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DRUG INTERDICTION AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED TO THE NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
PLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the Committee at [http://www.house.gov/transportation]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the Committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
COAST GUARD AND MARITIME TRANSPORTATION
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TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 12, 1996
[JOINT HEARING WITH SENATE CAUCUS ON INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL]
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman
DON YOUNG, Alaska
WILLIAM F. CLINGER, Jr., Pennsylvania
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
SUSAN MOLINARI, New York
WILLIAM H. ZELIFF, Jr., New Hampshire
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
Y. TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
BILL BAKER, California
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
PETER I. BLUTE, Massachusetts
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER T. BACHUS, Alabama
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
ZACH WAMP, Tennessee
TOM LATHAM, Iowa
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
ANDREA SEASTRAND, California
RANDY TATE, Washington
SUE KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBILL MARTINI, New Jersey
DAN FRISA, New York
TODD TIAHRT, Kansas
RICHARD H. BAKER, Louisiana
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
PETE GEREN, Texas
GLENN POSHARD, Illinois
BUD CRAMER, Alabama
BARBARA-ROSE COLLINS, Michigan
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
BILL K. BREWSTER, Oklahoma
KAREN McCARTHY, Missouri
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina, Chairman
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
DON YOUNG, Alaska
SUSAN MOLINARI, New York
BILL BAKER, California
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
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JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control
CHARLES E. GRASSLEY, Iowa, Chairman
ALPHONSE M. D'AMATO, New York
FRANK H. MURKOWSKI, Alaska
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware, Co-Chairman
BOB GRAHAM, Florida
Bozin, Captain William G., Assistant Deputy Director, Office of Supply Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy
Ford, Jess T., Associate Director, International Relations and Trade, National Security and International Affairs Division, U.S. General Accounting Office
Gelbard, Ambassador Robert S., Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State
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Pierluisi, Pedro R., Attorney General, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Pothier, Harvey G., Director, Air Interdiction Division, Office of Invegtigations, U.S. Customs Service
Reuter, Dr. Peter, School of Public Affairs and Department of Criminology, University of Maryland, College Park
Saunders, Rear Admiral Norman T., Chief, Operations, U.S. Coast Guard
Sheridan, Brian E., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support, U.S. Department of Defense
Walters, John P., President, New Citizenship Project and Former Deputy Director for Supply Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy
Warren, Mary Lee, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Bozin, Captain William G
Ford, Jess T
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Gelbard, Ambassador Robert S
Pierluisi, Pedro R
Pothier, Harvey G
Reuter, Dr. Peter
Saunders, Rear Admiral Norman T
Sheridan, Brian E
Walters, John P
Warren, Mary Lee
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
Bozin, Captain William G., Assistant Deputy Director, Office of Supply Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy:
Chart, Cocaine Seizures versus Production
Responses to questions from Rep. Coble
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Chart, Cocaine Availability and Usage Rates: 19821996
Chart, Office of National Drug Control Policy FY 1997 National Drug Budget
Ford, Jess T., Associate Director, International Relations and Trade, National Security and International Affairs Division, U.S. General Accounting Office:
Responses to post hearing questions
Report, Drug Control: Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico, June 1996
Report, Drug Control: U.S. Interdiction Efforts in the Carribbean Decline, April 1996
Gelbard, Ambassador Robert S., Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of State, responses to post hearing questions
Pierluisi, Pedro R., Attorney General, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, responses to post hearing questions
Pothier, Harvey G., Director, Air Interdiction Division, Office of Invegtigations, U.S. Customs Service, responses to post hearing questions
Saunders, Rear Admiral Norman T., Chief, Operations, U.S. Coast Guard, responses to post hearing questions
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Sheridan, Brian E., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support, U.S. Department of Defense, responses to post hearing questions
Walters, John P., President, New Citizenship Project and Former Deputy Director for Supply Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy, responses to post hearing questions
Warren, Mary Lee, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice:
Responses to post hearing questions from Sen. Grassley, November 12, 1996
Responses to questions from Rep. Gilchrest, March 26, 1997
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
D'Amato, Sen. Alfonse M., statement
Constantine, Thomas A., Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, statement:
Responses to questions from Sen. Grassley, November 6, 1996
Responses to questions from Rep. Coble, November 7, 1996
DRUG INTERDICTION AND OTHER MATTERS RELATED TO THE NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCTHURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1996
U.S. House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
and the Senate Caucus On International Narcotics Control,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:07 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Howard Coble (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. COBLE. The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control will come to order.
We're meeting today to hear testimony on drug interdiction and other matters relating to the President's national drug control policy.
I want to initially welcome Senator Grassley, and I presume there will be other members of the Senate caucus at this hearing.
The Chair now recognizes the chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, Senator Grassley, for any opening statement he may have.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. GRASSLEY. Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for your leadership in this effort. The jurisdiction of your subcommittee, the important responsibilities you have, and taking time out for this very serious national problem we're dealing withI thank you very much.
Today's hearing is on our national strategy and our international efforts to deal with the problem of drug production, trafficking, and use, and this hearing comes at a disturbing time. Just this week the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse issued another report that confirms what we already know: that teenage drug abuse is on the rise, and I'm sorry to say dramatically so.
I understand that the national PRIDE survey due out later this month will bear witness to this same trend.
What is even more distressing about these numbers is that they come after years of decline; in other words, years of a succeeding war against drugs. Not only was teenage drug use declining, but teen attitudes about drug use were also turning increasingly against drugs right through 1992. This is no longer the case. More teens are now using more drugs and seeing use as less dangerous than just a few years ago.
All our major surveys confirm this shocking reality. The CASA study, however, is disturbing in yet another way. We know from surveys of attitudes of teenagers that they see fewer dangers in using drugs than their peers did just a few years ago. What the CASA study suggests, however, is that a significant percentage of the parents of these kids see drug use among their own kids as inevitable. These same parents do not want their kids to try or use drugs; they believe, however, that nothing can make a difference. They just want to throw their hands up.
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Since many of these parents are baby boomers who experimented with drugs, they are uncertain about what to do. They are uncertain how to talk to their children. It is unfortunate that they are getting little help from this Administration in learning any better.
Today's hearing is an excellent example of this. Although we have a fine list of knowledgeable witnesses from the Administration, the individuals here are not policy-makers. With the exception of Ambassador Gelbard and Mr. Constantine, all the present witnesses are stand-ins for the responsible policy-making officials.
This is a major joint hearing on our national strategy and international narcotics control policy. It comes at a time of major increases in domestic use. It comes after years of declining efforts in our international drug control efforts. I think that the American public deserves to hear from policy-makers for drug policy. After all, the Administration has repeatedly asserted that it takes the issue seriously and takes it seriously at the highest levels of Government. Unfortunately, these highest levels are not represented here today.
Although we gave the Administration ample notice of this hearing, the Administration's chief drug spokesman chose to give a speech on Asian organized crime in Hawaii. He also is speaking on marijuana initiatives in California. As important as those meetings are, we gave the Administration ample time to reschedule. The representation here today is disappointing, especially at this time.
I am of the opinion that we develop policies and strategies for a purpose. We intend these means to effect outcomes. We expect the programs that we develop, the priorities that we set, and the actions that we take to achieve some purpose.
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In the present case our national drug strategy is not just meant to be a funding device. It is not supposed to be a warehouse for housing various Government department pet projects. It's not meant to be a grab bag of disconnected activities. This is true for our international efforts. They are meant to be a part of a larger effort. They are not meant to be disconnected programs.
Further, when our policies and strategies are not achieving their stated purpose, then we need to ask some tough questions about what is going on.
What do we find, however, when we look at this Nation's drug war today? I submit that what we find is very far from what we intend. I submit that the main objective of our policies and strategies is to protect our young people from the harm that drugs dothe harm to them directly from use and the harm that results from drug-related violence.
At one time we were making progress in this area; today, unfortunately, by every reporting system we have, the signs are clear: our efforts are not working.
In the last several years, after decades of decline, teenage drug abuse is on the rise. As chart one over here indicates, past-month use among teenagers has risen more than 50 percent over 1992 levels; past-month use of marijuana among kids age 12 to 17 is now almost at the 1986 rate, as chart two will illustrate here in just a minute.
I invite everyone to look at the trend shown here and to tell me that we're doing okay in the war on drugs.
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In the meantime, as chart three shows, emergency room admissions are going up, and I might add recent arrest data show a similar trend in increases of drug use among youthful arrestees.
At the same time, funding for international and interdiction programs have been declining. DOD funding for interdiction has declined almost 50 percent. From a peak in 1992 of 854 million, it has gone down to 432 million.
Now, I know that some of the witnesses speaking for the Administration today will say that it's all Congress' fault. That, however, is unfair to the truth, and a moment's glance at the record will show otherwise.
The President's current request for DOD funding before Congress today, for example, is 50 percent below the 1992 number. Similarly, the Coast Guard budget requests for the last several years have consistently spent 40 to 50 percent less on drug interdiction than in 1992. This is despite the fact that overall spending has increased, so less money has meant less effort.
Now, these lower numbers requested for drugs are not accidental. The Administration's stated policy was to cut funding for these programs. The purpose was to shift effort away from interdiction. The former drug czar is on record to this point. This change was called a controlled shift. The idea, according to the Administration, was to do more in source countries and to do more on treatment.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAs a former drug czar noted, however, there was no control shift, and treatment has done nothing to stop teenage drug use.
Instead, we saw declining efforts in both the transit zone and source countries. As chart four here illustrates, the results were a decline in seizures. This decline in U.S. effort was echoed internationally.
Chart five now will show international efforts to seize cocaine also fell as U.S. emphasis shifted. In the meantime, as the State Department's ''International Narcotics Control Strategy Report'' notes, international drug cultivation increased in virtually every major drug-producing country in the world over the last 3 years.
In addition, methamphetamine production and smuggling through Mexico has increased sharply. This new drug is now causing serious problems in the Southwest and the Midwest.
So, as our international and interdiction efforts decreased, international drug production increased. Smuggling has increased. Trafficker bank accounts have gotten fatter. And more kids are using drugs and seeing fewer dangers in doing so.
Now, I'm sure that we will hear today that these declines in international efforts were because Congress did not give the Administration the money. Well, let me make sure that we know what we're talking about. It was a Democrat-controlled Congress under a Democratic President that slashed our international drug programs. But, to be fair to my Democratic colleagues, the Administration simply did not support its own budget on the Hill. Congress, Democrat or Republican, does not simply rubber stamp Presidential requests; yet, when administrations fight for what they want and what matters to them, they usually do quite well.
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When a Republican President was prepared to fight for his international budget, we saw increases. This was in a Democratic-controlled Congress. It was a hard fight, but the President was willing to make it.
Absent this effort, administration budgets suffer. That is what we have seen with the international drug budget. This is true even though overall spending on drugs has increased.
Last fiscal year Senator Coverdell and I helped to increase spending for international programs. This year again we fought to get the full funding for international budgets. The Administration did little to help. The bill passed, however, despite this. It passed despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Democrats voted against the President's own request.
As some of my Democratic colleagues have noted, the Administration simply took a leave of absence on the drug issue. From the beginning, the President distanced himself from the issue. The drug issue was demoted as a priority. Our international programs reflected this downgrading and, in context, the whole drug issue took a back seat.
Now, with this background it is little wonder, then, why we have seen teenage drug use on the rise. Is it a surprise that kids see fewer dangers in using drugs? Is it a surprise that many parents are ready to run up a white flag?
If our strategies are meant to make a difference, then where are we today?
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I submit that our recent efforts have been a failure. Even General McCaffrey, who could not come here today, allowed this to be the case last week, yet the present strategy offers little new. Indeed, it has no substantive performance standards with which to measure success. It has no goals that we can hold it to. This is despite legislation that mandates such goals.
It is a well-intentioned effort, but, in fact, it is thin, and this is not acceptable. We can't stand the status quo on this drug effort.
So I hope that we would hear more today from the Administration about its efforts, how it's going to change this present environment. I hope we hear more about what is going to be done to reverse, then, our present dismal performance.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Senator Grassley.
You touched just about every base. I'll give a brief opening statement.
Last month the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse confirmed what many of us have declared for years; that is, we're not doing the right things to reduce the number of drug users in America.
The 1995 national survey, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, found that since 1992 more Americans are using drugs for the first time, starting at younger ages.
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The President's response to this finding, in my opinion, has been disappointing. The President engaged the White House political machine in a public relations campaign to deny responsibility for the problem.
I want to make it plain that I am not an election year recruit to the war on drugs. In fact, my opening statement today pretty well tracks what I said a little over a year ago at a public hearing. I have consistently criticized the President's decision to abandon a balanced approach between drug interdiction, prevention, and drug treatment. Instead, the President has favored a strategy that emphasizes treatment of hard-core drug addicts.
I've emphasized that I'm not opposed to drug treatment. I have said that previously. I reiterate it today. But I am opposed to the President's decision to reduce drug interdiction and to leave our country's borders more vulnerable to drug smugglers.
My colleagues and I, who sat on the former Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, on the Judiciary Committee, and on this committee have sent the unequivocal message to the President that his national drug control strategy is fatally flawed.
The President argues that the Congress has failed to fund his drug budget at the levels he requested, but the fact is, the House passed 1997 appropriations bills provide an increase of over 8 percent over fiscal year 1996 levels. Overall spending on drug control has risen, on average, between 4 and 5 percent annually since the Bush Administration. But funding for source country programs and interdiction have been cut drastically.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCIt is obvious to me that the President's drug control spending priorities have not been effective in stopping drug use.
Five major administration-sponsored surveys have confirmed that we simply are not on the right track.
As we have said many times over the past several years, the President's strategy and overall message are not adequate to combat this critical problem facing our Nation.
We are desperately in need of a strategy that will attack drug smugglers before their deadly cargoes reach our borders, and, just as important, we must have leadership from the White House.
Pardon me for borrowing this phrase, but we need to send the unambiguous message to our children to just say no to drugs.
I don't know how significant that is, but it can't hurt. I think a casual approach to drugs from the top has to send a message that is not the proper one.
I am now pleased to recognize the ranking member of the committee, the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Clement.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Chairman Coble.
Senator Grassley, it's a great honor to have you over here on the House side with us today. I've sure kept up with your record over the years and I know your concern about fighting drugs and stopping drugs and saving our youth in this country.
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Drugs and their impact on our communities are clearly one of the most complex problems facing the United States. My constituents rate reducing crime and drugs as one of our top priorities because it truly is destroying America. People that use controlled substances commit these heinous crimes, and many of them would never, never have committed those terrible crimes if they hadn't been on a controlled substance.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to see our front-line command centers in this effort in Key West, Panama, and Puerto Rico. We received many briefings that indicated that our source country interdiction efforts were forcing bales of coca leaves to be stranded and unable to get to the processing laboratories; that the cost of hiring a pilot to transport drugs has skyrocketed. We learned that more resources need to be allocated to west coast interdiction efforts, and we learned that Puerto Rico has become the focal point for smuggling drugs through the Caribbean to the continental United States.
The interdiction strategy is like a constantly-changing chess match, with both sides trying to react to and anticipate the other's moves. Only this isn't a game. At stake is the future of our children and our communities.
I do not believe that this is a partisan issue, either. Everyone, democrats and republicans, alike, wants to eliminate this threat. The only question is: what is the best way to reduce both the demand and supply of drugs?
The enemy is smart and has millions of dollars in resources to find weaknesses in our effort to secure our borders, and we have tightened our adjacent maritime and air borders. They have moved south.
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As interdiction in Mexico has increased, they have moved to Puerto Rico and eastern, the Caribbean. Police chiefs have said that mandatory sentencing has resulted in adult drug sellers using children to peddle their illegal merchandise.
We must be prepared to fight these smugglers for years to come.
I believe that, with the effort and support of our allies in Central and South America and the allocation of sufficient resources here in the United States, we can succeed. I honestly believe that is what our constituents want.
I look forward to hearing from today's witnesses on their views on our national drug control policy and what we in Congress can do better to support these efforts.
I also know that General McCaffrey, who I had opportunity to meet with for approximately two hours recently, is really on the front lines and really trying to make a difference and I know he wanted to be here, and I know he offered a number of other dates such as September the 13th and 16th and 18th where he could have testified before this hearing.
As a lot of you know, he's out on the west coast. He spoke yesterday in Hawaii. Today he will stop in California to report on the heroin threat and to speak out, as he did earlier this week in Arizona, against a domestic threata State referendum to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
But through it alland the amount and the demand of illegal drugs in the United States, if I had to bring it back to any particular area, I'd have to say the destruction of the family has had a lot to do with the number of people that are taking illegal drugs todaythe breakdown, the destruction of the family.
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I hope, knowing that this is a very complex issue and we've got to fight it on a lot of different fronts, but let us put it in its proper perspective and let us fight not only the demand for drugs but also the flow of drugs into the United States.
I don't know of a country on the face of the earth that is facing such a dilemma as we are today and thinking about a country as prosperous as the United States, the most prosperous country on the face of the earth, and yet we have our people destroying themselves, but not only destroying themselves, but destroying others.
I'm committed to the proposition in the 104th Congress and to the next Congress to doing everything I can to try to make a difference.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Clement.
We have been joined by the gentleman from Delaware. Senator Biden, good to have you with us.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
I'll be brief. I should start off by pointing out, when I ever attend a joint hearing over here I always feel much more important. You are so much higher. I mean, it's ayou sit up here and you feel like you really have some power.
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Mr. BIDEN. Over in the Senate side we
Mr. COBLE. Senator, that may be deceptive.
Mr. BIDEN. I know in the Senate side we don't have much.
Mr. Chairman, you and Mr. Clement and others and Senator Grassley and I have been working on this drug issue for a long time, and there is a debateand I'm glad there is a debate nowonce again. For a while the debate sort of slid off the front pages of the papers in America and it, quite frankly, slid out of the political context of what was going on in the House and the Senate, basically for the past 3 1/2 years.
There is some old stuff, the good news and the bad news. I see John Walterswe've worked together on this issue since the first drug czarand others we're going to hear from today who know this. This is preaching to the choir.
The good news is that violent crime is down. Even youth crime has begun to fall. Overall drug use is level. But, despite all that positive news, drug abuse among children has risen, and it's alarming concern.
