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High Intensity Drug Trafficking AreaInternational
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New York/New Jersey HIDTA

Mission Statement: The New York/New Jersey HIDTA's mission is to measurably reduce illegal drug use and the harm it causes. Recognizing that no single effective solution exists, the New York/New Jersey HIDTA seeks to accomplish its mission through collaborative, measurable initiatives ranging from enforcement and prosecution to prevention.

General Information:
Year of Designation: 1990
Geographic Area of Responsibility:
New York: New York City; and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties
New Jersey: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties
Contact: Chauncey G. Parker (212) 637-6510

Threat Abstract:

The New York/New Jersey HIDTA was one of the five original High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas designated in 1990. The region is the Northeast United States' center for narcotics trafficking—both a gateway and market place. The environment presents an ideal location for the importation of drugs through its two major international airports and several domestic airports; two major railroad complexes and hundreds of miles of subway tracks; extensive waterfront with various points-of-entry, including the Port of New York, the third largest port in the country and ranked in the top 15 in the world; and a complex network of highways, bridges and tunnels which bring over one billion people into New York City each year. As the financial capital of the world, New York City offers the money launderer numerous opportunities and avenues to convert and/or conceal illicit funds into a form unidentifiable by the banking system and more readily acceptable in world trade. In addition, its multi-cultural population allows ethnic-based drug organizations to operate within widely recognized ethnic enclaves without arousing suspicion.

Cocaine dominates the current drug market with Colombian drug trafficking organizations controlling the source and Dominican organizations controlling distribution. New York City also continues to be the most significant heroin destination and distribution center in the country. In addition to Dominican and Colombian drug trafficking organizations, Mexican drug trafficking organizations and street gangs, Asian criminal enterprises, and Jamaican drug trafficking organizations, who control crack and marijuana distribution in certain areas, operate in the region. The major threat from the gangs in New York is violence, often random. Despite the fact that crime in New York City has decreased dramatically, much of the remaining crime is directly attributable to the drug trade. Drug distribution, street level sales, transport and the attendant violence remain high. Marijuana is the most abused illegal drug. Designer drugs are also prevalent and have a specific consumer base, primarily within the club scene. Methamphetamines originating from the West Coast are available, but have not reached a critical state in the region.

Strategy Abstract:

An Executive Committee comprised of 18 federal, state, and local law enforcement leaders in the New York metropolitan area allows the seamless integration and synchronization of efforts to reduce drug trafficking, eliminate unnecessary duplication of effort, systematically improve the sharing of drug intelligence, and support programs that effectively reduce the demand for illegal drugs. Hundreds of representatives from 82 federal, state, and local agencies are full-time participants in HIDTA initiatives.

Investigative Support Center:

Led by the New York City Police Department, the Investigative Support Center (ISC) consists of over 70 representatives from over 18 federal, state, and local agencies, including the NYPD, FBI, DEA, Customs, United States Secret Service, New York State Police, New York City Department of Correction, and New York State Parole. The ISC, which is located at the NY/NJ HIDTA, is a critical conduit for information sharing among numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the region. The ISC is organized into two sections:

The Watch provides law enforcement with immediate access—"one stop shopping"—to a wide rang of law enforcement and commercial databases, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In 1999, the Watch averaged over 2,100 requests per month.

The Analytical and Investigative Group (AIG), provides narcotics intelligence analysis, prepares threat assessments, strategic reports, organizational studies, and assists trial preparations.

In addition to the Watch and the AIG, the ISC has helped establish satellite intelligence centers in the New York metropolitan area:

Money Laundering Intelligence Center
The Financial and Analysis Coordination Team (FACT) located at the El Dorado Money Laundering Task Force consists primarily of representatives from Customs and IRS and facilitates the sharing of money laundering intelligence in the area.

Westchester Intelligence Center (WIC)
The WIC, located at the Westchester County District Attorney's Office, establishes a central point of contact for information sharing in the county, with over 16 municipalities participating.

Regional Crime Gun Center (Gun Center)
The Gun Center, led by ATF, together with the NYPD and the New York National Guard, is a central location for all criminal firearms databases. The Gun Center gathers and consolidates all aspects of intelligence on illegal firearms and trafficking and provides this information to law enforcement 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Initiatives that were approved to implement the 2000 NY/NJ HIDTA Strategy include:

