ICE pledges resources to fight opioid epidemic in Ohio

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DAYTON, OH (WDTN) — Federal officials Friday announced more resources towards Ohio’s fight against the opioid epidemic.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – or ICE – pledged more money and more agents on the ground in Dayton.

ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan said: “We’re going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our law enforcement partners. This is ground zero and ICE is 100 per cent committed to ending this plague in Ohio. This is ground zero, let me say it again. This is going to be a model for what we do in the rest of the country.”

At a press conference at the University of Dayton, officials announced they are “significantly increasing the [number] of agents” in Ohio tasked with fighting the opioid epidemic.

“We have just received approval to open up an office in Dayton and also an office in Toledo, Ohio,” said Steve Francis, Special Agent In Charge of Security Investigations in Michigan and Ohio.

“We’re going to co-locate our agents with the DEA and also Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, here in Dayton.”

This week, ICE agents trained more than 300 law enforcement officers in Ohio on the Dark Net and Virtual Currency.

Senator Rob Portman noted more and more people are turning to the Internet to sell and buy drugs.

“Many websites, we focused on five of them that were happy to provide fentanyl online,” Portman said.

“They told us three things when they tried to sell us fentanyl. One was, use the United States Postal Service. Don’t use a private carrier. Why? Because the postal service doesn’t require advance data.”

Attorney General Mike DeWine acknowledged, the drug crisis has taken its toll on Ohio communities.

“We do need your help,” DeWine told ICE. “We thank you for what you’ve already done. And we thank you for your commitment, today.”

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