Media Release: The White House Designates Five Metro Counties as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas

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hennepin county sheriff's office

News Release


Media Contact: Jon Collins, 612-919-5918

The White House Designates Five Metro Counties as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas

October 19, 2016 (MINNEAPOLIS) – The White House – Office of National Drug Control Policy recently announced that Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties would be designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.

The new designation provides the five counties with federal resources to assist with the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials.

“The HIDTA designation is a major victory in the fight against drug trafficking. We need more law enforcement partners and increased information sharing, and that is exactly what we will get now,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “This is about the big picture, drug trafficking not only brings illegal, and often deadly, drugs into our state, but also gangs and violence. The additional HIDTA resources will allow us to reduce all three of those concerns within our community.”

In 2015, there were 173 narcotics interdictions with Minnesota counties as the destination, 140 of those were destined for Hennepin County. During the same year, there were 572 drug overdose deaths in the state, an 11 percent increase from 2014.

The designation comes after the Sheriffs from all five counties petitioned to be added to the current Wisconsin HIDTA region. The petition included assessments of drug trends in the five counties, along with letters of support by federal law makers, local police chiefs and several other elected officials.

“Working together with our colleagues in local law enforcement, the US Attorney’s Office and our federal partners are clamping down on drug trafficking into the Twin Cities,” said Criminal Chief of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota Tracy L. Perzel. “This HIDTA designation recognizes the challenge we face, the collaboration in which we are engaged, and ensures that we now have access to increased federal resources to protect Minnesotans from the scourge of illegal drugs.”

The WI HIDTA includes the following counties: Brown, Dane, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, Rock and Waukesha.

"Washington County law enforcement is looking forward to the expanded local and federal partnerships that come with the HIDTA designation,” said Washington County Sheriff William Hutton. “The Washington County Sheriff's Office is confident that we will be a better organization creating safer communities for all of Washington County as a result."

"Anoka County is proud to expand our ongoing efforts to combat narcotics in our communities. This new tool brings a broader spirit of collaboration and coordination in order to more effectively pursue those who would choose to make a profit by poising our families," said Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart. "Today, we broaden our net to catch those very criminals." 

“Participation in this High Intensity Drug Traffic Area program will help heighten our efforts to go after drug kingpins,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said. “We appreciate the five Sheriff’s work on obtaining the designation.”

Information about the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.

There are currently 28 HIDTA’s, which include approximately 17.6 percent of all counties in the United States and a little over 63.5 percent of the U.S. population.  HIDTA-designated counties are located in 48 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

Each HIDTA assesses the drug trafficking threat in its defined area for the upcoming year, develops a strategy to address that threat, designs initiatives to implement the strategy, proposes funding needed to carry out the initiatives, and prepares an annual report describing its performance the previous year.  A central feature of the HIDTA program is the discretion granted to the Executive Boards to design and implement initiatives that confront drug trafficking threats in each HIDTA.  The program’s 59 Intelligence and Investigative Support Centers help HIDTA’s identify new targets and trends, develop threat assessments, de-conflict targets and events, and manage cases.

For additional information on the HIDTA program visit:

- HCSO -

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