March 18, 2014

Sheriff receives award for National HIDTA Program

Sheriff Rick Ramsay recently visited his High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) offices in Miami to receive an award for his support of the National HIDTA Program.

Lt. Colonel Tim Wagner with the South Florida HIDTA Office and Director Bill Martin with the National HIDTA Assistance Office were on hand to give the Sheriff the “Outstanding Support to the National HIDTA Program” award from the Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office manages the HIDTA Offices in South Florida and in Puerto Rico.

In the photo, Director Martin, Sheriff Ramsay and Lt. Colonel Wagner with the award.

Background information about Sheriff’s Office relationship with HIDTA:

The Monroe County Sheriff ’s Office is a major participant in the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (SFLHIDTA), which comprises operations and intelligence efforts in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.
HIDTA disrupts the market for illegal drugs in the United States by assisting Federal, State, and local law enforcement entities in their efforts to investigate drug trafficking organizations, with particular emphasis on drug trafficking regions that have harmful effects on other parts of the United States.

The Sheriff’s Office received one of the first HIDTA grants in 1991 and used those funds to create the Monroe Task Force, which Investigates narcotics related money laundering organizations  on an international scale. The unit is still in existence, having seized over $65 million dollars in illicit Narcotics-derived financial proceeds. It brought in over $25 million in asset sharing to the Sheriff ’s Office in just one case and has since brought in millions more to benefit the citizens of Monroe County.

The Marathon HIDTA  group consists of partnerships with the Internal Revenue Service, HSI (Homeland Security Investigations, USSS (US Secret Service) and FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement).

In 1994, the Sheriff elected to further assist in the HIDTA effort by serving as a fiscal agent (fiduciary) in the South Florida HIDTA and the Puerto Rico- Virgin Islands HIDTA. The Sheriff ’s Office handles over $20 million in grant funds for those two projects and for the National HIDTA Assistance Center, also located in Miami. The SFLHIDTA has seized an average of $713 million worth of illicit drugs per year from regional and international drug trafficking organizations. Drugs seized include cocaine, heroin, marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamine and all types of diverted pharmaceutical medications.

The Monroe County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiative fulfills a unique need for the law enforcement community.  Part of the greater South Florida HIDTA group and even larger National HIDTA organization, it addresses the unique issues of drug-trafficking and money-laundering in South Florida.  The task force comprises federal, state and local law enforcement officers.

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