Sign the Resolution for a Federal Commission on Drug Policy
Contents | Feedback | Search | DRCNet Home Page | Join DRCNet
DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | Government Publications | America's Habits
President's Commission on Organized Crime, 1986
Our National Strategy consists of five "major elements," each of which in turn is comprised of numerous programs and strategies. Interdiction, just one of these sub-components, presently consumes one-third of the entire Federal drug abuse outlay for the fiscal year. Measured just in terms of outlays designated for law enforcement activities, interdiction's portion swells to almost one-half of the Federal funds being spent to combat drug abuse. By Commission calculation, Federal funds devoted to interdiction have increased 100 percent over the last five years.
Despite this massive dedication of funds, drugs of primarily foreign origin - cocaine, heroin, and marijuana - continue to be widely available in this country. Many observers, including some leading drug enforcement officials, readily acknowledge that interdiction can only serve a limited role in increasing risks to smugglers while this government pursues other programs. Frank Monastero, former Assistant Administrator for Operations of the Drug Enforcement Administration, summed up this view in a recent interview:
[Interdiction] is important, but it is the least effective thing you can do . . . it's like the patrolman on the beat . . . It is preventing [some drugs] from getting into the trafficking, and that's something. But we can continue that ad infinitum. If we don't do something at the source or don't do something before that or don't do something at the end of the trail in the prevention area, we will never change the situation.
It is the view of this Commission that interdiction is not going to end drug use or availability in this country. It will, however, continue to discourage some potential smugglers. This deterrent effect is often overlooked or denied by many critics, but not by smugglers themselves. According to Adler B. Seal, an experienced drug smuggling pilot, in response to a question concerning the difficulty of recruiting smuggling pilots:
Well, it used to be easy. However, now it has become a little less attractive for some of the younger pilots. Some of the older pilots, as myself, have been indicted.
We've been cognizant of law enforcement techniques and the improvements in it; and the younger pilots are seeing the newspaper reports of the older pilots and the amount of time that they are being convicted on and serving, and it's not as attractive a proposition as it used to be.
Successful interdiction not only discourages some new members from joining smuggling enterprises, but also encourages some already in the field to get out of it. This was confirmed by the firsthand experience of smuggler Seal:
I think that the more flights that are interdicted, the word gets around.
For instance, I have absolutely - or had in my capacity - no desire whatsoever to go into and would do anything to stay out of the south Florida area simply due to the fact that that is where the concentrated interdiction efforts are being made due to the Vice Presidential Task Force, which has been highly publicized and which has taken its toll on the paranoia of the drug smuggler.
It also appears to this Commission to be consistent with the view of the Commissioner of Customs, William von Raab:
We are always asked what is a good measure of success against smuggling. It is always quoted in terms of how much we seize.
I have always maintained that a good measure of success is to reach a point at which a pilot doesn't want to fly into the United States anymore; and I have always suggested that there may be a percentage.
For example, if he has a one-out-of-ten chance of getting caught, he might run in; but certainly if he had a nine-out-of-ten chance of being caught, he's not going to do it.
In summary, this Commission recognizes that interdiction is and should continue to be a vital component of our National strategy, as a complement to other approaches to reduce drug supply. Any analysis that defines success in the area of interdiction as apprehending all, or nearly all, smuggled drugs is unrealistic and counter-productive. To the extent that is a very costly approach, additional expenditures must be weighed very carefully, particularly if they have the effect of reducing funds available for other efforts to reduce supply and demand. There are, however, improvements to our interdiction efforts which can be made without any significant increase in funding. These steps, which generally involve reordering of priorities or redefinition of interagency responsibilities, are discussed below.
It is crucial to note that the single most important need in the interdiction field is leadership. If innovation and increased commitment are to be pursued successfully and expeditiously, both by foreign governments and agencies of our own, a strong leader orchestrating a single comprehensive plan is the key. That role to date has been played by the Vice President, and it is one in which he should continue. The weight of his office has produced results when other officials might have been ignored. While the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board necessarily includes several Cabinet-level officers, they serve as peers. Only the Vice President brings to the interdiction effort sufficient rank to lead them. His central role should be preserved and promoted within the context of the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board's leadership in drug enforcement. Recognition by the Board of the Vice President's leadership in interdiction activities holds the promise of singularly promoting success in that key area, preserving the momentum and continuity of existing interagency interdiction efforts, and putting to rest the confusion that has already begun to surface concerning the Vice President's relationship to the Board.
The United States Customs Service has the lead responsibility for air interdiction. To combat drug smugglers, some of whom have the most sophisticated and expensive communications and navigational equipment available today, Customs has increased its airborne capabilities significantly in the recent past. At the time of this report, the Service had just received $11 million in a supplemental fiscal year 1985 appropriation for its air operations, bringing the agency's total fiscal year budget for air operations to $55.4 million. Customs' most significant need, apart from more aircraft and more sophisticated electronics, is the support of other Federal agencies with related jurisdictions.
One example of the need for support is on the diplomatic front. Customs has for some time found itself frustrated by its inability to pursue suspected smuggler aircraft into Mexican airspace after detection on the American side of the border. Although this has been the subject of numerous diplomatic discussions, there has been little progress to date. Giving this matter an extremely high priority in our bilateral negotiations with Mexico is the type of assistance another agency, in this case the state Department, can and should provide to Customs in recognition of the critical importance of the fight against drug smuggling.
Another Customs' Services critical need is intelligence, both tactical and strategic. While "cold hits" - apprehension of smugglers in a random, uninformed basis - have an important role to play in deterring smugglers by their very randomness, intelligence is the key to effective interdiction. According to former Drug Enforcement Administrator Francis Mullen, every major seizure of drugs from South America made by his agency has been made on the basis of prior intelligence, and it is no less critical to the Customs Service. While the topic of intelligence-gathering is the subject of a separate analysis in this report, it is important to note in connection with this discussion on inter-agency support that Customs and the Drug Enforcement Administration have made considerable progress in the area of information sharing. Customs has for some time had an analyst stationed in DEA's Office of Intelligence, and a program is currently underway to place Customs intelligence analysts in country teams abroad to analyze data gathered by DEA. This program should be pursued aggressively. Simultaneously, the Customs Service should scrutinize its Customs Attache program to determine to what extent it can play a larger role in intelligence-gathering concerning smugglers. With its close liaison with host government customs officials, this program may be of particular significance with regard to smuggling involving containerized and other commercial cargo. As interdiction capabilities improve in the areas of pleasure craft and general aviation, it is almost certain that commercial cargo will be used increasingly for concealing illicit drug shipments. This has already been observed in some cases. Such a Customs effort would be complemented by the private sector initiatives Customs has been able to bring about, such as the agreements now in effect with the Airline Transport and International Airline Transport Associations.
