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Southwest Border HIDTA
California Partnership

Mission Statement: The Southwest Border HIDTA California Partnership, known as California Border Alliance Group (CBAG), seeks to measurably reduce drug trafficking, thereby reducing the impact of illicit drugs in this region and other areas of the country. The CBAG assists with the coordination of joint initiatives to deter, disrupt, and dismantle the most significant Drug Trafficking Organizations and their supporting transportation and money laundering organizations. The CBAG also emphasizes efforts against methamphetamine manufacturing, precursor supply, and abuse.

General Information:
Year of designation: 1990
Geographic area of responsibility:
California: San Diego and Imperial counties
Contact: (619) 557-5880

Threat Abstract:

The California Border Alliance Group (CBAG) was designated in 1990 as one of the five partnerships of the Southwest Border HIDTA. The area of responsibility extends from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Orange and Riverside County lines, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Arizona border. The geography of the location is unique. It ranges from beaches to deserts, with forested mountains in between. At the same time, it is home to the largest bi-national metropolis in the world. Although the 140-mile border facing the CBAG is only 7% of the entire U.S.-Mexican border, it is home to 60% of the entire Southwest Border population. The CBAG area of responsibility not only has five of the busiest land Ports of Entry to contend with, but also international airports and seaports, urban, rural and designated wilderness areas, oceans, mountains and deserts. The threats include smuggling, production and consumption of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and precursor chemicals. Money laundering, street gangs and a significant amount of drug abusers also pose threats. It remains one of the most active transit areas for drugs and illegal aliens moving north, and for monies travelling south.

Importation of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine through San Diego and Imperial counties, marijuana cultivation and methamphetamine manufacturing, and high drug use rates (especially methamphetamine) are the primary regional drug threats. During 1999, CBAG task forces and member agencies seized in excess of 180,239 Kg of Marijuana, 3,666 Kg of Cocaine, 99 Kg of Heroin, 577Kg of Methamphetamine, 67 Clandestine Labs, and over $16 Million in cash. 52,000 marijuana plants (114,000 pounds) were seized from National Forest lands alone in San Diego County. Drug- and Border-related violence continues: on February 27, 2000, the Tijuana Police Chief was assassinated, followed in April by the torture-murder of three Mexican narcotics officers who had been working with U.S. agencies.

Strategy Abstract:

To accomplish its mission, the CBAG coordinates 18 intelligence-driven, joint, multi-agency coordinated initiatives, which are organized into five mutually-supporting subsystems: Intelligence, Interdiction, Investigation, Prosecution, and Demand Reduction.

Each agency has its own strategies, requirements, and missions. The CBAG Executive Committee, through subcommittees, coordinates the integration and synchronization of efforts to reduce drug trafficking, eliminate unnecessary duplication, and improve the systematic sharing of intelligence.

The Executive Committee monitors the implementation of the strategy to ensure the joint efforts of the CBAG produce the desired impact. The Committee provides a coordination umbrella over networked joint task forces, the intelligence center, task forces not funded by CBAG, and single agency task forces and narcotics units within the CBAG. The Committee is formed of 15 Members/Officers, 7 federal and 8 state/local. An Intelligence Subcommittee provides guidance to the Intelligence Center (the San Diego/Imperial County NIN) and develops intelligence policies for the approval of the Executive Committee. A Fiscal Subcommittee recommends budget and reprogramming requests for Executive Committee action and approval. The CBAG Director provides day-to-day coordination and programmatic and fiscal accountability critical to the CBAG. The Director is responsible for developing draft proposals of the Threat Assessment, Strategy, Initiatives, and Annual Report for decisions by the CBAG Executive Committee.

