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North Texas HIDTA

Mission Statement: The mission of the North Texas HIDTA is to reduce the availability of illicit drugs and drug related violence by attacking, disrupting, dismantling, and destroying drug trafficking organizations throughout the North Texas HIDTA, and by arresting and convicting principals, seizing their contraband and assets, and reducing the demand for drugs in the region.

General Information:
Year of Designation: 1998
Geographic Area of Responsibility:
Texas: Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton, Kaufman, Navarro, Ellis, Johnson, Hood, Parker and Smith counties.
Contact: (972) 915-9500
Threat Abstract:

The North Texas HIDTA was designated in 1998. The HIDTA encompasses an area that has become a strategic location for smuggling, transportation, and nationwide distribution of illegal drugs. The Dallas/Fort Worth Metropolitan region is the ninth largest and the third fastest growing metropolitan area in the country, and the North Texas HIDTA encompasses most of this area. The proximity of the area to the Mexican border, as well as its centralized location in the United States, make this an attractive area for Mexican poly-drug trafficking organizations to establish their base of operations.

The attractiveness of this region to drug trafficking organizations is further enhanced by the largest transportation network in the Southwest, with Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, the third busiest airport in the United States; highly developed highway corridors such as I-20, I-30, I-35 and I-45 that provide direct access from the Southwest border to major cities in the Midwest and East Coast of the United States; and as home to many major shipping, transportation and multinational corporations. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is a primary banking and financial center of the Southwest, which is attractive to drug traffickers seeking to launder their illegal drug proceeds. The major drug threats, of this region, have been identified through the 2000 regional drug threat assessment as follows: Drug Trafficking Organizations, primarily of Mexican origin but including Colombian, Caribbean, local street gangs, and other organized groups, who are engaged in smuggling, transporting, and distributing, locally as well as nationally, large quantities of cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin, and other illegal drugs; Money Laundering Organizations which utilize the financial infrastructure in the North Texas HIDTA to launder the illegal proceeds resulting from their drug trafficking activities; and a high level of violent crime, utilizing firearms, which has direct ties to the area drug trafficking activities.

Strategy Abstract:

The strategy of the North Texas HIDTA is to accomplish its mission of reducing the availability of illegal drugs and drug related violence, through the following elements: a) broad participation by Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in all North Texas HIDTA initiatives—during FY-2000 40 law enforcement agencies have contributed over 150 personnel to the North Texas HIDTA for assignments on investigative and intelligence initiatives; b) the operation of a well-managed and efficient North Texas HIDTA program, led by an Executive Committee, representing the largest Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in the area, and implemented by the HIDTA Director, to provide support for each initiative to accomplish their identified goals, which will thereby accomplish the mission of the North Texas HIDTA and Office of National Drug Control Policy; c) the collocation and commingling at one central North Texas HIDTA operations facility, of most investigative initiatives, the Regional Intelligence Support Center, and the administrative offices; d) the establishment and operation of seven investigative initiatives for 2000 that target the most significant drug trafficking organizations, money laundering organizations and drug related violent crime in this area; and e) operation of a Regional Intelligence Support Center to provide threat assessment, deconfliction coordination, and direct investigative support to the North Texas HIDTA initiatives, as well as all law enforcement in the North Texas area, which will achieve an exchange of drug intelligence information, a coordination of drug operations and intelligence based targeting for all North Texas HIDTA investigations.

Investigative Support Center:

The Regional Intelligence Support Center (RISC), jointly led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dallas Police Department and staffed with intelligence analysts and officers from a variety of Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, provides intelligence support and sharing of information to all North Texas HIDTA member agencies. This initiative operates a Watch Center for officer safety by providing deconfliction of subjects and drug operations to all law enforcement agencies within the region. It also directly supports the North Texas HIDTA investigative initiatives by identifying major drug trafficking organizations and providing analysis of the patterns and trends of these organizations; profiling significant and / or new drugs of abuse and the methods used in the distribution of these drugs; identifying crimes related to drug trafficking and their relationship to the targeted drug trafficking organizations; providing research for North Texas HIDTA initiatives, of all major law enforcement intelligence systems and public information data bases; providing specific case support to the North Texas HIDTA investigative initiatives; and promoting the participation by area law enforcement agencies in the RISC.

The East Texas Intelligence Unit, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and located in Smith County at Tyler, Texas, functions as an intelligence node of the RISC. It provides intelligence services and other investigative assistance in East Texas to existing Federal, state and local drug enforcement agencies and task forces. This unit is a multi agency initiative staffed with personnel from Federal and state law enforcement agencies.