An active intelligence gathering role for Customs is now blocked by the 1973 Reorganization Plan. The current recognition by Customs and DEA of the former's need for time-sensitive intelligence is of vital importance however, and should be actively cultivated by the two agencies and the Policy Board. That this would require modification or elimination of certain provisions of the 1973 Reorganization Plan should not be an obstacle.
The area of inter-agency support currently in need of the most attention is the relationship between the Customs Service and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The latter, which has primary jurisdiction over entry into United States air space, maintains a number of programs, which lend themselves to support of Customs operations. While the FAA has to date given significant support to Customs in a number of instances, more is needed. To this end, the Customs Service has recently proposed omnibus legislation, currently entitled the Customs Enforcement Act of 1985, which contains provisions that address such sensitive topics as restricted entry points and minimum altitudes for air entry. Among other things, this Act would require all vessels and aircraft entering the United States to report immediately for Customs inspection, and would increase the fines for failure to report entry. Fines would also be substantially increased for smuggling controlled substances, and such violations would be punishable by imprisonment. All assets seized by Customs, including planes, vessels, and cash, would be subject to forfeiture. The Act would prohibit airdrops to vessels, make it unlawful to operate an aircraft without lights, and prohibit the installation of all illegal fuel tanks in planes. In addition, commercial carriers would be subject to more stringent regulations under the Act. While this legislation may be unpopular with private aviation, it is a collection of important anti-smuggling measures which go directly to some of the most frequently encountered drug smuggling techniques. It is worthy of support.
Similarly, proposals advanced by both Customs and DEA that aircraft identification numbers, now required to be twelve inches high and displayed on the fuselage or tail, be displayed on an upper and a lower wing surface as well are entirely consistent with anti-smuggling requirements. DEA pilots have been fired upon from the ground as they tried to fly low enough to read tail numbers. Although the FAA has stated that an increase in required number size has no "aviation safety basis," it is this Commission's position that needless exposure of Federal agents to hostile fire should be considered an "aviation safety" concern sufficient to justify remedial action. Again, reports that a change in required number size or location would be very unpopular with the general aviation community seem frivolous in the context of issues as grave as those under discussion here. There are a number of additional aviation-related proposals being advanced by Customs today, concerning such matters as pre-filing of "border flight plans," advanced notice of entry into U.S. air space, and improvements in pilot identification certificates, which appear to this Commission to be worthy of adoption, absent some compelling opposition.
There are other promising areas for Customs/FAA cooperation. Customs reports, for example, that the FAA, in undertaking its long-term buildup of the approach radar system, is working closely with Customs to accommodate the latter's needs. This is to be encouraged, particularly by the Policy Board, which has both Customs and the FAA on its Coordinating Group.
One legal issue which would benefit from careful analysis by the Board is the extent to which current asset forfeiture provisions need revision to enable seizure of aircraft and other equipment which is rented or leased by traffickers for the purpose of avoiding forfeiture.
Another area worthy of study is the extent to which Customs' air interdiction capabilities could be enhanced by Coast Guard aviation components. Although such a concept might be contrary to existing understandings, it would be a grave omission if substantial Coast Guard aviation assets were overlooked, particularly at a time when fiscal considerations threaten the Customs air operations budget.
In the area of maritime interdiction, the Coast Guard serves as lead agency. Its success has been remarkable and is limited only by shortages in resources. New tactics and innovative forms of assistance by the Navy have significantly improved the Coast Guard's capabilities. There is no question that not only maritime traffickers but air smugglers as well are intimidated by the seaborne detection capabilities of Coast Guard vessels. Inasmuch as the most critical limitation on Coast Guard capabilities is the lack of budgeted resources, the single most pressing concern is the augmentation of the Coast Guard budget to permit more extensive participation in interdiction operations. A proposal, which has surfaced annually but to no avail as yet, is the imposition of user fees for various Coast Guard services now provided to the boating community gratis. As with the aviation community in connection with the FAA discussed above, there is considerable opposition to maritime measures that would inconvenience the user community or cost it money. However, given the inescapable facts of the drug invasion this country is experiencing, the nominal costs of various user fees would seem to be a small price for boaters to pay as their contribution to what must be seen as a national effort to defeat a deadly enemy.
In-shore operations of the Customs Service bolster Coast Guard maritime interdiction operations. Having received over $12 million for maritime operations in its fiscal year 1985 supplemental appropriation, Customs has begun to get fast, state of the art pursuit boats in the water off the coast of Florida. These have been used to great effect, and more such craft should be deployed.
One innovation for which the Customs Service and the leadership of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System (NNBIS) are to be commended is the highly effective integration of State and local authorities in the recent operation "Blue Lightning." It is clear and has been stressed throughout this report that comprehensive, coordinated multi-agency operations are absolutely essential to effective anti-drug programs. On the Federal level, this typically means "horizontal integration," i.e., the careful combination of equal Federal agencies. Blue Lightning is a fine example of the equally important concept of "vertical integration," the well-planned and complementary cooperation of Federal, State, and local resources aimed at a specific trafficking activity. The Customs Service and NNBIS are rightfully proud of this accomplishment and are encouraged to pursue similar successes in operations to come.
The evolution of interdiction in recent years has been in the direction of consolidation of intelligence and operations. This is a trend characteristic of anti-drug efforts generally, and it is a proper response to the breadth of the drug smuggling situation. In the area of interdiction, the most prominent joint efforts in addition to NNBIS are the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board (the Board) and the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC). All are described in detail elsewhere in this report.
The following is a proposed realignment of these organizations, based on this Commission's review.
First, our proposal recognizes the leadership role of the Board. That important topic is the subject of a separate analysis in this report. Within the Board and as a part of its coordinated program, we propose the combination of the functions of EPIC and NNBIS into a single, all-source intelligence facility. In the critical early stages of designing and implementing such an operation, the Vice President's leadership will be invaluable. The combined intelligence center will incorporate the input of all intelligence-gathering components at the Federal level, including those sources already feeding into EPIC and NNBIS, as well as new sources still to be developed, as outlined below.
