5. Initiatives to Break Sources of Supply
The United States' international drug-control strategy seeks to:
Promote international cooperation: The growing trend toward greater cooperation in the Western Hemisphere is creating unprecedented regional drug-control opportunities. In the past several years, a multilateral framework for increased drug-control cooperation has been developed. Thirty-four democracies that attended the Miami Summit of the Americas in 1994 signed an action agenda that has been implemented over the past three years. All governments endorsed the 1996 Anti-Drug Strategy in the Hemisphere and the 1995 Buenos Aires Communiqué on Money Laundering, which specified principles for cooperation. In addition, all of the Summit countries have now ratified or acceded to the 1988 U.N. Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Hemispheric anti-drug officials, working under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS), elaborated recommendations for implementing the principles outlined in the OAS's hemispheric anti-drug strategy. The OAS' Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) developed model legislation against money laundering and chemical diversion, as well as a system of data collection for supply and demand statistics. CICAD also sponsored several meetings and seminars on a range of issues and helped to conclude negotiation for a regional mutual legal-assistance agreement.
The United States will seek commitments from all nations at the Santiago, Chile Summit of the Americas (April 18-19, 1998) for a hemispheric anti-drug alliance. To be effective, the alliance must include explicit goals and responsibilities and mechanisms to identify weaknesses and provide remedies. The United States also will expand the International Law-Enforcement Academy, which provides professional development for Central American officers and establish, in collaboration with other nations, a Judicial Center in Latin America to train judges and court personnel.
Certification -- Broad Support: By law, the President is required to determine whether countries, identified as major drug-producing or transit countries, have cooperated fully with the United States or taken adequate steps to meet the counter-narcotics goals and objectives of the 1988 U.N. Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Denial of certification involves foreign assistance sanctions, as well as a mandatory U.S. vote against multilateral development bank loans.
On February 25, 1998, President Clinton certified that 22 countries and their dependent territories fully cooperated with the United States or took adequate steps on their own to meet the international counter-narcotics performance standards. These nations are: Aruba, The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
With respect to the decision to certify Mexico again this year, we continue to see improvements in Mexico's counter-narcotics efforts, including: the creation of vetted counter-narcotics police units; the reconstitution of the binational task forces; increases in drug seizures; and, progress with respect to extradition. House Majority Leader Armey recently stated: "We think the Mexican government is trying harder. We think they are making progress. We want to be appreciative of that effort." (Majority Leader Armey, Feb. 25, 1998, Dallas Morning News).
Nevertheless, much remains to be done. As DEA Administrator Constantine said during his recent testimony, "several programs have been initiated, [although] the institution-building process is still in its infancy." Through expanded cooperation, the certification of Mexico is the best mechanism for helping Mexico to move these and other new counter-drug programs forward. Governor George W. Bush, Jr., of Texas, recently provided: "For those who want to wall off Mexico from Texas . I say you_re dead wrong." (Governor George Bush, Jr., Feb. 25, 1998, Dallas Morning News).
In four instances, the President exercised the authority vested him under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to certify that the national interests of the United States required certification of nations that might not otherwise have met the criteria for certification. The President issued vital national interest certifications to Cambodia, Colombia, Pakistan, and Paraguay. The only changes from 1997 with respect to the vital national interests certification list was the addition of Colombia, Paraguay, and Pakistan.
As Secretary of State Albright has emphasized: "[The decision to certify Colombia under the vital national interests provision] is intended to lay the groundwork for future cooperation." (Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Feb. 25, 1998, Washington Post). "This announcement should not be taken as an expression of lack of confidence in the courage and great dedication of the Colombian National Police or the people of Colombia." (Attorney General Reno, Feb. 25, 2998, Dallas Morning News). "The Colombian National Police and counter-narcotics forces have conducted an effective eradication and interdiction effort. But, the current government has not demonstrated full political support for counter-narcotics efforts." (Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Feb. 25, 1998, Washington Post).
The President also denied certification to four countries that did not meet the applicable statutory standards: Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, and Nigeria.
Upon careful and considered review, the Administration has met its responsibilities under the law. However, this process is open to bipartisan review. As Speaker Gingrich has stated: "I think for all too long, we've pointed the finger at other countries and the fingers need to be pointed at our own neighborhoods and our own government." (Speaker Gingrich, Feb. 26, 1998, CNN). The Administration is committed to working with the Congress to develop the most effective instruments for better international counter-drug efforts. We continue to be open to all constructive and practical solutions, including, efforts to facilitate and rely more heavily on greater multilateral cooperation in the fight against drugs.
