Organization, Mission and Functions Manual: Executive Office for Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces

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The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) was established by President Ronald Reagan in October 1982 as the cornerstone of the Nation’s strategic approach against organized crime and drug trafficking.  Today, OCDETF is an independent component of the U.S. Department of Justice and is a centerpiece of the Attorney General’s strategy to reduce the availability of illicit narcotics by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach to combat transnational organized crime.  OCDETF is led by a Director who, as a component head, reports directly to the Deputy Attorney General.

OCDETF is the largest anti-crime task force in the country managing 19 Strike Forces, almost 3,000 federal prosecutors, agents, and analysts, as well as state and local law enforcement partners at over 800 agencies.  The OCDETF Executive Office implements the nationwide OCDETF strategy of combining targeting, intelligence sharing, coordination, and directed resourcing to have the greatest impact disrupting and dismantling command and control elements of regional, national, and transnational drug trafficking, money laundering, and other high priority organized crime networks.  Recognizing the growing diversification of illicit activity of transnational criminal organizations, as well as their increasing convergence with drug trafficking organizations, beginning in 2009 and continuing through 2017, OCDETF’s investigative and prosecutorial efforts were expanded to include the disruption and dismantlement of the priority transnational criminal organizations that pose the greatest threat to the United States.

The OCDETF strategy recognizes that law enforcement agencies working together led by experienced prosecutors, accomplish more than the same agencies working separately.  To combat sophisticated and dynamic poly-criminal organizations, OCDETF’s experienced cadre of federal prosecutors from the 93 U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Department of Justice's Criminal Division leverage the authorities, resources, and expertise of the OCDETF member federal law enforcement agencies from the Departments of Justice (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; United States Marshals Service), Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations; United States Coast Guard Investigative Service; United States Secret Service), Treasury (Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigations), Postal (U.S. Postal Inspection Service), and Labor (Labor/Office of the Inspector General) in coordinated, multi-agency, long-term investigations of the entire infrastructure of transnational criminal organizations.

The major functions of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces are to:

  • Disrupt and dismantle entire transnational criminal networks and the financial infrastructure that supports them.  As criminal enterprises evolve and diversify, categorizing and approaching such organizations by a single individual illicit activity is no longer effective.  OCDETF prosecutors and agents employ an enterprise theory of investigation to target every component of criminal groups and pursue all operational aspects and revenue streams so that targeted organizations cannot recuperate and continue their illicit activity.
  • Investigate, prosecute, and convict leaders, members, and facilitators of the most significant transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States.  OCDETF manages the Attorney General’s Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT) List, a multi-agency vetted target list of the international drug trafficking and money laundering organizations most affecting the United States.  The CPOT list defines the organizations by their identified command and control elements and is updated twice yearly.  Nearly all of the CPOTs are involved in multiple forms of organized criminal activity in addition to drug trafficking, such as violence, corruption, human smuggling, weapons trafficking, complex financial crimes, cybercrime, and other illegal activities.
  • Conduct intelligence-driven, coordinated, multi-jurisdictional investigations and prosecutions.  The keystone of OCDETF’s comprehensive strategy is the prosecutor-led, multi-agency task force governance structure.  There are currently more than 4,960 case-specific OCDETF task forces.  To synchronize multiple investigations against the continuum of priority targets, OCDETF stood up Co-located Strike Forces in nineteen (19) key locations around the country that capitalize on the synergy created by combining, side-by-side, the resources and expertise of all of OCDETF's participating investigative agents and prosecutors. 
  • Maximize the exploitation and sharing of law enforcement and inter-agency intelligence and case information to address existing threats and identify emerging threats.  The OCDETF Fusion Center (OFC) maintains the single largest repository of federal and foreign law enforcement investigative reporting throughout the federal government.  The International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2) focuses on supporting investigations and prosecutions of non-drug centric transnational criminal organizations using the OCDETF model.  The OFC and IOC-2 provide exceptional and unique capabilities to the law enforcement community – operational intelligence products derived from fused data, sourced from domestic and international law enforcement agencies, as well as open source and commercial entities.  As criminal threats evolve and change, the OFC and IOC-2 adapt their analytical functions to ensure that law enforcement has a full array of actionable intelligence products and services that are responsive to current threats, and the growing complexity and scope of criminal organizations.

The OCDETF model of prosecutor-led, multi-agency task forces conducting coordinated, intelligence-driven investigations and prosecutions has proven itself over more than three decades to be the most effective platform from which to attack transnational organized criminal groups at every level.

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Updated September 21, 2022

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