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North Texas HIDTA

General Information:
  Year of Designation:  1998
  Geographic Area of Responsibility:
    Texas:

Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Henderson, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Lubbock, Navarro, Parker, Rockwall, Smith and Tarrant Counties.

    Oklahoma:

Cleveland, Comanche, Muskogee, Sequoyah, Oklahoma, and Tulsa Counties.

    Contact: (972) 915-9500

Mission Statement:

The mission of the North Texas HIDTA is to reduce the availability of illicit drugs and drug related violence by creating intelligence driven task forces aimed at attacking, dismantling, and destroying drug trafficking organizations operating in this region and impacting other areas of the country.

Threat Abstract:

The North Texas HIDTA is a national transshipment and distribution region for drugs arriving from Mexico, destined for northern Texas and Oklahoma as well as other areas within the United States. Drug traffickers use the North Texas HIDTA region for the transport, storage, and distribution of illicit drugs, exploiting its transportation infrastructure to facilitate the movement of illicit drugs. Numerous interstate highways and roadways that support a high volume of traffic transect Oklahoma as well as Texas. Oklahoma's unique geographical location contributes to its role as a major transshipment supplier of precursor chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine. The international air and land transportation corridors further facilitate the movement of illicit drugs through the North Texas HIDTA region. Drug trafficking groups primarily transport their product into and through northern Texas and Oklahoma using Interstates 20, 30, 35, and 45. Interstates 35 and 40 provide north/south and east/west passage through Oklahoma. This collective highway system effectively provides ready access to and from the Texas/Mexico border and into and through the North Texas HIDTA region. The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is one of the busiest in the world, affording traffickers a major transshipment facility for drug cargo arriving internationally as well as for couriers transporting shipments to other cities throughout the United States. Traffickers also take advantage of the vast and growing population of the Dallas/Fort Worth region, one of the largest and most

ethnically diverse metropolitan areas in the nation.

Methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana all pose serious drug threats to the North Texas HIDTA region. However, the growing and continuing abuse, availability, production, and trafficking of methamphetamine constitutes the greatest concern in the area. Seizures of small-scale clandestine laboratories are increasingly common, particularly in rural locations throughout northern Texas and Oklahoma. Increased availability, addiction potential, and health hazards, coupled with the associated violence and dangers of methamphetamine production and costly cleanup operations associated with clandestine laboratory residue, make this substance particularly harmful.

Cocaine, both powder and crack, are readily available and continue to be a primary drug threat. As with the other major drugs, the Dallas/Fort Worth area is considered a wholesale distribution and transshipment center for cocaine. Abundant supply, high purity and stable prices contribute to the persistent availability and abuse of this drug. Most of the cocaine produced in Colombia is transported through Mexico and into the United States and is distributed primarily by Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations.

Widespread availability and a growing potential market of young users make heroin a serious threat to the North Texas HIDTA region. Mexican black tar is the most commonly encountered type of heroin, followed by Mexican brown heroin. The Dallas/Fort Worth area of the North Texas HIDTA region serves as a transshipment point from sources south of the border in Mexico, as well as a consumer base for both of these substances.

Marijuana is the most commonly abused and trafficked drug in the North Texas HIDTA region. The omnipresent threat of marijuana lies primarily in its widespread availability, popularity, and its general misperception as a “harmless” drug. It is the drug of choice for many adults and adolescents alike. In addition to the abundant supply of foreign grown marijuana, domestically cultivated cannabis is available as well.

Money resulting from drug trafficking is often smuggled in bulk shipments to Mexico via tractor-trailer, privately owned vehicles, parcel delivery services and couriers. Other methods preferred by money launderers include the use of seemingly legitimate businesses and wire transfers.

Strategy Abstract:

The strategy of the North Texas HIDTA is to accomplish its mission of reducing the availability of illicit drugs and drug related violence, through the following elements:

1) Wide participation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in all North Texas HIDTA initiatives - during FY-2004 law enforcement agencies will contribute approximately 162 personnel to the North Texas HIDTA region for assignments on investigative and intelligence initiatives.

2) The operation of a well managed HIDTA program, led by an Executive Board, and implemented by the HIDTA Director and staff, to provide support for each initiative to accomplish their identified goals, which will thereby accomplish the mission of the North Texas HIDTA and Office of National Drug Control Policy.

3) The collocation and commingling of the majority of the task forces along with the Regional Intelligence Support Center within a central operations facility. Oklahoma task forces are collocated in three locations; two in Oklahoma City and one in Tulsa.