The present duplication between the various functions performed by EPIC and NNBIS has been acknowledged by such authorities as David Westrate, Assistant Administrator for Operations of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the parent agency of EPIC. Although it is true there are certain functions being performed by each of the two activities, which are not duplicated by the other, this should not prevent effective integration of their functions. Everywhere in the current Federal response, we find a movement toward consolidation and coordination. Intelligence and planning should not be exceptions.
A combined all-source intelligence center would require at least two features not found in either NNBIS or EPIC. One is a physically secure headquarters facility. EPIC is presently located in a private office building in El Paso. It has neither the space nor the necessary physical security to accommodate the comprehensive input advocated here. NNBIS headquarters is in the Old Executive Office Building in downtown Washington, and its regional facilities are located in various Federal buildings around the country. While such quarters might provide adequate physical security, they are not equipped to provide for the scope of the proposed undertaking. A secure facility with sufficient physical dimensions is crucial, as are secure communications with participating agency and military headquarters. Ft. Bliss, Texas, is a potential site, as it provides the necessary physical security and is located near the present EPIC facility. This and similar locations should be considered.
The second requirement of the facility proposed here is enhanced intelligence input. Thorough, "real-time" intelligence is absolutely vital to effective interdiction, and it is almost as critically important to other areas of enforcement operations as well. The importance of intelligence is such that it is treated as a separate topic below. At this point, it is sufficient to note that the design of a new center must from the very outset include the most thorough provisions for the maximum intelligence contribution permitted by law and physical and technological capabilities.
Military Support for Interdiction
Perhaps the single most valuable development in the area of interdiction in recent years has been the assistance rendered by components of the Department of Defense. Such activities were constrained somewhat by the Posse Comitatus Act until certain exemptions to the Act were passed in December 1981. Since that time the assistance rendered by the military has grown dramatically. In calendar year 1984 the military provided assistance to interdiction efforts worth $100 million by Pentagon calculations. Such assistance is typically in the form of aerial surveillance, transport of enforcement personnel, and loans of equipment and personnel as permitted by law.
The role of the Defense Department has become steadily more active, more innovative, and more flexible. The quality and quantity of such assistance, however, continue to be limited by the constraints found in the Posse Comitatus exemptions: military assistance to law enforcement cannot include direct participation by military personnel in arrest or seizure activities, and it can be provided only if it does not affect military preparedness. Furthermore, law enforcement authorities will be required by the Economy Act to reimburse the Department of Defense for assistance provided, unless such assistance is incidental to existing military operations or provides "equivalent training." Reimbursement may also be waived, if such waiver does not adversely impact military preparedness. In this regard, as in other, the Department of Defense has been increasingly flexible. One example of this is the expanded delegation of authority to waive reimbursement, as found in the January 2, 1985, modifications to the applicable Departmental directive. Another is the increasingly positive liaison role being played by the Department of Defense Task Force on Drug Enforcement.
There are grounds for concern that the military's role continues to be too narrowly defined. There appears to be a fundamental misconception at the very top of the Department concerning the permissible scope of the military's role. Writing to the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in June 1985, Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger stated that direct military participation in drug seizures outside United States territory would do violence to "the historic separation between military and civilian spheres of activity . . . one of the most fundamental principles of American democracy. This Commission has been unable to find the basis for such a "fundamental principle" of co-equal "spheres of activity." The fact is that the military, rather than being a parallel entity, has traditionally been subject to the direction of the civilian "sphere." Indeed, the military's Commander-in-Chief is a civilian. The Posse Comitatus Act does no more than prohibit use of military forces to enforce civilian laws on the territory of the United States. The Constitution was in existence for approximately a century before such a law was passed by Congress. The Act has been amended once since then, and it can be amended again if appropriate. Furthermore, there is nothing in the laws of the United States forbidding an active enforcement role by the military outside United States territory, except the requirement of reimbursement. This in turn hinges upon the definition of "military preparedness." However, nowhere in the debate over the military's role in this area has this Commission found a discussion of this term. The definition of the military's role has been left to the military itself, which, through the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has declared that the military shall be prepared to serve national security by providing:
a defense posture capable of successfully resisting hostile or destructive action from within or without, overt or covert.
As described in Chapter 3 of this report, international drug traffickers have regularly formed alliances with insurgent and terrorist forces in certain countries. In a few instances these alliances may actually threaten friendly governments. In many more countries such a combination at least drains resources from constructive goals and inhibits efforts to build or maintain a stable democracy. Even where the threat is more remote, it is clear that the smuggling techniques in use are the very same ones that are or could be used to move personnel, weapons, and other supplies for insurgent groups. For these reasons alone, the activities of traffickers should bring them squarely within the national security concerns of the Department of Defense. This fact has already been recognized by the Vice President, who has stated clearly that "success against drug smuggling is intimately tied to the continuation of freedom and democracy in the hemisphere." Recognition of this fact would permit the Defense Department much greater latitude in conducting military operations aimed at disrupting trafficking organizations. Examples of such programs include a wide range of activities, such as expanded and focused intelligence gathering, security assistance to receptive host governments, expanded deployment of tethered aerostat radar sites, and joint research and development between military and law enforcement agencies to provide greater operation compatibility.
Beyond threats to friendly democracies, international drug traffickers should be considered a threat to our national security because they comprise a direct attack on the physical and social well-being of our country. The costs of this invasion, which comes by air, sea, and land, is thoroughly documented in this report. Recognition of this attack as a ". . . destructive action from without . . ." which is within the meaning of the Joint Chiefs' definition, would bring the Department of Defense squarely into the war in which we presently find ourselves. This may be further than present policy makers are prepared to go, but it is surely time to bring the issue into the debate so that it can be decided on the basis of what is actually permitted or proscribed by the laws and Constitution of the United States.
Domestic Investigations and Prosecutions
Domestic investigative and prosecutive activity is only one facet of drug law enforcement. As with all other approaches designed to reduce the supply of drugs, proper assessment of their effectiveness requires that realistic goals be established. As this report has demonstrated, it is unrealistic to expect that domestic law enforcement alone will solve, or even substantially reduce, the Nation's drug abuse problem. Rather, its goal must be a more limited one: to increase the arrests and successful prosecutions of drug traffickers, whether they be importers, wholesalers, or retailers, and those who assist them, including pilots, bankers, and attorneys, and the forfeiture of their properties accumulated from criminal activity.
