Rep. Daines pushed Tuesday for an increased federal effort to combat the recent influx of drug trafficking and related crime in the Bakken.

In a pair of letters sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Justice, Daines called for a “comprehensive, forward-looking strategy” to address the escalating law enforcement challenges in the Bakken.

In the letters, Daines stated that FBI agents stationed in Sidney, Montana, have been an asset to fighting crime but that further efforts are needed.

“Area judicial and law enforcement officials, however, have conveyed strong and intensifying concerns that dedicated federal resources are currently inadequate and have expressed the critical need for additional federal support in Eastern Montana,” Daines wrote. “After conversations with them, it is clear to me that a larger federal presence located directly in the Bakken communities is critical for the region’s safety and continued growth.”

Crime in the Bakken region, which encompasses Daniels, Richland, Roosevelt and Sheridan counties, increased 228 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to a Montana Board of Crime Control report. The use and distribution of methamphetamines has been a particularly pervasive issue in the region.

To support continued growth and ensure the safety of its residents, Daines requested in the letter to the DEA that the agency prioritize a larger law enforcement presence “located directly in the Bakken communities” to collaborate with local officials.