Investigative Support Center:

The San Diego/Imperial Counties Regional Narcotic Information Network (NIN), the CBAG's intelligence center, provides responsive deconfliction, pointer index, case support, intelligence fusion, and predictive analyses in cooperation and coordination with the Customs Intelligence Group, Law Enforcement Coordination Center intelligence cells, and member agency intelligence units. Interdiction operations and investigations are coordinated with the intelligence center to the greatest extent practicable, with exceptions for applicable grand jury secrecy, privacy of taxpayer information, Title III restrictions, and agency security requirements. The intelligence center works to identify and assess core and secondary drug trafficking organizations, and develop organizational profiles including key personalities, methodologies, facilities, assets, and capabilities and vulnerabilities of those drug trafficking organizations. Further, the intelligence center assesses and prioritizes geographical areas and smuggling methodologies with the highest levels of trafficking activity. Based on these assessments, the intelligence center develops a prioritized list of targets, identifying critical nodes and their susceptibility to interdiction, investigation, prosecution, or further intelligence exploitation. This necessitates, within prudent security limits, the free and mutual flow of information to the NIN, with the full cooperation of all participating Law Enforcement Agencies.

Initiatives that were approved to implement the 2000 Southwest Border HIDTA California Border Alliance Group Strategy:

  1. Customs Intelligence Group—a collocated, multi-agency group that provides intelligence support to the Operation Alliance Joint Task Force (San Ysidro) through post seizure analysis of all ports of entry, Immigration and Naturalization Service, U.S. Customs Service, and U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint drug arrests and seizures.
  2. San Diego/Imperial County Regional Narcotic Information Network (NIN)—the CBAG's intelligence center provides responsive deconfliction, pointer index, case support, intelligence fusion and predictive analysis in cooperation and coordination with the Customs Intelligence Group, agency intelligence units, and the two LECCs in East San Diego County and the Imperial Valley.
  3. CBAG Methamphetamine Initiative—consists of infrastructure and operational support four initiatives attack the methamphetamine crisis in all aspects from precursor chemical suppliers, through manufacturing or importation and distribution, to the user.
  4. National Methamphetamine Chemical Initiative—works with its members to improve support of chemical precursor investigations coordinating law enforcement agencies' policies, implementing programs and working with supporting intelligence centers. Coordinates investigations, and assists its members in identifying precursor violators who may merit criminal or civil enforcement action. Promotes information sharing and training to law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, probation/parole, family services/social workers, etc., providing critical enforcement updates at both meetings and through the distribution of current trends and methods of operation.
  5. Commercial Interdiction Unit—a collocated, multi-agency group that investigates drug trafficking through commercial means: parcel shipping businesses, airlines, buses, trains, and commercial trucking industry. The unit investigates both inbound and outbound packages using both state and federal laws for enforcement.
  6. Major Mexican Traffickers Initiative—a major multi-agency initiative with five groups that address the Major multi-drug trafficking organizations operating in the Southern California and Northern Baja California, Mexico areas. Also targets official corruption, and is supported by a classified intelligence project.
  7. Operation Alliance Joint Task Force, San Ysidro—a major collocated, multi-agency task force that investigates narcotics smuggling, transportation and distribution groups along the California-Mexico border based on post seizure analysis. This task force is responsible for the investigation of all drug seizures effected by the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs at and between the ports of entry.
  8. San Diego Financial Task Force—a collocated, multi-agency task force that investigates and targets money laundering cells of domestic and international drug trafficking organizations for dismantlement, using long-term investigative strategies.
  9. San Diego Violent Crime Task Force—three multi-agency groups proactively investigates, apprehends and prosecutes gangs, major offenders, and fugitives - including illegal aliens—involved in narcotics trafficking and associated violent crime.
  10. East San Diego County Initiative—a collocated, multi-agency narcotics interdiction team, that detects, deters, and disrupts drug trafficking in the rural areas of East San Diego County and the Tecate border point of entry. Includes close coordination between agencies conducting both interdiction and investigation of trafficking groups and supporting infrastructure inside the United States.
  11. Imperial Valley Drug Coalition—a coalition of Federal, State, and local agencies that coordinates operations to detect, disrupt, and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations along the United States/ Mexican border and ports of entry within Imperial County. Coordination efforts are enhanced by co-located intelligence and operations divisions at the Imperial Valley Law Enforcement Coordination Center (LECC.)
  12. Marine Task Force—a collocated, multi-agency task force that targets drug smuggling organizations using the Pacific Ocean as a transportation route for cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine destined for the United States via west coast beaches, waterways, and maritime facilities. The first line of defense and the only joint maritime task force composed of Federal, State, and local law enforcement on the West Coast.
  13. Combined Border Prosecutions Initiative—collocated prosecutors use a cross-designated U.S. Attorney-District Attorney approach which provides for felony drug prosecutions of small volume federal border drug cases in state court, raising the deterrent effect for low level smugglers, while allowing Federal prosecutors to concentrate on major violators and OCDETF-level cases. Over 2,000 border drug-smuggling cases were prosecuted by the District Attorneys' Offices during FY99.
  14. California Border Alliance Group Support—responsible for the planning, coordinating and implementation of HIDTA Program policies and guidance; and supports the development of strategies, reports, and initiatives, day-to-day functioning of the Partnership, training, and fiscal and programmatic accountability.
  15. CBAG Demand Reduction Initiative—this team coordinates government and community-based demand reduction and prevention efforts, with special emphasis on young people, in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
  16. CBAG Strategic Technology Initiative—plans, develops, and implements technological solutions for counterdrug operations and investigations.
  17. HIDTA Investigative Narcotic Operations Support—provides technical and operational support to CBAG task forces conducting major counter narcotic investigations against organizations responsible for the importation, transshipment and distribution of drugs from the Southwest border into the United States.
  18. Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory—federal, state, and local agency members are collocated in this initiative to investigate and target computer technology used by major drug traffickers and money launderers in Southern California.


