The Atlanta High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Tast Force (HIDTA), responsible for numerous raids and in-depth investigations into Mexican drug cartels in the North Georgia area last year, is waiting on the Atlanta City Council to vote on a $5 million federal grant, giving it funding for yet another year of big drug busts.
According to PBA.com, in 2009 the agency, “literally identified the scope with which La Familia Michoacana, one of the Mexican cartels, established itself in the United States.”
HIDTA Director Jack Killarin said the force used 225 wiretaps on the cartel, something local agencies don’t have the money for. Neither do they have the money for overtime in order to get these investigations done. This is where the agency comes in.
The task force is made up of several law enforcement agencies in North Georgia. According to the official website, their mission is:
…to achieve measurable success in improving public safety and well-being by disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking and money laundering organizations through intelligence-driven multi-jurisdictional operations; to enhance the safety and effectiveness of law enforcement operations through training; and to improve communication and information sharing among criminal justice, drug prevention, and drug treatment professionals in support of the objectives of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
This grant would mark the largest amount of funding that the agency has ever received from the White House. And because the White House has vocally supported a continued militaristic Drug War, their funding of such task forces should come as no surprise.
Task forces like this differ from local agencies in the amount of money they have to work with, allowing them to also have “better” tools at their disposal. Military-type weaponry, vehicles, and armor are just some of the equipment we commonly see from larger, well-funded task forces.
These aren’t the cops that are busting people for marijuana possession; they are looking for suppliers and dealers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that smaller busts are beneath them, however. If they happen to catch someone in the net of their investigation who isn’t necessarily related to big time drug deals, but still has drugs on them, they will certainly add them to the pool of “victories”.
If you are facing drug charges, whether at the hands of a task force like this or the Atlanta Police Department, you are looking at serious penalties. Contact our offices today to discuss the options that are available to you during this difficult time.