High Intensity Drug Trafficking AreaInternational
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Atlanta HIDTA

Mission Statement: The mission of the Atlanta HIDTA is to improve the quality of life in metropolitan Atlanta by reducing the availability of and demand for illicit drugs; curtailing the attendant violent crime and illegal firearms trafficking; eliminating the profits from illegal drug related activities, and reclaiming neighborhoods from criminal control. The HIDTA Mission is accomplished through integration of prevention and drug treatment support linked to strict enforcement by the HIDTA Task Force employing applicable federal, state and local laws. The HIDTA Task Force along with DeKalb Police units operating within the DeKalb HIDTA Enforcement Initiative are focused on dismantling major illicit drug organizations within or directly influencing the Atlanta HIDTA's geographical areas of responsibility.

General Information:
Year of Designation: 1995
Geographic Areas of Responsibility:
Georgia: City of Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb Counties and Hartsfield International Airport
Contact: (404) 815-4400

Threat Abstract:

Metro Atlanta's rapidly expanding immigrant/refugee population and long standing preference as a significant importation base, wholesale and retail distribution point, consumption hub, storage depot and rendezvous point are causative factors in the movement of controlled substances. Metropolitan Atlanta is comprised of the City of Atlanta, Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb, and 17 contiguous counties. Its population, of more than 5 million people, represents the heaviest human density and most ethnically diverse area in Georgia. Within the City of Atlanta and the boundaries of Clayton County stands Hartsfield International Airport, the nations busiest, in terms of air cargo and passenger volume. Peachtree DeKalb Airport, also situated in one of the Atlanta HIDTA, is the second busiest air terminal in the state. The existing zones identified for HIDTA program activities are the city of Atlanta (incorporated) Fulton and DeKalb counties and the Federal Inspection Station at Hartsfield Airport. The most prevalent available drugs are, in rank order: marijuana, cocaine (crack), methamphetamine and heroin.

In metro Atlanta, Mexican criminal organizations routinely engage in wholesale level trafficking and, to a lesser extent, in retail distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. These groups traffic in multi-kilogram quantities of controlled substances supplied from south Florida, southern California, Texas and Mexico. Mexican criminal groups interface with local major traffickers without regard to ethnic affiliation and are primary sources for drugs within the Atlanta HIDTA area. Criminal hierarchy and organized infrastructure from locally based organizations as well as local national distributors represent the target groups for the Atlanta HIDTA Task Force.

Crack cocaine distribution and concomitant violent felonies continue to be the principal criminal activities in the HIDTA zones. Street distribution of crack cocaine has created within specific urban areas, a level of violence and social decay never before experienced in this city. This deterioration is not limited to designated HIDTA zones. The corrosive influence of drug abuse, trafficking and violence has spread to a number of new untargeted zones in the city of Atlanta and to specific locales in contiguous metro counties. During 2000, as the Atlanta HIDTA's Automated Analytical Intelligence Facility and other initiatives develop, HIDTA Managers, under the strategic direction of the Atlanta HIDTA Executive Committee, will expand targeting and will apply investigative resources appropriate to the emerging threat.

Strategy Abstract:

The Atlanta HIDTA Program is comprised of a coalition of federal, state and local law enforcement, prosecutive and drug treatment agencies - each with individual jurisdiction, mission and operational priorities. Each contributes resources and services to critical HIDTA functions of law enforcement, intelligence investigation, prosecution and overall criminal justice support to mandatory drug treatment. The existing Atlanta HIDTA Task Force (7 Groups) is composed of 57 federal, state and local enforcement officers deployed at two HIDTA operational locations and dedicated to the Atlanta HIDTA enforcement mission and its sub-initiatives. In initiative #3 (Memorial Drive) eight DeKalb County Police officers and a HIDTA funded canine carryout interdictory and investigative activity on a DeKalb County corridor infamous for drug trafficking and violence. Offsite activities are coordinated with HIDTA Task Force sub-initiatives and intelligence programs through two additional DeKalb officers assigned full-time to the HIDTA Investigative Support Center (ISC). Coordination of HIDTA Airport activities occurs through a U. S. Customs agent assigned to the ISC.

Investigative Support Center:

The Atlanta HIDTA Investigative Support Center (ISC) provides significantly enhanced technical service support and housing for the HIDTA Task Force and its constituent law enforcement agencies. In addition, the center houses the Analytical Intelligence Center (AIC) to include the Metropolitan Atlanta Joint Intelligence Group (MAJIG) that serves as the hub for sharing drug and criminal intelligence among federal, state and local agencies and promotes the exchange of information. Also, a completely automated multi-station wiretap facility, technical equipment warehouse and large booking and debriefing facility are located within the ISC along with criminal information databases from federal, state and local LEAs. The Atlanta HIDTA Investigative Support Center provides for full development of HIDTA strategies and initiatives in Metropolitan Atlanta. It is fulfilling the vision and policy guidance of the HIDTA Executive Committee.

