Local officials and the Bush administration are clashing over a White House plan to cut money from an enforcement program that targets illicit drug suppliers, reports Copley News Service. At issue is a program known as HIDTA, or High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, that would get 55 percent less money than it did last year, when it spent $227 million. The money funded 355 HIDTA task forces, 53 intelligence centers and more than 12,000 officers assigned to HIDTA investigations.
“This is eviscerated,” said Ronald E. Brooks, president of the National Narcotic Officers Association Coalition. The Bush administration said the HIDTA money has not been spent wisely and the program should be overhauled. The White House proposes to reduce the 2006 funding to $100 million, said John Walters, the Bush administration’s drug czar. Walters said in budget documents that the HIDTA program is “no longer well focused and comes at an enormous cost.” He said the program, founded in 1990, had not shown a “significant reduction in drug trafficking.”