We base that on surveys, primarily, but roughly it's gone from 5.5 percent of the children or a little over 5 percent of the children in that cadre of children that we consider to be teenagers and youth trying drugs to some over 11 percent.
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A lot of people say, ''Well, you still have 89 percent of the kids who don't try, don't use.'' Well, I want to tell you, even if we kept at a constant level the percentage of children who tried for the first time and used marijuana or any other drug, we've got a real problem on the horizon. We've got 39 million kids under the age of 10 in the United States of America, and if everything stays constant, not one single percentage increase in use among young people in America, the problem goes up exponentially.
We're going to produce more hard-core users at the end of that tube. We're going to produce more violent crime. We're going to produce more problems. We're going to produce more deaths. We're going to produce more requirement for more police, for more treatment.
And so I think for us to finally begin to focus on this is importantvery, very important.
And I know there is criticism on both sides that this is a political year, a political issue. But I know the men and women up here are not going to let this die, assumingnow I know all of you are going to be around next year. I may not be around next year. I'm up for election. But, assuming I'm around, I'm not going to let it die, either. And so maybe we can regenerate some positive interest and focus on this.
There's something we can do in the meantime. Let me add one thing, and I will finish with this, Mr. Chairman.
I'm not sure the blame game is of any real consequence other than to get this back on top. As John and others and my colleague in the Senate know, I wrote a report. Before, back in the good old days, Mr. Chairman, when you all had a republican President, I used to write an alternative drug strategy. I got in the habit of, every year, writing a report on drug strategy. And so last year, in 1995, I wrote a report, and this is not particularly clairvoyant. It seemed awfully obvious.
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It started off on the first page saying, ''The Nation has already seen its first signs of a trend that chills every parent: a rise in drug use among children. This is the proper focus of our national drug and crime debate in the months ahead. We should get about the business of'' so on.
And so all of a sudden we all went out there and discovered this issue. You know, a year later it got discovered, like, ''What in the heck happened? Man, this all happened overnight.''
Well, it was happening, and we let our guard down. We let our guard down in the first 2 years of this Administration. They didn't do the job, in my opinion, in terms of focusing on this issue.
With all due respect, the Congress, democrat and republican, alike, the last 4 years, up until the last 4 months, hasn't focused on this. We got preoccupied with budget deficits, which is necessarily a thing to be preoccupied with. We got preoccupied with how we were going to stop spending. It was literally off the scope, off the radar screen.
So, in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I think the question for us is: there are four or five things that will not change the landscape fundamentally but will change our approach and our attitudes to allow us to really have a springboard in the next Congress to deal with this focused problem of drug use among youth in America.
There are five things I will not bore you with now, Mr. Chairman, that I have proposed. I take no pride of authorship in them. It's not like they're my original ideas. A couple are, but most are common-sense notions we all agree on that we could do now, democrats and republicans joining together right now and get them done before we leave and the President will sign them.
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One is we've got a real problem, a thing called ''club drugs.'' You all have been speaking about them. We've been reading about them: Special K, RopynolSpecial K is an animal tranquilizer, Ropynol is a drug produced in other countries and is illegal here, but it literally induces amnesia. Unscrupulous men drop them in women's drinks, induce amnesia, increases rape, increases molestationno ability to testify afterwards.
This is the kind of thing that's on the horizon, a little like Pat Moynihan telling us in the 1980s that, ''Hey, there's a thing called 'crack.' It's in the Bahamas. We'd better get ready for it.'' We all kind of went, ''Blah-blah, yeah,'' and bang, but because of the leadership of Bill Bennett and others, when steroids started to blow up, when quaaludes started to come back we focused on them. We made them schedule one drugs and we stopped an epidemic.
We can stop this beginning of a thing that's not an epidemic yet if we act now and make it a schedule one drug.
Number two, I think Senator Hatch and I and many of you over here have been working on methamphetamine. As that old saying goes, ''You think crack's bad, wait until meth reaches the same proportions. You ain't seen nothing yet.''
Literally you can predict it. Three years ago, I wrote a report because some of the experts down there came to me and told me about it saying, ''Hey, in Hawaii there is a thing called 'ice.' It's heading east.''
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLiterally you can trace its progression.
Chuck Grassley and I tried to get more DEA agents, and we didif you remember, Chuckinto the upper midwest because they were moving out of California and moving up into Idaho and Montana in the production of this. Now Idaho is a major producer State of methamphetamines. It's moving east. We could deal with it nownowif we're willing.
Thirdly, by dealing with precursor chemicalsthe third thing is, we should write the check, folks. There is money in the crime trust fund now to release for programs related to youth and drug abuse. Let's just write the check before we leave. Let them get about the business of starting to spend it.
The fourth thing is pharmacotherapy. I realize this isI'm kind of a lone voice here, but I'll make you a bet you all come around on this one. There are potential medical helps for addiction and prevention that are sitting on the shelf that the chemical companies cannot spend the hundred million dollars it takes to produce because the return on their investment is not likely to be of value to them. They are not going to do it. We should be dealing with it, and I propose some alternatives I think everyone would agree with.
The last thing is, we want to get tough. There is something we should get tough on right now, not fool aroundliberals, conservatives, moderates have no disagreement on it that I'm aware of, and it will not change, will not end the problem, but there is an increasingin this competitive market among the peddlers they are now literally targeting recovering addicts. They are going to the drug equivalent of the AA meetings and standing outside and they are targeting recovering addicts.
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As we all know, the addicted population consumes about 60 percent of all the drugs out there. We should nail those SOBs. We should increase the penalties. We should send a message.
It will not end the problem, but I think there are several things we can do, and the most important thing to do in any and all of these things would do beyond the substance of them, Mr. Chairman, in my view, is it will say, ''Hey, we're back in the game. We are back in the game. We understand the problem. We're taking concrete action to do something about it.''
I thank you for your time and I yield the floor.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Senator.
It is good to have the gentlemen from California and Michigan with us, as well.
I thank the first panel. Gentlemen, best laid plans of mice and men go awry, as you all know, particularly in the waning days of the Congress, and today is no exception.
At 12 today the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will meet in this room for about an hour for a markup, so we will recess at 12 and hopefully resume on or about 1, and I regret this has occurred, but that is the schedule in these late days.
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At the outset, gentlemen, as you may remember, this is our rule last time. I would appreciative if you all could tailor your remarks to around 5 minutes. Now, no one will be keel-hauled and jailed if you violate that, but because of the time constraint, if you could stay in the neighborhood of 5 minutes, that will be appreciated.
The red illuminating light will be your warning that the 5-minute time has come.
The first panel I am pleased to introduce to you all consists of: John Walters, former deputy director for Supply Reduction of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Jess Ford, associate director, International Relations and Trade, National Security and International Affairs Division of the General Accounting Office; Pedro R. Pierluisi, the attorney general, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. We weren't sure, sir, because of the storm, that you would be able to join us, but it's good to have you. And, finally, Dr. Peter Reuter, who is with the School of Public Affairs and the Department of Criminology at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Gentlemen, thank you all for being with us. Mr. Walters, I will recognize you initially.
TESTIMONY OF JOHN P. WALTERS, PRESIDENT, NEW CITIZENSHIP PROJECT AND FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR SUPPLY REDUCTION OF THE OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY; JESS T. FORD, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND TRADE, NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE; PEDRO R. PIERLUISI, ATTORNEY GENERAL, COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO; AND DR. PETER REUTER, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK
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Mr. WALTERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'm pleased to be here. I appreciate the opportunity to testify. I'd like to ask that my prepared testimony be placed in the record, if that's acceptable.
Mr. COBLE. Without objection.
Mr. WALTERS. And I'll offer just a couple of summary points that may be pertinent to the discussion that has been conducted so far.
When I served in the Administration in the Drug Policy Office, I thought that it wasn't a matter of the blame game as much as it was accountability, and that not only the American people but the Congress and others had a right to expect us to carry out the intent of the law, which was to create a strategy and help the President provide leadership to reduce the drug problem. We weren't the be all and end all, but we were responsible for the Federal responsibility of both leadership, programs, and policy.
In that capacityand it was a different timeif we had come before Congress with this kind of thing happening that you saw in these charts here with use, supply, and policy and programs producing the results or lack of results you see here, I would have fully expected that Senator Biden and his other colleagues in both the House and the Senate would have asked us to leave. The results are ridiculous. And, worse than that, the policy, or the alleged policy and programs contained in these documents offer no hope of turning it around.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCThere are no goals, as Senator Grassley mentioned in his opening statement. The programs offerI defy any of the subsequent people to testify here or any of my colleagues to explain how this collection of policies and programs offers any hope of turning those numbers around. I'll talk a little bit in my 5 minutes about those specifics.
I've worked with most of the people serving in Government now that will testify before you subsequently. Those I haven't worked with I know, for the most part, and they are fine people. They have not gotten the support.
Last week Senator Biden dared me to blame the Congress as much as he's blamed the Executive Branch, and I'll mention some things that I think Congress should do before it goes home.
First of all, the strategy is divided into roughly five parts: international, interdiction, law enforcement, treatment, and prevention. I want to briefly mention each one of those in my remaining time.
Keep in mind, 72 million people, according to the latest survey, have used illegal drugs in their lifetime, and if you think that's a bunch of kids experimenting who later go on and don't try, over 22.6 million used them last year of that 72 million, almost 30 percent. And 7 million, according to the drug officeover seven million, according to their last estimates of 1994, are drug addicts. That has probably gone up.
It's not something you turn around easily and it's not something that's a fleeting thing in youth that never continues.
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In the international realm, what you have today I think is increasingly unlimited access to produce and transit drugs to the United States without any serious risk of harm. Our foreign policy I believe has not had a priority in this area. The visibility of the President, Secretary of State, the priority in meetings and othersand I believe there are hard-working people in the State Department, some of whom will testify before you, who have been working hard against the tide. But the fact of the matter is: other nations and this country knowsI think the citizens of this country knowthis has not been a foreign policy priority.
If you do not make it a foreign policy priority, none of the major supplier countries will make the effort to stop the supply. And it's not a matter of how much money we give them; it's not a matter of how much we cooperate with them; it's not a matter of show arrest or show raids; it's a matter of telling them, ''Look. This is a poison. It's a threat to American citizens. We will not continue business as usual if you don't reduce the flow.''
Secondly, we have not used the sanctions available. Colombia, which has widely been shown to have its own president corrupted by drugs, depends on certain trade preferences conditioned on cooperation in drugs. The President has failed to provide the necessary trigger that Colombia is not cooperating, despite the fact that he decertified them for the purposes of the State Department.
Congress should pass a resolution triggering those cut-offs of trade preferences.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCIn interdictionand I'll just take 2 more minuteswe have cut, as those charts previously showed, the capacity of the U.S. forces to reduce the supply of drugs between South America and the United States. That has helped to contribute to the lowest prices and highest purities recorded in recent years. That fuels use. Discount prices, high potency fuel use and addiction. They're not the sole factor here, but they are a crucial factor, and we ought to learn by that experience and stop the stupid argument about whether or not you focus on supply or demand. You have to focus on both.
We spent more money on Department of Education prevention spending than we spent on the Defense Department providing resources to interdict drugs. I ask you to ask the Defense Department representatives that will follow: what is the comparative amount we spent on bringing democracy to Haiti over the last several years in regard to and in comparison to what we spent on protecting Americans from drugs?
I'm not against bringing democracy to Haiti. I'm not against AWACS time in Iraq or Bosnia. But compare the amount of AWACS time devoted to those missions and the amount of time devoted to protecting this country from drugs.
It's not a matter of more spending; it's a matter of what are your priorities. And maybe we can't do everything, but my argument is: the American people have a right to expect and they do expect that we will protect our children and our streets.
Since I've already gone over, let me just summarize on the demand side, and I'll be happy to take questions on law enforcement and treatment.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCThe key to making these programs work and the reason why this strategy doesn't do it is it doesn't come to grips with the realities. HHS has produced data showing that we have a 75 percent capacity utilization in treatment centers. We are cycling people through outpatient treatment that are hard-core addicts that need residential treatment.
The current delivery system for these programs does not deliver the money to where the addicts are, it does not deliver quality treatment, and it does not deliver the kind of treatment that everybody that works in this field says they need. There is no serious effort in this strategy. In fact, in the beginning of the Clinton Administration they dismantled the one program, the capacity expansion program that was designed to deal with it.
It's not the be all and end all, but before you dump more money in this system you'd better make sure someone's got a policy and program that's going to produce something.
The same thing with drug-free schools. We have spent over $2 billion in the last several years on the drug-free schools program that has been a giant source of debate. The current Administration requestthe request is $86 million below the 1992 level in the last year of the Bush Administration.
The problem is not spending on the drug-free schools program. The report released earlier this year said kids say there is too much drugs in their school. They want the drugs out.
You passed a law in the late 1980s saying, as a condition of receiving Federal assistance, every school district, including colleges and universities, had to have a drug policy and had to enforce it.
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To the best of my knowledge, there has never been an IG compliance investigation anywhere in this country, although youthful drug use is going up and you get continued reports that drugs are in schools.
I'm not against providing money. I don't think that's the key. But you'd better use a stick as well as a carrot and start and order the Education Department to conduct compliance reviews with the policies and actions of school districts around the country, beginning with the biggest ones. That's the stick here, and $86 or $26 or $36 million in this program in a block grant to schools that comes down to $2 per student is a ludicrous way of dealing with the problem that you have now.
Finally, I think that the problem has to have serious leadership, and the statements of the President have been reprehensible in the early part of the Administration. They undermined hours and hours of Partnership for Drug-Free America ads when the President jokes about and leaves the lasting impression that his most important statement on drugs is, ''I didn't inhale,'' when he goes on youthful television and says, ''If I had it to do over again, I would inhale.'' What is that message? What was he trying to teach our young people?
I believe in responsibility. You want to have them take responsibility? He ought to step up and take responsibility and say, ''That was wrong. I am a morally serious person on this subject. It was a mistake. It's not my message,'' and explain why, as the example or parent of the baby boomer generation that experimented with drugs, why our kids today should not make the mistake his generation made.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHe is the moral leader in that regard, and when he acts to undermine the status of parents and other institutions, it has a profound effect. He's not the only one responsible, but that responsibility, that moral leadership, as you saw with Mrs. Reagan and President Reagan and President Bush, has important catalyzing effects that can't be measured.
I know a lot of social scientists don't like the moral argument. They want to talk about treatment and they want to talk about all of the other programmatic solutions. But the meaning and the intention and the guidance of people is based on their sense of right and wrong, and you need to empower the sense of right and wrong that using drugs is wrong and standing against them is right and expect that from your leaders and expect that from your citizens.
I'm sorry for going over, but thank you.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Walters, you recall in my opening statement I indicated that a casual response does not get it done, and you pretty well have emphasized that. Thank you, Mr. Walters.
Gentlemen, I'm going to be more lenient. I'm going tolet's say near 10 minutesMr. Walters used about 10because this is an important subject matter and I realize 5 minutes is a pretty narrow window.
And don't worry about your doing it, Mr. Walters, because you gave good information, good evidence.
And so you all keep in mind, let's all try to maybe stay in the area of 8 to 10 minutes, and I think that will give you a little more flexibility.
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I'm pleased to recognize the attorney general from Puerto Rico.
Mr. PIERLUISI. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the subcommittee, as well as the caucus.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity of presenting the government of Puerto Rico's perspective on drug control policy.
As I will testify today, the government of Puerto Rico is not only fighting crime within its boundaries, but it has also joined forces with the Federal Government to curtail the effects that drug trafficking is having on the island, as well as the rest of the Nation.
Shortly after taking office, Governor Rossello realized that Federal and State efforts needed to be united in order to eliminate crime and drug trafficking. One of Governor Rossello's first official acts was to visit the Puerto Rico headquarters of every Federal law enforcement agency operating in the island. His itinerary extended from the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the DEA to the Coast Guard and the Postal Inspection Service, as well as several other Federal agencies.
Since then, Federal and local agencies have joined their efforts, forming several task forces. The United Forces for Rapid Action, known in Puerto Rico as FURA for its Spanish acronym, is one of them. FURA is the largest working group dedicated to the investigation, detection, and seizure of drugs along the coastline of Puerto Rico. It is integrated by the Puerto Rico Police Department, the Puerto Rico Special Investigations Bureau, the National Guard, the U.S. Customs Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard.
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Also, in a coordinated campaign that commenced on June 4, 1993, we have mobilized the National Guard of Puerto Rico units to support the state police in the rescuing of 77 communities where drug dealers had virtually taken control. After these initial operations, we supported and continue to support the rescued communities by rehabilitating and re-empowering them through a coalition of 18 social service agencies that comprise what we call ''The Quality of Life Congress.''
Some of the major accomplishments of this thorough campaign directed at improving the living conditions of the residents of Puerto Rico include: seizures of 35,000 unregistered firearms; more than 12 tons of cocaine confiscated; recovery of more than $16 million in cash that had been in the possession of drug traffickers; shutting down of 250 ''retail outlets'' to which motorists could drive right up to and purchase illegal drugswe call them actually ''drug points,'' and it's basically like a delivery service, and we eliminated 250 of them; 1,400 suspects taken into custody. Those are some of the statistics.
Over 23,000 families in these 77 neighborhoods have, to date, been rescued. I should emphasize again ''rescued.'' We are basically restoring quality of life for these people. Past 5:00 in the afternoons, they could not go outside. Their kids could not play outside. Basically the drug lords were in control. In each of these 77 neighborhoods, as a result of this unprecedented initiative, we now can attest to a good and decent quality of life. That is what the fight against drugs is all about.
Congressman Bill McCollum, chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as Congressman Schumer, ranking minority member and former chairman of the same subcommittee, have described the program as a model that should be emulated in housing projects all across America.
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I should say that Administrator Tom Constantine, who is present at this hearing, can also attest to the effectiveness of this program.
It is evident that the growth of criminal incidents is directly linked to the proliferation of drugs in Puerto Rico. Our island has become a major point of entry for drugs originating in South America and destined to the United States mainland for various reasons. Following are some of the major ones.
