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Monday, December 25, 2000

Hawaii gets
$2.6 million for
drug programs

Star-Bulletin staff

Congress has approved $2.67 million for anti-drug and customs programs in Hawaii, U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye announced.

The initiatives are in the Fiscal Year 2001 Treasury and General Government Appropriations measure, which was part of the final budget deal negotiated between the congressional leadership and the White House.

Congress passed the measure earlier this month.

The committee approved the Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Program for $1.92 million. The funds will be used to gather, analyze and disseminate drug trafficking and money laundering intelligence for use by Hawaii's law enforcement agencies.

Hawaii was identified as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in June 1999.

The Hawaii HIDTA Executive Committee was formed to coordinate the counterdrug efforts of 16 government agencies.

"Due to Hawaii's unique island configuration, the drug flow into and through Hawaii can be significantly disrupted by focusing drug intelligence, interdiction and enforcement resources," Inouye said.

"This funding will support these efforts, as well as other Hawaii HIDTA initiatives, such as education and drug prevention programs," he said.

A $750,000 measure is also being made for part-time and temporary customs inspectors at the Honolulu International Airport to help with the large number of passengers who arrive at the airport in the early mornings and late evenings.

The initiative also includes a provision that continues to require the federal government to fully staff TaxPayer Advocate offices in Hawaii and Alaska. The offices were set up in these states to eliminate the problems that arise when Alaska and Hawaii taxpayers seek assistance from the federal government's mainland-based toll-free lines and service centers.

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