ARCHIVED Skip navigation.To Contents     To Next Page     To Publications Page     To Home Page

Strategic Drug Threat Developments

To Top      To Contents


HIDTA Overview

The North Texas HIDTA region--encompassing 15 northern Texas counties (see Figure 1 in Preface), most of which are located in the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area, and Cleveland, Comanche, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Sequoyah, and Tulsa Counties in Oklahoma--is a national-level drug transportation and distribution center. Approximately 6.7 million residents (28 percent of the Texas population) reside in the Texas portion of the North Texas HIDTA region, and a significant number of those (more than 4 million) reside in Dallas and Tarrant Counties, which include Dallas and Fort Worth. More than 1.7 million residents (48 percent of the Oklahoma population) reside in the Oklahoma portion of the North Texas HIDTA region, and more than 40 percent reside in Oklahoma County, which includes Oklahoma City.2

Drug traffickers often exploit the extensive transportation infrastructure in the North Texas HIDTA region to transport illicit drugs and return drug proceeds to source areas. They primarily transport illicit drugs to the area overland by private vehicle along interstate, U.S., and state highways; they also use commercial vehicles (tractor-trailers) and bus lines to transport illicit drugs. Occasionally drug traffickers use noncommercial aircraft to smuggle illicit drugs from distribution centers, such as Dallas, to drug markets throughout the country because passengers and cargo aboard these conveyances often receive less law enforcement scrutiny than those aboard commercial flights. Drug traffickers also use the U.S. Postal Service and commercial package delivery services to transport illegal drugs and their proceeds.

Interstate 35 is the primary north-south transportation corridor leading directly from the Southwest Border at Laredo--one of the busiest ports of entry (POEs) in the United States--to Dallas/Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. Interstates 40 and 44 pass through Oklahoma City, and Interstates 20, 30, and 45 transit the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. Interstate 27 extends north from Lubbock and connects with I-40 at Amarillo, Texas. (See Figure 2.) Although I-10 does not traverse any North Texas HIDTA counties, drug traffickers use that route to access I-20, which passes through Dallas/Fort Worth, extends east into South Carolina, and connects with the I-95 corridor, a major north-south route. While a significant portion of the illicit drugs smuggled into the area from Mexico is destined for distribution in the North Texas HIDTA region, the region also serves as a transshipment point for illicit drugs transported to other U.S. drug markets, including those in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Figure 2. North Texas HIDTA Region Transportation Infrastructure

Map showing the North Texas HIDTA region transportation infrastructure.

The North Texas HIDTA region also is home to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), the busiest airport in Texas; the third-busiest in the world in terms of aircraft movements; the seventh-busiest in the world as measured by passenger traffic; the ninth-busiest international gateway in the United States; and the twenty-seventh-busiest cargo airport in the world. DFW serves approximately 60 million passengers annually and offers nearly 1,900 flights per day. The airport, which is located halfway between the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, ranks eighth among U.S. airports for nonstop international air travel and has flights to 135 domestic and 38 international destinations, including Mexico, South America, Canada, Central America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. Approximately 65 percent of all international air cargo in Texas is handled at DFW. The airport is also 4 hours or less by air from every major airport in the continental United States.


1. Monetary instruments include U.S. or foreign coins currently in circulation, currency, traveler's checks in any form, money orders, and negotiable instruments or investment securities in bearer form, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
2. Population numbers are based on U.S. Census annual estimates of population for counties as of July 1, 2007.

To Top      To Contents      To Next Page

To Publications Page      To Home Page

End of page.