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HIDTA Overview

The Hawaii HIDTA region encompasses the eight main islandsa and a 1,500-mile chain of islets that span more than 6,400 square miles in the north central Pacific Ocean. (See Figure 1.) Hawaii is located approximately 2,500 miles from the West Coast of the United States and is situated between the continental United States and the Pacific countries of Oceania.b Regionally, Hawaii is a gateway to Pacific Rimc countries and Asia. International airports and maritime ports as well as a developed transportation infrastructure facilitate not only the efficient flow of legitimate commerce but also the transshipment and distribution of illicit drugs and drug proceeds into and through the state. Hawaii has a total population of more than 1.28 million, approximately 70 percent of whom reside in the city of Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Honolulu is Hawaii's principal port of entry (POE) for travelers, mail, and cargo. The movement of passengers and commodities is facilitated by an international airport, an international postal facility, and two of the state's busiest commercial harbors. The diverse, largely transient (tourist) population in the HIDTA region provides a large customer base and a heightened degree of anonymity for various drug traffickers and criminal groups operating in the state. Consequently, Honolulu is the primary transshipment point for drugs and drug proceeds to and through the region and drives the drug situation on each of the other populated islands of the state.

Figure 1. Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Map showing the Hawaii High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.


a. The eight main islands are Hawaii (the Big Island), Kahoolawe, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Niihau, and Oahu.
b. Oceania, with an estimated population of 3.1 million, is a region consisting of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, as well as the thousands of coral atolls and volcanic islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
c. "Pacific Rim" is a political and economic term used to designate the countries at the edges of the Pacific Ocean and the various island nations within the region (Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam).

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