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2004 National HIDTA Program Award

Ohio HIDTA - Cleveland FBI Supervisory Special Agent
Stephen E. Vogt

The Caribbean/ Gang Drug Task Force (CGDTF) has been the premier Ohio HIDTA Drug task force since the Ohio HIDTA was formed in 1999. This multi-agency HIDTA initiative has been supervised by Cleveland FBI Supervisory Special Agent Stephen E. Vogt since December of 2000. The CGDTF consists of 4 FBI agents, 1 DEA agent, 1 IRS agent and 15 state and local task force officers with the primary focus on working long-term, multi-state conspiracy investigations with links to international Consolidated Priority Targets (CPOT) as outlined in both the HIDTA and OCDETF national program goals.

As the Task Force Commander of the CGDTF, SSA Vogt has organized and coordinated intelligence sharing amongst multiple federal, state and local Northern Ohio law enforcement agencies in order to identify local drug trafficking organizations (DTO's) with the goal of linking these DTO's to national and international CPOT targets.

1. Use of Innovation in Supervisory Investigations

Since taking command of the CGDTF HIDTA Initiative, SSA Vogt has refocused task force personnel away from street-level buy/bust operations to more sophisticated multi-state, multi-jurisdictional conspiracy cases that impact other HIDTA regions. SSA Vogt has provided direction and coordination over the CGDTF HIDTA Initiative's complex investigations. SSA Vogt has emphasized the importance of telephone toll manipulation and the usage of the Special Operations Division (SOD) in order to link local DTO's to higher-level national/international DTO's. SSA Vogt developed the innovative idea of having HIDTA CGDTF personnel draft spin-off Title III affidavits and provide court orders to other HIDTA regions' task forces to move the cases forward throughout the country. This technique has made it easier for HIDTA groups in other regions to initiate Title III spin-off investigations on targets significant in their jurisdiction.

During this past year SSA Vogt was unique in his application of Global Positioning Technology (GPS) to track cellular communications on a DTO. This is a unique application of this technology to locate and identify movement of large drug shipments. SSA Vogt successfully used this technique in OCDETF investigation “Noon Ore” to track and intercept a tractor-trailer, bound for Ohio from the Southwest Border loaded with 1000 lbs. of marijuana and 30 kilograms of cocaine.

2. Leadership and Direction

After September 11, 2001, FBI Headquarters directed FBI field offices to re-assign a large contingent of drug investigators to counter-terrorism matters. However the Cleveland Division was made an exception due in part to the strength and commitment of SSA Vogt's HIDTA Initiative's drug program and the impact it has had on the national level in reducing the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. During the 2004 reporting period under SSA Vogt's leadership and direction, CGDTF HIDTA Initiative developed 25 Title III investigations and passed 6 spin-off investigations to law enforcement agencies in Phoenix, Tucson, Miami and New York. SSA Vogt has personally drafted Title III affidavits for other HIDTA groups to move cases up the chain to identify and prosecute the hierarchy of national/international DTO's. SSA Vogt has been certified by the Federal District Court in Northern Ohio to testify as an expert witness on drug cases. SSA Vogt has taught Title III investigative techniques at the FBI Academy, Cleveland Heights Police Academy, Chicago FBI Field Office and the Ohio HIDTA to further exploit the usage of the Title III investigative technique.

3. Commitment to the HIDTA Program

SSA Vogt is a firm believer in the HIDTA and OCDETF national strategy of promoting intelligence sharing for the purpose of identifying and investigating multi-state, multi- jurisdictional DTO's. Over the past year, SSA Vogt's HIDTA Initiative has shared intelligence that resulted in six spin-off investigations to other HIDTA regions. SSA Vogt has coordinated investigative activity with other HIDTA regions in order to maximize the dismantlement of the entire DTO.

During the past year, the CGDTF HIDTA Initiative under SSA Vogt's leadership has achieved the following successes as a result of his commitment to the HIDTA Program:

• 25 Title III's • Interception and analysis of over 20,000 wiretap telephone conversations • 6 spin-off Title III's to other HIDTA regions
• Over 100 indictments
Seizures include:
o 60 kg of cocaine
o 1022 lbs marijuana
o $500,000 cash
o $2 million in property and assets

SSA Vogt has been a powerful proponent of innovative and sophisticated investigative techniques to promote intelligence sharing throughout the HIDTA program and push investigations beyond the borders of the Ohio HIDTA.

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Last Updated: February 7, 2005