Escanaba police officer and Michigan State Police trooper, I know firsthand the impact drugs have on our communities and the need for federal resources to help fight this epidemic," U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak said. "The first bill I sponsored and passed in Congress was to crack down on bulk purchases of ephedrine, which is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine (meth) and methcathinone (cat).
"Cat was a huge problem in northern Michigan in the early 1990s because of the toxic waste associated with manufacturing the drug as well as the effects of individuals abusing the drug," Stupak continued. "Without my legislation cat labs would have continued to proliferate and our youth would have access to yet one more illegal drug. I am appalled that any candidate for Congress, much less a physician, would support such a radical position that is clearly not in the best interest of northern Michigan. We need someone like Gary McDowell in Congress to continue the fight to keep drugs off our streets not someone who will make it even easier for drugs to destroy lives, families and communities."
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie is quickly becoming a key transit point for drugs heading to Michigan and the rest of the United States.
* Click here to view the video of Benishek’s comments at the Tea Party event.