oversight

Drug Control: Anti-Drug Efforts in the Bahamas

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-03-08.

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

            United   States   General   Accounting   Office   c;J
            Report to the Chairman, Committee on                ->
‘GAO        Foreign Affairs, House of
            Repr&sentatives


March1990
            DRUG CONTROL
            Anti-Drug Efforts in
            the Bahamas
GAO
      United States
      General Accounting  Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      General   Government   Division

      B-236587

      March 8.1990

      The Honorable Dante B. Fascell
      Chairman, Committee on Foreign
        Affairs
      House of Representatives

      Dear Mr. Chairman:

      This report, in response to your request, discusses anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas.
      Specifically, the report discusses (1) the extent,, results, and limitations of U.S.-Bahamas
      drug interdiction operations; (2) the status of other drug control activities, including treaties
      between the IJnited States and the Bahamas; and (3) the strategy, management, and planning
      of 1J.S.anti-drug efforts, including efforts to improve coordination among interdiction
      agencies.

      As arranged with the Committee, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days
      after the date of the report, unless you release the report or its contents prior to that time.
      After 30 days, we will send copies of this report. to the Attorney General; the Secretaries of
      Defense, State, Transportation, and the Treasury; the Director, Office of National Drug
      Control Policy; and other interested part.ies.

      The major contributors to this report are listed in appendix X. If you have any questions on
      this report, please call me on 275-8389.

      Sincerely yours,




      Lowell Dodge             4
      Director, Administration of
        Justice Issues
                        Executive   Summary




                        Managing and planning anti-drug programs and operations have tended
                        to be decentralized with little or no central control imposed over
                        resources or strategic decisions. GAO believes that while management
                        benefits could result from development of a comprehensive strategic
                        plan, the decentralized approach to planning and managing anti-drug
                        efforts in the Bahamas is a workable strategy and may facilitate flexible
                        responses to future changes in the drug smuggling threat.

                        U.S. agencies are expanding air interdiction efforts in the Bahamas,
                        including acquisition of additional radars, helicopters, and bases. These
                        acquisitions will improve capabilities for detecting and apprehending
                        airborne drug smugglers and may further deter air smuggling. However,
                        they will be costly and will not eliminate limitations in the interdiction
                        system.

                        While good arguments exist for maintaining the current level of drug
                        interdiction efforts in the Bahamas, the benefits of an expanded air
                        interdiction system relative to its limitations have not been made clear
                        by the agencies. Accordingly, GAO is not convinced that present air
                        interdiction efforts should be significantly expanded.



Principal Findings

Managing and Planning   Like anti-drug efforts in the IJnited States, managing and planning anti-
                        drug efforts in the Bahamas have evolved on an ad hoc basis and have
U.S. Efforts            tended to be decentralized. IJ.S. anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas have
                        evolved from simple bilateral agreements in the early 1970s that
                        allowed U.S. Customs Service aircraft to fly over the Bahamas, to exten-
                        sive and costly drug interdiction operations in the 1980s that involve
                        several IJ.S. and Bahamian agencies.

                         While GAO observed some friction among agencies in particular interdic-
                         tion operations, GAO found no indications that the number of anti-drug
                         agencies and programs and the decentralized management and planning
                         of anti-drug efforts had caused significant conflicts or had impaired U.S.
                         anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas. Operating in this fashion, U.S.-sup-
                         ported interdiction operations resulted in the seizure of about 11 tons of
                         cocaine and 51 tons of marijuana in the Bahamas in 1988. (See pp. 10
                         and 38.)



                         Page 3                                 GAO/GGDSO42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                  Executive   Summary




                  other smuggling methods that can be more difficult to detect, such as
                  cargo shipments. (See pp. 19, 21, 15, and 28.)

                  GAO,  in a June 1989 report on capabilities for interdicting private air-
                  craft, stated that GAO is not convinced that spending additional millions
                  of dollars on air interdiction assets would be the most effective use of
                  the limited additional resources Congress and the Administration may
                  wish to put into the Nation’s war on drugs. (See p, 40)


                  GAO     is making no recommendations in this report.
Recommendation

                  The report was sent to the Departments of Transportation, Justice,
Agency Comments   State, Defense, and the Treasury; and the Office of National Drug Con-
                  trol Policy. (See p. 41. I

                  The Office of National Drug Control Policy, while not disagreeing with
                  GAO'S conclusions, commented that the report did not give enough recog-
                  nition to the deterrent effect of drug interdiction efforts. The Depart
                  ment of Defense chose not to comment on the report saying that it saw
                  no need to do so. The Departments of Justice, Transportation, and the
                  Treasury disagreed with GAO’S conclusion questioning the expansion of
                  air interdiction assets in the Bahamas. The Departments generally held
                  that the use of aerostat radars must be viewed in the context of a total
                  interdiction system and that judgment should be withheld until the
                  planned aerostat system is complete. (See p. 41.)

                  GAO  disagrees with the Departments’ position, pointing out that ques-
                  tions on the effectiveness of the system make it essential to approach
                  decisions with caution For example, aerostats in Florida and the Baha-
                  mas are operational about half of the time and contingencies to fill that
                  “down time” have limitations. (See pp. 40 and 46.)

                  Chapter 6 summarizes comments received and GAO'S response. Appen-
                  dixes 1’ through IX contain the letters that express each Department’s
                  comments.




                  Page5
                      Contents




Chapter 6                                                                                              41
Sun-u-naryof Agency   Comments From the Department of Transportation and                               41
                         Our Response
Comments and Our      Comments From the Department of .Justice and Our                                 43
Response                 Response
                      Comments From the Department of the Treasury and Our                             44
                         Response
                      Comments From OIiDCI’ and Our Response                                           47
                      Comments Contained in the National Drug Control                                  47
                         Strategy

Appendixes            Appendix I: Information on the Boat Docking Facility                             50
                          Authorized by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986
                      Appendix II: Information on the Boat Repair Facility                             52
                          Authorized by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986
                      Appendix III: Information on the Cost of Temporarily                             54
                          Stationing U.S. Drug Interdiction Personnel in the
                          Bahamas
                      Appendix IV: Agency Offices and Facilities Visited, March                        56
                          1988 to January 1989
                      Appendix V: Comments From the Department of                                      58
                          Transportation
                      Appendix VI: Comments From the Department of Justice                             63
                      Appendix VII: Comments From the Department, of the                               66
                          Treasury
                      Appendix VIII: Comments From the Office of National                              69
                          Drug Control Policy
                      Appendix IX: Comments From the Department of State                               71
                      Appendix X: Major Contributors to This Report                                    74

Tables                Table 4.1: Annual Costs of ITS. Agencies’ Anti-Drug                              37
                          Efforts in the Bahamas
                      Table III. 1: Estimat,ed Costs to Temporarily Assign U.S.                        54
                          Personnel to the Bahamas for 1 Year

Figures               Figure 2.1: GAO Photograph of Aerostat Radar Balloon at                           18
                           High Rock, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas.
                      Figure 2.2: GAO Photograph of Ground-Based Radar at                               18
                           Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands.
                      Figure 2.3: Locations of Existing Land-Based Aerostat                            23
                           and Ground-Based Radars


                      Page 7                                  GAO/GGD-99-42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Page 9   GAO/GGDY042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   tWforis
                         Chapter 1
                         Introduction




                         Force (KBPF) and the Royal Bahamian Defense Force (RRDF) participate
                         with U.S. agencies in joint air and marine drug interdiction operations.


                         At the request of the Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Objectives, Scope, and   we reviewed joint U.S.-Bahamas anti-drug efforts and obtained informa-
Methodology              tion on certain areas of interest to the Committee. The objectives of our
                         review were to determine (1) the extent, results, and limitations of U.S.-
                         Bahamas drug interdiction operations; (2) the status of other drug con-
                         trol activities, including treaties between the United States and the
                         Bahamas; and (3) the strategy, management, and planning of U.S. anti-
                         drug efforts, including efforts to improve coordination among interdic-
                         tion agencies. We also obtained information on (1) the status of two
                         projects-a boat docking facility and a boat repair facility-authorized
                         by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 and (2) the cost of assigning U.S.
                         personnel to the Bahamas on a temporary basis. As agreed with the
                         Committee, we did not evaluate the adequacy of cooperation between
                         the United States and Bahamian governments in anti-drug matters.

                         To determine the extent, results, and limitations of U.S.-Bahamas drug
                         interdiction operations, we reviewed daily entries in activity logbooks
                         for the period October 1987 through June 1988. These logbooks were
                         kept by the two facilities that direct drug interdiction missions in the
                         Bahamas-the joint Customs/Coast Guard Command, Control, and Com-
                         munications Center (~3 center) in Miami, Florida, and the Operation
                         Bahamas and Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) center in Nassau, Bahamas.’ We
                         also examined such documents as operations manuals, strategies, drug-
                         threat assessments, intelligence reports, and radar logs. We discussed
                         these documents and specific problem cases with agency officials
                         directly involved to validate our interpretation of the logbook entries
                         and to determine the significance of the problems we identified. We also
                         considered how these problems relate to the results of our recent assess-
                         ment of the federal government’s ability to interdict drug smugglers
                         using private aircraft.

                          To determine the status of other drug control initiatives and activities,
                          we interviewed officials from INM, Department of Justice, and DEA;

                          ‘The Turks and Caicos Islands. a Hriush dependent territory cOnsi%of over 30 islands forming the
                          southeastcm end of the Batxums vham of islands and are located approximately 30 miles southeast
                          of the Bahama.

                          ‘Drug Smuggling: CapabilitIes for Intllrdicting Private Aircraft Are Limited and Costly (GAO/
                          GGD-89.93, .lunc 9. 19RSi



                          Page 11                                               GAO/GGD-90-42 Bahamas Anti-Drug Efforts
Chapter 1
Introduction




A draft of this report was sent to the Departments of State, Justice,
Transportation, Defense, and the Treasury; and the Office of National
Drug Control Policy. Comments were received from all agencies except
DOD. DOD said that it saw no need to comment on the report. The majoi
points raised in the comment letters and our responses to them are sum-
marized in chapter 6. Technical clarifications and updated information
provided by the agencies were incorporated into the report where
appropriate. The let,ters are contained in appendixes V through IX.




Page 13                               GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Chapter 2
L!.S.-Bahamas Drug Interdiction   Efforts




interdicting drugs smuggled into the United States on commercial air-
lines is the Customs Service inspection of the aircraft, passengers, and
cargo when the aircraft enters a U.S. airport.

When we began our work in March 1988, Coast Guard was the lead
agency for detecting aircraft on which drugs were smuggled into the
southeastern United States. However, the National Defense Authoriza-
tion Act for fiscal year 1989, Public Law 100-456, dated September 29,
 1988, gave DOD lead agency responsibility for detecting and monitoring
air and maritime drug smuggling. At present, ground-based and airborne
radar systems operated by Customs, Coast Guard, and DOD and based in
southern Florida, the Hahamas, and throughout the Caribbean are used
to detect airborne drug smugglers. Also, prior information (“intelli-
gence”) on the identity, location, and timing of potential smugglers is a
principal means used to identify and distinguish airborne smugglers
from other aircraft. According to a senior DEA official in the Miami field
division office, 62 percent of all cocaine seizures in the Bahamas during
 1988 were based on prior intelligence. In commenting on this report, the
Department of Just.& said that in fiscal year 1988,32 percent of drug
seizures were the result of radar-acquired targets. The majority of
seizures resulted from standard drug control efforts, such as DEA cases,
joint investigations with Bahamian authorities, and routine OPRAT
patrols.

Customs and Coast Guard share responsibility for intercepting and
tracking suspected airborne smugglers in and around the Bahamas. This
intercepting and tracking is typically done using Customs and Coast
Guard aircraft based in southern Florida. Customs and Coast Guard also
temporarily station some aircraft and crews at the IJ.S. naval base in
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other Caribbean locations.’ Customs has
two interceptors and two tracking aircraft baed in southern Florida.
Coast Guard has eight specifically dedicated aircraft available full-time
to intercept and track suspected airborne smugglers in the southeastern
Irnited States and t htkCaribbean.

The Command, Cont.rol. and Communications Center (c3), located near
Miami and jointly operated by Customs and Coast Guard, receives infor-
mation from radar systems and identifies and tracks suspected smug-
glers until an interceptor can locate and identify the aircraft. If the




Page 15                                     GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                            Chapter 2
                            1J.S..Bahamas Drug Interdiction   Efforts




                            had 13 personnel, 5 interceptor vessels, and 2 vessels used as communi-
                            cations centers assigned to maritime bases at Gun Cay and West End.
                            The Coast Guard also had one interceptor vessel and seven personnel
                            assigned to these bases. The West End operation was terminated in Sep-
                            tember 1989. The assets at that site were redeployed to Gun Cay.


                            Although the northern Bahamas are partially covered by the existing
Limitations of the          radar network, large areas throughout the central and southern Baha-
Existing Radar              mas are not yet covered by radar. As discussed later, U.S. agencies are
Network                     acquiring and installing additional radars to provide coverage in these
                            areas. (See pp. 21 and 22.) However, many drug smugglers have
                            exploited deficiencies in the radar network and the limitations of other
                            detection methods, suc+~as airborne and shipboard radar systems, to
                            evade detection.


Gaps in Current Radar       The existing radar detection network that supports drug interdiction in
Coverage and Capability     the Bahamas is comprised of

                          . ground-based air radar systems in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
                            Islands; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Cabo Rojo, Dominican Republic; and
                            Borinquen, Puerto Kic*c).
                          . two aerostat radars’ in Florida operated by the Air Force, one in the
                            northern Bahamas operated by the Coast Guard that covers the north-
                            ern Bahamas; and one recently constructed in the central Bahamas but
                            not operational;
                          . occasional survcillancr, flights by U.S. radar-equipped detection aircraft;
                            and
                          . Coast Guard and Cust urns patrol boats with on-board surface search
                            radar systems.




                             Page 17                                    GAO/GGD90-42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Chapter 2
U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Interdiction   Efforts




Ground-based systems currently provide the only radar coverage in or
near the southern Bahamas. These radar systems have limited range
and are subject to interference from geographical obstacles such as
mountains. For example, the Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands,
radar can detect aircraft flying as low as 500 feet if they are flying no
more than 50 miles from the site. However, airborne smugglers may fly
as low as 50 feet cnroute to the Bahamas. According to the Coast Guard,
the effective range of ground-based radars is 20 nautical miles for an
aircraft flying at an altitude of 50 to 100 feet. The Guantanamo Bay
radar system has difficulty detecting low flying aircraft because the
mountainous terrain near the site creates blind spots in coverage.

Aerostat radar provides the only permanent air radar coverage for the
northern Bahamas. The Cudjoe Key and Cape Canaveral, Florida, aero-
stats have been in place and operational since December 1980 and Sep-
tember 1983, respectively. The aerostat at High Rock, Grand Bahama
Island, has been in place since March 1985, and has been staffed to pro-
vide around-the-c1oc.k coverage since March 1988.

Although the aerostats can operate around-the-clock, as discussed in our
recent report on air interdiction programs,’ aerostats are weather-sensi-
tive and, as a result, are sometimes inoperable for extended periods of
time. Because of their sensitivity to even mild winds and the possibility
of damage, aerostats must be reeled back to their base in advance of
approaching winds. These weather conditions, while affecting aerostat
operation, often do not affect the operation of small aircraft.

The aerostat in the I%ahamasis usually “down” and inoperable approxi-
mately 40 to 50 perc:ent, of the time during the months of July, August,
and September because of turbulent weather. In addition, scheduled
maintenance for aerost ats can be frequent. According to Customs
records, the “down time” for maintenance of the aerostat located at Pat-
rick Air Force Base. Florida, was 37 percent in fiscal year 1988. Overall,
the aerostats located at Patrick Air Force Base and Cudjoe Key, Florida,
and in the Bahamas were operational an average of about 53 percent of
the time in fiscal y~rs 1987 and 1988. Finally, aerostats in operation
are easily observed by smugglers or their lookouts.

