Nine Counties Receive Federal Designation to Fight Drug Trafficking
Washington, D.C. –Yesterday, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the designation of nine new counties throughout the Nation as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs), which will further the development of joint drug control efforts by Federal, State, local and tribal law enforcement officers in these areas and allow them to benefit from ongoing HIDTA initiatives. These counties include:
- Shelby County in Tennessee as part of the Gulf Coast HIDTA
- Navajo County in Arizona as part of the Southwest Border HIDTA – Arizona Region
- Jefferson County in New York as part of the New York/New Jersey HIDTA
- Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union, Buncombe, Henderson, and McDowell Counties in North Carolina as part of the Atlanta HIDTA
“In a difficult budget environment, now more than ever it is important for Federal, State and local partners to collaborate in order to maximize resources,” Kerlikowske said. “Designating these counties as HIDTAs will promote the kind of intergovernmental and interagency cooperation required to stem drug trafficking across this Nation.”
Consistent with the National Drug Control Strategy, the HIDTA program aims to reduce drug trafficking and production in the United States by:
- Facilitating cooperation among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to share information and implement coordinated enforcement activities;
- Enhancing law enforcement intelligence sharing among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies;
- Providing reliable law enforcement intelligence to law enforcement agencies to facilitate the design of effective enforcement strategies and operations; and
- Supporting coordinated law enforcement strategies that make the most of available resources to reduce the supply of illegal drugs in designated areas of the United States and in the Nation as a whole.
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug trafficking regions of the United States.
There are currently 28 HIDTAs, which include approximately 15 percent of all counties in the United States and 58 percent of the U.S. population. HIDTA-designated counties are located in 45 States, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.