In the 1980s Florida was a drug smuggler's haven until the Federal Government invested heavily in manpower and high-technology surveillance. Fairly quickly the drug smugglers were captured or scared away from their Floridian paradise. The lure of money brought them to other pastures, and they began introducing their deadly profitable cargoes into the United States' market through a new trans-shipment area: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Puerto Rico is located 350 miles from South America and approximately 800 miles from Florida. The island's 300-mile coastline provides an ideal scenario for sea, land, and air smuggling of illegal contraband, such as drugs, weapons, and currency.
There are more than 100 trafficking organizations currently operating in the eastern Caribbean, as reported by the DEA.
Puerto Rico is a part of this great Nation, and once the drugs have entered the area, there are no more borders to cross. In other words, if they get past us, then they will show up on the streets of Miami, New York, or ''Small-Town USA.''
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We estimate that over 7 tons of cocaine arrive in Puerto Rico on a monthly basis. At least 85 to 90 percent of these drugs are later transported into the United States mainland and destined primarily to the eastern seaboard cities of New York, Boston, Newark, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Miami. The remaining 10 to 15 percent stays in Puerto Rico.
By the way, that's what fuels the high crime situation in our island, because that 10 to 15 percent that stays in Puerto Rico is sold at these drug points that I mentioned to you and that we have been basically eliminating.
The vast availability of cocaine in Puerto Rico is reflected in its relatively low cost and high purity, comparable only to those found in New York and other major eastern seaboard cities.
Most of the violent deaths occurring in Puerto Rico are directly related to the upsurge in the smuggling of controlled substances and in the incidence of addition to such substances.
In 1992, only 24 percent of the murders taking place in our island were directly related to drugs. By 1995 there has been a dramatic change. Now 63 percent of the murders are related to drugs.
Based on these, as well as other well-documented facts, Governor Rossello sought the designation of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as the seventh HIDTA of the Nation, and on November 2, 1994, we were designated as such.
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Today we reaffirm our commitment to improve the lives of the residents of Puerto Rico and the rest of the Nation by presenting a united front against this drug epidemic. Our goal is to reduce the availability of drugs in the area and in the continental United States. Our collective efforts against drugs are making a difference.
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin, stated before this committee, ''Because drug traffickers are shifting from the southwest to the Caribbean, Customs has put in place Operation Gateway in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Cocaine seizures in Puerto Rico, in the first half of the fiscal year 1996, were up 46 percent from the previous year, and seizures of heroin were also up substantially.''
Yes, we are achieving significant results, but we still have far to go. Our borders are vulnerable, and although I have spoken mostly on our supply side strategy, we cannot forget the demand aspect of this problem. We have to question where did we go wrong socially and what can we do to turn the demand tide around?
I'd like to conclude my testimony by quoting Governor Rossello on the conference entitled, ''Meeting the National Threat of Drug Abuse and Crime'' which was held in San Juan earlier this year. Then he stated, ''For the sake of an entire generation of young people, and for the sake of generations to come in the new millennium, may God be with us all as we strive to meet and to defeat the national threat of drug abuse and crime.''
This concludes my formal remarks, but I'd like toI'd be happy to answer any questions you may have, particularly on our interdiction efforts and the Coast Guard assets and effectiveness in our region.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, sir.
Let me say, if there are members of the third panel in the audience, if you have other things to do, you may leave, because, as I say, we're going to have a recess at 12:00 and then we will reconvene on or about 1:00, so if there are members of the third panel who need to do other things, there is no way we can get to you before 1:00that's the third panel.
Mr. FORD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
If it would please the chairman, I'd like to have my full statement submitted for the record and I'll try to summarize briefly.
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I'm pleased to be here today to talk about a recent review we did on narcotics efforts in Mexico. We initiated the work at the request of Senator Grassley and the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control and another House subcommittee.
Our review focused on four major areas: first, a discussion of the nature of the drug trafficking threat from Mexico; second, Mexican efforts to counter drug trafficking activities; third, U.S. strategy and programs intended to stem the flow of illegal drugs through Mexico; and, lastly, we discussed recent initiatives by the United States and Mexico to increase counter-narcotics activities.
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Our report was issued in June of this year, and I believe it has been made available to the committee.
The report builds on prior GAO reports and testimonies on U.S. and Mexican efforts to control drug activities, and many of the things that I'm going to talk about we found on our previous efforts.
Mr. Chairman, let me paint a picture for you on the nature and magnitude of the problems we face from Mexico.
Mexico is the primary transit country for cocaine entering the United States from South America. It is also the major sourcea major source country for heroin, marijuana, and, most recently, methamphetamines. U.S. Government estimates indicate that up to 70 percent of the cocaine enters the United States through Mexico.
In addition, Mexico supplies up to 80 percent of foreign-grown marijuana consumed in the United States, and from 20 to 30 percent of the heroin.
Two-thirds of the cocaine entering Mexico arrives via maritime vessels, making detection and apprehension a very difficult process.
During the past 3 years, Mexican trafficking organizations operating on both sides of the border have replaced U.S.-based outlaw motorcycle gangs as the predominant manufacturer and trafficker of methamphetamines, primarily in the western part of the United States.
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The DEA estimates that up to 80 percent of the methamphetamine available in the United States is either produced in Mexico and transported to the United States or manufactured in the United States by Mexican traffickers.
Moreover, its proximity to the United States, endemic corruption, and little or no financial regulation have combined to make Mexico a major money laundering center, a haven for the initial placement of drug profits into the world's financial system.
Given this picture, it's not surprising that the State Department has declared no country in the world possesses a more-immediate narcotics threat to the United States than Mexico.
Now let me briefly talk about what happened since the Mexican government assumed responsibility for the drug control efforts in late 1992.
On the positive side, Mexico has eradicated substantial acres of marijuana and opium poppy; however, the number of drug-related arrests in Mexico has declined by two-thirds since 1992 from approximately 28,000 in 1992 to 10,000 in 1995.
On average, 45 tons of cocaine was seized annually in Mexico between 1990 and 1992, but during the 1993 and 1995 period that dropped down to only 30 tons.
According to U.S. officials, Mexican counter-narcotics efforts are hampered by pervasive corruption in key institutions, economic and political problems, and limited counter-narcotics and law enforcement tools and capabilities.
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Now let me move to the resource issue.
In late 1993, United States revised its international cocaine strategy from one that focused on intercepting drugs as they move through the so-called ''transit area,'' including Mexico, to stopping cocaine at its source. U.S. funding for counter-narcotics efforts in the transit zone declined from about $1 billion in fiscal year 1992 to approximately $570 million in 1995.
Moreover, since 1992 direct U.S. counter-narcotics assistance to Mexico has been negligible because of Mexico's 1993 policy of not accepting most U.S. counter-narcotics assistance.
Our ability to monitor previously-provided U.S. assistanceprimarily helicoptershas been hampered by these reductions.
Since our August, 1995, testimony before this subcommittee, there have been some positive signs. The U.S. Embassy now has elevated drug control importance in its overall country plan. It has also developed a drug control operating plan and has developed measurable objectives so that you can assess whether or not the program is effective.
The Mexican government has recently signaled a willingness to develop a mutual counter-narcotics assistance program and has taken some important law enforcement, and money laundering legislation is now working through their system.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWe believe these actions are positive signs.
The U.S. and Mexico have created a framework for increased cooperation and are expected to develop a joint counter-narcotics later this year.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude with this one thought: Mexico is critical to the success of any U.S. strategy; thus, U.S. and Mexican officials must follow through on these new initiatives that I have just talked about if we are expected to try to deter any illegal drugs entering the United States.
I'd be prepared to answer any questions you might have at this time.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Ford.
Dr. REUTER. Thank you very much.
I ask that my written testimony be submitted for the record. I'll summarize it here.
I appreciate the opportunity to testify here.
I was, before obtaining a position at the University of Maryland, at the Rand Corporation, where I directed a study on the effectiveness of drug interdiction, and particularly of military involvement in drug interdiction, in 1988. In my testimony I will stick strictly to issues related to drug interdiction.
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In particular, what I would like to talk about is ways of analyzing how much should be spent on interdiction and whether the interdiction budget ought to be expanded at this time. I propose the classic academic answer, which is that we don't know nearly enough to make that decision in a sensible way, but maybe the discussion will be helpful.
Secondly, I'll talk about how interdiction and the recent increase in adolescent drug use are related or not related.
The framework for thinking about allocating the budget among different programs, including interdiction, is based on the notion that interdiction can affect the price of drugs and, by that, affect consumption, but can't really reduce drug imports directly. That is, given the maturity of the production, transportation, and domestic distribution system, it's impossible to have an interdiction system that's so effective that only a fixed amount of cocaine can enter this country.
Instead, we can make doing the business sufficiently more expensive, that the price of cocaine goes up, consumption goes down, and less enters the country as a consequence.
The way interdiction accomplishes this is simple in principle. Interdiction raises the cost of smugglers by increasing the risk that drugs get seized and the amount that they have to pay people who work for them, in return for taking risks of going to prison. They also lose assets, including transportation assets.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSo the more intense interdiction is, then the higher the cost that smugglers face. The higher cost smugglers face, the higher import prices. And from higher import prices we get higher retail prices. Then, by magic, we get reduced consumption.
All that is a matter of theory; there is, not much evidence. In particular, one of the critical missing elements, which I will talk about in the context of the EBR study, is that we have no idea what is the relationship of an increase in smugglers' costs and the increase in the retail price of cocaine.
So, in fact, raising smugglers' costs by a fixed amount let's say by $5,000might raise the retail price of cocaine by $5,000. That might raise the retail price by 20 percent if that $5,000 is 20 percent of total smugglers' costs.
Then the question is: if we put another $500 million into interdiction, how would that compare in terms of raising retail price as compared to other price-raising strategies that we have, such as domestic enforcement or source country control?
The only thing that we have at the moment that addresses this with relatively current evidence is the Evidence-Based ResearchI think that's a wonderful nameEvidence-Based Research study of the interdiction program, which estimated that an additional $500 million would raise the smugglers' cost per kilo of cocaine by about $3,800.
Mr. BIDEN. What is the cost of a kilo right now?
Dr. REUTER. A kilo at the high wholesale levelthat is probably at a point of entry, in a 100-kilo bundlemight sell for about $20,000. I'm certainly not up-to-date on 1996 prices, but it would be $15 to $25,000, I thinkprobably around 20 now.
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Mr. BIDEN. So it would raise it from 20 to 23?
Dr. REUTER. From 20 to 24, roughly. And you could regard that as a 20 percent increase, which would be a stunning effect if it translated into 20 percent increase in retail prices, or it could be regarded as $4,000 or $3,800 as compared to a retail price of $120,000, in which case it's not very much.
The point is that we have here one systematic study of one program from which I would have drawn a conclusion different from ONDCP. I would have said that, even given the uncertainties, this provided a reasonable basis for shifting some assets into interdiction. But I have not seen the full study and there may be technical problems with it that don't show up in the summaries that are available for the general public.
But we have that one study which shows that $500 million in interdiction would accomplish this increase, and we have nothing to compare that with. I have no idea if taking $500 million out of domestic enforcement would comparably sort of reduce prices so that it makes sense to do this.
In general, there has been absolutely no interest in a continuing line of analysis that allows decisions about these programs to be made in a systematic fashion, comparing the effectiveness of these programs by some standard measure like how much they raise the retail price of drugs.
This hearing, in large part, is called because of the concern about the increase in adolescent drug use. There is a question about how that relates to interdiction.
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I've talked mostly about interdiction as it relates to cocaine. With respect to marijuana I imagine it's obviously somewhat more complicated by this existence of a very large domestic production industry.
But it's very hard to see a price-raising program like the interdiction program as having very substantial effects on initiation rates amongst adolescents. Over the period from 1981 to 1992, there were sharp declines in the price of cocaine and more ambiguous movements in the price of marijuana. During that period, initiation rates plummeted.
It is very easy to tell a storyand it isn't more than a storythat initiation rates are fairly insensitive to price.
So the question is: is arguing about the interdiction program relevant to a concern about changing initiation rates amongst adolescents?
I would say at the moment we have a very meager understanding of what drives adolescent drug use, but the price appears to be of secondary importance.
Rise in adolescent drug use in the last 3 years was predicted only in the most general way by any analysts. We always have had a hypothesis of generational forgetting, but no reference as to whether this would happen in 1993 or 2003 or 2013. Even now no one has any kind of model as opposed to a sound bite that explains why we've seen this increase and what policy, if any, or environmental factors could explain it.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSimilarly, next to nothing is known about how different enforcement programs affect initiation rates. Under these circumstances, choices about programs and policies like how much to spend on the interdiction budget will continue to be driven by impressions and beliefs rather than any solid evidence.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, gentlemen.
Murphy's law is at work today, gentlemen. The old Murphy's law adage would be, ''If anything can go wrong, it does go wrong.''
A member of our second panel has to depart imminently, and he has requested that we hear from him and question him.
To do thatI'm willing to accommodate him if it will not inconvenience you all, and I'm going to let you all make that call. If we do alter the schedule to that end, it would require you all returning for questioning on or about 1:00.
If you all can't do that, we willcan you allwhat says the first panel to that?
Okay. Well, I think then, for the benefit of the second panelAdministrator Constantine is still here? Sir, I regret that I can't do that, but I hate to impose on this panel. I didn't know about your schedule until today. Would it be possible for you to come back later in the day? And I hope you understand, sir, I'm uneasy about inconveniencing the first panel that's already in place, so why don't we, sir, just accept your written testimony and then we will hear from the secondyour partner in the second panel after we conclude with the questioning of the first panel, if that's amenable to you. I regret we can't do it the other way, but I think, given the set of circumstances as they are, we'll do it that way.
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Thank you, sir.
Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Chairman, as I understand it, you will accept Mr. Constantine's statement into the record as if read?
Mr. COBLE. That's correct.
Mr. CLEMENT. And then any questions or whatever we could ask into the record, itself, and
Mr. COBLE. That would be in order.
Mr. CLEMENT.for him to respond to our request.
Mr. COBLE. That would be in order.
Senator, do you want to be heard on this matter?
Mr. GRASSLEY. It's your decision, sir.
Mr. COBLE. This is an out-of-the-ordinary set of circumstances. The blame should be assigned to no one. It's just something that we can't control.
So if you will submit your statement then, sir, I appreciate that and wish you well at your graduation down the road.
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Thank you, gentlemen.
Now, Senator Grassley, Mr. Clement and I usually impose the 5-minute rule upon us, as well, during questioning, so if you're not uncomfortable with that, I will recognize the Senator from Iowa for 5 minutes of questioning, and then we will move along.
Thank you again, gentlemen, for being with us.
Mr. GRASSLEY. The 5-minute rule is generally used in the Senate, so I'm very comfortable with it.
Mr. Walters, in the past you have been involved with the development of a national drug strategy. I know from your testimony in past hearings that you're very familiar with the present drug strategy. I think you made that clear in your presentation today. And, of course, you're an expert on the present state of drug use in America.
We all realize that everyone has his own opinion as to what should be included and emphasized in our national drug strategy, and I'm asking you your opinion. What is the level of effort suggested in the present drug strategy compared with years past? What is the level of commitment in this strategy as compared to previous strategies? And characterize it above or below previous years. And then, lastly, shortcomings that you might see in the present strategy, if any.
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Mr. WALTERS. Yes, Senator. I'll try to take those in order.
If you measure the strategy in aggregate amount of money asked for, it's roughly the same as the last strategy in 1992. Those previous strategies were going up. It's roughly at the same level in current figures or in deflated figures.
The places the strategy is spending money are different. I think J.L. has already referred to the reductions in interdiction, reductions in international programs in some areas, big increases in law enforcement spending of different types, some decline but roughly constant treatment spending, and some declines but roughly constant prevention spending.
But I think that illustrates that the problem is not how much money you spend; the problem is how you manage the money. And the problem, as I tried to outline in my opening statement, is I don't think there is the proper policy management, construction, and implementation of programs.
I think you have to change the desire of foreign partners in source countries to do more themselves, and if they don't want to do more, spending more money is not going to make them do more. It is a big problem. It is not an easy problem for them. But I think the fundamental problem today is the will of our foreign partners and their perception that we are not serious as a Nation.
I think that's the Federal Government, generally, and I would recommend, as I said in my opening statement, that the Congress take into its hands the ability to express, even if through resolution before you go home, our dissatisfaction with the performance of Colombia, Mexico, and other countries at this point in time.
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If you can do that, it has an effect. I think you should do more down the line.
In terms of interdiction, I take Mr. Reuter's point. We've been discussing this for some years now. But one point I'd like to make in the EBR study that he didn't make is that the study estimates that $500 million would cause a disruption of 130 metric tons' equivalent of cocaine. It also points out that United States consumes somewhere under 300 metric tons.
The exact consequences of these disruptions and whether theyhow much additional supply they can roll into the pipeline and how hard to do this, that is a legitimate source of debate.
But the fact of the matter isand it's not we should just do interdiction. The issue is, we should reduce the supply and reduce the demand at the same timeaddictive demand, casual demand, source country supply, domestic supply.
I think the overall managementthe failure of overall management is reflected in the fact that this drug strategy doesn't have any numerical goals. They're hard to make, they're difficult to make, but they are also political. They stake the integrity of the President on reaching certain goals.
My view is, if you try hard and you don't make it, or you seem to try hard, that's not a detriment; but if you don't try and you don't make it, then I think the American people have a right to hold you accountable, no matter where you sit in the Government. It's not a right, it's a privilege.
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In terms of treatment, I talked about that at some length about the problems I think exist in the current treatment system and the failure to kind of come to grips with those. And in terms of prevention, I think a lot of what we do at the Federal level has to do with creating a certain kind of attitude.
In a hearing last week, Senator Biden pointed out that, in meeting with young people in his District, they want an excuse to say no. They want adults to give them the moral support to say, ''I don't use drugs.''
In an exchange with him afterwards, I said, ''Adults need that too.'' The American people and citizens and other leaders need to know that the climate in this country is that you are going to not tolerate sales and use. We ought to close open air drug markets, as Puerto Rico has tried to do with astounding success. We ought to insist that schools not tolerate drug use. We ought to insist that programs that receive money are accountable. We ought to insist that the highest-level officialsthe President and his drug directorprovide goals, as required by law, and link programs to the achievement of those goals.
It doesn't do it.
