CROWN POINT, Ind. — Two Indiana counties, one in the Indianapolis area and one in northwest Indiana, have been added to an anti-drug trafficking task force that has federal backing.

LaPorte and Marion counties are now part of the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which earned the designation from the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy. The office gives members, like county and municipal law enforcement agencies, access to federal resources to combat drug operations and increase enforcement. LaPorte County is in northwest Indiana and Marion County encompasses the Indianapolis area.

LaPorte County Sheriff John Boyd said drug trafficking needs to be fought from a regional standpoint because interstates and rail lines give drug dealers easy access to the northwest Indiana region.

Boyd said being a member of the task force means LaPorte County can share intelligence and strategies and partner on investigations.

“We have a significant drug problem in LaPorte County,” Boyd told The (Northwest Indiana) Times ( “We can’t do it locally.”

Porter County was added to the task force in 2011. Its sheriff, Dave Reynolds, said from members’ perspectives adding LaPorte County is a success.

“We know the drugs are coming from Chicago, and then to Lake and Porter counties,” Reynolds said. “This will allow us to solidify our efforts.”

And adding Marion County makes sense too, Reynolds said.

“A lot of drugs and gangs are going down (Interstate) 65 to Marion County,” he said. “We know there is a direct connection, so it makes perfect sense to add Marion County.”

Information from: The Times,