oversight

Drug Control: DEA's Strategies and Operations in the 1990s

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-07-21.

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

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO              Report to Congressional Requesters




July 1999
                 DRUG CONTROL
                 DEA’s Strategies and
                 Operations in the
                 1990s




GAO/GGD-99-108
United States General Accounting Office                                           General Government Division
Washington, D.C. 20548



                 B-279033




                 July 21, 1999

                 The Honorable Charles E. Grassley
                 Chairman, Caucus on International
                  Narcotics Control
                 United States Senate

                 The Honorable Bill McCollum
                 Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime
                 Committee on the Judiciary
                 House of Representatives

                 As you requested, this report discusses the strategies and operations of the Drug
                 Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the 1990s. Specifically, the report discusses (1) what
                 major enforcement strategies, programs, initiatives, and approaches DEA has implemented in
                 the 1990s to carry out its mission, including its efforts to (a) target and investigate national
                 and international drug traffickers and (b) help state and local law enforcement agencies
                 combat drug offenders and drug-related violence in their communities; (2) whether DEA’s
                 goals and objectives, programs and initiatives, and performance measures are consistent
                 with the National Drug Control Strategy; and (3) how DEA determined its fiscal year 1998
                 staffing needs and allocated the additional staff. It includes a recommendation to the
                 Attorney General regarding the development of measurable DEA performance targets for
                 disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations.

                 We are sending copies of this report to the Honorable Janet F. Reno, Attorney General; the
                 Honorable Donnie R. Marshall, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement
                 Administration; the Honorable Barry R. McCaffrey, Director of the Office of National Drug
                 Control Policy; the Honorable Jacob J. Lew, Director of the Office of Management and
                 Budget; and the Honorable Madeleine K. Albright, Secretary of State. Copies will be made
                 available to others on request.




                 Page 1                                                   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
B-279033

If you have any questions, please call me or Dan Harris at (202) 512-8777. Key contributors to
the report are acknowledged in appendix III.




Norman J. Rabkin
Director, Administration of
 Justice Issues




Page 2                                                  GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Page 3   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Executive Summary


                     During the 1990s, the demand for and supply of illegal drugs have persisted
Purpose              at very high levels and continued to adversely affect American society. The
                     Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in its 1999 National Drug
                     Control Strategy, notes that illegal drugs cost our society about $110
                     billion annually. The costs of drug abuse include lost jobs and productivity,
                     health problems, and economic hardships to families. In addition, many
                     violent crimes are drug related, according to ONDCP.

                     Funding for federal drug control efforts has increased, in constant 1999
                     dollars, by about 49 percent in the 1990s to the fiscal year 1999 level of
                     about $18 billion. Funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration
                     (DEA) almost doubled, in constant 1999 dollars, from about $806 million in
                     fiscal year 1990 to about $1.5 billion in fiscal year 1999; the number of DEA
                     staff increased from about 6,000 in fiscal year 1990 to about 8,400 in fiscal
                     year 1998.

                     In view of the increased funding for federal drug control efforts and the
                     nation’s persistent drug problem, the Chairmen of the House Judiciary
                     Subcommittee on Crime and the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics
                     Control requested that GAO determine, among other things,

                   • what major enforcement strategies, programs, initiatives, and approaches
                     DEA has implemented in the 1990s to carry out its mission; and
                   • whether DEA’s strategic goals and objectives, programs and initiatives,
                     and performance measures are consistent with the National Drug Control
                     Strategy.

                     During the1990s, DEA has enhanced or changed important aspects of its
Results in Brief     operations, i.e., its strategies, programs, initiatives, and approaches.

                   • DEA expanded its domestic enforcement operations to work more with
                     state and local law enforcement agencies and help combat drug-related
                     violent crime in local communities.
                   • DEA implemented an investigative approach, domestically and
                     internationally, focusing on intercepting the communications of major
                     drug trafficking organizations to target the leaders and dismantle their
                     operations.
                   • DEA started participating in two interagency programs to target and
                     investigate major drug trafficking organizations in Latin America and Asia.
                   • DEA changed its foreign operations by screening and training special
                     foreign police units to combat drug trafficking in certain key foreign
                     countries.




                     Page 4                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Executive Summary




                             DEA has significant responsibilities for the drug supply reduction portion
                             of ONDCP’s National Drug Control Strategy. DEA’s strategic goals and
                             objectives, and its enhanced programs and initiatives, in the 1990s have
                             been consistent with the National Drug Control Strategy. However, DEA
                             has not developed measurable performance targets for its programs and
                             initiatives that are consistent with those adopted for the National Strategy.
                             As a result, it is difficult for DEA, the Department of Justice (DOJ),
                             Congress, and the public to assess how effective DEA has been in
                             achieving its strategic goals and the effect its programs and initiatives in
                             the 1990s have had on reducing the illegal drug supply. GAO is making a
                             recommendation to help improve this situation.

                             DEA’s overall mission is to enforce the nation’s drug laws and regulations
Background                   and to bring drug traffickers to justice. DEA is the lead agency responsible
                             for enforcing the federal drug control laws and for coordinating and
                             pursuing U.S. drug investigations in foreign countries. DEA’s primary
                             responsibilities include (1) investigating major drug traffickers operating
                             at interstate and international levels and criminals and drug gangs who
                             perpetrate violence in local communities; (2) managing a national drug
                             intelligence system; (3) seizing and forfeiting traffickers’ assets; (4)
                             coordinating and cooperating with federal, state, and local law
                             enforcement agencies on mutual drug enforcement efforts; and (5)
                             working on drug law enforcement programs with its counterparts in
                             foreign countries.

                             To carry out its responsibilities, in December 1998, along with its
                             headquarters offices, DEA had 21 field divisions throughout the United
                             States and its territories, each with numerous suboffices, and 79 offices in
                             56 foreign countries. At the end of fiscal year 1998, DEA had about 8,400
                             persons on board, including about 4,300 special agents.


Principal Findings

DEA’s Enforcement            Since it was established in 1973, DEA’s top priority has been to disrupt and
                             dismantle major drug trafficking organizations. During the 1990s, DEA
Operations Reach From the    broadened the focus of its enforcement operations. DEA now focuses on
International Level to the   what it calls the “seamless continuum” of drug trafficking, with programs
Local Level                  and initiatives directed at major regional, national, and international
                             trafficking organizations; violent, street-level drug gangs and other local
                             community problems; and domestically cultivated and manufactured
                             illegal drugs.



                             Page 5                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                Executive Summary




                                During the 1990s, DEA increased its emphasis on intercepting
                                communications between top-level drug traffickers and their subordinates
                                to identify and target the leaders and dismantle their operations. DEA also
                                started working with other federal agencies on two programs to target and
                                investigate major drug trafficking organizations in Latin America and Asia.
                                In 1996, to improve its effectiveness in several key foreign countries, DEA
                                began to screen and train special foreign police units. The intent of this
                                effort is to improve the capabilities of foreign police and to build
                                trustworthy and reliable foreign antidrug units with which DEA can work.

                                At the same time, DEA attempted to improve its effectiveness in the 1990s
                                by giving domestic drug trafficking a higher priority than in the past,
                                including focusing resources on regional and “local impact” drug
                                problems. In this regard, during the 1990s, DEA devoted more resources to
                                its State and Local Task Force Program. Also, in 1995, DEA established the
                                Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) Program to assist local police with
                                violent drug gangs and other local drug problems.

DEA Has Not Yet                 The principal objectives in the National Drug Control Strategy relating to
                                DEA are:
Developed Performance
Targets Consistent With the • combat drug-related violence, disrupt criminal organizations, and arrest
National Strategy             the leaders of illegal drug syndicates and
                            • disrupt and dismantle major international drug trafficking organizations
                              and arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate their leaders.

                                DEA’s strategic goals and objectives and its enhanced programs and
                                initiatives in the 1990s have been consistent with the National Strategy.
                                Both the National Strategy and DEA hope to reduce the illegal drug supply
                                and drug-related violence by disrupting and dismantling domestic and
                                international drug trafficking organizations.

                                For domestic drug trafficking organizations, the National Strategy calls for
                                increasing by 5 points the percentage of drug trafficking organizations
                                disrupted or dismantled by 2002 as measured against the percentage
                                recorded in the base year using a prioritized list of designated targets. It
                                calls for at least a 10 percentage point increase above the base year by
                                2007.

                                For international drug trafficking organizations, the National Strategy calls
                                for achieving by 2002 a 50 percent success rate in the number of
                                organizations disrupted or dismantled as measured against a designated
                                target list established in the base year. The Strategy also calls for



                                Page 6                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                      Executive Summary




                      increasing the success rate to 100 percent by 2007 as measured against the
                      base year list. According to ONDCP and DEA, neither the domestic nor
                      international designated target lists referred to above have been
                      developed.

                      Unlike the National Strategy, DEA’s performance plans for fiscal years
                      1999 and 2000 do not contain performance targets for disrupting and
                      dismantling drug trafficking organizations. DEA has no annual, mid-, or
                      long-range measurable performance targets for disrupting and dismantling
                      drug trafficking organizations. In the absence of such targets, it is difficult
                      to quantitatively assess DEA’s overall effectiveness in achieving its
                      strategic goals.

                      GAO recommends that the Attorney General direct the DEA Administrator
Recommendation        to work closely with DOJ and ONDCP to develop measurable DEA
                      performance targets for disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking
                      organizations consistent with the performance targets in the National Drug
                      Control Strategy.

                      DEA provided written comments on a draft of this report. These comments
Agency Comments and   are discussed at the end of chapters 2 and 3. DEA, along with ONDCP and
GAO’s Evaluation      the Office of Management and Budget, also provided technical changes
                      and clarifications, which have been incorporated throughout this report
                      where appropriate.

                      DEA stated that, overall, the report provides a detailed and factual
                      background of DEA strategies and special operations. Although not
                      directly agreeing with GAO’s recommendation, DEA agreed with GAO’s
                      principal finding that DEA had not included measurable performance
                      targets for disrupting or dismantling drug trafficking organizations in its
                      fiscal years 1999 and 2000 performance plans. However, DEA disagreed
                      with GAO’s draft conclusion that little can be said about DEA’s
                      effectiveness in achieving its strategic goals in the absence of measurable
                      performance targets. DEA commented that this statement and supporting
                      information in chapter 3 implied that DEA had not attempted to develop
                      such targets.

                      DEA pointed out various actions it was taking relating to GAO’s
                      recommendation. DEA said that, among other things, it has developed
                      “preliminary performance targets,” which it included in its fiscal year 2001
                      budget submission to DOJ.




                      Page 7                                 GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Executive Summary




DEA’s stated action is consistent with the intent of GAO’s
recommendation. However, because these targets are preliminary and
under review within the executive branch, they are subject to change until
February 2000 when DEA issues its annual budget submission and
performance plan, as part of DOJ’s submission, to Congress. Further, DEA
indicated that it cannot finalize its performance targets and measures until
a designated targeted list of drug trafficking organizations, as called for in
the National Strategy, is completed. Therefore, GAO is retaining its
recommendation until DEA’s preliminary performance targets are finalized
for inclusion in its annual performance plan and can be compared for
consistency with those in the National Strategy.




Page 8                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Page 9   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Contents



Executive Summary                                                                                    4


Chapter 1                                                                                           16
                         Drug Use and Supply Trends in the 1990s                                    16
Introduction             Federal Drug Control Budget in the 1990s                                   22
                         1999 National Drug Control Strategy                                        24
                         DEA’s Mission, Role, and Responsibilities                                  26
                         Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                         29


Chapter 2                                                                                           32
                         DEA Modified Its Operational Strategy in the 1990s                         32
DEA Expanded Its         DEA More Involved With State and Local Police                              34
Focus in the 1990s to    DEA Developed an Investigative Approach Focusing on                        48
                           the Communications of Major Drug Trafficking
Target Local Drug          Organizations
Dealers in Addition to   Key Changes in DEA’s Foreign Operations                                    54
                         Conclusions                                                                59
Major Drug Trafficking   Agency Comments                                                            60
Organizations
Chapter 3                                                                                           61
                         DEA’s Strategic Goals and Objectives, and Its Programs,                    61
DEA Has Not Yet            Are Consistent With the National Strategy
Developed                DEA Has Not Developed Performance Targets Consistent                       68
                           With Those in the National Strategy
Performance Targets      Conclusions                                                                78
Consistent With the      Recommendation                                                             79
                         Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                         79
National Drug Control
Strategy
Chapter 4                                                                                           81
                         Federal Budget Formulation Guidance Provides Basis for                     81
DEA's Staffing Needs       DEA Staffing Needs Determination Process
Determination and        Fiscal Year 1998 Process for Determining DEA’s Staffing                    82
                           Needs
Allocation Process for   Congress Added Staff for a New Caribbean Initiative and                    95
Fiscal Year 1998           Changed Staffing Recommended for Other DEA
                           Initiatives
                         DEA’s Fiscal Year 1998 Allocation Process Considered a                     96
                           Variety of Factors



                         Page 10                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
             Contents




             Conclusions                                                               97


Appendixes   Appendix I: Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field                       98
               Divisions and Foreign Offices
             Appendix II: Comments From the Drug Enforcement                          163
               Administration
             Appendix III: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                     167


Glossary                                                                              168
             Performance Measurement Terms                                            168


Tables       Table 2.1: Budget for and Number of DEA State and                         35
               Local Task Forces, Fiscal Years 1991 to 1999
             Table 2.2: Number of Law Enforcement Officers on DEA                      35
               State and Local Task Forces, Fiscal Years 1991
               Through 1998, as of the End of Each Fiscal Year
             Table 2.3: Number of DEA State and Local Task Force                       36
               Case Initiations, Arrests, Convictions, and Seizures,
               Fiscal Years 1991 to 1998
             Table 2.4: Geographic Scope of State and Local Task                       37
               Force Cases Initiated During Fiscal Years 1997 and
               1998
             Table 2.5: Selected MET Program Data, Fiscal Years 1995                   39
               to 1999
             Table 2.6: Selected Data on MET Deployments, Fiscal                       41
               Years 1995 Through 1998
             Table 2.7: Geographic Scope of MET Program Cases                          44
               Initiated During Fiscal Years 1995 Through 1998
             Table 2.8: Funding for DEA’s Domestic Cannabis                            46
               Eradication/Suppression Program, Fiscal Years 1990
               Through 1999
             Table 2.9: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression                      47
               Program Statistical Results, 1990 Through 1998
             Table 2.10: Number of Electronic Surveillance Orders and                  51
               Facilities Covered, Fiscal Years 1990 Through 1998
             Table 2.11: Number of Vetted Units and Officers on Board                  57
               by Country, as of September 30, 1998
             Table 3.1: National Strategy Goals and Objectives for                     63
               Which DEA Has Responsibilities
             Table 3.2: Comparison of DEA Strategic Goals With                         66
               National Strategy Goals




             Page 11                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
          Contents




          Table 3.3: Comparison of Selected DEA and National                          67
            Strategy Objectives
          Table 3.4: National Drug Control Strategy Performance                       70
            Target and Performance Measure for Disrupting and
            Dismantling Domestic Drug Trafficking Organizations
          Table 3.5: National Strategy Performance Target and                         71
            Performance Measure for Disrupting and Dismantling
            International Drug Trafficking Organizations and
            Arresting Their Leaders
          Table 3.6: National Drug Control Strategy Performance                       71
            Target and Performance Measure for Disrupting and
            Dismantling Drug Trafficking Organizations in HIDTAs
          Table 4.1: Comparison of DEA and DOJ Estimated                              91
            Additional DEA Total and Special Agent Positions for
            Fiscal Year 1998
          Table 4.2: Comparison of DOJ’s Estimates and the                            94
            President’s Request for Additional DEA Total and
            Special Agent Positions for Fiscal Year 1998
          Table 4.3: Comparison of the President’s Request and                        96
            Congress’ Appropriations Guidance for DEA Additional
            Total and Special Agent Positions for Fiscal Year 1998
          Table 4.4: Comparison of Congress’ Appropriations                           97
            Guidance and DEA’s New Staffing Allocation for
            Additional DEA Staffing and Special Agent Positions
            for Fiscal Year 1998
          Table I.1: Drug Seizures for Washington Division and                       130
            Baltimore District Office for Fiscal Years 1997 and 1998
          Table I.2: Caribbean Field Division’s Use of Wire                          159
            Intercepts
          Table I.3: Arrests Reported by the Caribbean Division, by                  161
            Case Type, for Fiscal Years 1997 and 1998


Figures   Figure 1.1: Trend in the Number of Current Drug Users,                      17
            Aged 12 and Older, Since 1990
          Figure 1.2: Trend in the Percentage of 8th, 10th, and 12th                  18
            Graders Reporting Current Drug Use Since 1991
          Figure 1.3: Composition of Total Federal Government                         23
            Funding for Federal Drug Control Activities, Fiscal
            Years 1990 Through 1999
          Figure 1.4: Budget Trends in Programs for Federal Drug                      24
            Control Activities to Reduce Drug Demand and Drug
            Supply, Fiscal Years 1990 Through 1999




          Page 12                              GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Contents




Figure 1.5: DEA’s Total Budget Authority, Fiscal Years                     27
  1990 Through 1999
Figure 1.6: DEA On-Board Staff, Fiscal Years 1990                          28
  Through 1998, as of the End of Each Fiscal Year
Figure 1.7: Composition by Position Type of Total                          29
  Number of DEA On-Board Staff, as of the End of Fiscal
  Year 1998
Figure 4.1: Flowchart of DEA’s Fiscal Year 1998 Staffing                   84
  Needs Determination Process
Figure 4.1: Continued                                                      85
Figure I.1: Los Angeles Division Map                                      100
Figure I.2: Miami Division Map                                            108
Figure I.3: New Orleans Division Map                                      118
Figure I.4: Washington, D. C. Division Map                                125
Figure I.5: Bogota, Colombia Country Office Map                           133
Figure I.6: La Paz, Bolivia Country Office Map                            141
Figure I.7: Mexico City, Mexico, Country Office Map                       148
Figure I.8: DEA Caribbean Division Map                                    156




Page 13                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Contents




Abbreviations

ASAC        Assistant Special Agent in Charge
ATF         Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
BNP         Bolivian National Police
BTF         Border Task Force
CA          country attache
CIA         Central Intelligence Agency
CNP         Colombian National Police
DAWN        Drug Abuse Warning Network
DEA         Drug Enforcement Administration
DOD         Department of Defense
DOJ         Department of Justice
FBI         Federal Bureau of Investigation
FELCN       Fuerzas Especiales Para la Lucha Contra Narco-Trafico
FMP         field management plan
HCL         hydrochloride
HIDTA       High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
IRS         Internal Revenue Service
JMD         Justice Management Division
LSD         lysergic acid diethylamide
MET         Mobile Enforcement Team
OCDETF      Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force
OMB         Office of Management and Budget
ONDCP       Office of National Drug Control Policy
OPBAT       Operation Bahamas, Turks, and Caicos Islands
PCP         phencyclidine
PME         Performance Measures of Effectiveness
RET         Regional Enforcement Team
SAC         Special Agent in Charge
SAMHSA      Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
SIU         Sensitive Investigative Unit or Special Investigative Unit
SOD         Special Operations Division
TKO         targeted kingpin organization
VCRP        Violent Crime Reduction Program


Page 14                              GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Page 15   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 1

Introduction


                      During the 1990s, the demand for and supply of illegal drugs have persisted
                      at very high levels and have continued to adversely affect American society
                      in terms of social, economic, and health costs and drug-related violent
                      crime. During the same period, funding for federal drug control efforts
                      overall and for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is
                      dedicated to controlling the supply of illegal drugs, increased significantly.

                      According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), drug
Drug Use and Supply   use and its consequences threaten Americans of every socioeconomic
Trends in the 1990s   background, geographic region, educational level, and ethnic or racial
                      identity. Drug abuse and trafficking adversely affect families, businesses,
                      and neighborhoods; impede education; and choke criminal justice, health,
                      and social service systems. A report prepared for ONDCP showed that
                      drug users in the United States spent an estimated $57 billion for illegal
                                    1
                      drugs in 1995. Other costs to society include lost jobs and productivity,
                      health problems, and economic hardships to families. ONDCP, in its 1999
                      National Drug Control Strategy, noted that illegal drugs cost our society
                      approximately $110 billion each year.

                      On the basis of the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, the
                      Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
                                                                                   2
                      estimated that in 1997 there were 13.9 million current users of illegal
                      drugs in the United States aged 12 and older, representing 6.4 percent of
                      the total population. As figure 1.1 shows, this number has fluctuated
                      somewhat but has remained fairly constant overall since 1990, as have the
                      numbers of current users of cocaine and marijuana, with 1.5 million
                      cocaine users and 11.1 million marijuana users in 1997.




                      1
                       What America’s Users Spend on Illegal Drugs, 1988-1995; prepared for the Office of National Drug
                      Control Policy by William Rhodes, Stacia Langenbahn, Ryan Kling, and Paul Scheiman; September 29,
                      1997.
                      2
                          A current user is an individual who consumed an illegal drug in the month prior to being interviewed.




                      Page 16                                              GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                         Chapter 1
                                         Introduction




Figure 1.1: Trend in the Number of
Current Drug Users, Aged 12 and Older,
Since 1990




                                         Source: Preliminary Results from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, SAMHSA,
                                         Department of Health and Human Services, 1996 and 1997.




                                         Page 17                                       GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                         Chapter 1
                                         Introduction




                                         As shown in figure 1.2, current drug use among youth rose significantly
                                         from 1992 to 1996. The trend then improved, with drug use declining for
                                         8th and 10th graders in 1997 and 1998.

Figure 1.2: Trend in the Percentage of
8th, 10th, and 12th Graders Reporting
Current Drug Use Since 1991




                                         Source: Monitoring the Future Study, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan (Dec.
                                         1998).


                                         Abuse of illegal drugs has serious consequences. For example, SAMHSA’s
                                         Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported 9,310 drug-related deaths
                                         in 1996, an increase of 65 percent from the 5,628 deaths reported in 1990.
                                         The number of drug-related hospital emergency room visits reported to
                                         DAWN rose 42 percent from 1990 to 1997. There were 371,208 emergency
                                         room episodes in 1990 and 527,058 episodes in 1997.

                                         According to DEA and ONDCP, illegal drugs, including cocaine, heroin,
                                         marijuana, and methamphetamine, have inflicted serious damage and
                                         continued to threaten our nation during the 1990s. National and



                                         Page 18                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
            Chapter 1
            Introduction




            international drug trafficking organizations continued to bring these drugs
            into the United States, and certain illegal drugs are clandestinely produced
            in this country. Drug trafficking gangs and individuals dealing in drugs, as
            well as drug users, have caused violence in local communities.

