High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

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The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA) is a drug-prohibition enforcement program run by the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy. It was established in 1990 after the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 was passed.[1]

The mission of the program is "to enhance and coordinate America's drug-control efforts among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences in critical regions of the United States."[2]

The term HIDTA also refers to each geographic location, usually a major city, county, or border crossing, in which the program has established a headquarters. These headquarters are placed in locations considered to be major drug trafficking zones. The five HIDTA offices along the United States–Mexico border are grouped into a single "Southwest Border HIDTA" unit. Twenty eight HIDTAs have been designated since the program began.[2]

Each HIDTA is governed by a HIDTA Executive Board which includes representatives of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in the area of the HIDTA. By law, each HIDTA Board is equally divided between federal law enforcement on the one side and state and local agencies on the other.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

In popular culture, HIDTA was featured in an episode of Law & Order entitled "Locomotion". It aired in the show's 15th year (2004–2005 season). The two primary homicide detectives visited the HIDTA Branch in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Also, during episode 2 of the first season of True Detective the audience learns of Rust Cohle's previous law enforcement history, including participation in the HIDTA program.

HIDTA is also featured in crime writer Patricia Cornwell’s novel Black Notice. A HIDTA squad is involved in the search for a brutal murderer.


  1. ^ "Office of National Drug Control Policy Authorizations". Office of National Drug Control Policy. Archived from the original on 20 January 2021. Retrieved 26 July 2020 – via National Archives.
  2. ^ a b c "The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program: An Overview". National Criminal Justice Reference Service. 2001. Retrieved 26 July 2020.

External links[edit]