Capabilities of detecting maritime targets in and around the Bahamas
are also limited. Acc.ording to the Coast Guard and Customs officials




Page 19                                      GAO/GGD8042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                         Chapter 2
                         U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Interdiction   Efforts




                         per week had occurred over Cuban airspace. Similarly, a DEA official tes-
                         tified on July 25, 1989, that there had been about 39 airdrops of drugs
                         in Cuban waters since April 1989.

                         In commenting on our report, ONDCP said that since mid-summer 1989,
                         there has been a decrease in smuggling activity over Cuba. Coast Guard,
                         in its technical comments on this report, said that it and other agencies
                         have developed several initiatives to counter drug smuggling flights
                         over Cuba.


                         In addition to the aerostat in the northern Bahamas, a second aerostat
Additional Radars Will   was recently constructed at George Town in the central Bahamas and a
Not Eliminate            third is being acquired for Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas. Addi-
Limitations in the       tional radar coverage in and around the central and southern Bahamas
                         may make it easier to detect a suspect aircraft before it enters the heavy
Radar Network            inter-island air traffic and may enable radar operators to more effec-
                         tively detect and sort potential targets. However, even if planned
                         enhancements by Customs and Coast Guard eliminate some of the gaps
                         in radar coverage, the existing and planned radar systems will not pro-
                         vide constant coverage and the Bahamas will remain open to penetra-
                         tion by drug traffic,kers.

                         According to a Coast Guard aerostat program officer, the second aero-
                         stat at George Town, Great Exuma Island, began limited operation by
                         the contractor in early December 1989. This officer said that Customs is
                         scheduled to begin a “quick look test” in early 1990 prior to acceptance
                         of the aerostat. When Customs accepts the aerostat from the contractor,
                         Coast Guard will assume operational control. However, the aerostat can-
                         not be operated on a full-time basis until completion of a new Bahamian
                         airport. This airport will permit present air traffic to be rerouted away
                         from the aerostat. Thc~officer said that it is difficult to say precisely
                         when the airport will be completed, but the officer said it could be early
                          1990. Customs estimates that this aerostat will cost $24.2 million for
                         acquisition and installation. Coast Guard estimates that operating costs
                         will be between $7 and $8 million annually.

                         Customs also plans the installation of a third aerostat on Great Inagua
                         Island in the far sout lrern Bahamas. Customs and Coast Guard estimate
                         that acquisition and installation of this aerostat at Great Inagua will
                         cost from $17 to $2 1 million, depending upon site preparation costs, and
                         will take 15 to 18 months to complete. Annual operating costs will be
                         approximately $8 million.


                          Pagr 21                                     GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                                                     Chapter 2
                                                     U.S.-Bahamas    Drug Interdiction   Efforts




                                                     of existing land-based aerostats and ground-based radars. Figure 2.4
                                                     shows the planned land-based aerostat network.

Fiaure 2.3: Locations     of Existina   Land-Based     Aerostat     and Ground-Based       Radars



                                              Unlted States




                                                                                                                     Grand Bahama        Island

                                                                                                                        George Town, Bamahas




    n    Ground-Based      Radar                                                                                                        Borlnouen.
                                                                                                               Cabo Rolo.               Puerto RICO
    0 Aerostat
                                                                                                           DomInIcan Republic
    i>   Installed   But Not Operational


                                                      Note Land-Based aerostats are operatIonal about 50 percent of the tome




                                                      Page 23                                              GAO/GGD-90-42       Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                            Chapter 2
                            U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Inteniiction   Efforts




Current Number and          The current number and locations of helicopters and bases sometimes
Locations of Helicopte rs   limits the ability of apprehension teams to reach the sites of suspected
                            smuggling activity in a timely manner. OPBAT helicopters and apprehen-
and Bases Limit             sion teams are currently stationed at three locations in the Bahamas.
Apprehension Efforts        The Coast Guard has two helicopters at both Nassau and Freeport, DEA
                            has one in Nassau, and the Army has three in George Town to provide
                            around-the-clock coverage at each site. Customs also has two apprehen-
                            sion helicopters based in southern Florida at Homestead, near Miami, to
                            provide around-t he-clock coverage.




                            Page 25                                      GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                    Chapter 2
                    U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Interdiction   Efforts




                    site in time. Both cases involved suspected airborne smugglers detected
                    in the far southern Bahamas. In each case, the closest apprehension
                    team did not launch on the target aircraft, which were approximately
                     175 miles away from the helicopter bases. According to OPBAT and ~3
                    center operations officers, the apprehension teams were not launched
                    because they would have been unable to arrive in time. The officers said
                    that similar situations occur periodically.


Efforts to Obtain   Additional helicopters based in or near the southern Bahamas will
Additional Bases    improve helicopter response time and allow apprehension teams to more
                    quickly respond to smuggling targets.

                    In May 1988, the Bahamian government presented a proposal to the IJS.
                    Embassy, recommending that the [Tnited States construct and operate
                    seven additional apprehension bases scattered throughout the Bahamas.
                    The 17,s. Embassy’s counterproposal agreed in principle with the value
                    of additional permamnt bases in the Bahamas but encouraged the Baha-
                    mian government to establish such bases on its own. In October 1988,
                    the Bahamian government presented modifications and alternatives to
                    its original proposal and said that a “disproportionate amount of Baha-
                    mian government, rc‘vonue” is already being spent on preventing drugs
                    from entering the 1rnited States. According to the INM officer in Nassau,
                    as of September 1989. the two governments had agreed to establish one
                    additional apprehension base on Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.
                    This base is scheduled t,o become operational in May 1990. No additional
                    bases arc planned at ttlis time.

                    With the establishment, of a helicopter base at Great Inagua, OPBAT per-
                    sonnel will have the>capability to intercept and apprehend drug smug-
                    glers who may fly into the Turks and Caicos Islands instead of the
                    Bahamas. In order to make an arrest in the Turks and Caicos Islands it
                    will be necessary to have law enforcement personnel from that country
                    as part of the OIVWI‘ apprehension team. To achieve this, the IJnited
                    Kingdom has prepared and distributed a draft trilateral agreement on
                    interdiction operations that, includes the IJnited States, the Bahamas, the
                    IJnited Kingdom, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. According to the
                    State Department. it is hoped that t,his agreement can be concluded early
                    in 1990.




                    Page 27                                      GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Status of Noninterdietion Drug Control
Activities in the Bahmas

                              While the primary focus of U.S. anti-drug efforts and expenditures in
                              the Bahamas has been on the interdiction activities of the law enforce-
                              ment agencies-nEA, Customs Service, and Coast Guard-the U.S. and
                              Bahamian governments are involved in other important bilateral and
                              unilateral anti-drug initiatives. These efforts include (1) treaties
                              between the two governments, (2) other Bahamian legal and law
                              enforcement initiatives that deter the use of its territory as a staging
                              area by drug traffickers, and (3) efforts to reduce an increasing demand
                              for drugs within the llahamas.


                              The ITS. and Bahamian governments have been working on two treaties
U.S.-Bahamian                 important to joint anti-drug efforts-a new extradition treaty and a
Treaties Await                Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). Final negotiations on a new
Further Action                extradition treaty were completed in July 1989, but the treaty, as yet,
                              has not been signed or submitted to the 1J.S.Senate for ratification. The
                              U.S. and Bahamian governments signed an MLAT in August 1987. It was
                              ratified by the U.S. Senate in October 1989 and was sent to the President
                              for execution of an instrument of ratification


Extradition   Treaty Status   The extradition treaty in effect between the United States and the Baha-
                              mas was signed in 193 1 by the IJnited States and the United Kingdom.
                              The treaty, however, does not cover extradition for some drug- and con-
                              spiracy-related offenses. The treaty was inherited by the Bahamian gov-
                              ernment in 1973 when the Bahamas became an independent country.
                              Under this treaty, there are currently 17 requests for extradition of nar-
                              cotics violators from the Bahamas to the IJnited States,

                              To modernize the extradition treaty and make it applicable to a broad
                              range of drug-trafficking offenses, the 1J.S.and Bahamian governments
                              have negotiated a new extradition treaty. A Department of Justice offi-
                              cial said that the current draft of the treaty includes provisions for drug
                              and drug-related crimes, including trafficking and conspiracy. However,
                              Justice and State Department officials developing the treaty said that
                              individuals for whom the U.S. or the Bahamian government has previ-
                              ously requested extradition will continue to be processed for extradition
                              under the provisions of the existing treaty.

                              A senior IJS. Embassy official said that a final round of negotiations
                              was completed in .July 1989. According to a State Department official,
                              the draft treaty was submitted to the Secretary of State for approval
                              but had not yet been acted upon. This official did not know how soon


                              Page 29                                 GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                          Chapter 3
                          Status of Noninterdiction Drug Control
                          Activities in the Bahamas




                          located in the Bahamas. They also said that Bahamian police and prose-
                          cutors are not equipped to trace such illegal financial dealings.

                          A senior DEA official in the Bahamas also said that some small-scale
                          money laundering still occurs involving the purchase of cars, houses,
                          and boats with cash. According to this official, DEA is participating with
                          Bahamian law enforcement officials in several ongoing investigations
                          involving money laundering in the Bahamas.


New Bahamian Asset        The Bahamian government has been criticized in the past for not seizing
                          and using assets of convicted drug traffickers, such as boats and planes,
Seizure
-       Law Faces First   to supplement, its drug enforcement resources. A senior DEA official in
‘l’est                    Nassau said that this criticism was based on old seizure laws that
                          required a time-consuming judicial forfeiture process.

                          In January 1988. the Bahamian government enacted an asset seizure
                          law patterned after similar 1J.S.laws. The Bahamian law is intended to
                          permit the Bahamian government to seize assets derived from drug-traf-
                          ficking profits. The WA official in Nassau said that the first conviction
                          under the new law was concluded in September 1988. Efforts are under-
                          way to complete the seizure process for this and subsequent convictions.

                          Despite new scizuro laws, a senior INM official said in April 1989 that the
                          Bahamian government is still not seizing and using drug traffickers’
                          assets as quickly as 1hh1would like.


Special Drug Courts and   Responding to ( 1) substantial increases in arrests for drug trafficking
                          through the Bahamas. (2) a rising number of drug-related crimes in the
Increased Penalties       Bahamas, and (3) crit Icism from opposition parties and the United
                          States, the Bahamian government has designated special drug courts
                          and has substantially increased penalties for trafficking in and posses-
                          sion of drugs. In July 1987, one of the existing Magistrate Courts was
                          designated to deal cxc,lusively with drug offenses to expedite the back-
                          log of cases pending in the courts. Another Magistrate Court was desig-
                          nated as a drug count in 1988. According to a senior Embassy official in
                          Nassau, the magistrates can dispose of minor drug-related cases but can-
                          not impose a sentence of more than 5 years. Magistrates must refer indi-
                          viduals who are con\ rctcd of possession for sale, conspiracy, and other
                          serious drug offenses to the Bahamian Supreme Court for sentencing
                          under the recently c~;r~t cd penalties. These penalties are discussed
                          below.


                           Page 31                                 GAO/GGD9@42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                          Chapter 3
                          Status of Noninterdiction   Drug Control
                          Activities in the Bahamas




                          each. The fourth class of 25 officers completed training in February
                          1989.

                          lipon completion of the course, the officers are assigned to a joint
                          interdiction operation or to Bahamian police field offices. The senior DEA
                          official in Nassau said that newly trained officers typically work with
                          DEA agents in Nassau or with experienced Bahamian police investigators
                          to assist with investigations and to gain additional practical experience.

                          The senior DEA official in Nassau also said that establishing the drug
                          unit is an ambitious plan for the Bahamian police. This official said that
                          the Bahamian police probably cannot recruit replacement officers or
                          provide office space and equipment as quickly as the Bahamians would
                          like. Current plans anticipate full staffing of the entire unit by the end
                          of 1990. However, he said that he believed creation of the enforcement
                          unit was a positive step that is already providing results in the form of
                          more and better narcotics investigations.


Progress in Eliminating   Corruption within the Bahamian government is of concern to ITS. offi-
Corruption Within the     cials on two levels: [ 1 j lower-level corruption of police and other mid-
                          level public officials and (2) corruption of high-level elected or
Bahamian Government       appointed officials. In 1983, the Bahamian government established a
                          Commission of Inquiry to investigate alleged drug-related corruption.
                          Responding to allegations that Bahamian authorities had not prosecuted
                          those identified in the inquiry, the Bahamian Ambassador to the United
                          States noted in February 1988 testimony before the Senate Appropria-
                          tions Committee? Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service, and Gen-
                          eral Government, that
                          ./    the purview of tlw (‘ommission of Inquiry was not that of a court of law. There-
                          fore, testimony before th(s commission did not have to meet the same requirements
                          as that of a court of law The commission received much hearsay testimony without
                          corroborating evident e Whllr administrative/disciplinary    action was taken by the
                          police force as a welt of inwstigations prompted by testimony to the commission,
                          there was insufficient t’\ Idcn(,e to warrant court action.”

                          The Bahamian government has taken steps to reduce or eliminate cor-
                          ruption in Bahamian law enforcement agencies. An internal corruption
                          unit reporting to the Senior Deputy Police Commissioner was established
                          in 1987. In March 1988, the Bahamian government passed legislation
                          that required mandatory drug testing of police and Defense Force
                          personnel.



                           Page 33                                      GAO/GGD9042     Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                         Chapter 3
                         Status of Noninterdiction Drug Control
                         Activities in the Bahamas




                         Drug abuse among Bahamian citizens and the drug-related crime rate
Efforts to Reduce Drug   are increasing problems in the Bahamas, according to senior I’.!+
Demand in the            Embassy officials and a senior representative of the Bahamian govern-
Bahamas                  ment. Bahamian, IJnited States, and United Nations agencies have pal.-
                         ticipated in efforts aimed at reducing the demand for illegal drugs in tht‘
                         Bahamas. Additionally, the Bahamian Minister of Health and the AI tar-
                         ney General, who also serves as the Minister of Education, form a Nat.-
                         cotics Committee that meets periodically to discuss anti-drug cbducation
                         and drug demand reduction.

                         A private agency called Drug Action Services publicizes drug problems
                         in the Bahamas, mobilizes public concern, sets up outreach centers, and
                         is involved in rehabilitation. The agency has also established a small
                         halfway house for men. The Narcotics Committee has provided limited
                         financial support (about $50,000) to Drug Action Services; howcvtkr. the>
                         bulk of its funds are derived from private fundraising.

                         Government drug rehabilitation capacity is limited and long waiting lists
                         exist. According t,o senior 173 Embassy officials who provided this
                         information, the Bahamian government has no national plan; treatment
                         programs are undersized and underfunded; facilities are crowded and
                         have waiting lists; and efforts are concentrated in Nassau and Frcc~por’t,
                         with few services available in the outer islands.

                         The IJnited Nations Fund for Drug Abuse Control provided $500,000 to
                         the Bahamians in 1987 for a Z-year project to (1) investigate pattt>rns of
                         drug abuse and (2) assist in developing training programs on prcvttntivtx
                         education for key personnel in the private, and public sectors. Also. I\V
                         and the I1.S. Informarion Service recently provided financial assist ancc
                         and speakers for a “Second Wernational Drug Symposium” held in 111~
                         Bahamas. The symposium focused on the treatment and rehabilitation
                         of cocaine addicts




                         Page 35                                  GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   lXfwls
                                     Chapter 4
                                     Managing and Planning      U.S. Anti-Drug
                                     Efforts in the Bahamas




                                     in fiscal year 1988. Nearly all of these costs resulted from drug interdic-
                                     tion operations, including the operation and maintenance of aerostat
                                     radar facilities (but excluding the acquisition and installation costs of
                                     aerostats).

                                     Table 4.1 shows annual costs associated with each U.S. agency’s anti-
                                     drug efforts in the Bahamas for fiscal years 1986, 1987, and 1988.

