Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand, McHugh Succesfully Help Secure Increased Resources to Combat Drug Related Crime in Northern New York

Jun 25, 2009

Senators Charles E. Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative John
D. McHugh today announced that they have successfully secured more
federal resources to combat drug smuggling networks throughout New York
and beyond. Schumer, Gillibrand and McHugh have worked diligently in
support of an application by the the New York/New Jersey High Intensity
Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program to expand the designation to four
of the North Country counties. 

approval of the application follows several actions taken by the
Senators and Congressman in support of the application.  At the time
the application was filed, Schumer, McHugh, and then-Senator Clinton
wrote the White House, stressing their strong support.  Schumer
questioned Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director R.
Gil Kerlikowske about the matter both in a private meeting, and
publicly at Kerlikowske’s Senate confirmation hearing.  After
Kerlikowske’s confirmation, Schumer, Gillibrand, and McHugh wrote him,
again in support of the application, also sending a similar letter at
that time to Attorney General Eric Holder.  The three also introduced
legislation earlier this spring requiring that the counties be added.

the legislators announced that, due in part to their efforts, three of
the four counties – Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence – have been
added to the HIDTA program. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and
Congressman McHugh said that they would continue their efforts to
secure designation for the fourth applicant, Jefferson County.

has been a long, tough fight but I am so glad that we have finally
gotten this application approved. I was proud to be a part of expanding
HIDTA in 2007, and I’m proud to join Senator Gillibrand and Congressman
McHugh in doing it again.  We can already see the benefits of having
this tough, effective, statewide crime fighting network in place.  Now
that we have successfully secured this designation for three out of the
four counties along the Northern Border, we will go right back and make
sure we get it for Jefferson County,” said Senator Schumer.

“There is nothing more important than the security of our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand.
“Last month in the North Country, I discussed with local law
enforcement the importance of becoming a HIDTA to deliver additional
tools and resources to keep our streets secure. I’m proud that together
with Senator Schumer and Congressman McHugh, we were able to provide
the resources we need on the ground to keep Northern New York
communities safe and drug-free. I will continue working to keep our
families safe.”

am extremely pleased that ONDCP Director Kerlikowske designated
Clinton, Franklin, and St. Lawrence counties as High Intensity Drug
Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) and incorporated them into the NY/NJ HIDTA. 
Cross-border drug trafficking poses a significant threat to our nation
and this is one of the best and most immediate things we can do to
effectively meet that threat. Our local leaders and law enforcement are
doing tremendous work but need the additional federal resources this
designation will provide to fully address this situation. I was pleased
to work with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and former Senator Clinton
to secure this designation,” Congressman McHugh said.

Clinton County District Attorney’s office is pleased to have received
confirmation that Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties have been
designated as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas and incorporated
into the New York / New Jersey HIDTA.    Interstate 87 is one of the
main routes of travel of drug traffickers between Montreal Quebec and
New York City.    The HIDTA designation along with the assets and law
enforcement presence provided will better assist our local law
enforcement agencies in the fight against the transportation of
narcotics and marihuana through Clinton County.     As the elected
District Attorney for Clinton County, I applaud and congratulate
Senator Schumer, Gillibrand and Congressman McHugh for their efforts
and support of this desperately needed designation,” said Clinton County District Attorney, Andrew J. Wylie.

am extremely grateful to Congressman McHugh and Senator Schumer for
their support of our joint application for inclusion in the New
York/New Jersey HIDTA. The unique geography of New York’s northern
border has long made it a favored drug smuggling location.  Our
inclusion in the HIDTA will afford us greater opportunities to work
collaboratively with the federal government and across county lines to
stem the flow of illegal drugs to and through our communities,” said St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé.

is great news for Franklin County, New York State, and our nation.  The
designation of Franklin, Clinton, and St. Lawrence counties will
significantly enhance our ability to combat cross-border drug
trafficking.  Additionally, it will help us as we work to protect our
nation from terrorism.  This would not have happened without
Congressman McHugh and Senator Schumer’s tremendous/strong leadership
and persistence and I cannot thank them enough for their efforts on our
behalf.  Likewise, I appreciate the support Senators Gillibrand and
Clinton provided to this effort,” said Franklin County DA Derek Champagne.

are thrilled and grateful that Director Kerlikowske has expanded the
New York/New Jersey HIDTA to include Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence
counties on the northern border of New York State.  The mission of the
NY/NJ HIDTA is to invest federal funds in effective drug enforcement
partnerships.  This expansion provides a huge opportunity to
dramatically improve our law enforcement efforts on our border, which
will benefit not only New Yorkers but people throughout the northeast
region from the dangers associated with drug smuggling and money
laundering.  We are extremely appeciative for the outstanding
leadership and support of Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, former
Senator Clinton and Congressman McHugh, without whom this critically
important expansion would not have been possible,” said NY/NJ HIDTA Director Chauncey Parker

mission of the HIDTA program is to disrupt the market for illegal drugs
in the United States by assisting federal, state, and local law
enforcement entities to dismantle and disrupt drug trafficking
organizations – with an emphasis on drug trafficking regions that have
harmful effects on other parts of the United States.  Since 1990, 28
regions in the United States, comprising 14% of U.S. counties, have
been designated as HIDTAs and are eligible to receive targeted funding
through the program.  A HIDTA is regarded as a coordinating umbrella
for federal, state and local agencies.  Once ONDCP, in consultation
with a number of government officials such as the Attorney General,
designates a region as a HIDTA, the region can receive federal money to
help local law enforcement clamp down on illegal drugs transported
through those counties.  The HIDTA’s Executive Board, based in New York
City, then allocates funding in order to fight drug trafficking most

newly acquired HIDTA designation for Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence
Counties will provide much-needed federal resources to increase
communication between state, local, and federal law enforcement
agencies so that they can disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking and
money laundering organizations in the region.

North Country’s geographic attributes and transportation infrastructure
create conditions conducive for drug smuggling.  Clinton, Franklin,
Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties feature 16 points of entry to the
United States, three of which are within the top ten most used points
of entry on the United States northern border.  In addition, the
counties are home to 17 airports, including international airports in
Watertown, Plattsburgh, Ogdensburg, and Massena.  Three of the counties
border the St. Lawrence River, which provides international shipping
access to much of the United States via the Great Lakes St. Lawrence
Seaway System.  And the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation straddles the United
States/Canada border in Franklin County. 

2007, Schumer was a strong supporter of expanding the existing HIDTA to
include Onondaga, Albany, Erie and Monroe Counties, and wrote at the
time to ONDCP, urging action.  The addition of the four counties in
2007 has played a significant role in facilitating communication
between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, and in
disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking and money laundering
organizations in the region.  Funding from that expansion of HIDTA was
recently used to hire two experienced drug intelligence officers to
help coordinate statewide anti-trafficking efforts. 

Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Congressman McHugh announced that
Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties have been given a New
Jersey/New York HIDTA designation.

addition of the Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties will play a
critical role in reducing the flow of narcotics throughout New York,
and into the rest of the United States.