oversight

Drug Interdiction: Funding Continues to Increase but Program Effectiveness Is Unknown

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-12-11.

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

                                                                                                                                       '1
                                                                                                                                   4
                                                                                                                                       (1.
                                                I’t~ittvl       Stattbs (~~~tt(~~~ili(~~~otttt~itt~Of’
                                                                                                     f’iw              __
                                                                                                                                       1I
                                                                                                                               v   .   )


                                                ItflpoY’
                                                      t.0t.hc
                                                           f~I
""." I..   .."   l_l..   ..I   .-.   .,..                                            ----___--
                                                            ..I._.._.... ._. .. .._......--.--                                         I



GAO                                             S;m hnn,
                                                                                                    IonoYxt)le

                                                                                                 (l~a,irman, IWmttncnt~




                                                DRUG
                                                INTERDICTION
                                                Funding Continues to
                                                Increase but Program
                                                Effectiveness Is
                                                Unknown


                                                                                                                      142928




                                                                                                           RELEASED
                                            RESTIUCTED--Not       to be released outside the
                                            General Accounting OfYice unless specifically
                                            approved by the OffIce of Congressional
                                            Relations,
                   United States
GAO                General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20648

                   General Government Division

                   B-241634

                   December 11, 1990

                   The Honorable Sam Nunn
                   Chairman, Permanent Subcommittee
                     on Investigations
                   Committee on Governmental Affairs
                   United States Senate

                   Dear Mr. Chairman:

                   This report responds to your request for information on federal pro-
                   grams to interdict illicit drugs being smuggled into the United States.
                   These programs are designed to stop smugglers and/or their shipments
                   at the borders by focusing on the mode of transportation used by smug-
                   glers and are thus referred to as land, marine, air, and commercial cargo
                   interdiction programs. You were concerned that information indicating
                   which interdiction programs work and which do not is not available to
                   help Congress allocate federal resources in the drug war.

                   As agreed with the Subcommittee, our objectives were to provide infor-
                   mation on (1) the available measures of drug interdiction program per-
                   formance and whether performance can be compared between different
                   programs, (2) funding for the interdiction programs, (3) quantities of
                   drugs seized through the interdiction programs, and (4) the relationship
                   between drug seizures and the use of advance information (prior intelli-
                   gence) on the drug shipments.


                   Although the federal agencies and the Office of National Drug Control
Results in Brief   Policy monitor drug interdiction program accomplishments and costs,
                   they have not yet identified a good way to measure and compare the
                   performance of different programs. This is recognized as a long-standing
                   problem that has proven difficult to resolve. For example, while the
                   agencies generally view increased seizures as an indicator of program
                   success, a decrease in seizures does not necessarily mean a program is
                   less effective than it was previously or less effective than other pro-
                   grams making more seizures. Such decreases may be due to a variety of
                   factors that could be equated with a program’s success, such as that the
                   drug interdiction programs may have deterred some smugglers from
                   bringing illegal drugs into our country and/or caused other smugglers to
                   switch from one mode of transportation to another or to change their
                   tactics. Because good measures of program performance have yet to be
                   developed, it is not possible to determine accurately whether resources
                   are being appropriately allocated to fight the drug war.


                   Page 1                                         GAO/GGBBl-10   Drug Interdiction
                                                                                 t
             B-241634




             Available data indicate that total drug interdiction funding has
             increased about 40 percent (to over $2 billion) in fiscal year 1990 over
             the funding that the federal agencies-Customs Service, the Coast
             Guard, the Border Patrol, and the Department of Defense (DOD)-
             received for drug interdiction in fiscal year 1989. From fiscal years 1987
             through 1989, the quantities of drugs seized by these agencies varied.
             For example, while the amount of marijuana seized by the Border Patrol
             interdiction program in 1989 was more than double that seized in 1987,
             the amount seized by the Coast Guard program was down about 76 per-
             cent over the same period. The types of drugs seized during that period
             also varied-the quantity of marijuana seized decreased by about 68
             percent, and the quantity of cocaine seized increased by about 103 per-
             cent. According to the agency officials, prior intelligence was involved in
             several drug seizures included in our sample of larger seizures, but most
             seizures occurred during routine interdiction,


             In general, drug interdiction involves detecting potential smugglers and/
Background   or their cargoes, sorting smugglers from legitimate travelers, inter-
             cepting and tracking them to the final destination, and apprehending
             t,hem. To do this, the federal government has established interdiction
             programs, which are run by Customs, the Coast Guard, and the Border
             Patrol, with assistance provided by DOD.

             The federal drug interdiction programs carried out by these agencies
             focus on particular modes of transportation used by smugglers. Customs
             has an air, a marine, and an inspection and control drug interdiction pro-
             gram. Under the inspection and control program, Customs is responsible
             for drug interdiction in commercial cargo and on persons entering and
             leaving the United States. The Border Patrol’s interdiction program
             focuses on the land transportation mode, and the Coast Guard’s program
             has a combined air/marine focus. Support activities to assist the agen-
             cies in their interdiction responsibilities are provided by DOD. Although
             generally prohibited by law from direct participation in an interdiction,
             search and seizure, or arrest, DOD is the lead federal agency for the
             detection and monitoring of aerial and maritime transit of illegal drugs
             into the United States. DOD is also authorized to provide law enforcement
             officials with support, such as equipment and personnel. In addition,
             information on drug smuggling activities is provided to law enforcement
             agencies by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s El Paso Intelligence
             Center.