The attainment of this objective would contribute to the ultimate national policy goal of eliminating drug use in several ways. First, it would directly reduce the supply of drugs by removing from the illicit drug market those drugs that are seized along with the arrested traffickers. Second, it would reduce the supply of drugs indirectly by disrupting the networks that make it possible to distribute drugs efficiently. Finally, the traffickers would likely raise the price of their product to reflect the increased risks, which theoretically should cause a reduction in the overall consumption of drugs.
In a recent study prepared by the Rand Corporation the authors concluded that prevention programs, not intensified domestic law enforcement, were the best approach to control adolescent drug use. The Commission agrees with the Rand Corporation's conclusions concerning adolescent drug use and believes that they are equally valid with respect to adult drug use. However, such conclusions should not be interpreted as a call for a reduction in domestic law enforcement efforts against drug trafficking. Without effective domestic law enforcement, the drug abuse problem, and its concomitant organized crime effects, would be immeasurably worse.
Although domestic law enforcement has a limited, albeit essential, role to play in the national effort against drug abuse, the Commission has concluded, on the basis of its investigations, hearings, and study, that changes in focus and attitudes and a rearrangement of priorities must be undertaken to achieve the maximum effect of domestic law enforcement. Before discussing these matters, it is necessary first to address two fundamental issues: (1) Do organized crime policy and drug abuse policy conflict? and (2) What, if any, should be the level of interaction and cooperation between Federal law enforcement agencies on the one hand and State and local agencies on the other?
Professor Mark H. Moore, a former Special Assistant to the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, has described the objectives of U.S. organized crime policy as follows:
[T]o suppress the provision of illegal goods and services that constitute the core of organized crime, to prevent the violence and corruption that is more characteristic of organized crime groups than other kinds of criminal activity, and to prevent the emergence of very large, durable organizations with well developed capacities for violence and corruption.
This Commission believes that the Nation's drug policy must have as its goal the elimination of illegal drug use. Domestic law enforcement contributes to this goal by reducing the supply of drug in the illegal market and by increasing the prices of drugs that remain available for purchase. It has been suggested that the pursuit of the Nation's drug policy, without regard for its impact on organized crime, may exacerbate the country's organized crime problem by enriching organized crime groups, eliminating their competitors, and encouraging trafficking organizations to become organized crime groups if they are not already. Although agreeing that such a concern is legitimate, this Commission has concluded that drug and organized crime policies do not inherently conflict. Indeed, there is substantial, if not complete, overlap in the goals of the two policies because, as the Commission has found, drug trafficking is a principal activity of organized crime groups. In light of this, the Commission recommends that targeting high-level organized-crime trafficking groups, whether they be foreign, multinational or domestic, should be the top priority of Federal domestic law enforcement. As Professor Moore has stated:
What is not in conflict, however, is the need of both drug abuse policy and organized crime policy to develop and use tactics that are successful in attacking large, entrenched criminal organizations. This is useful to drug policy, and essential to organized crime policy.
The Commission is aware that some commentators have criticized the Federal Government's bias in favor of enforcement against high-level dealers to the virtual exclusion of lower- or street-level enforcement. However, the Commission's recommendation that targeting organized crime trafficking groups should be the top priority of Federal domestic law enforcement should not be construed to mean that lower-level enforcement is not useful and therefore has no place in the Nation's drug policy. On the contrary, such lower-level enforcement is essential to achieve the goal of eliminating drug use for several reasons. As discussed earlier, the arrest of the customers of drug retailers may result in a direct and immediate reduction in the demand for drugs. In addition, successful enforcement efforts directed at lower-level dealers will reduce the supply of illegal drugs and raise the price of drugs available for purchase, thus resulting in lower drug consumption. Finally, lower-level enforcement operations are useful in providing information that will be invaluable to those involved in investigating high-level organized crime trafficking groups. The absence of vigorous lower-level domestic law enforcement could encourage organized crime groups to remain in drug trafficking, and quite possible spawn more such groups. High-level enforcement efforts could be crippled, if not completely undermined, by a lack of a complementary, lower-level effort.
A fundamental question remains: Which agencies should be responsible for the various facets of domestic law enforcement? The investigation of high-level organized crime trafficking groups, whose activities are generally regional, national or international in scope, is expensive, time consuming, and requires special skills and sophisticated tools. The Federal government, through its agencies, is best equipped to undertake such investigations. State and local agencies, because of their unique knowledge of local conditions and expertise in the required techniques, are more qualified to conduct lower-level domestic law enforcement, including street operations and investigations of certain smaller and geographically-restricted trafficking organizations.
The conclusions and recommendations set forth in the preceding paragraph are not intended to suggest that Federal domestic law enforcement and that of State and local agencies should be completely separate and independent. The drug problem facing the United States is a national one, and the efforts of all law enforcement agencies must be coordinated and interrelated to some extent, if we are to deal successfully with the problem. The required level of cooperation in some instances may be more than the routine exchange of drug intelligence or the suppression of interagency rivalries and jurisdictional disputes. In this regard, the Commission endorses generally the view expressed recently by a Federal prosecutor concerning drug enforcement efforts in New York City:
[O]ne can not compartmentalize the narcotics enforcement effort, and leave the streets entirely to state and local enforcement and the conspiracy cases entirely to the federal government. While each may have a primary area, each must do some of both. The ideal combination may be some federal prosecution of state and local arrests, and a significant state and local participation in joint Task Forces, aimed at dismantling of drug networks through the conspiracy law.
Examples of successful joint ventures involving Federal, State and local personnel include the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program, Operation Pressure Point, and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, which was formed in 1970. These programs can serve as useful models for any future cooperative domestic law enforcement arrangements that might be needed.
Federal Domestic Law Enforcement
As a result of its investigation and study, the Commission has concluded that the tools and techniques needed to permit Federal law enforcement agents to prosecute their portion of the war against drug traffickers successfully are for the most part currently available. The need is not for sweeping new legislative initiatives but for further changes in attitudes and a greater commitment to cooperation and coordination among the Federal agencies involved in drug law enforcement. Balkanization and jurisdictional disputes between agencies are the most serious obstacles to success in the struggle against drug trafficking. The personnel of each Federal agency involved in domestic law enforcement, from the chief executive to the newest employee, must understand that their agency alone cannot solve the Nation's drug problem. Acceptance of this reality will go a long way in eliminating the destructive competition that in the past has hampered Federal law enforcement.
