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Rocky Mountain HIDTA

Mission Statement: The mission of the Rocky Mountain HIDTA is to facilitate cooperation and coordination among federal, state and local drug enforcement efforts to enhance combating the drug trafficking problem locally, regionally and nationally. This mission is accomplished through joint multi-agency collocated drug task forces sharing information and working cooperatively with other drug enforcement initiatives including interdiction.

General Information:
Year of Designation: 1996
Geographic Area of Responsibility:
Colorado: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Garfield, Grand, Jefferson, LaPlata, Larimer, Pueblo, Mesa, Moffat, Routt and Weld counties
Utah: Davis, Salt Lake, Summit, Utah, Washington and Weber counties
Wyoming: Albany, Campbell, Laramie, Natrona, Unita, and Sweetwater counties
Contact: (303) 671-2180, ext 221

Threat Abstract:

The states comprising the Rocky Mountain HIDTA cover 286,823 square miles and are dominated by the Rocky Mountains. The region contains deserts, plains, canyons and numerous mountain ranges with over half of the total area being publicly owned federal or state land. A well established infrastructure and the region's central location within the United States makes this area conducive to illegal drug transportation and distribution. The region contains seven interstate highway systems along with other federal, state and county roads totaling 21,667 miles. Illegal drugs flow into the area from Mexico, through the southwest border States of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Interstates running east and west form a link between the west and points east.

Methamphetamine is identified as the areas number one threat. Mexican-based traffickers who import drugs into the region continue to be the focus. Cocaine trafficking is the predominant choice of Mexican national drug trafficking organizations supplying a well-established user base. These Mexico and Southwest Border based organizations utilize Colorado as both a distribution and transshipment center. Crack cocaine distribution by Black and Hispanic street gangs and the associated violent crime, remain a law enforcement concern. Marijuana seizures are greater than all other drugs combined, due in part to the fact that it's the most abused drug and drug organizations tend to ship it in very large loads. Hallucinogen usage is active. Designer drugs are reported as being a rising threat. Reflecting a general trend throughout the southwestern United States, laundering of money in this region poses a threat as well. The threat posed by heroin is ranked behind all other illicit drugs, and seizures remain low.

Strategy Abstract:

The twenty-two member Executive Board includes ten federal, and twelve state and local law enforcement leaders. The Board conducts its day-to-day business through an administrative staff, maintaining overall responsibility for implementation, direction, results and policy of Rocky Mountain HIDTA.

Of thirty-two initiatives coordinated by Rocky Mountain HIDTA, twenty-five are investigative, four interdiction, and one intelligence, one training and one administrative. 129 agencies comprise the initiatives, which includes eighteen federal, seventeen state and ninety-four local.

The investigative initiatives' objective is the reduction of illegal drugs. For this purpose, emphasis is placed on organizations associated with and/or controlled by drug cartels. These initiatives endeavor to reduce the production of methamphetamine by seizing labs, arresting manufacturers and dismantling major methamphetamine trafficking organizations. Investigations target street gangs who transport and distribute drugs, thereby reducing the amount of drugs available and stemming the tide of street violence associated with gangs.

The interdiction initiatives' objective is to disrupt the flow of illicit drugs being transported into, through and out of the region, and is realized by coordinating enforcement efforts along the major arterial networks that connect the Rocky Mountain region with the rest of the country. Additionally, enforcement activity targets the U.S. Mail as well as other package delivery services.

The training initiative's focus is on the overall goals and objectives of Rocky Mountain HIDTA and structured to ensure that law enforcement personnel within the three-state region receives instruction that enhances their ability to meet the ever-changing and always challenging job of drug enforcement.

Investigative Support Center:

The intelligence initiative of Rocky Mountain HIDTA is dedicated to offering in-depth case support and analysis for investigations that involve illicit drugs and/or violence which take place in the Rocky Mountain region. Case support and analysis is made possible through the formation of the Rocky Mountain HIDTA Investigative Support Center (ISC). The overall goal of the ISC is to enhance and support all pertinent drug investigations conducted by Rocky Mountain HIDTA enforcement agencies throughout the Rocky Mountain region. ISC personnel are comprised of professional personnel from various federal, state and local agencies. They provide in-depth investigative support through the utilization of established analytical methodologies, utilizing various private and government databases. The ISC will facilitate and assist prosecutors with courtroom presentations by providing charts, displays and other visual case aids. In addition, the ISC offers a regional tactical deconfliction center and promotes tri-state connectivity between Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

The Watch Center began operation on July 5, 2000, providing event deconfliction to all federal, state and local Rocky Mountain HIDTA agencies in the Denver metropolitan counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson. The Watch Center is staffed from 1000 to 2300 hours, Monday through Friday. Through the use of mapping software, the Watch Center monitors undercover narcotics activities in order to prevent tactical operations by different agencies from interfering with one another to ensure officer safety, as well as to prevent investigative conflicts. From 7/5/00 to 9/21/00, over 600 operations have been monitored and 14 conflicts have been prevented.