This is a strategy for failure. People don't like the drug war analysis. This is a strategy for a domestic Vietnam. We know this won't work, and I defy any subsequent witness to tie the programs and policies in this to reducing the current terrible trends.
Now, if we continue, knowing this won't work, we're asking the young recruits that Mr. Constantine is going to go swear in to be ground up in the maw for no good achievement.
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There are hundreds of them and thousands of them on the line, and we're not supporting them with the right kinds of policies at the national level.
That's a long answer, but it was a long question. Sorry.
Mr. COBLE. Senator Biden, your round for 5 minutes.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. Chairman, I'd be happy to yield if you want to go Senate, House
Mr. COBLE. Either way. Go ahead.
Mr. BIDEN. All right. Dr. Reuter, you have been before my committee on the other side almost as much as Mr. Walters has. There is this ongoing debate that we've always had about the efficacy of interdiction and the allocation of resources.
One of the things I am always reminded ofand I'm not sure that you were the first one to tell it to me, or whoever it was in the committeeto put this in focus, that it takes only 10 square miles to supply the entirety of the world's heroin supply.
Dr. REUTER. The U.S. heroin, sir.
Mr. BIDEN. If I'm not mistaken, the American consumes less than 10 percent of the world's heroin.
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Dr. REUTER. Right.
Mr. BIDEN. I was under the impression it was 10 square miles for the world's supply.
Dr. REUTER. No.
Mr. BIDEN. No? All right. So you've got 10 square miles, and we've watched it move. We've watched it move from Afghanistan to Burma. We watched it move into Peru. We watched it move allI mean, we've watched this thing move.
So keep in mind what we're dealing with here is a fairly porous borders, and in some sense necessarily porous.
But I think that Mr. Walters makes a valid point. If we had the resources to add another half billion dollars to interdiction, if it would have the effect of taking 130 metric tons out of the supply in the United States, that would be a good thing, a positive thing. It wouldn't be bad.
Dr. REUTER. Right.
Mr. BIDEN. The problem I have is: where do we take it from? Or where do we add to?
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCThis is a prelude to my question.
As I understood your testimony, although we have now at least a study that says half a billion would affect 130 million metric tons
Dr. REUTER. 130 metric tons. Yes.
Mr. BIDEN.we don't have any comparable study to say, if you took a half a billion out of local law enforcement or you took a half a billion out of treatment or you took a half a billion out of any other sector, what that might do at the other end.
Dr. REUTER. That's right. That's the point. If the EBR findings stand up to scrutinyand I've not seen the detail, the study, itselfit makes, I think, a sort of good prima facie case that more interdiction would be a useful reallocation from most other domestic enforcement programs, or, from my point of view, from source country control programs, though there is scarcely $500 million left in that account.
And so, as I say, I might have interpreted this differently, but it's one study of one program and you just don't know what you're comparing against.
Mr. BIDEN. But don't you agree with Mr. Walters that there has not beenand I would argue there hasn't been for a whileenough emphasis from the foreign policy side of our equation on
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDr. REUTER. I think there is this great American penchant for going to the fundamentals, and it's so often misleading. I mean, you go to prevention to stop demand at its beginning, or you go to production so you don't have to deal with the distribution, and so on.
I think we have good arguments and lots of evidence to suggest that these are very elusive target. It is hard to persuade producer countries to act aggressively on our behalf, and even when they do act aggressively on our behalf, as has been the case historically with Mexico with respect to heroin previously, we get fairly modest results from that in terms of our own prices.
I mean, there is a lot of very cheap land and labor there, and it is nothing we are going to do that's going to make that really expensive.
Mr. BIDEN. I would argue, when we did have some cooperation in Colombia because of their own internal situation and because of initiatives, I'd arguewe had an argument at the Administration at that time, we lost an opportunity. We did not come in and fill any void to give any alternatives at that time, and some of us are arguing the Andean policy should be altered to provide for access for people to get back to their business.
The irony was, at the very time we were telling those farmers in Colombia who were being shut down that they're out of manufacturing, they're off the farm, we were also going after them on the flower treaty we had with them and the number of treaties that theyso the last Administration had such a bogus foreign policy related to that, that I found it astounding.
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Dr. REUTER. I hate to be so relentless about this, but you cannot raise the price of land and labor in Colombia enough to make any difference to the price here. If you make flower growing more profitable, the wages of Colombian labor might go up 25 percent. That would be wonderful and that would raise the price of leaf growing in Colombia by 20 percent, let's say. And that would be $0.02 on the price of a bundle of crack.
It just is very seductive. It's very irrelevant.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. Chairman, my time is up and I have some other questions if we have time, but I'll submit them in writing if you wish.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Senator. We have a vote on so we have to move along here.
Mr. Walters, I'd like for you, during my 5-minute segment, to respond to what Dr. Reuter said, but I want to put a question to you first.
You stated that the Clinton Administration's claimin your testimonythat it will address the drug problem by increasing treatment slots for hard-core addicts is questionable. You further note that, while treatment spending almost tripled during the fiscal years 1988 through 1994, the number of persons treated declined by 145,000 people.
Since the number undergoing treatment is falling or reducing, do you have any determination what became of the millions of dollars earmarked for that purpose?
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Mr. WALTERS. Yes. Again, those are all numbers from the Clinton Administration drug office. I'm not calculating them myself. And they get them, I think, from HHS studies.
There are some cases where the money improved the quality of certain treatment programs. It went from poor quality to high quality.
I don't think there is any evidenceand I'd be happy to have Dr. Reuter, who also studies this stuff, if he has evidence, to respond here. I don't think there is any evidence that the overall system got better.
Again, I think we've got a sterile debateI said this to Senator Biden last weekover whether treatment works. HHS has a campaign. This is ''treatment works'' month. I believe treatment works. I've helped people get into treatment. If I had a family member that had a drug or alcohol problem, I would put them into treatment.
But the kind of treatment they would get is not the kind of treatment hard-core addicts are going to get. I'm not going to take them down to those centers. I'm going to take them some place else.
The problem is quality control. The problem is location. And the problem is modality of treatment.
The problem is the system has maintained a block grant mentality. It has not provided built-in accountability in the system, so poor-quality treatment and rotating outpatient treatment gets the same support.
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We have more hard-core addicts. They need long-term residential treatment and a variety of support services. The money that has been dumped in by the Federal Government at over $2 billion a year has gone to increasing, by their own estimates, the percentage of outpatient, not residential treatments.
The bureaucracy has absorbed the money. The bureaucracy has apportioned the money in areas where you don't have the same kind of need.
In 1989, the study we had showed that we were using treatment capacity at 80 percent. The latest study shows we're using it at 75 percent. So we've got more excess capacity that's not being used, while we still have virtually the same, if not more, addicts, depending on what estimate you use.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, sir.
We have a vote on now. Senator Grassley, could you take the Chair while I go vote?
I'll let Senator Grassley have the Chair, and we're going to havelet's do it that way.
Mr. GRASSLEY [assuming Chair]. Mr. Clement?
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. Walters, do you think we've truly had a war on drugs? And if we have had a war on drugs, when was that?
Mr. WALTERS. I think the war metaphor is good. I support it to those that criticize it because it talks about mobilizing and focusing the country's attention. I think the peak of public concern about this was lastalthough it's now with violent crime, as far as I've seen in Gallup pollsa peak public concern. The peak before that was in roughly around 1988 and 1989.
Between 1979 and 1992, overall drug use declined by 50 percent. The measured use of cocaine peaked in 1985 and dropped almost 80 percent78 percent between 1985 and 1992.
We did not radically reduce the number of hard-core addicts, howeverthe people who experimented in their teens and in the 1970s and early 1980s and who became addicts during that period of time and who continue to cycle through the system, as far as we can measure it, and are getting older and sicker and showing up more frequently in emergency rooms.
I think in any other domestic social pathologyteenage pregnancy, HIV transmission, dropout rates, you name it, if we had a 50 to 80 percent decline we would consider that a remarkable success. We've done that with the entry pipeline for drug use. We have not done as good a job, as I said, with addiction, but the fact is, there are fewer people in the demographic years 1979 to 1992 that are going to end up as addicts.
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But we're creating the addicts of the next five to 10 to 15 years today with these increases in teenage drug use.
Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Walters, you state that, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts, there has been a 10.3 percent reduction in Federal case filings between fiscal year 1992 and 1995. Yet, the testimony of the Department of Justice indicates that Federal prosecutors filed 3 percent more drug cases in 1995 than they did in 1992. How do you reconcile this apparently conflicting testimony?
Mr. WALTERS. My testimony contains a footnote that explains it. There are several different accounting systems, and we've tried to be fair and present the various accounts here.
I think I tried to use the most accepted to show that the filings, despite increases in spending that are quite extensive in law enforcement here, have been, I think, from my ability to gather who considers which accounting system best, have declined.
But I have not tried to hide any of the conflicting evidence or other studies.
Mr. CLEMENT. Well, as you know, it'sI don't think you took into consideration the number of State cases, either, the increase in that area.
Mr. WALTERS. No. I just talked at the Federal record. Yes. That's fair.
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Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Walters, you seem to believe that aircraft and ship patrol hours should be used as a ruler to measure the success of our drug interdiction efforts. We did a little calculation that in 1991 the Coast Guard interdicted .96 pounds of marijuana and cocaine per aircraft and ship patrol hour. This rate increased to 2.99 pounds per patrol hour in 1994. Isn't this a result of smarter patrolling and interdictions due to increased intelligence?
Mr. WALTERS. Yes. I agree that it's better to do this smarter than dumber. I do think, though, that when you're doing it smarter you need a certain level of resources, and actually the decline in ship hoursresourcesand the central part of my testimony uses data from the joint task force that the Federal Government runs in Florida and reports their measure of resource decline causing an efficiency decline.
But I certainly don't mean by saying ''dollars'' that dumb spending of dollars is a substitute for smart spending of dollars, and I think I've tried to make that clear across the board.
Mr. CLEMENT. Which one do you think is most important: seizing the drugs or putting these drug kingpin operators out of business?
Mr. WALTERS. My preference is neither of those; it's stopping the flow and reducing availability on the supply side.
We ask the wrong question. We let agencies come up here and say, ''I've got so many arrests.''
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I've tried to talk about the various measures and what they show, but I've tried to also make clear, the keythe contribution that supply reduction can make to demand reduction is to decrease availability, make it more expensive, make it harder to find.
When we do that it's not a substitute for demand reduction but it helps demand reduction work. It's like taking a bridge. If you want to control it, you've got to control both ends.
When you tell kids, ''Don't use drugs,'' but you let open air drug markets occur, let cheap, available drugs be plentiful and widespread, you undermine the prevention methods. You make treatment harder when people go back to communities where drugs are cheap and plentiful.
We have reduced domestic marijuana eradication. We have increased availability of marijuana. We've increased availability of heroin. We've increased availability of cocaine. We've increased the availability of methamphetamine and we have wider use.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Walters.
Mr. GRASSLEY. All right. Dr. Reuter, when you were an advisor to the Clinton Administration on drug policy, I want to quote something I believe you wrote or said and then ask you to comment on it. I'll have a question.
''With little fanfare the Clinton Administration is now de-escalating war,'' meaning the drug war. ''In recent days' White House staff cuts, the Office of the Drug Czar lost 121 of 146 staff positions to little media attention and no public outcry, which may be just as well. After the costly and ineffectual policies of the 1980s, drugs are one issue that may benefit from benign neglect.''
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Do you think that, compared, as we started this meeting with all the statistics on increased teenage use of illegal drugs, that you're still of the opinion that benign neglect is a serious Government policy on drugs?
Dr. REUTER. Okay. Let meI was never an advisor of the Clinton Administration. I worked in the transition on DEA for 2 weeks and had no further association with the Administration.
What I was referring to there is the overly punitive policies that were implemented in the 1980s, and my concern in writing that in early 1993, before there had been any upturn in the indicators of adolescent drug use, was that the only wayto get a reversal of that to get this out of the limelight.
Mr. GRASSLEY. Now, 3 years later, do you think it's still good to have it out of the spotlight?
Dr. REUTER. Now it can't stay out of the spotlight. These are, unfortunately, figures which immediately command attentionperhaps misinterpretation, but certainly attentionand there is no option but to respond to that.
I, frankly, deplore much of the response, which is increased punishment. I see that as essentially irrelevant to reducing that trend.
Mr. GRASSLEY. Do you still describe yourself as an agnostic on drug legalization?
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Dr. REUTER. Yes. Perhaps a more-informed one.
Mr. GRASSLEY. Senator Biden, do you have a follow-up question?
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. Chairman, I have a number of questions, but rather than begin, let me explain what is about to be my absence for the rest of the hearing.
I have the dubious distinction of being asked to co-manage the chemical weapons treaty on the floor of the Senate, so I'm going to be leaving to do that.
The one comment I would like to makeand maybe I hear some response to itis, one of the things we focused on, Mr. Chairman, necessarily, is this idea of the increased use of drug of choice among young people. As the increase has gone up, it has been basically marijuana. It has been other drugs, but that's the drug of choice.
And I'd like anyone on the panel to comment on two points I'd like to raise, and then I'll step back from the microphone and listen.
The first one is that 25 percent of the marijuana consumed in the United States of America is produced domestically. I wonder how we can relate the interdiction of pot coming out of California to Delawarecompare that to pot coming out of Colombia to Delaware.
The second point I'd like you to speak to, if you would, one of the interesting things that has happened and good things that has happened is that violent crime is down 4 years in a row.
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I know of no studyand I try to consume as many of these studies and listen to as many of your experts as I can over the last 15 yearsto show that there is a direct correlation between the emphasis on hard-core abusers and a reduction in crime, but I would think that it's hard to argue that there may not be any connection because they're the ones committing the crimes.
I do not discount the fact that Mr. Walters says that it is the casual abuse, the pool of casual abusers, the pool from which the habitual abusers come.
But we are making a broad-side indictment of a policy that spanned Bush and Clinton, and even before that, Reagan, and I'm not so sure that it's not like punching a pillow here. As you gain in one area, you tend to find yourself having to go back and pick up another.
So I'd like you to respond to two points: one, interdiction. How about interdiction on the California border, keeping an eye onthe survey done showing that there has been a change in the parenting, the pool of parents of the users.
I scratched my head for some time trying to figure out whether it's the failure of the last 2 years of Bush, the failure of the first 2 years of Clinton, the failure of the first 2 years of this Congress, and I've come to the tentative conclusion that I cannot prove that I think it's the change in demographics, among other things.
When you have, if the surveys are correctif you look at the parents of the children between the ages of 10 and 17, 5 or 6 years ago they were on the cusp of the baby boom. Now those parents between 10 and 17 are the baby boom, and you've got 58 percent of them saying it's not a crisis if their kid used marijuana because, I don't know, 60 percent of them say they used marijuana.
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Of those baby boomers who never used marijuana, 89 percent say it's a crisis.
I always listened to Bill Bennett on his value speeches until I've had it to here. I mean, I understand values. It always fascinates me. They will lecture me and others on valuesand, God love him, I know he means well, and values are very important. Well, how do you discount the change in the value pool out there?
So can you comment on that for me? What impact does the change in the percent of parents or baby boomers who consumed have on this?
Mr. GRASSLEY. We have to give you a 2-minute answer because we have to vacate the room at 11:50 for a markup. They have to get ready for markup.
Mr. BIDEN. Well, you can do it in writing if you want to. Fire away. Anybody.
Dr. REUTER. John, you do values.
Mr. WALTERS. Okay. Sure. As a society we have agreements about what we take seriously, what we think is wrong, and what we think is right, influenced by a lot of things.
My experience with the drug issue, going back to the 1980s when I started at the Department of Education on prevention, is that the American people and the average parent is ahead of the elite and ahead of the governing officials. They were more serious about this in 1979. They want their kids protected.
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People inI'm sure in Puerto Rico, in Washington, D.C., in California, and Delaware that are faced with their kids walking by open air drug markets, they want clearly what everybody else wants.
Mr. BIDEN. But, John, we've worked it. The open air drug markets have been shut down by three times what they were when you were running the show because we put more cops on the street.
Mr. WALTERS. Well
Mr. BIDEN. That part worked, John.
Mr. WALTERS. I'm not sure you can verify that number, because the consumption
Mr. BIDEN. I think we can verify three times.
Mr. WALTERS.the consumption is pretty high.
Mr. BIDEN. But the open air markets, John, you can'tthat's changed.
Mr. WALTERS. But, look, what we've also done is we've had a sense of the acceptance of joking about drugs, having a surgeon general that says maybe we should rethink the decriminalization, having conservatives that say that, and there hasn't been the kind of outcry.
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I agree, this is bipartisan.
Mr. BIDEN. I understand that. That's the very point. You point to the President and people in the White House and the surgeon general, but yet you ignore the fact that a generation of people came along, unrelated to the President, unrelated to the surgeon general, unrelated to anything other than their life experience, who are the same way, and you say, ''Well, that doesn't count.'' You can't have it both ways on values, Johnny.
Mr. WALTERS. I don't think, on the basis of one survey, you can claim that most parents, even most parents who use drugs, are indifferent to whether or not their kids use drugs.
Mr. BIDEN. Not indifferent, John. No one has ever said they're indifferent. I can'tI don't believe you can say it, on the basis of 22 people who the White Housethat leaked White House report, people have used drugs at the White House, or whatever that number was, you can do that, either, and say the President doesn't care about drugs.
Just what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Mr. GRASSLEY. I would suggest that what we do at this point is that you respond to the Senator's questions in writing, each of you who want to respond.
Thank you all very much.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWe adjourn until 1:00.
Mr. COBLE [resuming Chair]. The hearing will reconvene after a day of disruption.
Ambassador, again I want to apologize to you and to the members of the third panel. I hope you all will hold me harmless. It was not my fault, but I guess when one chairs a hearing he must assume the credit and the blame for the good and bad that transpire.
But I do hope that you were not inconvenienced too badly, Ambassador. And I say the same to the members of the third panel.
It's good to have you with us, AmbassadorAmbassador Robert Gelbard, assistant secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs with the Department of State.
Ambassador, if you can, somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, though we won't hold a stop watch on you.
TESTIMONY OF AMBASSADOR ROBERT S. GELBARD, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAmbassador GELBARD. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
If you will permit, I'd like to submit my written statement for the record, and I'll be very brief.