Table 4.1: Annual Costs of U.S.
Agencies’ Anti-Drug Efforts in the   Dollars in thousands
Bahamas                                                                                                         Fiscal Years
                                     Agency                                                            1986             1987               1988
                                     INM                                                                $255            $147               $892
                                     6Ei~----                                                          1,357            1,619              2,444
                                     Customsa                                                          8,064           19,214b             8,838
                                     Coast Guarda                                                             c         7,970             18,097
                                     Army                                                                               1,362              2,238
                                     Air Force                                                          1,640           1,490                       d
                                                                                     ~~ ~~~$i.,,3,6
                                     Total                                                                             $31,802           $32,509
                                     Note The costs shown are predominately for salaries and operation and maintenance of equipment
                                     such as aircraft, hellcopters and aerostat radar
                                     “Includes costs for the ]olnt Coast Guard/Customs command. control, and communwtlon      center
                                     located near Mlaml because accardlng to Coast Guard a large part of the center’s operations support
                                     drug interdlctlon efforts in the Bahamas

                                     “Includes one-time funding of $10 mIllIon for helicopters   and communication    equipment authorized by
                                     the AWDrug Abuse Act 01 1986

                                     ‘Coast Guard and the Army did not partlcipate in the Bahamas anti drug efforts until 19%
                                     ‘AII Force’s partlclpatlon !n OPHAT was transferred to the Coast Guard in fiscal year 1988
                                     Source CornplIed by GAO based on cost estimates furnished by U S agencies shown in the table


                                     Table 4.1 does not include the costs of acquiring and installing a second
                                     land-based aerostat in the central Bahamas at George Town. This aero-
                                     stat is expected to be operational in early 1990. Estimates by Customs
                                     and Coast Guard indicate that acquisition and installation of the George
                                     Town aerostat will cost about $24 million, and operating costs will
                                     amount to between $7 and $8 million annually. A third aerostat, with
                                     costs estimated by Coast Guard at between $17 and $21 million, has
                                     been planned for acquisition and installation in the southern Bahamas.
                                     Constructing and operating land-based aerostat radars are two of the
                                     most expensive components of 1J.S.anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas.




                                      Page 37                                                    GAO/GGD90-42        Bahamas Anti-Drug    Efforts
Chapter 4
Managing and Planning    VS. Anti-Drug
Efforts in the Bahamas




short- and long-term plans for increased drug interdiction efforts,
according to INM officials, it relies heavily on the commitment of addi-
tional, costly U.S. resources-navy     ships, helicopters and bases, and
radars. State Department officials commented that while the Bahamian
proposal has merit, the Bahamian government should assume more
responsibility for regional anti-drug efforts.

While we observed some friction among agencies in particular opera-
tions, we found no indications that the large number of anti-drug agen-
cies and operations in the Bahamas or the decentralized planning and
management of ant.i-drug efforts had caused significant conflicts. We
noted that the U.S. Ambassador and agency officials have held periodic
coordinating meetings to reduce interagency conflicts and have agreed
on memoranda of understanding that define each agency’s respective
roles and responsibilitirs.




Page 39                                  GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Chapter 6

Summ~ of Agency Comments and
Our Response

                     We provided drafts of this report to the Departments of State, Justice,
                     Transportation, Defense, and the Treasury; and the Qffice of National
                     Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The Department of Defense chose not to
                     comment, stating that it saw no need to do so. The Department of State
                     and ONDCP provided technical comments to clarify and update informa-
                     tion contained in the report. In addition, ONDCP, while not disagreeing
                     with our conclusions, commented that the report did not give recogni-
                     tion to the importance of drug interdiction efforts as a deterrent. The
                     Departments of Justice, Transportation, and the Treasury also provided
                     technical comments but disagreed with our conclusion questioning the
                     significant expansion of air interdiction assets in the Bahamas. While
                     disagreeing with our conclusion, the Department of Transportation
                     expressed agreement with many of our findings, commenting that the
                     report generally provides a factual portrayal of anti-drug efforts in the
                     Bahamas.

                     The agency responses t,o our request for official comments are contained
                     in appendixes V through IX. We incorporated the agencies’ technical
                     comments, including clarifications and updated information, into the
                     report where appropriate. This chapter addresses the agencies’ substan-
                     tive comments and our response. Moreover, because the President’s Sep-
                     tember 1989 National
                                   __.      Drug Control Strategy includes comments relating
                     to our conclusion, we included a discussion of those comments in this
                     chapter.


                     The Department of Transportation (Dm) generally agreed with the facts
Comments From the    in our report but disagreed with our conclusion relating to expansion of
Department of        air interdiction assets in the Bahamas. DOTagreed with us that (1) cur-
Transportation and   rent radar systems in the lsahamas provide inadequate coverage for the
                     task at hand; (2) additional investments in radar systems can reduce.
Our Response         but not eliminate, the gaps in the interdiction system that currently
                     exist; and (3) if we make these investments, any success will only drive
                     smugglers to other modes and areas of drug trafficking. Despite these
                     limitations, DUTmaintained that such investments are warranted and
                     that the planned land-based aerostat radar system for the Bahamas
                     should be completcsd.

                     DOT said that investments in aerostat radars must be viewed in the con-
                     text of a total drug interdiction system. DUT said that land-based aero-
                     stats were never meant to stand alone, but were part of a planned larger
                     system, including sex-based aerostats, over-the-horizon radar, and radar
                     aircraft (Airborne Early Warning (AEWS): E-ZCs, C-13& and P-3s). DUI-


                     Page 41                                 GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                        Chapter 6
                        Summary of Agency Comments   and
                        Our Response




                        range of an aerostat to detect low flying aircraft, ground-based military
                        radar can operate around-the-clock and provide more continuous cover-
                        age. As discussed on page 22, ground-based National Guard radar will be
                        used as an alternative until the planned aerostat designated for Great
                        Inagua is acquired and installed.

                        Finally, MJTpointed out that the President’s September 1989 National
                        Drug Control Strategy calls for completing the planned land-based aero-
                        stat network, including the third aerostat designated for Great Inagua in
                        the Bahamas. It should be noted, however, that the Strategy calls for
                        completing the network as funds are available, thus placing no priority
                        on its completion. [Emphasis added.] Since issuance of the Strategy in
                        September 1989, DOD has provided the funding necessary to complete
                        the land-based aerostat system in the Bahamas.


                        The Department of .Justice, in its response to our draft report, said that
Comments From the       it “takes exception to GAOS conclusion that efforts in the Bahamas
Department of Justice   should not be expanded beyond current levels.” ,Justicc further com-
and Our Response        mented that we did not provide adequate discussion of the role of drug
                        intelligence and investigations in the interdiction process, pointing out
                        that the majority of drug seizures in the Bahamas resulted from drug
                        intelligence and investigation activities. Justice also commented that our
                        discussion of radar systems minimized the value of Air National Guard
                        mobile radar systems in enhancing fixed based radar systems in the
                        Bahamas. Justice pointed out that National Guard radar are capable of
                        rapid shifts in location and can operate in inclement weather. Finally,
                        Justice said that our comment that “the decentralized approach to plan-
                        ning and managing anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas is a workable strat-
                        egy for the present level of resources” implied that this approach would
                        not work for greater levels of resources. [Emphasis added by the Depart-
                         ment of Justice.]

                        Justice interpreted the report’s overall conclusion to mean that we ques-
                        tioned the expansion of all anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas, including
                        any expansion in drug investigation and intelligence activities. We did
                        not intend for our conclusion to be interpreted so broadly. Although
                        they are beyond the scope of this report, drug intelligence and investiga-
                        tions play an important role in anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas. We
                        restated our conclusion to clarify that it is limited specifically to cxpan-
                        sion of air interdiction assets.




                         Page 43                                 GAOIGGD-90x2   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Chapter 6
Summary of Agency Comments   and
our Hrsprnse




about half the time, pointing out that aerostats should not be viewed as
a stand alone solution. Customs asserted that when all three aerostats
are installed in the Bahamas, it is very unlikely that all three would be
“down” at the same time, and radar aircraft could fill the gaps when
aerostats are inoperable. Third, Customs commented on our statement
that fixed interdiction assets run the risk of becoming obsolete when
smugglers change their modes and patterns of operation, pointing out
the importance of deterrence in drug law enforcement strategies. Cus-
toms said that closing air routes to drug smugglers will force them to use
less preferable and more vulnerable methods of smuggling. Lastly, Cus-
toms commented that we should withhold judgment of aerostats until
the entire proposed network is completed and operating.

Customs indicated that we overstated the average cost of an aerostat.
Rather than $24 million, Customs said that aerostats cost between $15
and $22 million each to acquire and install. Because the costs can vary
depending on site preparation, we deleted references to average costs.
As noted in the report, the George Town aerostat, according to Customs
and Coast Guard, will cost about $24.2 million when operational in early
1990. The aerostat designated for Great lnagua is expected to cost from
$17 to $21 million.

Customs, like the Department of Transportation, raised the issue of cost
effectiveness of radar systems, stating that aerostats are more cost
effective than radar aircraft. As previously noted, comparing the cost
and effectiveness of radar systems was not part of the scope and objec-
tives for this report. Rather, our conclusion is based on our findings that
additional radars, helicopters, and bases planned for the Bahamas are
costly and will not. eliminate limitations in the interdiction system. Drug
traffickers will likely exploit the limitations and shift to other smuggling
modes and routes that can be more difficult to detect.

We have no basis to evaluate Customs’ assertion that it, is unlikely that
all aerostats in the Bahamas will be “down” at the same time. Customs’
assertion may be valid. Nevertheless, when one aerostat in a network is
down, gaps in radar coverage will exist and drug traffickers can exploit
those gaps. Additionally, shifting resources to compensate could pro-
duce other gaps for drug trafficker exploitation.

We agree with Customs that radar aircraft could be used to fill gaps
when aerostats are down, but to use radar aircraft in this way on a full-
time basis would be expensive. The use of DOD,Coast Guard, and Cus-
t,oms radar aircraft can be planned in advance to provide radar coverage


Page 46                                  GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                       Chapter 6
                       Summary of Agency Comments   and
                       Our Response




                       ONDCP commented that our report does not quantify the term “costly”             as
Comments From          applied to interdiction t>l‘forts in the Bahamas. OKDCP stated that the
ONDCP and Our          entire U.S. interdiction program, at $1.5 billion in fiscal year 1988,
Response               seized less than 100 metric tons of cocaine and 830 metric tons of mari-
                       juana. In comparison, the $30 plus million spent in the Bahamas for the
                       seizure of 11 metric tons of cocaine and 5 1 tons of marijuana appears to
                       be an unequivocal bargain. We agree that interdiction efforts in the
                        Bahamas have resulted in relatively significant seizures, and we have
                        added a statement to that effect in our report (see p. 10).

                       As previously discussed, ONDCP, like Customs, pointed out that our
                       report did not recognize>deterrence as an important objective of drug
                       interdiction. OKDCP commented that deterrence-the        denial of preferred
                       modes and routes to smugglers-is a concept central to interdiction.
                       Further, ONDcP asserted that a statement in our report-expensive
                       investments in fixed air interdiction may become “obsolete” when smug-
                       glers change their modes and patterns of operation-failed       to recognize
                       the deterrent value of drug interdiction systems. We recognize that one
                       of the objectives of an interdiction system is to deny drug traffickers the
                       use of preferred rout es and modes of smuggling. However, as discussed
                       on page 28, when interdiction efforts disrupt or close a particular traf-
                       ficking route, drug traffickers resort to other smuggling tactics that are
                       even more difficult to detect, such as drug smuggling in cargo ship-
                       ments. On the basis of onucf’ and Customs comments, we expanded our
                       definition of interdiction (see p. 14) to include deterrence and deleted
                       the reference to interdiction systems becoming “obsolete.” As stated in
                       our report, we arc not proposing curtailment of existing air interdiction
                       efforts in the Bahamas. 1Iowever, we are not convinced that air interdic-
                       tion assets should bt, significantly expanded without further
                       assessment.
                          L.

                       ONDCP also provided information updating the status of certain aerostats
                       and said that drug smllggling flights over Cuba had decreased since the
                       summer of 1989. WV made changes to the report to incorporate this
                       updated information. ( SPCpp. 21 to 23.)


                       The President’s Sept em bcr 1989, National Drug Control Strategy con-
Comments Contained     tains comments pertinent to our conclusion. The Strategy examined the
in the National Drug   federal efforts needt>d to reduce both the supply of and demand for ille-
Control Strategy       gal drugs. It suggcstcd ;I cautious approach in future funding of interdic-
                       t,ion assets.



                       Page 47                                  GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Page 49   GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                       Appendix I
                       Information  on the Boat Docking Facility
                       Authorized  by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act
                       of 1986




                 l     April: The first test results report indicates that the Coast Guard cutter
                       functioning as the mobile support facility has proved adequate to pro-
                       vide diesel fuel and communications but is inadequate to provide gaso-
                       line (for small boats), water, commissary support, and crew rest and
                       relaxation.


                       According to the Coast Guard Liaison to the Bahamas, mobile support
Current Status   l


                       facility testing is continuing.
                     . Coast Guard has approved project funding requests totalling approxi-
                       mately $117,400 for the facility. As of October 1989, approximately
                       $4.06 million remains available to acquire a mobile support facility.


                     . According to a Coast Guard report, the mobile support facility testing
Expected               will continue for the foreseeable future. Additional testing is necessary
Developments           to determine the exact vessel type to best meet the mobile support facil-
                       ity requirements. Coast Guard officials have considered using oil drilling
                       platforms and offshore supply vessels as mobile support facilities.




                        Page 51                                    GAO/GGD!lO42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                   Appaiix     II
                   Information     on the Boat Repair Facility
                   Authorized     hy the Anti-Drug Ahusr Act
                   of 1986




1989             . January: Coast Guard approved project funding requests totalling
                   $771,628 for the facility, including approximately $470,000 for
                   construction.



Current Status   9 The facility is operational under Coast Guard control.



Expected         - Coast Guard is waiting for the Bahamian government to set a date for
Developments       transferring the facility to the Bahamians.




                    Page 53                                      GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Appendix III
Information   on the Cost of Temporarily
Stationing  U.S. Drug Interdiction Personnel   in
the Bahamas




the Bahamas varies from 14 to 60 days, with Coast Guard personnel
assigned for 14 days. DE:A personnel for 60 days, and Army personnel for
45 days.

According to representatives of the agencies participating in U.S.-Baha-
mas interdiction efforts, there are advantages and disadvantages to
assigning personnel temporarily in the Bahamas. According to the senior
Coast Guard operations officer in Nassau, frequent rotation is beneficial
because the duty schedule in the Bahamas is heavier than at most other
Coast Guard duty stations. Frequent rotation also allows a larger
number of personnel to participate in operations and provides training
that they would not receive in their home units. On the other hand,
according to the senior DEA representative in Nassau, temporarily
assigned DEA agents are typically less experienced and are not familiar
with the operations in the Bahamas. The frequent rotation of personnel
into the Bahamas results in a lack of operational continuity because new
personnel require up to a month to become familiar with the various
drug interdiction programs and operations in the Bahamas, the geogra-
phy, and their individual duties.

I)EA and Customs have recently taken steps to increase their permanent
positions in the Bahamas. In August 1988, the senior DEA official in the
Miami field division office requested authorization t,o add 16 permanent
IHCA positions in the Bahamas. This request was based on DEA’S plans to
extend OPBAT coverage into the Turks and Caicos Islands and to enhance
the investigative and intelligence capabilities of the Nassau office.
According to the Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge of DEA'S Miami
office, DEA headquarters is considering this request but has not yet made
a decision. The Customs Service recently converted its Customs liaison
officer position in Nassau from temporary to permanent. According to
the Customs liaison officer, this was done to provide continuity and to
improve coordination between Customs and the other U.S. agencies
operating in the Bahamas.