Initiatives that were approved to implement the FY 2000 Rocky Mountain HIDTA Strategy: Interdiction:

  1. Colorado State Patrol—through HIDTA, the state patrol initiated an aggressive drug interdiction program by establishing six K-9 teams to enhance their efforts. Interdiction of drug loads utilizing Colorado interstates and highways is the focus. The state patrol is committed to reducing criminal activity by "apprehending fugitives, recovering stolen vehicles, confiscating illegal drugs and weapons, cooperating with drug enforcement, and sharing intelligence with partner law enforcement agencies at the national, state and local levels.
  2. Utah Highway Patrol—the highway patrol consists of three HIDTA K-9 units that participate in potential drug seizure for interdiction stops throughout Utah. The program targets mid to upper-level drug shipment couriers using the major interstates and highways. The highway patrol coordinates all follow-up investigation activity involving interdiction seizures with the appropriate task force and participates in Operation Pipeline.
  3. Wyoming Highway Patrol—this program is in partnership with the Wyoming Regional Enforcement Teams. Highway patrol officers engage in drug interdiction efforts as a part of their routine duties on the Wyoming highways and interstates. Four officers are designated HIDTA K-9 units with interdiction responsibilities. The highway patrol through its interdiction efforts targets drug smugglers and transporters responsible for significant loads destined to or through the State of Wyoming.
  4. U. S. Postal Interdiction Program—the program mission is to identify and arrest drug traffickers using U.S. mail to distribute drugs and receive drug payments. The program consists of HIDTA K-9s and their primary jurisdiction is the Metro Denver area. Primary targets are drug distributors who use the U.S. mail to transport drug and money shipments.

    Investigative:

  5. Boulder County Drug Task Force, Colorado—a newly formed collocated multi-agency task force whose mission is to focus law enforcement efforts on drug and drug-related crime that threatens public safety, public order and quality of life. The primary targets are mid-level drug dealers, targets of opportunity operating in Boulder, Colorado and working cases up to source.
  6. Colorado Springs Metro Task Force. Colorado—a collocated multi-agency task force whose mission is to investigate, control and prevent the illegal sales, possession or manufacturing of illicit drugs. The task force works a variety of drug cases that target mid to major level traffickers and organizations as well as gang members dealing drugs.
  7. Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force, Utah—the mission is to identify and arrest those individuals and organizations that are involved in the distribution and use of controlled substances in Davis County, Utah. The collocated multi-agency strike force works all level of drug violations and targets of opportunity, targeting street to mid-level traffickers with the ultimate goal of identifying and pursuing the source of these lower-level traffickers.
  8. Rocky Mountain HIDTA Financial Task Force, Colorado—the HIDTA established collocated multi-agency task force is based in Denver with the U.S. Customs Service as the host agency. The mission is to identify, target and apprehend high-level drug traffickers with an emphasis on dismantling money-laundering organizations operating in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
  9. Front Range Task Force, Colorado—a HIDTA established collocated multi-agency task force with their primary jurisdiction being the Metro Denver area, pursuing investigations nationwide when necessary. Primary targets are major drug traffickers and organizations with emphasis on methamphetamine and Southwest Border ties. This Task Force is the "go to" group for other Metro task forces that develop major multi-jurisdictional cases. [61]
  10. Fugitive Location and Apprehension Group, Colorado—a collocated multi-agency task force with a mission of locating and apprehending fugitives involved in drug trafficking, gangs, and violent crimes. The task force has primary jurisdiction in Colorado with an emphasis on the Metro Denver area.
  11. Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotic Enforcement Team, Colorado—primarily associated with Western Slope HIDTA agencies, the collocated multi-agency task force targets and apprehends street to mid to high-level drug traffickers with a particular emphasis on methamphetamine trafficking covering the Colorado Counties of Grand, Routt and Moffat.
  12. Grand Valley Joint Drug Task Force, Colorado—the collocated multi-agency task force mission is to identify, disrupt and dismantle middle to upper-level illegal narcotic distribution and manufacturing networks operating in Mesa County, Colorado. The task force works targets of opportunity, cases of all levels and targets methamphetamine manufacturers.
  13. Larimer County Drug Task Force, Colorado—the collocated multi-agency task force works all drug violations, particularly targets of opportunity in its primary jurisdiction of Larimer County, targeting mid-level dealers with attempts to pursue each case to the drug source.
  14. Metro Gang Task Force, Colorado—the collocated multi-agency task force's primary jurisdiction is the Metro Denver area and their focus is to address illegal gangs, criminal and gang organizations that engage in violence and/or narcotic trafficking. A secondary mission is to pursue investigations to locate and target drug sources outside the Metro Denver area.
  15. North Metro Task Force, Colorado—the collocated, multi-agency task force targets, investigates and arrests street level narcotic violators operating in Adams County as its primary mission and continues the investigation as major drug-distribution organizations are identified.
  16. Salt Lake City Metro Narcotics Task Force, Utah—the collocated multi-agency task force works a variety of drug violations. Their primary mission is to identify, target, and investigate major drug traffickers and organizations operating within the Metro Salt Lake City area. This task force is the primary agency in Utah for clandestine lab investigations.
  17. South Metro Task Force, Colorado—the mission is to reduce the demand and availability of illegal drugs within Arapahoe and Douglas counties. The collocated, multi-agency task force primarily works street to mid-level dealers including all types of drugs and violations making the endeavor to join with other task forces to pursue investigations on a regional approach.
  18. Southern Colorado Drug Task Force, Colorado—the collocated, multi-agency task force's primary mission is to bring together the federal, state and local drug enforcement resources of Southern Colorado into a unified, cooperative and effective partnership. The mission includes: 1) interdiction of drugs and illegal proceeds, 2) developing seizures as a result of interdiction efforts into investigation through ultimate destination and source, 3) targeting, investigating and dismantling large-scale drug trafficking organizations.
  19. Southwestern Colorado Narcotics Enforcement Team, Colorado—a HIDTA established collocated, multi-agency drug task force whose mission is to combine resources, attack drug trafficking in the Four Corners region, target large scale drug organizations, identify foreign drug sources and dismantle clandestine lab organizations.
  20. Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, Colorado—a collocated, multi-agency task force targeting street-level drug dealers, Mexican drug traffickers and organizations with ties to the Southwest Border in the Garfield County region. TRIDENT works all levels of drug violations and primarily targets of opportunity. Although fairly isolated, they follow-up on investigations leading to larger traffickers outside their region.
  21. Utah Department of Public Safety Clan Lab Program, Utah—the mission is to target, investigate, apprehend, interdict, prosecute and convict mid to high-level methamphetamine drug traffickers using all available intelligence sources provided by the latest technology available. This program responds to the vast majority of clan labs seized throughout the State of Utah and has initiated a proactive, precursor interdiction program.
  22. Wasatch Range Task Force, Utah—by way of an enterprise theory of investigation, implemented through a multi-agency collocated cooperative effort, the task force will identify, disrupt and dismantle existing and emerging drug-trafficking and money-laundering organizations whose criminal activities are regional, national and international in scope, operate through Utah, but cover primarily the greater Salt Lake City region.
  23. Washington County Drug Task Force, Utah—the collocated multi-agency targets those individuals and organizations that distribute illegal drugs primarily methamphetamine and marijuana in the Southwest region of Utah. They target mid-level traffickers with the intent on working the investigation to the point that a source is pursued whether inside or outside Utah.
  24. Weld County Task Force, Colorado—the task force exists as a collocated, multi-jurisdictional unit operating primarily in Northern Colorado. The task force investigates and prosecutes illegal narcotics manufacturing, distribution, usage and sale of illegal drugs. The task force endeavors to pursue mid-level investigations to the source of supply.
  25. West Metro Drug Task Force, Colorado—the collocated multi-agency task force's mission is to investigate street level to high-level drug traffickers with an emphasis on methamphetamine by working a combination of targets of opportunity and targets mid to high-level drug traffickers and has recently concentrated a greater effort into "the major peddler". They operate primarily in Jefferson County, Colorado.
  26. Wyoming Regional Enforcement Teams—(1) Wyoming Central Enforcement Team, (2) Wyoming Northeast Enforcement Team, (3) Wyoming Southeast Enforcement Team, (4) Wyoming Southwest Enforcement Team. The collocated, multi-agency Teams' have primary responsibility for specific geographic regions in Wyoming. The teams' mission is targeting and apprehending mid to high-level drug traffickers with an emphasis on methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs. The ultimate goal is identifying and pursuing supply sources whether in or outside the region.