Cocaine     DEA considers cocaine to be the primary drug threat to the U.S.
            population. Cocaine use has remained at a relatively constant high level
            during the 1990s, as indicated by the National Household Survey on Drug
            Abuse. The National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee
            reported that the use of “crack,” a potent and highly addictive form of
            cocaine that first became widely available in the 1980s, also remained at a
            high level in the 1990s. ONDCP reported in the summer of 1998 that crack
            was failing to attract new users, although established users persisted in
            using it.

            Regarding cocaine trafficking trends, DEA intelligence information shows
            that Colombian trafficking organizations, although more fragmented than
            in the past, continue to control the worldwide supply of cocaine. However,
            Mexican organizations have played an increasing role in the U.S. cocaine
            trade in the 1990s. The Southwest Border is now the primary entry point
            for cocaine smuggled into the United States.

Heroin      Heroin is readily available in major cities in the United States, and its use is
            on the rise in many areas around the country, according to DEA. ONDCP
            has noted that the increasing availability of high-purity heroin has made
            snorting and smoking more common modes of ingestion than injection,
            thereby lowering inhibitions to heroin use.

            DEA intelligence information indicates that the heroin available in the
            United States comes from Southeast Asia (principally Burma); Southwest
            Asia/Middle East (Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Turkey); Mexico;
            and South America (Colombia). Although Southeast Asian heroin
            dominated the U.S. market in the 1980s and into the 1990s, Colombian
            heroin emerged as a significant problem in the mid-1990s. In 1997, 75
            percent of the heroin seized and analyzed in the United States was
            Colombian. DEA reported that independent Colombian drug traffickers
            established themselves in the U.S. heroin market by distributing high-
            quality heroin (frequently above 90-percent pure), undercutting the price
            of their competition, and using long-standing drug distribution networks.

Marijuana   According to DEA, marijuana is the most readily available and commonly
            used illegal drug in the country. Further, a resurgence of marijuana
            trafficking and use has taken place in urban centers across the United



            Page 19                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                        Chapter 1
                        Introduction




                        States. ONDCP noted that this market is driven by a high level of demand,
                        with users from virtually all age groups, demographic groups, and income
                        levels.

                        According to DEA intelligence information, most of the foreign marijuana
                        available here is smuggled into the country across the Southwest Border.
                        Mexican drug trafficking organizations are responsible for supplying most
                        of the foreign marijuana, whether grown in Mexico or shipped through
                        Mexico from other locations such as Colombia. Marijuana is also grown
                        domestically in remote outdoor locations in the United States, including on
                        public lands, and indoors. In the 1990s, major outdoor marijuana growths
                        have been found in California, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, New York,
                        Tennessee, and Washington.

Methamphetamine and     DEA uses the term “dangerous drugs” to refer to a broad category of
                        controlled substances other than cocaine, opiates such as heroin, and
Other Dangerous Drugs   cannabis products such as marijuana. The list of dangerous drugs includes
                        drugs that are illegally produced; drugs legally produced but diverted to
                        illicit use (e.g., pharmacy thefts, forged prescriptions, and illegal sales); as
                        well as legally produced drugs obtained from legitimate channels (e.g.,
                        legally and properly prescribed). Some of the dangerous drugs are
                        methamphetamine; lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD); phencyclidine (PCP);
                        diazepam (Valium); and flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), commonly called the
                        “date rape” drug.

                        DEA reports that methamphetamine use has increased in the 1990s,
                        resulting in a devastating impact on many communities across the nation.
                        A powerful stimulant, methamphetamine is the most prevalent synthetic
                        controlled substance clandestinely manufactured in the United States.
                        Historically, methamphetamine has more commonly been used in the
                        western United States, but its use has been spreading to other areas of the
                        country.

                        According to DEA, methamphetamine suppliers have traditionally been
                        motorcycle gangs and other independent groups. However, organized
                        crime groups operating in California, some with ties to major Mexico-
                        based trafficking organizations, now dominate wholesale-level
                        methamphetamine production and distribution in the United States.
                        Mexican trafficking organizations use their well-established cocaine,
                        heroin, and marijuana distribution networks to smuggle methamphetamine
                        throughout the country. Although large-scale production of
                        methamphetamine is centered in California, it is increasingly being
                        produced in Mexico and smuggled into the United States.



                        Page 20                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Chapter 1
                             Introduction




Drug Trafficking             Trafficking organizations have continued to supply domestic drug
                             consumers despite short-term achievements by both federal and foreign
Organizations                law enforcement agencies in apprehending individuals and disrupting the
                             flow of illegal drugs. When confronted with threats to their operations,
                             drug trafficking organizations have become adept at quickly changing their
                                                                                           3
                             modes of operation. For example, as we previously reported, when law
                             enforcement agencies have successfully carried out efforts to intercept
                             drugs being smuggled by aircraft, traffickers have increased their use of
                             maritime and overland transportation routes.

                             In another example, DEA reported that a 1989 drug enforcement
                             operation, which involved the seizure of nearly 40 metric tons of cocaine,
                             led to a new arrangement between Mexican transportation organizations
                             and Colombian cocaine organizations. To reduce the complex logistics and
                             vulnerabilities associated with large cash transactions, Mexican
                             organizations started receiving part of the cocaine shipments they
                             smuggled for the Colombians in exchange for their transportation services.
                             By the mid-1990s, Mexican organizations were receiving up to one-half of a
                             cocaine shipment as payment. This arrangement radically changed the role
                             and sphere of influence of the Mexican organizations in the U.S. cocaine
                             trade. By relinquishing part of each cocaine shipment, the Colombian
                             organizations ceded a share of the U.S. cocaine market to the Mexican
                             traffickers.

Drug-Related Violent Crime   In addition, although overall violent crime has steadily declined during the
                             1990s, many of the violent crimes committed are drug-related, according to
                             ONDCP. There are no overall quantitative data on drug-related violent
                             crime and the relationship between drug abuse or trafficking and violent
                             crime, but ONDCP has identified several qualitative indicators linking drug
                                                                                              4
                             abuse or trafficking and other crimes, including violent crimes. According
                             to ONDCP, many crimes (e.g., murder, assault, and robbery) are
                             committed under the influence of drugs or may be motivated by a need for
                             money to buy drugs. In addition, drug trafficking and violence often go
                             hand in hand. Competition and disputes among drug dealers can cause
                             violence, as can the location of drug markets in disadvantaged areas where
                             legal and social controls against violence tend to be ineffective. In this
                             regard, DEA reported in 1996 that violent drug gangs, which were once
                             largely confined to major cities, had migrated to and/or emerged in rural
                             areas and small cities throughout the country. One example cited was
                             3
                              Drug Control: Observations on U.S. Counternarcotics Activities (GAO/T-NSIAD-98-249, Sept. 16,
                             1998).
                             4
                                 See ONDCP’s Fact Sheet: Drug-Related Crime (Apr. 1997, NCJ-163928).




                             Page 21                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                       Chapter 1
                       Introduction




                       Vidalia, GA, where a violent crack cocaine gang was linked to numerous
                       homicides and drive-by shootings.

                       Nevertheless, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that overall
                       violent crime in the United States in 1997 had fallen more than 21 percent
                       since 1993 and had reached its lowest level in at least 24 years. Similarly,
                       the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported in its 1997 Uniform
                       Crime Reports that the murder rate in 1997 had declined 28 percent since
                       1993. It also reported that the number of drug-related murders decreased
                                                             5
                       by 7 percent between 1996 and 1997.

                       According to ONDCP, from fiscal years 1990 through 1999 the federal
Federal Drug Control   government spent about $143.5 billion, in constant 1999 dollars, on four
Budget in the 1990s    functional areas that can be divided between two categories—(1) those
                       that are aimed at reducing the demand for illegal drugs and (2) those that
                       are aimed at reducing the availability or supply of such drugs in the United
                       States. As figure 1.3 indicates, about 33.8 percent of the total funds were
                       used for drug demand reduction. About 66.2 percent of the total funds
                       were used for the three functional areas intended to reduce the drug
                       supply, with the largest share—49.5 percent—dedicated to domestic law
                       enforcement programs, 3.8 percent to international programs, and 12.9
                       percent to interdiction programs.




                       5
                        Although the Uniform Crime Reports contain data on drug-related murder, they do not contain such
                       data for other types of violent crime, such as assault, robbery, or rape.




                       Page 22                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                          Chapter 1
                                          Introduction




Figure 1.3: Composition of Total
Federal Government Funding for
Federal Drug Control Activities, Fiscal
Years 1990 Through 1999




                                          Note: This figure is based on budget amounts for each fiscal year converted to constant 1999 dollars.
                                          Source: Developed by GAO from ONDCP data.


                                          As figure 1.4 indicates, total funds for federal drug control activities
                                          increased, in constant 1999 dollars, by about 49 percent—from about $12
                                          billion to almost $18 billion—between fiscal years 1990 and 1999.
                                          However, funding trends varied for the four functional areas. Although
                                          funds for the drug demand reduction functional area generally increased
                                          steadily overall by 50 percent from about $3.9 billion in 1990 to about $5.8
                                          billion in 1999, funding trends for the three drug supply reduction
                                          functional areas were mixed. Funds for domestic law enforcement
                                          programs increased steadily overall by about 66 percent from about $5.4
                                          billion in 1990 to almost $8.9 billion in 1999. Funds for interdiction
                                          programs fluctuated within the time period, increasing overall by about 9
                                          percent from about $2.2 billion in 1990 to almost $2.4 billion in 1999. Funds
                                          for international programs increased by 23 percent from 1990 to 1992, to a
                                          peak of $759.1 million; they then decreased by 60 percent to a low of




                                          Page 23                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                         Chapter 1
                                         Introduction




                                         $303.5 million in 1996; they rose by 163 percent to about $796.9 million in
                                         1999.

Figure 1.4: Budget Trends in Programs for Federal Drug Control Activities to Reduce Drug Demand and Drug Supply, Fiscal
Years 1990 Through 1999




                                         Note 1: The budget amounts for fiscal years 1990 through 1998 are actual, and the fiscal year 1999
                                         budget amount is as enacted.
                                         Note 2: The budget amounts for each fiscal year are in constant 1999 dollars.
                                         Source: Developed by GAO from ONDCP data.


                                         The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-690), as amended, established
1999 National Drug                       ONDCP to set federal priorities for drug control, implement a National
Control Strategy                         Drug Control Strategy, and certify federal drug control budgets. The act
                                         specifies that the National Strategy must be comprehensive and research
                                         based; contain long-range goals and measurable objectives; and seek to
                                         reduce drug use (demand), availability (supply), and related consequences.




                                         Page 24                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 1
  Introduction




  ONDCP has produced annual strategic plans since 1989. These strategies
  recognized that no single approach could solve the nation’s drug problem;
  rather, drug prevention, education, and treatment must be complemented
  by drug supply reduction actions abroad, on our borders, and within the
  United States. Each strategy also shared a commitment to maintain and
  enforce antidrug laws.

  In 1998, ONDCP’s National Drug Control Strategy established performance
  targets to reduce illegal drug use and availability in the United States by 25
                                                     6
  percent by the year 2002 and 50 percent by 2007. The strategy focuses on
  reducing the demand for drugs through treatment and prevention and
  attacking the supply of drugs through domestic law enforcement,
  interdiction efforts, and international cooperation. ONDCP’s 1999 National
  Strategy includes the performance targets and 5 goals along with 31
  supporting objectives intended to serve as the basis for a coherent, long-
  term national effort.

• Goal 1: Educate and enable America’s youth to reject illegal drugs as well
  as tobacco and alcohol.
• Goal 2: Increase the safety of America’s citizens by substantially reducing
  drug-related crime and violence.
• Goal 3: Reduce the health and social costs to the public of illegal drug use.
• Goal 4: Shield America’s air, land, and sea frontiers from the drug threat.
• Goal 5: Break foreign and domestic sources of supply.

  As discussed in detail in chapter 3, strategic goals 2, 4, and 5 address drug
  supply reduction and involve drug law enforcement activities, including
  those for which DEA is responsible. Goal 2 seeks, among other things, to
  reduce the rate of drug-related crime and violence in the United States by
  15 percent by the year 2002 and achieve a 30-percent reduction by the year
  2007. Goal 4 seeks a 10-percent reduction in the rate at which illegal drugs
  successfully enter the United States by the year 2002 and a 20-percent
  reduction in this rate by 2007. Goal 5 seeks a 15-percent reduction in the
  flow of illegal drugs from source countries by the year 2002 and a 30-
  percent reduction by 2007. The goal also seeks a 20-percent reduction in
  domestic marijuana cultivation and methamphetamine production by 2002
  and a 50-percent reduction by 2007.




  6
   The National Drug Control Strategy established 1996 as the base year for determining percentage
  reductions in drug use and availability.




  Page 25                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                         Chapter 1
                         Introduction




                         The mission of DEA, which is a component of DOJ, is to (1) enforce the
DEA’s Mission, Role,     drug laws and regulations of the United States and bring drug traffickers
                                                                                                   7


and Responsibilities     to justice and (2) recommend and support nonenforcement programs
                         aimed at reducing the availability of illegal drugs in domestic and
                         international markets. DEA is the lead agency responsible for federal drug
                         law enforcement and for coordinating and pursuing drug investigations in
                         foreign countries.

                         According to DEA, its primary responsibilities for drug law enforcement
                         include the following:

                       • investigating major drug traffickers operating at interstate and
                         international levels and criminals and drug gangs who perpetrate violence
                         in local communities;
                       • coordinating and cooperating with federal, state, and local law
                         enforcement agencies on mutual drug enforcement efforts, including
                         interstate and international investigations;
                       • managing a national drug intelligence system in cooperation with other
                         federal, state, local, and foreign agencies to collect, analyze, and
                         disseminate strategic and operational drug intelligence information;
                       • seizing and forfeiting drug traffickers’ assets;
                       • coordinating and cooperating with federal, state, and local law
                         enforcement agencies and foreign governments on programs designed to
                         reduce the availability of illegal drugs on the U.S. market through
                         nonenforcement methods, such as crop eradication, crop substitution, and
                         the training of foreign officials; and
                       • operating, under the policy guidance of the Secretary of State and U.S.
                         Ambassadors, all programs associated with drug law enforcement
                         counterparts in foreign countries.

                         To carry out its mission and responsibilities, DEA, along with its
                         headquarters office, had 21 domestic field divisions throughout the United
                         States and its territories, including Puerto Rico, as of December 1998.
                         Subordinate to these divisions, each of which was headed by a Special
                         Agent in Charge (SAC), were a total of 30 district offices, 115 resident
                         offices, and 46 posts of duty in the United States, with at least 1 office in
                         every state. Overseas, DEA had 79 offices in 56 foreign countries. This
                         included 56 country offices, each headed by a country attaché (CA), and 23
                         resident offices reporting to the country offices. (App. I contains profiles

                         7
                          Drug traffickers include those organizations and principal members involved in the growth,
                         manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the
                         United States.




                         Page 26                                              GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                       Chapter 1
                                       Introduction




                                       of the five field divisions and three country offices included in our review.)
                                       In addition, DEA manages a multiagency intelligence center in El Paso, TX;
                                       conducts training at Quantico, VA; and maintains seven drug analytical
                                       laboratories in various regions of the country and a special drug testing
                                       facility in McLean, VA.

                                       As shown in figure 1.5, DEA’s budget almost doubled, in constant 1999
                                       dollars, from fiscal year 1990 to fiscal year 1999 and totaled about $11.3
                                       billion during that period.

Figure 1.5: DEA’s Total Budget
Authority, Fiscal Years 1990 Through
1999




                                       Note 1: The budget amounts for fiscal years 1990 through 1998 are actual, and the fiscal year 1999
                                       budget amount is as enacted.
                                       Note 2: The budget amounts for each fiscal year are in constant 1999 dollars.
                                       Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                       Commensurate with its increased funding, as shown in figure 1.6, the size
                                       of DEA’s staff also increased during the 1990s by 40 percent—from 5,995
                                       employees in 1990 to 8,387 employees in 1998.




                                       Page 27                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                         Chapter 1
                                         Introduction




Figure 1.6: DEA On-Board Staff, Fiscal
Years 1990 Through 1998, as of the End
of Each Fiscal Year




                                         Note: According to DEA, on-board positions are the number of persons employed by DEA at specified
                                         time periods as opposed to the number actually authorized.
                                         Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                         During this period, the number of intelligence specialists increased by
                                                                                                                8
                                         about 116 percent, special agents by 40 percent, and other positions by 32
                                         percent. As shown in figure 1.7, of the total on-board positions in fiscal
                                         year 1998, special agents made up about 51.4 percent, other positions
                                         about 41.8 percent, and intelligence specialists about 6.9 percent.




                                         8
                                          These include diversion investigators and various professional, administrative, technical, and clerical
                                         positions.




                                         Page 28                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                           Chapter 1
                                           Introduction




Figure 1.7: Composition by Position
Type of Total Number of DEA On-Board
Staff, as of the End of Fiscal Year 1998




                                           Note: Percentages do not add to 100 percent due to rounding.
                                           Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.




                                           The Chairmen of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and the
Objectives, Scope, and                     Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control requested that we
Methodology                                determine (1) what major enforcement strategies, programs, initiatives,
                                           and approaches DEA has implemented in the 1990s to carry out its
                                           mission, including its efforts to (a) target and investigate national and
                                           international drug traffickers and (b) help state and local law enforcement
                                           agencies combat drug offenders and drug-related violence in their
                                           communities; (2) whether DEA’s strategic goals and objectives, programs
                                           and initiatives, and performance measures are consistent with the National
                                           Drug Control Strategy; and (3) how DEA determined its fiscal year 1998
                                           staffing needs and allocated the additional staff.

                                           We did our review at DEA headquarters, as well as at DEA offices in five
                                           domestic field divisions and three foreign countries. We also obtained
                                           information from officials representing DOJ, ONDCP, the Office of
                                           Management and Budget (OMB), and the Department of State. Because the
                                           funding and other statistical data we collected from DEA and other
                                           agencies and used in this report were used primarily for background and
                                           descriptive purposes and were not directly related to our findings,
                                           conclusions, and recommendation, we did not independently validate or
                                           verify their accuracy and reliability.




                                           Page 29                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 1
Introduction




The five DEA domestic field division offices we visited are located in Los
Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; New Orleans, LA; San Juan, Puerto Rico (the
Caribbean Division); and Washington, D.C. We also visited one DEA
district office located in Baltimore, MD, which is part of DEA’s
Washington, D.C., Field Division. The three DEA foreign country offices
we visited are located in La Paz, Bolivia; Bogota, Colombia; and Mexico
City, Mexico. In Bolivia, we also visited resident offices in Santa Cruz and
Trinidad and the Chimore base camp. (See app. I.) In Mexico, we also
visited the Guadalajara Resident Office. These locations were judgmentally
selected on the basis of geographic location, differences in the drug threat
in these areas, and a variety of domestic and foreign drug enforcement
operational characteristics. We also obtained information from the U.S.
Attorneys’ Offices in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, and
Puerto Rico; from local police agencies in Baltimore; Los Angeles; South
Miami, FL; Pine Bluff, AR; and Puerto Rico; and from State Department
officials in Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico.

To determine what major enforcement strategies, programs, initiatives,
and approaches DEA has implemented to carry out its mission in the
1990s, we collected and analyzed pertinent DEA, DOJ, and ONDCP
documents. We also interviewed DEA headquarters officials, DEA officials
in the selected domestic field offices and foreign country offices, and DOJ
and ONDCP officials. We also collected ONDCP and DEA budget data for
each fiscal year from 1990 to 1999, which we adjusted to constant 1999
dollars where appropriate. In addition, we obtained and analyzed DEA
special agent work-hour statistics; case initiation data; statistical results
(e.g., arrests, convictions, and seizures) of investigations; and other
information relating to DEA’s enforcement programs. We did not evaluate
the effectiveness of the individual strategies, programs, initiatives, and
approaches discussed in chapter 2.

To determine whether DEA’s strategic goals and objectives, programs and
initiatives, and performance measures are consistent with the National
Drug Control Strategy, we analyzed and compared DEA’s annual
performance plans for fiscal years 1999 and 2000 with ONDCP’s 1998 and
1999 (1) National Drug Control Strategies, (2) National Drug Control
Budget Summaries, and (3) Performance Measures of Effectiveness
reports. We also reviewed DOJ’s (1) Strategic Plan for 1997-2002, (2)
performance plans for fiscal years 1999 and 2000, and (3) Drug Control
Strategic Plan. We interviewed DEA and ONDCP officials about their plans
and how they interrelated. We used the Government Performance and
Results Act as our basic criteria along with OMB, DOJ, and our guidance




Page 30                               GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 1
Introduction




on the act, including OMB Circular A-11 and our guides for assessing
agency annual performance plans and strategic plans.

To determine how DEA’s fiscal year 1998 staffing estimates for its
enforcement programs and initiatives were developed, we collected and
analyzed information on the process, criteria DEA used, and staffing
recommendations made during DEA’s budget formulation process. We
interviewed DEA officials in headquarters and in the selected domestic
field offices and foreign country offices, as well as DOJ, ONDCP, and OMB
officials to obtain information on how staffing needs were determined and
how the budget review process affected staffing estimates, requests, and
allocations. We reviewed documents dealing with staffing
recommendations and allocations; policies and procedures; DOJ, ONDCP,
and OMB budget reviews; and congressional appropriations.

We performed our work from December 1997 to May 1999 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. In June 1999, we
provided a draft of this report to the Attorney General and the Director of
ONDCP for comment. We also provided relevant sections of the report to
OMB and State Department officials for a review of the facts that pertain
to those agencies. We received written comments on June 23, 1999, from
the Deputy Administrator, DEA, which are discussed in chapters 2 and 3
and reprinted in appendix II. In addition, DEA provided a number of
technical changes and clarifications, which we have incorporated
throughout the report where appropriate. On June 21, 1999, ONDCP’s
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Legislative Affairs, orally informed us
that ONDCP reviewed the report from a factual standpoint because the
overall conclusions and recommendation are directed at DEA. He stated
that the report was factually correct from ONDCP’s perspective and
provided a few technical clarifications, which we incorporated where
appropriate. On June 21, 1999, OMB officials responsible for examining
DEA’s budget orally communicated a few technical comments, which we
incorporated in chapter 4. The State Department’s liaison for GAO
informed us on June 21, 1999, that the Department had no comments.




