High Intensity Drug Trafficking AreaInternational
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Hawaii HIDTA FY 2000

Mission Statement: The mission of the Hawaii HIDTA is to measurably reduce drug trafficking, thereby reducing the impact of illicit drugs and increasing citizen safety in Hawaii and other areas of the country. The Hawaii HIDTA develops and implements comprehensive and coordinated intelligence, interdiction, investigative, and prosecutive initiatives to deter, disrupt, dismantle and ultimately destroy Drug Trafficking Organizations in the state.

General Information:
Year of Designation: 1999
Geographic Area of Responsibility:
Hawaii: Hawaii, Honolulu, Kauai, Maui counties
Contact: (808) 541-2850 ext. 251

Threat Abstract:

The Hawaii HIDTA's strategic location, its popularity as a resort destination, and its high volume of international and domestic air and sea travel/shipping, provide crime organizations ample opportunities to traffic a wide variety of drugs into and through the area. The primary modes of transportation used to smuggle drugs into, out of, and through Hawaii include: (1) commercial and private air transportation (passengers, baggage, freight); (2) federal and private postal and courier services; (3) military air transportation; and (4) commercial and private marine transportation (passengers, freight, containers).

Historically, the preferred method has been by way of commercial airlines via couriers, accompanying baggage and/or air mail/freight. Many of the drug organizations use commercial airline flights originating in California, mainly Los Angeles, and terminating in Honolulu or one of the neighbor islands. In 1998, more than 6.3 million people visited Hawaii. It is estimated that a significant majority of the methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine confiscated in Hawaii arrives on couriers or in parcels that travel through the airports.

Maritime smuggling is an increasing concern for the Hawaii HIDTA. There are nine commercial harbors located in the state. In FY 1999, more than 15.5 million tons of cargo entered port at Hawaii.

Money laundering within the Hawaii HIDTA consists of several different methods of operation. In addition to traditional practices such as converting drug proceeds from cash to real/personal property, using nominee or straw owners and structuring bank deposits, drug trafficking organizations send substantial amounts of their illegal proceeds back to source cities in the continental United States, Mexico and Asia.

Strategy Abstract:

By focusing drug intelligence, interdiction and enforcement resources at the principal commercial and military airports, the Hawaii law enforcement community will be able to significantly disrupt the flow of drugs into the state and to other areas of the country and the Pacific Basin.

The Hawaii HIDTA Executive Committee monitors the implementation of this strategy to ensure that the joint efforts of this HIDTA produce the desired impact. The Executive Committee provides a coordination umbrella for all HIDTA task forces, the Joint Investigative Support and Intelligence Center (JISIC), any task forces not funded by the Hawaii HIDTA, and single-agency task forces and/or narcotics units operating within the Hawaii HIDTA. The Executive Committee is comprised of 16 members/officers (8 federal and 8 state/local) with the chair and vice-chair positions rotating between federal and state/local agency representatives on an annual basis.

To accomplish its mission, the Hawaii HIDTA coordinates intelligence-driven, multi-agency initiatives during Fiscal Year 2000, which are organized into the following:

Interdiction: Due to Hawaii's strategic location and unique island configuration, drug trafficking into and through Hawaii can be significantly disrupted by improving and supplementing existing intelligence, interdiction and enforcement resources at the four major airports in the state.

Investigation: Interdiction alone will not stop the flow of illicit drugs into and through Hawaii. Post-seizure and cross-case analyses, as well as the investigation and prosecution of drug trafficking and money laundering organizations, are vital to the success of the Hawaii HIDTA.

Investigative Support Center:

To make the most efficient use of the Hawaii law enforcement community's limited resources, timely and accurate intelligence is critical. Without a joint intelligence center, it is virtually impossible for Hawaii's federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to develop coordinated proactive strategies for drug and money laundering interdiction and enforcement. In the absence of adequate intelligence capabilities, Hawaii's law enforcement community is unable to interact with and exploit regional and international intelligence sources. The Hawaii drug enforcement community strongly supports the joint intelligence center and has agreed to commit resources to staff and operate it.

Although still in its formative stage, the Joint Investigative Support and Intelligence Center (JISIC) will gather, analyze and disseminate intelligence relating to drug trafficking and money laundering activities and will provide a meaningful intelligence product to federal, state and local agencies within the Hawaii HIDTA. The JISIC is designed to directly support the Hawaii HIDTA's interdiction and investigation initiatives.

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

  1. Hawaii Airport Task Force—a collocated joint task force that focuses on airport interdiction, the resulting post-seizure investigations and prosecutions, and the development of a proactive strategy to identify, target, disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking and money laundering organizations that impact Hawaii and other areas throughout the United States and Pacific Basin area. It provides initial and periodic training on specialized airport interdiction techniques and the latest technological resources to screen and detect illegal drugs.
  2. Methamphetamine Task Force (non-funded)—this multi-agency task force will develop and implement a coordinated, proactive strategy to identify, investigate, prosecute and dismantle the drug organizations involved in the smuggling, manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine. The task force will be collocated in the Hawaii HIDTA site, with the JISIC, and will contribute to and benefit from the strategic intelligence gathered, collated and analyzed by the JISIC.
  3. Black Tar Heroin Task Force (non-funded)—this multi-agency task force will develop and implement a coordinated, proactive strategy to combat the growing threat posed by drug organizations involved in the smuggling, distribution and sale of black tar heroin. It will utilize all available intelligence, including information developed through confidential sources and intelligence products developed by the JISIC, to identify the drug organizations involved in black tar heroin, and the transportation and distribution methods used by these organizations.
  4. Money Laundering/Asset Forfeiture Task Force (non-funded)—this multi-agency investigative initiative will gather, develop and analyze intelligence to identify, investigate and prosecute money laundering drug organizations and disrupt their illegal activities. It will develop sources within the financial and business community, and target and penetrate suspicious money transmitting organizations. It will provide financial analysis and forfeiture support to all Hawaii HIDTA investigative and prosecution initiatives, and to all participating Hawaii HIDTA agencies.


Although Hawaii's law enforcement community had worked together in the past, the establishment of the Hawaii's HIDTA has enhanced that cooperation. There is an unprecedented spirit of cooperation and information now being shared on a regular basis. For the first time Hawaii will have a K-9 interdiction program which will provide exclusive coverage for Hawaii's airports. The interaction of all the agencies in regard to the architecture Joint Investigative Support and Intelligence Center (JISIC) has been encouraging.

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 Coast Guard, United States Postal Inspectors, United States Navy, United States Attorney's Offices, United State Customs Service, United States Marshals Service

State: Department of Public Safety, Department of the Prosecuting Attorney (of the four counties of Hawaii)

Local: Honolulu Police Department, County of Hawaii Police Department, County of Kauai Police Department, County of Maui Police Department

Other: Hawaii National Guard, Western States Information Network

Information is provided by the Hawaii HIDTA

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