 Page 55                                            GAO/GGD-90-42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                       Appendix IV
                       Agency Offices and Facilities   Visited,
                       March 1988 to January 1989




                       Aerostat Radar Site, High Rock, Bahamas
                       Shore Maintenance Detachment, Miami, Florida


                       Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Customs Service   Air Branch. Homestead. Florida
                       Command, Control, and’Communications Center, Miami, Florida
                       Southeast Regional Office, Miami, Florida
                       Liaison Office, U.S. Embassy, Nassau, Bahamas
                       Marine Interdiction Base, Gun Cay, Bahamas




                       Page 57                                    GAO/GGD9942   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                         Appendix V
                         Comments From the Department       of
                         Transportation




                                                                                                     Enclosure

                  I.   TITLE:   "Drug Control1              Anti-Drug      Efforts     in the Bahamas,"
                  Draft Report.
                  II. c
                  RECOMMENDATION:
                  The GAO is not convinced            that present drug interdiction                     efforts
                  should be significantly           expanded.         First,     while additional
                  radars will      improve detection           capabilities,         the existing         and
                  planned radar system will             not provide         constant     coverage due to
                  downtime caused by maintenance                 and weather.          Aerostats       located
                  in Florida      and the Bahamas are operational                  about half the time.
                  Second, expanding         the current        air interdiction          system in the
                  Bahamas will      be costly.        A second aerostat            is currently          under
                  construction       in the Bahamas to augment existing                    radar     coverage,
                  and a third      aerostat     has been proposed.             The U.S. Customs
                  Service     and the U.S. Coast Guard estimate                  that each aefostat
                  will   cost about $24 million,             plus an additional            $7 to $8 million
                  each in annual operating            costs.       Finally,      drug smugglers are
                  able   to adapt to improvements              in the air interdiction               system.
                  According     to the Drug Enforcement             Administration,           traffickers
                  have been flying        their    drug loads around the air interdiction
                  net or using other smuggling methods such as cargo shipments.
                  Thus, expensive       investments        in fixed interdiction              assets may
                  increase     drug seizure      in the short term but run the risk of
                  becoming obsolete         when smugglers change their                 modes and patterns
                  of operation.
                  As stated in GAO's June 1989 report                    on capabilities      for
                  interdicting        private      aircraft,     GAO is not convinced         that
                  spending additional             millions     of dollars      on air interdiction
                  assets would be the most effective                   use of the limited         additional
                  resources       Congress and the administration                may wish to put into
                  the Nation's        war on drugs.           In that report,       GAO proposed that
                  Congress may want to pursue the issue further                        with key
                  administration         officials        before deciding       on specific
                  authorization        and appropriation           levels    for all aspects of the
                  war on drugs.          GAO made no specific            recommendations      to the
                  agencies      involved.
                  III.     SUMMARYOF DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION POSITION:
                  We have reviewed the draft           report   and believe    it generally
                  provides   a factual     portrayal      of the anti-drug     efforts      in the
                  Bahamas. We would, however, like to offer                 some clarifications
See comment   1   and technical     corrections      included    as Attachment      1.
                  We disagree      with the conclusions     expressed  in the report
                  relating      to air interdiction.      In this regard,     this report     is
                  really     a microcosm of the June 1989 report       entitled     "Drug
                  Interdiction:        Capabilities   for Interdicting    Private    Aircraft




                         page59                                                GAO/GGD-9042      Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
     Appendix V
     Commrnts From the Department   of
     Transportation




                                         - 3 -
Therefore,  we suggest that this finding        be reconsidered     in light
of the President's   National     Drug Strategy    which included
completion  of the LBA network in the southern           U.S. and Bahamas
as part of its overall     strategy.    We believe     that the strategy
is correct  and it should be given the opportunity           to succeed.




     Page 61                                     GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Appendix VI

Comments From the Department of Justice



                                                                     U.S. Department     of Just&




              Richard L. Fogel
              Assistant   Comptroller    General
              U.S. General Accounting       Office
              Washington,   D.C.      20548
              Dear Mr.      Fogel:
              The following       information         is being      provided       in response to your
              request to the Attorney              General,      dated September 22, 1989, for
              comments on the General Accounting                    Office      (GAO) draft     report
              entitled,     "Drug Control:           Anti-Drug      Efforts      In the Bahamas."
              The Department takes exception                  to GAO's conclusion          that efforts
              in the Bahamas should not be expanded beyond current                            levels.
              The Department believes              that expansion         of the program in the
              Bahamas is necessary           to enhance its investigative,                 intelligence
              and interception          capabilities.           Further!      we disagree     with GAO's
              view that the expansion              of radar operations             is merely a costly
              temporary     fix.      It is the Department's               opinion    that such
              expansion    will     not adversely          affect    management of drug
              operations      in the Bahamas, and will                in fact enhance the
              Department's       efforts.
              The Bahamas is one of the two most significant                             transshipment
              countries       for cocaine entering             the United States.               Therefore,
              the completion          of a comprehensive            and effective          drug control
              program in the Bahamas is essential                      to the accomplishment                of
              overall      drug strategy          objectives.         The anti-drug          program in the
              Bahamas consists           of three major          elements:        investigation,
              intelligence        and interception.              The Department believes                that
              GAO is mistaken          in its conclusion            that anti-drug           efforts      in the
              Bahamas should not be expanded because it fails                              to consider         all
              three elements of the drug enforcement                       effort      in the Bahamas as
              well as the relationship                and impact of this effort                 on the
              overall      drug control          program.      GAO focused on the interception
              element of the program,                radar detection        and monitoring             of
              smuggler aircraft,            and found that the proposals                   for expanding
              anti-drug       efforts      "will     not eliminate       vulnerabilities             in the
              interdiction         system and smugglers will               still     be able to use the
              Bahamas as a drug smuggling                  route."




                    Page 63                                                 GAO/GGD-90-42BahamasAnti-Drug Efforts
Honorable      Richard    L. Fogel                                                    3


GAD's conclusion    failed      to consider     the benefits     of all aspects
of the anti-drug    program.         Therefore,    the Department believes
that acting    upon GAO's broad conclusion,             not to significantly
expand the anti-drug       efforts     in the Bahamas, may be imprudent.
We suggest GAO reconsider          its conclusion,       giving  greater
attention   to the investigative          and intelligence      efforts      in the
Bahamas, and assessing        radar use &t&g.
We aopreciate       the opportunity  to comment        on the draft      report
and hope that       you find our comments   both       constructive      and
beneficial.
Sincerely,




   for   Administration




     Page 65                                        GAO/GGD-9042    Mamas    Anti-Drug    Efforts
                       Appendix VII
                       Comments From the Department of
                       the Treasury




                                                            -2-

                   GAO Report

Now   D4               2.    ?,ge   6, line     4, reads:
                       First,     while additi.>nal     radars will   improve detection
                       capabilities,       the existing     and planned ra&r    system will
                       not provide      constant    coverage due to downtime caused by
                       maintenance      and weather.       Aerostats  located in Florida    and
                       the Bahamas are operational           about half the time.
                   Customs Position
                       Al though the proposed 3 Oahamian Aerostdt                 networks       will      not
                       ‘be operational         100% of the time during a given year, when
                       operating,         they do provide      detection    coverage over all
                       Rahamian territory            and the British      Turks and Caicos Tslands
                       sufficient         to greatly    increase     the riqk of detection            for
                        the air smuggler and subsequent                law enEorcement reaction.
                       Addlti?nally,          when all three aecostats         are installed,           they
                       are very unlikely           to all be down for weather ot- maintenance
                       nn a concurrent          basis.     This greatly     complicates       the
                       operations         and increases      the risk Ear the air smuggler to
                       be detected         and apprehended by law enforcement              because        of
                        their    inability      to deal with the variable          status of three
                       aerc,stats.
                       During times when the land-based          aerostats are inoperable,
                       DOD, IJSCG and USCS AEW assets serve as gap filler          radars.
                       The aerostats      are an integral    part oE the overall   Customs
                       air interdiction         strategy and should not be viewed as a
                       standalone     solution.
                   GAO
                   --.- Report
Now   pp 4 and 5        3.   Page 6, line       20, t-ads:
                       According     to the Drug Enforcement      Administration,
                       traEfickers      have been flying   their     drug loads around the
                       air interdiction       net using other smuggling methods such as
                       cargo shipments.        Thus, expensive     investments    in fixed air
                       interdiction      assets may increase     drug seizure     in the short
                       tqt-In, but run the risk oE becoming obsolete            when smugglers
                       change their modes and patterns          of operation.




                        Page fi7                                             GAO/GGD-9042BahamasAnti-Drug Efforts
Appendix VIII

Comments From the Office of National Drug
Control Policy




                                      OFFlCEOFNATlONALDRUGCONTROLPOLlCY
                                           EXECUTIVE OFFICE OFTHEPRESIDENT
                                                    Wuklngton, D.C. 20500




                                                October        24, 1989
                Mr. Richard L. Fogel
                Aeriltant   Comptroller       General
                General Accounting       Office
                Washington,   D.C.      20548
                Dear Mr.     Fogel:
                       Thank you for your letter        of September  22, 1989, and for
                giving ue the opportunity      to review your draft report entitled=
                Control:    Anti-Drug  Effort6    In The Bahamas.
                       We have circulated    this    for review    within   ONDCP and have
                received     comments from    these     offices.       These commentn are
                summarized In the encloeed       for your use a.8 appropriate.      AB you
                will   note, comments range from technical       and minor issues to more
                fundamental    conceptual Issues.
                      Please do not hesitate            to call         me If      you have any questions.
                Thanks again.


                                                       sincerely          yours,
                                                   I-2,


                                                    Bruce          M.   Car&
                                                    Director,      Planning,            Budget,   and
                                                       Administration
                Attachment




                       Page69                                                   GAO/GGU-90-42BahamasAnti-DrugEfforts
Appendix IX

Comments From the Department of State


supplementing    those tn the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix
                                r                                                  United States Department of State

                                                                                   Washington, D.C.    20520



                                                                                                           5

                                    Dear Mr~e-l,.-
                                           This is in response to your letter        of September 22, 1989 to
                                    the Secretary    which forwarded     copies of the draft     report
                                    entitled    Drum Control:  Anti-Drug     Efforts   In the Bahamas, for
                                    review and comment.
                                         Enclosed are comments which were coordinated                 by and
                                    prepared by the Bureau of International   Narcotics                Matters.
                                            We appreciate   the opportunity   to review       and comment         on   the
                                    draft     report.

                                                                              Sincerely,




                                                                              Jill  E. Kent
                                                                              Chief Financial          Officer

                                    Enclosure:
                                         As stated.




                                    Mr. Richard L. Fogel,
                                        Assistant    COmptrOller  General,
                                               General Government     Division,
                                                     U. 5. General Accounting       Office,
                                                          Washington,      D. C.   20548.




                                            Page 71                                   GAO/GGD-9042BahamasAnti-Drug Efforts
               Appendix M
               Comments From the Department   of State




               1. The report was updated to include additional information the Depart-
GAO Comments   ment of State provided. Subsequent to the Department of State’s com-
               ment that the George Town aerostat was expected to be operational in
               December 1989, we discussed this point with the Department of State’s
               Ih’M official in Nassau. This official said that the system is now expected
               to be fully operational in early 1990.




               Page 73                                   GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Appendix X                                 -

Major Contributors to This Report


                         John L. Vialet, Assistant Director, Administration      of
General Government         Justice Issues
Division, Washington,    Samuel A. Caldronc, Assignment Manager
D.C.                     Kathleen J. Worrell, Evaluator
                         Ralph L. Timmons, Evaluator


                         Jeffrey S. Hart, Evaluator-in-Charge
Dallas Regional Office   Penney M. Harwell, Site Senior
                         Mark D. Moreland, Evaluator
                         *JamesA. Morgan, Evaluator




(186724)                 Page 74                                  GAO/GGD90-42        Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                            Appendix IX
                            Comments From the Department   of State




                    GAO DRAFT REPORT COMMENTS: DRUG CONTROL: ANTI-DRUG EFFORTS IN
                    THE BAHAMAS (CODE 18724)



See comment    1    Note:    the   following    changes    correct    error    in fact:
Now    pp 16and17   Page 20, third    full   paragraph,  insert   after   first
                    sentence..."The     West End operation     was terminated      in September
                    1989.    The assets at that site were redeployed            to Gun Cay.   The
                    Gun Cay operation      uses"...pick  up beginning     "Customs, Coast
                    Guard," etc.
Nowp     21         Page   29,  first    full paragraph,    fifth   line,  make it read..."at
                    George Town, Great Exuma Island,            and is expected to be
                    operational       by December lYBY"...pick      up beginning   "according             to
                    the senior Customs,"       etc.
Nowp 27             Page 34, delete          subtitle    over sec,ond full     paragraph.  Second
                    full    paragraph,       delete   all after   first    sentence and make
                    remainder         of paragraph    read..."A   southern     base would
                    significantly         decrease response time to the southeast          Bahamas,
                    Further,        the United Kingdom has prepared and distributed           a
                    draft     trilateral      agreement on interdiction         operations to
                    include       the U.S., the Bahamas, the United Kingdom and Turks and
                    Caicos.         It is hoped that this agreement can be concluded            early
                    in 1990.”
Nowp 33             Page 45, first         full  paragraph,  note that it        was a Bahamian
                    Commission of        Inquiry    that was established,        not a British
                    Commission.




                                                              Melvyn LevitskyV
                                                              Assistant   Secretary
                                                              Bureau of International         Narcotics
                                                                  Matters




                             Page 72                                          GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                               AppendLxVIIl
                           CommentsFromtheOffceofNationalDrug
                           ControlPolicy




                   r
                       ONDCP     COMMBNTS     ON ANTI-DRUG     EFFORTS    IN   THE   BAHAUAS


                       0       The GAO Report did not consider           the overall     purpose     of Bahamas
                               interdiction.      The authors assume that this is the                seizure    of
Nowpp   2and14                 drugs (p.2, etc.) or the apprehension            of smugglers.          These are
                               important,     certainly.          But deterrence        --   the     denial     of
                               preferred     modes and routes to smugglers           --    is not     mentioned
                               as an objective,          although    this    is a concept           central     to
                               interdiction     and to our own strategies.
                       0       In various     locations,     the Report refers   to additional        or
                               planned   "radars."       The Georgetown radar (referred     to on p.
Now pp 21 and 23               29) and the fifth         USCG sea-based aerostat   (p.  30)   already
                               exist.    Only the Great Inagua radar remains in the planning
                               stage.
                       0       The Report refers  to an increase  in the use of Cuban airspace
Now p 21.                      by smugglers   (p. 28).   Since the middle of the summer there
                               has been a dramatic decrease in traffickers'  air activity   over
                               Cuba.
                       0       The Report does not quantify         the term    "costly,"    as applied       to
Nowp    10                     the Bahamas interdiction         efforts     (p. 3, etc.).       The entire
                               U.S. interdiction      program, at $1.5 billion          in FY 1988, seized
                               less than 100 MT of cocaine and 830 MT of marijuana.                  Against
                               this    figure,   the $30+ million       spent in the Bahamas         for    the
                               seizure      of 11 MT of cocaine and 51 tons of marijuana              appears
                               to be an unequivocal       bargain.
                       0       The Report argues that improved interdiction              capabilities       will
                               make the Bahamas route            -- and the assets we put there                 --
Now p 40                       obsolete    (p. 59).      But that is exactly      what we want:        a system
                               which,    as it is put in place,             makes each mode or route of
                               operation      inoperable      ("obsolete").        In this     context,       the
                               Bahamas operation       has become increasingly       effective      over  time.
                               To reverse the COXI, if it did not exist,             U.S. law enforcement
                               would need to be directed          at cocaine shipments arriving          within
                               the continental       U.S.


                                                                                       10/24/89




                   L




                               Page70                                            GAO/GGD-90~2BahamasAnti.DrugEfforts
      Appendix VII
      Comments From the Department          of
      the Treasury




                                                 -3-


Customs     Posi tian




                  Ill    concl"51~~~1,          I would ltke        t,> p’,int     otlt lhnt       khe
National        Aviation            Interdiction          Strategy      is well      on its way to
meeting      its goa1 of reducing,                      by 50 percent           by 1992, tha numbrc
af general            aviation         airccaEt        smuggling       narcotics       into    the
IJnitzd     Stati?S.            Where installed,              the ?iet?statS       hava 3
signiEicant             impact        313 general       aviation       smugpling,        and   it is my
position        that       we should           withhold       judgment     IDO the eEEectiveness
oE the entice               sy.stem      until      such time as th* final               aerostat
becomes       f4llLy operntilwl.

                I appreciat?      the        opporttinity         to     revieji   and    provide
the   above     comments     on your         draft      report.