Mr. COBLE. Without objection, that will be received.
Ambassador GELBARD. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Chairman and committee members, the broad array of witnesses you have brought here for this important hearingpeople who represent many agencies and philosophical orientationsclearly reflects how important the problems of illegal drug abuse and trafficking are to our national security.
Like many of the public, private, and elected officials appearing here today, I have worked hard to fight the drug scourge, and I'm grateful to be part of this discussion.
Last October, when President Clinton launched his international initiative against drugs and crime, he called upon the world citizens at the United Nations to redouble their determination to protect citizens from this terrible scourge which has emerged after the Cold War. ''Nowhere,'' he said, ''is cooperation more vital than in fighting the increasingly inter-connected groups that traffic in terror, organized crime, and drug dealing.''
No thinking person can disagree with the President's sentiments. The recent drug abuse statistics are worrisome, Mr. Chairman, but I believe we have the momentum now to turn the tide.
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Combatting drug abuse and crime is at the top of our public policy agenda. The American people demand it, as they should, and all of our public officials are determined to serve their interests.
Mr. Chairman, we have made important gains, including in the foreign arena, for which I am responsible, but it is obvious that we have been hampered by insufficient funds.
Support in the Congress, particularly in the Senate, for the full funding of the President's request for international narcotics control for this coming fiscal year is very good news. Assuming it is provided, there is no question in my mind that we can really make a difference in thwarting the harmful impact at home of drugs and transnational crime which have their origin overseas.
The $213 million which have been requested for my Bureau for fiscal year 1997 is the absolute minimum we need to accomplish our narcotics and law enforcement objectives.
Let me stress, however, that the effort must be sustained. Success in a single year is not necessarily permanent. Funding in the amount we have requested is very small when you consider the huge resources that international criminals have at their disposal.
If sustained and incrementally increased over time, it provides insurance for anti-crime programs and drug programs with measurable results.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCInternationally, both narcotics and organized crime pose grave threats to our fundamental foreign policy objectives of enhancing democracy, the rule of law, and free market economies.
Through corruption and intimidation, crime organizations target and weaken the very institutions designed to enhance public participation and citizen strategy: the legislatures, the police, the judiciary, and even the media.
To support the President's wide-ranging initiatives against drugs and crime, Secretary Christopher asked me to take charge of streamlining the State Department's efforts to support international law enforcement.
To confront the trans-national crime problem in its entirety, we are carrying out a multi-faceted program.
The Clinton Administration has put into place new tools to combat these problems. A centerpiece, for example, is the use of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to impose sanctions directly on persons and businesses connected with or involved in drug trafficking.
Additionally, we are revoking visas for people identified with drug trafficking or the use of drug proceeds. This is a tough demonstration that we will not tolerate drug traffickers, those who cooperate with them, or even their families, even if they hold political office, to enter the United States.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWorking with all Administration departments, particularly the law enforcement community, for which I have enormous respect, we are also building a stronger international coalition to combat money laundering, alien smuggling, and other crimes.
Against this backdrop, I cannot overstate the importance of our international law enforcement training programs, which have the double benefit of helping our own law enforcement institutions, as well as foreign judicial and law enforcement institutions.
Mr. Chairman, our goals in the international arena contained in the national drug control strategy are concrete. We have a variety of diplomatic and programmatic tools at our disposal, but certainly the narcotics certification process has proven to be the sharp end of our spear.
While not perfect, it is a system which helps keep countries focused, and we can point to results. Strong interdiction operations, air interdiction operations from Peru to Colombia are now working very well. Bolivia and Venezuela are destroying thousands of hectares of coca and opium poppies, and in Thailand top international heroin kingpins have been arrested and, for the first time, are now being extradited.
Congress is well aware of our comprehensive programs with Mexico. We see promising signs, and President Zedillo is demonstrating his resolve in practical ways to confront the profound institutional debilitation and corruption that have impaired Mexico's ability to act.
In fact, only yesterday Mexican authorities arrested Manuel Rodriguez Lopez, the head of operations in Mexico for the notorious Castrillon and now maritime smuggling organization, and seized over $15 million in his organization's assets.
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Drug seizures in Mexico are dramatically up this year: 25 percent more cocaine was seized in the first half of this year compared to last, heroin seizures are up 55 percent, and nine drug labs have been destroyed this yearmore than all the last 3 years combined.
Mexico has now agreed to extradite Mexican nationals to the United States and have started doing so, and an extradition treat has also been signed and ratified with Bolivia.
In accord with the Source Country Strategy and the resources available, our interdiction efforts have focused on the producing countries and the drug seizures point to success.
Transit zone interdiction, particularly with Mexico and in the Caribbean, are among our highest priorities.
We are working very closely with the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and the Netherlands, for example, to help make Caribbean nations' law enforcement interdiction capability more effective.
Our emerging strategy for the year to come is based on the essential understanding that international drug trade and trans-national crime patterns are ever-changing mosaics, and we must maintain the flexibility to carry out up-to-the-minute responses.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAs we continue to focus on Mexico, Central America, the Andes, and other key countries in this hemisphere, we are also directing fresh attention to other areas of the world such as Nigeria, South Africa, Southeast Asia, and China.
Eradication, of course, remains the central component of our source country strategy, for it is destruction of the drug crops which remains pivotal to our ultimate success in the fight against cocaine and heroin.
Logic tells us that if we destroy the crops and the clandestine laboratories in their countries of origin, we will reduce the overall challenge of interdiction at our borders and illegal drug availability at home.
As I hope my testimony makes clear, the challenges we face and the policies and programs we have in place are multi-faceted and complicated. I believe our budget request for 1997 reflects careful analysis of our ability to make the most effective, immediate use of funds, without overburdening the absorptive capacity of our various programmatic elements in the countries in which we work.
I wish I could say there is a quick and easy solution to the problems of drug trade and trans-national crime, but we all know there is not. Our battle must be measured in years, not days.
But if, as we are beginning to do, we can work to eliminate safe havens for fugitives and money laundering, improve law enforcement cooperation among nations, and provide training and technical assistance to those nations in need, we can continue to make great progress.
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The Administration understands the Congress' keen interest in the ultimate success of our programs, and we are grateful for your abiding support over the years. We welcome your wise counsel and appreciate the role you have played in bolstering our efforts.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Ambassador.
As you pointed out, we have had a good cross-section of witnesses today who have brought much good to the table, it is my belief.
I'll try to impose the same 5- to 10-minute on me, Ambassador, as I did upon you.
Sometimes hearings on this Hill turn into political side shows, and I am proud to say that this has not been the case in our subcommittee. I do, however, have light years of difference between the President's view regarding interdiction, or his former view, and my view.
So, having said that, let me put this question to you, Mr. Ambassador. During the past several years, the Administration has continually discussed control shift of resources from transit zone interdiction to source country programs, but the President's fiscal year 1997 request for international programs is about two-thirds of the Bush Administration's level of effort.
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While it contains a substantial increase over the basement levels of the past 3 years, the President's request is over $250 million below the fiscal year 1992 level.
Let me put three questions to you, Mr. Ambassador.
If you know, what was the purpose of the control shift plan?
Second, in your capacity with the State Department, did you see the increases in source country programs which were envisioned under the control shift approach?
And, third, do you knowand, again, you may not know this, but do you know when the President is planning to follow through on his control shift strategy in his budget request?
Ambassador GELBARD. When the Administration was in the process, in 1993, of developing PDD-14, which is the Western Hemisphere Drug Strategy, we looked at the issue of putting much more emphasis on the source countries, for the reasons that I alluded to in my opening statement.
When it comes down to it, a much more cost-effective and ultimately efficient way of dealing with this problem is to get to the very heart of the problem; namely, those countries which are actually the producers of drug crops and those countries where the during trafficking organizations have their laboratories and their organizations.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWhen I talk to law enforcement organizations, what they tell me is that, on average, interdiction results show that seizures are maybe 10 percent or so of what we estimate the flow of drugs into the country to be.
The most effective way of getting at the heart of this problem is to go after those countries and develop cooperation and institutional capabilities of those countries that are actually producing the drugs, which means, in the western hemisphere, primarily Peru, Bolivia, Colombia; and, second, going after what I call ''corporate headquarters,'' which means Colombiathe country where almost all the drug trafficking organizations have been traditionally based.
Increasingly, we have seen the development of drug trafficking organizations based in Mexico, as well now as Bolivia and Peru, and we have put emphasis accordingly in trying to disrupt and eliminate those drug trafficking organizations in those countries, too.
At the same time, though, we have tried to maintain, to the degree possible, the resource levels for interdiction, while trying to emphasize institutional development in particularly the Caribbean region.
It has been difficult because of budget reductions, overall, and we're trying to maintain these things, but the fundamental purpose of the concept is to get to the heart of the problem.
We are now making progress in drug-producing countries. Boliviawe used the threat of decertification to turn around Bolivia's program on eradicating coca, and it underwent a virtual 180-degree shift, to the point now that Bolivia has turned around completely.
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Colombia is eradicating coca and opium in substantial amounts.
Venezuela is spraying and eradicating opium poppies.
Mexico is way up in terms of their eradication of marijuana, and last year had enormous progress against opium poppies, too.
Meanwhile, in spite of the fact that we have a corrupt government in Colombia, we have been able to develop much greater cooperation with the Colombian police and the Colombian prosecutor general and his office and have been able to work with them to arrest the leaders of the drug cartels.
So we see that there has been progress, based on this strategy.
Mr. COBLE. Ambassador, one of our witnesses earlier todayand I don't recall which one on the first panel alluded to what I'm about to discuss now. The Administration has complained from time to time about budget reductions by the 103rd Congressnot this Congress, but the past Congress; yet, I understand that $45 million appropriated or earmarked for cocaine source country programs were reprogrammed as transition aid for Haiti.
Someone touched on that this morning, and I don't recall to what detail.
Do you know what prompted the Administration to provide this foreign aid to Haiti at the expense of programs designed to curtail the flow of drugs onto our streets? And what specific source country programs, if you know, sir, were reduced or eliminated to accommodate this reprogramming of funds?
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Ambassador GELBARD. Yes, sir. If I remember correctly, these funds were taken from Bolivia and Peru because, at that time, as I mentioned a minute earlier, Bolivia was not eradicating coca.
The funds were appropriated to provide balance of payments assistance to help countries which were cooperating with usBolivia and Peruon eradication of drug crops. Those countries were not cooperating at that time, so we didn't want to give them rewards based on their failure to cooperate.
Once we took the money away and made the threat of decertification, that woke the Bolivian government up, and by June of last yearwe gave them 3 months to turn around their program or told them they would be faced with decertification. That worked.
And the result has been that, since June of last year, they have eradicated almost 12,000 hectares of coca.
In the case of Peru, they also refused to eradicate coca. I should point out, Peru produces approximately 65 percent of the world's coca. We have only now, in this month, gotten to the point where Peruvian authorities have told me directly that they are now prepared to begin to engage in serious coca eradication in Peru. I hope to meet in the next 2 weeks with the foreign minister of Peru when he's in New York. I told him if they're prepared to eradicate coca we're prepared to pay for it.
Those were the reasons, sir.
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Mr. COBLE. Do you know, Ambassador, whether or not, at that juncture, it was considered to redirect those funds to other source country programs in lieu of Haiti?
Ambassador GELBARD. I simply can't recall.
Mr. COBLE. Could you dig into that and let me know?
Ambassador GELBARD. Yes.
Mr. COBLE. Am I correct when I use the figure $45 million?
Ambassador GELBARD. I can't remember the exact figure.
Mr. COBLE. I'm almost certain that's right.
Ambassador GELBARD. We'll check on that.
Mr. COBLE. If you could get that for me, Ambassador, I'd appreciate it.
[The information received follows:]
Question. Mr. COBLE. Am I correct When I use the figure $45 million?
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAnswer. Ambassador GELBARD. ESF funds in the amount of $45 million were supplied to Haiti from the following sources: FY 1993, Peru, $25 million; FY 1994, Peru, $10.5 million; and FY 1994, Bolivia, $10 million.
Mr. COBLE. My time has expired and I want to, at this time, at the expense of not embarrassing him, I want to welcome the gentleman from Mississippi, who I guess this is your first session as a member of the subcommittee, is it not? It's good to have you aboarda former Coast Guardsman, I might add. The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor?
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ambassador, I have no agenda as far as trying to embarrass the Administration on this, but I made several trips to that part of the world and I see a number of what I consider to be disconnects in our drug policy.
Let me begin by saying that I do not aim my criticism at the brave young people who are flying the P-3s and the E-3s and the AWACS and the kids we actually have on the ground in different countries around Latin America, but there are some incredibly dumb disconnects.
You and I both know that they are growing coca in open fields in Peru, and we know where, and yet no effort is made to eliminate the product at the source.
The second thing is, although the Peruvian government has had a fairly good record on shoot-downs and trying to do something, again, it's hit or miss.
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Then we have the case of Colombia, where I distinctly remember flying into Bogota the first time, after we have AWACS in the air, after we have E-3s in the air, P-3s in the air, people on the ground, and seeing entire plane loads of cut flowers being sent up here, and you ask, ''Who inspects those boxes,'' and we're told they're self-inspected.
Well, Mr. Ambassador, that's sort of like the Mississippi Highway Patrol telling me that if I go over the 65-mile-an-hour speed limit I should inform them. That's not going to happen.
We know it goes from there toit's trans-shipped to Mexico, where it is mixed in with legitimate cargoes on about four million cargo containers a year that come up from Mexico that nobody even bothers to look inside.
There are so many flaws in the policy that you can't even call it a policy. I mean, we have some of the most expensive resources in the Department of Defense out there. We have young people, as we speak, out bouncing around on Coast Guard cutters, on Navy frigatesthings I can't even talk aboutand yet you have all these disconnects.
Has anyone ever told the Mexicans that unless they do a better job of inspecting what is going to be trans-shipped across our border that we would even consider doing away with NAFTA, since that is the major source of drugs into this countryover land from Mexico, mixed in with legitimate cargoes that our Customs people don't even have the resources to look into?
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCNumber two, has anyone ever come up with a strategy of dealing with it on the ground in Peru? I am told that precursor chemicals, if bought in small quantitiesI want to say like five gallons at a time or lessthat nobody even bothers to get the names of those people who buy them.
I'm told that in Colombia for yearsI remember landing at a remote airstrip that had National Guardsmen operating a radar attachment, no needwe both know the place. So we have about 60 National Guardsmen down there monitoring air traffic, and DC-8s full of boxes of cut flowers are flying out of the same spot up to Miami and nobody is even looking in the plane. What's mixed in with the cargo?
You can't call it a policy. It may look good on television, it may make a great 30-second spot, but there is no policy.
Is there even any talk within the Administration of requiring people who work for the Federal Government to take a drug test? I happened to enlist in that outfit in 1971 when they had a terrible drug problem. They came up with, first, a one-strike treatment and you can stay in, two-strikes-you're-out policy. They now have, if I'm not mistaken, a one-strike-and-you're-out policy. They don't have a drug problem any more.
Why don't we do that with the Federal work force? If you want to work for our Government you're not going to use drugs. Period.
I've asked some questions. Please give me some answers.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAmbassador GELBARD. If I could respond to that, first of all let me say, at the risk of embarrassing my colleagues from the Coast Guard, I am one of the greatest fans of the Coast Guard around and havein fact, I'm extremely proud and have on my office wall the award that they have given me for supporting them.
First, let me say, just globally, we do have a policy. It does get into all the details. Much of this has been consistent throughout administrations, whether it's Republican or Democratic.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Ambassador, if I may, I think the first war on drugs was started 40 years ago. You're exactly right. But obviously just doing the same things over and over isn't working, so what's this Administration doing differently?
Ambassador GELBARD. Congressman, if I could finish, we have beenit has taken us a quarter of a century to get into this mess. We're not going to be able to solve it overnight. We haven't been able to solve it overnight.
I've been involved with this 11 years now in Washington and overseas. I'm very proud of my 3 years as Ambassador in Bolivia, where I worked with all the law enforcement community, as well as military.
What we have seen is we're trying to perfect this all the time, and what we have seen is that constantly the drug trafficking organizations have been trying to come up with some new points, but let me specifically respond first to what you asked about on Peru.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCI agree with you 100 percent about our shared outrage that Peru is not eradicating coca. As I just said to the Chairman, we have been pressing the Peruvian governmentin the last Administration and in this Administrationabout eradication of coca.
The aerial interdiction program has been effective. That is a necessary, but completely insufficient, element in the overall effort. What that has meant is that the traffickers have started moving around that channel.
The Peruvians have been terrific in the force-down or even shoot-down of certain aircraft, but, of course, the traffickers have been adapting and increasingly using riverine ocean transport routes.
We have been pressing the Peruvians. I was literally just on the phone in the 45 minutes I was back in the State Department talking to the Peruvian ambassador about the work we are now doing to press them on eradication.
We are, today, seeing the first signs, I hope, that they are being serious about eradicating coca. That has been my fundamental concern because, as I said, they're producing 65 percent of the world's coca. President Fujimori and his predecessors took zero steps to eradicate in the past, and that's why this has been at the very top of our agenda and we've been pushing them very hard.
On precursor chemicals, we have been working with all the countries in Latin America, as well as the countries that produce precursor chemicals, to try to get the same kind of measures in place that we in the United States put into place in the 1980s to curtail the shipment of precursor chemicals overseas.
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I will sayand I want to be very clear about thiswe have been having problems with the European Union to get their full cooperation on enacting similar measures. Some of the people in the European Union take the ridiculous position that we're trying to steal their trade secrets. That's ludicrous. What we want is to stop the flow of the chemicals that produce drugs into the Andean region, in particular.
On the issue of Colombian cut flowers and Colombia, in general, let me say, Congressman, you know very well that we have taken a very tough position overall with Colombia. The Colombian instance is the first time the President of the United States has ever decertified a democratic nation. We have revoked the visa of the president of Colombia, and this year, alone, we have revoked the visas of more than 18 individuals in the Colombian government. We have frozen assets. We are using the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in a very innovative way. This is a powerful, legal instrument which has traditionally been used by Presidents to freeze assets of countries with which we are at war.
