High Intensity Drug Trafficking AreaInternational
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Milwaukee HIDTA

Mission Statement: The Milwaukee HIDTA's mission is to apply enhanced intelligence processes and greater operational coordination and prosecution to reduce organized drug distribution, drug related violent crime and money laundering, and the demand for illegal drugs within the Milwaukee HIDTA. The Milwaukee HIDTA also strives to halt the distribution of illegal drugs through the Milwaukee HIDTA to urban areas throughout Wisconsin and beyond.

General Information:
Year of Designation: 1998
Geographic Area of Responsibility:
Wisconsin: Milwaukee County
Contact: (414) 220-4740

Threat Abstract:

Within the Milwaukee HIDTA region, powder and crack cocaine, and marijuana represent the predominant drug threats. Heroin and methamphetamine have also been identified as emerging trends. Highway and airline trafficking are the primary means of drug importation. Using these transportation methods, street gangs and other criminal organizations have developed effective distribution systems within Milwaukee County. On the south side of Milwaukee the Hispanic gangs are highly territorial. Large national street gangs control trafficking on Milwaukee's north side. These groups maintain close ties with similar gangs in Chicago.

Among the drugs distributed within the HIDTA region, cocaine remains the drug of choice. Most distribution groups have Mexican-based sources of supply, both inside and outside the HIDTA region. Street gangs process crack cocaine within the neighborhoods to avoid the heavy penalties for crack importation.

Another significant threat includes the increase in domestically grown marijuana. While the most common source of marijuana in the region is Mexico, local indoor grow operations have risen in popularity. Heroin trafficking and abuse is also increasing. Although Chicago remains the most frequently cited source of heroin, recent seizures indicate direct shipments, notably South American heroin, from source countries.

Law enforcement agencies in the HIDTA region have observed presence of three other drugs in the community. Vicodin, a prescription medication; psilocybin (known on the street as shrooms), and LSD. These three drugs are particularly prevalent among teenagers. Additionally, prescription medicine abuse increased 200% between 1997 and 1999. Methamphetamine trafficking and abuse has not reached Milwaukee County as a priority concern for law enforcement.

Drug trafficking organizations in the Milwaukee HIDTA utilize a variety of legitimate and front businesses to launder their proceeds. The Milwaukee area is used as a transshipment point for the majority of drug profits garnered in Wisconsin. The proceeds are forwarded to source cities via private and commercial vehicles, ticketed commercial transportation, or mail delivery services. An increase in straw purchases of guns and illegal gun trafficking has become an integral part of gang drug activity, and the availability of weapons is the primary reason for increased gang violence.

Strategy Abstract:

The Milwaukee HIDTA is located within the judicial districts of the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the County of Milwaukee. Located therein, each federal agency has one regional leader to insure that the agency is pursuing its mission and is coordinating its efforts with other law enforcement agencies. Likewise, state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies exercise the authority of their respective jurisdictions to carry out their missions in overlapping venues. The Executive Committee is comprised of a representative from each participating agency with at least one full-time HIDTA member. The initiatives are comprised of representatives from a total of eleven agencies. There are five federal agencies, two state agencies, and four local agencies participating in the Milwaukee HIDTA.

The Milwaukee HIDTA's initiatives focus on disrupting and dismantling local, regional, and national-level drug and money laundering organizations. The Milwaukee HIDTA coordinated six initiatives in Fiscal Year 2000. There are four drug trafficking initiatives, three of which target specific locations throughout the community and one that investigates the trafficking of heroin. There is one anti-drug/anti-crime initiative, and an intelligence center.

