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On Thursday evening, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Jim Carroll recognized individuals and initiatives of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program for outstanding work in reducing drug trafficking and production in the United States.

The HIDTA program, which includes 33 HIDTAs in 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia, 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.

“The close collaboration our HIDTAs have with law enforcement across the country is invaluable to keeping deadly drugs out of our communities. Not only are these highly-trained law enforcement professionals working to stop drugs from affecting our communities and our families, they are providing invaluable information about how drug threats are evolving,” ONDCP Director Jim Carroll said. “Despite all the challenges and dangers facing this country, the men and women on HIDTA teams continually answer the call to serve others without question and put their lives on the line every day. We in the Administration recognize that, and President Trump continues to stand with them in their mission to defend America.”

In 2018, President Trump, through ONDCP, established the first new HIDTA program in 17 years to combat emerging threats in Alaska, bringing to completion the Administration’s effort to ensure that all 50 States receive funding through the program. In 2018, HIDTA Program initiatives dismantled nearly 3,000 drug trafficking organizations, removed $16.5 billion in the wholesale value of drugs from the street, and made nearly 99,000 arrests.

At the 2020 National HIDTA Awards, the following HIDTAs, individuals, and initiatives were recognized for outstanding efforts in a variety of counterdrug areas:

  • Outstanding HIDTA of the Year Award
    • Gulf Coast HIDTA
  • Outstanding Investigative Effort
    • Central Florida HIDTA – Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation
    • Chicago HIDTA – Chicago HIDTA/Strike Force Group 2, Choke Point Unit
    • Midwest HIDTA – DEA St. Louis Division Task Force II, Group 37
    • Southwest Border (SWB) HIDTA – San Diego/Imperial Region – Imperial Valley Drug Coalition Major Mexican Traffickers Task Force
    • Washington/Baltimore HIDTA – Hampton Roads Peninsula Drug Initiative
  • Outstanding Prosecutor
    • SWB HIDTA – San Diego/Imperial Region – Matthew J. Sutton, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California
  • Outstanding Interdiction Effort
    • Appalachia HIDTA – Parcel Interdiction Task Force
    • Houston HIDTA – Truck, Rail, and Port Initiative: Highway Interdiction Unit
    • Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA – Money Laundering and Drug Asset Forfeiture Task Force Initiative
  • Outstanding Task Force Commander
    • Houston HIDTA – Rachel Garza, Lieutenant, Houston Police Department
    • North Florida HIDTA – Corey M. Taylor, Director, Ocala Police Department
  • Outstanding Overdose Investigative Effort
    • Los Angeles HIDTA – Southern California Drug Task Force Group 45
  • Mary Marshall Award for Outstanding Support Staff
    • New England HIDTA – Christina Heacock, Program Analyst
  • Outstanding Cooperative Effort
    • Gulf Coast HIDTA – Shelby County Major Investigations Team
    • New York/New Jersey HIDTA – El Dorado Task Force/Dark Web Digital Currency Group
    • South Florida HIDTA – Black Pearl Initiative
  • HIDTA Award for Excellence
    • Midwest HIDTA – Cheryl Wah, Director/Group Supervisor, Investigative Support Center/DEA Kansas City District Office
    • Texoma HIDTA – Joe Peres, DEA Special Agent, Dallas HIDTA Enforcement Group III
  • Outstanding Public Health/Public Safety Collaborative Effort
    • Oregon/Idaho HIDTA – Children Learning Through Education and Research Alliance
  • Outstanding Public Health/Public Safety Collaborative Effort on Tribal Lands
    • Atlanta/Carolinas HIDTA – The Asheville Initiative
    • SWB Border HIDTA – New Mexico Region – Region I Narcotics Task Force
  • Outstanding Intelligence Analyst
    • North Central HIDTA – Rebekah Beaudry, Senior Criminal Intelligence Analyst, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    • SWB Border HIDTA – South Texas Region – Donna P. Richardson, Strategic Intelligence Analyst
  • Outstanding Investigative Support Center
    • North Florida HIDTA – North Florida HIDTA ISC
  • Outstanding Financial Investigative Effort
    • Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands HIDTA – HIDTA Money Laundering Initiative
    • SWB HIDTA – Arizona Region – East Valley Drug Enforcement Task Force
  • HIDTA Award for Innovation
    • SWB HIDTA – West Texas Region – Jeff Gibson, Gang Intelligence Investigator, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
  • Outstanding Marijuana Investigative Effort
    • Central Valley California HIDTA – Campaign Against Marijuana Planting
    • Rocky Mountain HIDTA – North Metro Task Force and DEA Financial Investigations Team
  • Abraham Azzam Award for Outstanding Support to the HIDTA Program
    • Overdose Response Strategy – John (Jack) Killorin
  • Edward Williams Lifetime Achievement Award
    • Central Valley California HIDTA – William Ruzzamenti