Outcomes:

The Rocky Mountain HIDTA makes a significant impact in the Colorado, Utah and Wyoming region. The Rocky Mountain HIDTA is responsible for establishing six new drug task forces and creating the Financial Task Force, emphasizing the financial aspect of drug enforcement. Rocky Mountain HIDTA is responsible for establishing successful K-9 interdiction programs in the Colorado State Patrol, Utah Highway Patrol and Wyoming Highway Patrol. Rocky Mountain HIDTA helps facilitate the development and use of the subject deconfliction system within each state and tactical deconfliction in Metro Denver. Rocky Mountain HIDTA implemented a much-needed training program. The Training Program schedules forty-seven various drug-related courses a year and trains approximately 1,300 students annually. The Rocky Mountain HIDTA Training Program established its own two-week basic drug investigation course, drug unit commanders' course and clandestine lab safety course. Greater coordination, cooperation and a more regional/national emphasis has led to an increase in drug trafficking organizations that have been disrupted and/or dismantled. In Utah, for example, a multi-faceted statewide clandestine lab strategy including prosecution, forensic, analysis and investigation has been created. In Wyoming, all drug enforcement in the state is now coordinated under the Regional Enforcement Team.

Participating Agencies:

Federal: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Department of Agriculture, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Internal Revenue Service, United States Attorney's Office, United States Customs Service, United States Marshals Service, United States Postal Inspection Service

State: Colorado Bureau of Investigations, Colorado National Guard, Colorado State Patrol, University of Colorado Police, Colorado State University Police, Colorado Department of Corrections, Utah Adult Parole, Utah Department of Public Safety, Utah Highway Patrol, Utah National Guard, Utah Criminal Investigations Bureau, Utah Attorney General's Office, Wyoming Attorney General Division of Criminal Investigations, Wyoming Highway Patrol

Local: Colorado: 1st, 8th, 9th, 11th, 17th, 19th, and 20th, Judicial District D.A. Office, Adams County SO, Aurora PD, Brighton PD, Commerce City PD, Federal Heights PD, Northglenn PD, Thornton PD, Westminster PD, Arapahoe County SO, Aurora PD, Englewood PD, Glendale PD, Greenwood Village PD, Littleton PD, Sheridan PD, Boulder County SO, Boulder PD, Broomfield PD, Erie PD, Lafayette PD, Louisville PD, Denver PD, Douglas County SO, Eagle County SO, El Paso County SO, Colorado Springs PD, Fountain PD, Canon City PD, Garfield County SO, Basalt PD, Carbondale PD, Glenwood Springs PD, Rifle PD, Grand County SO, Jefferson County SO, Arvada PD, Golden PD, Lakewood PD, Westminster PD, Wheat Ridge PD, LaPlata County SO, Durango PD, Ignacio PD, Larimer County SO, Ft. Collins PD, Loveland PD, Colorado State University Police, Mesa County SO, Grand Junction PD, Moffat County SO, Craig PD, Pueblo County SO, Pueblo PD, Rio Blanco PD, Routt County SO, Steamboat Springs PD, Teller County SO, Woodland Park PD, Weld County SO, Evans PD, and Greeley PD. Utah: Davis County SO, Bountiful PD, Clearfield PD, Kaysville PD, Layton PD, Woods Cross PD, Salt Lake County D.A., Midvale PD, Murray PD, Salt Lake City PD, Salt Lake County SO, Sandy PD, South Salt Lake PD, West Jordan PD, West Valley PD, Washington County SO, St. George PD. Wyoming: Campbell County SO, Gillette PD, Carbon County SO, Laramie County D.A. Office, Laramie County SO, Cheyenne PD, Laramie PD, Torrington PD, Wheatland PD, 7th Judicial District DA, Natrona County SO, Casper PD, Douglas PD, Sheridan County SO, Sheridan PD, Sweet Water D.A. Office, Sweetwater County SO, Green River PD, Evanston PD, Unita County SO

Information is provided by the Rocky Mountain HIDTA.

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