Gov. Brad Little plans trip to Mexico border, will deploy Idaho State Police troopers

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Idaho Gov. Brad Little and a team of Idaho State Police troopers soon will head to Texas to help stop drugs from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the governor’s office.

The upcoming trip, which the governor’s office announced Tuesday, will be the second time since 2021 that the Republican governor has directed law enforcement resources to the southern U.S.-Mexico border. During his January State of the State address, Little said that the “vast majority” of illicit drugs in Idaho are sourced in Mexico.

Little spoke with Kuna high school students Tuesday, on “National Fentanyl Awareness Day,” about the dangers of fentanyl, the potent opioid that killed 152 Idahoans in 2021, according to the latest available data from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

“Take this problem seriously and learn more about it,” Little told the students, according to a news release. “Most importantly, take care of each other. Look out for yourselves and your friends.”

Combating opioid-related deaths has been a priority for Little in recent years. Last year, Little convened a law enforcement and citizen task force that traveled the state to gather information about fentanyl and meth. A new campaign, Fentanyl Takes All, seeks to educate young people and parents about fentanyl dangers.

The state also has directed additional funding to law enforcement for roadside drug testing equipment, and a new Idaho State Police drug interdiction team is in development.

Little will head to Texas in two weeks to deploy a team of Idaho State Police personnel. The team will assist the state of Texas on “a month-long mission for drug and fentanyl interdiction efforts at the border,” according to the governor’s news release.

The governor’s office tied the trip to the expiration of Title 42, a COVID-19 pandemic policy enacted by former President Donald Trump’s administration that allowed border authorities to quickly expel migrants crossing the border. The policy is set to expire Thursday.

A “spike in illegal border crossings and even more fentanyl coming across the open border” is expected as the policy expires, the news release said.

The governor’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for details on the travel costs.

In 2021, Republican governors in Arizona and Texas asked other state leaders to help with border security. Little sent five Idaho State Police troopers on a three-week mission to the border, which cost the state $53,391.