FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, October 13, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) received the Legislator of the Year Award for the U.S. House today from the National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Association. Mr. Hoyer also received a briefing from Tom Carr, the Director of the Washington-Baltimore HIDTA, on the facility’s current operations and programs.
Hoyer helped lead the charge to oppose the Bush Administration’s proposed transfer of HIDTA to the Department of Justice and to oppose a $19 million budget cut by initiating a letter to the House Appropriations Committee that garnered over 80 signatures. Moving HIDTA to the Department of Justice would have effectively eliminated the current HIDTA program and shut state and local law enforcement out of the process.
“As a long time supporter of this program, I am proud to accept this award from the National HIDTA Association,” said Hoyer today. “For many communities, HIDTA is an integral part of keeping their streets safe from the torment of illegal drugs.
“The program’s proven results motivated many of us in this region to found the Washington-Baltimore HIDTA, recognizing that our local law enforcement agencies could benefit from the additional support that it would bring,” added Hoyer. “Local law enforcement in the 5th Congressional District uniformly report how critical HIDTA has been to their efforts against drug trafficking. HIDTA has also done a remarkable job at maximizing our investment. For every dollar spent on HIDTA, $60 in drugs were seized and $3 in assets were seized, for a total return of $63.
“I am proud to support such a winning law enforcement effort and I have no doubt that HIDTA will continue to protect our communities from the threat of illegal drugs,” concluded Hoyer.
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Reauthorization Act of 1998 authorized the Director of the ONDCP to designate areas within the United States that exhibit serious drug trafficking problems and harmfully impact other areas of the country as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). The HIDTA Program provides additional federal resources to those areas to help eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences. ONDCP designated the Washington/Baltimore area a HIDTA in 1994 to address the serious public safety threats arising from the distribution of illegal drugs. The twelve-county HIDTA region includes the cities of Baltimore and Washington, DC, as well as the surrounding jurisdictions.
The W-B HIDTA focuses its efforts on reducing the number of drug- and firearms-trafficking organizations through intelligence-driven law enforcement operations, assisting local governments in implementing effective drug treatment programs for hard-core offenders, promoting innovative prevention programs involving partnerships between law enforcement agencies, community organizations and local government, and reducing the levels of drug-related violence and crime within the HIDTA region.
Also participating in the award ceremony and briefing were Judith Sachwald, the Washington-Baltimore HIDTA Executive Board Chair, and Floyd Pond, the Washington-Baltimore HIDTA Deputy Director.