SAVANNAH, GA: Chatham County has been added to the Atlanta-Carolinas Region High Intensity Drug Trafficking area (HIDTA) in an effort to assist in the community’s fight against drug trafficking.
The designation, by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), means Chatham County will gain access to additional federal resources to coordinate local efforts to fight drug trafficking and abuse, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Chatham is the first county in Georgia outside the metro Atlanta area to be included in an HIDTA.
“Being named as part of HIDTA will provide a significant boost to law enforcement in combatting deadly drugs such as opioids and methamphetamine,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “These additional resources will be used to disrupt the flow of drugs in the greater Savannah area, and hold accountable those who would distribute poison in our communities.”
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. Chatham joins the Atlanta/Carolinas HIDTA, which includes multiple counties in the Atlanta area, and in South and North Carolina. The grant program is administered by the ONDCP, with significant support from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“This additional HIDTA designation will create a focus on new areas affected by drug trafficking. Through the HIDTA program, law enforcement officials enhance collaboration and engage in a coordinated drug enforcement effort that exploits drug-related crimes.” ONDCP Director Jim Carroll said. “As President Trump and First Lady Trump have made clear, we cannot stand for the flow of deadly drugs coming into our communities, which often leads to substance use disorder and violence. It’s imperative that we continue to support and enable communities to be safe and healthy.”
Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Division stated, “The HIDTA program will advance Chatham County’s efforts to reduce the influence of drug distribution organizations on the community, therefore reducing other violent crimes. The goal is simply to diminish the illegal drug market by dismantling violent drug trafficking and money laundering organizations, through law enforcement coordination.”
Funding for new HIDTAs currently is being finalized for congressional appropriation.