The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Program was established in 1982 as a multi-agency, nationwide effort to pursue comprehensive, intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional investigations of major criminal organizations trafficking drugs and laundering the illicit proceeds. On January 13, 2010, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. approved a reorganization that established OCDETF as an independent component in the Department of Justice reporting directly to the Deputy Attorney General. The OCDETF Program forms the centerpiece of the DOJ counternarcotics strategy, and uses prosecutor-led, multi-agency task forces to combat the most serious drug cartels.
The mission of the OCDETF Program is to reduce the supply of illegal drugs in the United States and diminish the violence and other criminal activity associated with the drug trade. To accomplish this mission, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its seven federal law enforcement agency members – the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS); the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). The integrated involvement of attorneys from the 94 U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Department of Justice's Criminal Division ensures that OCDETF prosecutions are well-prepared, comprehensively charged, and expertly handled.
The major functions of the OCDETF Program are to:
- Identify and target major criminal organizations trafficking drugs and laundering their illicit proceeds. OCDETF coordinates the annual formulation of the Attorney General's Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT) List, a multi-agency list of the most prolific international criminal organizations trafficking drugs or laundering drug proceeds. CPOTs are the leaders of criminal enterprises that operate nationwide and handle ton quantities of cocaine, marijuana, or methamphetamine, or hundreds of kilograms of heroin or other illegal drugs.
- Leverage the skills and expertise of numerous federal agencies and thousands of state and local law enforcement agencies to disrupt and dismantle the entire enterprise of these sophisticated criminal organizations. Among the ways the OCDETF Program coordinates the efforts of prosecutors and agents from different agencies is through its establishment and maintenance of co-located OCDETF Strike Forces. OCDETF Strike Forces target the highest-level trafficking organizations, and they also function as a central point of contact for OCDETF agents and prosecutors nationwide by gathering intelligence and disseminating investigative leads throughout the neighboring areas.
- Conduct coordinated, nationwide investigations against the entire enterprise of the targeted organizations. The OCDETF Fusion Center integrates drug and financial information from the OCDETF-member agencies and many other law enforcement databases to create comprehensive intelligence pictures of the largest, most well-financed, and sophisticated criminal organizations. This information allows agents and prosecutors to combat the supply sources, transportation organizations, distribution networks, and violent enforcers that drug cartels use to protect their business from competitors and law enforcement. This information is also used to conduct financial investigations and pursue asset forfeiture, thereby eliminating the financial infrastructure that supports drug trafficking organizations.
- Continue to be the vehicle for targeting transnational criminal organizations whose principal activity is drug-related. OCDETF is also an integral part of the Administration's Law Enforcement Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime (TOC Strategy). The TOC Strategy extends the multi-agency, multi-department effort beyond drug enforcement to include the execution of intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdiction investigations and prosecutions that target organizations whose transnational criminal conduct encompasses a broad array of criminal activity.
The Executive Office for OCDETF is responsible for establishing program policy and guidelines and ensuring that those policies and guidelines are implemented in the nine OCDETF geographic regions. The Executive Office monitors OCDETF activities nationwide, resolving any program or policy issues that arise, and provides policy and performance information to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. The OCDETF Executive Office also supports headquarters and field OCDETF activities by serving as a clearinghouse for OCDETF issues and information, by collecting and maintaining OCDETF performance statistics submitted from the field, by coordinating efforts and arbitrating disputes among components or geographic subdivisions, and by preparing and managing OCDETF funding to support the priorities and initiatives of the Program.