In October 2005, Pima County administrators requested that the Office of the Auditor General investigate allegations of potential misfeasance and misuse of public monies by officials within the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) federal grant program. Although the program is administered by the HIDTA Executive Board, Pima County was the federally designated grantee to administer the HIDTA program in the Arizona region. As a result of Pima County’s request, we conducted an investigation of those allegations.
Our investigation revealed that from December 2004 through October 2005, the former Arizona HIDTA Director and former Arizona HIDTA Finance Manager falsified public records and mishandled grant monies to obtain salary increases totaling more than $133,000 for themselves and other staff members. In addition, the Arizona HIDTA Executive Board did not properly oversee the administration of HIDTA operations and did not ensure that grant resources were used prudently. Finally, Santa Cruz County, a subrecipient of HIDTA grant monies, failed to follow any procurement procedures when contracting for HIDTA administrative services, thereby eliminating all competition and fostering an unfair economic advantage that benefited former HIDTA administrative staff