Jenkins introduces bill to establish interagency task force targeting heroin, fentanyl trafficking

A task force comprised of federal law enforcers would be established to guide and coordinate federal agencies’ response to the heroin and fentanyl epidemic under a bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) on Monday.

Jenkins’ bill would create an interagency task force to focus federal efforts on rooting out and dismantling organizations that traffic fentanyl and heroin from foreign countries, as well as groups that produce and distribute heroin domestically.

The legislation, the Fentanyl and Heroin Task Force Act, would bring together representatives from Customs and Border Protection, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations division, the IRS, the International Trade Administration, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to form the task force.

“Last week, I held a roundtable discussion on the fentanyl crisis, hearing directly from the men and women who are on the front lines battling this most challenging public health and safety crisis,” Jenkins said. “I learned that while steps have been taken to coordinate efforts at the federal level, there isn’t an interagency task force solely focused on eradicating fentanyl and heroin trafficking. The crisis is deepening every day, and this needs to happen — and it needs to happen now.”

The task force would also help improve state and local efforts by promoting the sharing of best practices and available information.

“This task force will bring together federal agencies to ensure communication and resources are coordinated and targeted, all while working with state and local law enforcement,” Jenkins said. “We can and must do more to give our law enforcement agencies the tools they need to stop fentanyl flowing from China and Mexico into our communities.”

Additionally, the task force would provide a summary of current efforts to combat heroin and fentanyl trafficking and recommend legislation to Congress to strengthen those efforts.

U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) is the original cosponsor of the bill.