Lake County to Receive Grant Money in White House-Designated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program to Control Drugs in Lake County

Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg and Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim announced Thursday June 18, 2020 that Lake County was chosen for inclusion in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, operating under the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The HIDTA program provides federal support to law enforcement agencies in designated counties with coordination, equipment, technology, and additional resources to combat drug production and trafficking.

The funds will aid the collaborative effort between the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group (SIG) and the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office in combating Lake County drug trafficking. To be considered for HIDTA designation SIG showed the disruption and dismantling of organized crime, conducted long-term investigations focused on drug trafficking leading to arrests and convictions, and partnered with municipal as well as federal agencies to combat drug trafficking.

“This is a huge opportunity for the people of Lake County to reduce the effects of drugs in our community,” said Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim. “This designation is a real game changer for us and it will expand our strategy of aggressively targeting the drug supply that has crippled areas of Lake County, while at the same time working to compassionately reduce demand by stressing education, treatment, and harm reduction practices.”

Last year SIG seized $110,256 worth of heroin, $1,200,313 worth of cocaine, seized 55 guns and conducted 22 presentations to connect and better educate the community on human/gun/drug trafficking. Since January of 2020, SIG seized $117,300 worth of cocaine, $108,710 worth of crack cocaine, $8,676 worth of heroin, $41,280 worth of meth, $2,880 worth of prescription pills, $1,640 worth of ecstasy, $5,100 worth of fentanyl, conducted 10 Presentations and charged 61 felonies.

Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg said, “Being selected as a recipient for a HIDTA grant is a significant accomplishment and the collaboration between the sheriff’s office, state’s attorney’s office, our municipal and federal partners, as well as our community, were crucial components for being selected. With Lake County being positioned between Chicago and Milwaukee, it is a hub for drug trafficking. The Lake County community will see great benefits with the additional resources to target drug traffickers. We expect to see an increase in the arrest of drug traffickers and a decrease in the number of overdose deaths afflicting our community.”

SIG currently consists of Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County States Attorney’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Zion Police, Park City Police, Grayslake Police, North Chicago Police, Lake County Forest Preserve Police, Round lake Beach Police, Lake Villa Police, Wauconda Police, Lake Forest Police, and is expanding.

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