Page 31                              GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 2

DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to
Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to
Major Drug Trafficking Organizations
                            Since its creation in 1973, DEA has focused its efforts primarily on
                            investigating the highest levels of national and international illegal drug
                            trafficking. In addition, DEA has supported state and local law
                            enforcement efforts directed at the lower levels of drug trafficking. In the
                            1990s, however, DEA revised its strategy to focus its operations on what it
                            refers to as the “seamless continuum” of drug trafficking, from
                            international drug trafficking organizations residing outside the United
                            States to local gangs and individuals illegally selling drugs on city streets.
                            Consequently, during the 1990s, DEA gave a higher priority than in the past
                            and increased resources to working with and assisting state and local law
                            enforcement agencies, including starting a new program to help combat
                            drug-related violent crime in local communities.

                            Concurrently, in the 1990s, DEA made the following enhancements to its
                            already high priority enforcement operations directed at national and
                            international drug trafficking organizations.

                          • DEA established the Kingpin Strategy, which evolved into the Special
                            Operations Division (SOD), placing greater emphasis on intercepting
                            communications between top-level drug traffickers and their subordinates
                            (i.e., attacking the “command and control” communications of major drug
                            trafficking organizations) to dismantle their entire trafficking operations.
                          • DEA started participating in two interagency programs to target and
                            investigate major drug trafficking organizations in Latin America and Asia.
                          • DEA helped establish, train, and fund special foreign police units to
                            combat drug trafficking in certain key foreign countries, primarily in Latin
                            America.

                            Since its establishment, DEA has directed its resources primarily toward
DEA Modified Its            disrupting or dismantling major organizations involved in interstate and
Operational Strategy in     international drug trafficking. DEA has concentrated on investigating those
the 1990s                   traffickers functioning at the highest levels of these enterprises, often by
                            developing conspiracy cases for U.S. Attorneys to prosecute and seizing
                            the traffickers’ assets. Federal drug control policymakers considered this
                            investigative approach to be the most effective for reducing the illegal drug
                            supply in the United States.

                            Consistent with this approach, DEA’s operational strategy in the early
                            1990s was to identify and exploit trafficker vulnerabilities and to disrupt or
                            dismantle their organizations by conducting investigations leading to (1)
                            the prosecution, conviction, and incarceration of leaders and key players
                            in drug organizations and (2) the seizure and forfeiture of the assets of
                            these organizations. DEA’s enforcement operations were to focus and



                            Page 32                               GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 2
  DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
  Drug Trafficking Organizations




  apply pressure in four principal areas: source (production overseas and in
  the United States), transit (smuggling of drugs and essential chemicals),
  domestic distribution (sales of illegal drugs in the United States), and
  proceeds (money and assets derived from distribution). DEA operations
  were also to control the distribution of chemicals used to manufacture
  illegal drugs and prevent the diversion of legally produced controlled
  substances.

  In 1994, the DEA Administrator undertook a review of DEA’s policies and
  strategies to ensure that DEA was appropriately responding to the drug
  trafficking problem and related violent crime. The results of the review
  included recommendations by DEA SACs and senior managers that DEA
  refocus its investigative priorities by increasing its efforts against domestic
  drug trafficking, including violent drug organizations, street gangs, local
  impact issues, regional trafficking organizations, and domestically
  produced illegal drugs, while, at the same time, continuing to investigate
  major national and international trafficking organizations. As a result, in
  1995, the DEA Administrator established the Mobile Enforcement Team
  (MET) Program, which focuses a small percentage of DEA’s resources on
  drug-related violent crime in local communities. Then, in a 1997
  memorandum to DEA’s field offices, he indicated that over the next 5 years
  DEA was to focus its operations on the “seamless continuum” of the
  organized crime systems that direct drug trafficking, with agencywide
  programs and initiatives directed at

• major regional, national, and international cases;
• violent drug organizations, gangs, and local impact issues; and
• domestically cultivated and manufactured illegal drugs.

  According to DEA, the international aspects of drug trafficking cannot be
  separated from the domestic aspects because they are interdependent and
  intertwined. The operations of major trafficking organizations can involve
  the cultivation and production of drugs in foreign countries, transportation
  to the United States, and eventual distribution on city streets. Accordingly,
  the Administrator emphasized that DEA was to target the highest level
  drug traffickers and their organizations, as well as violent, street-level drug
  gangs operating in communities. To implement this strategy, DEA was to
  pursue a vigorous international enforcement program, while domestically
  using the MET Program and other enforcement approaches to combat the
  threat and impact of drugs in local communities. The Administrator cited
  cooperation with other agencies as a guiding principle for all aspects of
  DEA’s international operations and domestic operations, which included




  Page 33                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Chapter 2
                             DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                             Drug Trafficking Organizations




                             assisting state and local law enforcement agencies with their most serious
                             drug and drug-related violence problems.

                             Although DEA has always worked formally and informally with state and
DEA More Involved            local law enforcement agencies, it increased its involvement in, and
With State and Local         devoted more resources to, task forces and other multiagency operations
Police                       with state and local law enforcement agencies in the 1990s. Major DEA
                             programs for working with and assisting state and local police on
                             multiagency operations are the State and Local Task Force Program, MET
                             Program, and Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.

State and Local Task Force   Through its State and Local Task Force Program, which originated in 1970
                             with DEA’s predecessor agency, DEA coordinates with state and local law
Program                      enforcement agencies, shares information, participates in joint
                             investigations, and shares assets forfeited federally as a result of cases
                             made against drug dealers. In addition, state and local officers often
                             receive drug investigation training and enhanced drug enforcement
                             authority.

                             Throughout the 1990s, DEA substantially increased the number of its state
                             and local task forces and the number of special agents assigned to them.
                             DEA’s budget for state and local task forces also increased substantially
                             during this period. Table 2.1 shows DEA’s budget for its state and local
                             task forces and the number of task forces in fiscal years 1991 through
                             1999. As the table indicates, DEA spent $45.7 million, in constant 1999
                             dollars, on this program in fiscal year 1991 and budgeted $105.5 million for
                             fiscal year 1999. The total number of DEA-sponsored state and local task
                             forces increased by about 90 percent during these years.




                             Page 34                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                          Chapter 2
                                          DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                          Drug Trafficking Organizations




Table 2.1: Budget for and Number of DEA State and Local Task Forces, Fiscal Years 1991 to 1999
                                                  a                                                          b                                 c
Fiscal year                    Budget (millions)      Funded task forces          Provisional task forces                Total task forces
1991                                       $45.7                      71                                23                               94
1992                                         58.2                     73                                25                               98
1993                                         82.1                     75                                25                             100
1994                                         92.7                     83                                20                             103
1995                                       107.5                      79                                36                             115
1996                                         48.0                     92                                41                             133
1997                                       158.0                     100                                51                             151
1998                                       146.5                     122                                50                             172
1999                                       105.5                     131                                48                             179
                                          a
                                           The budget amounts for each fiscal year are in constant 1999 dollars. The budget amounts are
                                          based on actual costs for fiscal years 1991 through 1998 and the approved budget for fiscal year
                                          1999. The budget amounts for each year include DEA’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression
                                          Program, which DEA could not separate out. The budget amounts for fiscal years 1997 through 1999
                                          include approximated payroll costs.
                                          b
                                           Provisional task forces are operational in the field with assigned full-time agents but awaiting
                                          authorized funding approval from DEA Headquarters under the State and Local Task Force Program.
                                          c
                                          The numbers of task forces include DEA’s state and local task forces in ONDCP's High Intensity Drug
                                          Trafficking Area Program.
                                          Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                          Similarly, as shown in table 2.2, the number of special agents assigned to
                                          DEA-sponsored state and local task forces increased by about 84 percent
                                          between fiscal years 1991 and 1998, while the number of assigned state and
                                          local law enforcement officers increased by about 34 percent during the
                                          same time period. About 22 percent of DEA’s 4,309 special agents in fiscal
                                          year 1998 were assigned to state and local task forces, compared to about
                                          14 percent of the total 3,542 special agents at DEA in fiscal year 1991.

Table 2.2: Number of Law Enforcement
Officers on DEA State and Local Task      Fiscal year                            DEA special agents               State and local officers
Forces, Fiscal Years 1991 Through 1998,   1991                                                 511                                  1,153
as of the End of Each Fiscal Year         1992                                                 516                                  1,209
                                          1993                                                 566                                  1,226
                                          1994                                                 601                                  1,221
                                          1995                                                 616                                  1,251
                                          1996                                                 595                                  1,296
                                          1997                                                 721                                  1,435
                                          1998                                                 940                                  1,548
                                          Note: The table includes the number of DEA special agents and state and local officers assigned to
                                          DEA's state and local task forces in ONDCP's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program.
                                          Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                          The amount of time spent by DEA special agents overall on state and local
                                          task forces also increased steadily in the 1990s. DEA special agents spent



                                          Page 35                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                      Chapter 2
                                      DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                      Drug Trafficking Organizations




                                      about 19.5 percent of all domestic investigative work hours on these task
                                      forces in fiscal year 1998 compared to about 9.2 percent during fiscal year
                                           1
                                      1990.

                                      Table 2.3 shows the number of cases, arrests, convictions, asset seizures,
                                      and drug seizures that resulted from the state and local task forces in fiscal
                                      years 1991 through 1998.

Table 2.3: Number of DEA State and
Local Task Force Case Initiations,                                                              Fiscal years
Arrests, Convictions, and Seizures,   Activity                   1991      1992      1993       1994    1995       1996        1997  1998
Fiscal Years 1991 to 1998             Cases initiated           5,294     6,323     5,265      4,256 5,738         5,684      6,622 6,853
                                      Cases closed              4,992     5,383     5,993      5,167 5,130         5,172      5,668 5,854
                                      Arrests                   6,648     7,430     6,464      6,036 7,324         7,757      9,902 11,569
                                      Convictions               4,524     4,800     4,987      4,274 4,161         4,597      4,705 5,477
                                      Assets seized              $265      $149      $159       $122    $118         $85       $112    N/A
                                      (millions)a
                                      Heroin seized                 73        77        82        86        72       172        117       111
                                      (kilograms)
                                      Cocaine seized            8,683 14,102        5,433      6,031    6,269      7,460      9,687     8,695
                                      (kilograms)
                                      Marijuana seized         22,314 32,392 21,646 20,234 25,005 27,726 24,833 22,933
                                      (kilograms)
                                      Methamphetamine             214       145       205        192       254       251        444       464
                                      seized (kilograms)
                                      Note 1: Other drugs were also seized.
                                      Note 2: N/A means not available.
                                      a
                                          The amounts of assets seized each fiscal year are in constant 1999 dollars.
                                      Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                      DEA categorizes each case as local, regional, domestic, foreign, or
                                                                                                     2
                                      international, according to the geographic scope covered. As shown in
                                      table 2.4, a little over 50 percent of the task force cases initiated in fiscal
                                      years 1997 and 1998 were local and regional. They involved suspected drug
                                      violators operating in the geographic areas covered by the DEA offices
                                      conducting the investigations, and most of them were local violators. Less


                                      1
                                       The work-hour data that DEA provided us for fiscal year 1998 were not yet complete, and the
                                      percentage of DEA special agent investigative work hours spent on state and local task forces in fiscal
                                      year 1998 may have actually been greater than 19.5 percent.
                                      2
                                       A local case involves a domestic target who operates principally within a local geographic area less
                                      extensive than a regional case; a regional case involves a domestic target who is criminally active
                                      throughout the geographic region of the DEA office conducting the investigation; a domestic case is an
                                      investigation of a target who is active principally within the jurisdiction of the United States; a foreign
                                      case involves a target active principally outside the jurisdiction of the United States; and an
                                      international case involves a target whose criminal activities are both domestic and foreign.




                                      Page 36                                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                         Chapter 2
                                         DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                         Drug Trafficking Organizations




                                         than 10 percent of the task force cases targeted people suspected of drug
                                         trafficking on an international scale.

Table 2.4: Geographic Scope of State
and Local Task Force Cases Initiated                                            Fiscal year 1997             Fiscal year 1998
During Fiscal Years 1997 and 1998        Scope of case                         Number         Percent        Number        Percent
                                         Local                                   2,401            36.3          2,633         38.4
                                         Regional                                  992            15.0            979         14.3
                                         Domestic                                2,606            39.4          2,612         38.1
                                         Foreign                                    36             0.5             30          0.4
                                         International                             587             8.9            599          8.7
                                         Total                                   6,622           100.1          6,853         99.9
                                         Note: Percentages do not add to 100 percent due to rounding.
                                         Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                         The following are examples of state and local task force investigations
                                         conducted by the Los Angeles; Miami; New Orleans; and Washington, D.C.,
                                         field divisions, respectively, that DEA considered to be successful.

                                       • DEA’s task force in Santa Ana, CA, targeted a Mexican methamphetamine
                                         manufacturing and distribution organization operating throughout
                                         southern California. The investigation employed wiretaps of nine
                                         telephones, along with extensive surveillance, use of informants, and other
                                         investigative techniques. Primarily on the basis of information from the
                                         wiretaps, the task force conducted 11 raids in 4 cities resulting in the
                                         arrest of 27 Mexican nationals on state drug charges and the seizure of 26
                                         pounds of methamphetamine, 25 gallons of methamphetamine in solution
                                         form (estimated to be the equivalent of 50 to 100 pounds of
                                         methamphetamine), 100 pounds of ephidrine in powder form, an estimated
                                         164 pounds of ephidrine in solution form, other chemicals used to
                                         manufacture methamphetamine, 3 ounces of cocaine, and about $93,000 in
                                         cash. Two methamphetamine laboratories and four ephidrine extraction
                                         laboratories were seized and dismantled.
                                       • In Operation Emerald City, DEA, along with state and local law
                                         enforcement agencies and state regulatory agencies, targeted a drug
                                         trafficking organization that was selling drugs in a Riviera Beach, FL, bar
                                         in 1997. Some of the biggest known drug dealers in the greater West Palm
                                         Beach area had used the bar and its attached property for drug dealing
                                         since the 1960s; and numerous murders, stabbings, drive-by shootings, and
                                         robberies had occurred there over the years. Two leaders of one drug
                                         organization had been arrested, and another organization had taken
                                         control of the bar. DEA obtained a court order allowing surreptitious entry
                                         of the bar and installation of covert closed circuit television cameras to
                                         record drug transactions, identify traffickers, and afford undercover



                                         Page 37                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Chapter 2
                             DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                             Drug Trafficking Organizations




                             officers the ability to buy drugs while under constant camera surveillance.
                             As a result, 38 people were arrested for violations of federal and state drug
                             laws. In addition, the bar’s liquor license was revoked, and the business
                             and surrounding property were forfeited to the government.
                           • DEA’s REDRUM (“murder” spelled backward) task force group, which
                             focuses on drug and drug-related homicide cases, targeted a violent heroin
                             trafficking organization operating in New Orleans, LA. DEA conducted the
                             investigation jointly with the New Orleans Police Department Homicide
                             Division and the FBI. As a result of the investigation, which included
                             wiretaps, surveillance, and debriefings of informants, 13 individuals were
                             indicted on a variety of federal drug, firearms, and murder charges. Ten
                             defendants pled guilty prior to trial, and the head of the organization was
                             found guilty of all charges and received a life sentence. In addition, five
                             homicides in the city of New Orleans were solved, and 359 grams of heroin
                             and $60,000 in drug-related assets were seized. According to DEA, the
                             investigation had a significant local impact by reducing violent crime and
                             disrupting the flow of heroin into New Orleans.
                           • DEA’s Richmond District Office City Strike Force in Virginia learned about
                             a trafficking organization bringing Colombian heroin to the Richmond and
                             Columbus, OH, areas from New York. Through the arrest and debriefing of
                             drug couriers, the task force obtained evidence regarding the
                             organization’s distribution of more than 100 pounds of Colombian heroin
                             in the Richmond area over approximately 1 year’s time. The task force
                             arrested the 2 heads of the organization and 24 co-conspirators. Three
                             kilograms of Colombian heroin and $17,000 were seized.

Mobile Enforcement Teams     In February 1995, DEA established the MET Program to help state and
                             local law enforcement agencies combat violent crime and drug trafficking
                             in their communities, particularly crime committed by violent gangs. This
                             was consistent with the Attorney General’s Anti-Violent Crime Initiative,
                             which was initiated in 1994 to establish partnerships among federal, state,
                             and local law enforcement agencies to address major violent crime
                             problems, including gangs. The MET Program was also consistent with
                             ONDCP’s 1995 National Drug Control Strategy, which cited the program as
                             an example of how federal agencies would help state and local agencies
                             address drug trafficking and associated violence. According to DEA
                             officials, federal assistance through the MET Program was designed to
                             help overcome two challenges facing state and local agencies in drug
                             enforcement:




                             Page 38                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                          Chapter 2
                                          DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                          Drug Trafficking Organizations




                                        • State and local police agencies did not have sufficient resources to
                                          effectively enforce drug laws.
                                        • Local law enforcement personnel were known to local drug users and
                                          sellers, making undercover drug buys and penetration of local distribution
                                          rings difficult and dangerous.

                                          Unlike DEA’s traditional State and Local Task Force Program, previously
                                          discussed, in the MET Program, upon request from local officials, DEA
                                          deploys teams of special agents (referred to as METs) directly to
                                          communities affected by drug-related violence. The METs are based in
                                          DEA field divisions throughout the country. The METs are to work
                                          cooperatively with the requesting local law enforcement agency—sharing
                                          intelligence, coordinating activities, and sometimes combining staff and
                                          other resources—to target drug gangs and individuals responsible for
                                          violent crime.

                                          Since its creation in fiscal year 1995, funds for the MET Program have
                                          totaled about $173 million in constant 1999 dollars. Table 2.5 shows the
                                          MET budget, the number of active METs, and the number of agents
                                          authorized for those METs from the inception through fiscal year 1999.

Table 2.5: Selected MET Program Data,
Fiscal Years 1995 to 1999                 MET
                                                                                              Fiscal years
                                          Program
                                                                             a
                                          data                      1995               1996             1997             1998             1999
                                          METs                         19                19               23               24               24
                                          DEA special                 167               167              250              250              250
                                          agentsb
                                                                         d
                                          Budget                                     $55.1d            $19.7            $46.9             $51.1
                                          (millions) c
                                          a
                                          Fiscal year 1995 data are for a 6-month period.
                                          b
                                           The number of special agent positions were authorized as of the end of each fiscal year, except for
                                          fiscal year 1999 positions, which were as of March 1999.
                                          c
                                            The budget amounts for each fiscal year are in constant 1999 dollars. The budget amounts include
                                          actual payroll costs for fiscal year 1996 and approximated payroll costs for fiscal years 1997 through
                                          1999. Other costs are actual for fiscal years 1996 through 1998 and as approved for fiscal year 1999.
                                          d
                                          The fiscal year 1996 budget includes funds spent in fiscal year 1995.
                                          Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                          A typical MET is made up of 8 to 12 DEA special agents. Each MET
                                          operation starts with a request to the local DEA field office from a police
                                          chief, sheriff, or district attorney for assistance in dealing with drug-related
                                          violence. DEA then evaluates the scope of the problem and the capability
                                          of local law enforcement to address it. Each assessment is supposed to
                                          give particular attention to the violent crime rate in the requesting



                                          Page 39                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 2
DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
Drug Trafficking Organizations




community and the impact of the identified drug group on the violence
occurring there. Once DEA decides to deploy a MET, an action plan is to
be developed, including identification of the suspects to be targeted.
Following this initial planning, the MET is to conduct the deployment
outfitted with the necessary surveillance and technical equipment.

During a deployment, the MET is to work with the local law enforcement
officials to investigate and arrest targeted violent drug offenders.
According to DEA officials, the MET generally collects intelligence,
initiates investigations, participates in undercover operations, makes
arrests, seizes assets, and provides support to local or federal prosecutors.
Evidence developed in MET investigations may also be used to prosecute
the same individuals for related crimes, including murder, assault, or other
acts of violence. According to DEA, each MET deployment plan
establishes a time frame of between 90 and 120 days for completing the
              3
deployment.

At the time of our review, DEA had 24 METs in 20 of its 21 domestic field
divisions (with the Caribbean Division being the only exception). Table 2.6
shows the number of MET deployments and their results from the
program’s inception in fiscal year 1995 through fiscal year 1998.




3
 In discussing a draft of our report, DEA noted that a review of all 187 MET deployments completed as
of April 20, 1999, showed that the average deployment length was 167 days.




Page 40                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                         Chapter 2
                                         DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                         Drug Trafficking Organizations




Table 2.6: Selected Data on MET Deployments, Fiscal Years 1995 Through 1998
                                                                                      Fiscal years
Selected data on MET deployments                1995 (6 months)-1996                         1997                     1998                  Total
Requests                                                         112                            67                      79                    258
Deployments initiated                                             79                            46                      56                    181
Deployments completed                                             79                            45                      34                    158
Deployments active                                                 0                             1                      22                     23
Arrestsa                                                       1,973                        2,200                    2,199                  6,372
Convictionsb                                                     240                           415                   1,071                  1,726
Cocaine seized (pounds)                                           95                           747                     342                  1,184
Methamphetamine seized (pounds)                                   68                           115                     199                    382
Heroin seized (pounds)                                             3                            31                      18                     52
Marijuana Seized (pounds)                                        158                           493                     646                  1,297
Assets seized (millions)c                                       $3.6                          $2.7                    $3.8                  $10.0
                                         a
                                          In addition to DEA arrests, MET deployments from the program's inception through 1998 also led to a
                                         total of 612 arrests by other law enforcement agencies.
                                         b
                                          According to DEA, actual convictions are higher than these numbers indicate due to sentencing
                                         delays and the lack of reporting of prosecutorial dispositions in the state systems. Also, the conviction
                                         totals may increase due to the delay between arrest and final disposition.
                                         c
                                           The amounts of assets seized each fiscal year are in constant 1999 dollars. The yearly amounts,
                                         when added, do not equal the total due to rounding.
                                         Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                         The DEA offices in Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, and Washington,
                                         D.C., had completed 33 MET deployments at the time we made our visits
                                         during 1998. In conducting our work at these offices, we spoke with local
                                         police officials in selected cities—Baltimore, MD; Los Angeles, CA; Pine
                                         Bluff, AR; and South Miami, FL—who had requested MET deployments.
                                         The officials said they were pleased with the results of the MET
                                         deployments and that the accomplishments met their expectations.
                                         Following are summaries of the MET deployments in these four cities.

