LAPORTE — LaPorte County is seeing a reduction in the supply of heroin just five months since tapping into more state and federal resources to combat the problem.

That's according to LaPorte County Sheriff John Boyd, who believes a big reason is LaPorte County having joined Lake and Porter counties on Jan. 1 in becoming a federally designated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

"Some of our informants working the street as well as intelligence we're getting from the Chicagoland area is indicating heroin is becoming more difficult to obtain here in Northwest Indiana and in particular LaPorte County," Boyd said.

Local drug investigators from all three counties in the Region team up with federal and state law enforcement authorities on narcotics cases that sometimes reach into the Chicago area, where a vast majority of the heroin and other drugs flow from.

"We're going after the distribution centers. We want to stop it before it gets here rather than after it's gotten here," Boyd said.

Overtime racked up by local police on HIDTA-related cases is reimbursed by the federal government, and so are vehicles and equipment used by local police teaming up with state and federal agents under HIDTA.

That allows more manpower in the drug war locally without putting a financial pinch on cash-strapped municipalities

The LaPorte City Council on June 19 is expected to approve an ordinance that would set up a fund to accept HIDTA reimbursements.

"They do rack up quite a few hours on some of those big investigations, and it's a nice benefit to have that money come back to the city and not have to pay for it," Police Chief Adam Klimczak said.

Boyd said the federal government first sends the money to the city of Crown Point which then disperses the reimbursements to communities in all three HIDTA counties in the Region.

Another advantage of HIDTA is eliminating duplication that occurred sometimes when participating law enforcement agencies worked separately.

Those resources are now available to open more cases.

"We do think we are making a dent, but we also realize we have a ways to go. We're certainly not satisfied, but we're pleased where we are right now," Boyd said.

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