             Page 2                                          GAO/GGDBl-10   Drug Interdiction
                             B34M34




                             The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 established, among other things, the
                             Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in the Executive Office of
                             the President. The Director, ONDCP, is responsible for developing and
                             implementing a national drug control strategy, including a complete list
                             of goals, objectives, and priorities for reducing the supply of and
                             demand for drugs. In this role, ONDCP has close and continuing contact
                             with federal agencies involved in the “drug war,” including the interdic-
                             tion agencies.

                             Setting budget priorities is a responsibility of ONDCP. It sets priorities for
                             federal efforts, and reviews and certifies that drug budget submissions
                             to ONDCP from the agencies are adequate to implement the objectives of
                             the National Drug Strategy. Certainty in deciding budget priorities and
                             where resources should be allocated is dependent on knowing how well
                             the interdiction programs are doing.


                             The objectives of this report are to provide the following information:
Objectives, Scope, and
Methodology -            . a description of available measures of drug interdiction program per-
                           formance and whether such measures can be used to compare the per-
                           formance of the different interdiction programs,
                         . the funding for each interdiction program for fiscal years 1989 and
                           1990,
                         . the quantities of drugs seized during fiscal years 1987 through 1989,
                           and
                         l information on fiscal year 1989 drug seizures attributable to agencies
                           having prior intelligence on the illegal drug shipments.

                             To obtain background information on the interdiction programs and to
                             identify the types and sources of available information, we interviewed
                             headquarters officials at Customs, the Border Patrol, the Coast Guard,
                             DOD, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Inves-
                             tigation, ONDCP, and Interpol.

                             Regarding measurement of interdiction program performance, we met
                             with officials from each interdiction program and OND~P to discuss what
                             indicators are used to measure program performance and how well they
                             measure that performance. To understand program operations, we vis-
                             ited the Border Patrol and Customs units in El Paso, Texas, and the Cus-
                             toms marine enforcement and seaport commercial cargo inspection




                             Page 3                                            GAO/GGD-91-10 Drug Interdiction
facilities in Miami, Florida. We also met with Border Interdiction Com-
mittee representatives in Washington, D.C. This committee was estab-
lished in 1987 to coordinate the writing of a strategy for drug
interdiction under the auspices of the National Drug Policy Board, one of
the predecessors to ONDCP. It has become a forum where federal interdic-
tion agency representatives meet monthly to discuss policy and opera-
tions coordination. We also visited the Drug Enforcement
Administration’s El Paso Intelligence Center and Operation Alliance in
El Paso, Texas. Operation Alliance provides for coordinating mul-
tiagency efforts to interdict drugs and other illegal contraband along the
United States-Mexico border.

We obtained budget data from the Border Patrol, Customs, the Coast
Guard, DOD, the Office of Management and Budget, and ONDCP. Budget
data are shown only for fiscal years 1989 and 1990 because these were
the most recent years for which comparable data were available.

We obtained drug seizure data from the Border Patrol, Customs, and the
Coast Guard for fiscal years 1987 through 1989. DOD is generally prohib-
ited from making drug seizures and apprehensions. The seizure data
covered the most recent years for which each interdiction program had
readily available information.

To examine the role that prior intelligence played in the amount of
drugs seized, we obtained lists of drug seizures made during fiscal year
1989 from Customs, the Coast Guard, and the Border Patrol. We limited
these lists to cocaine and marijuana seizures because these were the two
drugs for which all agencies maintained seizure data, Since the Subcom-
mittee was primarily interested in larger seizures, we further restricted
the universe for review to seizures above selected numbers of pounds, as
shown in table 1. Seizures of these sizes were considered to be signifi-
cant by the agencies. To further focus on the larger seizures, we limited
the list of commercial cargo seizures to containerized cargo seizures. The
universe that we identified totaled 903 seizures and was selected from
listings of seizures provided to us by the agencies. Because of problems
we discovered with Customs’ marine seizure data, we excluded this pro-
gram from the prior intelligence portion of our study.’ This resulted in a
final universe of 833 seizures.


1During our review, we became aware of inconsistencies in seizure data provided by Customs marine
program officials. For example, of three drug seizures listed as Customs’ marine seizures, two were
actually Coast Guard seizures and one was a Customs air program seizure.



Page 4                                                          GAO/GGD-91-10 Drug Intmdktion
                                       5241634
                                                                                             il




Table 1: Drug Threshold Criteria for
Sample Universe                        Agency/program                            Cocaine (Ibs.)       Marijuana (Ibs.)
                                       Customs’ air program                                   1                        1
                                       Customs’ marine program                              100                    1,000
                                       Customs’ commercial cargo program                    140                      300
                                       Border Patrol                                          1                      190
                                       Coast Guard                                            1                        1


                                       W ithin each interdiction program, we judgmentally selected seizures for
                                       review. While the sampling process was judgmental to ensure the inclu-
                                       sion of the largest seizures plus a selection of smaller seizures, we had
                                       no foreknowledge of whether prior intelligence or routine interdiction
                                       prompted the seizure. From the universe of 833 seizures, we judg-
                                       mentally selected a total sample of 136 seizures from the 4 interdiction
                                       programs and obtained and reviewed information on the use of prior
                                       intelligence for these seizures. We obtained the information through a
                                       structured data collection instrument on which agency officials indi-
                                       cated whether each seizure was the result of prior intelligence or routine
                                       interdiction. The results obtained cannot be generalized beyond the par-
                                       ticular cases studied.

                                       We did not verify the accuracy of the data provided by the agencies. We
                                       did our work from August 1989 to August 1990 in accordance with gen-
                                       erally accepted government auditing standards.


