The DEA’s Top Programs

The Drug Enforcement Agency works with a host of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in a number of areas. However, there are two programs, in particular, that have garnered a great deal of attention for their overall success:

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program

The HIDTA Program, which had its beginning in 1988 as part of a federal drug abuse act, is a DEA program that works in collaboration with a variety of federal, local, and state law enforcement agencies.

The HIDTA Program, in particular, is designed to identify what are referred to as “critical drug-trafficking regions” in the United States. The HIDTA Program operates as a grant through the Office of National Drug Control Policy. There are now 28 HIDTAs throughout the United States and its territories; this number represents about 16 percent of all the counties in the country and 46 states, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

The purposes of establishing HIDTA programs are multi-faceted, as they are created to:

  • Help law enforcement agencies throughout all levels to share intelligence and information and coordinate their law enforcement activities
  • Support law enforcement strategies as to best use available resources

Southwest Border Initiative (SWBI)

The Southwest Border Initiative (SWBI) was created in 1994 as to establish collaboration between federal law enforcement agencies who work to combat the activities of Mexican drug trafficking groups that operate along the country’s Southwest border.

The SWBI activities are carried out by numerous federal law enforcement agencies, including the DEA, the FBI, U.S. Customs Service, and many United States Attorney offices throughout the country, thereby allowing intelligence to move seamlessly throughout these agencies. Further, the SWBI works with bi-national task forces in such locations as Juarez, Tijuana, and Monterrey.

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