We recognize it's a war. I consider it a war and more. Therefore, we are using the Act in a war-like way to freeze the assets of the drug criminals, their front companies and their families. We're also using other instruments to get at them.
As far as the flower growers go, let me say that flower imports are inspected. I know there will be an official from Customs on the next panel, and I know he can also respond to this.
We have worked with the flower growers over the last decade. They have produced an outstanding record, first of self-control to make sure that cocaine and heroin gets into their shipments as minimally as possible. But flowers don't get into our country without any inspections.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOnce they get to the United States, they certainly are inspected, and we have to make sure they continue to be inspected.
But I will say, however, speaking for my friends in the law enforcement community, in Customs and other departments, these officials are tremendously over-burdened and over-worked and they need all the support that all of us can give them.
What I'd like to suggest, Congressman, because of your great interest and the limitations of time that we do have, is that I come to see you and sit down and talk through all of this on a pretty sustained basis.
Mr. TAYLOR. If you would, respond to the suggestion that we take the attitude with every single Federal employee that the military has taken, and that is, ''If you want to work for this Government, you're going to take a drug test, and if you fail that drug test you're going to go find another job.''
Ambassador GELBARD. Let me say that's an area which is not in my area of responsibility, but my personal view is that I wouldn't be opposed to it at all.
Mr. TAYLOR. My question is: why isn't someone in your position or General McCaffrey'sand I have a world of respect for General McCaffreywhy isn't someone saying that that ought to be the policy of the United States of America?
The only way you're going to solve the problem is to cut down on demand, and if you have the largest employer in the United States, which is the United States, saying, ''We're going to drug test our employees,'' you will set a hell of a precedent for the rest of the country.
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Ambassador GELBARD. I defer to General McCaffrey on that, but I am a strong believer in zero tolerance, myself.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Ambassador, if you would get back to me on the shifting of the funds, I'd like to have some details about that, if you don't mind doing that, regarding my first question on the source country funds that were transferred to Haiti.
I am told, Mr. Ambassador, that in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru that there is currently a net increase in the cultivation of coca leaves. Do you know whether or not that's an accurate statement?
Ambassador GELBARD. Certainly there is not in Bolivia. In Peru I believe there was over last year, which is why we're pressing the Peruvians so much. And there was in Colombia.
As of the beginning of this year, we are not yet, obviously, aware of the effect of the Colombian eradication campaign.
Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama are the only countries which have agreed to use aerial herbicides spraying coca and opium poppies and marijuana. We are encouraging that because it is the most cost-effective way to deal with this problem.
As you have seen in the press, what the Colombia government has been faced with is leftist guerrillas supporting cultivation of coca. As the Colombian authorities, as the Colombian police have tried to go through their eradication program, which is 100 percent supported by us financially, they have been meeting armed resistance, they have been losing lives and they have been having helicopters and aircraft that are actually on loan from us shot down.
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We feel that, at least in that the area of eradication, we have seen good results on the part of the Colombian government, due also to good political will.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador.
Senator Grassley has joined us again. Senator Grassley?
Mr. GRASSLEY. First of all, Mr. Ambassador, I think you need to be complimented, and I suppose that you'll die of shock if you get a compliment from this side of the aisle. But, anyway, we want to thank you very much for your efforts to make the certification process a very serious effort, and I think you've done that, and I think you need to be told and told publicly.
My question deals with some legislation I introduced, and I presume that you have not, nor do I expect you to have read my legislation, but, generally speaking, what I'm doing is, after a third year that a President has denied certification to a country, that there would be one of any 10 sanctions that wouldfive are in existing law, and I would add five others to the lawthat he would have to impose at least one of those sanctions, at least one of the 10, a third year that he was unable to certify.
And so I don't ask you to comment on the specifics of my legislation, but do you support having the United States take a stronger hand with other countries against drug trafficking, including the possibility of having to impose sanctions against a country that has not done enough to halt the international trafficking of drugs?
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Ambassador GELBARD. Well, Senator, we feel, and I personally feel, that the certification process has been one of the most useful tools we have had. When I got into this job, I felt, ''This is the law and we should use this law in constructive ways.''
As I was just mentioning earlier, we have a very effective example of how we used the threat of decertification to turn around Bolivia in terms of its eradication performance. We have seen other examples around the world.
We have found that the threat of sanctions, the ability to use the leverage that the law provides, can be extremely effective.
This very afternoon I'm going to be meeting with the Colombian Charge to talk about progress, or lack of progress, and they understand very clearly, as our ambassador has made quite explicit in numerous occasions, that the threat of economic sanctions hangs out there, and therefore we want to continue to use the kinds of authorities that we have to exact better performance.
What I would like to suggest, Senatoryou and I have talked about these issues beforewe'd very much like to work with you and your colleagues on the certification law and on the legislation that you have proposed.
Mr. GRASSLEY. I am very glad to have that signal of cooperation. I think, though, for us to do that you would have to give some indicationand could you do this nowof whether or not you think that there isnot necessarily the way I wrote my legislation, but is there some time when the Presidentthat it would be okay for the law the President must take some sort of action against a country, as opposed to the opportunity for an endless period of time of going along without really putting the squeeze on the country?
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Ambassador GELBARD. Well, I haven't studied the legislation. I have read it, but I haven't studied it yet thoroughly.
We have already imposed various kinds of economic sanctions on countries that are decertified, since there are mandatory sanctions that come under the law. There is no asset-sharing, for example, with countries that are decertified.
We vote against countries in the development banks, and that has already meant that at least one loan of the Inter-American Development Bank to Colombia has been refused. We continue to look at the most effective ways to use those potential sanctions.
Mr. GRASSLEY. Do you have a personal view on the legalization of drugs?
Ambassador GELBARD. I am totally opposed to it. And let me say, if I can, at the risk of commenting on a previous witness, I'm not agnostic on this issue. Anybody who has spent any time on this issue can't be agnostic on this issue. I think that's ludicrous, and I think if Dr. Reuter took the trouble to visit Latin America then he might share that same view.
Mr. GRASSLEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, sir.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCThank you, Ambassador, for being with us today.
Ambassador GELBARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Now for our final panel of the day: Rear Admiral Norman T. Saunders, chief, operations, United States Coast Guard; Brian Sheridan, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for enforcement policy and support, United States Department of Defense; Mary Lee Warren, deputy assistant attorney general, criminal division, Department of Justice; Harvey G. Pothier, deputy assistant commissioner, Office of Aviation Operations, United States Customs Service; and, finally, Captain William G. Bozin, assistant deputy director, Office of Supply Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy.
It's good to have you all with us, folks. If you all will take your chairs at the table.
Lady and gentlemen, as I said earlier, we will not hold stop watches upon you all, but if you can stay within the 5- to 10-minute time range, we would be appreciative of that.
Admiral Saunders, why don't you kick it off?
TESTIMONY OF REAR ADMIRAL NORMAN T. SAUNDERS, CHIEF, OPERATIONS, U.S. COAST GUARD; BRIAN SHERIDAN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR DRUG ENFORCEMENT POLICY AND SUPPORT, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; MARY LEE WARREN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE; HARVEY G. POTHIER, DIRECTOR, AIR INTERDICTION DIVISION, OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS, U.S. CUSTOMS SERVICE; AND CAPTAIN WILLIAM G. BOZIN, ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF SUPPLY REDUCTION, OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
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Admiral SAUNDERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members. It's a pleasure to be here and have the opportunity to testify before you today.
Mr. Chairman, I have submitted my written testimony for the record and I will give you some brief summary comments.
I'm representing Admiral Kramek in his role as Commandant of the Coast Guard, and Admiral Kramek had every intention of appearing before this body but was kept from doing so by a death in the family.
The importation of illicit drugs is a grave threat to our national security, and we believe that effective Coast Guard interdiction operations are vital to the security of our Nation, and that those operations support the 1996 National Drug Control Strategy.
The Coast Guard is the lead agency for maritime interdiction and shares lead responsibility for air interdiction with the Customs Service.
In addition to his role as Commandant, Admiral Kramek also serves as the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator, facilitating cooperation among all Federal enforcement agencies.
Additionally, Coast Guard flag officers are assigned as directors of the Joint Interagency Task Forces East and West. These commands coordinate inter-agency interdiction efforts worldwide by fusing intelligence and directing detection and monitoring efforts of drug-smuggling organizations.
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As the only armed service with law enforcement authority, the Coast Guard balances the military capabilities of the Defense Department and the enforcement efforts of other Federal agencies.
Our contribution to the National Drug Control Strategy is primarily focused on goal fourshielding America's air, land, and sea frontiers; and goal fivebreaking foreign and domestic sources of supply.
Our law enforcement mandate is to reduce the supply of drugs bound for the United States by denying particular air, land, and maritime routes in the transit zone to the smugglers.
The transit zone is a 2 million square mile area between the United States and the source countries of South America. The magnitude of drug smuggling in this region is significant. Inter-agency estimates indicate about 780 metric tons of cocaine are produced annually in South America. Approximately two-thirds of this amount is destined for the U.S. market. Virtually all cocaine traffic is transported along the air and maritime routes of the transit zone.
Recent intelligence shows a shift from air transport back to maritime surface routes in the Caribbean. This trend is most likely a result of U.S. source country successes and a perceived lack of maritime enforcement assets in the Caribbean.
About two-thirds of all cocaine is presently shipped via maritime surface modes. I believe that unless a robust transit zone interdiction effort is maintained by the Coast Guard, we will see a flood of cocaine, which will drive prices down, increase purity, and make drug use more pervasive.
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In addition to transit zone interdiction, the Coast Guard supports source country operations. We have HU-25C interceptor aircraft staged in Central America and international training division personnel deployed with the U.S. Marines to conduct riveine training assessments in several key source countries.
Further, Coast Guard law enforcement detachments, or LEDETS, are deployed on U.S. Navy vessels operating along the South American coast.
I'm proud to say that, as we sit here, a LEDET from a Navy ship in the middle of the Caribbean has stopped a fast boat which was observed dumping balesabout 80 bales of what turned out to be cocaineand we're in the process of conducting the boarding and what I hope will be a successful arrest and seizure, even as we speak.
We also conduct combined operations with Naval forces of a growing number of cooperative foreign nations. The Coast Guard has worked closely with the State Department in negotiating bilateral counter-drug agreements with many of our Caribbean neighbors to help foster a unified regional solution to the drug problem.
We've also taken advantage of every potential force multiplier in the region to extend our operational reach, including British and Dutch war ships, which we augment with Coast Guard law enforcement detachments.
Almost 40 percent of our operating budget is dedicated to the overall law enforcement mission, including migrant interdiction and protection of living marine resources, as well as drug law enforcement. However, funding for drug enforcement continues to decline as a result of managing rising operating expenses and a relatively constant budget.
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The consequences are clearly evident in our measures of effectiveness. Resource gaps, particularly in surveillance coverage, could leave our maritime frontiers extremely vulnerable to drug traffic.
Leveraging existing technologies and investing in new sensors are the cornerstone of our future success. The Coast Guard has identified the requisite resources in its annual budget request.
In May, at the Coast Guard Academy graduation, the President pledged that he would ensure that the Coast Guard will receive the tools it needs to get the job done. We will employ those tools to weave a seamless web of interdiction throughout the transit zone to further support the 1996 National Drug Control Strategy.
We need your support if we are to carry out our responsibilities.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to appear before your committee.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Admiral.
I guess it makes no difference. Mr. Sheridan, why don't you start, and then we'll just work the way to my left, if that's okay with you all.
Mr. SHERIDAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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I'm pleased to be here today to discuss the Department of Defense's counter-drug program.
As you know, the drug problem is a very difficult one. It requires both supply and demand solutions. In the Department our job is to support law enforcement as it works on the supply reduction aspect of the problem.
We are constantly exploring new ideas, looking at state-of-the-art DOD systems that may be available to help us, and we believe that, through aggressive management, we are running a cost-efficient, high-impact program focused on law enforcement's needs.
The DOD counter-drug program has five major elements to it, and what I'd like to do is highlight briefly four of those areas. I will leave alone our demand reduction programs unless there are specific questions on that, because that's largely related to drug testing and other issues.
First, in support of the source nation strategy, DOD runs a significant program in South America supporting both U.S. and foreign law enforcement and military with counter-drug responsibilities in the Latin American countries. We particularly focus on Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia.
Our program there has three major focuses: one is C3I support to those forces; the second is supporting them in their interdiction efforts; and third is a significant amount of training that we provide to those forces.
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The results we saw over the last year or year-and-a-half in the source nations we think have been very dramatic. With the utilization of four ground-based radars, E-3s, P-3s, E-2s, and other platforms, we provided critical help to the Colombian and Peruvian air forces as they have made a significant impact on the flow of semi-finished cocaine from Peru to Colombia.
Those air forces, supported by the Department of Defense and Customs, primarily, either shot down or destroyed on the ground some 35 aircraft in 1995. This caused the price of coca base in Peru to plummet, farmers to abandon their fields, and some cocaine boom towns to be emptied.
The number of flights in the area decreased from approximately 500 a year down to about 150.
It has forced the traffickers largely out of the air onto the ground and onto rivers, and we are currently now working with them on trying to get a handle on the flow of both precursor chemicals and coca products on the rivers, which, of course, is a massive challenge, given the enormity of the Amazon River system.
SOUTHCOM has supported these programs through Operation Green Clover and currently Operation Laser Strike. We're seeing unprecedented cooperation both with us and between the nations in the region.
Moving to the transit zone, our responsibility there is to provide detection and monitoring support to law enforcement, both to U.S. law enforcement and to the host nations in the Caribbean and Central America.
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Our system is chiefly designed to look at the air traffic problemin particular, general aviation aircraft. We have moved to a system that focuses on flexible and mobile systems and away from fixed assets.
What we've seen over the last year or two is a dramatic change in the nature of the trafficking activity, as Admiral Saunders mentioned; a precipitous decline in the use of general aviation by traffickers, down some 63 percent over the last couple of years; and an increase in maritime smuggling, and that is the use of both cargo containers and non-commercial ships.
We believe that we have had a very effective program there, and we will continue to support law enforcement and to respond to the changing trafficking patterns in the Caribbean.
Third, we have a very robust program here at home supporting domestic law enforcement. We have a significant program with the National Guard. We also have a significant program with our active duty, particularly focused on the southwest border. We run a string of aerostats along the southwest border to deny traffickers the ability to cross our border from Mexico. We have a robust R&D program. And we run a very aggressive program to provide excess equipment to law enforcement.
The fourth major component of our program is the intelligence support that we provide to law enforcement, particularly the DEA and the FBI, as they seek to understand better how cocaine organizations are structured and then take them down.
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I think we do some of our most cost-effective work in that area, and we'd prefer, if we want to talk about that aspect in more detail, that we do so in a more suitable session.
I would simply conclude by noting the drug problem is a long-term one. DOD has been willing to aggressively focus its resources to support law enforcement, and we think we run a very cost-effective program and we're achieving a maximum operational impact.
Thank you very much. I look forward to your questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Sheridan.
Ms. WARREN. Chairman Coble, Chairman Grassley, Congressman Clement, Congressman Taylor, and other members of the committee, first, with the committee's permission, I offer my full statement for the record, the written version.
My comments today will focus on that part of the Department of Justice's counter-narcotics work that bears most directly on your questions of interdiction. Of course, this represents only a portion of the broad spectrum of DOJ's counter-narcotics efforts.
I thank you for this opportunity to speak before you today.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAlthough the Department of Justice, for the most part, does not have first-line responsibility for interdiction activities, we, of course, strongly support the fully-integrated approach of the 1996 national drug control strategy in which interdiction is an essential element, along with vigorous law enforcement and strong education, prevention, and treatment programs.
The Department of Justice, through main Justice, the U.S. Attorneys, the FBI, the DEA, and the other components, plays the leading role in the development and implementation of the domestic and international narcotics law enforcement portions of the 1996 drug control strategy.
The Department's drug law enforcement strategy targets the most significant drug traffickers and seeks to disrupt and dismantle the infrastructures of those major trafficking groupsthose that are responsible for the greatest volumes of drugs and the greatest volume of violence in our communities.
Thus, our enforcement efforts most correctly fit within goal five of the national drug control strategyto break foreign and domestic drug sources of supply.
Over the last 3 years, the Justice Department has coordinated Federal narcotics enforcement on all fronts, starting in source nations. Most recently, for example, the Department has provided information that has led to the arrest of the cartel leaders and evidence that has been used in the prosecution of those cartel kingpins.
In the transit countries, for example, after Mexico's arrest and expulsion of alleged drug lord Juan Garcia Abrego, a U.S. investigation/prosecution team will begin the Garcia Abrego trial in Houston on Monday. The Garcia Abrego case, an OCDETF case is part of the Nation's coordinated multi-district strategy to fight crime and drugs along the southwest border.
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Finally, the Department is attacking the traffickers at home by dismantling entire domestic drug-dealing organizations, from the kingpins to the street dealers, and by putting more police officers on the streets to reduce the violence in our neighborhoodsthe violence often attributable to drug-related activities.
By all accounts, violent crime is down and these anti-violent-crime efforts are serving to prove their worth.
Even while the Department's focus remains on those larger, more-complex, labor-intensive prosecutions of criminal organizations, Federal prosecutors have filed 3 percent more drug cases in 1995 than in 1992, according to the statistics provided by our Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, as was mentioned earlier by Congressman Clement.
Our approach uses sophisticated investigative techniques, labor-intensive ones like court-authorized wiretaps. Our numbers of wiretaps in narcotics cases has doubled between 1991 and 1995, and it is anticipated that 1996 will far exceed 1995's numbers. Most of those are, as I say, narcotics cases.
The Justice Department continues to devote substantial resources to drug prosecutions. Since 1993, we have charged approximately 75,000 defendants with drug offenses, and there are now over 50,000 convicted drug felons in Federal prisonmore than 60 percent of the total Federal inmate population, the largest number in history.
These represent increased numbers with criminal records sentenced to longer periods of time, all reflecting greater volumes of drugs, all suggesting that we are going after the most serious offenders.