                                       Drug interdiction program funding has increased and, according to
Drug Interdiction                      ONDCP  officials, there has been no effort to compare performance of dif-
Programs Lack                          ferent interdiction programs because of the lack of comparable criteria.
Criteria to Compare                    They said that comparisons are not feasible because of the nature of the
                                       programs, shortcomings in the existing data, and the fact that each pro-
Performance                            gram is unique. However, at the agency level, officials said they do
                                       attempt to measure the performance of their own interdiction programs
                                       by using a variety of indicators.


Measurement Problems                   Agency officials recognize that there are problems in measuring the per-
                                       formance of drug interdiction programs. For example, they said that the
                                       amount of illegal drugs crossing our borders is not known; the deterrent
                      Y                effect of interdiction programs is difficult to measure; there is double




                                       Page 5                                          GAO/GGDBl-10   Drug Interdiction
E241024                                                                                 r




counting among agencies of the quantities of drugs seized; and it is diffi-
cult to quantify interdiction efforts in relation to results when an
agency’s primary mission may be other than drug interdiction.

W ithout knowing the amount of illegal drugs being smuggled across our
national borders, neither the percentage of illegal drugs being inter-
dicted nor the effectiveness of the interdiction programs in reducing the
amount of illegal drugs can be readily determined. We pointed out in a
special report2 that data used to prepare estimates of drug availability
and consumption are generally not designed to measure program
effectiveness.

Measuring the deterrent effect of interdiction programs is another
problem. Agency officials believed that the existence of drug interdic-
tion programs does deter some smugglers from bringing illegal drugs
into our country and causes other smugglers to switch from one mode of
transportation to another or change their tactics. One example,
according to various agency officials, is the air interdiction program,
which they believed has caused smugglers, who previously flew illegal
drug cargoes into Florida, to now fly their cargoes into northern Mexico
and move their drugs by land across our southwest border. Agency offi-
cials believed that all of the interdiction programs have some deterrent
effect but conceded that it is difficult to measure the impact of
deterrence.

Another measurement problem concerns the data reporting procedures
of the drug interdiction agencies. When a drug seizure results from the
coordinated efforts of more than one agency, any and all agencies
involved in the seizure may record the seizure. Agency officials said that
the rationale for this “double counting” is that each agency involved
expended resources and therefore should be entitled to include the
results in its statistics. While agency officials acknowledged the prac-
tice, data are not now available on how often or in which instances this
double counting occurs.

Finally, it is difficult to assess the effect of an interdiction program
when an agency’s primary mission is other than drug interdiction. For
example, the Coast Guard has several major roles, ranging from “search
and rescue” to “maritime law enforcement,” with drug interdiction
being part of its broader responsibilities. Thus, when the Coast Guard
boards a vessel and makes a drug seizure, that boarding may be made

%ontrolling Drug Abuse: A Status Report (GAO/GGD-88-39, Mar. 1, 1988).



Page 6                                                     GAO/GGD-91-10 Drug Interdiction
                         B-241934




                         for the purpose of enforcing US, laws and treaties and not solely for
                         drug interdiction purposes. For the Coast Guard, and for other multipur-
                         pose agencies, it is difficult to separate the routine costs of carrying out
                         primary missions from interdiction costs or to attribute a seizure to the
                         interdiction effort as distinct from the primary mission. Yet, for more
                         informed budgeting or resource allocation decisions, such attributions
                         would be required. We discussed the difficulties in making such attribu-
                         tions in a recent report.3

                         Even when a program’s purpose is clearly interdiction, the cost effec-
                         tiveness of interdiction alternatives is not easily determined. This is
                         because seizure data currently available reflect only the results from
                         successful interdiction attempts, not unsuccessful ones. It is not known
                         how many cases of prior intelligence failed to uncover drugs nor how
                         many staff hours were expended on each interdiction attempt. If agen-
                         cies maintained these data, decisionmakers would have a better basis
                         for understanding outcomes and be able to make more informed judg-
                         ments about allocation of scarce resources.


Agencies Use Different   Each interdiction agency attempts to measure the performance of its
Indicators to Measure    own interdiction program. Most of these assessments consist of year-to-
                         year comparisons of drug seizures. However, the Customs air program
Performance              goes beyond this and attempts to measure total air program results. Cus-
                         toms officials have developed a series of indicators associated with air
                         smuggling activities, such as drug-related aircraft seizures, that are
                         intended to measure the overall effectiveness of its air interdiction pro-
                         gram, including the deterrent effect. Customs is continuing to develop
                         this system. (See app. I for a description of the different program
                         assessments.)


                         The federal budget for drug interdiction increased from $1.47 billion in
Federal F’unds           fiscal year 1989 to about $2.03 billion in fiscal year 1990, an increase of
Budgeted for             about 40 percent, with the largest increases going to DOD and Customs.
Interdiction Have        DOD funding increased from $356.7 million in fiscal year 1989 to $793.5
                         million in fiscal year 1990. The amount budgeted for Customs increased
Increased                from $4‘27.0 million to $512.9 million over this same time period. (See
                         tables II. 1, 11.5,11.7,and II.9 for budget authority figures by fiscal year.)


                         3Developing a Federal Drug Budget: Implementing the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (GAO/
                             - 0 - 104, Aug. 23, 1990).



                         Page 7                                                       GAO/GGD-91-10 Drug Interdiction
                      B-241694




                      Except for the Border Patrol, the quantity of marijuana seized decreased
Quantities of Drugs   between fiscal years 1987 and 1989. Cocaine seizures for all programs
SeizedVaried by       increased during this time period. (See figs. 1 and 2 and tables 11.2,11.3,
Program and Type of   11.4,11.6,and II.8 for drug seizure information by fiscal year.)