                                                 Sincerely,




        Page 68                                                        GAO/GGD9042       Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Appendix

Comments From the Department of
the Treasury


                                                         DEPARTMENT           OFTHE         TREASURY
                                                                           WASHINDTON




                       Mr. Richard      L. Fogel
                       Assistant      Comptroller  General
                       United    States    General Accounting                      Office
                       Washington,      D.C. 20548

                       Dear    Mr.       Fogel:

                                           At my request,            the Customs Service   has reviewed     the
                       draEt  of         the GAO report             entitled  "Anti-Drug  EEEorts    in the
                       Bahamas"          and offer   the           Eqllowing  comments and observations:

                       GAO Report
Now   pp   3 and   4          1.      Page        3,   paragraph      3,    line    6,      reads:

                              There       are proposals      for expanding         anti-drug        efforts        in the
                              Bahamas,      including      acquisition       of additional             radars,
                              helicopters        and bases.         These acquisitions            will      improve
                              capabilities         to detect      and apprehend         airborne         drug
                              smugglers       and may further          deter   air     smuggling.           HOWeVer,
                              they will       be costly;       for example,        aerostat       radars       cost
                              about      $24 million      Eor acquisition          and installation,               plus an
                              additional        $7 to $8 million          in annual       operating         costs.

                       Customs        Position

                              The acquisition         cost of each aerostat             system     is not    $24
                              million.       This   figure      represents      the worst       case figure       for
                              the installation         at the worst         case site       on Great     Inagua.
                              Current    aerostat       pricing      is approximately          $12 million       par
                              system,    with     a variable       site    and installation          cost of $3 to
                              $10 million.

                              The acquisition           and on-station        cost per flight          hour for
                              aerostat       systems      are dramatically         lower    than that      of any
                              other     system able         to provide     similar     surveillance.         When
                              considering         operating     cost and mission          eftectiveness,        this
                              makes aerostats           the most cost effective             surveillance
                              platform       available.




                              Page66                                                            GAO/GGIr9Q42BahamasAnti-DrugEfforts
                                -


Honorable     Richard      L. Fogel                                                          2

In FY 1986, 32 percent               of drug seizures        were the result          of
radar acquired          targets.        The majority      of seizures        resulted     from
standard      drug control         efforts    such as DEA transportation               cases,
joint     investigations          with Bahamian authorities,              and routine
OPBAT (Operation            Bahamas and Turks and Caicos) patrols.                     GAO
paid inadequate           attention      to the investigations            and
intelligence         programs that are responsible                  for a great number
of arrests        and seizures        in the Bahamas and failed              to fully
consider      their     impact on the anti-drug             effort.       GAO's
conclusion        that the anti-drug          efforts     in the Bahamas should not
be significantly            expanded could adversely             affect    not only the
interception         activities       on which it focused,             but the
investigative         and intelligence         activities        as well.
We also believe         that GAO's determination,               as it relates       to the
use of radar in the Bahamas, is incorrect.                        If the conclusion
is acted upon, it will             preclude      greater    expansion       of the use of
radar in the Bahamas, including                  the development        of a southern
base at Great Inagua.              GAO's discussion         of radar usage focuses
on aerostat     bases and concludes              that the use of radar,
especially     as related        to fixed air interdiction              assets,     is not
cost effective.           GAO's discussion          minimizes     the value of the
Air National      Guard mobile units.               These mobile radar units have
differing     capabilities         from the fixed bases.             The Guard's
mobile units      are capable of rapid shifts                 in location       and can
operate    in inclement       weather.          Drug intelligence         indicates    that
air smugglers have long exploited                   areas out of the range of
OPBAT resources         at Georgetown,          such as the southern           Bahamas and
Turks and Caicos Islands.                Without      a southern     base with a
ground-based      radar station,          trarfickers       will    continue     to
exploit    this gap in detection             and response capabilities.               Our
best weapon for combatting               drug trafficking         through the Bahamas
is a comprehensive          anti-drug       program, and such a program should
include    as complete a radar detection                 system     as possible.
Finally,       the anti-drug       activities      in the Bahamas are performed
cooperatively          by several    U.S. and foreign         government       agencies
and are jointly          managed by individual           agency officials         and the
U.S. Ambassador for the Bahamas.                  GAO recognizes        that the
"decentralized          approach to planning          and managing anti-drug
efforts      in the Bahamas is a workable              strategy     for the Dresent
level     of resources."          (Emphasis added.)          Although     not stated by
GAO, we believe          this can be read to imply that at greater
resource       levels,     the decentralized         approach to management will
not work.         It is the Department's          opinion     that the anti-drug
efforts      in the Bahamas can effectively               continue     under a
decentralized          management even at enhanced levels               of resources.
We think that GAO should indicate                 that its skatement of present
capabilities         is not intended         to suggest any future         difficulties
under differing          conditions.




       Page64                                               GAO/GGD9042BahamasAnti-DrugEfforts
               Appendix V
               Comments From the Department   of
               Transportation




               1. GAO made revisions to the report where appropriate based on the clar-
GAO Comments   ifications and technical corrections provided in DOT’S attachment 1, but
               we did not reprint that at,tachment as part of this report.




               Page 62                               GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
      Appendix V
      Comments From the Department      of
      Transportation




                                             -2-
Are Limited      and Costly."       Both reports    conclude,    and we agree,
that current       anti-air    sensor systems provide       inadequate    radar
coverage versus the tasks at hand; that additional                 investments
in sensors can reduce, but not eliminate,               the gaps that
currently     exist;     and, if we make these investments,          our success
will     only be to drive the smugglers to other areas and modes of
trafficking.         However, we disagree     with GAO's conclusion         that
such an investment          is not warranted.     Such an investment       must
be viewed within         the context    of the total    system/capability        for
drug interdiction.
The strategy      of the layout of the Land Based Aerostat                      (LBA) net
was carefully      put together         in the national        interdiction        strategy
in 1987-88 and reaffirmed            by the Office          of National      Drug Control
Policy     (ONDCP). The aerostats             were never meant to stand alone.
They are part of a larger             system     that includes,        or will     include,
sea-based aerostats,        over-the-horizon            radar,    and airborne        radar
 (E-ZC'S, C-130's and P-3's).                The planned land based radar on
Great Inagua (Cariball         III)       is needed to complete the radar
network in the Bahamas.             Once Cariball         III and OPBAT III are in
place,    the Bahamas Islands           will    be covered by a much more
effective     drug detection        and apprehension          system.       Further,     the
planned over-the-horizon            radar, working in concert with airborne
radars in the Caribbean,            will     provide    an early warning         system
enabling     apprehension    forces greater           response time.
We acknowledge     there are drawbacks to each part of the detection
strategy.     For instance,         an LBA is located        in one position.
Once smugglers     learn of its location,             they will     steer clear of
its coverage.      But, when the entire             net is in place,        and given
the large effective          area of coverage,        we believe      this is an
acceptable    tradeoff,       especially     given the complementary             parts
of this strategy        such as the Airborne           Early Warning (AEW)
aircraft,   land based radars,            and over-the-horizon          radar.      The
deterrent   effect      of the LBA should not be discounted                 in the
Bahamas; if the entire           archipeligo      is put off limits         to the air
smugglers through the use of the completed net, then ABW
resources   and ground based radars can be trimmed down and moved
to other areas.         In the final       analysis,     the LBA remains the only
effective   asset to detect          low flyers      short of putting         round    the
clock AEW aircraft         in place at much greater            expense.
Finally,    the strategy        behind the deployment      of all of these
sensors and interdiction            assets is to reduce the options       open
to drug smugglers.          As stated in the National        Drug Control
Strategy,     no interdiction        system will  be so thorough     that it
can totally     restrict      the entry of illegal      drugs.    What we hope
to accomplish      is to introduce        another level    of risk to the
individual     drug smuggler.




       Page 60                                             GAO/GGD-90-42BahamasAnti-DrugEfforts
Appendix V

Comments From the Department of
Transportation

supplementing    those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix


                                    U.S.Department ot
                                    1ranrportotion




                                     Mr. Richard L. Fogel
                                     Assistant   Comptroller      General
                                     General Government Division
                                     U.S. General Accounting        Office
                                     Washington,   D.C.     20548

                                     Dear Mr.        Fogel:
                                     Enclosed are two copies of the Department of Transportation's
                                     comments concerning     the U.S. General Accounting    Office report
                                     entitled “Drug   Control:    Anti-Drug  Efforts  in the Bahamas."
                                     Thank you for the opportunity           to review      this report.       If    you
                                     have any questions concerning           our reply,       please call     Bill    Wood
                                     on 366-5145.
                                                                               Sincerely,


                                                                               l-n c2haneJ.(Izi.J&
                                                                               Jon H. Seymour
                                     Enclosures




                                L




                                            Page 58                                         GAO/GGD-9042    Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Appendix IV

Agency Offices and Facilities Visited,
March 1988 to January 1989

                       Office of International Narcotics Matters, Washington, DC.
Department of State    17,s. Embassy, Nassau, Bahamas


                       National Drug Policy Board, Washington, D.C.
National Drug Policy
Board1

                       Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command,
Department of             Control, Communications, and Intelligence, Washington, D.C.
Defense                Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management
                          and Personnel/Drug Enforcement, Washington, D.C.
                       [J.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
                       Puerto Rico Air National Guard, Borinquen, Puerto Rico
                       U.S. Air Force Radar Site, Cabo Rojo, Dominican Republic
                       1J.S.Marine Corps Radar Site, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
                          Islands
                       U.S. Army OFBAT Base, George Town, Bahamas


                       Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
National Narcotics     Southeast Region, Miami, Florida
Border Interdiction
System!

                       Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Drug Enforcement       Miami Field Office, Miami, Florida
Administration         Nassau Country Office, Nassau, Bahamas
                       El Paso Intelligince Center, El Paso, Texas
                       Operation Bahamas and Turks Operations Center, Nassau, Bahamas


                       Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Coast Guard       7th Coast Guard District, Miami, Florida
                       Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence Center
                          Pre-commissioning Detachment, Miami, Florida
                       Liaison Office, ITS. Embassy, Nassau, Bahamas
                       OIWJ   Base, Nassau. Ilahamas

                       ‘Terminated   by the Ant~Xwr~g Atuse Act of 1988.




                       Page 56                                             GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Dmg   Efforts
Appendix III

Information on the Cost of Temporarily
Stationing U.S. Drug Interdiction Personnel in
the Bahamas
                                             The agencies involved in US-Bahamas drug interdiction-DEA, Cus-
                                             toms, Coast Guard, and the Army-routinely      assign personnel to the
                                             Bahamas on a temporary bask For example, Customs has personnel
                                             temporarily assigned to marine interdiction bases in Gun Cay and West
                                             End, Bahamas; Coast Guard has personnel temporarily assigned to heli-
                                             copter apprehension bases in Nassau and Freeport, Bahamas; the Army
                                             has personnel temporarily assigned to the helicopter base in George
                                             Town, Bahamas; and DE.4assigns temporary personnel to all three heli-
                                             copter bases. In addition, each agency has personnel temporarily
                                             assigned to the CH’ILS~ center in Nassau, Bahamas.

                                             Agency officials provided information on the number of personnel tem-
                                             porarily assigned to the Bahamas, and the costs of U.S. government-paid
                                             housing and utilities. per diem, and vehicle expenses as of October 1988.
                                             ITsing this information. we estimated the annual costs incurred by each
                                             agency of temporarily assigning personnel to the Bahamas. As shown in
                                             table 111.1.the agrncit~s incur costs totalling approximately $3.6 million
                                             annually (excluding salaries) to temporarily assign personnel to the
                                             Bahamas.

Table 111.1:Estimated Costs to
Temporarily Assign U.S. Personnel   to the                                                        Number of            Annual
Bahamas for 1 Year                                                                                temporary             costs/   Total annual
                                             Agency                                                 positions          person           costs
                                             DEA                                                            13        $47,954        $623,398
                                             Customs                                                        14          39,125         ~547,740
                                             Coast Guard                                                    37         ~35.476      1,312,599
                                             Army                                                           23          47,704      1,099,027
                                             Total                                                          07                     $3,502,772

                                             Source Developed by GAO frllm data provided by Customs Service, Drug Enforcement Admlnlstration,
                                             Coast Guard and the U S Arr IV


                                             The agencies participating in drug interdiction in the Bahamas have fil-
                                             led certain positions with temporary personnel on a continuous basis
                                             (366 days per year) sinct> as early as 1982. For example, DEA has had
                                             some personnel temporarily assigned to the Bahamas since 1982, Coast
                                             Guard and the Army since 1987. and Customs since early 1988. These
                                             positions are filled with personnel rotated to the Bahamas from other
                                             offices of each participating agency. For example, Coast Guard rotates
                                             personnel from (‘lcarwater, Florida; Customs rotates personnel from
                                             Miami, Florida; t Ilc :4rmy rotates personnel from a helicopter unit sta-
                                             tioned in Savannah, Georgia; and DNArotates personnel from various
                                             DIM offices arountl the‘ (.ount,ry. The length of a temporary assignment in



                                             Page 64                                              GAO/GGD-90-42    Bahamas Anti-Drug     Efforts
Appendix II

Information on the Boat Repair Facility
Authorized by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986

Background

1986          . October: The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 authorized $5 million for
                  “initial design engineering, and other activities for construction of a
                  drug interdiction docking facility” and for establishing a separate
                  “repair, maintenance, and boat lift facility.”
                  October: The above funds were appropriated through the Omnibus Drug
                  Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1987.
                  December: Coast Guard officials selected a site for the facility at the
                  Royal Bahamian Defense Force (RBDF) base at Coral Harbor and
                  approved initial funds for the facility.


              . February: Coast Guard officials awarded the contract for a travel lift
                (the machinery for the boat repair facility) priced at $251,000.
              . March: Coast Guard officials completed Coral Harbor soil studies and
                site inspections.
                May: Original estimate of signing date for the 3-page U.S.-Bahamas
                Memorandum of Understanding on the boat repair facility.
              . *July: Coast Guard officials completed a draft concept of operations for
                the boat repair facility.
              . September: Coast Guard officials completed draft site plans.



                  .January: Original scheduled facility completion date.
                  February: Draft of the U.S.-Bahamas Memorandum of Understanding
                  said that the Bahamian government would select a Bahamian contractor
                  to perform the facility construction.
              .   .July: Coast Guard and Bahamian government officials signed the Memo-
                  randum of Ilnderstanding. According to the supervisor of the Shore
                  Maintenance Detachment in Miami, negotiations on the Memorandum of
                  Understanding took 14 months because of [J.S. and Bahamian govern-
                  ment concerns about liability and maintenance costs.
              .   September: Coast Guard officials, Royal Bahamian Defense Force offi-
                  cials, and Bahamian contractors met for the pre-bid meeting.
              .   October: Construction bidding deadline.
              .   November: Coast Guard awarded the construction contract to a Baha-
                  mian contractor.
              .   December: Contractor began construct,ion.




                  Page 52                               GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Appendix I

Information on the Boat Docking Facility
Authorized by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986

Background

1986          . October: The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 authorized $5 million for
                “initial design engineering, and other activities for construction of a
                drug interdiction docking facility” and for establishing a separate
                “repair, maintenance, and boat lift facility.”
              . October: The above funds were appropriated through the Omnibus Drug
                Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1987.
              l December: Coast Guard approved the first block of funds for the facility
                and, according to the supervisor of the Shore Maintenance Detachment
                in Miami, selected a site on Stocking Island near George Town, Great
                Exuma Island.


1987          . February: The Bahamian government notified Coast Guard that there
                was not enough land available on Stocking Island for the facility.
              . May: Coast Guard officials inspected a new site called Exuma Station
                and completed a draft concept of operations for the facility.
              . July: According to the Coast Guard Liaison to the Bahamas, Coast
                Guard decided to locate the boat docking facility, the new Operation
                Bahamas and Turks and Caicos (OPRAT) helipad, and the planned aero-
                stat radar at Exuma Station.
              . August: Coast Guard completed cost estimates for various site
                configurations.
                September: Coast Guard requested $15 million to build the consolidated
                  l


                facility at Exuma Station.
                November: The Bahamian government informed the U.S. Embassy that
                  l


                construction and installation of the facility at Exuma Station could
                begin.


