U.S. Attorney Brady Welcomes HIDTA Designation to Combat Drug Trafficking and Reduce Supply of Illegal Drugs
PITTSBURGH – United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today that three Western Pennsylvania counties will receive new federal funding to combat drug trafficking and reduce the supply of illegal drugs. The counties of Allegheny, Beaver and Washington have been officially designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, meaning Western Pennsylvania will now receive more resources to coordinate federal, state and local governments to fight drug trafficking and abuse.
"We are pleased to receive this surge in funding from the White House. The HIDTA designation for Western Pennsylvania is long overdue," stated U.S. Attorney Brady. "We are at a critical point in the opioid crisis and the President has made clear that failure is not an option. The HIDTA program will expand our law enforcement efforts by providing critical funding to local, state and federal agencies. Through a centralized command structure, we will be able to share information and intelligence so those individuals who are polluting our communities with drugs will be held accountable. The HIDTA designation will also permit broader and more effective training initiatives and provide the opportunity to turn the corner in this devastating drug crisis."
Until today, Western Pennsylvania was the only metropolitan area in the country that had no designated HIDTA areas. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in partnership with FBI, DEA and other law enforcement agencies, worked closely with the District Attorneys’ Offices for Allegheny, Beaver and Washington Counties to petition the White House for designation. All three petitions for designation detailed the region’s record levels of fatal overdoses, primarily due to widespread distribution of fentanyl and its analogues. Each petition also noted the need to enhance each County’s ability to stop illegal drugs from entering the communities through the federal highways, including I-376, I-76 (The Pennsylvania Turnpike), I-79, I-70, and PA Route 51, as well as by mass transit, including buses from Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Newark.
U.S. Attorney Brady thanked Pennsylvania’s United States Senators, Senator Pat Toomey and Senator Robert Casey, the members of Western Pennsylvania Congressional delegation, Governor Tom Wolf, District Attorney Gene Vittone, District Attorney David Lozier and District Attorney Stephen Zappala, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pennsylvania State Police, the US Postal Inspection Service, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as state and local law enforcement who supported and worked in concert to receive this designation.