Dr%                   An increase in the quantity of drugs seized is considered an indicator of
                      a drug interdiction program’s success. However, a decrease in the quan-
                      tity of drugs seized does not mean that a program is less effective than it
                      was previously or less effective than other interdiction programs seizing
                      more drugs. It could mean that smugglers are switching to other modes
                      of transportation to get their illegal drugs into the United States.

                      A specific example of the quantity of drugs seized varying between
                      interdiction programs is the Border Patrol and Coast Guard interdiction
                      programs. The quantity of marijuana seized by the Border Patrol
                      interdiction program in fiscal year 1989 was more than double that
                      seized in fiscal year 1987. Conversely, the quantity of marijuana seized
                      by the Coast Guard interdiction program went down about 76 percent
                      over this same time period.




                      Page 9                                          GAO/GGD-91-10 Drug Interdiction
Flgure 1: Quantity of Marljuana Seized




                                                                                                              ‘\

                                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                                   ----e?y.
                                                                                                                          m$ppm<amml'
                                                                                                                                 1          -
                                                                     .~,,.~.mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmr~~~mmg




                                           19B7                                              1988                                               1089
                                           Flaoal Year

                                                  -         Custome-cargo
                                                  -1-1      Customs-air
                                                  m         Customs-marlne
                                                  n n n n   Border Patrol
                                                  ---       CeastGud
                                         Notes: Quantities shown for Customs’ cargo program only include seizures from commercial cargo.

                                         The aggregate total of drugs seized by the individual Customs drug interdiction programs does not
                                         equal the Customs national total because of discrepancies between the individual programs’ recording
                                         systems and Customs’ national recording system.
                                         Quantities shown for the Border Patrol include all marijuana seized, including quantities that were less
                                         than the threshold criteria used for our prior intelligence sample.
                                         Sources: Customs, Coast Guard, and Border Patrol.




                                         Page 9                                                              GAO/GGD-9140 Drug Interdiction



                                                                             ,’
                                                                              ./, I’
                                       E-241624




Figure 2: Quantity of Cocaine Seized
                                       80     Pound8 Salzad In Thousands




                                        0

                                       1967                                             1988
                                       Fberl Yur

                                              -       Customs-cargo
                                              ----    Customs-air
                                              m       Customs-marina
                                              mmmm    Border Patrol
                                              1.1     CoastGuad
                                       Note: The aggregate total of drugs seized by the individual Customs drug interdiction programs does
                                       not equal the Customs national total because of discrepancies between the individual programs’
                                       recording systems and Customs’ national recording system.
                                       Sources: Customs, Coast Guard, and Border Patrol.


                                       Prior intelligence refers to having specific details on a particular drug
Prior Intelligence                     shipment-for     example, a description of the smugglers and/or convey-
Involved in Seizures                   ance, or the specific date and location of a shipment-before      it reaches
                                       the U.S. borders. This intelligence could come from such sources as
                                       informants and investigative work.

                                       W ithin our sample we found differences among programs and their use
                                       of prior intelligence, although the findings are not generalizable to the
                                       programs overall. For example, our sample results showed that the
                                       Coast Guard used prior intelligence in 8 out of the 9 cocaine seizures and
                                       8 out of the 10 marijuana seizures that we reviewed. For both drugs, the
                                       seizures that resulted from prior intelligence accounted for over 90 per-
                                       cent of the quantity of drugs seized (see app. III).




                                       Page 10                                                          GAO/GGDBl-10      Drug Interdiction
                  B241634




                  In contrast, our sample results also showed that none of the other
                  interdiction programs used prior intelligence in a majority of their
                  seizures. For example, the Customs commercial cargo program used
                  prior intelligence in 1 out of the 10 cocaine seizures that we reviewed,
                  accounting for 5 percent of the seized quantity of drugs. The program
                  used prior intelligence in one out of the eight marijuana seizures in our
                  sample, and this seizure accounted for 18 percent of the seized quantity
                  of drugs.

                  Our sample results on prior intelligence were consistent across drug
                  types. For both marijuana and cocaine, the Coast Guard used prior intel-
                  ligence in the majority of seizures, followed by the Customs air program,
                  the Border Patrol, and the Customs commercial cargo program.


                  Drug interdiction programs established by the Coast Guard, Customs,
Conclusions       and the Border Patrol, with support provided by DOD, are designed to
                  stop smugglers and/or their shipments before they arrive in the United
                  States or at U.S. borders by focusing on the mode of transportation.
                  While available data indicate that funding for these programs in fiscal
                  year 1990 has increased by about 40 percent, to more than $2 billion,
                  over that budgeted for fiscal year 1989, it is difficult to measure and
                  compare performance among the programs. This is because, while
                  increased seizures are generally viewed as an indicator of program suc-
                  cess, a decrease in seizures does not necessarily mean a program is less
                  effective than it was previously or less effective than other programs
                  making more seizures. Such decreases may be due to other factors-pro-
                  grams may have deterred some smugglers from bringing illicit drugs into
                  our country or caused other smugglers to switch from one mode of
                  transportation to another. Because of these difficulties, no one can be
                  certain whether resources are being appropriately allocated among the
                  various drug interdiction programs.

                  Our sample results showed that most drug seizures were due to routine
                  interdiction, but that the relationship between seizures and the use of
                  prior intelligence varies according to the particular interdiction pro-
                  gram. Only the Coast Guard used prior intelligence in a majority of the
                  seizures included in our sample.


