The Coastal Packet: LePage threatens to use National Guard against drug users

Wednesday, August 12

LePage threatens to use National Guard against drug users

Central Maine - Gov. Paul LePage says he is considering calling in the Maine National Guard to combat the state’s drug epidemic.

The governor told Bangor radio station WVOM  that he’ll deploy the guard if “the Legislature refuses to give us the resources we need.” The governor has repeatedly asked lawmakers to include money in the state budget for hiring additional agents at the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. The Legislature approved funding to add six MDEA agents, two state prosecutors and two judges for additional arrests and court cases this year, but LePage has said that he wants more and called the funding “chump change.”

It’s unclear how the governor would utilize the National Guard. A federal law known as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 limits how the federal government can use military personnel to enforce domestic laws. However, National Guard forces operating under state authority can be exempted from the act’s restrictions and could be used in some capacity as part of the state’s response to a drug problem.

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