                                      • A MET deployment conducted for about 2-1/2 months during 1996 in the
                                        Rampart area of Los Angeles targeted six violent street gangs: 18th Street,
                                        Mara Salvatruches, Orphans, Playboys, Crazy Riders, and Diamonds. In
                                        addition to the MET, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Bureau of
                                        Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the California Department of
                                        Corrections participated. The operation resulted in 421 arrests, including
                                        144 by DEA’s MET, and seizures of 1,200 grams of heroin, 630 grams of
                                        cocaine, 104 pounds of marijuana, 28 weapons, and $70,000 in currency.
                                        According to a Los Angeles Police Department official, crime statistics
                                        (e.g., homicides and aggravated assaults) in the Rampart area fell
                                        immediately after the MET deployment was completed. However, DEA’s
                                        post-deployment assessment of violent crimes in the area, comparing the 6
                                        months after the deployment ended to the 6 months prior to the



                                         Page 41                                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 2
  DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
  Drug Trafficking Organizations




  deployment, showed that homicides increased from 42 to 47, aggravated
  assaults increased from 738 to 1,008, robberies increased from 1,091 to
  1,275, and sex crimes increased from 130 to 207. In addition, the
  assessment indicated that drug sales appeared to increase shortly after the
  deployment was completed, approaching levels observed before the
  deployment started. It further indicated that a significant number of drug
  dealers reportedly changed the location of their distribution activities
                                           4
  while remaining in the Rampart area.
• The South Miami Police Department requested DEA support in going after
  crack cocaine dealers. Initially, the police collected intelligence, purchased
  drugs, and arrested 17 street-level drug dealers. DEA’s MET then became
  involved. The MET bought crack cocaine from drug dealers who came out
  to sell the drugs after the initial arrests had been made. The MET, which
  deployed for about 3 months in 1998, made 13 arrests (7 for federal
  prosecution and 6 for state prosecution) and seized 386.7 grams of crack
  cocaine. South Miami police officials said some of those arrested had
  committed weapons violations and some violence (e.g., assaults, batteries,
  and armed robberies) in the past. According to DEA’s post-deployment
  assessment of violent crimes in the area, comparing the 6 months after the
  deployment ended to the 6 months prior to the deployment, homicides
  decreased from 1 to 0, assaults decreased from 11 to 4, aggravated
  batteries decreased from 9 to 3, and robberies decreased from 14 to 5. The
  assessment noted that illegal drug activity in the South Miami area had
  been greatly reduced. The assessment further noted that the availability of
  crack cocaine in the area had been reduced, as well as drug distribution in
  surrounding areas.
• A MET deployment conducted for 6 months during 1997 in Pine Bluff
  targeted violent organizations dealing in crack cocaine and
  methamphetamine. A total of 46 people were arrested, including 15 who
  were indicted by a federal grand jury. Four people were suspects in four
  different homicides. Six ounces of crack cocaine were seized, along with
  15 vehicles and $118,026. The Pine Bluff Police Chief told us that the MET
  deployment had successfully helped reduce both the city’s homicide rate
  and its crack cocaine problem. However, DEA’s post-deployment
  assessment of violent crimes in the area, comparing the 6 months after the
  deployment ended to the 6 months prior to the deployment, showed that
  homicides increased from 4 to 7, assaults increased from 677 to 1,098,
  rapes increased from 44 to 51, and robberies increased from 168 to 190.

  4
   In discussing a draft of our report, DEA officials said this MET deployment was not typical. It was
  conducted during a time when DEA was refining the program. The Los Angeles Rampart area
  deployment focused on a specific area, and DEA now requires each MET deployment to focus on
  targeted criminal drug organizations.




  Page 42                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 2
  DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
  Drug Trafficking Organizations




• A MET deployed in eastern Baltimore for 5 months during 1997
  successfully targeted a drug organization—the M&J Gang—in a housing
  project. This case resulted in 81 arrests, many of which were already “in
  the works” before the MET deployment, according to Baltimore police
  officials we contacted. The officials said the MET deployment also reduced
  violent crime in that area. DEA’s post-deployment assessment showed
  fewer major crimes overall in the area during the 6-month period starting
  about 1 month before the deployment ended compared to the 6 months
  prior to the deployment. Shootings decreased from 527 to 389, aggravated
  assaults decreased from 3,273 to 2,950, robberies decreased from 4,888 to
  3,889, burglaries decreased from 5,775 to 5,684, larcenies decreased from
  16,475 to 15,976, and stolen automobiles decreased from 4,851 to 3,213.
  However, murders increased from 143 to 156, and rapes increased from
  175 to 202. DEA’s assessment also reported that narcotic activity in two
  areas covered by the deployment was significantly reduced, and gang-
  related criminal activity had decreased in the sections of Baltimore
  controlled by the M&J Gang and another drug gang.

  DEA officials we met with in the four field division offices told us that
  although MET deployments typically focused on local violent drug
  offenders, they sometimes led to investigations of higher level drug
  traffickers. In response to our request for quantitative data on this, a DEA
  headquarters official responded that it is difficult for DEA to provide
  statistics on the exact number of deployments that have led to
  investigations of higher level drug traffickers through MET operations
  because this information was not systematically maintained in an
  automated database. However, DEA did provide us with some examples of
  MET deployments that led to higher level drug traffickers. For example,
  DEA reported that a MET deployed from DEA’s Phoenix office identified
  connections in Mexico to MET targets in Lake Havasu City, AZ, and family
  members in southern California. The resulting intelligence revealed that
  this Mexican-based organization was responsible for smuggling precursor
  chemicals from Mexico to clandestine laboratory sites in southern
  California, where methamphetamine was produced. Multiple-pound
  quantities of methamphetamine were transported to Lake Havasu City.
  According to DEA, the organization was also transporting large shipments
  of methamphetamine to Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and New Mexico.

  As shown in table 2.7, the MET deployments conducted in fiscal years 1995
  through 1998 resulted in mostly local and regional drug cases. Local and
  regional cases involve suspected drug violators operating in the geographic
  areas covered by the DEA offices conducting the investigations. As
  expected, given the MET program’s purpose, local cases were the single



  Page 43                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                          Chapter 2
                                          DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                          Drug Trafficking Organizations




                                          largest category, making up about 47 percent of the total during that
                                          period. About 6 percent of the MET cases involved criminals trafficking in
                                          drugs on an international scale.


Table 2.7: Geographic Scope of MET Program Cases Initiated During Fiscal Years 1995 Through 1998
                                         a
                         Fiscal year 1995   Fiscal year 1996     Fiscal year 1997    Fiscal Year 1998                  Total
Scope of case             Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent                              Number Percent
Local                          21      40.4      52        40.0       87       54.4        69      48.6               229    47.3
Regional                       18      34.6      38        29.2       32       20.0        38      26.8               126    26.0
Domestic                        8      15.4      30        23.1       36       22.5        23      16.2                97    20.0
Foreign                         0       0.0        0        0.0         0       0.0         0       0.0                 0     0.0
International                   4       7.7      10         7.7         5       3.1        12       8.5                31     6.4
Other                           1       1.9        0        0.0         0       0.0         0       0.0                 1     0.2
Total                          52     100.0     130      100.0       160      100.0       142     100.1               484    99.9
                                          Note: Percentages may not total 100 percent due to rounding.
                                          a
                                          Fiscal year 1995 data are for a 6-month period.
                                          Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                          After completing a MET deployment, DEA may carry out efforts to help a
                                          community maintain a lower level of drug trafficking and violent crime.
                                          For example, DEA offers follow-up training to those communities carrying
                                          out drug demand reduction activities. In addition, if feasible, DEA may
                                          respond to a request for the re-deployment of a MET to prevent drug-
                                          related violent crimes from resurging to the level that existed prior to the
                                          initial deployment.

                                          In a June 1998 memorandum to all SACs of domestic field offices, DEA
                                          headquarters directed that the field divisions proactively promote the MET
                                          Program to increase the number of requests for deployments. The
                                          memorandum stated that despite the MET Program’s success, much more
                                          could and should be done to stimulate interest in the program on the part
                                          of state and local law enforcement agencies. The DEA offices were
                                          instructed to collect crime statistics in specific areas within their
                                          geographic boundaries to determine the existence of drug trafficking
                                          problems related to violent crime. After making such determinations, the
                                          DEA SAC or a designated assistant was to contact the local police chief or
                                          sheriff in those areas to explain the benefits of a MET deployment in their
                                          jurisdictions and inform them of the availability of MET resources. The
                                          memorandum noted that each SAC or assistant was expected to visit local
                                          police officials each month. The memorandum further noted that each
                                          office’s proactive MET Program activities would be a significant factor in
                                          the SACs’ annual performance appraisals. According to DEA, the proactive
                                          contacts have generated numerous additional requests for MET assistance,



                                          Page 44                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                          Chapter 2
                          DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                          Drug Trafficking Organizations




                          and the majority of recent deployments have been the result of such
                          proactive contacts.

                          With regard to the results of the MET Program, DEA officials reported
                          decreases in the number of murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults in
                          local areas covered by the program based on an analysis of local crime
                          statistics gathered from the targeted geographic locations before and after
                                                                                         5
                          133 deployments that had been completed as of April 20, 1999. According
                          to DEA, its post-deployment assessments cumulatively showed a 12-
                          percent decline in murders, 14-percent decline in robberies, and 6-percent
                          decline in aggravated assaults in the 133 deployment areas during the 6
                          months after the deployments ended when compared to the 6 months prior
                          to the deployments. Further, DEA’s analysis showed that 28 of the 133
                          deployment areas had decreases in all 3 major violent crime categories
                          (i.e., murder, robbery, and aggravated assault) during the 6 months after
                          the deployments ended, while only 5 of the areas had increases in all 3
                          crime categories. (These five deployments included two of the examples
                          summarized above). In commenting on these results, DEA noted that the
                          effectiveness of MET deployments in removing a specific, targeted violent
                          drug gang, for example, cannot by itself eliminate a community’s drug
                          trafficking problems because DEA cannot continue to control the
                          deployment areas to prevent other drug dealers from filling the void that a
                          MET deployment might have created.

Domestic Cannabis         DEA started assisting state and local law enforcement agencies in their
                          efforts to control domestically grown marijuana in 1979, when it helped
Eradication/Suppression   agencies in California and Hawaii. DEA’s Domestic Cannabis
Program                   Eradication/Suppression Program was established in 1982 to more
                          formally help the states eradicate domestic marijuana while building cases
                          leading to the arrest and prosecution of growers. The program became
                          active in all 50 states in 1985.

                          To implement the program, DEA provides funds to state and local law
                          enforcement agencies. The funds are to be used by these agencies for
                          program expenses, such as aircraft rentals and fuel, vehicles, equipment,
                          supplies, and overtime payments for state and local officers working on
                          eradication operations. As table 2.8 indicates, funds provided by DEA for
                          the program increased about 177 percent, in constant 1999 dollars, from
                          fiscal year 1990 to fiscal year 1999.

                          5
                           According to DEA, 187 deployments had been completed as of April 20, 1999. However, DEA only had
                          FBI Uniform Crime Report statistical information for the 6-month period following 133 of the
                          completed deployments.




                          Page 45                                        GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                        Chapter 2
                                        DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                        Drug Trafficking Organizations




Table 2.8: Funding for DEA’s Domestic
Cannabis Eradication/Suppression        Dollars in millions
                                                                                                                                               a
Program, Fiscal Years 1990 Through      Fiscal year                                                                                Dollars
1999                                    1990                                                                                            4.7
                                        1991                                                                                          16.2
                                        1992                                                                                          11.5
                                        1993                                                                                          11.2
                                        1994                                                                                          10.9
                                        1995                                                                                          10.7
                                        1996                                                                                          10.5
                                        1997                                                                                          13.9
                                        1998                                                                                          13.7
                                        1999                                                                                          13.0
                                        a
                                         The fund amounts for each fiscal year are in constant 1999 dollars. The fund amounts do not include
                                        DEA's payroll costs.
                                        Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                        DEA encourages state and local agencies to assume the major
                                        responsibility for eradicating domestic marijuana. In coordinating the
                                        program in each state, DEA is to assist efforts to detect and eradicate
                                        marijuana plants (including coordinating the support of other agencies,
                                        arranging for needed equipment, and helping with surveillance); exchange
                                        intelligence; investigate marijuana trafficking organizations; and provide
                                        training.

                                        Table 2.9 shows the statistical results of DEA’s Domestic Cannabis
                                        Eradication/Suppression Program for 1990 through 1998.




                                        Page 46                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                            Chapter 2
                                            DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                            Drug Trafficking Organizations




 Table 2.9: Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program Statistical Results, 1990 Through 1998
                                                                                                                                             a
Output                               1990      1991       1992       1993      1994       1995      1996                        1997     1998
Cultivated outdoor plants              7.3       5.3        7.5        4.0       4.0        3.1       2.8                         3.8      2.1
eradicated (millions)
Indoor plants eradicated              N/A        0.3        0.3        0.3       0.2        0.2       0.2                         0.2      0.2
(millions)
Ditchweed plants                    118.5     133.8      264.2      387.9     504.4      370.3     419.7                        237.1    127.9
eradicatedb (millions)
Arrests                             5,729     9,364     12,639    12,397     13,115     14,274    18,733                       17,070   10,507
Weapons                             3,210     4,200      5,541      6,062     5,959      4,151     4,699                        4,713    7,351
seized
Assets seized (millions)c           $47.7            $62.4         $79.7        $58.2       $62.1       $47.3          $39.7    $40.7    $20.9
                                            Note: N/A means not available.
                                            a
                                                The 1998 data provided by DEA at the time of our work were not complete.
                                            b
                                                Ditchweed is uncultivated marijuana that grows wild.
                                            c
                                                The amounts of assets seized each year are in constant 1999 dollars.
                                            Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


DEA Works With State and                    In addition to its State and Local Task Force, MET, and Domestic Cannabis
                                            Eradication/Suppression Programs, DEA also participates in other
Local Agencies on Other                     multiagency task force operations involving state and local law
Multiagency Operations                      enforcement agencies. These include the following:

                                       • The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program
                                         is coordinated by U.S. Attorneys. This program is designed to promote
                                         coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local law
                                         enforcement agencies involved in drug enforcement in each task force
                                         region. The goal of the OCDETF Program is to identify, investigate, and
                                         prosecute members of high-level drug trafficking organizations and related
                                         enterprises. In fiscal year 1998, DEA sponsored 847, or 62 percent, and
                                         participated in 1,096, or 81 percent, of the 1,356 OCDETF investigations
                                         that were initiated. DOJ reimburses DEA for its expenditures on OCDETF
                                         investigations. For fiscal year 1998, DEA was reimbursed $94.4 million for
                                         the OCDETF Program.
                                       • The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program is
                                         administered by ONDCP. The mission of the HIDTA Program is to
                                         coordinate drug control efforts among federal, state, and local agencies in
                                         designated areas in order to reduce drug trafficking in critical regions of
                                         the United States. At the time of our work in September 1998, ONDCP had
                                         designated 20 areas as HIDTAs. According to ONDCP, a HIDTA
                                         organization typically consists of a major task force led by federal
                                         agencies, drug and money laundering task forces led by state or local
                                         agencies, a joint intelligence center and information-sharing network, and




                                            Page 47                                              GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                         Chapter 2
                         DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                         Drug Trafficking Organizations




                                                             6
                         other supporting initiatives. DEA receives funds from ONDCP based upon
                         its participation in the HIDTA Program. For fiscal year 1998, DEA received
                         $14.8 million in direct HIDTA funding.

                         Since it was established, DEA’s highest priority has been to investigate
DEA Developed an         major drug trafficking organizations, both domestic and foreign,
Investigative Approach   responsible for supplying illegal drugs consumed in the United States. Over
Focusing on the          the years, DEA has adopted various techniques for focusing its efforts on
                         such investigations. In 1992, DEA started using an investigative approach
Communications of        designed to identify and target drug kingpins and their supporting
Major Drug Trafficking   infrastructures, primarily through the use of wiretaps and other types of
Organizations            electronic surveillance within the United States and the use of intelligence
                         information. DEA called this approach the Kingpin Strategy. This
                         approach, which has led to the dismantling or disruption of major
                         trafficking organizations, was later adopted by SOD when it was
                         established in 1995. More recently, DEA has established the Regional
                         Enforcement Team (RET) initiative to address regional, national, and
                         international drug trafficking in small towns and rural areas within the
                         United States.

The Kingpin Strategy     Developed in 1992, the Kingpin Strategy targeted major Colombian cocaine
                         and Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin trafficking organizations. This
                         strategy was DEA’s top priority and its primary enforcement approach for
                         addressing the national priority of reducing the availability of illegal drugs
                         in the United States. The Kingpin Strategy primarily targeted cocaine
                         trafficking organizations operating out of Medellin and Cali, Colombia,
                         with most of its focus on one organization referred to as the Cali cartel.
                         According to DEA, the heads of the Colombian organizations tightly
                         controlled all aspects of their operations and telephoned subordinates to
                         give directions. DEA concluded that this was a weakness in the operations
                         of these organizations. DEA decided to exploit this weakness by
                         monitoring their communications and analyzing telephone numbers called
                         to identify the kingpins and their key subordinates for U.S. and/or foreign
                         investigation, arrest, and prosecution and for seizure of their domestic
                         assets.

                         The Office of Major Investigations at DEA headquarters was responsible
                         for implementing the Kingpin Strategy. Various intelligence, financial, and
                         operational functions were consolidated within this office to facilitate
                         focusing DEA’s investigative resources and capabilities on targeted

                         6
                          Drug Control: Information on High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (GAO/GGD-98-188, Sept.
                         3, 1998).




                         Page 48                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                              Chapter 2
                              DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                              Drug Trafficking Organizations




                              kingpin organizations (TKO). The office disseminated tips and leads,
                              collected from intelligence sources worldwide, to help agents in the field
                              carry out investigations and enforcement activities. The office centrally
                              directed, coordinated, oversaw, and funded investigations that were being
                              carried out in multiple U.S. cities and foreign countries in cooperation with
                              state, local, and foreign police.

Special Operations Division   DEA’s SOD and its investigative approach evolved out of the Office of
                              Major Investigations and the Kingpin Strategy. According to DEA, the
                              Kingpin Strategy was enhanced by the creation of SOD as a separate
                              division. SOD was established at DEA headquarters in August 1995 and
                                                                        7
                              given its own budget and additional staff. As with the Kingpin Strategy,
                              SOD’s approach focuses on the command and control communications of
                              major drug trafficking organizations. However, a major difference is that
                              its scope was expanded beyond Colombian cocaine and Southeast and
                              Southwest Asian heroin trafficking organizations to coordinate and
                              support investigations of major organizations trafficking in
                              methamphetamine and Colombian heroin, as well as organizations
                              trafficking illegal drugs along the Southwest Border. SOD’s primary
                              emphasis currently is Colombian and Mexican organizations responsible
                              for smuggling illegal drugs into the United States.

                              Another major difference from the Kingpin Strategy is that representatives
                              from other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and U.S. Customs
                              Service, are detailed to SOD. The FBI has had agents detailed to SOD since
                              1995, and the Deputy SAC of SOD is an FBI agent. Similarly, the Customs
                              Service has detailed agents to SOD since 1996. Most of SOD’s workload
                              supports cases being conducted by DEA field offices. However, the SOD
                              SAC told us that the workload was increasingly supporting FBI and
                              Customs Service cases. The intelligence agencies and the Department of
                              Defense (DOD) also participate by providing drug intelligence to SOD. In
                              addition, DOJ’s Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section participates by
                              providing legal advice to SOD on investigations.

                              Like the Kingpin Strategy, SOD’s investigative approach and initiatives are
                              to support domestic and foreign investigations of major drug traffickers
                              and trafficking organizations in two principal ways. First, SOD is to
                              disseminate tips and leads collected from intelligence sources worldwide
                              to help agents in the field carry out investigations and enforcement
                              activities. Second, SOD is to assist agents in building and coordinating
                              multijurisdictional drug conspiracy cases that are based primarily on the
                              7
                                  The DEA Administrator approved 40 positions, including 31 Special Agent positions, for the new SOD.




                              Page 49                                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Chapter 2
                            DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                            Drug Trafficking Organizations




                            use of wiretaps. Multijurisdictional efforts, such as Operation Reciprocity
                            (described later) with 35 wiretaps in 10 U.S. cities, can involve many
                            different individual investigations across the country. In May 1999, the
                            SOD SAC estimated that SOD was supporting and coordinating about 240
                            cases throughout the United States. He said that SOD typically had
                            approximately six to eight ongoing major operations at any one time, each
                            having multiple related cases.

                            Similar to the Kingpin Strategy, SOD does not control the cases that it
                            supports; rather, decisionmaking on cases is left to field supervisors and
                            agents. According to DEA officials, if SOD determines that field offices in
                            different parts of the country are conducting investigations related to the
                            same major drug trafficking organization, it attempts to bring the
                            responsible agents together to develop the best cases for prosecution. In
                            so doing, it is to coordinate and guide the agents’ efforts, including their
                            intelligence and electronic surveillance operations, and assist with
                            intelligence collection and analysis.

                            SOD essentially funds the same types of investigative activities as the
                            Office of Major Investigations funded under the Kingpin Strategy.
                            According to the SOD SAC, SOD provides funds to DEA field offices
                            primarily for conducting electronic surveillance in support of
                            investigations. It also funds payments for informants and drug purchases if
                            doing so is essential to an investigation. However, he said it does so only
                            when an electronic surveillance is being conducted or planned and only in
                            connection with an ongoing case with which SOD is involved. (For
                            example, in the course of an investigation, an agent may acquire a phone
                            number that is determined to be connected with a current SOD-funded
                            investigation.) SOD does not fund individual FBI and Customs drug
                            investigations, but it does support some of those investigations through its
                            various activities.

Collection, Analysis, and   SOD is responsible for the oversight of and guidance for DEA’s Title III
                            (electronic surveillance) program. In Title III of the Omnibus Crime
Dissemination of            Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Congress set forth the circumstances
Intelligence Information    under which the interception of wire and oral communications may be
Enhanced                    authorized (P.L. 90-351,18 USC 2510, et seq.). SOD is to help special agents
                            in the field focus their intercept operations on the best available targets,
                            choose the best telephone numbers for intercept, correctly conduct the
                            intercepts, make the best use of collected information, and make the most
                            efficient use of transcribers and translators. SOD also is to send teams to
                            the field to assist special agents with their wire intercept operations.