As discussed above, the Commission has concluded that the targeting of high-level organized crime trafficking groups should be the top priority of Federal drug law enforcement efforts. Because of the sophistication and complexity of such organizations and their operations, the Federal response must be equally sophisticated and complex. The Reagan Administration's establishment of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF Program) in late 1982 was an attempt to create a mechanism for attacking high-level organized crime trafficking groups; by their own account, the multiagency Task Forces, drawing on the resources of a broad spectrum of Federal, State and local agencies, have achieved an encouraging degree of success. The success that has been achieved was not the result of the development of new techniques but of the efficient use of existing ones:
The OCDE Task Force Program can lay claim to no new inventions in the fields of investigative and prosecutorial techniques. It can, however, be justifiably proud of its creative utilization of existing tools.
The Commission applauds the OCDETF Program and those who designed and have implemented it. It strongly favors the Programs's continuation and expansion, to the extent that it is desirable and feasible to do so, for several reasons: the Program has resulted in the elimination of interagency disputes to a substantial extent; the disruption of large and sophisticated trafficking groups requires large, efficient and strongly supported enforcement organizations; and multiagency task forces are particularly suited to use the Federal conspiracy, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO), Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE), and forfeiture statutes to the maximum and optimum extent possible. In addition, the different investigative techniques used by the participating agencies increases the probability of successful infiltration of trafficking organizations. However, the effectiveness of the OCDETF Program could be enhanced if the following changes were made.
In creating the OCDETF Program, its designers concluded that to insure the maximum support of the participating agencies, a consensus-based decision-making process was necessary. In this regard, no single agency was designated as the lead Task Force agency. Although participants in the OCDETF Program have been able to reduce interagency competition and conflict to a substantial and significant extent, the Commission believe that further improvement is both desirable and feasible. Such improvements would flow naturally from a renewed, unambiguous commitment to the Program and its goals by participating agencies. Increased cooperation and coordination might also result, if DEA or the FBI were designated as the lead Task Force agency, or if the United States Attorneys were given greater authority with respect to the operations of the Task Force. The Commission recommends that those in charge of the OCDETF Program should consider whether a lead agency should be designated or a U.S. Attorney be given greater authority to achieve even greater coordination of effort.
Law enforcement agencies that participate in the OCDETF Program have other missions in the struggle against drug trafficking. For this reason, each "agency must balance its commitment to the Task Force concept with its fundamental mission. Because the targeting of high-level organized crime trafficking groups should be the top priority and because the OCDE Task Forces are the best available devices for infiltrating and disrupting such groups, the Commission is concerned that, in allocating manpower and other resources between the program and other missions, the participating agencies should not shortchange the Task Forces in any way. The top echelon of each participating agency must be strongly committed to the OCDETF Program and its goals and must be actively involved in assuring its success. The required commitment and involvement are not satisfied by abdicating responsibility for insuring the success of the program to those heading field offices. Indifference at the headquarters level will be reflected eventually in field offices.
To signal their commitment to the program and to encourage their best agents to participate in it, the top executives of each participating agency should adopt an unambiguous policy that salary increases and career advancement within the agency for an agent who participates in an OCDE Task Force will not be adversely affected in any way by that participation. Such a policy would require that the evaluation of an agent assigned to a Task Force be based not on such criteria as the number of arrests or cases made or the amount of drugs seized. Evaluations should assess that agent's qualitative performance in complex financial and conspiracy cases, which may last more than two years and which may result in the arrest of few, albeit high-level and important traffickers.
The OCDETF Program is only one facet of the Federal effort against drug trafficking. The effective functioning of the other facets of Federal domestic law enforcement, i.e., Organized Crime Strike Forces, the South Florida Task Force, the FBI, DEA, Customs, and U.S. Attorneys, is also essential if the Nation's drug problem is ever to be contained and eventually eliminated.
That the OCDE Task Forces are and should be primarily responsible for disrupting high-level organized crime trafficking groups does not mean that the other Federal efforts should be devoted to, or focused upon, lower -or street-level traffickers or purely local drug problems. For the reasons discussed above, these enforcement concerns are rightfully and almost exclusively those of State and local law enforcement. However, there will be cases against organized crime trafficking groups that will be deemed inappropriate for OCDETF treatment, and these will then have to be handled by some other Federal agency; this is also true with respect to large trafficking organizations that are not organized crime controlled and that may or may not be multi-jurisdictional.
As a result of its investigation and study, the Commission has concluded that the non-OCDETF Program segments of Federal domestic drug law enforcement are for the most part functioning well and that the variety of investigative techniques that these agencies bring to the Federal effort to reduce the supply of drugs is a great benefit. The use of financial expertise, undercover, sting and reverse sting operations, informants, electronic and other kinds of surveillance, preselected target and target of opportunity approaches to initiating investigations, and buy-bust transactions are all useful ways of infiltrating trafficking organizations. However, the Commission is concerned that the healthy competition among enforcement agencies that the current organizational structure is supposed to encourage often degenerates into jurisdictional conflicts that harm the overall Federal effort against traffickers. This will continue to occur unless top agency officials instill in their agents and employees the sense that genuine cooperation and coordination with other agencies are essential to the ultimate success of the Nation's drug effort. In this regard, the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board has an important and unique role to play insuring that healthy and constructive competition does not become destructive and petty conflict.
The Board could take one important step to eliminate jurisdictional disputes, as well as to avoid duplication of investigative efforts and to provide maximum safety to drug agents. This would be to require the establishment of a system whereby an agency would file a report with a central reporting repository, once it has opened an investigation of an individual believed to be a part of a trafficking operation. If two or more agencies were investigating the same individual, they would be notified of that fact, and they would be required to decide, after negotiations, the best way for conducting the investigation, a single agency or an ad hoc task force. Such a system would work at its optimal level only if all law enforcement agencies, including State and local units, participated. The Commission believes that such a reporting and control system is highly desirable and, because of existing technology, feasible. The Commission also believes that this system could be incorporated easily into the all-source intelligence and operations center, recommended elsewhere in this report.
As result of the 1973 reorganization plan, the Customs Service was prohibited from conducting investigative, intelligence, and law enforcement functions, relating to the suppression of drug trafficking, at locations away from ports of entry or borders. This aspect of the plan has been controversial and as elicited much criticism on the ground that is weakened the "Nation's capability to interdict the flow of narcotics into the United States."
