Twenty arrested in law enforcement operation

A two-day operation in the McKenzie County area involving agents with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, together with federal and local law enforcement agencies resulted in the arrest of 20 individuals, announced Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

The operation was the result of a long-term undercover investigation by state, local and federal agencies, targeting organized drug rings and other illegal activity in northwest North Dakota.

Approximately 50 traffic stops were made during the two-day operation. Agents seized quantities of drugs, drug paraphernalia, firearms and cash. Additionally, 14 illegal aliens were detained and turned over to Border Patrol. Criminal charges against several of the arrested individuals are pending.

The operation, which ended Thursday night, involved the Watford City and Williston Police Departments, McKenzie County and Williams County Sheriffs’ offices, BCI and the Metro Area and Northwest Narcotics Task Forces, ND Highway Patrol, the FBI, U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This operation was conducted in addition to the search warrant served in the New Town area headed up by federal authorities as announced by U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon.

“Criminals need to know that law enforcement is dedicated to ridding the area of illegal activity and that these operations will continue on an on-going basis,” Stenehjem said. “Citizens should be assured that our efforts will continue, focusing in particular on the illegal drug trade, human trafficking and the sex trade. The 2013 session of the North Dakota Legislature devoted additional resources to the Attorney General’s Office, as well as $16.6 million in grants to local law enforcement that has helped facilitate these kinds of operations,” Stenehjem concluded.