                            Page 50                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                     Chapter 2
                                     DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                     Drug Trafficking Organizations




                                     According to DEA officials and data, since the Kingpin Strategy and SOD
                                     initiatives have been in operation, DEA has greatly increased the number
                                     of wiretaps and other electronic surveillances it conducts. The number of
                                     electronic surveillance court orders requested and conducted by DEA, as
                                     shown in table 2.10, increased by 183 percent; and the number of facilities
                                     (e.g., telephone, pager, and fax machine) covered by the orders increased
                                     by 158 percent, from fiscal year 1990 to fiscal year 1998. Most noteworthy
                                     is that the number of orders increased by 30 percent between fiscal years
                                     1991 and 1992 after the Kingpin Strategy was initiated, and they increased
                                     by 65 percent between fiscal years 1995 and 1996 after SOD was
                                     established.

Table 2.10: Number of Electronic
Surveillance Orders and Facilities                                          Orders requested and
Covered, Fiscal Years 1990 Through   Fiscal year                                      conducted                   Facilities covered
1998                                 1990                                                    223                                 219
                                     1991                                                    256                                 311
                                     1992                                                    332                                 302
                                     1993                                                    320                                 320
                                     1994                                                    357                                 339
                                     1995                                                    330                                 284
                                     1996                                                    546                                 584
                                     1997                                                    592                                 544
                                     1998                                                    631                                 564
                                     Note: The number of orders requested and conducted is sometimes greater than the number of
                                     facilities covered because some DEA requests were for extensions of previous wiretap orders.
                                     Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                     DEA’s Special Intelligence Division is to support SOD’s operations by
                                     collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence and other information
                                     from a variety of sources. For example, the unit is to analyze and
                                     disseminate information from telephone records and access and
                                     disseminate information from DEA, FBI, and Customs computerized drug
                                     intelligence systems. The unit has expanded both in size and computer and
                                     other technological capability. There were 186 staff in October 1998,
                                     including DEA, FBI, Customs, DOD, and contractor personnel.

Major International Drug             According to the SOD SAC, although DEA did not systematically compile
                                     results data on all of the Kingpin and SOD operations, cases supported,
Trafficking Organizations            and leads disseminated, DEA has used both initiatives to successfully
Disrupted                            dismantle or disrupt drug trafficking organizations responsible for large
                                     amounts of illegal drugs brought into the United States. For example,
                                     according to DEA, the Kingpin Strategy contributed to dismantling the Cali
                                     cartel, which DEA considered the most powerful criminal organization
                                     that law enforcement has ever faced. Since 1995, all of the top Cali cartel



                                     Page 51                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 2
  DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
  Drug Trafficking Organizations




  leaders have been captured by or surrendered to the Colombian National
  Police (CNP), with the exception of one who was killed in a shoot-out with
  CNP at the time of his arrest. According to DEA, evidence gathered
  through years of investigations by DEA and other federal, state, and local
  law enforcement agencies and CNP led to the identification, indictment,
  arrest, conviction, and incarceration of the cartel leaders and some of their
  subordinates on drug charges in Colombia and the United States.

  According to DEA, a number of other successful operations have resulted
  from the Kingpin Strategy and SOD initiatives. These include the following:

• Operation Tiger Trap was a joint operation carried out by DEA and the
  Royal Thai Police in 1994. Tiger Trap produced U.S. indictments against
  members of the 20,000-man Shan United Army, a heroin TKO that operated
  the principal trafficking network in the Golden Triangle area of Thailand,
  Burma, and Laos for decades.
• Zorro I and Zorro II were multijurisdictional operations involving DEA, the
  FBI, Customs Service, and numerous state and local law enforcement
  agencies. Zorro I targeted Colombian drug traffickers based in Cali,
  Colombia, and their key subordinates operating in Los Angeles, New York,
  and Miami. Zorro I operated from 1992 to 1994 and included 10 DEA
  domestic field divisions. Zorro II targeted Mexican transportation groups
  used by the Colombians, as well as Colombian distribution cells located
  throughout the United States. It operated from 1995 to 1996 and included
  14 DEA field divisions. The two operations relied heavily on the use of
  wiretaps. There were 117 wiretaps conducted, generating leads that
  identified Colombian distribution cells, Mexican traffickers’ command and
  control networks, money laundering routes, cocaine cache sites, and other
  important information. According to DEA, these operations disrupted both
  Colombian and Mexican organizations. Specifically, Zorro I resulted in 209
  arrests, 6.5 tons of cocaine seized, and $13.5 million seized. Zorro II
  resulted in 182 arrests, 5.7 tons of cocaine and 1,018 pounds of marijuana
  seized, $18.3 million seized, and $2.5 million in assets seized.
• Operation Limelight was a multijurisdictional operation involving DEA,
  Customs, and numerous state and local law enforcement agencies. The
  operation targeted a Mexican drug transportation and distribution
  organization, which intelligence indicated was responsible for importing
  over 1-½ tons of cocaine monthly into the United States. The operation,
  which ran from 1996 to 1997, included the use of 37 wiretaps and other
  electronically generated intelligence, which helped identify groups in
  Houston and McAllen, TX; Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, CA;
  New York, NY; and Chicago, IL. The operation resulted in 48 arrests, 4 tons




  Page 52                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                         Chapter 2
                         DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                         Drug Trafficking Organizations




                         of cocaine seized, 10,846 pounds of marijuana seized, and $7.1 million
                         seized.
                       • Operation Reciprocity was a multijurisdictional investigation involving
                         DEA, the FBI, Customs Service, and numerous state and local agencies. In
                         this operation, DEA combined several independent, but related,
                         investigations being simultaneously conducted by federal, state, and local
                         agencies into one investigation and helped other offices start
                         investigations of other subjects by providing leads. The operation focused
                         on two independent group heads based in the Juarez, Mexico, area who
                         were responsible for importing, transporting, and distributing more than 30
                         tons of cocaine from Mexico to Chicago and New York. The operation
                         involved 35 wiretaps and other electronically generated intelligence
                         information in 10 cities. The operation, which ran from 1996 to 1997,
                         resulted in 53 arrests, 7.4 tons of cocaine seized, 2,800 pounds of marijuana
                         seized, and $11.2 million seized.

Regional Enforcement     According to DEA, information from some of the above SOD operations
                         and other intelligence sources indicates that some major drug trafficking
Teams                    organizations are adapting to drug law enforcement efforts in large U.S.
                         cities by shifting their operations to small towns and rural areas within the
                         United States. DEA investigations and other information have provided
                         evidence that these trafficking organizations have established command
                         and control centers, warehouses, and drug transshipment points in many
                         small communities. Consequently, according to DEA, these communities
                         have become major distribution centers, as well as production centers in
                         some cases, for illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine,
                         and marijuana.

                         To respond to this threat, DEA established the RET initiative in fiscal year
                         1999, for which Congress provided $13 million and authorized 56 positions.
                         The RETs are designed to be proactive, highly mobile regional
                         investigative teams whose mission is to (1) target drug organizations
                         operating or establishing themselves in small towns and rural areas where
                         there is a lack of sufficient drug law enforcement resources and (2) better
                         develop and exploit drug intelligence developed by SOD and other sources.
                         The RET initiative’s objective is to identify and dismantle these drug
                         organizations before they become entrenched in the communities.

                         The RETs are similar to METs, previously discussed, only in that they are
                         mobile teams. The RET initiative differs significantly from the MET
                         Program in that the RETs are to only target major drug violators operating
                         at the regional, national, or international level; while the METs, upon




                         Page 53                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                       Chapter 2
                       DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                       Drug Trafficking Organizations




                       request from local authorities, are to assist urban and rural communities in
                       investigating and eliminating drug-related violence.

                       DEA is implementing two RETs, which are to become operational in
                       September 1999, one in Charlotte, NC, and one in Des Moines, IA.
                       According to DEA, each RET will consist of 22 personnel, including 15
                       special agents. In addition, the RETs are to be provided with the
                       investigative equipment and vehicles needed to ensure a high degree of
                       mobility and capability to support the performance of even the most
                       complex investigations.

                       According to DEA, international drug trafficking organizations have
Key Changes in DEA’s   become the most dangerous organized crime forces in the world, and
Foreign Operations     Colombian and Mexican organizations are the most threatening to the
                       United States. DEA documents state that such international trafficking
                       organizations are often headquartered in foreign countries where there is
                       little or no potential for extradition to the United States. Because of the
                       international nature of drug trafficking, DEA had 79 offices in 56 foreign
                       countries as of December 1998. DEA opened 16 offices in 15 foreign
                       countries, and closed 4 offices in 4 countries, from fiscal years 1990
                       through 1998.

                       Each foreign DEA office is part of the U.S. Embassy’s country team. As a
                       country team member, how DEA operates in a foreign country must be
                       consistent with the embassy’s Mission Program Plan, which is a strategic
                       plan required by the State Department for U.S. government activities
                       within each country where there is a U.S. Embassy. Mission Program Plans
                       discuss the embassies’ human rights, democratic, economic, law
                       enforcement, and other goals, strategies, and objectives, including efforts
                       to combat drug trafficking. The plan for each country is to be reviewed and
                       approved by DEA and other agencies represented on the country team.

                       DEA cannot operate in foreign countries as it does in the United States
                       because of various limitations. For example, DEA said its agents cannot
                       make arrests or conduct electronic surveillances in any foreign country,
                       nor can they be present during foreign police enforcement operations
                                                               8
                       without a waiver from the Ambassador. DEA’s primary goal in the
                       countries where it operates is, through bilateral law enforcement

                       8
                        The Mansfield Amendment, Section 481(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, 22 U.S.C.
                       2291(c), regulates the involvement of U.S. government personnel in foreign drug law enforcement
                       activities.




                       Page 54                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Chapter 2
                            DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                            Drug Trafficking Organizations




                            cooperation, to disrupt and/or dismantle the leadership, command,
                            control, and infrastructure of drug trafficking organizations that threaten
                            the United States. To accomplish this goal, DEA engages in cooperative
                            investigations and exchanges intelligence with its host nation
                            counterparts. In addition, DEA provides training, advice, and assistance to
                            host nation law enforcement agencies to improve their effectiveness and
                            make them self-sufficient in investigating major drug traffickers and
                            combating the production, transportation, and distribution of illegal drugs.

Interagency International   In addition to SOD operations, DEA has been a participant in two
                            interagency investigative programs that were established during the 1990s
Investigative Programs      to address drug trafficking in certain foreign countries where major
                            trafficking organizations were based. They are the Linear and Linkage
                            Approach Programs.

Linear Approach Program     This program was established in 1991 as a U.S. interagency forum to
                            disrupt and dismantle the key organizations in Latin America responsible
                            for producing and shipping illegal drugs to the United States. The
                            program’s foundation rests on three basic tenets: focus law enforcement
                            and intelligence community resources on key targets, foster community
                            collaboration, and enhance host nation capabilities. The Washington
                            Linear Committee, which comprises 15 organizations and is cochaired by
                            DEA, was designed to help better coordinate the counterdrug efforts of
                            U.S. Embassy country teams, field-based regional intelligence centers, and
                            U.S. Military Commands.

                            The Linear Approach Program initially focused on Colombian and Mexican
                            cocaine organizations. It has since been expanded to include other Latin
                            American trafficking organizations that are primary recipients of
                            significant amounts of drugs directly from the source countries of Bolivia,
                            Colombia, and Peru. Some of these organizations may traffic in heroin
                            and/or methamphetamine, in addition to cocaine. DEA reported that, for
                            the period of 1994 through 1998, 21 main targets of the Linear Program and
                                                             9
                            22 associates had been arrested. All of the Cali cartel leaders who were
                            arrested as part of the previously discussed Kingpin Strategy were also
                            primary targets of the Linear Approach Program.

Linkage Approach Program    This program was established in 1992 and has been DEA’s principal
                            international strategy to address the heroin threat from Asia. The program
                            is cochaired by DEA. It focuses law enforcement and intelligence
                            community resources on efforts to disrupt and dismantle major Asian
                            9
                                DEA did not track the number of Linear Approach Program arrests until 1994.




                            Page 55                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                          Chapter 2
                          DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                          Drug Trafficking Organizations




                          trafficking organizations producing heroin for distribution to the United
                          States.

                          Linkage Approach Program targets are to have a significant role in one of
                          the Southeast or Southwest Asian heroin trafficking organizations and be
                          subject to extradition to, and arrest and prosecution in, the United States.
                          According to DEA, prior to this program, which was designed to make use
                          of U.S. drug conspiracy laws, major Southeast and Southwest Asian
                          traffickers exploited the lack of conspiracy laws in their own countries by
                          insulating themselves from the actual drugs. The Linkage Program uses a
                          multinational and multiagency approach to gather evidence for use in the
                          U.S. judicial system, securing indictments in federal courts, and pursuing
                          the extradition of the targeted traffickers to the United States for
                          prosecution. DEA reported that through 1998, 33 Linkage Approach
                          Program targets had been arrested, 10 defendants had been extradited to
                          the United States, and 1 defendant was incarcerated pending extradition.

Vetted Units of Foreign   In 1996, DEA initiated its Vetted Unit Program, under which foreign police
                          participate in special host country investigative and intelligence collection
Police Established        units in selected foreign countries. According to DEA officials, the foreign
                          police participants are screened and then trained by DEA with the
                          intention of enhancing their professionalism and creating an atmosphere
                          of increased trust and confidence between participating foreign police and
                          DEA agents working with the vetted units. DEA believes that these units
                          will (1) enhance the safety of DEA agents in those participating countries
                          and (2) increase the sharing of sensitive information between DEA and
                          foreign police.

                          All foreign police participating in the DEA program must be successfully
                          “vetted,” that is, pass a computerized criminal background investigation, a
                          security questionnaire and background interview, medical and
                          psychological screening, polygraph testing, and urinalysis testing. They
                          then attend a 4- to 5-week DEA investigative training course in Leesburg,
                          VA. After they are screened and trained, the vetted foreign police are to
                          receive ongoing training as well as random polygraph and urinalysis
                          testing.

                          The Vetted Unit Program initially began in Mexico in May 1996. After the
                          Government of Mexico approved the concept, 21 Mexican police were
                          screened and then trained by DEA. The vetting process was completed in
                          November 1996, and the Mexico National Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU)
                          became operational in January 1997.




                          Page 56                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                           Chapter 2
                                           DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                                           Drug Trafficking Organizations




                                           DEA then expanded the program to other countries. For fiscal year 1997,
                                           Congress appropriated $20 million to support vetted units in Bolivia,
                                           Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. In March 1997, the DEA Administrator
                                           authorized immediate implementation of vetting in Bolivia, Colombia, and
                                           Peru. He also authorized programs in Brazil and Thailand for 1998. The $20
                                           million appropriation for vetted units in fiscal year 1997 is now part of
                                           DEA’s budget base and has recurred each subsequent fiscal year.

                                           According to DEA, as of October 1998, vetted units, which were designed
                                           to engage in intelligence collection, investigations of drug traffickers, or
                                           both, were operational in Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. Program
                                           start-up costs in fiscal years 1997 and 1998 amounted to a total of $7.4
                                           million for Bolivia, $5.3 million for Colombia, $4.6 million for Mexico, and
                                                                  10
                                           $4.4 million for Peru. According to a DEA official, it took an average of
                                           about 6 months to complete the screening and training of the foreign
                                           police from the time they were identified to DEA as candidates selected by
                                           the host governments for the program, although the actual length of time
                                           varied because of factors such as limited availability of polygraphers. As
                                           shown in table 2.11, the number of vetted officers varied by country. Each
                                           vetted unit had one or two DEA agents assigned for assistance, liaison, and
                                           case support.

Table 2.11: Number of Vetted Units and
Officers on Board by Country, as of                                                               Number of                           Number of
September 30, 1998                         Country                                               vetted units                     vetted officers
                                           Bolivia                                                          4                                 172
                                           Colombia                                                         4                                 112
                                           Mexico                                                           3                                 232
                                           Peru                                                             2                                 135
                                           Total                                                          13                                  651
                                           Source: Developed by GAO from DEA data.


                                           The following summarizes the status and accomplishments of the existing
                                           vetted units under the program as of September 30, 1998, according to
                                           DEA.

                                         • Bolivia had four SIUs with vetted personnel. Three SIUs each had 25
                                           Bolivian National Police, and a fourth unit had 97 personnel. The SIUs
                                           were located in La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba. Two of the SIUs
                                           collect intelligence, conduct investigations, and arrest targeted drug
                                           traffickers, while the other two SIUs concentrate primarily on collecting
                                           10
                                              Program start-up costs for the vetted units included expenditures for such items as recruiting,
                                           vetting, training, equipment, facilities maintenance, salary supplements for foreign police, operational
                                           support, and conducting investigations.




                                           Page 57                                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 2
  DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
  Drug Trafficking Organizations




  intelligence. DEA reported that the Bolivian SIUs’ efforts through fiscal
  year 1998 resulted in 1,206 arrests and seizures of 3,201 kilograms of
  cocaine hydrochloride (HCL), 5,392 kilograms of cocaine base, and $15.8
  million in assets.
• Colombia had 4 vetted units consisting of 112 members. The Major
  Investigations Unit in Bogota had 39 personnel, including both
  investigators and prosecutors. This unit focused on drug trafficking in the
  major cities of Colombia, such as Cali, Medellin, and Barranquilla. The
  Financial Investigation Unit had 14 investigators who focused on money
  laundering in financial institutions in Colombia’s major cities. The
  Intelligence Group consisted of 39 personnel headquartered in Bogota and
  operating in the major drug producing regions. This unit collected
  intelligence to support investigations of Colombian drug trafficking
  organizations by other CNP units. The fourth vetted unit, consisting of 20
  members, monitors the diversion of precursor substances from legitimate
  manufacturers for the production of illegal drugs. DEA reported that the
  Colombian vetted units’ efforts through fiscal year 1998 resulted in 63
  arrests and seizures of 6,398 kilograms of cocaine HCL and cocaine base, 6
  kilograms of heroin, and $250,000 in U.S. currency.
• Mexico had 3 vetted units made up of 232 vetted and trained personnel.
  The Mexico National SIU, operating out of Mexico City, had 14 Mexican
  Federal Narcotics Investigators assigned to collect intelligence on Mexican
  drug traffickers. The Border Task Forces had 106 Mexican Federal
  Narcotics Investigators. The task forces operated out of regional
  headquarters in Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, and Monterrey—all along the U.S.-
  Mexico Border—and Guadalajara. The task forces had a mission similar to
  the SIU, but the task force investigators were also responsible for
  executing warrants and making arrests. The narcotics section of the
  Organized Crime Unit was made up of 112 Mexican federal attorney-
  investigators and narcotics investigators. This unit’s mission was to use
  information from court-ordered electronic intelligence collection to
  investigate high-level drug trafficking groups, as well as drug-related
  money laundering groups, throughout Mexico. The unit’s headquarters was
  in Mexico City, but the assigned personnel were often located in other
  cities. DEA did not report the number of arrests or seizures for the
  Mexican vetted units, but noted there had been arrests made in three
  major organizations, including one of the largest drug cartels in Mexico.
• Peru had 2 vetted units, with a total of 135 personnel. One unit, an
  intelligence group, consisted of 52 vetted personnel and specialized in
  collecting intelligence and targeting drug traffickers to support the second
  unit, the investigation group with 83 vetted police. Both units were
  headquartered in Lima and operated throughout the cocaine production
  regions of Peru. DEA reported that the Peruvian vetted units’ efforts



  Page 58                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
              Chapter 2
              DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
              Drug Trafficking Organizations




              through fiscal year 1998 resulted in 199 arrests and seizures of 819
              kilograms of cocaine HCL, 2,297 kilograms of cocaine base, 4,350 gallons
              of precursor chemicals, and numerous weapons and ammunition.


              In commenting on a draft of our report, DEA officials informed us that as
              of April 1999, 2 vetted units with 25 and 75 vetted personnel, respectively,
              were fully operational in Thailand; 1 vetted unit with a total of 16 vetted
              personnel was operational in Brazil; and vetted antinarcotics police were
              expected to be operational in Pakistan in early fiscal year 2000. The
              officials also noted that assessments were scheduled for Ecuador and
              Nigeria in May and June, respectively, to examine the future suitability of
              vetted units in those countries.

              DEA expanded its enforcement strategy in the 1990s to focus its
Conclusions   operations on what it refers to as the seamless continuum of drug
              trafficking. It placed emphasis on investigating gangs, drug dealers, and
              drug-related violence in local communities while continuing to target
              higher level drug traffickers involved in major national and international
              drug trafficking organizations. DEA’s programs and initiatives discussed in
              this chapter—for example, its state and local task forces, its MET
              Program, SOD’s initiatives, and its foreign operations—are consistent with
              DEA’s mission and responsibilities to enforce the nation’s drug laws and
              bring drug traffickers to justice, as described in chapter 1.

              In carrying out its strategy, DEA’s domestic enforcement efforts placed
              more emphasis on, and devoted more resources to, assisting and working
              with local law enforcement agencies than in the past. Consequently, funds
              and staff devoted to DEA’s State and Local Task Force Program increased
              in the 1990s. Also, although not in substantial numbers in comparison to
              DEA’s total dollar and staff resources, DEA began and continued to fund
              and dedicate agents to the MET Program during the 1990s. These programs
              targeted drug traffickers operating primarily at the local and regional
              levels. DEA provided examples of what it considered to be successful
              program operations at these levels and reported various program results,
              including federal and state arrests and convictions and seizures of drugs
              and assets.

              To improve the effectiveness of its domestic and international efforts
              directed at national and international drug trafficking organizations in the
              1990s, DEA established and invested increased resources in SOD to
              continue and enhance the investigative approach initiated under its former
              Kingpin Strategy. SOD, like the Kingpin Strategy, emphasizes targeting the



              Page 59                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                  Chapter 2
                  DEA Expanded Its Focus in the 1990s to Target Local Drug Dealers in Addition to Major
                  Drug Trafficking Organizations




                  command and control communications of major traffickers. Consequently,
                  the number of DEA electronic surveillances rose significantly in the 1990s.
                  DEA documented the results of some Kingpin and SOD operations that it
                  considered to be successful in disrupting and dismantling major national
                  and international trafficking organizations. However, DEA did not compile
                  results data on all Kingpin and SOD operations, cases they supported, or
                  leads they disseminated.