The Commission has no objections to that feature of the 1973 reorganization plan that created a lead agency in Federal drug law enforcement, and indeed believes that it remains a valid concept today. However, the Commission has concluded that it is an appropriate time to study whether the functions of the Customs Service with respect to drug trafficking should be expanded to include investigative, intelligence, and law enforcement functions within this country, beyond the borders and ports of entry, where appropriate and subject to the oversight and supervision of the lead agencies. In this respect, the Commission notes that the 1973 reorganization plan was modified somewhat when, on January 5, 1984, the Attorney General signed the "Request for Assistance and Authorization Respecting Drug Enforcement Activities of Certain Customs Officers in Domestic Drug Investigations." This action granted authority to the DEA Administrator to endow specific Customs agents, for a designated period of time, with the power, among others, to conduct investigative, intelligence, and law enforcement functions relating to drug trafficking. Because this arrangement appears to have worked well, a broader expansion of Customs' functions may be warranted at this time in an effort to improve domestic law enforcement.
In addition to the attitudinal and organizational matters discussed above, the Commission proposes substantial expansion of the use of one particular investigative technique because of the magnitude of illicit drug production in this country. All of the PCP (phencyclidine), almost all of the methamphetamine, and an estimated 80 percent of injectable amphetamine available illicitly in the United States in 1984 were produced in domestic clandestine laboratories. In addition, an increasing amount of cocaine in being processed in this country. In fact, the number of cocaine laboratories seized by law enforcement authorities in the United States between 1983 and 1984 nearly doubled.
To combat both the domestic and foreign production of illicit drugs, law enforcement officials have, in some instances, targeted the chemicals used to manufacture the drugs. For example, through its "Operation Chem-Con," DEA tracks the movement of chemicals used to process cocaine from the principal manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to their final destinations. According to the chief of the DEA's cocaine section, Johnny Phelps:
Through cooperation gained by DEA from the world's ether industry and foreign law enforcement elements, we now have voluntary restrictions on sales to known trafficking groups and are able to seize shipments of chemicals after purchase causing great financial losses to cocaine producing consort[ia].
In addition to the voluntary compliance of chemical companies in Operation Chem-Con, reporting requirements are sometimes used to control chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs. Piperidine, a chemical used to manufacture the hallucinogen PCP, is subject to reporting requirements under the Controlled Substances Act. The provision requires that any person selling piperidine report to the Attorney General information concerning the sale, including identifying information about the purchaser, and the quantity, form and intended use of the piperidine. This system has worked well and permits DEA to investigate any suspicious sales of piperidine. Since 1984 DEA has seized four clandestine PCP laboratories and has located at least ten other operations, which obtained chemicals for PCP manufacture by posing as legitimate businesses.
Chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs can be regulated in the same manner as controlled substances. Under the Controlled Substances Act, the Attorney General may place an immediate precursor in the same schedule as the controlled substance for which it is a precursor.
Although the regulation of chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs can thwart efforts to produce these drugs and can help law enforcement officials to locate clandestine laboratories, several factors limit the effectiveness of such approaches. First, many of these chemicals have widespread legitimate uses in industry, and tracking their sales would be impractical. Even tracking a limited number of these chemicals would be costly, requiring adequate computer resources and individuals to review and analyze chemical sales information. Second, controls on chemicals may have only short-term effects. In the case of the reporting of piperidine, both use of PCP and clandestine laboratory activity appeared to decline from 1979 to 1981. However, by 1982, trafficking in and abuse of PCP had increased. Third, some chemicals can be obtained illicitly. For example, a shortage of P2P (phenyl-2-propanone), which is used to manufacture methamphetamine, resulted from the placement of P2P in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. Traffickers responded by increasing illicit manufacture of P2P in 1982.
Despite these limitations, controlling a limited number of these chemicals has merit. The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board has identified the following chemicals as suitable targets for control: ether, used to process cocaine; acetic anhydride, (heroin); P2P, (methamphetamine); ergotamine (LSD); anthranilic acid (methaqualone); and piperidine (PCP). This United Nations Board has called on countries in which illicit drug manufacture occurs to impose a licensing system and quotas for supplying and importation of these chemicals.
For the foregoing reasons, the Commission recommends that DEA should determine which chemicals currently used to manufacture illicit drugs should be subject to reporting requirements or placed in a schedule of the Controlled Substances Act. This review should included a consideration of which drugs are most abused, which have the most serious consequences, and which precursor chemicals are essential to the production process. In addition, DEA should identify the resources needed for the computerization, analysis and follow-up of reports concerning chemicals selected for monitoring.
The Commission's final recommendations concerning Federal domestic law enforcement relate to the Federal agents and employees who are most involved in the Federal effort against drugs. This country owes these agents the greatest possible amount of protection and assistance against the vicious and ruthless participants in organized crime trafficking organizations. As the testimony of drug pilot Adler Barriman Seal before this Commission revealed, because of the massive amounts of money involved, high-level traffickers are able to procure and use the products of the latest technological advances to facilitate their trafficking operations. Drug agents must also be given access to such state of the art equipment and weapons. In this regard, the research and development operations of Federal drug law enforcement agencies should work closely with field agents to produce the equipment and tools needed to defeat drug traffickers.
Finally, this Commission has made several recommendations designed to improve Federal domestic law enforcement. However, the men and women involved in the day-to-day effort against drug trafficking have the most incentive and are the best qualified to offer suggestions as to how to improve domestic law enforcement. These "experts" should be encouraged to make recommendations and should be rewarded for the ones that are successful.
State and Local Domestic Law Enforcement
The role of State and local agencies in the national campaign against drugs has been described above: they have the primary responsibility for lower- and street-level enforcement because of their proximity to the affected areas and because they possess or can adopt the tools necessary for carrying out their mission. The successful accomplishment of the mission of State and local law enforcement agencies is a desirable end, in and of itself, because harassment and disruption of drug retailers and smaller or geographically-restricted distribution networks could lead to a reduction in the supply of drugs, an increase in the price of the drugs remaining in the marketplace, and discouragement of non-drug users from experimenting with drugs. Successful completion of this mission will also permit State and local authorities to provide Federal law enforcement agencies with information that will be invaluable to the latter in infiltrating and disrupting high-level organized crime and other large trafficking organizations. The leaders of State and local agencies must constantly reiterate to their agents that their efforts cannot be viewed in isolation and that they are part of much larger national campaign against drugs. Such indoctrination will result in the kind of cooperation and coordination essential to the success of the overall national effort.
