Idaho Dispatch

Your Local Media Ally

Op-Ed: Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentencing Deters Criminals: Idaho Legislators Should Support House Bill 406 In the Fight Against Fentanyl

By • January 28, 2024

One pill can kill.

Idaho is at the front lines of the war against drugs. The primary enemy? Fentanyl. This synthetic opioid is one of the most lethal drugs we have ever seen. Idaho State Police Director Colonel Kedrick Wills recently reported that overdose deaths are now the leading cause of death in Idaho, having doubled from 2020 to 2021. At the same time, our U.S. Attorney for Idaho stated that six out of every 10 fentanyl pills contain a fatal dose.

The worst part is that fentanyl is here in Idaho, and it has arrived in a landslide. From 2020 to 2021, Idaho law enforcement confiscated 125,000 fentanyl pills; that is a 562% increase in just one year. In 2022, there were 270 opioid-related deaths in Idaho; 132 of those deaths were confirmed as deaths from fentanyl.

2023 saw even more alarming statistics. In June, officers made their largest bust in Idaho, seizing 30,000 fentanyl pills. The woman arrested was a main fentanyl distributor for a large drug trafficking organization that has direct ties to Mexico. In August, a multi-state investigation between Idaho and Oregon law enforcement led to the discovery of 21,000 fentanyl pills and 531 grams of fentanyl powder. Twenty-five people were arrested and charged. In December of 2023, a major statewide bust took place. An Idaho Falls Police investigation led to the seizure of 5,300 fentanyl pills in Idaho Falls, 400 pills in Pocatello, and 4800 more fentanyl pills in Coeur d’Alene. The investigation continued into Montana.

The numbers speak for themselves. These statistics from our law enforcement officers, who are in the trenches of this drug war every single day, are not the full story. Toxicology screenings are costly, so not every Idaho coroner runs a report for each overdose death. Which means, more than likely, the numbers surrounding fentanyl are much higher. But do we really need higher death numbers to know that we must take a stand against those bringing this dangerous drug into Idaho’s borders? No. What we need is to enact legislation that will deter fentanyl traffickers from the Gem State by adding fentanyl to our existing mandatory minimum sentencing laws. What we need is House Bill 406.

I support HB 406 and I hope the Idaho legislature will act in the best interests of Idahoans by passing HB 406 into law. We are not facing a crisis; we are living in a crisis. One micro dose of fentanyl can kill, and drug traffickers and dealers are finding it easy to peddle their poison on our streets because our fentanyl laws are simply not strong enough. HB 406 sends a strong message that if you are looking to profit from our communities’ harm, then you will pay the price.

This is not legislation to punish those who are struggling from addiction. Instead, this bill is a way to help stop the flow of a deadly narcotic. It is a legal update that will only affect those who distribute fentanyl or who bring fentanyl across our state lines, whether from the dangerous southern border or the liberal borders to our west.

Northern Idaho is my home, but it does not matter which part of the state you live in – fentanyl traffickers are in your town also. It is the duty of our elected officials to ensure all possible deterrents are in place for the protection of our families, our communities, and our Idaho.

Idaho’s message must be clear: if you traffic fentanyl in our state, you will be put behind bars.

Jim Woodward is a former State Senator for Legislative District 1, a small business owner, a retired Navy nuclear submariner, and an Idahoan.

This Op-Ed was submitted by Jim Woodward. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

Amazon Outlet

Tags: Colonel Kedrick Wills, Drug trafficking, Fentanyl, fentanyl distributor, HB 406, House Bill 406, Idaho State Police Director, Jim Woodward, Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, Mexico, Southern Border, War on drugs

9 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentencing Deters Criminals: Idaho Legislators Should Support House Bill 406 In the Fight Against Fentanyl

  1. You’ve told us about how fentanyl is showing up with greater frequency, and you’ve told us about the bill, but nowhere have you told us how minimum mandatory sentencing reduces crime.

  2. What happened to due process?
    What happened to one’s Constitutional Rights?
    Ever think of hiring competent Prosecutors and Judges, firing the bad ones?
    A universal “Mandatory Sentence” does not fit all.
    Why the stop gap of a Mandatory Sentence of just Jail time?
    In the 60’s Spain’s Generalissimo Franco had a “Mandatory Sentence” of life in prison or death for Marijuana.

    Ask yourselves this: What The Hell Are You About To Do???

  3. Jim, you are a proven liar.

    You voted as a Democrat but register and campaign as a Republican. People call you a RINO, but what a RINO really is is a party infiltrator and essentially a Democrat without the toxic -D label.

    Nobody should take seriously anything that you write or say.

  4. Jim wants his seat back terribly and is now trying to show how concerned he is. Unfortunately he is a shiny shoe republican that acts more like a Democrat. Let’s keep Scott Herndon who happens to also support this bill. Scott is true conservative. Not a good ole boy neo-con. Maybe Jim should be more active in preventing Snake River dams being removed in WA. Something his current Northern Lights job should be interested in.

  5. I’m watching Steve Bannon’s livestream at the Turning Point event in Las Vegas. He interviewed some true Republican activists from the Boise area, and the leader there informed Bannon that “Idaho is not red….and many of our Republicans are imposters….we don’t call them RINOs because they are really imposters.” I like INFILTRATORS better.

    Won’t matter to Woodward, Sauter, et al, because the Idaho oligarchs control them, and they refuse to vote how their conservative constituents demand.

  6. Jim RINO Woodward trying to get his lost job back. We will re elect Scott Herndon thank you very much. North Idaho does not need Democrat operatives like Jim Woodward mucking up the state. We voted fake Jim out of office and he cannot take the hint.

  7. Because the solution is always more government? Which mouth are you feeding? Are you feeding liberty with this legislation or the prison cartel to make even more money from slave labor? We have enough prisoners as it is, from people who did not cause damages other than to themselves. This is not only not a solution, it is just more of the endless financing of the good ole boys club. Hard pass.

  8. Mandatory sentencing removes discretion from prosecutors and judges.

    Unfortunately, Jim Woodward knows nothing about government except he wants loads more of it. He’s never seen a spending bill he didn’t support, and he’d sure love to get back in and vote for boys in girls sports again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *