Skip to Content

Notice

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas; Petitions for Designation

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of National Drug Control Policy.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

Pursuant to the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, Public Law 109-469, section 707(c), the Director, National Drug Control Policy is establishing regulations under which interested coalitions of law enforcement agencies from an area may petition for designation as a high intensity drug trafficking area.

DATES:

Comments must be received by ONDCP on or before August 3, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments may be submitted through electronic mail at ondcp_hidta@ondcp.eop.gov, or via facsimile at (202) 395-6721 to Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Office of State, Local and Tribal Affairs, Washington, DC 20503.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Daniel Grayson, Policy Analyst, Office of State, Local, and Tribal Affairs, Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy, 750 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503; DGrayso@ondcp.eop.gov; (202) 395-4582 (This is not a toll-free number).

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 1998, and the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 2006 authorize the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to designate areas within the United States that exhibit serious drug trafficking problems and harmful impact of other areas of the country as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). The HIDTA Program provides federal resources to those areas to help eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences. Law enforcement organizations within HIDTAs assess drug trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to reduce of eliminate the production, manufacture, transportation, distribution, and use of illegal drugs and money laundering.

When designating a new HIDTA or adding counties to existing HIDTAs, the Director of ONDCP consults with the Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Treasury, heads of national drug control agencies, and the appropriate governors, and considers the extent to which—

(1) The area is a significant center of illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation, or distribution;

(2) State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies have committed resources to respond to the drug trafficking problem in the area, thereby indicating a determination to respond aggressively to the problem;

(3) Drug-related activities in the area are having a significant harmful impact in the area, and in other areas of the country; and

(4) A significant increase in allocation of Federal resources is necessary to respond adequately to drug-related activities in the area.

The HIDTA Program helps improve the effectiveness and efficiency of drug control efforts by facilitating cooperation among drug control organizations through resource and information sharing, collocation, and implementing joint initiatives. HIDTA funds help Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement organizations invest in infrastructure and joint initiatives to confront drug trafficking organizations. Start Printed Page 30863

Each HIDTA is governed by its own executive board comprised of Federal, State and local law enforcement officials from the designated HIDTA region. The executive boards facilitate interagency drug control efforts to eliminate or reduce drug threats.

HIDTA-designated counties comprise approximately 13 percent of U.S. counties, and are present in 43 states, Puerto Rice, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. The following 28 areas are designated HIDTAs:

1990: Houston, Los Angeles, New York/New Jersey, South Florida, and Southwest Border (California, Arizona, New Mexico, and South and West Texas)

1994: Washington/Baltimore (Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia) and Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands

1995: Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia/Camden

1996: Rocky Mountain (Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming), Gulf Coast (Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi), Lake County (Indiana), Midwest (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) and Northwest (Washington)

1997: Michigan and Northern California

1998: Appalachia (Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia), Central Florida, Milwaukee, and North Texas (Texas and Oklahoma)

1999: Central valley California, Hawaii, New England (Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont), Ohio, and Oregon

2001: North Florida and Nevada

To date, counties seeking HIDTA designation have communicated their interest to ONDCP in a variety of manners. Currently, no formal process or regulation exists outlining the application and selection process. Historically, law enforcement coalitions interested in obtaining designation as HIDTAs have submitted drug-related threat assessments for their counties which typically include a narrative analysis of the drug threat and statistical information related to the four statutory criteria. The proposed rule is intended to create a better coordinated and more meaningful process for reviewing applications. The rule sets forth a general process that enables interested coalitions of law enforcement agencies to submit petition for designation as a HIDTA. The criteria by which ONDCP will evaluate the petitions are set forth in this regulation. In addition, the proposed rule requires ONDCP to review submitted petitions of a regular basis.

Sec. 1  General Provisions

(a) This regulation contains the rules that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (Office) follows in processing petitions for designation as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), in accordance with the ONDCP Reauthorization Act of 2006, Public Law No. 109-469.

(b) Establishment—

(1) In General—There is established in the Office a program known as the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (in this regulation referred to as the “Program”).

(2) Purpose—The purpose of the Program is to reduce drug trafficking and drug production in the United States by—

(A) Facilitating cooperation among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to share information and implement coordinated enforcement activities;

(B) Enhancing law enforcement intelligence sharing among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies;

(C) Providing reliable law enforcement intelligence to law enforcement agencies needed to design effective enforcement strategies and operations; and

(D) Supporting coordinated law enforcement strategies which maximize use of available resources to reduce the supply of illegal drugs in designated areas and in the United States as a whole.

(c) Designation—

(1) In General—The Director, in consultation with the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Homeland Security, heads of the National Drug Control Program agencies, and the Governor of each applicable State, may designate any specified area of the United States as a high intensity drug trafficking area.

(2) Activities—After making a designation under paragraph (1) and in order to provide Federal assistance to the area so designated, the Director may—

(A) Obligate such sums as are appropriated for the Program;

(B) Direct the temporary reassignment of Federal personnel to such area, subject to the approval of the head of the department or agency that employs such personnel;

(C) Take any other action authorized under the Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006 to provide increased Federal assistance to those areas; and

(D) Coordinate activities under this section (specifically administrative, recordkeeping, and funds management activities) with State, local, and tribal officials.

(3) Factors for Consideration—In considering whether to designate an area as a high intensity drug trafficking area, the Director shall consider, in addition to such other criteria as the Director considers to be appropriate, the extent to which—

(1) The area is a significant center of illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation, or distribution;

(2) State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies have committed resources to respond to the drug trafficking problem in the area, thereby indicating a determination to respond aggressively to the problem;

(3) Drug-related activities in the area are having a significant harmful impact in the area, and in other areas of the country; and

(4) A significant increase in allocation of Federal resources is necessary to respond adequately to drug-related activities in the area.

Sec. 2 Instructions for Petitions

(a) A coalition of interested law enforcement agencies from an area may petition for designation as a HIDTA.

(b) Petitions must specify the geographical area for which HIDTA designation is requested. Areas are designated by county, therefore, such areas must be identified in the petition.

(c) Petitions must state specifically which law enforcement agencies are making the petition, a responsible official for each agency making the petition, and a point of contact for the coalition of interested law enforcement agencies.

(d) Petitions must include an assessment of the threat of illegal drugs in the area for which HIDTA designation is requested and must specifically respond to each of the following four requirements:

(1) The area is a significant center of illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation, or distribution;

(2) State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies have committed resources to respond to the drug trafficking problem in the area, thereby indicating a determination to respond aggressively to the problem;

(3) Drug-related activities in the area are having a significant harmful impact in the area, and in other areas of the country; and

(4) A significant increase in allocation of Federal resources is necessary to respond adequately to drug-related activities in the area.

(e) Each of the requirements in Section 2(d) must be addressed and Start Printed Page 30864justified with sufficient information/documentation for each county proposed in the petition.

(f) If the petition proposes to designate additional counties to an already established HIDTA region, the petition shall include a letter from the Chairman of that HIDTA's Executive Committee indicating that the Executive Committee has reviewed the petition and sets forth its position related to the petition for designation.

(g) Petitions may be submitted to the Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Office of State, Local and Tribal Affairs, Washington, DC 20503 via facsimile at (202) 395-6721 or electronic mail at ondcp_hidta@ondcp.eop.gov.

Comments or questions regarding this notice should be directed to Mr. Daniel Grayson, ONDCP Policy Analyst at (202) 395-4582.

Sec. 3 Processing of Petitions

(a) Acknowledgements of Petitions. Upon receipt of a petition, the Office shall send an acknowledgement letter to the requester to confirm receipt of the petition and provide an assigned number for further reference.

(b) Petitions will be reviewed by the Office on a regular basis. The review will include a recommendation regarding the merit of the petition to the Director by a panel of qualified, independent experts who are designated by the Director.

(c) Notification of merit of petition. After the review is completed the requestor will be notified in writing regarding the disposition of the petition.

(d) The Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy, is solely responsible for making designation and funding decisions relating to the HIDTA Program.

Start Signature

Edward H. Jurith,

General Counsel, Office of National Drug Control Policy.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E7-10640 Filed 6-1-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3180-02-P