                  We discussed a draft of this report with officials of Customs, the Coast
Agency Comments   Guard, the Border Patrol, DOD, and ONDCP. These officials generally



                  Page 11                                         GAO/GGDBl-10   Drug Interdiction
                                                                     ,
5241634                                                                          ,




agreed with the information presented, and we incorporated their com-
ments where appropriate.


As arranged with the Subcommittee, we plan no further distribution of
this report until 30 days after the date of this letter, unless you publicly
release its contents earlier. After 30 days, we will send copies to the
Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; the U.S. Attorney
General; and the Secretaries of Defense, Treasury, and Transportation,
and will make copies available to others upon request.

The major contributors to this report are listed in appendix IV. If you
have any questions about the report, please call me at 27543389.

Sincerely yours,




Lowell Dodge
Director, Administration
  of Justice Issues




Page 12                                          GAO/GGD-91-10 Drug Interdiction



                                                                            ‘.
Page 18   GAO/GGD-9140 Drug Interdiction
                                                                                              1



Contents


Letter                                                                                                        1

Appendix I                                                                                               16
Agencies Use            U.S. Customs Service                                                             16
                                                                                                         17
Different Indicators to i*z’~~~~~~~~~ol                                                                  17
Measure Performance       ’*
Appendix II                                                                                                 18
Financial and Drug
Seizure Information
Appendix III
Summary of Sample
Results
Appendix IV                                                                                                 23
Major Contributors to
This Report
                                                                                                        -
Tables                    Table 1: Drug Threshold Criteria for Sample Universe                               6
                          Table II. 1: U.S. Customs Service Drug Interdiction Budget,                       18
                              Fiscal Years 1989 and 1990
                          Table 11.2:U.S. Customs Service Drug Seizure                                      18
                              Information-Inspection        and Control Commercial
                              Cargo Interdiction Program, Fiscal Years 1987, 1988,
                               and 1989
                          Table 11.3: U.S. Customs Service Drug Seizure                                     19
                               Information-Air     Interdiction Program, Fiscal Years
                               1987,1988, and 1989
                          Table 11.4: U.S. Customs Service Drug Seizure                                     19
                               Information-Marine      Interdiction Program, Fiscal
                               Years 1987,1988, and 1989
                          Table 11.6: U.S. Border Patrol Drug Interdiction Budget,                          19
                               Fiscal Years 1989 and 1990
                          Table 11.6:US. Border Patrol Drug Seizure Information,                            20
                               Fiscal Years 1987, 1988, and 1989



                           Page 14                                        GAO/GGD-91-10   Drug Interdiction
 1
          Contenta




          T a b l e 1 1 .7 U
                           : S . C o a s t G u a r d D r u g In terdiction B u d g e t,                                   20
                  Fiscal Y e a r s 1 9 8 9 a n d 1 9 9 0
          T a b l e 1 1 .8 U
                           : .S . C o a s t G u a r d D r u g S e i z u r e In fo r m a tio n ,                           20
                  Fiscal Y e a r s 1 9 8 7 , 1 9 8 8 , a n d 1 9 8 9
          T a b l e 1 1 .9 D
                           : e p a r tm e n t o f D e fe n s e D r u g In terdiction                                      21
                  B u d g e t, Fiscal Y e a r s 1 9 8 9 a n d 1 9 9 0
          T a b l e III. 1 : G A O S a m p l e Results                                                                    22

Figures   Figure 1 : Q u a n tity o f M a r i j u a n a S e i z e d                                                        9
          Figure 2 : Q u a n tity o f C o c a i n e S e i z e d                                                           10




          A b b r e v i a tio n s

          DOD             D e p a r tm e n t o f D e fe n s e
          GAO             G e n e r a l A c c o u n tin g O ffice
          ONDCP           O ffice o f N a tio n a l D r u g C o n trol Policy


          Page15                                                                  G A O /G G D - 9 1 4 0 D r u g Interdiction
Agencies Use Different                  Indicators to                                       T I*
Measure Petiormance

                       Each interdiction agency attempts to measure the performance of its
                       own drug interdiction programs. Generally, these assessments include a
                       comparison of drugs seized on a year-to-year basis. The U.S. Customs
                       Service, however, has designed a system to measure the performance of
                       its air interdiction program using aircraft seizures and other program
                       indicators.


                       Customs operates three interdiction programs. Each is evaluated inde-
U.S. Customs Service   pendently of the others using different indicators to measure perform-
                       ance. For example, the air interdiction program uses several indicators
                       associated with drug smuggling activity, which include reports of planes
                       flying into US. air space at the national borders, aircraft seizures, air-
                       craft crashes, stolen aircraft, and the number of law enforcement alert
                       messages for suspicious aircraft.

                       These indicators are numerically weighted and consolidated to graphi-
                       cally form a “threat level,” which represents the airborne drug smug-
                       gling threat to different areas of the United States. The air program has
                       divided the U.S. borders into sectors to geographically identify where
                       border intrusions are occurring. This information has been used to real-
                       locate air resources to areas showing indications of increased smuggling
                       activity or to determine whether additional resources are needed and
                       where they should be located. The information has also been used as
                       indicators of the deterrent effect of Customs’ air interdiction program.
                       For example, according to a Customs prepared document, the graphic
                       portrayal of the smuggling threat compared to the level of resources
                       assigned to the Customs air interdiction program over time has shown a
                       correlation between the expanding resources and a diminishing smug-
                       gling threat.

                       Recently, Customs contracted with two vendors to study the validity of
                       its air interdiction program’s assessment system. An agency official said
                       the studies have been completed; one report has been issued and one
                       report is still in draft form. The official said that both studies confirmed
                       that the indicators and how they are used by Customs’ air interdiction
                       program are valid, but the reports make recommendations for further
                       refinements to the system.

