New W/B HIDTA Executive Board Chairperson, DEA SAC Jarod Forget, Describes His Vision & Leadership Goals
To welcome the new leadership of the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (W/B HIDTA) Executive Board, we sat down with W/B HIDTA Executive Board Chairperson SAC Jarod Forget to discuss his vision for this role.
After a long and rewarding experience in different HIDTA groups throughout his career, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Division Jarod Forget returns to the HIDTA program in a different capacity—leading the W/B HIDTA as its Executive Board Chairperson.
SAC Forget began his career in federal law enforcement during an internship with the DEA while he was a student at Northeastern University. Since then, he has worked as a special agent in the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, directed many high-profile enforcement operations in the DEA’s Guadalajara, Mexico office, and held leadership positions in the DEA’s Miami office, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and the Washington Division, always staying true to his HIDTA affiliations. SAC Forget related, “I’ve either been in a HIDTA group or led one in virtually every DEA group that I’ve ever been in.”
These experiences, SAC Forget discussed, have taught him the importance of flexibility in addressing the evolving challenges that come with the role of being a drug investigator. SAC Forget stated, “Over the course of my career as an investigator, and as a leader, I’ve learned that you need to pivot and be flexible in how you respond to the challenges and threats that we come across. Drug trafficking is always evolving.”
His vision as the W/B HIDTA Executive Board chair focuses on addressing the three major evolving threats he sees facing the region: 1) tackling violent crime, 2) fentanyl/opioid abuse, and 3) methamphetamine. SAC Forget related that, unlike previous years when heroin was the major threat, fentanyl, is now taking the lead. He stated, “We’ve noticed a continued growth of fentanyl in the area over the last couple of years. It’s troubling and leading to a majority of the overdose deaths that we’ve seen in the area.”
As Mexican cartels are bringing large amounts of methamphetamine to our region, specifically in Central and Southwest Virginia, SAC Forget believes that it would be important to establish more treatment programs in the region. He recognizes that methamphetamine use comes with a high level of violent and property crime, which, he stated, “… makes it important for the National HIDTA Program, the W/B HIDTA region, and the DEA to strategically target the most violent offenders in our communities.”
A father of three boys, SAC Forget is also passionate about drug prevention, education, and awareness. In January 2021, he launched Operation Engage at the Washington DEA Division, which focuses on raising awareness of local drug threats and changing attitudes to reduce drug misuse.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Operation Engage uses online channels and social media to channel its evidence-based drug use prevention and community outreach efforts. SAC Forget stated, “We are creating partnerships with major stakeholders, and are working directly with the public schools, people in the workplace, and parents. I’ve been talking to CEOs and leaders of different organizations in online forums. I also go to schools and talk to the kids. We just try to get people talking about what the drug threats are, and how to find help.”
SAC Forget sees increased attention to drug prevention, education, and awareness, as a unique opportunity he now has leading the W/B HIDTA’s Executive Board, since the W/B HIDTA focuses on these activities as part of its mission. He stated, “Personally, as a citizen and a father, (awareness and education) are things that I want to bring into the neighborhood.” SAC Forget continued, “I want people to hear directly from me about what the threats are, and I want to educate them about how to find help.”
We are looking forward to the continued success and growth of the W/B HIDTA under SAC Forget’s leadership. For more information on the W/B HIDTA Executive Board and its leadership, click HERE.