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US attorney: Proposed lab cuts coming at bad time

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - The U.S. attorney in North Dakota says proposed cuts in a federal drug prevention program that provides money to the state crime lab could hurt efforts to beef up law enforcement in the oil patch.

The program is known as the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Its director says that funding for the North Dakota lab and others in the region likely will be trimmed in the next fiscal year and possibly eliminated after that because of pressure to reduce the federal budget.

The North Dakota lab received about $78,000 from the program for 2013.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon says the projected cuts come at a "particularly bad time here in North Dakota'' because of dramatic increases in criminal cases tied to increasing population in western counties.

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