                       Customs’ marine program is responsible for carrying out smuggling
                       investigations, such as undercover or sting operations, as a means to
                       accomplish its overall mission, including its drug interdiction responsi-
                       bilities. Because of this, officials said it is difficult to evaluate drug


                       Page 16                                          GAO/GGD-91-10 Drug Interdiction
                     Appendix I
                     Agencies Uoe Miyerent Indicator   t41
                     Meewe Performance




                     interdiction by itself. Several indicators are used to measure the success
                     of the total marine program. These include the number of drug seizures
                     and amounts seized, how frequently Customs vessels are used, and the
                     number of investigations that target groups associated with marine
                     smuggling. The assessment for the marine program is based on the
                     expenditure of resources compared to the amount of drug seizures and
                     the number and types of investigations carried out.

                     Customs’ inspection and control commercial cargo program uses quan-
                     tity of drugs seized as an indicator to measure performance. Factors
                     that affect the quantity seized include the number of containers
                     inspected, the number of commercial cargo carriers that participate in
                     inspecting containers for drugs prior to shipment (participating carriers
                     have cooperative arrangements with Customs and examine their own
                     vessels for illegal drugs), and the enforcement criteria used to decide
                     which containers to inspect, such as the country where the shipment
                     originated and the product being shipped.


                     The Coast Guard measures the performance of its interdiction program
U.S. Coast Guard     through the quantity of drugs seized; the number of seizures; and the
                     number of boardings, arrests, and vessels seized. In determining the per-
                     formance, the agency looks at the entire interdiction picture, including
                     other indicators such as street price and level of purity of cocaine and
                     marijuana. If drug seizures are down and the level of effort is up, as was
                     the situation in 1989, the agency concludes that its interdiction program
                     is effective and that smugglers have been deterred or have changed
                     tactics.


                     The Border Patrol’s primary mission is the apprehension of illegal
U.S. Border Patrol   aliens, not the seizure of illegal drugs. Drugs are seized as a by-product
                     of stopping illegal aliens crossing U.S. borders. The Border Patrol
                     prepares a monthly report that it uses to judge its overall performance
                     and identify locations where more or fewer resources are needed. The
                     report contains such data as alien apprehensions, the number of drug
                     seizures, and the number of Border Patrol hours worked at each loca-
                     tion. The assessment is based upon the amount of resources used and
                     the amount of seizures and alien apprehensions made.




                     Page 17                                          GAO/GGDI)l-10   Drug Interdiction
Appendix 11

F’inancial and Drug Seizure InfWmation


Table 11.1:U.S. Curtoms Service Drug
interdiction Budget, Fiscal Years 1989               Dollars in millions
                                                     --_--   -_~---~                            -____.-            ___-   ~--~
and 1990                                                                                                                                   Fiscal Year
                                                     interdiction oroaram budaet authoritv                                       1989 actual       1990 estimate
                                                     Commercial          cargoa
                                                                             ____-                   ---__----_-                       $11.3
                                                                                                                                             _____-         $35.3
                                                     Air            9,                                                                 184.7b                287.3b
                                                     Marine                                                               --__          58.7                  44.0
                                                     InsDection      and controla                                                       59.6”                 56.1d
                                                     Amount       for drug interdiction   not identified   to program                  1 12.7e
                                                                        _____.~                                 -__--.-                                     __.90.3’
                                                     Total                                                                            $427.0               !E13.og
                                                     aThe commercial cargo interdiction program is part of Customs’ inspection and control operations. Also
                                                     included in inspection and control operations is passenger processing, canine enforcement (drug detec-
                                                     tion dog program), and overhead. Budget authority shown for commercial cargo only includes those
                                                     amounts budgeted for cargo examination. The balance of inspectron and control budget authority is
                                                     listed separately.

                                                     bThese amounts include air operations and maintenance costs and salaries and expenses
                                                     Yncluded in this amount is passenger processing ($42.3 million); canine enforcement ($9.6 million); and
                                                     overhead ($7.5 million).
                                                     dlncluded in this amount IS passenger processing ($39.1 million); canine enforcement ($6.6 million); and
                                                     overhead ($6.4 million).

                                                     ‘?ncluded in this amount is interdiction investigation ($8.9 million) and overhead ($10.7 million); support
                                                     ($37.8 million); and the seized assets Forfeiture Fund ($55.3 million). These amounts could not be identi
                                                     fied to a specific Customs drug interdiction program.
                                                     ‘Included in this amount is interdiction investigation ($6.7 million) and overhead ($12.5 million): support
                                                     ($31.2 million); and Forfeiture Fund ($39.9 million). These amounts could not be identified to a specific
                                                     Customs drug interdiction program.
                                                     gTotal difference from ONDCP budget summary is due to rounding.
                                                     Sources: Customs and National Drug Control Strategy Budget Summary, Jan. 1990




Table 11.2:US. Customs Service Drug Seizure information -Inspection                       and Control Commercial Cargo interdiction Program,
Fiscal Years 1987.1988. and 1989
Quantity    in pounds                          ~-             ---..-------
                                                                     FY 1987                             FY 1988                             FY 1989
                                                               No. of                              No. of                            No. of
Drug type          .~.   ---___ --.---~                  .--seizures         Quantity           seizures           Quantity      seizures            Quantity
Marijuana
                            .__. ..-.-------                  --
                                                                   57          90,762                  58 ----___~---_I____c.---~
                                                                                                                     205,574              75           03,976
Cocaine        ”                                    -.-.           30          15,234                  57 __--         40,630~-.-.-.---.--~-
                                                                                                                                          74           33,704
Total                                                              87 --___-                          115                                149
                                                     Notes: The aggregate total of drugs seized by the individual Customs’ drug interdiction programs-air,
                                                     marine, and commercial cargo-does     not equal the Customs national total because of discrepancies
                                                     between the individual programs’ recording systems and Customs’ national recording system.

