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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the release of the bipartisan 2004 HIDTA Program Annual Report, which highlights HIDTA’s success in disrupting the nationwide market for illegal drugs:
“I am a longtime supporter of the HIDTA program, dating back to my work as Chairman and Ranking Member of the then-Treasury-Postal Appropriations subcommittee. It was during that time that I came to know just how integral HIDTA could be in communities trying to keep their streets safe from the torment of illegal drugs and drug trafficking.
“HIDTA’s proven results motivated many of us in this region to found the Washington-Baltimore HIDTA, recognizing that our local law enforcement agencies could benefit from the additional support that HIDTA would bring. Since that time, without fail, local law enforcement in my district uniformly report how critical HIDTA has been to their efforts against drug trafficking.
“The results that my friend Tom Carr, Director of the Washington-Baltimore HIDTA, and others revealed today show that the HIDTA program is not only successful in keeping our streets safer, but has done a remarkable job at maximizing our investment: for every HIDTA dollar spent, $60 in drugs were seized and $3 in assets were seized, for a total return of $63.
“Given this, I was very disappointed to learn that the Administration is again proposing to transfer the HIDTA program to the Justice Department and cut nearly $20 million from the program. This move would effectively eliminate the HIDTA program as we know it today and shut state and local law enforcement out of the HIDTA process. That is a big mistake.
“Part of what makes HIDTA so vital is its focus on coordination with state and local stakeholders. After all, these are the men and women on the frontlines of drug interdiction in our communities.
“At a time when we are asking our state and local law enforcement agencies to assume additional responsibilities for homeland security, we should not be cutting the critical support they get from HIDTA in combating drug trafficking and the resulting violent crime. In light of HIDTA’s demonstrated success in dismantling the drug trafficking organizations that terrorize our communities, they should be funded at a level that allows them to do even greater things. Imagine what HIDTA could achieve if their funding was increased. I am proud to support such a winning law enforcement effort because I have no doubt that they will continue protect our livelihoods from the threat of illegal drugs.”