 1988             l       .January: Coast Guard officials were told that the $15 million requested
                          in September 1987 would not be forthcoming for the construction of the
                          facility.
                      l   February: Coast Guard abandoned plans for a land-based boat docking
                          facility after spending 14 months and approximately $80,000. As an
                          alternative to a land-based facility, Coast Guard began testing a mobile
                          support facility to fulfill the land-based boat docking facility require-
                          ment. Coast Guard officials believe the mobile support facility, a Coast
                          Guard cutter, or other suitable vessel, will meet their requirements.




                          Page 50                                 GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Chapter 6
Summary of Agency Commrnts   and
Our Response




In discussing interdiction efforts in general, the Strategy states that

“Despite interdictmn’s successful disruptions of trafficking patterns, the supply of
lllegal drugs entering the llnited States has, by all estimates, continued to grow.
Every time we disrupt or close a particular trafficking route, we have found that
traffickers resort to other smuggling tactics that are even more difficult to detect.
Indeed, our recent experiences with drug interdiction have persuasively demon-
strated that intcrdictmn alone cannot prevent the entry of drugs, or fully deter traf-
fickers and their organizatums.”

The Strategy further says that

“Resources for interdlctnrn have increased faster than for any other component of
the drug control program. and the Strategy recommends holding the current level
relatively constant for t hv time being while funded assets are deployed and the situ-
ation is assessed.”

Concerning air interdiction specifically, the September 1989 Strategy
calls for completing the fixed and mobile detection networks, including
aerostat radars discussed in this report, along our Southern border and
the Caribbean as funds are available. The Strategy cautions that “The
Administration will undertake a thorough review of existing methods
for deterring air smugglers.” Since issuance of the September 1989
Strategy, DOD provided funding for completion of the land-based aero-
stat system in the Hallamas.

In January 1990, the President issued the second National Drug Control
Strategy. While this Strategy proposed increased funding for all aspects
of the war on drugs. including interdiction, these additional funds will
be used to complete and integrate existing interdiction systems. The
Strategy continues to recommend that no new systems be initiated.




Page 48
Chapter 6
Summary of Agency Comments and
Our Response




when aerostats are “down” for scheduled maintenance. However, it is
difficult to deploy radar aircraft on short notice when aerostats must be
brought “down” for unscheduled maintenance and weather conditions
that limit operations. Further, as shown in our June 1989 report on air
interdiction programs,? there are limited radar aircraft available for air
interdiction surveillance, and these aircraft can remain on station for
relatively short periods of time.

We agree with Customs that deterrence is an important element in drug
law enforcement strategies. ONDCP, as later discussed, made a similar
comment. On the basis of these comments, we expanded the report’s def-
inition of interdiction to include deterrence-the denial of preferred
smuggling modes and transportation routes. (See p. 14.) We also deleted
a statement that interdiction systems could become obsolete when drug
traffickers shift to other smuggling modes and transportation routes.

While recognizing the value of deterrence, we question Customs’ com-
ment that deterring drug traffickers from using a particular route will
force them to use less preferable and more vulnerable drug smuggling
methods. The September 1989, National Drug Control Strategy, as dis-
cussed on pages 28 and 48, says, that when faced with a disrupted or
closed smuggling route, drug traffickers resort to other smuggling tac-
tics that are even more difficult to detect.

We disagree with Customs’ position that we should withhold judgment
on the effectiveness of the entire aerostat system until such time as the
final aerostat becomes fully operational. Questions on the effectiveness
of the system make it essential to approach decisions with caution.
Aerostats located in Florida and the Bahamas are operational about half
of the time, and contingencies to fill gaps during aerostat downtime, in
our opinion, have limitations. (See page 45.) Further, as pointed out by
the Department of <Justicein its comments on this report, the majority of
drug seizures in the Bahamas were not a result of radar targets but were
products of drug intelligence and investigations. In our opinion, this
information suggests that additional anti-drug funds for interdiction
purposes in the Bahamas might be more effectively used on drug intelli-
gence and investigation.




“,Drug Smuggling. Capabibtirs For Interdicting l’rwate Aircraft Are Limited and Costly, (GAO/
GGD-89 -,93 Junr 9, 1989)



 Page 46                                              GAO/GGD90-42 Bahamas Anti-Drug Efforts
                    Chapter 6
                    Summary of Agency Commc~lts and
                    Our Response




                    In our opinion, Justice’s comment that the majority of drug seizures did
                    not result from radar-acquired targets provides further evidence that
                    anti-drug funds for the Bahamas could be put to more effective use on
                    aspects of the drug war other than expensive radar. We noted in our
                    report that DEA had informed us that 62 percent of all cocaine seizures
                    in the Bahamas during 1988 were based on prior intelligence. This sta-
                    tistic, provided by DEA and re-emphasized by the Department of Justice
                    in its formal comments, suggests that one way to improve interdiction
                    efforts in the Bahamas may be to increase DEA’S intelligence and investi-
                    gation activities.

                    Justice commented that our discussion of radar minimized the value of
                    Air National Guard mobile radar systems. Our report included the most
                    recent, although limited, information available. As discussed on page 20,
                    Air National Guard radar had been used in the Bahamas only briefly
                    during a Z-week special operation in September 1988. The results of the
                    operation were limited primarily because of turbulent weather resulting
                    from hurricane Gilbert,.

                    Subsequently, on the basis of information provided by the INM official in
                    Nassau, we updated our report to disclose that National Guard radar
                    will be deployed at Great Inagua in May 1990 as an alternative until the
                    planned aerostat is acquired and installed. This use of National Guard
                    radar is consistent, with the Department of .Justice’s view of the radar’s
                    value. Further, this use of National Guard radar at Great Inagua pro-
                    vides an opportunity t.o assess an alternative to the planned aerostat.

                    -Justice commented that our statement that “the decentralized approach
                    to managing and planning is a workable strategy for the present level of
                    resources” implies that this approach might not work at greater levels
                    of resources. [Emphasis added by the Department of Justice.] We believe
                    that at some resource level a centralized approach could facilitate set-
                    ting long-range priorities and determining resource needs. However, our
                    analysis was not designed to determine what that resource level would
                    be for the Bahamas. Thus, we deleted the underlined phrase.


                    The Department of the Treasury asked the Customs Service to review
Comments From the   and comment on this report. The Customs Service raised several issues.
Department of the   First, it said that the amount we used to show the average cost for
Treasury and Our    acquiring and installing an aerostat was overstated and that aerostats
                    were “the most cost effective surveillance platform available.” Second,
Response            Customs commented on our statement that aerostats are inoperable


                    Page 44                                 GAO/GGD-WW-42 Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Chapter 6
Summary of Agency    Comments    and
Our Response




commented that land-based aerostats are the only effective asset to
detect low flying aircraft short of putting round-the-clock radar aircraft,
such as AEW aircraft, in place at much greater expense. While recogniz-
ing that limitations will continue to exist even when the planned land-
based aerostat radar system in the Bahamas is complete, DOTsaid that a
completed system covering a larger geographic area will be more effec-
tive than a partial system. Finally, it pointed out that the President’s
September 1989 National Drug Control Strategy calls for completing the
land-based aerostat network in the southern United States and Bahamas
as part of its overall strategy.

In making its case for completing the aerostat radar system in the Baha-
mas, we believe that r)or may have overstated the value and capabilities
of other radar that it says can be used to offset the limitations of aero-
stats and may have overlooked the usefulness of other alternatives to
provide radar coverage in the southern Bahamas. As we said in our June
1989 report,’ (1) sea-based aerostats are used primarily for marine sur-
veillance and have a limited capability to detect aircraft; (2) radar air-
craft are expensive to operate and can remain on station for limited
periods; and (3) over-the-horizon radar systems are in the developmen-
tal stage, have limited capability, and the Air Force does not expect to
request procurement. funds for a system capable of covering the Carib-
bean until fiscal year 199 1.

Concerning DUi?3 comment that radar aircraft, though more expensive,
are the only effective alternative to land-based aerostats, our report
does not compare the costs and effectiveness of radar systems. Rather,
we question the significant expansion of air interdiction assets in the
Bahamas because the air interdiction systems are costly and will not
eliminate limitations in the interdiction system. As stated in the report,
land-based aerostats do not provide constant radar coverage. Aerostats
currently located in Florida and the Bahamas are “down” about half of
the time and contingencies (as discussed on page 45), proposed to fill
gaps when aerostats are “down” also have limitations.

In commenting on this report, nor did not mention the potential use of
other radar systems, such as ground-based, military radar, as an alter-
native to the planned acrostat at Great Inagua in the southern Bahamas.
Ground-based military radar are currently operating in the Turks and
Caicos Islands and other parts of the Caribbean. While not providing the

‘Drug Smugglmg: C’apabilmvs for Irrtrrdicting Privatr Aircraft Are Llmited and Costly (GAO/
G ID- -9 .Irmt~$>,19%))



Pagr 42                                              GAO/GGD90-42 Bahamas Anti-Drug Efforts
Chapter 5

Conclusions


              Managing and planning US. anti-drug programs and operations have
              tended to be decentralized, and there has been little or no central control
              over resources or strategic decisions. Management benefits could result
              from the development of a comprehensive strategic plan that would pro-
              vide a mechanism for setting long-range objectives and for defining
              resource needs and priorities. However, in our opinion, the decentralized
              approach to managing and planning anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas is
              a workable strategy and could facilitate flexible responses to future
              changes in the drug smuggling threat.

              While good arguments may exist for maintaining the current level of
              U.S. anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas, the benefits of an expanded air
              interdiction system relative to its limitations have not been made clear
              by the agencies. Accordingly, we are not convinced that present air
              interdiction efforts should be significantly expanded. Ongoing and
              planned expansion of air interdiction efforts in the Bahamas emphasize
              expensive investments in fixed-base aerostat radars and helicopter
              bases. Such assets are aimed at stopping airborne drug smugglers who
              travel along specific corridors from drug-producing countries to the
              United States. These assets, however, cannot be easily adapted to future
              shifts in drug-trafficking methods and routes.

              In our opinion, airborne drug traffickers, in response to intensified air
              interdiction efforts, are likely to shift to other drug smuggling methods
              and routes that can bc more difficult to detect. Although additional
              radar systems, helicopters, and helicopter bases planned for the Baha-
              mas will improve the (sapabilities of detecting and apprehending air-
              borne drug smugglers. these investments will not eliminate gaps in the
              air interdiction system. and thus, air and other smuggling avenues will
              still be available.

              Additionally, federal resources are scarce, and there are many compet-
              ing needs for the limited funds available for anti-drug programs. In a
              .June 9, 1989, report. on air interdiction programs.’ we stated that we are
              not convinced that spending additional millions of dollars on air
              interdiction assets is the best use for additional funds Congress and the
              Administration may wish to put into the Nxtion’s war on drugs. In that
              report, we proposed t,hat Congress may want to pursue the issue further
              with key Administration officials before deciding on specific authoriza-
              tion and appropriation levels for all aspects of the war on drugs.




              Page 40                                  GAO,‘GGD-9042 Bahamas Anti-Drug Efforts
                         Chapter 4
                         Managing and Planning    U.S. Anti-Drug
                         Efforts in the Bahamas




                         Because the U.S. agencies operating in the Bahamas are accountable to
Management and           both the U.S. Ambassador and their own agency management, the plan-
Planning of U.S. Anti-   ning and management of U.S. anti-drug efforts tend to be decentralized.
Drug Efforts Tend to     While the Ambassador has general oversight and may disapprove a spe-
                         cific action, policy, or operation proposed by an agency if it would
Be Decentralized         adversely affect U.S. relations with the Bahamian government, the
                         Ambassador cannot direct agencies’ day-to-day operations. For example,
                         the DEA official that directs OPBA’~is accountable to both the Ambassador
                         and the DEA Special-Agent-In-Charge of the Miami Field Division. For
                         specific operations, each 175%agency receives guidance and resources
                         from its own agency management in the United States. The US. Ambas-
                         sador holds periodic meetings with the agencies involved to coordinate
                         the various agencies’ operations and activities.

                         A ITS-Bahamas Joint Task Force was established by the Anti-Drug
                         Abuse Act of 1986 and was supported by the Bahamian government.
                         The joint task force, co-chaired by the US. Ambassador and the Deputy
                         Prime Minister of the Hahamas, was charged with planning for the oper-
                         ation and maintenance of specific drug interdiction assets authorized by
                         the 1986 act. The IIS. component of the task force, chaired by the
                         Ambassador and comprised of involved U.S. agencies, has evolved into
                         one of the principal mechanisms for coordinating IJ.S. interdiction
                         efforts but it does not centrally control interdiction operations.

                         ITS. agencies operating in the Bahamas have developed a variety of
                         plans covering individual anti-drug programs and operations. We identi-
                         fied numerous operational plans, agreements, and memoranda of under-
                         standing covering various anti-drug activities in the Bahamas. These
                         documents generally define objectives, procedures, and operating
                         instructions for specific programs, operations, or groups of operations,
                         The documents often identify the equipment and personnel currently
                         available to support, the program or operation and describe where these
                         resources will be deployed. Many of these documents also describe the
                         roles and responsibilities of each agency and its personnel participating
                         in the program or operation.

                         The various operational plans developed by 17.5. anti-drug agencies in
                         the Bahamas have not been consolidated in a single strategic planning
                         document. We found no indication that the absence of such a document
                         has impaired ITS. efforts.

                         The Bahamian government has developed a proposal to expand drug
                         interdiction activities in the Bahamas. While this proposal includes


                         Page 38                                   GAO/GGD-90-42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Managing and Planning U.S. Anti-Drug Efforts
in the Bahamas

                         U.S. anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas have evolved from a relatively
                         simple and inexpensive activity to one involving many different agen-
                         cies and activities. The Bahamas is an important location for anti-drug
                         efforts because of (1) its proximity to, and strategic location between,
                         the IJnited States and drug-producing countries and (2) intensified anti-
                         drug efforts in South Florida. In addition, the willingness of the Baha-
                         mian government to support joint anti-drug operations facilitates U.S.
                         efforts. Consequently, anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas now play a key
                         role in the U.S. war on drugs.

                         Managing and planning these efforts have evolved on an ad hoc basis
                         and have tended to be decentralized. We found no indications, however,
                         that the lack of central management and planning have caused signifi-
                         cant conflicts or impaired U.S. anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas.


                         1J.S.anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas have evolved from simple bilateral
Extent and Cost of       agreements in the early 1970s that allowed Customs aircraft to fly over
U.S. Anti-Drug Efforts   the Bahamas, to extensive and costly drug interdiction operations in the
in the Bahamas Have       1980s that involve several IJS. and Bahamian agencies. For example, in
                          1982, U.S. anti-drug efforts focused primarily on OPBAT, a joint U.S.-
Increased                Bahamas operation that used U.S. equipment (primarily helicopters)
                         and personnel to transport and support KBPF officers to apprehend drug
                         smugglers who used private aircraft. U.S. participation in the operation
                         involved a small number of DEA agents and two U.S. Air Force helicop-
                         ters. Since then, OPBAT has grown into a multi-agency operation with
                         eight apprehension helicopters and numerous personnel from DEA, Coast
                         Guard, and the U.S. Army.

                         In addition, there are five other ongoing air and marine drug interdiction
                         operations in the Bahamas that involve five US. and two Bahamian
                         agencies. As described in chapter 2, OPBAT and the other air and marine
                         interdiction operations involve hundreds of U.S. and Bahamian person-
                         nel, including DEA special agents; Bahamian police and defense forces;
                         Customs, Coast Guard. IXA, and lJ.S. military pilots; aviation support
                         personnel; and radar and communication specialists. OPBAT and the other
                         air and marine interdiction operations are supported by an extensive
                         radar detection network. Managing this large and diverse set of activi-
                         ties is a difficult task

                         The buildup of 1J.S.anti-drug efforts has been costly. Agency estimates
                         show that the annual cost of ITS. anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas
                         increased from about pd11 million in fiscal year 1986 to about $33 million


                         Pagr36                                  GAO/GGD-90-42 Bahamas Anti-DrugEfforts
                             Chapter3
                             Status ofNoninterdiction  Drug Control
                             Activities in the Bahamas




                             According to the senior DEA official in Nassau, DEA agents have provided
                             information on suspected criminal activity in several recent cases that
                             resulted in convictions of Bahamian police officers for conspiracy and
                             other drug-related crimes. He noted that while some official corruption
                             still exists, it does not prevent cooperation between U.S. and Bahamian
                             law enforcement officials or cause major problems for OPBAT drug
                             interdiction operations. For example, he noted that DEA agents and the
                             Bahamian police share informants.