  1. Citywide Narcotics Initiative (CNI)—In September 1996 regional law enforcement agencies, led by the New York Police Department, launched a relentless multi-agency effort to reduce illegal drug trafficking in the Washington Heights section of Northern Manhattan. Formerly known as the Northern Manhattan Initiative, the success of this program, which targets street to international level narcotics trafficking organizations, compelled the expansion of the program across New York City. Through the expanded use of technology and intelligence sharing with its federal and state counterparts, the CNI increases the safety of citizens in their neighborhoods by substantially reducing drug-related crime and violence.
  2. El Dorado Task Force—A multi-agency task force led by US Customs and IRS, the El Dorado Task Force consists of over 200 representatives from federal, state, and local law enforcement targeting the primary avenues drug traffickers use to launder drug profits: money services, physical transportation, merchandising and banking and brokerages. The El Dorado Task Force received national recognition for its Geographical Targeting Order ("GTO") initiative, which drastically changed wire transfer reporting procedures. By requiring transmitters to report cash transactions in excess of $750 (the previous cap was $10,000), the GTO effectively blocked drug traffickers from laundering their drug proceeds through these remitters. Drug traffickers were forced to use alternative, less secure methods, such as money couriers, to get their drug money out of the country. As a result, cash seizures by law enforcement increased dramatically.
  3. Drug Trafficking Organization Task Force—The Drug Trafficking Organization Task Force, which consists of representatives from NYPD, DEA, and FBI, conducts investigations to eliminate drug trafficking organizations in the New York metropolitan area. The task force directs its efforts cooperatively with other law enforcement initiatives to combat and eliminate drug activity, to reduce fear and improve the quality of life for residents and those who work in the surrounding areas. The task force conducts a broad range of investigations, targeting narcotic organizations from street level pushers to international traffickers. Identified narcotics organizations are dismantled with an emphasis on solving violent crimes and seizing both currency and property assets.
  4. Fugitive Task Force—The Fugitive Task Force, led by the US Marshals Service, is comprised of 20 law enforcement representatives from the Marshals, INS, NYPD, and the Department of Defense's Joint Task Force. Targeting the most difficult and dangerous drug fugitives as well as criminal aliens with final orders of deportation in the metropolitan area, the Fugitive Task Force has arrested over 400 high level fugitives, including 30 murderers, since October 1996.
  5. Northern New Jersey Heroin Trafficking Task Force—The Northern New Jersey Heroin Trafficking Task Force combines 43 federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel as well as the New Jersey National Guard and US Army intelligence analysts in a concentrated effort to dismantle core and secondary trafficking organizations in the five northern counties of New Jersey - Essex, Hudson, Union, Bergen, and Passaic. The Task Force identifies and seizes assets connected to the laundering of illicit proceeds from heroin trafficking and focuses on quality of life operations to assist communities in reclaiming their streets in northern New Jersey neighborhoods.
  6. Regional Training Center ("RTC")—The RTC trains federal, state and local law enforcement officials in narcotics investigations and drug trafficking operations within the HIDTA region. The Center also serves as a base station, networking with 226 law enforcement agencies throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
  7. Photo Imaging Network ("PIMS")—HIDTA, together with the NYPD, has developed the largest computerized photo-imaging network in the country which contains the arrest photographs and biographical information (e.g., height, weight, age, race, charge, etc.) for every person arrested on state and federal charges in New York City and Westchester and Nassau Counties.
  8. Computerized Intelligence Reports—HIDTA, together with the NYPD, is developing a computerized version of the NYPD's principal intelligence report, the DD5. With the click of a button, investigators will be able to search thousands of reports and in an instant discover links, such as common names, phone numbers, and addresses. The automated DD5 is currently being used by all narcotics detectives in northern Manhattan, and by the end of 2000, as a result of a six million dollar federal COPSMORE grant, all detectives throughout New York City will be using the automated DD5.
  9. Unified Drug Enforcement Coordination System ("UDECS")—UDECS (an enhanced version of DECS, the original pointer index system for New York City drug enforcement), creates a centralized, integrated deconfliction database for all drug enforcement investigations in the New York metropolitan area.
  10. Citywide Armory Project—HIDTA is working in partnership with the New York and New Jersey National Guards, law enforcement agencies, and community and non-profit organizations to convert under-used armories in disadvantaged neighborhoods of the New York metropolitan area into community centers for young people. These community centers will provide a safe, structured environment for children through a wide array of recreational and educational opportunities, including computer training, track, volleyball, and martial arts. Tutoring, mentoring and SAT preparation courses will also be offered in the Washington Heights section of Northern Manhattan.

Outcomes:

The NY/NJ HIDTA has initiated many projects that have created alliances across agency lines and have enhanced coordination and information sharing among law enforcement agencies. Among others, the Investigative Support Center, the computerization of law enforcement intelligence reports and arrest photographs ("PIMs"), the Urban Training Center, and the Citywide Armory Project have been particularly innovative initiatives which have benefited law enforcement agencies in the region.

Participating Agencies:

Federal: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Department of Defense Joint Task Force Six, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Reserve Bank, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Internal Revenue Service, United States Attorney's Offices, United States Coast Guard, United States Customs Service, United States Marshal Service, United States Park Police, United States Housing and Urban Development, United States Postal Service, United States Probation, and United States Secret Service

State: New Jersey National Guard, New Jersey Attorney General's Office, New Jersey Department of Human Services, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, New York National Guard, New York State Banking Department, New York State Police, New York State Division of Parole, New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, New York Office of State Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation, New York State Office of Children and Family Services

Local: Ardsley NY Police Department, Bergen County NJ Prosecutor's Office, Bronx County NY District Attorney's Office, Bronx Village NY Police Department, Buchanan Village NY Police Department, Dobbs Ferry NY Police Department, Elmsford NY Police Department, Essex County NJ Prosecutor's Office, Essex County NJ Sheriff's Office, Hastings-on-Hudson NY Police Department, Hudson County NJ Prosecutor's Office, Jersey City Police Department, Kings County District Attorney's Office, Larchmont NY Police Department, Mamaroneck NY Police Department, Mount Kisco NY Police Department, Mount Pleasant NY Police Department, Mount Vernon NY Police Department, Nassau County District Attorney's Office, Nassau County Police Department, New Castle NY Police Department, New Rochelle NY Police Department, New York District Attorney's Office, New York Criminal Justice Coordinator, New York City Department of Correction, New York City Housing Authority, New York City Parks and Recreation New York City Police Department, Newark Police Department, Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Ossing NY Police Department, Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police, Port Chester NY Police Department, Queens County District Attorney's Office, Richmond County District Attorney's Office, Rye Brook NY Police Department, Rye NY Police Department, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, Union County NJ Prosecutor's Office, Westchester County District Attorney's Office, Westchester County Department of Corrections Westchester County Department of Public Safety, Westchester County Police Department, White Plains Police Department

Other: Armory High School Sports Foundation, Citizens' Committee of New York, Common Cents, Law Enforcement Explorers, Police Athletic League, Teach for America

Information is provided by the New York/New Jersey HIDTA.

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