                  DEA also made changes to improve its foreign efforts directed at
                  international drug trafficking organizations. In this regard, it has
                  participated in two major interagency programs established in the 1990s to
                  target major organizations in Latin America and Asia. The programs have
                  led to the arrests of some high-level drug traffickers. In addition, the
                  specially trained vetted units of foreign police initiated in recent years by
                  DEA may help increase the sharing of information and the trust level
                  between DEA and foreign police participating in those units. This, in turn,
                  may help DEA and its foreign counterparts in targeting major traffickers
                  and disrupting and dismantling trafficking organizations based in the
                  participating foreign countries, as indicated by the initial results reported
                  by DEA.

                  In its written comments on a draft of this report, DEA stated that, overall,
Agency Comments   the report provides a detailed and factual background of DEA strategies
                  and special operations. DEA also provided a number of technical
                  comments and clarifications, which we incorporated in this chapter and
                  other sections of this report.




                  Page 60                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 3

DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance
Targets Consistent With the National Drug
Control Strategy
                              DEA’s strategic goals and objectives, along with its enhanced programs
                              and initiatives in the 1990s discussed in chapter 2, are consistent with the
                              strategic goals of ONDCP’s National Drug Control Strategy. Both the
                              National Strategy and DEA hope to reduce illegal drug supply and drug-
                              related crime and violence by disrupting or dismantling drug trafficking
                              organizations.

                              The National Strategy contains mid- and long-term measurable
                                                  1
                              performance targets for 2002 and 2007 that identify the extent to which
                              the National Strategy seeks to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking
                              organizations. However, DEA has not yet established comparable
                              measurable performance targets for its operations.

                              Throughout this chapter, we use footnotes to explain various planning and
                              performance measurement terms as defined by OMB, ONDCP, and DOJ.
                              We also include a glossary at the end of this report, which provides an
                              alphabetical listing of the various planning and performance measurement
                              terms used in this report and their definitions.

                              DEA’s strategic goals and objectives, and enhanced programs and
DEA’s Strategic Goals         initiatives in the 1990s for carrying out its mission are consistent with the
and Objectives, and Its       National Strategy’s strategic goals and objectives defining a 10-year
Programs, Are                 commitment to reduce drug abuse. DEA’s mission, as described in chapter
                              1, is an important element of the National Strategy and DEA, through the
Consistent With the           implementation of its programs and initiatives as discussed in chapter 2, is
National Strategy             a major participant in the National Strategy. As discussed below, we
                              reviewed the National Strategy’s strategic goals and objectives, and
                              compared them with DEA’s strategic goals and objectives and its programs
                              for consistency.

National Strategy Goals and   ONDCP has produced National Strategies annually since 1989. Since 1996,
                              the National Strategy has included five strategic goals (listed in ch. 1) and
Objectives                    related strategic objectives. These goals and objectives are the basis for a
                              long-term national antidrug effort aimed at reducing the supply of and
                              demand for illicit drugs and the consequences of drug abuse and
                              trafficking. The goals define the major directives of the strategy. The
                              objectives, which are more narrowly focused, stipulate the specific ways in
                              which goals are to be obtained. The 1998 strategy provided a 10-year plan
                              to reduce illegal drug use and availability by 50 percent by the year 2007.

                              1
                               A performance target, as defined by ONDCP for the purpose of the National Strategy, means the
                              desired end state to be achieved; it is a measurable level of performance against which actual
                              achievement can be compared.




                              Page 61                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 3
  DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
  Control Strategy




  The 1999 National Strategy also continued the goals but eliminated 1
  objective, reducing the total number of objectives to 31.

  The National Strategy is intended to guide the approximately 50 federal
  agencies with drug control responsibilities. DEA has significant
  responsibilities for helping to achieve the following three National Strategy
        2
  goals.

• Strategy goal 2: Increase the safety of American citizens by substantially
  reducing drug-related crime and violence.
• Strategy goal 4: Shield America’s air, land, and sea frontiers from the drug
  threat.
• Strategy goal 5: Break foreign and domestic drug sources of supply.

  For these 3 strategy goals, the National Strategy has 15 supporting
  objectives, at least 10 of which relate to DEA. Table 3.1 identifies the
  strategy goals and objectives for which DEA has responsibilities.




  2
   DEA has a small drug demand reduction program ($3.4 million for fiscal year 1999) that supports
  strategy goal 1: Educate and enable America’s youth to reject illegal drugs as well as the use of alcohol
  and tobacco.




  Page 62                                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                              Chapter 3
                                              DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                                              Control Strategy




Table 3.1: National Strategy Goals and Objectives for Which DEA Has Responsibilities
Strategy goals                                                Strategy objectives
Strategy goal 2—Increase the safety of American citizens by   Objective 1—Strengthen law enforcement—including federal, state,
substantially reducing drug-related crime and violence.       and local drug task forces—to combat drug-related violence, disrupt
                                                              criminal organizations, and arrest and prosecute the leaders of
                                                              illegal drug syndicates.

                                                                   Objective 2—Improve the ability of High Intensity Drug Trafficking
                                                                   Areas (HIDTA) to counter drug trafficking.

                                                                   Objective 3—Help law enforcement to disrupt money laundering
                                                                   and seize and forfeit criminal assets.

Strategy goal 4—Shield America’s air, land, and sea frontiers      Objective 1—Conduct flexible operations to detect, disrupt, deter,
from the drug threat.                                              and seize illegal drugs in transit to the United States and at its
                                                                   borders.

                                                                   Objective 2—Improve the coordination and effectiveness of U.S.
                                                                   drug law enforcement programs with particular emphasis on the
                                                                   Southwest Border, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

                                                                   Objective 3—Improve bilateral and regional cooperation with
                                                                   Mexico as well as other cocaine and heroin transit-zone countries in
                                                                   order to reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the United States.

Strategy goal 5—Break foreign and domestic drug sources of         Objective 1—Produce a net reduction in the worldwide cultivation of
supply.                                                            coca, opium, and marijuana and in the production of other illegal
                                                                   drugs, especially methamphetamine.

                                                                   Objective 2—Disrupt and dismantle major international drug
                                                                   trafficking organizations and arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate their
                                                                   leaders.

                                                                   Objective 3—Support and complement source country drug control
                                                                   efforts and strengthen source country political will and drug control
                                                                   capabilities.

                                                                   Objective 4—Develop and support bilateral, regional, and
                                                                   multilateral initiatives and mobilize international organizational
                                                                   efforts against all aspects of illegal drug production, trafficking, and
                                                                   abuse.

                                              Source: GAO analysis of ONDCP’s 1998 Performance Measures of Effectiveness (PME) document
                                              and DEA’s performance plan for fiscal year 2000.




                                              Page 63                                      GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                              Chapter 3
                              DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                              Control Strategy




                                                                                                    3
                              Recently, as part of its reauthorization legislation, ONDCP became
                              responsible for monitoring the consistency between the drug-related goals
                              and objectives of drug control agencies to ensure that their goals and
                              budgets support and are fully consistent with the National Strategy. In its
                              National Drug Control Budget Summary for 1999, ONDCP reported that
                                                                                                       4
                              DEA has various programs and initiatives that support strategy goals 1, 2,
                              4, and 5.

DEA’s Strategic Goals and     DEA’s most recent planning document is its performance plan for fiscal
                                         5
                              year 2000, which it issued in February 1999, in response to the
Objectives                                                                        6                7
                              Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (the Results Act). That
                              plan contains information on DEA’s vision, mission, strategic goals,
                                                                                8
                              strategic objectives, and performance indicators.

                              DEA listed three strategic goals and nine strategic objectives for carrying
                              out its mission:

                            • DEA strategic goal 1—disrupt/dismantle the leadership, command, control,
                              and infrastructure of drug syndicates, gangs, and traffickers of illicit drugs;
                            • DEA strategic goal 2—reduce the impact of crime and violence that is the
                              result of drug trafficking activity by providing federal investigative
                              resources to assist local communities; and
                            • DEA strategic goal 3—facilitate drug law enforcement efforts directed
                              against major drug trafficking organizations by cooperating and
                              coordinating with federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement and
                              intelligence counterparts.



                              3
                               Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998, P.L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681, 2681-
                              670 (1998).
                              4
                               DEA has a small drug demand reduction program ($3.4 million for fiscal year 1999) that supports
                              strategy goal 1: Educate and enable America’s youth to reject illegal drugs as well as the use of alcohol
                              and tobacco.
                              5
                                  Drug Enforcement Administration GPRA Annual Performance Plan FY 2000, February 1999.
                              6
                                  P.L. 103-62.
                              7
                               DOJ prepares strategic and annual performance plans to meet the requirements of the Results Act and
                              requires its component organizations, such as DEA, to prepare annual performance plans even though
                              they are not required to do so under the Act. DOJ considers its components’ performance plans to be
                              an integral part of the department’s annual summary performance plan.
                              8
                               A performance indicator, as defined by OMB for the purposes of the Results Act, means a particular
                              value or characteristic used to measure output or outcome. Performance indicators are associated with
                              performance goals in the annual performance plan.




                              Page 64                                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                Chapter 3
                                DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                                Control Strategy




                                Along with its strategic goals, DEA listed the following nine strategic
                                objectives:

                              • DEA strategic objective 1—-attack the command and control of
                                international and domestic drug trafficking organizations through the
                                arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration of their criminal leaders
                                and surrogates;
                              • DEA strategic objective 2—concentrate enforcement efforts along the
                                Southwest Border to disrupt, dismantle, and immobilize organized criminal
                                groups operating from Mexico;
                              • DEA strategic objective 3—direct enforcement efforts at the escalating
                                threat posed by heroin;
                              • DEA strategic objective 4—address the dual threats presented by
                                methamphetamine and resurgence in marijuana trafficking;
                              • DEA strategic objective 5—assist local law enforcement by deploying
                                METs into communities where drug trafficking and related violent crime
                                are rampant;
                              • DEA strategic objective 6—prevent the diversion of controlled substances
                                and control the distribution of chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs;
                              • DEA strategic objective 7—enhance intelligence programs to facilitate
                                information sharing and develop new methods to structure and define drug
                                trafficking organizations;
                              • DEA strategic objective 8—support interdiction efforts to target drug
                                transshipments destined for the United States; and
                              • DEA strategic objective 9—-seize and forfeit assets and proceeds derived
                                from drug trafficking.

                                DEA did not align each of its objectives with any particular goals.

Comparison of DEA               Because DEA is the nation’s lead drug enforcement agency, its strategic
                                goals and objectives and its programs should be consistent with the
Strategic Goals and             National Strategy. Table 3.2 shows DEA’s strategic goals compared to
Objectives, and Its             National Strategy goals for drug supply reduction.
Programs, With the National
Strategy




                                Page 65                                   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                               Chapter 3
                                               DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                                               Control Strategy




Table 3.2: Comparison of DEA Strategic Goals With National Strategy Goals
DEA strategic goals                                                  National Strategy goals for drug supply reduction
DEA strategic goal 1—In order to safeguard Americans, DEA            National Strategy goal 2—Increase the safety of American citizens
will disrupt/dismantle the leadership, command, control, and         by substantially reducing drug-related crime and violence.
infrastructure of drug syndicates, gangs, and traffickers of illicit
drugs that threaten Americans and erode the quality of life in our   National Strategy goal 4—Shield America’s air, land, and sea
communities.                                                         frontiers from the drug threat.

DEA strategic goal 2—In order to reduce the impact of crime and        National Strategy goal 5—Break foreign and domestic drug
violence that is the result of drug trafficking activity, DEA will     sources of supply.
provide federal investigative resources to assist local
communities.

DEA strategic goal 3—In order to facilitate drug law enforcement
efforts directed against major drug trafficking organizations, DEA
will cooperate and coordinate with our federal, state, local, and
foreign law enforcement and intelligence counterparts
                                               Source: GAO analysis of ONDCP’s 1999 National Drug Control Strategy and DEA’s performance plan
                                               for fiscal year 2000.


                                               DEA’s first strategic goal aimed at dismantling and disrupting drug
                                               trafficking organizations is consistent with National Strategy goal 4, which
                                               calls for shielding America’s air, land, and sea frontiers from the drug
                                               threat, as well as with goal 5, which calls for breaking foreign and
                                               domestic sources of drug supply. DEA’s goal for dismantling and
                                               disrupting trafficking organizations applies to all drug trafficking
                                               organizations regardless of where they operate—in the United States, in
                                               drug transshipment areas, at U.S. border areas, and in foreign countries.

                                               Similarly, DEA’s strategic goal 2, which calls for providing federal
                                               investigative resources to local communities for reducing drug-related
                                               crime and violence, is consistent with National Strategy goal 2, which also
                                               calls for reducing drug-related crime and violence.

                                               DEA’s strategic goal 3, which calls for DEA to cooperate and coordinate
                                               with federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement and intelligence
                                               counterparts, is consistent with National Strategy goals 2, 4, and 5. By
                                               coordinating and cooperating with other law enforcement and intelligence
                                               groups, DEA’s coordinated efforts reach out in support of the National
                                               Strategy’s three supply reduction goals.

                                               As with its goals, DEA’s strategic objectives are also consistent with the
                                               objectives of the National Strategy. For example, as can be seen in table
                                               3.3, various DEA strategic objectives for dismantling and disrupting
                                               domestic and international drug trafficking organizations, providing



                                               Page 66                                       GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                               Chapter 3
                                               DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                                               Control Strategy




                                               assistance to local communities to reduce drug-related violence, and
                                               supporting drug interdiction efforts align with National Strategy objectives.


Table 3.3: Comparison of Selected DEA and National Strategy Objectives
DEA strategic objectives                                               National Strategy objectives
Assist local law enforcement by deploying METs into communities        Strengthen law enforcement, including federal, state, and local
where drug trafficking and related violence are rampant (DEA           drug task forces, to combat drug-related violence, disrupt criminal
strategic objective 5).                                                organizations, and arrest and prosecute the leader of illegal drug
                                                                       syndicates (National Strategy objective 1 for goal 2).
Concentrate enforcement efforts along the Southwest Border to
disrupt, dismantle, and immobilize organized criminal groups           Conduct flexible operations to detect, disrupt, deter, and seize
operating from Mexico (DEA strategic objective 2).                     illegal drugs in transit to the United States and U.S. borders
                                                                       (National strategy objective 1 for goal 4).
Support interdiction efforts to target drug transshipments destined
for the United States (DEA strategic objective 8).                     Disrupt and dismantle major international drug trafficking
                                                                       organizations and arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate their leaders
Attack the command and control of international and domestic drug (National Strategy objective 2 for goal 5).
trafficking organizations through the arrest, prosecution, conviction,
and incarceration of their criminal leaders and surrogates (DEA
strategic objective 1).
                                               Source: GAO’s analysis of ONDCP’s 1999 National Drug Control Strategy and DEA’s performance
                                               plan for fiscal year 2000.


                                               In addition, as with its strategic goals and objectives, DEA’s programs and
                                               initiatives in the 1990s as discussed in chapter 2 are also consistent with
                                               the goals of the National Strategy. During the1990s, DEA has enhanced or
                                               changed important aspects of its operations, that is, its strategies,
                                               programs, initiatives, and approaches.

                                            • DEA gave a higher priority than in the past to and increased resources for
                                              working with and assisting state and local law enforcement agencies
                                              through its State and Local Task Force Program and started the MET
                                              Program to help combat drug–related violent crime in local communities.
                                            • DEA established the Kingpin Strategy, which evolved into SOD, placing
                                              greater emphasis on intercepting communications between top-level drug
                                              traffickers and their subordinates (i.e., attacking the “command and
                                              control” communications of major drug trafficking organizations) to
                                              dismantle their entire trafficking operations.
                                            • DEA started participating in two interagency programs—Linear Approach
                                              and Linkage Approach—to target and investigate major drug trafficking
                                              organizations in Latin America and Asia.
                                            • DEA helped establish, train, and fund special foreign police units to
                                              combat drug trafficking in certain key foreign counties, primarily in Latin
                                              America.




                                               Page 67                                       GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                          Chapter 3
                          DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                          Control Strategy




                          These and other drug law enforcement programs and initiatives discussed
                          in detail in chapter 2 are consistent with National Strategy goals 2, 4, and 5
                          previously discussed in this chapter and described in table 3.1. For
                          example, DEA’s MET Program, started in 1995, is consistent with National
                          Strategy goal 2, which calls for increasing the safety of American citizens
                          by substantially reducing drug-related crime and violence.

                          The 1999 National Strategy established performance targets calling for
DEA Has Not               specific increases in the percentage of drug trafficking organizations
Developed                 disrupted and dismantled. These targets are measurable and can be used
Performance Targets       to assess the collective performance of drug control agencies responsible
                          for achieving them. However, although DEA is the lead drug enforcement
Consistent With Those     agency, it has not established similar measurable performance targets for
in the National           its own operations.
Strategy
                          To measure the effectiveness and performance of the National Strategy,
                          ONDCP established 5 and 10 year performance targets and performance
                                     9
                          measures. These performance targets and measures are intended, in part,
                          to enable policymakers, program managers, and the public to determine
                          efforts that are contributing to the strategic goals and objectives of the
                          National Strategy.

National Strategy         To track and measure progress in achieving the strategic goals and
                          strategic objectives of the National Strategy, ONDCP issued its
Performance Measurement   Performance Measures of Effectiveness (PME) system in February 1998.
                                                                                                     10

System                    This system is a 10-year plan that identifies performance targets and
                          related performance measures as the means for assessing the progress of
                          the National Strategy in achieving its strategic goals and objectives. The
                          PME system contains 97 performance targets. Although originally
                          undertaken as a policy decision to bring more accountability to drug
                          policy, the PME system is now grounded in legislation. The Office of
                          National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998 requires ONDCP
                          to submit an annual report to Congress on the PME system. ONDCP issued
                                                                          11
                          its first annual status report in February 1999.


                          9
                           A performance measure, as defined by ONDCP for the purposes of the National Strategy, means data,
                          variables, and events used to track progress toward performance targets. Measures show how progress
                          toward targets will be tracked.
                          10
                           Performance Measures of Effectiveness, A System for Assessing the Performance of the National
                          Drug Control Strategy, 1998–2007, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Feb. 1998.
                          11
                            National Drug Control Strategy 1999 Performance Measures of Effectiveness: Implementation and
                          Findings, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Feb. 1999.




                          Page 68                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 3
  DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
  Control Strategy




  Beginning in 1996, interagency working groups involving federal agencies,
  including DEA, along with outside experts developed the PME
  performance targets through a consensual process. The performance
  targets were incorporated into the PME plan issued in February 1998. After
  the initial PME plan was issued, interagency working groups, including
  those involving DEA, continued developing, refining, and implementing the
  PME system during 1998. The working groups, among other things,
  focused on

• developing specific action plans identifying the responsibilities of each
  agency in working towards the PME performance targets and
• identifying annual targets that correspond to the achievement of the 5 and
  10 year performance targets.

  For each performance target, the PME system identifies a “reporting
  agency” (or “agencies” when there is shared responsibility) and
  “supporting agencies.” A reporting agency(s) is required to report to
  ONDCP on progress in achieving the performance target. However, the
  reporting agency is not necessarily the only agency responsible for
  achieving the target. Supporting agencies are to assist with data collection
  and assessment or have programs that contribute to achieving the target.

  The initial 1998 PME system document identified performance targets
  relating to disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations and
  arresting drug traffickers. These performance targets called for specific
  percentage increases in the number of domestic and international drug
  trafficking organizations disrupted or dismantled and the number of drug
  traffickers arrested by 2002 and 2007. DEA was designated as the sole
  reporting agency for performance targets aimed at decreasing the
  capabilities of domestic and international drug trafficking organizations
  and traffickers. DEA shared reporting-agency responsibilities with HIDTAs
  for the performance target aimed at drug trafficking organizations
  identified in HIDTA threat assessments.

  As a result of the PME implementation process in 1998, changes were
  made to performance targets for drug trafficking organizations and drug
  traffickers. These changes were reported in the 1999 PME report. The
  performance target for domestic drug traffickers was deleted. The target
  for international drug traffickers was combined with the target for
  international drug trafficking organizations to focus on one manageable




  Page 69                                   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                             Chapter 3
                                             DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                                             Control Strategy




                                             target. In addition, DEA was deleted as a reporting agency for the
                                             performance target aimed at drug trafficking organizations identified in
                                             HIDTA threat assessments.

                                             Tables 3.4, 3.5, and 3.6 show the performance targets and related
                                             performance measures for disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking
                                             organizations, along with the current status of achieving the targets as
                                             reported by ONDCP in its 1999 PME report.


Table 3.4: National Drug Control Strategy Performance Target and Performance Measure for Disrupting and Dismantling
Domestic Drug Trafficking Organizations
Performance target                        Performance measure                         ONDCP current status statement
Target: By 2002, using a prioritized list Measure: The percentage of targeted         Data source: To be determined.
of domestic drug law enforcement          organizations on the counterdrug
community designated targets, increase    community’s designated target list that are Relevant data: None
by 5 points the percentage of drug        disrupted, dismantled, or otherwise
organizations disrupted, dismantled, or   rendered ineffective, measured annually.    Status: ONDCP will charter an interagency
otherwise rendered ineffective as                                                     working group to develop a consolidated
measured against the percentage           Reporting agency: DEA                       Major Drug Trafficking Organization Target
recorded in the 1997 base year. By 2007,                                              List. The working group will more clearly
increase the target percentage by at      Supporting federal agencies: Department     define what constitutes a major drug
least 10 points above the base year.      of Defense (DOD), Department of State,      trafficking organization and what criteria will
                                          FBI, U.S. Customs Service, and the          be used to determine when an organization
                                          Department of the Treasury.                 has been disrupted, dismantled, or otherwise
                                                                                      rendered ineffective. Since no such list
                                                                                      currently exits, the base year will need to be
                                                                                      adjusted once the list has been developed.
                                                                                      Annual performance targets will be
                                                                                      constructed after the target list has been
                                                                                      developed.
                                             Source: ONDCP’s 1999 National Drug Control Strategy PME report.




