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Idaho Gov. Little unveils ‘Operation Esto Perpetua’ initiative to fight fentanyl

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Gov. Brad Little, left, and Col. Kedrick Wills, director of the Idaho State Police announce “Operation Idaho Perpetual” Thursday at the Idaho State Capitol. Photo by Clark Corbin / Idaho Capital Sun.

Governor asking for $250,000 from general fund to create law enforcement panel, citizens group

Idaho Gov. Brad Little is asking for $250,000 to launch project “Operation Esto Perpetua,” an initiative he said will connect law enforcement, policymakers and families to fight fentanyl and other drugs in the state.

Little unveiled the initiative during a press conference Thursday afternoon at the Idaho State Capitol after originally previewing it during January’s State of the State address. Esto Perpetua is the state motto, and it means let it be perpetual, or may it endure forever in Latin.

The initiative creates a new law enforcement panel and a new citizens action group, which Little said will conduct public meetings around Idaho over the next two months with the goal of reducing the flow of fentanyl and meth into Idaho.

“We need to hear from Idahoans about the impacts of fentanyl and meth in the lives of their loved ones,” Little said.

Little and Col. Kedrick Wills, director of the Idaho State Police, said in one instance last week, Idaho State Police in Coeur d’Alene seized 100,000 fentanyl pills in a traffic stop.

One-fourth of those pills, or 25,000 pills, could contain a lethal dose of the drug, Little said.

“That is why there is the urgency we have,” Little told reporters Thursday.

Wills, Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue, Boise Police Department Detective Mike Miraglia, Sen. Abby Lee, R-Fruitland, and former prosecutor and legislator Luke Malek joined Little at Thursday’s announcement and will participate in the new action group or citizens panel.

The $250,000 would be one-time funding that would come from the general fund of the state budget, Little and his aides said.

The Idaho Capital Sun is a nonprofit news organization delivering accountability reporting on state government, politics and policy in the Gem state. As longtime Idahoans ourselves, we understand the challenges and opportunities facing Idaho. We provide in-depth reporting on legislative and state policy, health care, tax policy, the environment, Idaho’s explosive population growth and more. Our mission is relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Boise and beyond are made and how they affect everyday Idahoans. We aim to tell untold stories and provide data, context and analysis on the issues that matter most throughout the state. The Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.