law enforcement combine forces to combat illegal drugs
law enforcement seized more than $19 million in drugs and assets in 2011,
according to a report by the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
County HIDTA, which encompasses Lake and Porter counties, is a collaboration of
federal, state and local agencies to disrupt and dismantle illegal drug
operations. Its initiatives are funded by federal grant dollars.
HIDTA reported seizing $8.45 worth of drugs and assets for every dollar it
budgeted. HIDTA's return on investment has exceeded its expenditures every year
since 2006, according to its most recent annual report.
annual budget is more than $3 million.
just another avenue that we have to keep up the fight on the tremendous weight
of substance abuse that everyone is saddled with," Porter County Sheriff David
Lain said. "It's not a problem with Northwest Indiana. It's not a problem with
Indiana. It's a national epidemic."
and powdered cocaine are the most prevalent drugs abused in the region,
according to HIDTA's 2011 report. Heroin, crack cocaine and Ecstasy also are
present in significant amounts, the report states.
joining HIDTA in 2011 gave Porter County another weapon in its battle against
illicit drug trafficking. The agencies involved in HIDTA share information about
gang and drug activity.
Porucznik, executive director of the Lake County HIDTA, said the "backbone" of
the agency is a term they call "deconfliction" -- the sharing of information
among agencies to keep law enforcement from running into each other.
example, a Gary police officer may be targeting a particular house that HIDTA or
federal agents already have on their radar.
ultimate goal is to stop the illicit drug trafficking, even though I know that's
an impossible task," Lain said. "Each case is a victory. Each time we make any
inroads, we may be interrupting the flow of illegal substances and prevent
another overdose death. We don't know how many people we're saving, but we know
if we don't try, we won't save any of them."
successes the HIDTA listed in its 2011 report:
20 alleged members and associates of the Latin Kings gang were federally
indicted amid accusations they participated in a racketeering conspiracy that
resulted in 19 alleged murders in three states and distributed millions of
dollars of drugs throughout Northwest Indiana and the Chicago area. The Gang
Response Investigative Team and Firearms Interdiction Regional Enforcement
handled that investigation with some Chicago-based agencies.
members of the East Chicago-based Imperial Gangsters also were federally
indicted. The defendants are accused of crimes including murder, attempted
murder and drug trafficking.
involved in the Domestic Highway Enforcement initiative seized 79.5 kilograms of
marijuana and $616,349 of cash and assets in 2011.
with the Lake County Combined Task Force and Hotel Interdiction Truck Stops
seized 475.9 kilograms of marijuana, $145,087 and five vehicles in January 2011.
involved in the Marshal's Fugitive Task Force arrested 899 fugitives last year.
the enforcement, Porucznik said there needs to be an emphasis on drug treatment
and prevention to reduce drug abuse.
problem in these counties will stay pretty consistent until we find a way to
keep people from trying drugs," he said.
stands for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Lake County HIDTA actually
encompasses Lake and Porter counties and is a collaboration of federal, state
and local law enforcement agencies to target the illegal drug and narcotics
its main targets?
reports marijuana and powdered cocaine are the most common drugs abused in the
region, followed by heroin, crack and ecstasy. HIDTA also reports illegal street
gangs as being among its targets.
the main reason behind the HIDTA collaboration?
mission is to combat illegal drug operations. It also helps local and federal
police agencies share information in the fight against drugs and gangs. The
sharing of information also keeps law enforcement groups from duplicating
efforts, according to the agency.