                                             Page 70                                       GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                              Chapter 3
                                              DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                                              Control Strategy




Table 3.5: National Strategy Performance Target and Performance Measure for Disrupting and Dismantling International Drug
Trafficking Organizations and Arresting Their Leaders
Performance target                              Performance measure                          ONDCP current status statement
Target: By 2002, measuring against the          Measure: The percentage of designated        Data Source: To be determined.
prioritized list of community designated        drug trafficking organizations dismantled or
targets established in the 1998 base year,      significantly disrupted either through the   Relevant Data: None
achieve a 50 percent success rate of            incarceration of their principal leaders or
targeted organizations dismantled or            through the substantial seizure of their     Status: This target was revised by
significantly disrupted by either (1) having    assets or the incarceration of their network combining two targets—trafficking
their principal leaders arrested and            key associates, measured annually.           organizations and traffickers—identified in
incarcerated or otherwise rendered                                                           the initial 1998 PME plan. Annual
ineffective; or (2) making substantial seizures Reporting agency: DEA                        performance targets are under
of those organizations’ narcotics, money, or                                                 development.
other assets, or arrests of their key network   Supporting federal agencies: Central
associates, that significantly impair their     Intelligence Agency (CIA), DOD, FBI, and
ability to operate at normal levels for an      the U.S. Customs Service.
extended period of time. By 2007, increase
the success rate to 100 percent as measured
against the 1998 base year list. For
additional targets added to the list after the
1998 base year, achieve a similar success
rate of at least 10 percent per year as
measured against the year in which they
were added to the list.
                                              Source: ONDCP’s 1999 National Drug Control Strategy PME report.



Table 3.6: National Drug Control Strategy Performance Target and Performance Measure for Disrupting and Dismantling Drug
Trafficking Organizations in HIDTAs
Performance target                          Performance measure                        ONDCP current status statement
Target: By 2002, increase the proportion of Measure: The proportion of identified drug Data Source: HIDTA threat assessments will
drug trafficking organizations disrupted or trafficking organizations disrupted or     serve as the foundation of the list.
dismantled as identified in HIDTA threat    dismantled by or within HIDTAs.
assessments by 15 percent above the                                                    Relevant Data: The Bureau of Justice
proportion in the 1997 base year. By 2007, Reporting agency: Each HIDTA                Statistics collects data on the number of
increase the proportion disrupted or                                                   traffickers convicted and sentenced. In 1991,
dismantled to 30 percent above the base     Supporting federal agencies: DEA, DOD,     drug trafficking offenses accounted for 19
year ratio.                                 Department of State, FBI, U.S. Customs     percent of all defendants convicted.
                                            Service, and the Department of the
                                            Treasury.                                  Status: The ONDCP HIDTA Director will
                                                                                       develop a consolidated list of the number of
                                                                                       drug trafficking organizations targeted by
                                                                                       each HIDTA. This HIDTA target will be
                                                                                       prepared prior to the beginning of each year.
                                                                                       At the end of each year, ONDCP will
                                                                                       measure the proportion of those targeted
                                                                                       organizations that have been disrupted or
                                                                                       dismantled. After the base year proportion
                                                                                       has been determined for 1997, the annual
                                                                                       target will be revised to reflect the target
                                                                                       proportion for each year.




                                              Page 71                                       GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Chapter 3
                           DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                           Control Strategy




                           Source: ONDCP’s 1999 National Drug Control Strategy PME report.


                           As can be seen in the tables, the National Strategy performance targets and
                           measures are quantifiable and outcome oriented and can be readily used to
                           assess performance following collection of proposed baseline data on lists
                           of drug trafficking organizations. DEA, with assistance from supporting
                           agencies such as the FBI, is to report progress by the drug law
                           enforcement community in dismantling or disrupting a percentage of
                           identified domestic and international drug trafficking organizations.
                           However, ONDCP, in reporting on the current status of the performance
                           targets for which DEA is the reporting agency, noted that data on drug
                           trafficking organizations needed to assess performance had not been
                           identified nor had annual performance targets been established. Further,
                           according to ONDCP and DEA, neither the domestic nor international
                           designated target lists referred to in tables 3.4 and 3.5 have been
                           developed.

                           According to ONDCP officials, DEA and various supporting agencies are
                           working toward developing lists of domestic and foreign drug trafficking
                           organizations for use in pursuing the performance targets. ONDCP officials
                           said that the time frames for reporting on performance targets for
                           dismantling and disrupting drug trafficking organizations and their leaders
                           are (1) 1999 for defining organizations and developing trafficker lists, (2)
                           2000 for collecting data, and (3) 2001 for reporting on data and gauging
                           performance.

                           According to ONDCP’s 1999 report, its PME system tracks the
                           performance of the numerous programs that support each strategy goal
                           and objective. The accomplishment of National Strategy goals and
                           objectives generally require the contributions of many agency programs.
                           The PME system does not track an individual agency’s performance nor is
                           it designed to do so. According to ONDCP, agencies such as DEA are
                           required to track their own performance through their Results Act plans,
                           and these plans should be consistent with the National Strategy and the
                           PME system.

DEA Goals Do Not Include   Over the years, DEA has used arrest and seizure data (drugs and assets)
                           along with examples of significant enforcement accomplishments, such as
Measurable Performance     descriptions of successful operations, to demonstrate its effectiveness in
Targets                    carrying out its enforcement programs and initiatives. However, these data
                           are not useful indicators for reporting on results because arrest and
                           seizure data relate to outputs (activities) and not to outcomes (results).
                           These arrest and seizure data do not present a picture of overall



                           Page 72                                       GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Chapter 3
                             DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                             Control Strategy




                             performance or of DEA’s level of success in achieving its goals. Further,
                             the use of arrest data as a performance indicator can be misleading
                             without information on the significance of the arrests and the extent to
                             which they lead to prosecutions and convictions. In addition, using arrest
                             data as a performance target can lead to undesirable consequences when
                             law enforcement agencies place undue emphasis on increasing the
                             numbers of arrests at the expense of developing quality investigations.

                             More recently, with passage of the Results Act, DEA has been attempting
                             to go beyond reporting outputs to reporting outcomes. In response to the
                             Results Act, DEA prepared annual performance plans for fiscal years 1999
                             and 2000 that contain information on its strategic goals and objectives and
                                                        12
                             its performance indicators.

DEA’s Performance Plan for   In its fiscal year 1999 performance plan issued in January 1998, DEA
Fiscal Year 1999             described its strategic goals, strategies for achieving those goals, annual
                             goals, and performance indicators. DEA associated these goals, strategies,
                             and performance indicators with its various programs and initiatives.

                             For example, DEA’s strategic goals for “enforcement” provided that DEA
                             will

                             “… disrupt/dismantle the leadership, command, control, and infrastructure of drug
                             syndicates, gangs, and traffickers, of licit and illicit drugs that threaten Americans and
                             American interests.”

                             Under this goal, DEA’s primary strategy provided that DEA will

                             “… implement drug law enforcement strategies that target and attack the leadership and
                             infrastructure of major drug syndicates, gangs, and traffickers of licit and illicit drugs that
                             threaten America.”

                             Under its strategic goal for enforcement and related strategy, DEA listed
                             annual goals for its domestic enforcement program, including its
                             Southwest Border, Caribbean Corridor, methamphetamine, and heroin
                             initiatives. These annual goals generally stated that DEA would continue or
                             increase its investigative efforts leading to increased arrests and seizures
                             and a reduction in the trafficking capability of drug organizations. For


                             12
                               Among other requirements, the Results Act requires that performance plans (1) establish
                             performance goals; (2) express those goals in an objective, quantifiable, and measurable form, unless
                             OMB approves otherwise; (3) establish performance indicators for assessing progress toward or
                             achievement of the goals; and (4) provide a basis for comparing actual program results with the
                             established goals.




                             Page 73                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Chapter 3
                             DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                             Control Strategy




                             example, DEA’s annual goal for its general enforcement activities,
                             including its Southwest Border initiative, stated that:

                             “DEA will continue its investigative efforts, including the application of forfeiture laws,
                             especially along the Southwest border. This will produce an increase in the number of
                             arrests, removals, and seizures. The primary outcome will be a reduction in the trafficking
                             capability of drug organizations, particularly those associated with the Mexican Federation,
                             that use the southwest border in transshipment.”

                             To assess the extent to which it was accomplishing its strategic and annual
                             goals to reduce trafficking capability, DEA’s plan listed performance
                             indicators that were not results oriented. DEA planned to measure
                             performance, using data on total numbers of arrests and total number of
                             major criminal enterprises and other drug trafficking organizations
                             disrupted or dismantled. However, DEA did not identify performance
                             targets for its goals, such as the proportion of identified drug trafficking
                             organizations to be disrupted and dismantled, against which its
                             performance could be assessed. DEA’s fiscal year 1999 plan had no annual,
                             mid- or long-range performance targets for disrupting and dismantling drug
                             trafficking organizations.

                             DEA noted in its performance plan for fiscal year 1999 that data on the
                             number of drug trafficking organizations had not been previously collected
                             and reported and would be available by March 1, 1998. But it never
                             reported these data in its subsequent performance plan for fiscal year
                             2000. DEA also pointed out that although several of its performance
                             indicators were in the developmental stage, their establishment would help
                             to provide the framework for future evaluations of DEA’s efforts.

DEA’s Performance Plan for   DEA organized its fiscal year 2000 performance plan—issued in February
Fiscal Year 2000             1999—differently from its 1999 plan to align it with its three major budget
                             activities—enforcement, investigative support, and program direction.
                             DEA organized its fiscal year 2000 plan around what it identified as its
                             three core business systems: (1) enforcement of federal laws and
                             investigations, (2) investigative support, and (3) program direction. Along
                             with information on its 3 core business systems and 15 subsystems, the
                             plan, as previously described, listed DEA’s strategic goals and objectives.
                             However, unlike its 1999 performance plan, the fiscal year 2000 plan did
                             not have clearly identifiable annual goals.

                             For its core business system for the enforcement of federal laws and
                             investigation, DEA listed the following:




                             Page 74                                      GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 3
DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
Control Strategy




“Through effective enforcement effort, DEA will disrupt/dismantle the command & control,
and infrastructure of drug syndicates, gangs, and traffickers of licit and illicit drugs that
threaten Americans and American interests, including providing enforcement assistance to
American Communities to fight drug-related crime and violence.”

Related to its core business system for enforcement, DEA’s fiscal year
2000 performance plan listed a strategic goal and objectives for disrupting
drug trafficking organizations. DEA’s description of its core business
system and its strategic goal and objective are similar. However, as with its
fiscal year 1999 plan, DEA’s fiscal year 2000 plan does not include annual,
mid- or long-range measurable performance targets for disrupting or
dismantling drug trafficking organizations.

Although DEA does not have a performance target for dismantling
international drug trafficking organizations, it does have a performance
indicator that may lead to a performance target that is consistent with the
target in the National Strategy. DEA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan
contains a performance indicator specifying that DEA plans to use data on
the number of targeted organizations disrupted or dismantled as a result of
DEA involvement in foreign investigations compared to the total number
of targeted organizations as a basis for measuring performance. The plan
notes, however, that DEA is currently not collecting data for this
performance indicator but expects to do so during fiscal year 1999.

For domestic drug trafficking organizations, DEA’s plan does not include a
performance indicator that is quantifiable and results oriented similar to
the one it specified for international drug organizations. DEA has no
performance indicator specifying that it will measure performance on the
basis of the number of targeted domestic organizations disrupted and
dismantled compared to the total number of targeted organizations.
Further, DEA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan does not indicate that
DEA plans to collect data on domestic drug trafficking organizations for
development of a performance target that is consistent with the target in
the National Strategy. It is unclear whether DEA plans to develop a
performance target for its program aimed at disrupting and dismantling
domestic drug trafficking that would be consistent with the performance
target and the national effort called for in the National Strategy.

DEA’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan indicates that DEA will be
reporting on prior year arrests resulting in prosecutions and convictions as
a performance indicator for measuring its enforcement efforts. As required
by DOJ policy, to avoid perceptions of “bounty hunting” DEA and other
DOJ component organizations cannot specify performance targets for
arrests. However, DOJ’s policy would not preclude DEA from developing a


Page 75                                       GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 3
DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
Control Strategy




performance target and performance indicator for domestic drug
trafficking organizations consistent with those in the National Strategy.
The National Strategy performance targets do not involve projecting
increased numbers of arrests; rather, they call for increasing the
percentage of targeted drug trafficking organizations dismantled or
disrupted.

In addition to the lack of result-oriented performance indicators and
performance targets for its programs aimed at domestic drug trafficking
organizations, DEA’s plan lacks performance targets and related
performance indicators for other mission-critical programs. For example,
DEA’s core business system for enforcement and one of its strategic goals
call for assistance to local communities to reduce drug-related crime and
violence. However, DEA has not established a performance target and
performance indicator that could be used to measure the results of its
assistance to local communities. In this regard, DEA has a strategic
objective calling for assistance to local law enforcement by deploying
METs, discussed in chapter 2, into communities where drug trafficking and
related crime are rampant. However, DEA has not identified a
performance target and performance indicator to measure the results of its
MET Program even though, as discussed in chapter 2, resources dedicated
to METs and other forms of assistance to local law enforcement have
continued to grow in the 1990s. Thus, it is unclear how DEA will measure
the results of its strategic objective calling for MET deployments.

In the program accomplishment and highlight section of its performance
plan for fiscal year 2000, DEA states that “[t]he effect of METs in reducing
violent crime has been clearly established in 1998.” The plan further points
out that a comparison of violent crime statistics before and after MET
deployments indicated reductions in violent crime in areas where MET
deployments occurred. Using this type of results-oriented data, DEA
should be able to specify a performance indicator that, when tied to a
measurable performance target, could be used to assess the results of the
MET Program in terms of actual versus expected performance.

In August 1998, DEA’s Chief for Executive Policy and Strategic Planning,
told us that DEA had not yet identified the performance goals and
indicators it will ultimately use. She told us that at the direction of the
Administrator, DEA was planning to bring its field representatives together
with headquarters officials to obtain their views and input on DEA’s goals,
strategies, and performance indicators. In April 1999, she told us that the
meeting with field representatives, which was initially planned for the fall
of 1998 but was delayed pending hiring of a contractor, was expected to be



Page 76                                   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Chapter 3
                            DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                            Control Strategy




                            held by the summer of 1999. However, with the recent resignation of
                            DEA’s Administrator, these plans were placed on hold and not addressed
                            in DEA comments on a draft of this report.

                            In addition, in April 1999, DEA’s Chief for Executive Policy and Strategic
                            Planning told us that DEA would have to work with DOJ in developing
                            performance goals and indicators. In this regard, she said that DEA would
                            be following the direction provided by DOJ in its departmentwide drug
                                     13
                            strategy. She also pointed out that ONDCP had not yet established a
                            baseline (agreed-upon target list) for its National Strategy performance
                            targets aimed at disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations.

                            In commenting on a draft of this report in June 1999, DEA pointed out that
                            DEA (1) has developed preliminary performance targets that were
                            included in DEA’s fiscal year 2001 budget submission to DOJ; (2) had
                            established a working group consisting of representatives from its
                            operations, strategic planning and executive policy, and resource
                            management staffs to further refine its performance targets; and (3) is
                            working with other DOJ components to develop performance targets and
                            measurements that will be consistent with the targets in the National
                            Strategy.

Difficulties in Measuring   Measuring and evaluating the impact of drug law enforcement efforts is
                            difficult for several reasons. First, antidrug efforts are often conducted by
Drug Law Enforcement        many agencies and are mutually supportive. It is difficult to isolate the
Outcomes                    contributions of a single agency or program, such as DEA’s domestic
                            enforcement program aimed at disrupting and dismantling major drug
                            traffickers, from activities of other law enforcement agencies. Other
                            factors that DEA has little control over, such as drug demand reduction
                            efforts, may also affect drug trafficking operations.

                            Second, the clandestine nature of drug production, trafficking, and use
                            limits the quality and quantity of data that can be collected to measure
                            program performance. History has shown that drug trafficking
                            organizations continually change their methods, patterns, and operations
                            as law enforcement concentrates its resources and efforts on a specific
                            region or method. Drug law enforcement agencies must continuously deal
                            with unknown and imprecise data, such as the number of drug trafficking
                            organizations and the amount of illegal drugs being trafficked.



                            13
                                 Drug Control Strategic Plan, U.S. Department of Justice, March 31, 1998.




                            Page 77                                              GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
              Chapter 3
              DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
              Control Strategy




              Third, some of the data that are currently collected are not very useful in
              assessing the performance of individual programs and agency efforts. As
              previously mentioned, data collected on arrests, drug seizures, and assets
              forfeited generally measure enforcement outputs but not outcomes.
              Further, data collected on drug availability and consumption are generally
              not designed to measure the performance of a single program or agency,
              and such data are influenced by other factors in addition to enforcement
              efforts.

              DEA’s strategic goals and objectives as well as its programs and initiatives
Conclusions   are consistent with the National Drug Control Strategy. However, DEA has
              not developed performance targets for its programs and initiatives aimed
              at disrupting or dismantling drug trafficking organizations and arresting
              their leaders.

              We recognize the complexity and difficulty of measuring outcomes and
              impact for drug law enforcement agencies operating in a clandestine drug
              trafficking environment. Nevertheless, without measurable performance
              targets and related performance indicators for its mission-critical
              programs, it is difficult for program managers, policymakers, and others to
              quantitatively assess DEA’s overall effectiveness and the extent to which
              DEA’s programs are contributing to its strategic goals and objectives and
              those of the National Strategy.

              ONDCP has set specific measurable performance targets in the National
              Strategy for achieving strategic goals that it shares with DEA. DEA has
              worked with ONDCP and other federal drug control agencies to develop
              performance targets for the National Strategy and for measuring the
              progress of federal efforts toward those targets. However, although DEA is
              the lead federal drug enforcement agency and reporting agency for several
              National Strategy performance targets, it has not established similar
              measurable performance targets for its own operations. In this regard,
              DEA has not established similar measurable performance targets for its
              operations in either its fiscal years 1999 or 2000 annual performance plans
              although, as discussed below, it stated in its comments on a draft of this
              report that it has developed preliminary targets for inclusion in its fiscal
              year 2001 performance plan.

              Measurable DEA performance targets, once finalized, coupled with
              continued refinement of the National Strategy performance targets on the
              basis of DEA input and leadership, along with DOJ guidance, should bring
              DEA and ONDCP closer in pursuing their shared goals and objectives for
              disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations. Such



              Page 78                                   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                      Chapter 3
                      DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
                      Control Strategy




                      performance targets also should provide DEA with a better basis for
                      measuring its own progress in achieving its mission and for making
                      decisions regarding its resource needs and priorities as discussed in the
                      next chapter.

                      We recommend that the Attorney General direct the DEA Administrator to
Recommendation        work closely with DOJ and ONDCP to develop measurable DEA
                      performance targets for disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking
                      organizations consistent with the performance targets in the National Drug
                      Control Strategy.

                      In its written comments on a draft of this report, although not directly
Agency Comments and   agreeing with our recommendation, DEA agreed with our principal finding
Our Evaluation        regarding measurable performance targets. However, it disagreed with our
                      draft conclusion relating to the finding, pointed out actions it was taking
                      relating to our recommendation, and requested guidance on bringing
                      closure to the recommendation.

                      DEA agreed with our principal finding that it had not included measurable
                      performance targets for disrupting or dismantling drug trafficking
                      organizations in its fiscal years 1999 and 2000 performance plans.
                      However, it disagreed with our draft conclusion that “In the absence of
                      such targets, little can said about DEA’s effectiveness in achieving its
                      strategic goals.” DEA indicated that this statement and supporting
                      information in this chapter gave the impression that DEA had not
                      attempted to develop performance targets.

                      DEA said that it has developed “preliminary performance targets” that
                      have been included in its fiscal year 2001 budget submission to DOJ and
                      that are to be refined for inclusion in subsequent budgets. To further refine
                      its performance targets, DEA said that it had established a working group
                      consisting of representatives from its operations, strategic planning and
                      executive policy, and resource management staffs. DEA also noted that it
                      is working with other DOJ components to develop performance targets
                      and measurements that will be consistent with the targets in the National
                      Drug Control Strategy. To recognize these actions, we added them to the
                      pertinent section of this chapter as an update to information previously
                      provided by DEA. We also modified our draft conclusion that little can be
                      said about DEA’s effectiveness without performance targets to clarify our
                      intent that it is difficult to quantitatively assess DEA’s overall effectiveness
                      without such targets.




                      Page 79                                   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 3
DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Drug
Control Strategy




DEA’s stated actions are consistent with the intent of our
recommendation. However, because DEA performance targets are
preliminary and under review within the executive branch, they are subject
to change until February 2000 when DEA issues its annual budget
submission and performance plan, as part of DOJ’s submission, to
Congress. Further, DEA indicated that it cannot finalize its performance
targets and measures until a designated targeted list of international drug
trafficking organizations, as called for in the National Strategy, is
completed. Therefore, we are retaining our recommendation until DEA’s
preliminary performance targets are finalized for inclusion in its annual
performance plan and can be compared for consistency with those in the
National Strategy.

DEA and ONDCP also provided technical comments, which we
incorporated in this chapter where appropriate.




Page 80                                   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 4

DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and
Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998

                        In order to carry out its mission and operations during the 1990s, including
                        the programs and initiatives discussed in chapter 2 and the strategies
                        discussed in chapter 3, DEA received funds to staff its operations through
                        several sources. These included its annual appropriations salaries and
                                                                                             1
                        expenses budget; DOJ’s Violent Crime Reduction Program (VCRP); and
                        other reimbursable programs, such as OCDETF. This chapter focuses on
                        the process used to determine and allocate additional DEA positions
                        provided through its salaries and expenses budget. Specifically, it
                        discusses the process used in fiscal year 1998, which was, according to
                        DEA and DOJ officials, generally typical of the approach DEA has used in
                        other years.

                        The process used to determine the need for and to allocate additional DEA
                        staff is linked to the federal budget formulation and execution process and
                        reflects federal laws and budget guidelines promulgated by OMB. In fiscal
                        year 1998, the DEA process considered field input, changes in drug abuse
                        and drug trafficking patterns, and the Administrator’s priorities to prepare
                        its staffing enhancement estimates for its budget submission to DOJ.
                        DEA’s submission to DOJ estimated the need for 989 new total positions,
                        including 399 special agent positions. As a result of reviews by DOJ, OMB,
                        and ONDCP and consideration of the resources provided in DEA’s fiscal
                                                   2
                        year 1997 appropriation, the President’s fiscal year 1998 budget, which
                        was submitted to Congress in February 1997, requested a total of 345 new
                        positions for DEA, including 168 special agent positions. Congress
                        provided 531 additional positions, of which 240 were special agent
                        positions, with guidance as to how the positions were to be allocated. DEA
                        senior management then determined the allocation of additional staff,
                        considering congressional guidance and such other factors as field office
                        prior requests.