Initiatives that were approved to implement the 2000 Atlanta HIDTA Strategy include:

  1. Atlanta HIDTA Task Force—collocated members from 16 federal, state, and local agencies target core and secondary organizations involved in the distribution of illicit narcotics and armed violence within HIDTA Zones. The Task Force performs overt, covert and technical investigative operations to measurably eradicate drug distribution and violence in the Atlanta HIDTA region.
  2. Automated Analytical Intelligence Facility (AAIF)—provides HIDTA Task Force with operational analytical support for ongoing "initiative driven" case activity through access to criminal and commercial databases. The AAIF also provides "deconfliction" services; strategic intelligence for refined targeting and officer resource allocation. Drug threat assessments and in-service analytical intelligence training are additional support functions provided by the AAIF.
  3. Memorial Drive Corridor—enhances drug law enforcement operations in a target area of DeKalb County under a coordinated design for high impact on narcotics distribution and violence. Law enforcement efforts will be directed at reducing mid to upper-level drug distribution organizations and street level drug sales through enhanced interdiction and investigation of targeted violator groups operating on or near Memorial Drive.
  4. Investigative Support Center (ISC)—at this center, collocated members from Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies provide support to the HIDTA Task Force. Technical equipment, enhanced automated investigative services, refined intelligence analysis, in-service training, drug treatment and other HIDTA administrative support functions are housed at this HIDTA Center, 763 Juniper Street, Atlanta, GA 30308.
  5. Administrative Support Initiative—strengthens financial management and resource availability and accountability for Atlanta HIDTA management, consistent with state, local and federal audit and accountability requirements.
  6. Atlanta HIDTA Crime Laboratory—provides technical support through laboratory services to drug related investigations and through enhanced firearm forensics at the GBI laboratory serving all HIDTA law enforcement agencies.
  7. Drug Treatment Program (DeKalb/Fulton Counties)—since late 1997, HIDTA grant funding has supported a mandatory pre-trial drug treatment program for more than 60 addicted recidivist felons in Fulton and DeKalb Counties. FY 2000 Atlanta HIDTA Treatment Funding will no longer be focused on actual treatment of addicts but rather on evaluation of services and administrative development of treatment support systems for treatment of prison populations. The Georgia State Department of Corrections will serve as grant award recipient agency for FY 2000 HIDTA Drug Treatment Programming.
  8. Automated Systems Support To Evaluation Functions—provides developing automated information systems support to HIDTA initiatives for evaluating initiative "inputs, outputs and outcomes," tracks investigations, statistics, and maintains budget and inventory controls for all Atlanta HIDTA administrative support functions.
  9. Prosecution Support Initiative—provides on-site prosecutive and legal services to the HIDTA Task Force and management; enhances interjurisdictional prosecution coordination; prosecutor liaison, and serves as legal training officer and HIDTA staff attorney in Fulton and DeKalb Counties for HIDTA zones located in the federal Northern District of Georgia.
  10. Management and Administration—Provides operational and administrative management direction to the activities of sworn law enforcement personnel assigned to the Atlanta HIDTA Task Force and Investigative Support Center. Provides oversight to mission driven initiatives, budget development and expenditures for all HIDTA related activities. Provides administrative management direction to administrative staff, and HIDTA members assigned to the HIDTA Task Force and HIDTA Investigative Support Center in Atlanta.


The Atlanta HIDTA Task Force and the DeKalb HIDTA Enforcement Initiatives, along with accompanying support initiatives have provided sustained focused law enforcement actions and investigations on specifically targeted organizations and individuals in 10 high violence and drug crime areas in metropolitan Atlanta. Intelligence support initiatives are enhancing evaluative capabilities and targeting for HIDTA agencies along with a commensurate deconfliction and coordination mechanism. Title III and technical capabilities have been developed for both enforcement initiatives and for all 13 LEAs participating in the program. All HIDTA agencies are receiving value added support in terms of forensics (crime lab) and technical intelligence support from the HIDTA Investigative Support Center.

Participating Agencies:

Federal: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Internal Revenue Service, United States Customs Service, United States Marshals Service, United States Housing and Urban Development
State: Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia National Guard, and Georgia State Patrol
Local: Atlanta Police Department and DeKalb County Department of Public Safety
Other: DeKalb County District Attorney's Office, Fulton County District Attorney's Office, Georgia Department of Human Resources, Georgia State Attorney General's Office, Georgia State Department of Corrections, Metropolitan Atlanta Rail and Transit Authority (MARTA) and United States Attorney's Office (NDGA)

Information is provided by the Atlanta HIDTA.

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