Plattsburgh Press Republican - Owens Bills Seek To Bolster Border
North Country Congressman William Owens has introduced two bills that he believes will enhance trade and strengthen security along the U.S.-Canada border.
The Cross Border Reservation Drug Trafficking Sentence Enhancement Act would add to the sentence of anyone found guilty of using Indian tribal lands to smuggle drugs through an additional fine and or an additional 10-year prison sentence, according to a news release from Owens.
The Northern Border Counter-Narcotics Strategy Act will enhance American response to illegal trafficking of drugs by requiring the director of National Drug Control Policy to work jointly with the secretary of Homeland Security to develop a counter-narcotics strategy and better coordinate a working relationship between Indian tribal law-enforcement agencies and the U.S. government.
"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."
Both Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie and Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne, who serve border counties, support the proposed legislation.
"These bills are exactly what our communities need right now," Wylie said.
"This legislation will send a clear message to those who think they can break international laws and endanger our region, that we will not stand for it."
Champagne said: "I cannot thank Congressman Owens enough for his efforts today to address the problems in areas that criminals continue to exploit through drug, people and weapons smuggling. These bills show a continued concern for our community and border safety."