High Intensity Drug Trafficking AreaInternational
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Northern California HIDTA

Mission Statement: The mission of the Northern California HIDTA is to measurably reduce drug trafficking, thereby reducing the impact of illicit drugs in the ten county HIDTA region as well as other areas of the country. The specific goals of the Northern California HIDTA are to: increase the quantity, quality and dissemination of counter-drug intelligence; reduce methamphetamine manufacturing; reduce heroin and methamphetamine distribution; reduce money laundering activities; and reduce drug related crime and violence.

General Information:
Year of Designation: 1997
Geographic Area of Responsibility:
California: Alameda, Contra Costa, Lake, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sonoma counties.
Contact: (415) 436-8199

Threat Abstract:

The Northern California HIDTA, formerly referred to as the San Francisco Bay Area HIDTA, was designated in 1997. The HIDTA includes ten northern California counties that are situated on the San Francisco Bay, which is a central point for the movement of illegal drugs and precursor chemicals for the manufacture of dangerous drugs. The region is both a major production site and a nationwide distribution center. Three international airports, 200 miles of shoreline with numerous boat harbors, three deep water ports, and major land transportation services and international trade facilities allow wide access to the area and are exploited by drug organizations operating in Northern California.

Northern California remains a major source of clandestinely manufactured methamphetamine with both local and national distribution networks. Mexican heroin continues to be smuggled into the area and is distributed locally as well as transshipped to the Pacific Northwest. San Francisco has the highest methamphetamine and the third highest heroin emergency room episode rates in the United States. To a lesser degree, cocaine and its derivatives continue to be readily available and account for a disproportionate share of drug-related crime and violence. Approximately 75% of all arrests in the region are drug related. The number of Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) (financial) filed in the region in 1997 increased ten times from 1995, a strong indication that drug proceeds are being laundered through the region.

Strategy Abstract:

The Northern California HIDTA Executive Committee is comprised of 16 local, state and federal law enforcement leaders from the San Francisco area. A unified approach between law enforcement, prosecution, and demand reduction agencies facilitates the regional efforts to reduce the poly-drug organizations operating in the area. HIDTA coordinated activities extend through the ten designated counties which include three international airports and two major port facilities. A total of forty-eight federal, state, and local agencies participate in eleven HIDTA initiatives, which are spread across the ten county HIDTA region. The focus of law enforcement efforts and resources are directed toward the major drug threat in the region which has been identified as drug trafficking organizations responsible for the importation, manufacture and distribution of heroin and methamphetamine as well as the crime and violence associated with illicit drugs. The administrative component and the HIDTA Investigative Support Center (HIDTA BAYNIN) facilities are located in the Federal Building in San Francisco. Nine of the eleven initiatives focus on drug trafficking organizations as well as money laundering and related criminal activity. One interdiction initiative focuses on smuggling of narcotics and precursor chemicals in and out of the region. The support initiative manages the intelligence sharing within the HIDTA components.

Initiatives that were approved to be implemented as part of the 2000 Northern California HIDTA Strategy:

  1. HIDTA Bay Area Narcotic Information Network (HIDTA BAYNIN)—a multi-agency, co-located team makes up this regional Intelligence Support Center. The center provides target information, enhances officer safety through deconfliction, supports case development, integrates information, and utilizes predictive analysis. All interdiction operations and investigations are coordinated with the Intelligence Support Center. The most recent component of the center is a financial investigation and analysis unit that will target drug money laundering.
  2. South Bay Methamphetamine Task Force—a multi-agency effort by several law enforcement agencies, both co-located and non-collocated, who pursue, disrupt, and dismantle major and mid level methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution organizations by investigating criminal organizations involved in clandestine laboratories, targeting rogue chemical suppliers and sellers of lab equipment.
  3. South Bay Heroin Task Force—co-located members from several federal, state, and local agencies share heroin intelligence and conduct single and multi-agency investigations concerning mid and upper level heroin trafficking organizations. Emphasis is placed on the disruption of the foreign manufacture, importation and/or distribution of Mexican black tar heroin.
  4. East Bay Heroin and Methamphetamine Task Force—a co-located, multi-agency task force who target organizations that influence violent street gang and prison gang related crimes and major and mid-level heroin and methamphetamine organizations operating though the East Bay and Northern California.
  5. Northern California Clandestine Laboratory Task Force—a co-located, multi-agency task force created to dismantle clandestine laboratory organizations and disrupt the distribution of methamphetamine.
  6. Alameda County Violent Crime, Narcotic-Gang Violence Suppression Task Force—members from two existing task forces work together to disrupt and dismantle narcotics organizations associated with violent crime and criminal street gangs who use intimidation and violence to promote their criminal activities in Oakland and southern Alameda counties.
  7. San Francisco Campaign Against Drug Abuse—collocated, multi-agency enforcement effort which targets the rapidly growing population of hard core substance abusers in San Francisco in order to reduce the incident of drug related crime and violence associated with drug abuse and trafficking.
  8. Bay Area Electronic Surveillance Group—collocated members from various federal, state, and local agencies targeting poly-drug organizations operating along the Southwest border. They conduct sophisticated electronic surveillance to dismantle domestic and international drug organizations impacting the San Francisco Bay Area.
  9. Bay Area HIDTA Transportation (BAHT) Group—multi-agency effort targeting those organizations responsible for the transportation of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals.
  10. Lake County HIDTA Task Force—a multi-agency task force which conducts long-term investigations identifying mid-level and major heroin and methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution drug organizations and criminal street gangs operating in Lake County.
  11. Marin County Drug and Criminal Information Task Force (MCTF)—a multi-agency task force which targets organizations involved in the manufacturing, sales, transportation and distribution of cocaine, methampetamine and heroin within Marin County and the HIDTA region.
  12. Sonoma County Narcotics Task Force (SCNTF)—a multi-agency task force which conducts long term investigations of regional gangs and mid-level to major drug trafficking organizations which manufacture, transport and distribute heroin, methampetamine, precursor chemicals and cocaine within Sonoma County.


The Northern California HIIDTA supports the law enforcement efforts of over 120 local, state, and federal agencies. In August 1998, the HIDTA BAYNIN watch center began 24 hour per day/7 day per week critical event deconfliction services. This was the first successful approach at coordinating the operations of all local, state, and federal agencies to ensure officer safety and the sharing of intelligence information. HIDTA funding has allowed the expansion and collocation of heroin and methamphetamine task forces operating with the HIDTA counties. A newly formed money laundering unit of the HIDTA BAYNIN will coordinate investigations and disseminate suspicious activity reports to HIDTA and local task forces. The regional equipment pool has made over 400 loans of high technology surveillance equipment to over 30 agencies and task forces. The equipment pool service is available 24 hours per day/seven days per week. Northern California HIDTA offers regional training through the HIDTA assistance center and also coordinates training by local instructors. The HIDTA BAYNIN intelligence center provides analytical case support to all local, state, and federal agencies within the HIDTA counties. Penlink analysis and training is conducted on a continuous basis. A Web site and quarterly newsletter are available for publishing trends, contact information, and intelligence information. None of the above services were offered on a regional basis prior to the implementation of HIDTA.

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 Customs Service, United States Marshals Service, United States Postal Service, United States Housing and Urban Development, United States Forestry Service, Department of Defense Joint Task Force Six

State: California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, California Department of Corrections, California Highway Patrol, California State Parole

Local: All local police departments contained within the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Lake, Marin, Monterey, Sonoma, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz

Other: Alameda County District Attorney's Office, United States Attorneys Office, Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office, San Francisco Mayor's Criminal Justice Council, San Francisco Department of Public Housing, San Francisco Public Defenders Office, California National Guard, California Attorney General's Office, Western States Information Network.

Information is provided by the Northern California HIDTA.

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