White House Honors Law Enforcement Heroes for Combatting Illicit Drug Trafficking and Addressing Overdose Epidemic

Staff report

Washington DC – July 20, 2023

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) celebrated the Annual United States Interdiction Coordinator (USIC) Awards today, recognizing law enforcement agencies and individuals for their exceptional efforts in disrupting the trafficking of illicit drugs and combating the nationwide overdose epidemic, according to the White House.

The awards ceremony highlighted President Biden’s commitment to addressing drug trafficking and reducing the supply of dangerous substances like fentanyl through significant funding and collaborative interdiction efforts.

Under the leadership of ONDCP Director Dr. Rahul Gupta, recipients from various regions across the United States were honored for their unwavering dedication to advancing President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy. Their work has been instrumental in improving the coordination between law enforcement task forces and maximizing the impact of each interdiction, reinforcing the administration’s commitment to making communities safer and curbing the overdose crisis.

In his recent State of the Union address, President Biden emphasized the urgency of tackling the illicit fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, prompting the allocation of a historic $46.1 billion for National Drug Control Program agencies in the President’s FY24 budget. These resources aim to enhance efforts to curb the supply of illicit drugs and dismantle drug trafficking organizations.

“The actions taken by the brave women and men being recognized today have hit drug traffickers where it hurts the most: their profits,” stated Dr. Gupta. “Their dedication and courage have resulted in safer communities and the removal of these dangerous drugs from our streets. By honoring them at the White House today, we express our nation’s profound gratitude for their service and crucial partnership in overcoming the overdose epidemic.”

The ONDCP USIC Award Program acknowledges both agencies and individuals in the frontline of drug interdiction. These interdictions spanned the entire drug trafficking supply chain, encompassing cyber investigations, domestic efforts, emerging threats, highway interdiction, illicit finance, international investigations, land interdiction, and maritime interdiction.

One of the recipients recognized was the U.S. Postal Inspection Service/Palm Beach Narcotics Task Force for their non-traditional national narcotics investigation into a dark web vendor distributing large quantities of fentanyl, heroin, MDMA, and cocaine. The joint effort among various agencies led to the dismantlement of the vendor and the arrest of suspects involved in the operation.

Additionally, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s HIDTA 2 was honored for their successful long-term investigation, Operation Titan Fall, which disrupted a violent drug trafficking organization operating in Florida, resulting in the arrest of 23 individuals and the seizure of substantial amounts of illegal drugs and firearms.

Furthermore, Homeland Security Investigations’ Operation Chain Breaker, a groundbreaking investigation targeting illicit Chinese pill press manufacturers and Mexican transnational criminal organizations producing fake pills containing fentanyl, was recognized for its innovative approach.

The ceremony also paid tribute to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, including a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations Agent who lost his life during an interdiction operation in which over 2,800 pounds of cocaine were seized.

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