                                                     Number of seizures and quantities seized represent only those seizures from commercial cargo.

                                                     Source: Customs,




                                                     Page 18                                                                     GAO/GGD-91-10 Drug Interdiction
                                             Appendix Ii
                                             Financial and Drue S&are Information




Table 11.3:U.S. Customs Service Drug
Seizure Information-Air  Interdiction        Quantity    in pounds
Program, Fiscal Years 1987, 1988, and                                                                                       Fiscal Year
1989                                         Drug type                                                               1987         1988           1989
                                             -_____----
                                             Mariiuana    auantitv    seized                                      170.943       137.490       120.511
                                             Cocaine     quantity    seized                                        23,240        56,545        71,104
                                             Total number      of seizuresa                                           139           219            203

                                             Notes: Table data represent all drug-related seizures in which Customs’ air interdiction program
                                             resources were involved, i.e., seizures made solely by Customs’ air interdiction personnel plus seizures
                                             in which Customs’ air interdiction personnel were participants.
                                             The aggregate total of drugs seized by the individual Customs drug interdiction programs-air,  marine,
                                             and commercial cargo-does      not equal the Customs national total because of discrepancies between
                                             the individual programs’ recording systems and Customs’ national recording system.
                                             aNumber of seizures by type of drug was not available
                                             Source: Customs.


Table 11.4:U.S. Customs Service Drug
Seizure Information-Marine    Interdiction   Quantity in pounds
                                                                                                                              ~---.
Program, Fiscal Years 1987,1988, and                                                                                      Fiscal Year
1989                                         Drua tvae                                                               1987        1988            1989
                                             Marijuana    quantity    seized                                     963,638        790,921       159,378
                                             Cocaine     quantity    seized                                        27,519        46,020        39,897

                                             Notes: Table data represent all drug-related seizures in which Customs’ marine interdiction program
                                             resources were involved, i.e., seizures made solely by Customs’ marine interdiction personnel plus
                                             setzures in which Customs’ marine interdiction personnel were participants.

                                             The aggregate total of drugs seized by the individual Customs’ drug interdiction programs-air,  marine,
                                             and commercial cargo-does      not equal the Customs’ national total because of discrepancies between
                                             the individual programs’ recording systems and Customs’ national recording system.

                                             Source: Customs
-
Table 11.5:U.S. Border Patrol Drug
Interdiction Budget, Fiscal Years 1989       Dollars in millions
and 1990                                                                                                              Fiscal Year
                                                                                                             1989 actual         1990 estimate
                                             Drua interdiction       budget    authority                            $36.9                       $39.4

                                             Source: Immigration and Naturalization Service Budget Office.




                                             Page 19                                                            GAO/GGD91-10 Drug Interdiction
                                                Appe*     II                                                                                     .
                                                Financial and Drug Seizure Iniormation




Table 11.8:U.S. Border Patrol Drua Seizure information. Fiscal Years 1987,1988, and 1989
Quantity       in pounds
                                                            FY 1987                                   FY 1988                       FY 1989
                                                      No. of                                    No. of                        No. of
Drug ._
     type
        .,__- . .._.. .---_.-- .-..        -       seizures         Quantity                 seizures         Quantity     seizures         Quantity
Marijuana
..”. . ...- _._ _ -   ..-. - ..-I. .---_
                                                       2,236                   209,281          2,458          321,403         4,124          504,616
Cocaine                                                  238                    12,813            375           13,006           685           25,732
Total                                                  2.474                                    2.833                         4.809

                                                Note: The number of drug seizures and quantity seized represent all cocaine and marijuana seizures in
                                                which the Border Patrol was involved, i.e., seizures made solely by the Border Patrol and seizures in
                                                which the Border Patrol was a participant.
                                                Source: Border Patrol.

Table 11.7:U.S. Coast Chard Drug
Interdiction Budget, Fiscal Years 1989          Dollars in millions
and 1990                                                                                                                       Fiscal Year
                                                                                                                         1989 actual   1990 estimate
                                                Drug interdiction     budget     authority                                    $629.5           $670.2
                                                Source: National Drug Control Strategy Budget Summary, Jan. 1990.



Table 11.8:U.S. Coaat Guard Drug Seizure Information, Fiscal Years 1987,1988, and 1989
Quantity       in .--
                  pounds--.. -- ..___.____-__
                                                            FY 1987                                   FY 1988                       FY 1989
                                                      No. of                                    No. of                        No. of
Drug type                                          seizures
                                                        -___--      Quantity                 seizures         Quantity     seizures         Quantity
Marijuana                                                 222             1,390,064               223          755,352           183          328,020
Cocame                                                                          22,454                          38,957                         34,786
                                                Note: The number of drug seizures and quantity seized represent all cocaine and marijuana seizures in
                                                which the Coast Guard was involved, i.e., seizures made solely by the Coast Guard and seizures in
                                                which the Coast Guard was a participant.
                                                aNumber of seizures for cocaine is not routinely tracked. Separate marijuana seizure data are main
                                                tained to track trends relating to the marijuana growing seasons, which occur twice a year.
                                                Source: Coast Guard




                                                Page 20                                                             GAO/GGD91-10 Drug Interdiction
                                         Appendix II
                                         Fhancial and Drug Seizure Infornwtion




Table 11.9:Department of Defense Drug
lnterdictlon Budget, Fiscal Years 1989   Dollars in millions
and 1990                                                                                                           Fiscal Year
                                                                                                          1989 actual         1990 estimate
                                         Drug interdiction budget authority                                      $356.7                       $793.5
                                         Note: DOD is generally prohibited from direct participation in an interdiction, search and seizure, arrest,
                                         or similar activity, but is the lead federal agency for the detection and monitoring of aerial and maritime
                                         transit of illegal drugs into the United States. DOD is also authorized to provide support services, such
                                         as equipment and personnel, to law enforcement agencies to aid them in carrying out their drug
                                         interdiction programs.
                                         Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense, FY 1991 President’s Budget Justification of Estimates, Feb.
                                         1990.