The CBAG measurably impacted drug trafficking in San Diego and Imperial Counties. Forty-five of 139 Drug Trafficking Organizations and supporting gangs (32 percent) identified in the Fiscal Year 1999 Threat Assessment were disrupted or dismantled from 10 to 100 percent by CBAG initiatives, task forces, and member agencies this year. Significant progress in the disruption of major drug trafficking organizations has been achieved through the efforts of multi-agency joint task forces and initiatives which have utilized historical conspiracy cases, sophisticated investigative methods, and coordinated interdiction efforts.

Participation in initiatives and task forces continues to increase. The number of personnel participating full- and part-time in CBAG initiatives increased from 477 in 1998 to 699 in 1999. Further, inter-initiative joint operations and investigations increased significantly. For example, the Operation Alliance Joint Task Force formed a Border Response Team which works with the East San Diego County Initiative, and established protocols for the coordinated investigation of Border Patrol seizures in East County by DEA and State / local agents.

Task Force and agency participation in the San Diego/Imperial County NIN (the CBAG's Regional Intelligence Center) continues to increase. During calendar year 1999, the NIN Watch Center staff processed 62,216 inquiries, which resulted in 23,912 hits in database files. There were also 69,523 entries into the WSIN/RISSNET database. Additionally, the Watch Center handled 7,307 critical events, which resulted in 412 conflicts, which were successfully resolved.

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 Attorney's Office, United States Border Patrol, United States Bureau of Land Management, United States Coast Guard, United States Customs Service, United States Forest Service, United States Marshals Service, United States Postal Inspection Service, United States Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, Department of Defense Joint Task Force Six

State: California Attorney General's Office, California Department of Justice-Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, California Department of Corrections, California Highway Patrol, California National Guard

Local: Calipatria Police Department, Brawley Police Department, Calexico Police Department, Carlsbad Police Department, Chula Vista Police Department, Coronado Police Department, El Centro Police Department, El Monte Police Department, Escondido Police Department, Holtville Police Department, Imperial County District Attorney's Office, Imperial County Sheriff's Office, Imperial County Fire Department, National City Police Department, Oceanside Police Department, San Diego Police Department, San Diego District Attorney's Office, San Diego County Sheriff's Department, San Diego County Probation Dept, San Diego Harbor Police Department, Westmoreland Police Department

Information is provided by the Southwest Border HIDTA California Partnership.

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