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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 15, 1999

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore and Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced today the designation of five new High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) around the county to confront drug trafficking in areas with significant narcotics threats.

The new HIDTAs are in the Central Valley of California, Hawaii, Oregon, Ohio, and New England. Specifically, federal funds for start up operations in these areas will be: $800,000 for Central Valley California, $700,000 for Hawaii, $700,000 for Ohio, $600,000 for Oregon and $1,000,000 for New England in the current Fiscal Year.

HIDTAs are partnerships of Federal, State and local law enforcement officials designed to bring resources and coordinate expertise to impact drug trafficking in the most beleaguered areas. They assess regional drug problems, design strategies to combat threats and develop initiatives to implement strategies. The twenty-one existing HIDTAs have successfully exposed and prosecuted numerous drug money-laundering and trafficking organizations that penetrate and threaten communities across the nation.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), California's Central Valley is inundated with clandestine methamphetamine or meth labs that transport and distribute the synthetic drug throughout the U.S. Ninety percent of the Midwest meth comes from the West Coast. Over seventy percent of DEA arrests in the area are for meth.

"I applaud the work of Congressmen Gary Condit (D-CA) and Cal Dooley (D-CA) and other leaders in California's Central Valley who have worked with us in the effort to curb drug use," Vice President Gore said. "Their efforts will not only help make their communities safer, but our country stronger."

In New England, the major drug threat consists of drug trafficking organizations in New York City which transport drugs over land along the New England Pipeline and continue north to Maine. Heroin is the most critical problem. Seizures by DEA's New England Division in FY99 have already surpassed total seizures in FY98.

In Ohio, crack cocaine and heroin trafficking plagues the cities, towns and citizens in the northern Ohio. Local distributors in the "rust belt" cities of Cleveland, Toledo, Akron, Canton and Youngstown import powder cocaine and convert it to crack.