Effective State and local domestic drug law enforcement will undoubtedly require increased expenditures, including the expansion of prison facilities. Although the drug problem is quite correctly denominated a National one, its devastating effects are most pronounced at the State and local levels. Therefore, the Commission recommends that State and local governments determine what is necessary to permit their law enforcement agencies to carry out their drug mission successfully and do all they can to convince their citizens that any required increase in expenditures is absolutely essential. Such a campaign will be considerably more palatable if it includes a large segment of funding from seized drug revenues and assets, as described below.
The Commission has concluded that if a State is serious about responding to the drug problem within its jurisdiction it must provide its law enforcement agencies with certain tools that are available to their Federal counterparts. The Commission therefore recommends that those States, which do not already have such statutes, consider enacting legislation patterned after the following Federal statutes: Bail Reform Act of 1984, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act; statutory use and derivative use immunity for witnesses; statutory criminal and civil forfeiture provisions; the Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) statute; Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (electronic surveillance); and the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act. In addition, the Commission recommends that, where appropriate, States consider adopting statewide grand juries, with public reporting authority, to improve their investigations of drug trafficking organizations and eliminating accomplice corrobation statutes or rules. Although the Commission is cognizant that there may be legitimate State constitutional objections to the adoption of some provisions and devices, the Commission nevertheless believes that each has increased the effectiveness of Federal domestic law enforcement and would similarly increase the effectiveness of State and local law enforcement agencies in infiltrating and disrupting trafficking groups.
Because the majority of drugs consumed in the United States is produced abroad, a primary component of our national strategy is international cooperation to control drugs. A prerequisite of this strategy is the cooperation of drug producing and trafficking nations. While this has proved difficult or even impossible in some situations, due to the political, economic or social instability of some drug producing countries, international cooperation can contribute to our national effort to reduce drug consumption.
The United States provides various forms of assistance to other countries to help them in their anti-drug efforts, including both economic and military aid. According to the 1984 National Strategy For Prevention of Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking, the objectives of the U.S. international strategy are:
. . . strengthening U.S. efforts to assist foreign governments in stopping the production and transportation of illicit drugs and improving interdiction efforts in transit nations; encouraging and assisting governments of producer nations to undertake crop control programs as the most effective means of curbing production; developing innovative mutual assistance treaties with foreign governments, directed at facilitating judicial actions against the drug trade, seizing assets derived from drug trafficking, eliminating banking procedures which hide illicit drug transactions, and extradition and other legal arrangements; encouraging other nations to support international narcotics control programs, financially and with other resources, including developmental assistance linked with crop control and cooperative law enforcement efforts; encouraging international organizations and development banks to link their assistance with narcotics control objectives, where appropriate; and curtailing the diversion of pharmaceuticals and chemicals from legitimate international commerce.
Indications are increasing that the concern over drug-related problems is becoming universal. This growing concern is due largely to recognition by governments in both developed and less-developed countries, that the illicit production, trafficking and abuse of drugs pose serious problems to their nations' development, their societies, and in some cases, to their national security. The multiple effects of drug trafficking are increasingly felt in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Southwest Asia. These effects include crime, corruption, economic destabilization, political manipulation, and epidemic drug abuse. Much of the increased anti-drug activity in South American countries in the past two years correlates directly to the emergence of domestic drug problems in those countries, and their awareness of their own vulnerability to the myriad problems related to drug abuse.
At a time when drug traffickers rule segments of some countries, and dominate local economies in others, an increasing number of nations are realizing that passivity is not the answer. This realization is encouraging efforts for more cooperation with the United States in its multilateral enforcement and demand reduction programs. Reduction in the demand for drugs in the United States and abroad is beginning to be perceived by drug producing and trafficking nations as a vital component in the fight against drug abuse. It is an objective that has greater long term potential for producing action by source nation governments than do efforts perceived as benefiting the United States exclusively.
The Commission recognizes the importance of existing international drug control efforts. Because drug trafficking and production are threats to the stability of existing democracies, a primary goal of the United States and its allies should be to enhance the security of drug producing and transshipment regions. Because some source countries are promoting drug control in the interests of their own national security and public welfare more actively than they have in the past, it is an opportune time for the United States to intensify its international drug control efforts. The success of these efforts requires the political and financial support of a much broader coalition within the international community.
The United States offers assistance to numerous countries around the world with drug abuse and trafficking problems, primarily through the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics Matters, the Agency for International Development, and the United States Information Agency. The United States currently supports crop eradication programs in 14 countries and is working to develop such programs in several others. These control efforts are vitally enhanced by the public adareness programs sponsored by the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, and the United States Information Agency.
There has been an ongoing debate in this country concerning the wisdom of making foreign assistance, both general and drug-related, conditional on the progress of drug control efforts. Proponents of utilizing existing authority to suspend aid to any nation not taking steps to control drug production claim that the United States should employ this leverage as a final step in forcing nations to stop drug production. Opponents feel that sustained aid is necessary to achieve U.S.-supported drug control objectives and that an aid cut-off might undermine other U.S. interests in some cases.
The National Drug Enforcement Policy Board is now in a central position in this area, as in all others in the anti-drug effort. It should carefully evaluate the data used in the President's annual decision whether to suspend aid to drug producing or transshipment countries, and make a suitable recommendation to the President for his ultimate decision.
Extradition and mutual assistance treaties can also contribute to international drug control efforts by enhancing diplomatic initiatives and providing leverage in United States' foreign policy decisions. Clauses in several existing treaties are particularly innovative and worthy of inclusion in future agreements. The willingness of a country to engage in and actively implement drug-related extradition and mutual assistance treaties should be a primary consideration in ultimate U.S. policy decisions regarding foreign assistance to a country, and should be weighed in the deliberations of the President and the policy Board described above.
The Department of State, in conjunction with the Department of Defense, should continue its program of expanded economic assistance with emphasis on assisting those foreign governments making concerted efforts to control their drug problems. At the same time, a recognition that drug trafficking has become a national security issue should lead to the availability and use of security assistance funds. The effectiveness of such assistance is, of course, dependent upon the political will of the host government. To encourage this, the United States should raise the drug issue to the highest level possible in bilateral relations with producer and trafficker nations. Similarly, the United States should raise the drug issue in terns of international security with its industrialized allies. This should occur not only in the United Nations, but also on a bilateral and multilateral basis. This would provide incentive in urging those nations to increase their assistance and cooperation within the region and in urging those nations to raise the issue as a high priority in their bilateral relations with the producer and trafficking nations.