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With regard to our enforcement efforts in support of interdiction, again, although we don't bear the first-line responsibility for the most part in interdiction, the Department of Justice, nevertheless, provides important support to the agencies and departments more directly involved in detection and monitoring and interdicting the international movement of narcotics. Support activities of the Department include offering the ready resources of our senior DEA and FBI agents overseas, as well as Justice Department attorneys in those offices; providing legislative reform drafts to host nations, most recently to Colombia in money laundering and asset forfeiture, for example, to Mexico in court-authorized wiretaps.
We work in training host nation law enforcement authorities, investigators, prosecutors, and judges.
We work to facilitate fugitive rendition, extradition, deportation, expulsion, and respond to requests for information and evidence from cooperating host nations.
The Department at home aggressively prosecutes all major international drug trafficking cases over which the United States can assert jurisdiction. Would that we could bring all those who cause great harm to our communities through the drug trade into the United States and before our courts.
Frequently the cases that we are able to prosecute result from the dedicated cooperative and collaborative efforts of several agencies, many that are represented on this panel, as well as the supportive efforts of other U.S. agencies and our State and local, as well as foreign, counterparts.
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With the Coast Guard, for example, a recent illustration is the ''Nataly I,'' reported in my statement, in which the Coast Guard boarded a Panamanian-flagged vessel off Peru on the consent of the master. There was reason to suspect that there was cocaine aboard. Later they towed that vessel to San Diego and found 12 tons of cocaine aboard.
We have now convicted all 10 Colombians on board that vessel. The story is not yet complete, and we are continuing.
For border interdiction, in the last 3 years the INS border patrol, in the course of its work, has seized over $4.7 billion in drugs, a 38 percent increase over the 3 prior years. That represents almost 20,000 drug seizures.
And as an example of one border district's work, in the Southern District of Californiathat's San Diegofelony drug prosecutions doubled between 1994 and 1995.
One of our most important efforts is the southwest border initiative, bringing together the investigators of DEA, FBI, prosecutors from main Justice and the U.S. Attorney's office, United States Customs Service, and State and local, we have targeted the major Mexican drug organizations attempting to import coke, methamphetamine and marijuana, and other drugs across the border. A recent example of our successes there is Operation Zorro II, reported in my statement and the Administrator's statement.
Approximately 130 individuals have been charged and nearly 5,600 kilos ofcocaine were seized. In the course of that investigation, we were able to dismantle those within thestructures within the United States of the organization from Colombia that supplied the cocaine and the organization from Mexico that was responsible for transporting it across our border.
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If I can speak very briefly on imposing sanctions against international drug traffickers, Ambassador Gelbard spoke briefly of our IEEPA effort. I would just like to bring home what that effort has meant under the International Economic Emergency Powers Act.
We have included leaders of the Cali Cartel and about 300 of their front companies and stooges who work on their behalf on a list of specified narcotics traffickers. Their assets within the United States have been frozen, and all U.S. persons and corporations are forbidden from dealing with them in any financial way or trade way.
This has had a ripple effect within Colombia so that the Colombia banks and Colombia businesses will no longer deal with these individuals.
It is a very powerful weapon used in an innovative way. The fear of being added to the list of specified narcotics traffickers and those who offer them aid and assistance has caused financial institutions and businesses in the U.S. and Colombia to treat these kingpins as pariahs, and thus have diminished enormously their ability to extract their wealth from the corporate assets that they had thought they had put beyond law enforcement's hands.
We work on fostering effective extradition relationships
Mr. COBLE. Ms. Warren, pardon me. I'm not muzzling you, but if you can sort of wrap up before longwe, of course, will read all of your testimony, but if you can wind down pretty soon, Ms. Warren.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMs. WARREN. Thank you, sir. I will.
We work on those extradition relationships, and I point you to our recent successes.
Finally, I would like to point to methamphetamine and precursor control. We know and have worked hard in presenting the Department's proposals to the Senate and the House, and now there are bills before both chambers in the methamphetamine area.
We are encouraged that these bills are pending and that they combine suggestions from our proposals for tougher penalties and new authorities that can allow us to take an aggressive stance against this growing threat to the U.S. public.
Thank you again for this opportunity to give you this brief overview. Again, these are just some of the Department's efforts in narcotics enforcement and how they bear on interdiction.
We believe that there must be a balanced approach that does not pit the demand side against the supply side, but recognizes them as complementary efforts.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Ms. Warren.
Captain Bozin, it's good to have you with us.
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Captain BOZIN. Thank you. It's my pleasure to be here. Thank you for allowing me to testify, Mr. Chairman.
I would ask that my written remarks be submitted for the record.
It is an honor to be here this afternoon and represent General Barry McCaffrey, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He would sincerely like to be here but, as was discussed earlier, he had some prior obligations which he felt it was important to keep.
Nonetheless, on behalf of General McCaffrey, I want to acknowledge the leadership of both the House subcommittee and the Senate caucus on this issue and underscore the director's satisfaction with being able to work with you in these anti-drug efforts.
It is important to note at the outset, as Ms. Warren just said and others have earlier, that interdiction is one important component of a much broader national drug control strategy. It is a vital component, but it goes hand-in-hand with our prevention efforts to get youth to reject drugs, to provide treatment, and to reduce the societal cost of drug usage in this country.
Quite often discussions on interdiction focus almost exclusively on transit zone interdiction. It's heartening to know, after listening to the testimony today, that those who have testified and the committee members certainly see this as a much broader issue. Interdiction is conducted across the entire spectrum of drug operations, from the source nation through the transit zone and at our borders.
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We've also discussed the so-called ''source nation'' strategy. I would just like to review that that strategy, developed in 1993, does have, in fact, three critical core components: one, it seeks to create and strengthen host nation institutions; secondly, it targets the leadership of the powerful drug cartels; and, third, it calls for, in the area of interdiction, a gradualand I underscore ''gradual''shift in focus from the transit zone to the source nations.
We suggest this was the right policy decision at the time it was made and that it remains an effective international strategy today.
A lot of the results have been reviewed earlier, and I won't belabor them, but certainly targeting the leadership from the seven kingpins of the Cali Cartel to Juan Garcia Abrego, about to stand trial, as well as many second-tier kingpins, just below him, who have been recently captured and jailed in Mexico is important.
Jose Castrillon Henao, and now his number two, who was recently captured, show that we have been seriously and effectively chasing and incarcerating the leadership that we face.
In the transit zone, we must continue our operations. As Admiral Saunders said and Mr. Sheridan, they continue to be robust in the transit zone. They're smarter. They are effective. And certainly we are focused now on intelligence-cued operations so that we cannot merely patrol the open oceans and airways, but we develop intelligence so that we can then target these movements by air, by sea, as they make their preparations, and then as they get underway.
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This is a long way from what was going on back in the late 1980s when, with impunity, single-engine small aircraft flew through the Caribbean to the shores of Florida, operating just under the big sky or big ocean theory that they wouldn't run into a Coast Guard or Customs or DOD pursuit plane or ship.
We have, in essence, driven them to do other things. They no longer use the primary corridor through the central Caribbean. They have been pushed to the perimeter towards the eastern Caribbean, toward Mexico and the eastern Pacific, as we have forced them to take measures to become more sophisticated and use more costly methods of transporting their illicit trade.
Sometimes we focus too much on just the seizures in one portion of the area. I do have a chart, which was included in your packet and which is being displayed now on the easel. At the top you see the estimate for worldwide production potential. Then, if you start from the bottom, you can see the U.S. seizures over the years. That is 1990 on the left, and ends with 1995 on the right.
[The chart supplied follows:]
Capt. BOZIN. U.S. seizures have been in the range of 100 to 120 tons per year. The non-U.S. seizures are put on top of that. The rest is available for use. Some is going to Europe, some is not finding its way to market. But that's the total of the problem.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWhat that graph does show is the consistency of the effort, both within the U.S. and worldwide, and it is a collaborative effort, and it's a tougher effort these days as the adversary is increasingly well-heeled, highly-motivated, and getting more sophisticated. So the efforts of the Customs Service, the Coast Guard, DOD were able to maintain a relatively level keel in seizing about one-third of the cocaine which is potentially coming to market.
That's not the only measure of success, and I don't mean to indicate that.
We've talked about many of the other indicators of success here today. Just to review briefly, in Mexico General McCaffrey certainly feels that we have seen a demonstration of commitment at the upper levels of the Mexican government. President Zedillo, Attorney General Lizanohonest, determined, committed men who really are trying to root out the corruption as it appears in their government.
You are probably well aware of the recent firing of over 1,200 federal police officials by the attorney general. They've criminalized money laundering. They are arresting significant traffickers. And they are working with us in the high-level contact group headed by General McCaffrey.
We've seen in Peru and Colombia the determination that, as Secretary Gelbard said, eradication has been a point of contention. We're finally beginning to make progress, but no one would dispute the commitment of President Fujimori to conduct aggressive interdiction operations which have resulted in the shoot-down of over 30 planes in the last 2 years, many with our assistance.
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In Colombia, we know the problems at the top of their government, but certainly what has been going on in the Colombia National Police, led by a true hero, General Seranno, what the military is now doing results in the effects we are now seeing of trying to put pressure on these countries so that they will bring their own internal pressure to bear on this problem.
I don't think it was mentioned earlierthe extent of the recent Colombian army operations throughout their country. They have started, within the last several months, aggressive operations to stop the production and growing of cocaine and coca. This has resulted now, tragically, in armed confrontation with the FARC. The revolutionary FARC has been around for many years, but they have not been quite so active, but it appears clear to us that, because of the aggressive actions of the Colombian government, and the army in particular, they have now got the peasants to rise up, first peacefully and now in armed confrontation, which has led to more than 40 deaths of Colombian police and soldiers in the last month.
So we're seeing demonstrations of their willthe success which Mr. Sheridan alluded to, Laser Strike, Operation Green Cloverwhich has, in fact, resulted in the air bridge being cut backand some other significant successes.
We're also at the border, as Ms. Warren said. We've got aggressive new programs with more peopleover 1,500 new agents hopefully coming up this yearafter recent increases. So we don't mean to ignore our borders, as well. The Southwest border, in particular, and Puerto Rico, are the focus of our attention.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSo, in summary, Mr. Chairman, we intend to keep the pressure on in interdiction. It's our collective actions, from the source to the transit zone and up, which are beginning to show the fruits of our labors.
I ask, finally, that the Congress consider funding fully the President's drug control budget for this year. It is, as it looks now, perhaps going to be several hundred million dollars short.
In particular, I would just underscore his drug initiative, his $250 million initiative which was put forward in March and which the Congress said it intended to fund here in the 1997 budget deliberations.
We look forward to that. That full funding, especially for Ambassador Gelbard's bureau of INL, will really help us to continue our efforts to keep up the momentum and to do more.
In the end, interdiction, like the rest of our program, is about kids, it's about keeping drugs off our streets, and we are successfully working with our allies to keep, as you can see, 250 to 300 tons of cocaine off of our streets. That's a lot of cocaine to keep out of the hands of our kids. That's the essence of our effort. That's what we're committed to.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear here this afternoon.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMr. COBLE. Captain, as you know, the past reductions in the previous Congress can't be resolved instantaneously.
Captain BOZIN. Yes, sir.
Mr. COBLE. But I'm aware of the problem. Thank you, Captain.
Mr. POTHIER. Mr. Chairman, Senator Grassley, Congressman Taylor, on behalf of Commissioner Weise, I thank you for the opportunity to appear today.
In the interest of time, with the committee's permission, I'll submit the full statement for the record.
As this Nation's principal border narcotics interdiction agency, Customs faces the daunting task of confronting Mexican and other trafficking organizations along the 2,000-mile U.S. border with Mexico.
We address these challenges, while each year we simultaneously process the 2.8 million trucks, 84 million cars, and over 230 million people who transit the 38 ports of entry between Bronwsville, Texas, and California.
To put this traffic in perspective, each day over 7,000 trucks cross our border between Mexico into the United States.
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These tasks we accomplish with a staff of only 1,800 inspection employees along this 2,000-mile front.
Mr. Chairman, we began to witness a dramatic increase in drug smuggling on the southwest border during fiscal year 1995 over the levels of fiscal year 1994. Narcotics seizures rose 22 percent, while the amount of drugs seized in poundage rose 24 percent, a 19 percent increase in cocaine, a 108 percent increase in heroin seizures, and a 25 percent increase in marijuana seizures.
To counter this escalating threat, we developed a long-term strategy which focused on truck x-rays and other technological means to be used to permanently harden our interdiction and investigative efforts at the ports of entry.
In February of 1995, Commissioner Weise announced the concept of Operation HARD LINE. The major operational components of HARD LINE focus on smuggling in vehicles and commercial cargo, as well as investigative and intelligence support.
We proceeded on many fronts. We remodeled four facilities with deterrent devices against port runners, such as pneumatic, hydraulic, and stationary bollards, jersey barriers, and the tire-deflating devices.
We picked up the pace of inspections using behavior analysis and block blitzes, and we applied technological means which consisted of truck x-rays, mobile and pallet x-rays, laser range-finders, and fiber optic scopes.
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The President's fiscal year 1997 budget request includes $65 million to continue HARD LINE initiatives, and we solicit this committee's and the caucus' support to fund this budget request.
Mr. Chairman, the U.S. Customs Service is now taking the Operation HARD LINE to the next levels. The most visible indicator that HARD LINE is making an impact on the southwest border is the recent increase in smuggling activity in the eastern Caribbean area, particularly around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Customs, as part of HARD LINE II along with the government of Puerto Rico, is implementing Operation Gateway. This initiative encompasses all areas of interdiction, including expanded marine and air enforcement, heightened cargo examination, outbound initiativesboth international and continental U.S.and expanded small vessel searches.
It also calls for the use of enhanced technology, additional inspection and investigative support, and the resources necessary for a more effective interdiction strategy.
The number of U.S. Customs emforcement personnel assigned to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be increased by nearly 100 positions, which will include inspectors, additional pilots, special agents, and marine enforcement officers, as well as intelligence analysts.
We are also conducting covert and overt enforcement and intelligence operations to combat international money laundering. Investigations are pursued by targeting violators at the highest possible level and dismantling their financial infrastructure and systems used to move illicit proceeds.
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We'll also address the issues of off-shore banking and the movement of electronic money by dedicating special agents to operate in the financial banking and electronic money sector.
A multi-faceted approach will be used in cooperation with industry and other regulatory and enforcement agencies to develop regulations and enforcement programs which will be designed to deter electronic money laundering, while not impeding the flow of legitimate capital.
The Customs Service believes strongly in new technology. Current equipment ranges from the hand-held portable contraband detector known as the ''buster,'' which was recently instrumental in the detection of 44 pounds of heroin in a car, to the truck x-ray system on the California border, which contributed to over 2,800 pounds of drug seizures thus far this fiscal year.
Our current development efforts emphasize x-ray systems to examine vehicles, containers, and fully-loaded cargo pallets; a new generation of smaller and affordable drug vapor and particle detectors to improve our remote sensing capability; as well as electronic systems and devices to expand and speed the flow of information about vehicles and cargo, as well as persons arriving at our ports; and even low-tech equipment, if it will help to get the job done better.
In many of these development areas, we're assisted by the funding and resources of the Department of Defense, for which we are very grateful, in addition to the 190 National Guard personnel who help us inspect the cargo.
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Mr. Chairman, Operations HARD LINE and Gateway build on the narcotic interdiction programs implemented by Customs over the last two decades and supplement them with new techniques and new technology.
Thank you, again, for the opportunity to appear today before the subcommittee.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Pothier.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, let me begin by saying that, on behalf of yourselves, because people that you are representing todayI realize that overall you're doing the best you can with the system that is in place and that you're literally overwhelmed in what you're trying to do.
But, again, I will ask the same questions that I asked of the ambassador.
There are some incredibly serious disconnects in the American drug policy. We have, as said beforeas the captain mentioned, teams on the ground, riverine operations, E3s, P3s, things I can't talk about. And yet I was told by a DEA man in Colombia that nobody bothers to look inside the cut flowers, as I said up here; that there is an island off the coast of ColombiaI want to say the name is San Luciathat is literally owned by the drug barons, and that commercial flights are flying out of there to Mexico and the cocaine is shipped over land from Mexico, mixed in with legitimate cargoes.
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There are so many incredible disconnects. Why don't, for one, we start with the national policy that we know worked in the military that says, ''If you want to work for this Nation you're going to submit to drug tests and you're not going to use your Federal paycheck to go buy drugs?''
The private sector does it. Why can't we, as a Nation, do it? And why won't the Administration ask for it? It's got to start at the top. There are 435 Congressmen. There is only one President.
The second thing is, the best analogy I can think of is we're literally swatting flies with a sledge hammer. The commandant's folks are out there, the Navy is out there, the Air Force is out there, the Army is out there using AWACS, and then we turn around and place ourI went in Colombia to a place called Laticia. There was one Colombian aircraft, and he would not even fly at night. So we had about approximately 60 Americans on the ground manning a radar site to pass the information on to one Colombian pilot who couldn't even fly at night.
I think the drug dealers were aware of this. I don't think I'm giving away any national secrets.
It just doesn't make any sense at all.
Mr. Customs Man, there are, by your own admission, several million 40-foot cargo containers a year coming into this country, and you look into less than 1 percent of them. My goodness. Why even bother with a Piper cub? Just put it on SeaLand, put it on any of the 40-foot containers that are coming in by the millions a year. Nobody is even looking. Why send the 40-foot boats out there? We're worried about a guy in a sailboat with a 50-pound bale. You could put 40,000 pounds in a container and the chances are 99 to 1 that no one is even going to look in the container.
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We've got some serious flaws in our policy. What are we going to do to correct it?
I will open it up to the panel.
Captain BOZIN. I'll just respond first, Mr. Congressman.
Certainly at times it feels to all of us like swatting flies without a fly swatter and it's very difficult. I think Ambassador Gelbard was correct that the key to our international programs is eradication. You can get it there, you know where the fields are. I know you personally know, as we do collectively. That's the key.
But it is difficult to bring the other players to the table. It has been in the case of Peru.
Finally, with a lot of good, hard diplomatic work and an understanding that that is the central focus, I think Ambassador Gelbard, as the leader of that effort, has made great progress.
