House passes Owens legislation to fight drug trafficking across U.S.-Canadian border
Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 6:31 am

WASHINGTON – Legislation by Congressman Bill Owens strengthening efforts against drug trafficking on the northern border passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday night.

The Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy Act was passed unanimously by a vote of 413-0.

“It is vital to both the economic development of our region and the safety of our community that we take steps to stop the drug trade across our northern border,” Owens said. “Northern New York has benefitted for decades from a robust business relationship across international lines, but any illegal activity that takes place over our border threatens that relationship.”

The proposal would enhance American response to illegal trafficking of drugs by requiring the Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to submit to Congress a Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy that includes a clear plan to stop the drug trade and coordinate a better working relationship between Indian tribal law enforcement agencies and the United States government.

When introduced, Owens aides said, area district attorneys praised Owens’ quick action in introducing legislation to assist northern border communities:

“The Northern Border has long been exploited by those engaged in cross border drug trafficking. Its devastating impact is felt not only here in Northern New York, but in communities throughout the northeastern United States, as many of our young people are lured into a life of crime,” said St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé. “I applaud Congressman Owens’ efforts to introduce federal legislation that will help direct attention and much needed resources to this problem.”

Senator Charles Schumer has introduced a companion bill, referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.