                                         Page 2 1                                                             GAO/GGB@l-10 Drug Interdiction
Appendix III

Summary of Sample ~Results
                                                                                                                                                  *.
                                                                                                                                                           6,


                                                       This appendix summarizes the interdiction agencies’ responses to our
                                                       structured data collection instrument in order to explore the relation-
                                                       ship between prior intelligence, interdiction, and seizure size for a judg-
                                                       mentally selected sample of seizures. Table III.1 shows the universe of
                                                       fiscal year 1989 drug seizures from which we drew our sample (based
                                                       on larger seizures), the minimum amount of the seizures for inclusion in
                                                       the sample, the number sampled from each program, the number of
                                                       seizures in the sample that resulted from prior intelligence and the
                                                       poundage associated with these seizures, and the number of seizures in
                                                       the sample that resulted from routine interdiction and the poundage
                                                       associated with these seizures.


Table 111.1:GAO Sample Results
                                                                                                           Due to prior                  Due to routine
Agency/ Interdiction                 Seizure      Deflnitlon of seizure           GAO sample               intelligence                    interdiction
program/drug                        universe      universe                           seizures          Seizures       Pounds           Seizures       Pounds
Coast
..-__-...._Guard
          -__-.._---.--  -._. --___
    Air/marine
I __.._” Cocaine
        ..~,.._
            ...___.
                 -.__- __.._.   -.           59   1 oound +                                  9                  8       10,980                   1           24
         Marijuana                           61   1 ’pound +                                10                  8      141,283                   2       12,791
Customs
    Air
__..”_-_”__...___.-___-__I .._--._--
_.__     Cocaine
    -_.__- ._.._-.-_-..- __..-__         -   58   1 Dound +                                  9                  3        8,503                   6       16,113
         Marijuana                           65   1 pound
                                                    ’     +                                 10                  3       16,780                   7       58,901
 _.....”^_......_.____cargo8
    Commercial         _-__-.--___-_-_
      Cocaine                                10   140 pounds +                               10                 1           821                  9       16,119
     Mariiuana                             8      300 oounds +                                8                 1         6,000                  7       26,794
Border PatroF
 . Land
    .___.~..-.-..-__-.I. _._-.------___-                                      -
     Cocaine                              75      1 Dound +                                 2oc                 4        1,328                  16       12,008
     Marijuana                           497      190 pounds +                              59                  9       13,364                  50       46,193
                                                       aPoundage shown for the “definition of seizure universe” was the smallest amount seized for cocaine
                                                       and the minimum amount that would be recorded for marijuana seizures in containerized cargo in fiscal
                                                       year 1989.
                                                       bathe Border Patrol gave us a listing of 331 cocaine seizures and 497 marijuana seizures. We limited the
                                                       cocaine universe by eliminating seizures of less than 1 pound; this gave us a universe of 75 seizures.
                                                       CDocumentation for one cocaine seizure had been destroyed before we requested information on it, so
                                                       the agency could not provide information as to whether the seizure was due to prior intelligence or
                                                       routine interdiction, Thus the seizure was eliminated from the sample.
                                                       Source: Information for this table was taken from agency-supplied documents, data collection instru-
                                                       ments completed by the agencies, and calculations made by GAO.




                                                       Page 22                                                            GAO/GGDOl-10 Drug Int.erdi&n
Appendix IV

M&j& Contributors to This Report


                        Weldon McPhail, Assistant Director, Administration   of Justice Issues
General Government      Thomas L. Davies, Evaluator-in-Charge
Division, Washington,   Donald E. Jack, Staff Evaluator
                        William R. Chatlos, Social Science Analyst
DC.




WJ6781)                 Page 22                                       GAO/GGD-91-10 Drug Interdiction
jl
 II
 ~j
1     --_-..--   --___   -_-._-       _
‘1
                                  Ordwitig   Ittf’ortttatiott

                                  ‘fht~ first, five copies of euch GAO report are free. Addifioual  copies
                                  at-t’ $2 each. Orders should be sent. to the following address, accon~-
                                  pattitvl by a check or money order made out t,o the IS;uperint.ettdettt
                                  of I~ocutnt~ttts, when necessary. Orders for 100 or more copies to be
                                  tttailtxj t,o a single address are discounted 25 percent..

                                  ITS. General Accounting Office
                                  I’.(). 130x 6015
                                  Gaithtvsburg,    MI) 20877

                                  Orders may also be placed by calling    (202) 275-6241.
)
1
    ..-...   .----   .- .     ._-..   .._.. ._..__......_...._ ~__.. .._._.“._   ___ .-.   _. ._ ._. _- _______.___.___
                                                                                                                     I_ ..___^_____II.___.__ _____   -

j   1’tlitrYl               Sl;ttt3

,   (~t~tl(~I~itIA(YYNlIlt ittg Offic*t~
    ~~‘itstritrgt Ott. I).( ‘. :!O.%lr)