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Opium Eradication Efforts in Mexico: Cautious Optimism Advised [Unclassified Digest]

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-02-18.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                            DOCUDEBT RESUME
00613 - [A07513961   (estricted      /        ....-
opium Eradication Efforts in Mexico: Cautious Cptimism Advised
(Unclassified Digest]. 9D-77-6. February 18, 1977.
Report to Rep. Charles S.   Rangel; by Elner B. Staats,
Comptroller General.
Issue Area: Law Enforcement and Crime Prevention: Controlled
    Items (502); International Economic and Military Programs:
    U.S. Development Assistance Overseas (603).
Contact: General Government Div.
Budget Function: International Affairs: Foreign Economic and
    Financial Assistance (151); Law Enforcement and Justice:
    Federal Law Enforcement and Prosecution           (751).
Organization Concerned: Drug Enforcement Administration;
    Department of State; Department of Justice; Central
    Intelligence Agency.
congressional Relevance: House Committee on Internaticnal
    Relations; Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Rep.
    Charles B. Rangel.
          Vith the disruption cf the Turkish-French heroin
connection in recent years, acre poppies have been cultivated in
Mexico to meet the demand for heroin in the United States.
Findings/Conclusions: The Drug Enforcement Administration
identified Mexico as the source of 89 percent of the heroin in
the United States. Approximately 5.2 metric tons of Mexican
heroin entered the United States in 1975. Conflicting
information exists on CpiUm poppy cultivation, and such
information may not accurately reflect the current situation.
Since 1970, the United States has contributed abcut $35 million
to assist the Mexican Government with narcotics control efforts.
U.S. assistance to Mexico has escalated/without sufficient
detailed planning. Eradicating poppies by aerial spraying with
herbicides has been a Fr-ority goal of the program, and about
twice as many fields were eastroyed from January to April 1976
as during the 1975 program. The strong endorsement of the new
mexican Government is necessary for continued improvement in
narcotics control. Recomeadations: The U.S. cission in Mexico
should develop a more comprehensive narcotics ccntrol plan which
will clearly define U.S. goals for assisting the Mexican
Government in developing its own capabilities and will develop
specific objectives and criteria to evaluate progress. (RS)
                   Thbar     inumnse    diz    fu=isd inlieu of
                   a rPort coninsing dufi:ed suty inomfodmatio.'
y   COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S REPORT TO               OPIUM ERADICATION EFFORTS
    THE HONORABLE CHARLES B. RANGEL               IN MEXICO:
    HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                      CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM ADVISED
'IO HOUS OFREPESETATVESDepartments                            of State
 O                                                and Justice


               D I G E S T

               The opium poppy, from which heroin is derived,
               has been cultivated in Mexico for 30 years,
               despite increasing efforts by the Mexican
               Government to prevent it.  With the disrup-
               tion of the Turkish-French heroin connection
               in recent years, more poppies have been culti-
               vated in Mexico to meet the demand for heroin
               by addicts in the United States.  (See p. 1.)

               The Drug Enforcement Administration's analyses
               of selected seizures in 1975 identified Mexico
               as the source of 89 percent of the heroin in
               the United States.   (See p. 2.) It estimates
               that 5.2 metric tons of Mexican heroin entered
               the United States during 1975 and that gross
               opium production in Mexico totaled between 100
               and 110 metric tons.

               Conflicting information on opium poppy culti-
               vation exists; and, past estimates--as well as
               reports used in developing the estimates--may
               not accurately reflect the current situation.
               (See pp. 5 to 7.)   The Drug Enforcement Adminis-
               tration, the Department of State, and the Foreign
               Intelligence Subcommittee of the Cabinet Com-
               mittee on International Narcotics Control are
               aware of this and have acted to improve the
               situation.   (See pp. 10 to 13.)

               Since 1970 the United States has contributed
               about $35 million to assist the Mexican
               Government with narcotics control efforts.
               Most of this assistance has been provided to
               the Mexican Attorney General's Air Services
               Section for aircraft and related support for
               improving the mobility of enforcement and
               eradication personnel.  (See app. III.)




                                           i                       GGD-77-6
          Ei    18 8t
Eradicating poppies by aerially spraying them
with herbicides has been a priority goal of the
narcotics control program since late 1975.
This placed greater responsibility on the Air
Services Section.   (See p. 16.) According to
reported results for January through April
1976, about twice as many fields were destroyed
during that period as during the 1975 program.
(See app. II.)

The narcotics control action plan is to be the
basic planning document for narcotics control
funding, through the Cabinet Committee on In-
ternational Narcotics Control.  U.S. assistance
to Mexico has escalated without sufficient de-
tailed planning.  (See pp. 18 to 20.)

A new administration took office in Mexico in
December 1976, and its strong endorsement of
the eradication program will be necessary for
continued improvement.  According to the De-
partment of State, the new administration has
recently pledged its continuing support of the
eradication program.

The Drug Enforcement Administration will ana-
lyze U.S. heroin "removal' statistics to
evaluate the eradication program. The Drug
Enforcement Administration believes that a
decline in availability, followed by a rise in
price and/or by a drop in purity of heroin at
the retail level, will indicate program suc-
cess. Heroin removal statistics show a 6-month
trend of lower purity and higher prices from
March through September 1976.    The Drug En-
forcement Administration expects the trend to
continue.   (See pp. 34 and 35.)

To insure continued improvement and ultimate
success for the opium poppy eradication pro-
gram in Mexico, the Secretary of State, as
Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Inter-
national Narcotics Control, should require
the U.S. Mission in Mexico to develop a more
comprehensive narcotics control plan which
will




                     ii
--clearly define U.S. goals for assisting the
  Mexican Government in developing its own :a-
  pabilities to control narcotics and

--develop specific objectives and criteria to
  evaluate progress being made.  (See p. 37.)

The Department of State advises that the out-
going Mexican administration prepared a study
of the resource needs for the ongoing program
which will be reviewed by both governments and
that a plan is being developed for identifying
program goals and resources needed.  (See p. 38.)

Comments from the Departments of State and
Justice and from the Central Intelligence
Agency were obtained and considered in the
report.




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