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2004 National HIDTA Program Award
OUTSTANDING INVESTIGATIVE EFFORT RESULTING IN SIGNIFICANT ASSET FORFEITURE

Southwest Border HIDTA, West Texas Regional Partnership - "Operation Lone Star"

Operation Lone Star is a unique HIDTA initiative. Lone Star is not the usual initiative in the traditional full-time collocated sense. This initiative is an umbrella initiative covering an enormously expansive border region with joint, cooperative, inter-agency interdiction operations. Operation Lone Star is organized to capitalize on intelligence and information that will lead to successful interdiction operations along the border highways, desert crossings, and Border Patrol checkpoints. Participating agencies in Operation Lone Star will collaborate and conduct joint interdiction operations that target, interdict and seize a substantial amount of drugs, vehicles and Drug Trafficking Organization proceeds.

The success of this initiative in its cooperative investigative and interdiction efforts through the multi-agency task force concept resulted in a significant disruptive impact to drug trafficking in the Big Bend region. Throughout 2003 and 2004, significant operations within the Marfa Border Patrol Sector included "Hilltop I & II, Gear Jammer 2003, Gear Jammer II 2003", netting significant amounts of marijuana, weapons and vehicles seized. Additionally, El Paso Sector Operation "Cobija XIV" netted significant amounts of marijuana, vehicles, and cocaine seized.

Communication and counter-drug measures initiated through the Operation Lone Star initiative between U.S. Border Patrol and counterpart county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies - have resulted in the disruption of 7 local, 2 regional, 2 national, and 1 international drug trafficking and money laundering organizations in calendar year 2003. These disruptions have continued throughout 2004.

Counter-drug measures resulted in the seizure of currency in the amount of $648,005, vehicle assets valued at $7,004,415, the seizure of 82,317.67 kilos of marijuana, 793 kilos of cocaine, and 9.523 kilos of heroin, leading to 968 arrests. Drug trafficking organizations' operations and financial returns are disrupted and reduced due to the outstanding interdiction efforts of this initiative.

Liaison between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and interdiction techniques initiated by Operation Lone Star have led to the increase of jurisdictional cooperation in a vast region. Without this cooperation, it would be extremely difficult for a single agency to succeed in the prevention of narcotics further invading our country. The liaison among these agencies developed into further investigations by the Department of Homeland Security -- Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration that has led to targeting and dismantling multiple organizations.

Initiative quantitative efforts significantly breached narcotics trafficking activities to the area. Ongoing investigative efforts between these agencies and the Operation Lone Star initiative are predicted to disrupt and possibly dismantle drug trafficking organizations affecting the West Texas HIDTA Region in the future.

Asset forfeiture and vehicle seizure numbers demonstrated by Operation Lone Star and participating law enforcement agencies impeded the narcotics traffickers' profits and armed the West Texas HIDTA Region with accountable measures for further funding of its mission - to deter, disrupt, and dismantle narco-terrorism threatening national security.

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Last Updated: February 7, 2005