DEALogo DRCNet Response to the
Drug Enforcement Administration
Briefing Book


High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas

DRCNet Response:  Gosh, this program sure sounds great, doesn't it?  You just call for help and the DEA will come riding in on white horses to save your city.  But this is nothing new.  William Bennett tried heavy enforcement in Washington, DC, after he became Drug Czar.  It was a failure.  The only thing it accomplished was to fill up the jails.  He should have known better, too.  It was tried before in the early 1970s, under President Nixon. For the results of that effort -- straight from the person who ran it -- read A View From the Front Lines of the Drug War, by Judge Volney Brown.

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) were authorized by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and are administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The HIDTA program first provided an influx of money to the country's five most active drug trafficking areas that were selected in 1990. The current HIDTAs are New York City and Newark, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, and the Southwest Border. Two new HIDTA initiatives have been approved for Washington/Baltimore and Puerto Rico.

To qualify as a HIDTA, an area must:

DEA has employed HIDTA funding to establish task forces in 10 locations, and to enhance ongoing drug investigative activity in New York City and Miami. The task forces are composed of DEA special agents, state and local police officials, and other federal law enforcement personnel.



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