                             The 1984 Commission of Inquiry also identified high-level corruption as
                             a problem. For instance. the Commission identified two members of the
                             Bahamian parliament as being involved in drug-related corruption. Nev-
                             ertheless, both individuals were renominated by the ruling Progressive
                             Liberal Party for parliamentary seats and were subsequently reelected
                             in June 1987.

                             Senior lJ.S. Embassy officials in Nassau and senior DEA and State
                             Department officials in Washington said that the Bahamian Attorney
                             General has asked the I ‘nited States for documentary evidence that
                             could be used to prosecute corrupt officials, but that the United States
                             has been unable to provide such evidence.


Bahamian Government          DEA   has encouraged the Bahamian government to establish a joint infor-
Has Agreed to Establish an   mation center patterned after a similar facility in the Dominican Repub-
                             lit. The purpose of such a center is to computerize a variety of
Information Center           information on people and csonveyances entering and leaving the coun-
                             try to monitor the movtmcnt of suspected drug traffickers. According to
                             the senior DEA official in Nassau, the Bahamian government has agreed
                             to establish such a c*cknttkrin principle but wants to employ a more elabo-
                             rate computer system tllan the DEA proposed system, which would meet
                             the basic requirements. This official said that the Bahamian government
                             currently faces the additional problem of having no qualified personnel
                             to operate a computcbr system.

                             .Justice Department officials commented that the proposed joint infor-
                             mation center is vital to intelligence collection activities that are neces-
                             sary to realize long-term goals in the Bahamas. However, they said that
                             implementation of this proposal continues to be impeded by delays on
                             the part of the Bahamian government. The Department officials noted
                             that these delays hay<, been at least as detrimental to the implementa-
                             tion of the center as SOIIWof the problems we noted.



                              Page 34                                  GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                            Chapter 3
                            Status of Noninterdiction Drug Control
                            Activities in the Bahamas




                            In January 1988, the Bahamian government amended its drug laws to
                            increase minimum mandatory sentences for certain drug-related crimes.
                            According to the senior Dhl official at the ITS. Embassy in Nassau, this
                            legislation makes drug trafficking and possession of specified quantities
                            of dangerous drugs (2 pounds of cocaine or 10 pounds of marijuana)
                            punishable by 10 years to life in prison. Other significant changes
                            include an increase in penalties for drug-related conspiracy and the will-
                            ingness of Bahamian courts to convict drug smugglers on these charges.
                            This official said that as of December 1988, four defendants had been
                            prosecuted and found guilty and had received sentences of 15 years or
                            more under the new laws. The DEA official said that DEA had assisted the
                            Bahamian police in these cases by providing evidence to the police anti-
                            corruption unit, which. in turn, developed the case.

                            The Bahamian courts have also substantially modified bail practices for
                            drug offenders, according to the senior DEA official in Nassau. Previ-
                            ously, foreign nationals routinely paid small amounts of bail and then
                            fled to avoid prosecution. Foreign nationals are now held without bail
                            until trial. The Bahamian courts have also changed bail practices for
                            Bahamian citizens. Although they are not considered as likely as for-
                            eigners to flee to avoid prosecution, Bahamian citizens living in the
                            Bahamas who were previously released without bail are now typically
                            required to post bail.


Full Staffing of Bahamian   In May 1988, the Bahamian government began training, with U.S. assis-
Narcotics Enforcement       tance, the first 25 officers for what will eventually be a 270-person drug
                            enforcement unit. The purpose of the unit is to provide the Bahamian
Unit Will Take Time         government with a unilateral capability to enforce its domestic narcotics
                            laws. The KBPF will staff the new unit with experienced officers already
                            on the force, who will be replaced in their old units by new recruits.
                            However, according to a senior 1J.S.Embassy official in Nassau, the
                            Bahamian government has experienced difficulties attracting new police
                            officers because of the relatively low salaries offered. These difficulties
                            have delayed full staffing and training of the narcotics enforcement
                            unit.

                            INM  has provided about $300,000 dollars for training and equipping the
                            first 100 officers. According to the senior DEA official in Nassau, officers
                            selected to serve in the drug enforcement unit undergo a 4-week training
                            course designed to improve their investigative skills. The DEA interna-
                            tional training team from Quantico, Virginia, provides 2 weeks of the
                            training, and the I)E:AMiami field office and the KBPF provide a week


                            Page 32                                  GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                           Chapter 3
                           Status of Noninterdiction Drug (bntrol
                           Activities in the Bahamas




                           the treaty would be signed or when it would be submitted to the U.S.
                           Senate for advice and consent.


Mutual Legal Assistance    MLWS   facilitate the exchange of information between countries to obtain
                           evidence used in prosecuting criminal cases. MIXESwere first developed
Treaty Status              in the mid-1960s, primarily because a class of cases having to do with
                           organized crime and tax shelters could not be made without evidence
                           f’rom other countries. These treaties expedite the very slow and complex
                           process of obtaining bank records and other evidence from foreign
                           countries.

                           The MLAT agreement between the ITS. and Bahamian governments was
                           negotiated in 1987. According to State Department officials, the Baha-
                           mian government signed the MLAT and passed implementing legislation in
                           March 1988. The agreement was ratified by the ITS. Senate in October
                            1989. According t,o a State Department official, the treaty is awaiting
                           the President’s execution of an instrument of ratification. The official
                           did know when final action on the MLAT would occur.


                           The Bahamian government has made progress on a variety of legal and
Progress on Bahamian       law enforcement initiatives to improve its unilateral capability to com-
Legal and Law              bat drug trafficking and associated problems. The government has (1)
Enforcement                issued new regulations to discourage money laundering, (2) enacted a
                           new asset seizure law, (3) increased penalties for drug crimes, and (4)
Initiatives                established a new narcotics unit in its police force. The Bahamian gov-
                           ernment has also taken steps to reduce official corruption, establish a
                           central information center to help track suspected drug traffickers, and
                           reduce drug abuse among its citizens.


Bahamian Efforts to        Bahamian banks are self-policing, subscribing to the “Code of Conduct”
Control Money Laundering   of the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies. In
                           response to criticism that Bahamian banks were facilitating the launder-
                           ing of drug profits, the Central Bank of the Bahamas issued regulations
                           that require the reporting of cash transactions over $10,000. Although
                           the new regulations have helped cut down on the laundering of large
                           sums of money through Bahamian banks, senior DEA and U.S. Embassy
                           officials in the Bahamas said that money laundering operations still
                           exist in the Bahamas. These officials said that the principal means used
                           is the wire transfer of large sums of money through “front” companies



                           Pagr 30                                  GAO/C&D-9042 Bahamas Anti-Drug Efforts
                       Chapter 2
                       U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Interdiction   Efforts




                       As discussed in our recent report on air interdiction programs,” drug
Drug Traffickers Can   smugglers have proven their ability in the past to respond successfully
Use Different          to changes in the interdiction system and appear to be adapting to
Smuggling Routes and   improvements in the air interdiction programs. According to EPIC intelli-
                       gence reports, traffickers have been either flying their drug loads
Methods                around the air interdiction net or have been using other smuggling meth-
                       ods such as cargo shipments.

                       EPIC intelligence reports also indicate that air smugglers are making
                       more use of smuggling routes from South America through Central
                       America and landing in Mexico. These reports indicate that smugglers
                       are making more use of private and commercial marine vessels and com-
                       mercial aircraft to smuggle cocaine and other drugs into the United
                       States. We were unable to determine whether the increased use of other
                       transportation methods was caused by the buildup in air interdiction
                       resources. However, other smuggling options, besides air smuggling, are
                       available and are being exploited by drug traffickers.

                       The President’s September 1989 National Drug Control Strategy also
                       states that drug traffickers have been successful in responding to
                       increased interdiction efforts. Further, the Strategy says that, “Every
                       time we disrupt or close a particular trafficking route, we have found
                       that traffickers resort to other smuggling tactics that are even more dif-
                       ficult to detect.”




                        ‘GAO/GGD89-93.      June 1989




                        Page 28                                     GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                                                                Chapter 2
                                                                U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Interdiction   Efforts




Fi!awe 2.5: Locations     of Apprehension                 Helicopter   Bases

                                           I.
                                                .‘*


                         Grand Bahama                 &



                              * Freeport




                                                                                                                                Atlantic   Ocean




    .,.   ”
                 ..
                                                                                                                    V
                                                                                  Great Exuma




                                                                                                                                                   a     Turks and
                                                                                                                                                       Caicos Islands
                                                                                                                                                            (U.K.)


   *Helicopter        Bases



                                                                 “The base at Great lnagua IS scheduled to become operational    I” May 1990


                                                                 In our review of C:Scenter and OPRAT center daily activity records for the
                                                                 g-month period October 1987 through June 1988, we identified two inci-
                                                                 dents in which apprehension teams were unable to reach a smuggling



                                                                  Pilgr 26                                              GAO/GGDSO42         Bahamas Anti-Drug    Efforts
                                                    Chapter 2
                                                    U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Interdiction   Efforts




Figure 2.4: Planned Land-Based         Aerostat   Network




                    Fort Huachuca      AZ


                              \       \I<         -Morgan              CIIV   1 Wtbama      Port AL




                                                                                                                 Grand Bahama       Island. Bahamas

                                                                                                                  ‘.   Georoe     Town   Bahamas
                     IEagle       Pass. TX\

                D        R,c-G~~~~~                                                                                              Great lnagua Island.




                                                                                                       Jamaica
   0 Exlstmg Aerostats
   0 Planned Aerostats                                                                                                               Puerto RICO
   ;: Installed But Not Operational


                                                    Nate Land Based aerostats are operatIonal about 50 percent of the time


                                                    Once suspected smugglers are identified and intercepted by fixed-wing
Additional Helicopters                              aircraft, successful apprehension depends on the timely arrival of heli-
and Bases Proposed to                               copter-borne apprehension teams to arrest suspects and seize illegal
Improve                                             drugs. However, apprehension teams in the southern Bahamas are some-
                                                    times unable to reach the site of suspected drug smuggling activity soon
Apprehension                                        enough to make arrests and seizures, To address this problem, the U.S.
Capabilities                                        and Bahamian governments have agreed to establish one additional
                                                    apprehension helicopter base on Great Inagua. In addition, the Baha-
                                                    mian government has proposed that the United States further increase
                                                    the number of helicopters and bases in the Bahamas.




                                                     Page 24                                              GAO/GGD90-42          Bahamas Anti-Drug     Efforts
Chapter 2
U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Interdiction   Efforts




In January 1989, Customs determined that the aerostat then designated
for Great Inagua should be placed on the southwestern U.S. border
because it could be installed and operated there sooner. According to a
DODofficial, DOD has since provided funding for an aerostat to be
acquired and installed at Great Inagua. Current plans call for this aero-
stat to be operational by August 1991.

According to the INM official in Nassau, the National Guard Bureau has
agreed to deploy and operate a ground-based military radar system at
Great Inagua until the planned aerostat is operational. The National
Guard radar is planned to become operational concurrently with the
establishment of a planned helicopter apprehension base. As discussed
later, the base is scheduled to become operational in May 1990. The
National Guard is committed to providing radar support through the end
of 1990 with the possibility of a l-year extension. According to this offi-
cial, the military radar can detect aircraft flying at 500 feet up to 60
miles and will be able to provide radar coverage of the Windward
Passage.

Coast Guard supplements the radar detection network with five sea-
based aerostats positioned south of the Bahamas. As of August 1989,
Coast Guard was operating four sea-based aerostats tethered to contrac-
tor-owned and -operated boats. The fifth sea-based aerostat became
operational in October 1989. The Coast Guard official responsible for
the aerostat program said that these aerostats cost about $10 million
each and estimated that the annual operating costs will be $4 million for
each aerostat. Four of the sea-based aerostats will have both maritime
and limited air detection capabilities. These aerostats will cover the
passages or “choke points,” such as the Windward Passage between
Cuba and Haiti that maritime smugglers often use enroute to the
Bahamas.

In coordination with Customs, Coast Guard is also overseeing research
and development so that land-based aerostats can provide both air and
maritime radar coverage. If the modification is determined to be techni-
cally feasible, it will cost about $2 million for the first aerostat and $1
million for each additional aerostat that is modified.

Although these actions will improve detection capabilities, the expanded
radar systems will not provide constant coverage. As previously dis-
cussed, aerostat radars must be taken down for maintenance and cannot
operate in adverse weather conditions. Current land-based aerostats are
operational about 50 percent of the time. Figure 2.3 shows the locations


Page 22                                      GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                          Chapter 2
                          U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Intrrdiction   Efforts




                          responsible for the maritime programs in Miami, Coast Guard and Cus-
                          toms vessels equipped with on-board radar systems occasionally detect
                          and apprehend smugglers who use boats to smuggle drugs. U.S. patrol
                          boats without on-board radar systems detect and apprehend some smug-
                          glers by patrolling and boarding suspect boats in known drug-trafficking
                          areas.
                      -
Many Smugglers Have       The senior OPBAT operations officer in Nassau said that intelligence
                          reports indicate that many smugglers routinely evade detection by
Evaded Ground-Based       exploiting geographic gaps in radar coverage. The senior DEA official in
Radar Detection           Nassau provided us with specific information on 16 cases during 1987
                          and 1988 in which drug smugglers evaded ground-based radar detection
                          systems and successfully penetrated Bahamian airspace. Our review of
                          DEA intelligence reports indicated that air smugglers routinely used
                          Cuban air corridors and other routes not presently covered by radar to
                          fly into the Bahamas. Smugglers in aircraft using these routes have
                          evaded detection by ground-based radars. In one case, a smuggler
                          passed over Cuba and was not detected until reaching an area south of
                          Bimini in the nortltt~rn l&hamas just before airdropping a large load of
                          marijuana.

                          In response to a DEA threat-assessment of the Cuban corridors, the Mis-
                          souri and Tennessee Air National Guard temporarily deployed mobile
                          ground-based radar units to the Bahamas for a 2-week special operation
                          in September 1988 as part of their annual training requirement. The
                          National Guard units deployed radar systems at Andros Island and
                          George Town, Great Ksuma Island, two areas not normally covered by
                          radar. A primary ob,jcc+tivcof the operation was to detect and apprehend
                          drug smugglers flying over Cuba. Customs and Coast Guard provided
                          interceptor aircraft and IWHAT apprehension helicopters in support of
                          the operation. Thtl results of the operation. the first of several similar
                          operations planned for- thcbBahamas during fiscal year 1989, were lim-
                          ited primarily because of turbulent weather resulting from hurricane
                          Gilbert. Twenty-eight suspect. aircraft were detected, but none of these
                          detections resulted in drug seizures or arrests.

                           According to DEA and (:ustoms officials, there had been a significant
                           increase in drug-relatcad activity over Cuba. In .June 1989, Customs’ Spe-
                           cial-Agent-In-Charge (SK). South Florida, said that drug smuggling
                           flights over Cuba had been a major threat t,o U.S. drug interdiction
                           efforts in South Florida. The SAC estimated that at least one drug flight




                           Page 20                                     GAO/GGD9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                                         Chapter 2
                                         US-Bahamas   Drug Interdiction   Efforts




Figure 2.1: GAO Photograph of Aerostat
Radar Balloon at High Rock, Grand
Bahama Island, Bahamas.




Figure 2.2: GAO Photograph of Ground-
Based Radar at Providenciales, Turks
and Caicos Islands.




                                         Page 18                                    GAO/GGJJ9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                       Chapter2
                       U.S.-Bahamas   Drug Interdiction   Efforts




                       aircraft is heading toward the Bahamas, control over the operation is to
                       be given to the OPBAT control center in Nassau.

                       OPBAT'S  primary mission is to apprehend airborne smugglers in the Baha-
                       mas. Initiated in 1982, OPBL4T is a joint U.S.-Bahamas operation that uses
                       IJS. equipment (primarily helicopters) and personnel to transport and
                       support RRPF officers in apprehending suspected smugglers. OPBAT
                       employs DEA, Coast Guard, and Army personnel and equipment located
                       at three sites in the Bahamas. In addition, DEA and Coast Guard person-
                       nel direct OPHAT helicopter operations and coordinate all other interdic-
                       tion operations in the Bahamas from the OPRAT center located within the
                       1J.S.Embassy in Nassau. OI'BAT has operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a
                       week since October 1987.

