Mineral County to receive Operation Stonegarden grant

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U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., is delivering on his promise to secure the border, combat drug trafficking and strengthen local law enforcement in Montana.

According to the Sidney Herald, Tester, as ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, secured Operation Stonegarden grants worth more than $1.5 million for communities in 14 counties across Montana. That is about $428,000 more than for fiscal year 2017.

Communities in Mineral and Lake counties will receive grants in the amount of $100,000, and Kalispell/Flathead County’s grant will be for $200,000. Flathead County received an Operation Stonegarden grant for fiscal year 2017, but Mineral and Lake counties did not.

Montana law enforcement agencies use Operation Stonegarden grants to increase preparedness, coordination, and effectiveness along the state’s 545-mile northern border.

Tester used his leadership position to increase Stonegarden funding by 55 percent, the report said. These grants are issued to local governments and federally-recognized tribal governments to defend the country’s borders from terrorism, intercept illegal drugs, and combat human trafficking.

“Nothing is more important than keeping our borders secure and our communities safe,” Tester said. “These resources will boost local law enforcement’s ability to stop dangerous drugs from coming through our ports and ensure there are no weak links along our border.”

Last year, Montana communities received $1,058,250 in Stonegarden grants. This year, thanks to Tester’s language in the government funding agreement, there has been a dramatic increase in Montana grants.

“We are excited for this funding to continue our mission of supplementing the security of the Northern Border. Having extra eyes and ears on the ground is essential to our National Security,” said Hill County Sheriff Jamie Ross. “We thank Sen. Tester for all the work he’s done to ensure we receive these funds.”

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