We have seen successbecause we have pushed the other countries and we have been successful in getting Colombia, Mexico, and Bolivia to engage in eradication in meaningful numbersnot sufficient yet, but meaningfuland we're trying to improve that. I think that's got to be the key.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBut until we get to that point, we are doing our best, and at the Office of National Drug Control Policy we take, as one of our charters, the need to conduct the best coordination of the comprehensive efforts of the many agencies which you've seen here and you've heard from, and other ones that are not even represented.
But we feel that the focus on the source nation, as difficult as that is, is necessary. If we can bring more pressure to bear, strengthen further their institutions, give them more equipment so they can fly at night, they will be more effective in what they're doing. I would say that as an overall policy we're still headed in the right direction. It's a daunting task. We're going to do the best we can and argue for the right proportion of resources, because I certainly don't have to tell the committee members, and we understand fully the pull for resources in different ways.
We are trying to achieve a balance in our strategy so that the $15 billion is applied appropriately throughout the range of prevention, treatment, international, and interdiction programs.
Mr. POTHIER. If I might, I'd like to address the specific issues of the flowers and the cargo containers.
We recognized early on the difficultly of trying to direct host nations governments to inspect flowers or other cargo that might be departing from their countries.
As an alternative, one of the initiatives we instituted, which we have found to be fairly successful, we entered into an agreement with airlines that, under the threat of penalty, if they didn't self-police the cargo shipments from these nations to the United States then they would have a shared responsibility. And, to a large extent, the airlines have become more responsiblenot totally, depending on which airline we were dealing with, but the U.S. carriers certainly have.
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With regard to containers, the solution is certainly technological needs, and that translates into dollarslots of dollars.
By way of example, one truck x-ray cargo unit that I described earlier costs $3 million. With the help of DOD, this year we have been able to buy five of those units, and that will help us along the southwest border.
We don't have the means technologically yet to do the cargo containers that we're talking about. We need the funding to be able to do that, and that's a very expensive prospect. But it's labor-intensive when you consider the four million containers that I talked about earlier. And, to put that in perspective, in the Miami seaport, alone, for example, on average, there were just under a half a million containers that come in.
In Puerto Rico at San Juan there is an exchange on a monthly basis of about 18,000 containers between the domestic United States and Puerto Rico, and an additional 50,000 come into Puerto Rico from the international arenaan inordinate task to try to be able to inspect these containers and determine what contraband might be inside.
It's really a funding issue.
Captain BOZIN. I'll respond to the mandatory drug testing question, as well, Congressman.
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There currently is a program within the Federal Government. We currently test those people in sensitive positions. They are then in testing-designated positions, so those employees do get tested before they come into the employment of the Government. They are then subject to random urinalysis throughout their tenure.
Supreme Court decisions have limited the scope of testing for all employees in a blanket way, and the Federal program that exists today is consistent with that opinion.
We would be happy to provide you with a more in-depth briefing, if you would like.
Mr. TAYLOR. Captain, if I may follow up on that. I would find it just totally out of the realm of any logical thought that this Nation does not have the right to test its employees to see if they're doing something illegal.
Now, if it takes legislation, that needs to be done. But the President has the bully pulpit, the great General McCaffrey has the bully pulpit. No one has ever doubted particularly General McCaffrey's patriotism and what he wants to do with the country.
But unless you go after demand you guys are wasting your time and the efforts of those fine young people who are flying the airplanes, manning the boats, inspecting the luggage as we speak.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCIt's got to start with the Administration. I'm one of 435 Congressmen, but there is only one President. And if the President says, ''This is what we're going to do as a Nation,'' I guarantee you it would get done.
Captain BOZIN. Congressman, I would say that General McCaffrey feels strongly that the solution to this problem is in the end demand. Absolutely, positively, he's trying to re-invigorate our prevention efforts. And until we get to that point where we can be totally successful in dissuading our youth and our citizens to disdain or keep away from drugs, we're going to have to keep our other programs in place and supportive of that goal, but that is really where the solution lies. That's his feeling. We'll continue to work in that area.
Mr. POTHIER. If I might address the drug testing issue, each of our 6,400-plus inspectors and over 3,500 special agents in Customs are subject to random annual drug testing. We have a very rigorous program.
Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, Mr. Chairman, just one last question.
I would like to pass onin February I had the opportunity to visit with the new president of Nicaragua, a very fine lady, who brought to my attention that on her entire Atlantic coast she did not have a single vessel available for drug interdiction, mostly because the country is just dead broke as a result of that terrible civil war there.
Do you think some of you could find something that no American community wants that possibly we could transfer to the Nicaraguans to make available?
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOne of the things she did emphasize is that they are so incredibly broke as a result of that war they do not need a gas guzzler. They need to establish a presence on the Caribbean coast, but they don't need to be spending all their money on fuel.
I'll pass it on to the folks. I think you can take care of that.
Mr. POTHIER. We'll note that and look into that, sir.
Mr. COBLE. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Tennessee?
Mr. CLEMENT. Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Taylor.
Admiral Saunders, please explain why the Coast Guard has spent less on drug interdiction efforts than actually requested in the President's budget, especially in fiscal years 1992 through 1994.
Admiral SAUNDERS. Mr. Clement, I've got to tell you that I was afraid you'd ask that question because the budget people have been trying to tell meexplain to me how we put the budget together, and that is beyond my understanding. But let me respond to that more directly.
I am aware that those years show a decline in drug spending, and I'm going to talk about the actual rather than what we've asked for.
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In the early part of that time, the draw-down was because the Department of Defense clearly took the lead in detection and monitoring and we transferred to them some of the resources that we had been using in our interdiction role that were detection and monitoring pieces of gearspecifically, the sea-based aerostats, the E2Cs, the EC130 V. So, those things went out of our operating expense budget, and therefore there was a decline there.
In fiscal year 1994, we had a directed reduction of drug-specificof drug-unique resources and decommissioned a ship and three surface effect ships, as well as some of our HU25 interceptor aircraft that had been devoted to air interdiction. That also resulted in a decline of actual expenditures.
And it is also important to note that in the fiscal year 1992 through 1994 time frame we were very, very heavily involved in an active Haitian migration crisis, which was followed in fiscal year 1994 by the very heavy outpouring of Haitians and then Cubans, and we had a tremendous number of Coast Guard assets that were devoted to that.
Thus, because of the multi-mission nature of this organization, those assets were taken away from the drug business.
So, though we had asked for a certain level of appropriation, we weren't able to spend the money that way because of national priorities directing us to respond to a more-humanitarian mission.
Mr. CLEMENT. Admiral, what percentage of our drug interdiction or interruption episodes are the result of intelligence, and what percentage is the result of a random boarding of a ship?
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Admiral SAUNDERS. Mr. Clement, I don't have that information in front of me, but I'd be delighted to get that answer to you. I don't have it available.
I will add that the case I spoke of earlier is fairly typical of the kind of cold hit. The one that we're working right now is not as the result of any intelligence but as a result of a sighting by that ship being on patrol.
Mr. CLEMENT. Please submit it for the record, then.
Admiral SAUNDERS. Yes, sir, I shall.
[The information received follows:]
Intelligence is a fundamental component of the Coast Guard's interdiction program. Intelligence information and sources are used to identify high threat areas in which air and surface assets are staged, as well as specific targets of interest to be intercepted. Intelligence, therefore, has a significant role in almost all operational planning decisions. The Coast Guard cannot afford to conduct random patrols.
By current measures, intelligence contributes to approximately seventy percent of successful drug seizures by volume, and an estimated fifty percent of all Coast Guard drug seizures.
Mr. CLEMENT. Ms. Warren, I know you heard me ask some questions of Mr. Walters this morning, and particularly about the statement that indicates that Federal prosecutors filed 3 percent more drug cases in 1995 than they did in 1992.
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How do you reconcile this apparently conflicting testimony?
Ms. WARREN. We have sought within the Department, working with our Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys within the department and the Administrative Office for U.S. Courts on the other side, to reconcile those figures.
The best that I might offer at the moment is that the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts seeks to justify theirto look at their work years, looks also to our U.S. magistrates' courts that handle misdemeanors. Our statistics include solely the felonies.
Our felony filings are 3 percent greater than previous years, and it's the felony drug offenses that are treated in Federal court and would include the major traffickers that we focus upon. That's the only explanation I can give for the slight difference in figures.
May I add, however, that the raw data, alone, is not the best indicator. There will be fewer in number of prosecutions if we are aiming at dismantling organizations requiring intensive law enforcement techniques like wiretaps, where the top of the pyramid may very well be insulated, and only through that kind of intensive work can we uncover the leadership role and be able to bring a compelling prosecution.
In some way we need to look at the quality of the prosecutions and the effect of getting those people and their organizations off the streets.
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Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Sheridan, Lamar Alexander has advocated the idea of creating a new branch of the military to handle all border-related issues. Do you think that's a good idea?
Mr. SHERIDAN. I think that three is quite enough. I think they probably think so, also.
No, I don't think that's a very good idea. Our view is that the drug law enforcement mission is, first and foremost, one for law enforcement. We're there to provide support to them. We are well aware that we have unique assets and resources in the Department of Defense. We're happy to make that available. But no, we're not interested in creat any newfangled service on the leading edge of drug law enforcement. We think the responsibilities are aligned correctly as they currently are.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Clement.
Admiral, has the overall quantity of illicit narcotics intercepted by the Coast Guard over the past 3 years decreased as drug enforcement patrol hours for cutters and aircraft decreased?
Admiral SAUNDERS. Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman, it has. In fiscal year 1992 through 1994, as our patrol hours for drugs went down, almost in direct correlation our seizures went down.
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Mr. COBLE. Well, that leads me to this question, then, Admiral: what is your response to critics of drug interdiction who have called our interdiction efforts an ineffectual use of public funds?
Admiral SAUNDERS. Mr. Chairman, I think that the problem that we face with drugs in this Nation requires a balanced approach. I believe we need to attack the drugs at the sourceclearly, that's the more simple end of the problembefore they spread out.
We need to do some things in our own country so that our citizens don't use drugs and aren't inclined to use drugs and actually see some hope so that they are not tempted to use drugs.
In the meantime, until those parts of this strategy become successful, I think it's absolutely critical that we keep a robust interdiction presence to stop the flow.
But, Mr. Chairman, I would hasten to add that I will not sit at this table before you and tell you that interdiction can ever stop drugs coming to the United States.
The chart over there, despite a very, very robust effort and some of the best, most-dedicated people, and some of the best equipment in the world, hasn't been able to do more than 300 tons or 250 tons over a 5-year period displayed on that chart.
We need to do some things in the source and with the demand side while we hold the line in the interdiction and the transit zone.
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Mr. COBLE. Well, I don't disagree, Admiral. I think it probably would be physically impossible to assure ourselves that we could intercept all shipments, but I do come down very solidly on the side of interdiction.
I'm not disregarding balance, gentlemen and lady. Balance is a key to most of our problems. But I would weigh more heavily toward interdiction, I guess, than other avenues that are pursued.
Mr. Sheridan, the Coast Guardthe number of Coast Guard law enforcement detachments serving aboard Navy vessels has been reduced in recent years. Does the Department of Defense generally believe that the Coast Guard law enforcement detachments which serve aboard Navy vessels in the transit zones, do they regard that as an effective use of the military in drug interdiction?
Mr. SHERIDAN. We regard it as effective. What I think we've seen over the last several years is a change in our overall force mix and how we go about doing business in the transit zone.
Right now we're heavily relying and have been very successful with over-the-horizon radars and some of the other technologies that we've brought on-line. We use less ships and we fly some fewer flight hours.
So with significantly fewer resources than we had asked for in the earlier years, we're having to make do the best we can.
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But no, we think that Coast Guard LEDETS can be very helpful.
Mr. COBLE. Ms. Warren, last springMay, I think, but in some recent weeks agothere was a report in the Los Angeles ''Times'' that indicated that U.S. Attorney's Offices had been unwilling to prosecute a large number of drug smugglers apprehended at the border.
Educate me, if you will, or share with me the Administration's current policy regarding deportation versus prosecution of drug smugglers.
Ms. WARREN. I think you're referring to reports, particularly out of the San Diego officeand it was reported originally in the Los Angeles ''Times'' that the San Diego office was declining an enormous number of cases, and cases that include volumes up to 125 kilogram amounts. I think that's the report you're referring to.
To the Los Angeles ''Times''' credit, a couple days later they printed a retraction of that, having been educated on the declination policy in San Diego, that those cases were all being prosecuted, either in Federal court or in a close and dynamic relationship with the local San Diego district attorney's office, and only the cases in which there was insufficient proof of any knowledge of the drugs being on-board a particular automobile that had come across the border, that those were the only cases that were being declinedthat they were all being picked up.
The San Diego office has instituted a program that now is supported and replicated in other offices that when small amounts of drugs are found on non-U.S. citizens entering at San Ysidro or another port in that same district, that they are given the option of leaving the country, signing a waiver of deportation, and leaving the country at that time after the drugs are confiscated.
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If they were to return, we could then prosecute them for illegal reentry, as well as any other crimes committed. It gives us greater availabilities of prosecutions should they return, and frees our courts and prosecutions for cases that will carry some impact and weight in the area, and those will be of slightly larger amounts of drugs and individuals involved in organizations that may cause greater harm in the area.
Cases are not being forgotten, but taken care of in various ways.
Mr. COBLE. Okay. Now, regarding Mr. Clement's question to you concerning the decrease in the Federal drug cases filed, according to the Administrative Office of the Courtsand I'll share this with you, Ms. Warren, at the conclusion of the hearing if you'd like to see itthe Federal case filings dropped 10.3 percent between fiscal year 1992 and 1995, and the total number of defendants indicted in these cases declined by 8.5 percent.
''The number of Federal drug cases,'' the Administrative Office continues, ''refused for prosecution, known as 'declinations,' increased by 18.6 percent between those same years, 1992 to 1995.''
If you want to see this, I'll share it with you.
Ms. WARREN. I would certainly appreciate seeing that, and I share with you that there has been this group looking at the difference in statistics, and the best that I can offer the committee at the moment is that does include the misdemeanors, and we just have not been counting thosesolely the felonies in our report.
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Mr. COBLE. Very well.
Mr. Prothier, you wrote downin your testimony you indicated annual figures as far as vehicles crossing the border. What was the daily breakdown that you gave? You gave a daily breakdown in your testimony.
Mr. POTHIER. I referenced trucks, Mr. Chairman, in excess of 7,000 a dayin excess of that number.
Mr. COBLE. That's 7,000 trucks a day?
Mr. POTHIER. Yes, sir.
Mr. COBLE. And how about automobiles? Do you know that?
Mr. POTHIER. I don't have those figures with me. I just have the trucks.
Mr. COBLE. I'd like to know that.
Mr. POTHIER. We'll be glad to provide that for the record.
[The information supplied follows:]
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOver 230,000 cars per day cross the Southwest U.S. border.
Mr. COBLE. During our subcommittee's last drug interdiction hearing, Mr. Prothier, the Customs Service revealed the alarming fact that an average of three aircraft a day land in Mexico just short of the U.S. border, and, according to that testimony, these people were believed to be engaged in drug trafficking.
Let me put a three-part question to you, Mr. Prothier.
Are these large smuggling operations continuing today?
What has the government of Mexico done to respond to thishopefully to terminate it?
And do you believe that the Mexican government has the will and the resources to, in fact, terminate such activity?
Mr. POTHIER. The answer to the first part of your question is that the levels of radar returns that we see inside Mexico using the tethered aerostat radars, which have a capability to look about 125 miles into Mexico, the levels are fairly constant.
The question of how many of these are suspect that are actually illegal traffic or not, the movement is mostly east-to-west. We don't really know.
What we can say is that we were encouraged recently that the Mexican government has embarked on a series of special operations using both the military federal judicial police and their military components, working with the DEA and working with our aviation personnel along the southwest border and doing sampling exercises just south of our U.S. border to try to determineto react to some of this traffic, based on the information we obtained from the radars.
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That's, we think, a very necessary first step by the Mexican government to get involved in the process of trying to determine the volume of that traffic that might be illegal. It is a first step, and we have indications that the Mexican government intends to continue these types of operations on a periodic, random basis.
Mr. COBLE. Do they have the will and the resources to stop the traffickers?
And you may not know that.
Mr. POTHIER. I don't. I can't honestly answer. I think
Mr. COBLE. I guess I was asking for an opinion. What would be your best opinion as to that question?
Mr. POTHIER. My own personal opinion is that we've seen some encouraging signs. When the Mexicans were confronted with the large airplanes that were bringing in multi-ton loads of drugs, they, for example, asked our agency, our aviation component, to provide some training to their fighter interceptor pilots so that they could have a faster capability to chase the large airplane that goes faster.
We've seen those kinds of signals. We've seen more involvement on the part of the military in Mexico in trying to stem the tide to attack their own problem, if you will.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCI haven't seen a diminution in the resolve, at least on the part of the attorney general's component that we work with and have worked with since 1990.
And, to a greater extent, we're seeing the military getting involved. But I can't give you any specifics there.
Mr. COBLE. Captain Bozin, let me revisit a question I engaged in dialogue with the admiral.
The Federal Government will spent right at $2.6 billion in fiscal year 1996 on programs to treat drug addicts. This spending level is $427 million more than was spent in fiscal year 1993.
Let me ask youpermit me to put a four-part question to you.
What has the success rate for these drug treatment programs been over the past 3 years?
Has this increase in spending reduced the population of hard-core drug addicts?
What percentage of hard-core drug addicts resume drug use following treatment?
And, finally, what is the percentage of addicts who have been through treatment more than one time?
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Captain, you may not be able to answer all of those questions, but, if you can, give a try at it.
Captain BOZIN. Mr. Chairman, unfortunately, that's true. I can't answer all of that. What I can say is that
Mr. COBLE. If you will get back to me?
Captain BOZIN. I will certainly get back to you. And I think the hard-core population, hard-core user has essentially stayed level. We will certainly get back to you with answers to all four of your parts, though.
[The information received follows:]
Mr. COBLE. I think everybody has abandoned me. We're alone.
Folks, I want to thank you all again for having joined us today and for the valuable testimony that you have presented. The members of the subcommittee and the Senate caucus may have additional questions for the witnesses, and we will ask you to respond to these in writing if submitted to you. The hearing record will be held open for these responses.
Again, I thank you all for being with us today.
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If there is no further business, we will stand adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2:59 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]