MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (AP) -- U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his agency's civil asset forfeiture program and decried the rising number of homicides and opioid deaths nationwide during a speech before dozens of Oklahoma sheriffs and law enforcement officers.
Sessions was the keynote speaker Thursday during a meeting of the Oklahoma Sheriff's Association in Midwest City.
Sessions also voiced concern over efforts to reduce federal sentences and cited statistics showing a recent increase in violent crime nationwide. He says Oklahoma's murder rate jumped 40 percent from 2014 to 2016, while the number of overdose deaths in Oklahoma spiked by nearly 70 percent over the last decade.
The head of the Oklahoma Sheriff's Association and some Republican lawmakers who spoke at Thursday's event vowed to oppose legislative efforts next year to reduce certain criminal penalties.
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