FILE ID:95110101.tgi




(Emphasis shifted to stopping drugs at the source) (670)

By Patricia Gipple

USIA Staff Writer

A U.S. official reports that attacking the drug problem at the source

of production has caused significant damage to drug trafficking


Lee Brown, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy,

told a House subcommittee October 31 that the international strategy

is directed at disrupting drug smuggling operations by forcing

traffickers to abandon activities and shift to more costly or

ineffective smuggling regimens.

Brown, who recently returned from the coca cultivation, processing and

trafficking areas of South America, said he is convinced that the

strategy is sound, adding that it has allowed the United States and

its allies to make better use of limited interdiction resources.

"This is where our intelligence is best and the traffickers most

vulnerable," he said.

Brown said that eradication efforts in Colombia have resulted in a 50

percent reduction in both coca and poppy under cultivation in that

country, causing drug organizations to move cocaine production to more

remote, less preferable areas.

Brown said that the administration's strategy stresses both prevention

and treatment efforts, while continuing aggressive enforcement,

interdiction and international programs. He commented that domestic

law enforcement efforts, greatly expanded in recent years, comprise

the largest segment of the drug control budget.

Subcommittee chairman Benjamin Gilman pointed out that between 1985

and 1992 the number of cocaine users in the United States decreased

from 5.8 million to 1.3 million, a nearly 80 percent reduction in

monthly use.

The United States and its South American allies have also made

significant progress in attacking the major drug kingpins, according

to Brown.

In January, 20 members of the Peruvian-based Lopez-Paredes

organization were arrested following the seizure of about three metric

tons of cocaine. A week later, two top Bolivian traffickers, Carlos

Ali Bravo and Pedro Ramirez Correa, were arrested by Bolivian police.

Close cooperation between the governments of Peru and Colombia

resulted in the capture and arrest of Cachique Rivera, the top

Peruvian supplier of cocaine.

In June, the Colombian national police arrested Gilberto Rodriguez

Orejuela, one of the top Cali Cartel kingpins. This arrest was the

result of extensive collaboration between the United States and


On August 6, Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, the world's top cocaine

kingpin, was arrested. Six of the seven leaders of the Cali Cartel

have been arrested by the Colombian national police with the help of

the U.S. government.

Brown has asked the U.S. Department of Defense to develop a

multilateral effort to increase the pressure against trafficker

smuggling operations. He explained that the role of U.S. forces is to

increase detection and monitoring, gather intelligence and support the

interdiction operations of the host nation.

President Clinton, in his speech before the United Nations last week,

announced major new counternarcotics initiatives.

The president, using his authority under the International Economic

Emergency Act, signed an executive order that blocks the assets of and

prohibits transactions with four of the leaders of the Cali Cartel as

well as a number of individuals and companies associated with them.

The president said that the administration would consider imposing

economic sanctions against nations that assist with money laundering

and called for the negotiation of an international declaration that

would deny sanctuary to international criminals and provide mutual

assistance in investigations of international crimes.

Brown said that the administration's strategy is comprehensive but

cannot be implemented without resources. He said, "We need to keep up

the pressure. We need to put more resources in place at this timely

point in history."

Brown pointed out that Congress has cut the budget of the Office for

International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, providing only $105

million of the $228 million requested for fiscal year 1995.

Brown said that despite these cuts, the United States has fielded a

credible effort against the cocaine threat by increased cooperation

with its allies, the use of better technology and a realignment of

declining resources.