In addition to these efforts to reduce the supply of drugs, international efforts to reduce the demand for drugs are an important component of U.S. strategy. The United States should, therefore, continue to help producer nations develop prevention and education programs aimed at drug abuse within the producer and trafficker nations.
Indications are overwhelming that the world community in general realizes the dangers inherent in drug use. In the past, many nations regarded drug abuse as aberrational social behavior, and relegated governmental reaction, if there was any at all, to law enforcement or social/health ministries. As international awareness of the actual nature and scope of the threat of drug abuse increases, however, nations are placing the issue where it belongs: within the realm of national security.
Source Country Crop Control
Strategies to control drug trafficking and drug abuse in the United States have traditionally included measures designed to eliminate illicit drug supplies at their source. These "source country eradication" measures, primarily the manual elimination or uprooting of illicit drug crops and the use of herbicides to kill illicit plants, remain a central focus of this country's anti-drug efforts. The 1984 National Strategy for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking clearly states U.S. policy in this regard:
Fundamental to the overall supply reduction effort is eliminating illegal drugs as close to their source as possible. The major gains will be realized in the longer term reduction in the availability of illicit drugs.
Since 1978 the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics Matters (BINM) has had primary responsibility for overseeing and implementing foreign drug production control efforts. BINM provides bilateral assistance for crop control and interdiction programs in drug source countries in the form of equipment, training and technical advisory services. BINM's stated objective is:
to control production simultaneously in all key sectors of illicit drugs exported to the United States so that significant and lasting reductions in availability are achieved . . . . Preventing cultivation and destroying illicit narcotics at their source will prove to be the most effective means of reducing availability. . . . BINM's first priority is on crop control - government bans on cultivation production, enforced by manual or chemical crop eradication.
In a successful crop control system drugs would be stopped at their source, thereby alleviating the "chain reaction" associated with drug trafficking and drug abuse in this country. In fact, crop reduction efforts have at best enjoyed limited success. Despite the fact that nearly all drug producing and transit countries are signatories to a 1961 agreement that restricts production and distribution of certain drugs to only medical and scientific uses, drug production has escalated in most source countries in the past 20 years. Increased production has resulted in decreased prices and wider availability of most illicit drugs in the United States. Accordingly, domestic consumption of many drugs has increased.
The effectiveness of efforts to control illicit drug crops in source countries is inherently limited. First, many source country governments are not motivated to reduce crop production, either because the profits obtained from the illicit crops are essential to the economic and/or political stability of the country, or because they view drug consumption as an exclusively American problem. In addition, many drugs that are illegal in the United States are traditionally consumed in milder forms by source country natives and are viewed as necessities of life or an essential part of their culture.
Secondly, in many cases farmers do not have an easily available alternative crop. In any case, an illicit drug crop can provide a farmer with far more income than any legitimate crop and is therefore likely to be selected above any other crop for cultivation.
Third, the governments in many producing areas are weak and do not exert control over growers. The Thai and Burmese governments have long been fighting insurgent groups in the Northwest Frontier Provinces, where most of the Golden Triangle opium is grown. The Peruvian government has had little effective control in remote coca producing regions controlled by that country's Shining Path Guerrillas. Even where governments aggressively pursue crop eradication programs, difficulties are sometimes overwhelming.
Fourth, some major source countries are controlled by governments hostile to the United States, who while adopting policies to reduce domestic consumption, have no hesitation about importation of illicit drugs to the United States. Because many source country governments are politically and economically unstable, United States diplomatic relations with even nonhostile source country governments are often very complex.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the set of source countries is not fixed. When a crop is successfully reduced in one country, production begins or increases in another country. New producers constantly emerge. This shifting has been observed repeatedly throughout the history of source country control efforts, even where the United States has claimed major crop eradication successsses. This has been the most serious obstacle to total crop reduction efforts.
U.S. and Mexican efforts provide an example. The crop eradication program conducted in the mid-1970's in Mexico is often cited as a successful model. Through the program, the United States supplied equipment, herbicide and funds for the eradication of opium poppies, primarily in Northern Mexico. While Mexican heroin production declined after the program's implementation, heroin production in and export from the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent accelerated, and within five years, total heroin available in the United States reached levels equal to those attained before the Mexican eradication program. Mexican heroin production has increased every year since 1980, and in 1984 that country provided an estimated 21 percent of the total U.S. supply.
Despite the limitations of source country control programs, the efforts to reduce international illicit drug crops are essential to the overall U.S. drug strategy. Implemented selectively and judiciously, crop control programs could effectively reduce the availability of targeted illicit drugs in the United States, if only on a temporary basis. As viewed by the Select Committee on Narcotics,
Effective action in relatively few countries, against the production and trafficking of opium, heroin, coca, cocaine, marijuana and hashish would have a great impact on the drug abuse problem in the United States by dramatically curtailing supplies available to users and potential users . . .
The United States, through the Department of State, should focus crop control efforts in those countries where political and economic climates will make the success of crop eradication programs probable. Particular crop control opportunities could best be determined if the State Department established a cadre of professional drug officers. Currently, international drug programs are often managed by contract personnel or by Foreign Service Officers not especially interested in drug issues. Narcotics Assistance Unit positions within the Foreign Service often remain unfilled for long periods of time because Foreign Service Officers often view them as a detriment to their careers. The absence of a specialized drug group within the Foreign Service structure thus impacts negatively on the overall international drug effort. The Department of State should recognize Narcotics Assistance Unit positions as priority assignments, and integrate them into the career advancement structure.
BINM should also examine the possibility of introducing source country farmers to more imaginative and feasible alternatives to illicit drug cultivation. The available options are currently limited to cultivating licit replacement crops but could possibly include the mining of indigenous minerals and the introduction of light industry to a traditional growing region.
Finally, the importance of international crop controls in the context of the overall
drug reduction strategy should be reevaluated. The limitations inherent in these programs,
the majority of which are beyond the control of the United States, make them a less likely
success than other strategies discussed elsewhere in this report. In addition, the
problems associated with international controls, most notably the relentless shifting of
drug crop cultivations to non-targeted countries, underscores the ultimate importance of
reducing the demand for drugs in this country. History has shown that as long as consumer
demand for an illicit drug is strong, some country, somewhere, will become a source
Contents | Feedback | Search | DRCNet Home Page | Join DRCNet
DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | Government Publications | America's Habits