January 14, 2016

Jefferson County Receives High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Designation

Jefferson County is one of 14 newly designated counties nationwide that will work to disrupt drug trafficking through coordinated approaches to law enforcement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) applauded the designation of Jefferson County, West Virginia as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) today. Jefferson is one of 14 additional counties in 10 states that was announced by Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli.

The HIDTA designation will enable Jefferson County to receive federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among federal, state and local law enforcement officials. It also will allow local agencies to benefit from ongoing HIDTA-coordinated initiatives working to reduce drug use and its consequences across the United States.

“As heroin trafficking and abuse rates continue to climb, it is absolutely critical that our local law enforcement officials and drug task forces have the resources they need to combat the influx of drugs coming into our state,” Senator Manchin said. “It has been one of my top priorities to address our state’s drug abuse epidemic, and I am very pleased to have worked with Director Botticelli and the leaders at ONDCP to ensure that Jefferson County and other high risk communities in West Virginia get the help that they need. This important designation will ensure that HIDTA resources will be available for those who are on the frontlines of this fight in Jefferson County, where the growing number of heroin trafficking cases is particularly alarming.”

“The health and safety of our families and communities in West Virginia depends on ending the drug abuse epidemic,” Senator Manchin continued. “I will continue to do everything in my power to aggressively curb these trends in our state.”

“Over the past year, I have worked diligently with local, state and federal officials to secure this designation. In April, Director Botticelli and other high-level leaders involved with the HIDTA program joined me in West Virginia to see the problem firsthand. And in Washington, I was vocal about my support on the Appropriations Committee, resulting in new funding for the HIDTA program,” said Senator Capito, who led the effort to secure this designation in Jefferson County.

Last April, Senator Capito hosted a drug prevent summit in Martinsburg with National HIDTA Program Director Michael Gottlieb and Washington-Baltimore HIDTA Director Tom Carr that led to a comprehensive assessment of heroin addiction in neighboring Berkeley County.

“For those working to fight this epidemic on the ground, this program will increase coordination of efforts across West Virginia. Most importantly, these new tools and resources will protect communities and residents in Jefferson County from the influx of drugs in that area,” Senator Capito continued.

“With the designation of new counties as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, we are enhancing the ability of federal, state and local authorities to coordinate drug enforcement operations and improve public health and safety,” said Director Botticelli. “The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program is an important part of this administration’s work to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use, pursue ‘smart on crime’ approaches to drug enforcement, work to reduce overdose deaths, increase access to treatment and support millions of Americans in recovery.”

Jefferson is the 19th county in West Virginia to be designated. The following counties also have a HIDTA designation: Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Hancock, Harrison, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Ohio, Putnam, Raleigh, Wayne and Wyoming.