Special agents with the state's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE) spend all day fighting drug trafficking. Now, they're also battling to keep their jobs.
The BNE, which is the oldest drug bureau in the U.S., could see its budget axed by California's legislature. According to a spokesman for the Association of Special Agents, legislators are considering cutting the bureau's funding in half. That translates into $20 million and 70 to 100 fewer agents working in the state.
Agents say cuts to narcotic task forces would put the public at risk. They plan to launch an awareness campaign since much of what they do is behind the scenes and undercover.
"The type of investigations that we conduct are sensitive," said Ernie Limon, with the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. "We use very sensitive and high tech equipment to fight narcotic traffickers so a lot of information we can't put out to the public , and sometimes the legislators don't really realize what kind of work we do,and what kind of impact that we have."
The proposed cuts are scheduled to go to a final vote before legislators next week.