                       Other operations developed to support air interdiction efforts in the
                       Bahamas include Operation Bandit and Operation SEABAT. Customs ini-
                       tiated Operation Bandit in September 1986 to improve apprehension
                       response time in the Bahamas. Providing around-the-clock coverage
                       since February 1988, Bandit uses Flordia-based helicopters with RBPF
                       personnel aboard to authorize arrests and seizures in the Bahamas.

                       SEABAT, a Coast Guard extension of OPBAT, provides a ship-based
                       launch platform for helicopters with Bahamian law enforcement person-
                       nel aboard. SEABAT was initiated in October 1986, but has not been a
                       continuous operation. According to the Coast Guard, SEABAT helicop-
                       ters flew about 156 hours over 39 days in fiscal year 1988.


Maritime nterdiction
         II
                       Maritime interdiction efforts include Coast Guard’s Operation Shiprider
                       and joint Customs/Coast Guard interdiction operations at Gun Cay and
Programs               West End, Bahamas. 1rnder the Shiprider operation, KBDF personnel sail
                       aboard I J.S.Coast Guard ships to authorize the boarding of suspect ves-
                       sels in Bahamian waters. According to the Coast Guard, one or more
                       Bahamian shipriders wt’re onboard Coast Guard ships for 140 days dur-
                       ing 1988.

                       Customs initiated around-the-clock maritime interdiction operations at
                       Gun Cay in April 1987, and at West End in August 1988. The Gun Cay
                       operation uses Customs, Coast Guard, and RBDF personnel on Customs
                       and Coast Guard vessels to patrol in the northern Bahamas. The Cus-
                       toms official in Miami who manages the Customs’ marine interdiction
                       program said that thcsc>operations have reduced maritime smuggling
                       activity between the northern Bahamas and southern Florida. Customs


                       Pagrlfi                                      GAO/GGD-9042   BahamasAnti-DrugEfforts
Chapter 2

U.S.-BahamasDrug Interdiction Efforts


                            The drug interdiction systems have limitations, and thus, many smug-
                            glers avoid detection and apprehension. These limitations include gaps
                            in geographic coverage, operational limitations of radars, and limited
                            numbers of helicopters and bases. Additional radars, helicopters, and
                            bases being acquired for the Bahamas will increase the capabilities of
                            drug interdiction efforts but are costly and will not eliminate limitations
                            in the interdiction systems.


                            The primary objective of U.S. anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas is drug
Joint U.S.-Bahamas          interdiction-the seizure of illegal drugs and the denial of preferred
Drug Interdiction           smuggling modes and transportation routes to drug traffickers.
Programs                    DEA, Customs, Coast Guard, DOD, and two Bahamian agencies-the       RBPF
                            and the RBDF-jointly participate in interdiction programs and opera-
                            tions designed to stop the flow of drugs through the Bahamas and into
                            the United States. These programs and operations are directed at both
                            air and maritime smuggling targets. Interdiction focuses on detecting,
                            identifying, and intercepting shipments of illegal drugs as they move
                            from source countries along smuggling routes to the U.S. land, sea, and
                            air borders.

                            The primary method of transporting drugs into the Bahamas is by pri-
                            vate aircraft,’ according to the senior DEAofficial in Nassau. Drug smug-
                            gling aircraft typically depart from various locations in South American
                            countries and fly at very low altitudes to avoid radar detection.
                            Approaching the Bahamas at altitudes of 500 feet or less, smugglers
                            transfer their cargoes to smaller aircraft or vessels (either by dropping
                            the drugs from the air or unloading after landing) for transport to the
                            Ilnited States. Although private aircraft remain the primary mode of
                            smuggling cocaine, a DEAAssistant Administrator said that the trend is
                            shifting toward greater use of commercial cargo to smuggle drugs into
                            the United States.


Air Interdiction Programs   Air interdiction programs are aimed at stopping smugglers from using
                            aircraft to bring drugs into the United States. Air interdiction efforts
                            focus on small, privately owned aircraft as opposed to aircraft operated
                            by commercial passenger and cargo airlines. The principal method of

                            ‘See GAO repwt Drug Smuggling: Capabilities for Interdicting Private Aircraft Are Limited and
                            Costly (GAO/GGD-89-93. .June9. 1989) for a detailed discussion of federal efforts to interdict drug
                            smugglers using prwate airwaft



                            Page 14                                               GAO/WD-SO-42 Bahamas Anti-Drug Efforts
Chapter 1
Introduction




reviewed Congressional hearings; and examined files, State Department
cables, and bilateral agreements between the two governments.

To obtain information on the strategy, management, and planning of
1J.S.anti-drug efforts, we reviewed (1) the former National Drug Policy
Board’s (predecessor to the current Office of National Drug Control Pol-
icy) national drug strategy and lead agency implementing strategies, (2)
the Bahamian drug interdiction proposal and the U.S. response, (3) oper-
ational plans for joint U.S.-Bahamas air and maritime drug interdiction
programs and operations, and (4) memoranda of understanding among
the various agencies participating in joint operations. We discussed
t,hese strategies, plans, and memoranda with cognizant agency officials.
We also obtained cost data from the various U.S. agencies operating in
the Bahamas for fiscal years 1986 through 1988. We reviewed the cost
data for completeness but did not verify the data for accuracy.

To obtain information on the boat docking and boat repair facilities
 authorized by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, we interviewed Coast
 Guard officials responsible for managing the projects and reviewed pro-
ject files, including engineering reports, contracts, status reports, and
 agreements, with the Bahamian government. This information is
 included in appendixes I and II.

To obtain information on the cost of assigning U.S. government person-
nel to the Bahamas on a temporary basis, we interviewed representa-
tives from each of the agencies who had personnel stationed in the
Bahamas and asked these officials to provide estimates of the costs of
these assignments. We did not verify the information that is presented
in appendix III.

We did our work at the offices of INM, DEA, Coast Guard, Customs, DOD,
the former National Drug Policy Board, and the former National Narcot-
ics Border Interdiction System headquarters in Washington, DC.; at
field offices of DEA, Customs, Coast Guard, and the National Narcotics
Border Interdiction System in southern Florida; and at offices of INM,
DE:A, Customs, and Coast Guard at the US. Embassy in Nassau, Baha-
mas. We also visited various joint LJ.S.-Bahamas air and maritime drug
interdiction bases in the Bahamas and radar sites located throughout
the Caribbean. A detailed list of all agency offices and facilities visited is
included in appendix IV.

 We did our work from March 1988 through May 1989, in accordance
 with generally accepted government auditing standards.


 Page 12                                  GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Chapter 1

Introduction


                       Despite increased L’S and Bahamian anti-drug efforts, the Bahamas
                       continues to be a major transit country for illegal shipments of drugs
                       destined for the IJnited States. Composed of 700 islands scattered over
                       100,000 square miles, the Bahamas is close to the United States and
                       occupies a strategic location between the United States and drug-pro-
                       ducing countries, It thus provides an ideal setting for drug smuggling.
                       According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bahamas
                       is one of the principal smuggling routes for drugs destined for the
                       lJnited States, IJS. and Bahamian efforts to deny drug smugglers use of
                       the Bahamas have resulted in increased cocaine seizures. However, the
                       flow of illicit drugs through the Bahamas continues.

                       According to DEA'S El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), cocaine seizures in
                       the Bahamas increased about 53 percent, from 14,214 pounds to 21,732
                       pounds, between 1985 and 1988. Despite these increased seizures, how-
                       ever, the price of cocaine in Miami dropped by 50 percent, from about
                       $32,000 a kilogram in 1985 to about $16,000 in 1988, indicating that
                       cocaine had become more readily available. Marijuana seizures in the
                       Bahamas decreased by about 71 percent during the same period, from
                       351,415 pounds to 101,694 pounds. U.S.-supported anti-drug programs
                       and operations in the Bahamas aimed at reducing the flow of drugs
                       through the Bahamas and into the United States cost about $33 million
                       in fiscal year 1988 (SW table 4.1, page 37). In commenting on this report,
                       the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) said that the $33 mil-
                       lion spent on anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas to seize 11 tons of cocaine
                       and 51 tons of marijuana is a bargain when compared to the entire U.S.
                       interdiction program. That program, in fiscal year 1988, seized 100 met-
                       ric tons of cocaine and 830 metric tons of marijuana at a cost of $1.5
                       billion according to ONIKY’.


                       The U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas has overall responsibility for
Agencies Involved in   overseeing U.S. anti-drug efforts. The Department of State’s Bureau of
U.S.-Bahamas Anti-     International Narcotics Matters (INM) and DEA also have major responsi-
Drug Efforts           bilities for directing and coordinating U.S. anti-drug programs and oper-
                       ations Other 1J.S.agencies involved in joint U.S.-Bahamas drug
                       interdiction activities include the U.S. Customs Service, the US. Coast
                       Guard, and the Department of Defense (DOD). Each of these agencies pro-
                       vides personnel and equipment to support drug interdiction efforts in
                       the Bahamas.

                       The Minister of National Security of the Bahamas has primary responsi-
                       bility for Bahamian anti-drug efforts. Both the Royal Bahamian Police


                       Page10                                  GAO/GGD-9042BahamasAnti-DrugEfforts
Contents




Figure 2.4: Planned Land-Based Aerostat Network                                24
Figure 2.5: Locations of Apprehension Helicopter Bases                         26




Abbreviations

 AEU’      Airborne Early Warning
 c3        Command, Control, and Communications
 DEA       Drug Enforcement Administration
 DOD       Department of Defense
 DOT       Department of Transportation
 EPIC      El Paso Intelligence Center
 INM       International Narcotics Matters
 MLAT      Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty
 ONDCP     Office of Nat,ional Drug Control Policy
 OPBAT     Operation Bahamas and Turks
 KBDF      Royal Bahamian Defense Force
 RBPF      Royal Bahamian Police Force
 s.4c’     Special-Agent-In-Charge


 Page 8                                 GAO/GGD90-42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Contents


Executive Summary                                                                                       2

Chapter 1                                                                                             10
                        Agencies Involved in lT.S.-Bahamas Anti-Drug Efforts                          10
Introduction            Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                            11

Chapter 2                                                                                              14
                        Joint U.S.-Bahamas Drug Interdiction Programs                                  14
U.S.-Bahamas Drug       Limitations of the Existing Radar Network                                      17
Interdiction Efforts    Additional Radars Will Not Eliminate Limitations in the                        21
                             Radar Network
                        Additional Helicopters and Bases Proposed to Improve                           24
                             Apprehension Capabilities
                        Drug Traffickers Can Use Different Smuggling Routes and                        28
                             Methods

Chapter 3                                                                                              29
Status of               U.S.-Bahamian Treaties Await Further Action                                    29
                        Progress on Bahamian Legal and Law Enforcement                                 30
Noninterdiction Drug         Initiatives
Control Activities in   Efforts to Reduce Drug Demand in the Bahamas                                   35
the Bahamas
Chapter 4                                                                                              36
Managing and            Extent and Cost of 1-S. Anti-Drug Efforts in the Bahamas                       36
                            Have Increased
Planning U.S. Anti-     Management and Planning of IJS. Anti-Drug Efforts Tend                         38
Drug Efforts in the         to Be Decentralized
Bahamas
Chapter 5
Conclusions




                        Page 6                                 GAO/GGD90-42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
                              Executive   Summary




Status of Other Anti-Drug     Although the primary focus of U.S. anti-drug efforts and expenditures
                              in the Bahamas has been on interdiction, the U.S. and Bahamian govern-
Efforts                       ments are making progress on other anti-drug initiatives. A new extradi-
                              tion treaty has been negotiated and is awaiting approval by the
                              Secretary of State prior to submission to the 1J.S.Senate. A Mutual Legal
                              Assistance Treaty was ratified in October 1989 by the U.S. Senate. In
                              addition, the Bahamian government has made progress on a variety of
                              legal and law enforcement initiatives to improve its unilateral capability
                              t,o combat drug trafficking and associated problems. (See p. 29.)


Limitations of Interdiction   Limitations in the radar system in the Bahamas allow many smugglers
Efforts                       to avoid detection. Also, 1J.S.apprehension helicopters are sometimes
                              unable to reach the site of smuggling operations in a timely manner
                              because there are not enough helicopters and bases to effectively cover
                              the entire Bahamian archipelago and adjacent areas. (See pp. 17 and
                              25.)

                              To deal with some of these limitations, IJ.S. agencies are in the process
                              of installing and acquiring additional radars and establishing a helicop-
                              t,er base, costing millions of dollars, to extend the air interdiction system
                              in the Bahamas. (SW 1). 21 and 24.)


Benefits From Additional      The installation and acquisition of additional radars, helicopters, and
Air Interdiction Spending     bases planned or underway in the Bahamas will increase the capabilities
                              of drug interdiction efforts but are costly and will not eliminate limita-
Unclear                       tions in the interdiction systems. First, while additional radars would
                              improve detection capabilities, completion of the planned aerostat sys-
                              tem (radars attached to tethered balloons) will not provide constant cov-
                              erage in all areas because maintenance and weather will cause
                              significant down time. Aerostats located in Florida and the Bahamas are
                              operational about half the time. Second, expanding the current air
                              interdiction system in the Bahamas will be costly. The second aerostat
                              expected to be operational in George Town in early 1990, will cost about
                              $24 million. The Coast Guard estimates that a third aerostat, being
                              acquired for Great Inagua, could cost from $17-2 1 million. In addition,
                              an aerostat costs $7-8 million annually to operate. Third, the majority of
                              drug seizures in the Bahamas are the result of drug intelligence and
                              investigations and not the result of radar-acquired targets. Finally, drug
                              smugglers are able to adapt to improvements in the air interdiction sys-
                              t.em by flying their drug loads around the air interdiction net or using



                              Page 4                                   GAO/GGD-9042   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts
Executive Summq


                     Anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas play a vital role in the U.S. war on
Purpose              drugs because the Bahamas occupies a strategic location between the
                     lJnited States and drug-producing countries. According to the Drug
                     Enforcement Administration, the Bahamas is one of the principal smug-
                     gling routes for drugs shipped from Latin America and the Caribbean to
                     the United States.

                     At the request of the Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Committee, GAO
                     examined anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas, including

                   . the extent, results, and limitations of U.S.-Bahamas drug interdiction
                     operations;
                   . the status of other drug control activities, including treaties between the
                     United States and the Bahamas; and
                   . the strategy, management, and planning of U.S. anti-drug efforts,
                     including efforts to improve coordination among interdiction agencies.


                     The primary objective of U.S. anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas is drug
Background           interdiction-the    seizure of illegal drugs and the denial of preferred
                     smuggling modes and transportation routes to drug traffickers. The pri-
                     mary method of smuggling drugs through the Bahamas is by private air-
                     craft. U.S. and Bahamian agencies have jointly participated in an
                     increasing number of drug interdiction programs and operations since
                      1982, resulting in the seizure of large quantities of cocaine and mari-
                     juana. The li.S. and Bahamian governments contribute personnel to sup-
                      port joint programs and operations. Many of the aircraft, boats, and
                      radars used in interdiction are provided by the United States. (See pp.
                      10 to 11 and 14.)

                      US. efforts in the Bahamas include a variety of anti-drug operations
                      and activities that involve five federal agencies. The Department of
                      State is the lead agency for anti-drug efforts in foreign countries.
                      Through its Bureau of International Narcotics Matters and the U.S.
                      Ambassador, State oversees the activities of all federal agencies operat-
                      ing in the Bahamas including the Drug Enforcement Administration,
                      Coast Guard, Customs, and the Department of Defense. (See p. 10.)


                      1J.S.anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas have evolved from a relatively
Results in Brief      simple and inexpensive activity to one involving five federal agencies
                      and many activities. I7.S. agencies spent about $76 million over the last
                      3 years in support of anti-drug efforts in the Bahamas.


                      Page 2                                  GAO/GGD-SO-42   Bahamas Anti-Drug   Efforts