Assist source and transit countries: In nations with the political will to fight drug trafficking organizations, the United States will help provide training and resources so that these countries can reduce narcotics cultivation, production, trafficking, and consumption.
Support crop eradication and alternative development programs: The elimination of illicit coca and opium cultivation is the best way to reduce cocaine and heroin availability. Cocaine and heroin can be successfully targeted for eradication during cultivation. Alternative development programs can provide farmers with incentives to abandon drug cultivation.
Dismantle drug trafficking organizations: U.S.-supported programs help disrupt and dismantle international drug organizations, including their leadership, trafficking, production infrastructure, and financial underpinnings. Pressure on illegal drug organizations is paying off. The Colombian National Police (CNP), working in cooperation with military counter-drug units, have arrested, incarcerated, or killed during arrest, eight of the most important Colombian drug traffickers within the last two years. In Mexico, the leadership of two major organizations has been disrupted. Over the past several years, more than twenty-five heroin traffickers have been arrested or extradited to the United States from Southeast and Southwest Asia.
Stop money laundering and seize assets: The billions of dollars Americans spend on illegal drugs every year fuel the drug trade. In most cases, traffickers seek to disguise drug profits by converting ("laundering") them into legitimate holdings. Trafficking organizations are vulnerable to enforcement actions because of the volume of money that must be processed. The retail value of the cocaine available for consumption in the United States each year is between forty and fifty-two billion dollars. This sum of money weighs 5.7 million pounds in twenty dollar bills. Clearly, drug dealers prefer placing these funds in the financial system close to drug-dealing locations instead of hauling cash back to Colombia, Mexico, or another country.
The Departments of the Treasury and Justice work extensively with U.S. banks, wire remitters, and vendors of money orders and traveler's checks to prevent placement of drug proceeds. The federal government uses the provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act to detect suspicious transactions and prevent laundering. Federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies also target individuals, trafficking organizations, businesses, and financial institutions suspected of money laundering. A Geographic Targeting Order issued by the Department of the Treasury in 1996 aimed at detecting drug-related wire transfers from the New York City area to Colombia is an example of an effective counter-measure. Private-sector support of anti-laundering measures is critical both to fight drugs and to maintain the integrity of financial markets.
The United States also is participating in global efforts to disrupt the flow of illicit capital, track criminal sources of funds, forfeit ill-gained assets, and prosecute offenders. For example, with the assistance of Colombian law enforcement and the private sector, the United States has imposed economic sanctions pursuant to the International Economic Emergency Powers Act against more than four hundred businesses affiliated with Colombian criminal drug organizations. Finally, U.S. experts have helped draft regulations to protect foreign financial sectors and provide for asset forfeiture. Twenty-six nations are members of the Financial Action Task Force, which develops international anti-money-laundering standards and reviews member nations compliance with the standards.
Controlling Precursor Chemicals: Illegal drug production can be disrupted if essential chemicals are denied to traffickers. Under Article 12 of the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, parties are obligated to institute controls to prevent the diversion of chemicals from legitimate commerce to illicit drug manufacture. The tracking of international shipment and the investigation of potentially illegal diversions is a demanding task. Yet, major strides were made in 1997 in international efforts to prevent the illegal diversion of these chemicals. Recently, the Mexican legislature approved legislation to control precursor chemicals. Mexican law promotes international cooperation and authorizes the creation of information databases to enable companies to notify authorities about suspicious transactions. (A bilateral chemical-control working group oversees cooperative investigation of cases of interest to both countries and exchanges information on legal and regulatory matters.) Similarly, the United States and the European Union signed a bilateral agreement to enhance cooperation in chemical diversion control. The United States continues to urge the adoption and enforcement of chemical-control regimes by governments that do not have them or fail to enforce them. The goal is to prevent diversion of chemicals without hindering legitimate commerce.
Interdict drug shipments: Trafficker routes in source countries are linked to growing areas. Operations against cocaine laboratories disrupt production operations at a critical stage. U.S.-supported source-country interdiction programs can break transportation links, disrupt drug processing, and depress drug-crop prices in support of alternative development programs.
Support democracy and human rights: Democratic principles, human rights, and international drug-control policies are mutually supportive. Wherever drugs are grown or produced in volume, the rule of law is threatened and often corrupted by powerful criminal elements. Consequently, strengthening democracy and attacking corruption are integral to international drug control. The world's democracies are taking steps to confront the problems of corruption. The United States will continue to support multilateral efforts, such as efforts under the OAS Hemispheric Convention Against Corruption, to fight corruption.
