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Litigation Unit

NDDS employs highly experienced international narcotics prosecutors who are dedicated to investigating and prosecuting large-scale, extraterritorial narco-trafficking and narco-terrorist organizations.  NDDS prosecutors use a variety of statutes in Titles 18 and 21 of the United States Code to prosecute individuals and organizations that have committed some, if not all, of their criminal conduct extraterritorially.  The extraterritorial defendants prosecuted by NDDS pose a direct threat to the citizens of the United States as they act with the intention of trafficking narcotics into the United States and/or aiding and abetting the organizations and actors that do so.

NDDS’ litigation efforts extend to a variety of diverse matters beyond targeting drug traffickers themselves.  NDDS investigates and prosecutes corrupt public officials, money launderers, precursor chemical suppliers, illicit weapons dealers, and others who enable large-scale drug trafficking activity.  Domestically, NDDS has engaged in a number of investigations into fentanyl and synthetic analogues in conjunction with United States Attorney’s Offices around the country.

Policy Unit

NDDS’ highly-experienced policy attorneys provide advice and support on a broad range of counter-narcotics matters to the Attorney General and other Department policymakers.  They represent the Department and provide expert guidance on counter-narcotics and maritime law enforcement matters in the interagency, intelligence and international communities.  The Policy Unit also serves as the NDDS representative to various law enforcement agency investigative review committees and provides oversight and coordination for matters arising within those entities.  In addition, the Policy Unit provides innovative assistance, training, and advice on a broad range of the latest narcotics issues to United States Attorneys’ Offices and federal agencies.  Policy Unit attorneys also provide training on U.S. narcotics law and investigative techniques to their foreign law enforcement counterparts.  The Policy Unit tracks national narcotics trafficking trends and proposes legislation to address emerging drug trafficking methods and to correct legislative gaps.  Finally, the Policy Unit edits and regularly updates the Federal Narcotics Prosecutions manual, a two-volume set that is the Department’s seminal source on international and domestic narcotics investigations and prosecutions, which is distributed to federal narcotics prosecutors in every United States Attorney’s Office in the country.

Special Operation Unit

NDDS also employs several attorneys who work at the Special Operations Division (“SOD”), a multi-agency coordination center designed to identify and dismantle significant international and domestic drug trafficking and money laundering organizations by targeting the command-and-control network elements of major trafficking groups.  NDDS coordinates SOD investigations with Assistant United States Attorneys across the country so that large, nationwide trafficking groups may be dismantled in well-coordinated enforcement actions.

Maritime Unit

The Maritime Unit represents NDDS and the Department of Justice in the federal government’s efforts to ensure maritime security and minimize threats posed by international drug cartels.  The Maritime Unit coordinates maritime cases involving substantial drug shipments, including those prosecuted under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act.

Judicial Attachés

Two NDDS Attorneys serve as the Judicial and Deputy Judicial Attaché at the United States Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia.  Their primary function is to provide direct liaison support to Department of Justice personnel, all United States law enforcement agencies in Colombia, the Department of State, and Colombian authorities.  Additionally, both attorneys manage the most extensive extradition program in the world, returning approximately 100-125 high-level defendants per year to the United States for prosecution for international drug trafficking and transnational organized crime offenses.

Updated October 31, 2023