Investigative Support Center:

The Milwaukee HIDTA Intelligence and Technical Support Center (HITS Center) is a collocated effort of federal, state, and local agencies. The HITS Center has a primary function of gathering, analyzing and disseminating intelligence regarding drug traffickers and gang organizations. The HITS Center also identifies drug trafficking organizations, assists in the development of the threat assessment and priority setting; and assists in the coordination of cases and investigations. The HITS Center moved into its permanent space in April 1999. Currently the analysts have access to the following databases and research software tools: NADDIS, Transaction Information for Management (TIME), Case management (contains all HIDTA cases), Pen-Link (phone record information), Property information Retrieval system (PIRS), locating property from the City of Milwaukee Assessor's office, Bressers, telephone directory for five county area surrounding Milwaukee, World Wide Information, drivers licenses and motor vehicle registration checks, Choice Point, Public source database, I-2 Analyst Notebook- charting, RISS-Net/MOCIC national database for suspect pointer index, Wisconsin Utilities-information associated with property owners, Internet-used for general and public searches, FinCen, financial banking inquirers ,and access to; however, not installed yet at the Milwaukee HIDTA, FBI-net, and TECHS.

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

  1. Common Thread Task Force—a FBI supervised, multi-agency initiative that focuses on long-term investigative efforts on the North side of the city of Milwaukee. This initiative identifies individuals and/or organizations involved in the import and distribution of cocaine. The goal of the task force is to conduct investigations to disrupt and dismantle these drug organizations. Another goal of the Common Thread Task Force is to identify the source of the cocaine coming into the city and pursue federal prosecution of the out-of-state drug sources.
  2. Heroin Task Force—a multi-agency initiative supervised by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Narcotics Enforcement. The Heroin Task Force focuses on the identification, infiltration, disruption and dismantling of heroin trafficking organizations operating within and through Milwaukee County. The Heroin Task Force is currently targeting identified organizations and is continuously developing intelligence sources to examine emerging or declining trends to heroin trafficking. The Heroin Task Force is working in conjunction with demand reduction efforts to identify and remove major sources of heroin, as well as other drugs and their related violence in the community.
  3. South Side Gangs Task Force—a locally led, collocated multi-agency task force focused on drug trafficking organizations/gangs operating in the near South side Milwaukee neighborhoods. South Side Gangs aims to conduct long-term investigations on significant narcotics dealers/organizations/gangs with the goal of criminally prosecuting responsible persons and dismantling the operation(s). South Side Gangs will also work in conjunction with demand reduction efforts to remove sources of drugs and violence from the neighborhoods. Lastly, South Side Gangs will develop and maintain intelligence regarding drug trafficking gangs/organizations on the South side of Milwaukee.
  4. Interdiction—Added in June of 1999, the Interdiction Initiative became the fifth drug task force of the Milwaukee HIDTA. The Interdiction Task Force is a county led multi-agency initiative, focusing on the interdiction of drugs coming in to Milwaukee County and money going out in order to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations by a coordinated and intelligence based joint law enforcement effort.
  5. HIDTA Street Drug Task Force—a locally led, collocated multi-agency task force focused on drug traffickers operating at the street level within the Milwaukee HIDTA region. The Street Drug Task Force conducts short-term investigations of dealers and gangs that disperse illegal drugs by making them easily available to the consumer in small quantities. The Street Drug Task Force will continue to work in conjunction with demand education efforts to remove the source of drugs and related violence from the neighborhoods. The Street Drug Task Force will continue to focus on individuals or groups that disperse street level quantities of illegal drugs on or near schools or playgrounds and in areas of high drug activity and partake in drug-related crimes.
  6. Safe & Sound—an anti-drug/anti-crime initiative that attacks the interrelated problems of drugs, gangs, and guns. It is driven by a three-pronged strategy that includes tough law enforcement, positive, demand reduction alternatives for youth and neighborhood anti-crime/anti-drug organizing. Safe & Sound's overriding goal is to work in collaboration with the Milwaukee HIDTA to reduce violent crime.


Coordination of intelligence information through the HITS Center provides greater sharing of information among Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies. State of the art equipment and other resources are shared with Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies on occasion which enhances their capabilities and assists in their investigations. The Milwaukee HIDTA also provides ongoing training to area law enforcement officers on various pertinent topics. For the first time, Deconfliction services are available to all surrounding communities and federal money laundering expertise is available to state and local agencies.

Participating Agencies:

Federal: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Attorney's Office - Eastern District of Wisconsin, United States Customs Service

State: Wisconsin Division of Narcotic Enforcement, Wisconsin National Guard

Local: Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, Milwaukee Police Department, West Allis Police Department

Information is provided by the Milwaukee HIDTA.

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