Break Sources of Supply:
Cocaine: Coca, the raw material for cocaine, is grown in the South American countries of Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. Regional U.S. anti-cocaine programs have achieved major successes, including a 9.6 percent net reduction in total regional coca production over the last two years. However, major challenges remain. For the past several years, the United States has supported Colombian and Peruvian efforts to interdict drug-laden aircraft flying between coca-growing regions of Peru and processing laboratories in Colombia. We have also assisted with alternative development projects that provide economic alternatives to coca farmers. Coca cultivation in Peru (once the source of over half the world's coca cultivation) decreased 40 percent during the last two years. Potential cocaine production also declined by 13 percent in Bolivia over the same period. U.S.-funded alternative development programs reinforced Bolivian coca-control efforts in the Chapare region. Hectarage now devoted to licit crops in the Chapare is 127 percent greater than in 1986.
Progress in Bolivia and Peru, however, has been offset by a 56 percent expansion in coca cultivation in Colombia during the past two years. This expansion primarily occurred in guerrilla and paramilitary controlled areas. To address this problem, the United States is supporting a Colombian aerial herbicide spray campaign. This campaign has destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of illicit coca and poppy cultivation. During the next year, the United States will continue to support the eradication and regional air bridge interdiction campaigns, expand anti-trafficking efforts to maritime and riverine routes, support alternate development, provide training and equipment to judicial systems, law enforcement, and security forces, and encourage greater regional cooperation.
Heroin: International efforts to reduce heroin availability in the United States face significant challenges. Worldwide illicit heroin production was estimated at 363 metric tons in 1997, of which approximately 90 percent is produced in Burma and Afghanistan where the U.S. has limited access or influence. Moreover, the U.S. heroin market consumes only approximately 3 percent of the world's production. The existence of widely dispersed organizations and diversified routes and concealment methods makes interdiction difficult without adequate intelligence and resources.
Still, progress is achievable if governments have access to the growing area and the commitment and resources to implement counter-narcotics programs. U.S.-backed crop control programs have eliminated or are reducing illicit opium cultivation in countries such as Laos, Guatemala, Mexico, Pakistan, Thailand, and Turkey. In Afghanistan, the United States and UN are prepared to test the Taliban's commitment to narcotics control. The United States is funding a small alternative development project through a non-governmental organization and the UN is planning a larger one in return for a Taliban commitment to ban poppy cultivation. In Burma, the government has shown initial signs of a stronger counter-narcotics interest. While current law prohibits the use of U.S. Government resources to assist Burmese counter-narcotics efforts, we do support UN drug control programs there and encourage other countries to press the Government of Burma to take effective anti-drug action. In Colombia, U.S.-supported eradication efforts have stabilized poppy cultivation. The United States also supports numerous law enforcement programs including establishing counter-narcotics police units, improving intelligence collection, and providing equipment in heroin producing and transit countries.
Domestic heroin demand-reduction programs are essential due to the difficulties in attacking heroin sources of supply. They will, nevertheless, be supported by domestic and international heroin-control measures. Coordinated federal, state and local anti-heroin efforts, such as the ad-hoc task force established in Plano, Texas, will be encouraged. The Administration's budget proposes strengthening DEA's current five-year anti-heroin initiative by adding an additional $12.9 million and ninety-five new agents to the effort.
The United States will also help strengthen law-enforcement efforts in heroin source and transit countries by supporting training programs, intelligence sharing, extradition of fugitives, and anti-money-laundering measures. Finally, we will work through diplomatic and public channels to increase international cooperation and support the ambitious UNDCP initiative to eradicate illicit opium poppy cultivation in ten years.
Methamphetamine: The apparent decline in methamphetamine use may be the result of increased prevention, law enforcement, and regulatory efforts. However, domestic manufacture and importation of methamphetamine pose a continuing public-health threat. The manufacturing process involves toxic and flammable chemicals. Abandoned labs require expensive, dangerous clean-up. Between January 1, 1994 and September 30, 1997, the DEA was involved in the seizure of over 2,400 methamphetamine laboratories throughout the country, including 946 labs in the first nine months of 1997. State and local law-enforcement authorities, especially in California but increasingly in other states, were involved in thousands of additional clandestine lab seizures.
The 1996 National Methamphetamine Strategy (updated in May of 1997) established the federal response to this problem. It was buttressed by the Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996, which increased penalties for production and trafficking while expanding control over precursor chemicals (like ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine). The DEA is targeting methamphetamine-dealing organizations and companies that supply precursor chemicals, and supports state and local law-enforcement agencies with training. Many retailers are adopting tighter controls for over-the-counter drugs containing ingredients that can be made into methamphetamine. Useful actions include educating employees, limiting shelf space, and capping sales.
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