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5 N.C. Counties Designated 'High Intensity' Areas for Drugs

The corridor including Durham, Johnston, Wake, Wayne and Wilson counties is a significant center of illegal drug production, a report says.

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WASHINGTON — Five counties in North Carolina are among the 26 across the nation designated as high intensity drug trafficking areas, the federal government said Thursday.

According to a report issued by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Durham, Johnston, Wake, Wayne and Wilson are among the regions that "exhibit serious drug-trafficking problems and harmfully impact other areas of the country."

The designation makes additional federal funds, equipment and technology available to those counties for fighting drug production, manufacture and distribution.

"No state can properly deal with this by themselves," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said. "They need to work together with the federal government, and we appreciate the help that they're providing."

The bulk of the funding, which is still undetermined, will be used locally to pay the overtime costs of officers working on long-term drug investigations.

The five North Carolina counties are the first in the state to receive this designation and will be part of the Atlanta region's HIDTA.

In 2007, the HIDTA program provided more than $224 million to support drug-enforcement efforts nationwide.


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