Drug Enforcement Administration

New Jersey

Valerie A. Nickerson, Special Agent in Charge

June 29, 2011

Contact: Timothy P. McMahon

Phone Number: (973) 776-1100

New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program Receives National Recognition

WASHINGTON, DC - Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, presented the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) a national award at the 2011 National HIDTA Conference in Washington, D.C.

The Toatley Award for the Outstanding Task Force was presented to the New Jersey Drug Trafficking Organization Task Force/HIDTA (H2) from the New York/New Jersey HIDTA. H2 conducted a global investigation in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration Cartagena, Panama City, Guatemala, and Vienna (Budapest, Hungary), and HIDTA II Task Force of the Miami Homestead office. The investigation began as a buy-bust, and developed into an international, multi-jurisdictional operation resulting in the total dismantlement of the Gomez Money Laundering Organization.

"Close collaboration with our Federal, state, local, and tribal partners is a critical component of our efforts to reduce both the demand and supply of drugs," said Kerlikowske. "I congratulate the New York/New Jersey HIDTA for its work to improve public health and safety and disrupt drug trafficking in the United States”

ONDCP’s HIDTA program provides Federal resources to designated areas to help reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences. Law enforcement organizations within HIDTAs assess drug-trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution, and chronic use of drugs and money laundering. There are currently 28 HIDTAs, which include approximately 16 percent of all counties in the United States and 60 percent of the U.S. population. HIDTA-designated counties are located in 46 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

Overall drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past thirty years. In response to comprehensive efforts to address drug use at the local, state, Federal, and international levels, the rate of Americans using illicit drugs today is roughly half the rate it was in the late 1970s. To build on this progress and support a public health approach to drug control outlined in the National Drug Control Strategy, the Obama Administration has committed over $10 billion for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for addicts and over $9 billion for U.S. law enforcement efforts.

Additional information about the HIDTA program is available on the ONDCP Web site: www.WhiteHouseDrugPolicy.gov

ONDCP seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation's effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.

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