The Cherokee Indian Police Department, part of a multijurisdictional team, has won the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program Award for Outstanding Enforcement on Tribal Lands.
“This year, the accomplishments of the Atlanta/Carolinas HIDTA were truly outstanding”, stated R. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy in a letter to Jack Killorin, director of the Atlanta/Carolinas HIDTA.
He further stated, “The HIDTA program plays a vital role in the Administration’s effort to make the Nation safer and healthier by reducing drug use and its consequences. The work done by the HIDTAs disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations is fundamental to this goal, and the tireless efforts of individuals like you are critical to the success of the HIDTA program.”
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.
The Atlanta-Carolinas HIDTA nominated the Asheville Initiative for the Outstanding Enforcement on Tribal Lands Award for the period of September 2012 through Oct. 1, 2013. The Asheville Initiative is responsible for the enforcement of the Controlled Substance Act on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Reservation which encompasses five counties within the Asheville Initiative area of responsibility including: Cherokee, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, and Swain Counties.
In March 2012, the Asheville Initiative, initiated an investigation into the drug trafficking activities of Jackie Rattler’s drug trafficking organization (DTO). Rattler was identified as a local based drug trafficker who was being supplied diverted pharmaceuticals by several sources of supply. This investigation was a cooperative effort among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies utilizing multiple investigative techniques that led to significant arrests and seizures of drugs and currency from this large scale DTO operating in North Carolina and along the East Coast.
The Asheville Initiative was quickly able to identify Rattler’s command and control hierarchy within the DTO, with several of the members being part of Rattler’s immediate family. The Rattler DTO was responsible for receiving the diverted pharmaceuticals from multiple sources of supply and then distributing them to a large customer network, including other enrolled members of the tribe. Over the course of the next several months, the Asheville Initiative conducted numerous enforcement operations in order to gain additional evidence against the Rattler DTO.
The award recipients worked this investigation from street level pill purchases into large seizures of oxycodone, hydro morphine, other diverted pharmaceuticals, cocaine, and US currency. The nominees displayed outstanding ability in directing a complex narcotics investigation that started with a lower level pill trafficker and culminated in arrests of more than 70 members of this DTO and include Rattler, the sources of supply, and all other members on federal/state/tribal related drug charges. In total, the Asheville Initiative seized over $140,000.00 in US currency; vehicles valued in excess of $110,000; 42 firearms; and drugs to include 9,016 dosage units of Oxycodone; 5,082 dosage units of hydro morphine; 4,319 dosage units of benzodiazepine; 3,723 dosage units of other controlled pharmaceuticals; 114 grams of cocaine; and 3,247 grams of marijuana.
In December 2012, Rattler, along with other members of his DTO were arrested and search warrants were conducted on multiple residences on tribal land. As a result of the enforcement operations and the execution of the arrests/search warrants in December 2012, thousands of diverted pills, large amounts of US currency, firearms, and high end vehicles were seized. Subsequent to the arrest and search warrant execution, the investigation continued in order to identify additional co-conspirators.
– Cherokee Indian Police Dept.