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Central Valley HIDTA

Mission Statement: To reduce the manufacturing, trafficking, and distribution of methamphetamine, precursor chemicals, and other dangerous drugs by attacking and dismantling the large-scale and often violent organizations responsible through the implementation of cooperative and innovative strategies.

General Information:
Year of Designation: 1999
Geographic Area of Responsibility:
California: Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare counties.
Contact: (559) 445-6205 and jmwhidta@aol.com

Threat Abstract:

The Central Valley of California is a major agricultural center for the nation. The population is approximately four million, but swells seasonally with migrant labor. The region contains two international airports, hundreds of private airstrips, and several major interstate highways, including Interstate 5 and Highway 99 (favored transportation routes for narcotics transit from Mexico and the Central Valley to the northwest) and Interstate 80 (a major eastbound pipeline). The Central Valley also has rail, bus, cargo, and shipping port facilities. The region is a primary manufacturing, transshipment, distribution, and consumption area for most illegal narcotics, and for methamphetamine at an alarming rate. Violence associated with the methamphetamine trade impacts the region's families, neighborhoods and schools. The Central Valley HIDTA utilizes an ambitious cooperative effort to identify, target and impact the region's Drug Trafficking Organizations. The area has recently experienced a dramatic increase in the number and scale of clandestine methamphetamine manufacturing laboratory operations, mostly operated by poly-drug trafficking organizations based in Mexico. These labs and so-called "super-labs" are situated in the Central Valley because of its proximity to principle precursor chemical supply companies and major interstate highways. These labs are large-scale, relatively sophisticated, and are carefully planned and guarded, and can produce 20-200 pounds of high purity methamphetamine per cooking cycles.

Strategy Abstract:

An Executive Committee is comprised of 14 members/officers (7 federal and 7 state/local) which integrates and synchronizes efforts at drug manufacturing and trafficking reduction points, eliminates unnecessary duplication of equipment and effort, improves the systematic creation and sharing of intelligence products and pro-active targeting information, and provides a unified approach between law enforcement and prosecution. Twenty-nine local, state and federal agencies participate in the HIDTA. The strategy is implemented through four collocated multi-agency task forces, an administrative/ management initiative, and the Investigative Support Center. Task forces focus on tying interdiction to the larger strategy of drug trafficking organizations, by targeting the most significant methamphetamine and precursor chemical traffickers and organizations. These traffickers and organizations are identified with the assistance of the Investigative Support Center (ISC) by utilizing effective techniques for the identification of drug trafficking organizations, the arrest of drug trafficking organization members, the seizure and forfeiture of their assets, and successful prosecutions. These techniques include controlled deliveries, undercover negotiations and purchases, pen registers, toll analysis, and Title III wire intercepts. Task forces actively pursue OCDETF cases. Investigative task forces focus on their areas of influence, which ultimately contributes to the entire HIDTA strategy. Successful prosecutions are the ultimate goal of HIDTA investigations. Prosecutors participate at every level of a HIDTA investigation, from targeting to strategizing.

Investigative Support Center:

The ISC makes it possible for task forces to develop coordinated proactive strategies for drug and money laundering enforcement and interdiction. The ISC collects and disseminates intelligence to enhance the task forces' ability to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organization operations. The ISC provides event and case deconfliction for officer safety and enhanced intelligence through the Los Angeles County Regional Criminal Intelligence Center (LA Clear) and strategic intelligence for refined targeting and officer resource allocation. The ISC provides HIDTA task forces with operational analytical support for ongoing "initiative driven" case activity through access to criminal and commercial databases. The ISC provides quarterly reporting for trend analysis and strategic planning.