4) The operation of a Regional Intelligence Support Center and Oklahoma Intelligence Center to provide threat assessment, deconfliction coordination, and full intelligence support to the North Texas HIDTA initiatives, as well as all law enforcement in the North Texas/Oklahoma region.

Investigative Support Center:

The Regional Intelligence Support Center (RISC), co-managed by DEA and the Dallas Police Department and staffed with intelligence analysts and officers from a variety of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. It provides comprehensive case support, database checks and deconfliction services. This work is completed for HIDTA initiatives, member agencies and area law enforcement departments.

The RISC Watch Center is designed primarily to enhance officer safety by providing deconfliction of subjects and drug operations to all law enforcement agencies within the region. This center provides over 4,600 event and subject deconflictions a year for law enforcement agencies in the North Texas HIDTA region.

RISC Tactical/Case Support staff also directly supports the North Texas HIDTA investigative initiatives by identifying major drug trafficking organizations and providing analysis of the patterns and trends of these organizations. Last year 491 intelligence profiles were prepared and over 17,900 database searches conducted.

The RISC provides research for North Texas HIDTA initiatives, has access to all major law enforcement intelligence systems and public information databases, provides specific case support to the North Texas HIDTA investigative initiatives, and promotes participation by area law enforcement agencies. The North Texas HIDTA RISC also operates intelligence subsystems in East Texas (Tyler) and Oklahoma City. These centers work in conjunction with the RISC and provide similar services to their respective regions.

Participating Agencies:

Federal:
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Drug Enforcement Administration
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Internal Revenue Service
United States Marshal's Service

State:
Texas Department of Public Safety
Texas National Guard
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics

Local:
Collin County Sheriff's Office
Dallas County District Attorney
Dallas County Sheriff's Office
Denton County Sheriff's Office
Ellis County Sheriff's Office
Gregg County Sheriff's Office
Gregg County District Attorney
Harrison County District Attorney
Navarro County Sheriff's Office
Smith County Sheriff's Office
Smith County District Attorney
Tarrant County Sheriff's Office
Tulsa County Sheriff's Office
Arlington Police Department
Broken Arrow Police Department
Coppell Police Department
Dallas Police Department
Denton Police Department
Fort Worth Police Department
Garland Police Department
Grand Prairie Police Department
Irving Police Department
Jenks Police Department
Kilgore Police Department
Longview Police Department
Marshall Police Department
Oklahoma City Police Department
Plano Police Department
Richardson Police Department
Tulsa Police Department
Tyler Police Department.

Significant Achievements:

North Texas HIDTA Eastern Drug Squad initiated a crack cocaine case in July 2002, targeting several subjects who were selling kilo quantities of crack cocaine in the Dallas and Ellis County area of north Texas. During the investigation, it was determined that members of this drug trafficking enterprise were distributing cocaine and marijuana in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Ohio, and had direct ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Members of the investigative team included Task Force Officers Tommy Hale, Brad Norman, and the late Tom Pease. Primary DEA participants were Special Agent Don York and Intelligence Analyst Lynn Beshears, all working with Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Guess. Significant traffickers involved the importation of hundreds of kilos of cocaine from Mexico into the United States were identified as well as their extensive network of stash houses in Dallas. The organization was also involved in the smuggling of fully automatic firearms from the United States into Mexico as well as the movement of millions of dollars in drug proceeds.

This investigation, dubbed “Operation Fifth Wheel”, led to the identification and indictment of a Mexican Source of Supply and ultimately culminated in the indictment and arrest of 25 subjects in Texas and Oklahoma in June and July 2003. Seizures included several vehicles, numerous firearms (including fully automatic machine guns), over 160 kilos of cocaine, and approximately $2.8 million in cash.

The investigative team, led by DEA Group Supervisor Glenn Schneider, worked virtually a 24-hour a day, seven-day-a-week routine to further identify significant traffickers and piece the organization together. The North Texas HIDTA Eastern Drug Squad received a 2004 National Award for Outstanding OCDETF Investigation “Operation Fifth Wheel”. The group also received one of the 2003 International Narcotic Officers Association Special Agency Awards (DEA) in 2003. The same year, “Operation Fifth Wheel” was further recognized as one of the Regional OCDETF Cases of the Year Award. Glenn Schneider, DEA Group Supervisor for the North Texas HIDTA Eastern Drug Squad, received recognition for Outstanding Group Supervisor of the Year and Ellis County Sheriff's Officer Brad Norman was awarded the Northern Region Officer of the Year at the Texas Narcotics Officers Association (TNOA) conference in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 1, 2004.

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Last Updated: February 7, 2005



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