Initiatives that were approved to implement the 2000 North Texas HIDTA strategy:

  1. Management and Coordination Initiative—responsible for providing the administrative and fiscal management for operation of the North Texas HIDTA program, consists of the Director and his staff. This initiative implements the policies and procedures of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the North Texas HIDTA Executive Committee to provide administrative and fiscal management and oversight. This initiative coordinates the participation of Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in all North Texas HIDTA initiatives and manages the central operations facility which houses most of the North Texas HIDTA initiatives.
  2. North Texas Money Laundering /Financial Initiative—led by the Internal Revenue initiative, is focused on identifying money transmitters who have been identified as laundering illegal drug proceeds in and out of North Texas; identifying Casa de Cambios and businesses used to launder drug proceeds; identifying Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) from financial institutions for possible currency transaction reporting a structure in violations, and pursuing high level money laundering organizations identified by assets purchased with illegal drug proceeds.
  3. North Texas HIDTA Violent Crime Initiative—led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, seeks to identify and prosecute subjects involved in illegal drug trafficking, utilizing firearms and explosives. This initiative also identifies and apprehends Federal, state and local fugitives who are wanted on drug related charges.
  4. Fort Worth Regional Major Narcotics Case Initiative—led by the Fort Worth Police Department, and staffed by Federal, state and local law enforcement officers, investigates major narcotics and drug trafficking and distribution organizations who operate in the Western region of the North Texas HIDTA, including Tarrant County, Parker County, Hood County and Johnson County. This initiative is engaged in pro-active enforcement efforts to identify the persons in leadership positions within these organizations, and to successfully infiltrate the trafficking and distribution organizations.
  5. North Texas Major Drug Organizations Initiative—led by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is a multi-agency Federal, state and local initiative that utilizes established investigative techniques and strategies to identify, define and target the command and control structure of the drug trafficking organizations, along with their front companies and trafficking methodologies. The initiative conducts sensitive investigations targeting specific trafficking organizations in the region, identifies the position of the individuals within each organization, the methods of drug proceeds conveyance, and their connection to other trafficking organizations in other areas of the United States.
  6. The Hybrid Drug Traffickers Initiative—led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and consisting of multi-agency Federal, state and local officers, attacks the targeted high echelon drug trafficking organizations, using an organized crime approach to completely dismantle the organization. This initiative primarily targets Mexican and Colombian drug trafficking cells operating in the North Texas HIDTA, which have been selected as National Priority Drug Trafficking Organizations by the Department of Justice.
  7. Significant Smuggling Organization Initiative—led by the United States Customs Service and staffed by Federal and local law enforcement officers, targets organizations engaged in actual drug smuggling across the Mexican/Texas border, those involved in stashing drugs at the border in preparation for shipment to the North Texas HIDTA, those involved in transportation of drugs to this area, and those that are involved in the distribution of the drugs for further transportation to other locations throughout the United States.
  8. Collin-Denton Counties Drug Task Force Initiative—led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and staffed by Federal, state and local law enforcement personnel, is in a collocated facility in Plano, Texas. This initiative seeks to identify major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Northern region of the North Texas HIDTA, consisting of Collin County and Denton County, who are involved in the transportation and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.

Outcomes:

North Texas HIDTA has enhanced the coordination and cooperation between area law enforcement agencies through development of a centralized operations facility, which houses most of the investigative, administrative and intelligence initiatives. The co-mingling of experienced officers and agents from many agencies, within this facility, has resulted in the sharing of valuable operational information between the task forces as well as development of long term, cooperative relationships that will benefit law enforcement for years to come. The Regional Intelligence Support Center, which has been described as a model for other HIDTA Investigative Support Centers, developed the first regional drug intelligence center in North Texas, with a branch in East Texas, to assure officer safety by providing deconfliction services for all area law enforcement operations. This center has established the first electronic connectivity in this area, between all major Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. In 2000 it conducted a regional drug threat assessment, and conducted a number of intelligence assessments of drug organizations and their methods of operation, to assist law enforcement in the accurate targeting of their drug investigations. The North Texas HIDTA developed the first multi agency, regional drug strategy to attack the identified threats by targeting the most significant drug, violent crime and money laundering organizations in the area. This strategy has produced significant results with the prosecution and dismantling of major cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine trafficking organizations, as well as the arrest of numerous individuals engaged in drug related firearm trafficking and other violent crimes.

Participating Agencies:

Federal: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Housing and Urban Development, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Internal Revenue Service, United States Attorney's Office, United States Customs Service, United States Marshal Service, United States Postal Service, United States Army

State: Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas National Guard

Local: Collin County Sheriff's Office, Dallas County District Attorney, Dallas County Sheriff's Office, Denton County Sheriff's Office, Johnson County Sheriff's Office, Navarro County Sheriff's Office, Tarrant County Sheriff's Office, Tarrant County Narcotics and Intelligence Coordinating Unit, Allen Police Department, Arlington Police Department, Coppell Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Denton Police Department, DFW International Airport Department of Public Safety, Duncanville Police Department, Euless Police Department, Fort Worth Police Department, Garland Police Department, Grapevine Police Department, Hurst Police Department, Irving Police Department, Lancaster Police Department, McKinney Police Department, Plano Police Department, Richardson Police Department, Weatherford Police Department

Information is provided by the North Texas HIDTA.

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