Initiatives that were approved to implement the 2000 Central Valley HIDTA strategy include:

  1. CV HIDTA Management/ Administration Initiative—an initiative which provides guidance and direction to facilitate the coordination and administration of all HIDTA initiatives and related budgets in order to ensure that the HIDTA's strategy and subsequent initiatives/budgets are affecting the regional threat, and that HIDTA funds are targeting the intended mission.
  2. CV HIDTA Investigative Center—an initiative which supports CV HIDTA efforts to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations and related money laundering and violent crime by information collection, analysis and dissemination on drug trafficking organizations; reducing duplication of efforts; and enhancing the identification, targeting, arrest and prosecution of key drug trafficking organization members by facilitating information exchange.
  3. Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force—a collocated multi-agency initiative dedicated to the reduction of the large-scale manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine and precursor chemicals distribution in Fresno and Madera Counties by identifying, arresting and prosecuting major methamphetamine drug trafficking organizations; dismantling clandestine laboratories; identifying and targeting precursor chemical distributors for arrest and prosecution; identifying and targeting money-laundering operations; and pursuing asset seizures.
  4. Sacramento Area Intelligence/ Narcotics Task Force—a collocated multi-agency initiative dedicated to the disruption and dismantling of drug trafficking organizations in Sacramento County by integrating and supplementing the efforts of existing law enforcement; identifying drug trafficking organizations; identifying precursor chemical traffickers; developing related intelligence; and assigning leads to investigative groups for enforcement action.
  5. Southern Tri-County Drug Task Force—a collocated multi-agency task force dedicated to identifying, targeting, and dismantling drug trafficking organizations involved in the wholesale manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine and other drugs in Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties by: identifying, arresting, and prosecuting major methamphetamine drug trafficking organizations and precursor chemical distributors for arrest and prosecution; identifying and targeting money-laundering operations; pursuing asset seizures; linking clandestine labs and chemical dump sites; and coordinating intelligence through the ISC.
  6. StanislausSan JoaquinMerced Drug Task Force—a collocated multi-agency taskforce dedicated to pursuing, disrupting, and dismantling methamphetamine drug trafficking organizations in San Joaquin, Merced, and Stanislaus Counties by: identifying, arresting, and prosecuting drug trafficking organization members; targeting and arresting individuals and rogue precursor chemical and lab equipment suppliers; pursue asset seizures; link clandestine labs and chemical dump sites; and coordinating intelligence through the ISC.

Outcomes:

The Central Valley, California HIDTA has established a reputation as a value-added program to existing law enforcement agencies. In particular, the HIDTA has benefited small municipalities and counties with limited financial and personnel resources available for addressing the overwhelming methamphetamine situation in their immediate vicinities. Small towns such as Porterville and Delano (Southern Tri-County Drug Task Force counties), and small counties such as Madera, in essence are loaned a narcotics division made up of local professionals with vested interest in the quality of life in the area of operation.

In its brief existence, the CV HIDTA has dramatically impacted the methamphetamine problem in the Central Valley of California. Instead of the expected disruption of 22 methamphetamine drug trafficking organizations by arresting and prosecuting 25 organization members in CY 2000, the HIDTA has dismantled 18 drug trafficking organizations and made 159 cases by August 2000. Rather than the anticipated total of 80 arrests for CY 2000, the task forces have arrested 221 suspects by August 2000. The estimated 10 dismantled clandestine laboratories were surpassed by the seizure of 56 labs by August (27 of which were "super labs", capable of manufacturing 20 pounds or more of methamphetamine in a single cooking cycle). Projected methamphetamine seizure totals were 450 pounds of finished product or methamphetamine solution. Over 290 pounds of finished product and 922 liters of methamphetamine solution (capable of producing another 244 pounds of methamphetamine) had been seized by August 2000.

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 Marshal Service
State: Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement/ California Department of Justice, California Department of Corrections, California Highway Patrol, and California National Guard, California Department of Corrections, California Highway Patrol, California National Guard
Local: Bakersfield Police Department, Delano Police Department, Fresno County District Attorney's Office, Fresno County Sheriff's Department, Fresno Police Department, Kern County Sheriff's Department, Kings County Sheriff's Department, Madera County Sheriff's Department, Merced County Sheriff's Department, Merced Police Department, Porterville Police Department, Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento County Probation Department, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department, Stockton Police Department, and Tulare County Sheriff's Department

Information is provided by the Central Valley HIDTA.

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