New High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Designated, New Jersey Among Those Named

 The White House’s James Carroll, Deputy Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced the designation of 10 new areas across Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and West Virginia as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). Credit unions should beware that with increase in drug traffic within a geographic area comes an increase in attempts to flow illicit monies through financial institutions.

This designation enables the 10 areas to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement officers, and allows local agencies to benefit from ongoing HIDTA initiatives that are working to reduce drug trafficking across the United States.

“Drug traffickers are fueling the opioid crisis and poisoning our communities, so we have to be relentless in bringing them to justice,” Carroll said. “This new funding will allow law enforcement to disrupt trafficking operations in key areas so we can save lives, strengthen our communities, and safeguard our country.”

The HIDTA program was created in 1988 and serves as a catalyst for coordination among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug trafficking regions. Law enforcement organizations working within HIDTAs assess drug-trafficking problems and design specific initiatives to decrease the production, transportation, and distribution of drugs. There are 29 HIDTAs located in 50 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.

Be sure that your credit union is compliant with its bank secrecy act (BSA) and anti-money laundering assessment requirements. The BSA states, “Domestic higher-risk geographic locations may include, but are not limited to, banking offices doing business within, or having customers located within, a U.S. government–designated higher-risk geographic location. Domestic higher-risk geographic locations include:

  • High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).28
  • High Intensity Financial Crime Areas (HIFCA).29”  

For more information on the League’s BSA training for credit union staff and volunteers, click here.