October 23, 2018
Contact: Timothy P. McMahon
Phone Number: (973) 776-1100
Atlantic County joins the Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA
New drug task force to operate in the county
MAYS LANDING, N.J. – Atlantic County is the latest region to be assigned the designation of being a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) through the federally funded HIDTA program, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner and Valerie A. Nickerson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, announced today.
“The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office welcomes this unprecedented opportunity to collaborate with our federal law enforcement partners to fight the opioid epidemic. This is yet another strategy that we will employ to make our community safer and healthier. On behalf of the residents of Atlantic County, I would like to thank Senators Corey Booker and Robert Menendez and Congressman Norcross for recognizing the need to include the greater Atlantic City region in the HIDTA Program in our fight to eradicate drug abuse,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said.
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) 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. This grant program is administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, Valerie A. Nickerson, said, “The formation of this new HIDTA group as part of the Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA will provide additional law enforcement resources to the Atlantic City area to aid in the fight against drug trafficking. We will remain committed to bring to justice those who choose to sell heroin and other illegal narcotics in our communities.”
There are currently 28 HIDTAs, which include approximately 18 percent of all counties in the United States and 66 percent of the U.S. population. HIDTA-designated counties are located in 49 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. The DEA plays a very active role and has nearly 600 authorized special agent positions dedicated to the program. At the local level, the HIDTAs are directed and guided by Executive Boards composed of an equal number of regional Federal and non-Federal (state, local, and tribal) law enforcement leaders.
The purpose of the HIDTA program is to reduce drug trafficking and production in the United States by:
•Facilitating cooperation among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to share information and implement coordinated enforcement activities;
•Enhancing law enforcement intelligence sharing among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies;
•Providing reliable law enforcement intelligence to law enforcement agencies to facilitate the design of effective enforcement strategies and operations; and
•Supporting coordinated law enforcement strategies that make the most of available resources to reduce the supply of illegal drugs in designated areas of the United States and in the Nation as a whole.