                        The process used to determine the staffing resources necessary to carry
Federal Budget          out DEA’s mission is generally typical of the federal budget processes and
Formulation Guidance    procedures that federal agencies are expected to follow. These processes
Provides Basis for      and procedures are established in federal law and budget guidelines
                        promulgated by OMB.
DEA Staffing Needs
Determination Process   Each legislative session, the president is required by law to submit a
                        budget to Congress. The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, as amended,

                        1
                         VCRP was established by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-322,
                        as amended).
                        2
                         See Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriation
                        Act, 1997, P.L. 104-208 and H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 104-863 (1996).




                        Page 81                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                    Chapter 4
                    DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




                    provides the legal basis for the president’s budget, prescribes much of its
                    content, and defines the roles of the president and the agencies in the
                    process. During budget formulation, the president establishes general
                    budget and fiscal policy guidelines. Policy guidance is given to agencies for
                    the upcoming budget year and later to provide initial guidelines for
                    preparation of agency budget requests. OMB Circular A-11 provides
                    instructions on the preparation of agency submissions required for OMB
                    and presidential review of budget estimates and for formulation of the
                    president’s budget.

                    The budget formulation process begins at the lowest organizational levels
                    of a federal agency and moves to the higher levels. A consolidated
                    agencywide budget is prepared for submission to OMB. This approach is
                    typical of federal agencies, although some have elaborate planning
                    processes that allow for objectives established at the top to guide budget
                    preparation. OMB reviews agency requests according to a process that
                    includes several stages—(1) staff review, (2) director’s review, (3)
                    passback, (4) appeals, and (5) final decisions. The final budget is prepared
                    and printed by OMB for submission to Congress no later than the first
                    Monday in February of each year, as required by law.

                    According to DEA and DOJ officials, the DEA fiscal year 1998 staffing
Fiscal Year 1998    needs determination process began in the summer of 1995 and was typical
Process for         of DEA’s staffing determination process. Prior to the commencement of
Determining DEA’s   the official budget formulation process, DEA domestic and foreign field
                    offices provided estimates of their staffing needs to DEA headquarters
Staffing Needs      program staff. Program and budget staff reviewed and considered these
                    estimates in the development of DEA’s budget submission with staffing
                    estimates, which were sent to DOJ in June 1996. In accordance with the
                    federal budget process, DOJ and OMB reviewed DEA’s budget submission
                    and staffing estimates, which resulted in some changes in the estimates.
                    ONDCP reviewed DOJ’s budget submission to OMB as part of the national
                                                      3
                    drug budget certification process, which is distinct from, but occurs
                    simultaneously with, the budget formulation process and may also affect
                    DEA’s staffing estimates. Figure 4.1 depicts DEA’s fiscal year 1998 staffing
                    determination process.



                    3
                     The Drug Budget Certification process was established by Congress in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of
                    1988, P.L. 100-690. The act required that the ONDCP director certify, in writing, that drug budget
                    submissions to ONDCP from program managers, agency heads, and department heads with national
                    drug control program responsibilities are adequate to implement the objectives of the National Drug
                    Strategy for the budget request year.




                    Page 82                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Chapter 4
DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




[Figure 4.1 begins on the next page.]




Page 83                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                                  Chapter 4
                                                  DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




Figure 4.1: Flowchart of DEA’s Fiscal Year 1998 Staffing Needs Determination Process

        1995                                                              1996

            Aug.            Sept.          Oct.    Nov.          Dec.        Jan.            Feb.          Mar.          Apr.         May


 DEA
                            1                                                         2                                           3

                                                                                                                                        4




  DOJ




 OMB




  Legend:                                          1   DEA: Aug.-Oct.                 3   DEA: Apr.-May                  4   DEA: May
                                                       Domestic and foreign field         In accordance with the             Administrator approved
            Pre-budget staffing estimate               offices prepared and               budget formulation process,        the budget submission/
            preparation process                        submitted staffing estimates       DEA headquarters program           staffing estimates.
                                                       to DEA headquarters.               and budget staff prepared
                                                                                          and revised, on the basis of
            Budget formulation process                                                    the Administrator's            5   DEA: June
                                                   2   DEA: Dec.-Apr.                     comments, DEA's FY 98              Budget submission/
                                                       DEA headquarters                   initiative-based submission        staffing estimates were
                                                       program and budget staff           and staffing estimates.            sent to DOJ.
                                                       reviewed field office
                                                       submissions and began
                                                       development of staffing                                           6   DOJ: June-Aug.
                                                                                                                             DOJ budget staff
                                                       estimates.                                                            received, reviewed,
                                                                                                                             and analyzed DEA
                                                                                                                             submission/staffing
                                                                                                                             estimates and sent
                                                                                                                             them back to DEA.




                                                  Page 84                                              GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                                     Chapter 4
                                                     DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




Figure 4.1: Continued

1996                                                                                                        1997

     June           July        Aug.           Sept.              Oct.         Nov.            Dec.           Jan.              Feb.




       5                                                                                         11


                                    7



       6                            8                                                         10      12




                                                                          9
                                                                                                                                         $ Bu
                                                                                                                                             dge
                                                                                                    13        14           15                   t



 7   DEA: Aug.                  9   OMB: Sept.-Dec.                      10   DOJ: Dec.                            14   OMB: Dec.-Jan.
     DEA reviewed DOJ's             OMB budget staff                          DOJ budget staff reviewed                 OMB prepared final budget
     budget staff analysis.         reviewed and analyzed                     OMB's passback and sent                   submission with assistance
     DEA administrator              DEA's budget submission/                  DOJ's interpretation of the               from and review by DEA
     participated in Attorney       staffing estimates.                       passback to DEA.                          and DOJ.
     General's hearing and
     subsequently presented         OMB staff sent their results
     DEA's appeal.                  to the OMB Director.                 11   DEA: Dec.                            15   OMB: Feb.
                                                                              DEA prepared its appeal to                OMB transmitted budget
                                    OMB Director reviewed                     the OMB passback and                      submission to President
 8   DOJ: Aug.-Sept.                examiners' recommendations.               sent it to DOJ.                           for submission to Congress
     Attorney General held                                                                                              on Feb. 6th.
     DEA budget hearing and         OMB Director generally
     on receipt of DEA appeal       discusses the overall
                                                                         12   DOJ: Dec.
     reviewed it and made her                                                 DEA submitted its appeal,
                                    federal budget with                       including the DEA appeal, to
     final decision.                the President at this time.               OMB
     DOJ sent DEA budget            OMB prepared DEA/DOJ
     submission/staffing            passback.
                                                                         13   OMB: Dec.
     estimates to OMB.                                                        OMB reviewed DEA/DOJ's
                                                                              passback appeal, including
                                    OMB sent DEA/DOJ                          staffing estimates.
                                    passback to DOJ
                                                                              DOJ and OMB agreed
                                                                              on an overall spending
                                                                              level for the department,
                                                                              and DOJ distributed the
                                                                              appeal amounts.

                                                     Source: GAO analysis of DEA, OMB, and other information.




                                                     Page 85                                                   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Chapter 4
                           DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




DEA Domestic and Foreign   DEA’s fiscal year 1998 staffing process began in the summer of 1995. Each
                           DEA domestic field division submitted a field management plan (FMP),
Field Offices Provided     and foreign offices followed a less structured and more informal staffing
Staffing Estimates         request process.

                           In an August 1995 memorandum to its domestic field divisions, DEA
                           headquarters provided direction and guidelines for preparation of the
                           fiscal year 1996-1997 FMPs. DEA requested detailed, specific, and realistic
                           enhancements for fiscal year 1998 for use in the formulation of DEA’s
                           fiscal year 1998 budget/staffing submission. According to DEA officials, an
                           FMP is supposed to be based on the Administrator’s vision statement,
                           which is provided to the field divisions; the local SAC’s vision statement,
                           which has previously been reviewed and approved by DEA headquarters;
                           and the drug threat that the division expects to confront. The 1995
                           memorandum directed each field division to indicate the resources it
                           would need. Through the FMPs, which were due in October 1995, DEA’s
                           domestic field divisions requested a total of 591 positions, including 369
                           special agent positions.

                           According to DEA officials, recommendations and requests for DEA
                           foreign office staffing enhancements and new foreign offices for fiscal year
                                                                                                           4
                           1998 came from a variety of sources, including DEA country attachés (CA)
                           and the foreign country through the U.S. Ambassador. Each of the four
                           foreign sections (Central America and the Caribbean, Europe and the
                           Middle East, Far East, and South America) within the Office of
                           International Operations at DEA headquarters was tasked with identifying
                           the issues, including staffing needs, within specific countries. In March
                           1996, according to a DEA official, the International Operations staff,
                           including the Chief, Deputy Chief, and section heads of International
                           Operations, met to discuss recommendations from the four sections. The
                           official said that to assess and justify staffing requests for their respective
                           regions, DEA foreign section staff used regional and individual DEA
                           country plans, as well as foreign situation and quarterly trends in
                           trafficking reports, which provided context and background. Foreign
                           operational needs were discussed in terms of DEA’s goals and objectives
                           and prioritized. DEA officials told us that International Operations

                           4
                            DEA provided the following description of the National Security Decision Directive 38 (NSDD 38)
                           Process. NSDD 38 requires DEA to gain an ambassador’s approval prior to opening an office or adding
                           additional positions to an existing office. Before seeking ambassadorial approval under NSDD 38, DOJ
                           policy requires that DEA obtain approval from DOJ’s Executive Office of National Security. Various
                           bureaus within the State Department are to provide an ambassador with advice pertaining to any
                           NSDD 38 request, but the ambassador is the final approving authority. As a matter of course, an
                           ambassador is to seek host nation consent prior to granting NSDD 38 approval.




                           Page 86                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Chapter 4
                           DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




                           communicated the results of this meeting (as a discussion document) to
                           DEA’s budget section.

DEA’s Fiscal Year 1998     In accordance with the federal budget formulation process, DEA budget
                           staff prepared the agency’s spring budget submission to DOJ, including
Budget Submission to DOJ   staffing estimates. After review and approval by its executive staff and the
Included Estimates of      Administrator, DEA sent DOJ its budget submission, which included 6
Additional Staff Needed                                                                5
                           initiatives with identified additional staffing needs of 989 total positions;
                           399 were special agent positions, and 590 were support positions.

                           For preparing DEA’s budget submission to DOJ, DOJ budget officials said
                           DOJ provides instructions and usually guidance; and, according to DEA
                           officials, the DEA Administrator also usually provides guidance. Although
                           the documents sent to the agencies varied each year, DOJ provides written
                           planning guidance and instructions in April, about 17 months prior to the
                           beginning of the budget year. However, officials said that informal
                           guidance was usually available earlier. The DEA Administrator may also
                           issue a budget call memorandum to all program managers listing his
                           priorities. According to DEA and DOJ budget officials, for its fiscal year
                           1998 guidance, DOJ used an amended version of its fiscal year 1997
                           guidance. In addition, DEA budget officials said that the DEA
                           Administrator sent out a budget call memorandum in February 1996
                           indicating his priorities.

                           However, DEA budget officials said that they actually began to develop
                           DEA’s fiscal year 1998 budget submission/staffing estimates in December
                           1995, prior to the guidance, and continued to work through May 1996. As
                           part of this process, officials said that DEA budget staff considered the
                           needs of field and headquarters offices, analyzed information on emerging
                           drug trends, and held discussions with DEA program managers. Budget
                           staff said that after canvassing the program managers, they presented the
                           proposed budget submission and staffing request to the Administrator in
                           March 1996. According to these staff, on the basis of the Administrator’s
                           comments, they then prepared DEA’s final fiscal year 1998 budget
                           submission/staffing request to DOJ, which DEA’s Executive Staff and the
                           Administrator reviewed and approved in May.

                           In June 1996, DEA sent its fiscal year 1998 budget request with estimates
                           of additional staffing needs to DOJ. In its submission, DEA estimated a
                           5
                            This number does not include positions to be funded through DEA’s Diversion Fee Account, which
                           are included in a separate program-specific budget request. DEA enforces the Comprehensive Drug
                           Abuse and Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (P.L. 91-513) as it applies to the registration of handlers
                           of controlled substances (e.g., manufacturers, distributors, importers, exporters, and others).




                           Page 87                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 4
  DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




  need for 989 additional positions, including 399 special agent positions and
  590 support positions (e.g., diversion investigators, chemists, intelligence
  analysts, and professional and clerical staff). DEA identified, prioritized,
  and requested funding, including staffing enhancements, for six specific
  initiatives.

• Countering violent crime: This included staffing estimates (193 total/98
  special agents) for the MET Program and for converting 8 provisional state
  and local task forces to program-funded status.
• Methamphetamine strategy: This initiative included estimated staffing
  enhancements (279 total/127 special agents), including positions to convert
  7 provisional state and local task forces to program-funded status, to fund
  a comprehensive approach for attacking methamphetamine abuse.
• Southwest Border project: This included estimated staffing enhancements
  (212 total/96 special agents) to continue DOJ’s interagency strategy against
  drug trafficking on the Southwest Border.
• Domestic heroin enforcement: This initiative included estimated staffing
  enhancements (104 total/53 special agents) to continue implementation of
  DEA’s 5-year heroin strategy.
• International crime: This included estimated staffing enhancements (76
  total/25 special agents) to (1) open DEA country offices in Tashkent,
  Uzbekistan; Vientiane, Laos; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Lisbon,
  Portugal; and Managua, Nicaragua; (2) provide additional support to DEA
  offices in Mexico City, Panama City, New Delhi, Bangkok, and Hong Kong;
  and (3) establish an International Chemical Control Center in order to
  address the growing international aspects of drug production,
  transshipment, and trafficking.
• Investigative shortfalls: This initiative included estimates of resources and
  staffing enhancements (125 total) needed to replace lost asset forfeiture
  revenues, provide support staff for domestic field offices, and provide
  additional basic and refresher training for special agents and DEA support
  staff.

  The submission included justifications for each initiative and reflected
  DEA’s internal budget/staffing determination process. For example, on the
  basis of changing trends and input from the field, DEA’s fiscal year 1998
                                                               6
  budget submission proposed a methamphetamine initiative, including
  domestic and international staff enhancements, to fund a comprehensive
  6
   According to officials, however, DEA did not wait for the completion of the fiscal year 1998 budget
  cycle to address the methamphetamine problem. Although DEA had no base budget for the
  methamphetamine problem in 1996, it dedicated 405,000 agent hours, or the equivalent of 195 full-time
  agents, to methamphetamine investigations in fiscal year 1995. The hours dedicated to
  methamphetamine were expected to rise in fiscal year 1996.




  Page 88                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                         Chapter 4
                         DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




                         approach for attacking methamphetamine abuse. To justify its fiscal year
                         1998 estimates, DEA provided (1) DAWN data that indicated a steady
                         increase in the number of methamphetamine-related emergency room
                         episodes and deaths and (2) statistics indicating an increased use of and
                         trafficking in methamphetamine and the proliferation of clandestine drug
                         laboratories in both traditional and new locations.

DOJ Changed Staffing     In accordance with the budget formulation process, DEA’s fiscal year 1998
                         budget submission was reviewed by DOJ Justice Management Division
Estimates for DEA’s      (JMD) budget staff and the Attorney General between June and August,
Initiatives              1996. According to DOJ budget staff, as in other years, to assess DEA’s
                         fiscal year 1998 enhancements and the corresponding justifications, the
                         budget staff considered the (1) overall illegal drug situation at the time,
                         including drug trends and patterns; (2) link between the specific request
                         and ONDCP, DOJ, and DEA goals, strategies, and indicators; (3) facts and
                         arguments used by DEA to justify the request; and (4) level of resources
                         requested relative to the justified need, including prior year appropriations.

                         As a result of their analysis of DEA’s fiscal year 1998 budget submission,
                         DOJ budget staff estimated that DEA would need 771 additional positions,
                         including 311 special agents, to support the 6 initiatives. This was 218
                         fewer total positions, including 88 special agent positions, than DEA
                         estimated. Over half of the difference between DEA’s and DOJ’s estimates
                         can be accounted for by DOJ’s not having included positions to convert
                         certain state and local task forces to permanent funding status under the
                         violent crime and methamphetamine initiatives. DOJ argued that (1) local
                         entities must continue to contribute to these efforts to maintain the
                         integrity of the intergovernmental relationship; (2) additional resources
                         were available to these entities through other DOJ state and local grant
                         programs; and (3) in the case of the methamphetamine initiative, further
                         assessment was needed before conversions were made. DOJ budget staff
                         recommended fewer positions than DEA for five of the DEA initiatives but
                         concurred with DEA’s staffing estimates for the investigative shortfall
                         initiative. These recommended changes in staffing estimates, including the
                         justifications provided, are summarized below.

                       • Violent crime: In addition to not including positions to convert state and
                         local task forces to permanent status, as previously discussed, budget staff
                         recommended fewer additional agent positions for the MET Program. DOJ
                         staff concluded that four new MET teams for deployment to areas with
                         higher numbers of outstanding requests were sufficient to keep the waiting
                         time for a MET deployment to acceptable limits.




                         Page 89                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Chapter 4
  DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




• Methamphetamine: Most of the difference between DEA’s and DOJ’s
  staffing estimates for this initiative can be attributed to DOJ’s not including
  positions for state and local task force conversion. DOJ also did not
  recommend additional chemists, concluding that DEA had sufficient
  chemist resources; or an additional agent for demand reduction to increase
  public awareness of methamphetamine, given DEA’s other critical needs.
  Budget staff recommended 2 DEA clandestine lab regional training teams
  to teach 26 classes annually, rather than 4 teams to teach 40 classes
  annually.
• Southwest Border: DOJ budget staff did not recommend 5 additional
  chemists and 14 additional support staff, which were included in DEA’s
  submission. DOJ concluded that DEA had sufficient resources to meet
  these needs.
• Domestic heroin: Asserting that DEA had sufficient chemists to meet its
  desired staffing ratio, DOJ budget staff did not recommend the five
  chemists and two clerical support positions included in DEA’s estimates
  for this initiative.
• International: DOJ budget staff recommended 22 fewer total positions,
  including 6 fewer special agent positions, than DEA estimated for this
  initiative. More than half of these 22 positions (2 chemists, 4 foreign
  diversion investigators, and 6 support staff) were to establish an
  International Chemical Control Center. DOJ argued that DEA could use
  chemists from other places to meet these needs and use diversion
  investigators from key locations in other parts of the world to provide
  intelligence to the Center. DOJ also did not recommend opening new DEA
  offices in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, or Lisbon, Portugal,
  contending that DEA lacked “substantive rationale” for offices in these
  locations. DOJ’s estimates also included no staffing enhancements for
  Bangkok, Thailand, asserting that DEA had sufficient staffing resources to
  assist Thai police in collecting intelligence about the emerging
  methamphetamine problem and no additional special agent for Panama,
  concluding that DEA had not provided “substantive reasons” for that
  agent.

  The DOJ budget staff review was followed on August 2, 1996, by the
                            7
  Attorney General’s hearing on DEA’s fiscal year 1998 budget submission.
  Three working days before the hearing, DOJ budget officials provided their
  analysis to DEA. According to DOJ budget officials, during the hearing
  DEA had the opportunity to appeal DOJ’s proposed changes in DEA’s


  7
   The hearing is usually attended by the Attorney General, the DEA Administrator, the DOJ budget
  analyst, and JMD officials.




  Page 90                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                          Chapter 4
                                          DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




                                          submission and to provide additional information to justify its budget
                                          initiatives and enhancements before the Attorney General’s final decision.

                                          On August 12, 1996, the Administrator submitted an appeal to the Attorney
                                          General in which he requested reconsideration of some of the DOJ budget
                                          staff’s recommended changes. The appeal asserted DEA’s need for staff
                                          positions to convert certain state and local task forces, associated with its
                                          violent crime reduction and methamphetamine efforts, from provisional to
                                          program-funded status. It also addressed DEA’s need for resources for its
                                          clandestine laboratory cleanup efforts; items previously funded partially by
                                          asset forfeiture funds, including awards to informants and marijuana
                                          eradication efforts; and in-service training. Nevertheless, for fiscal year
                                          1998, the estimates for additional staffing for DEA included in DOJ’s OMB
                                          submission were the same as those recommended by DOJ budget staff and
                                          previously discussed. Table 4.1 shows the differences between DEA’s
                                          estimates for additional staffing and those proposed to OMB by DOJ.

Table 4.1: Comparison of DEA and DOJ
Estimated Additional DEA Total and                                              Additional total and special agent positions
Special Agent Positions for Fiscal Year                                          DEA staffing             DOJ’s DEA staffing
1998                                                                           estimates to DOJ            estimates to OMB
                                                                                   June 1996                September 1996
                                                                                               Special                     Special
                                          Initiative                               Total       agents          Total       agents
                                          Violent crime                             193             98            94           48
                                          Methamphetamine                           279            127          208            96
                                          Southwest Border                          212             96          193            96
                                          Domestic heroin                           104             53            97           53
                                          International crime                        76             25            54           18
                                          Investigative shortfall                   125              0          125             0
                                          Total                                     989            399          771           311
                                          Source: DEA Fiscal Year 1998 Spring Planning Estimates, June 1996, and DEA Fiscal Year 1998
                                          Office of Management and Budget Submission, September 1996.



OMB Specified Minimum                     DEA’s fiscal year 1998 budget submission was sent to OMB for review in
                                          September 1996 as part of DOJ’s budget request. According to OMB
Funding for Certain DEA                   officials, an OMB budget examiner initially reviewed the DOJ budget
Initiatives, but Indicated No             submission, and the results were presented to and reviewed by the OMB
Staffing Levels                           policy officials. Generally, a complete set of budget proposals is presented
                                          to the president by early December for his approval. Subsequently, OMB
                                          staff prepares the agency passbacks.

                                          An OMB official described OMB’s approach to DOJ’s fiscal year 1998
                                          budget submission as “flexible.” That is, as in other years, OMB made
                                          suggestions regarding specific DOJ activities, providing DOJ with an



                                          Page 91                                       GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Chapter 4
                             DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




                             overall dollar level and specifying minimum funding for certain funding
                             floors. OMB officials said that OMB did not make account-level
                             recommendations, leaving those decisions to the Attorney General to
                             ensure that the budget reflected DOJ’s priorities.

                             By early December 1996, OMB sent DOJ’s fiscal year 1998 passback in
                             which it recommended an overall DOJ budget lower than DOJ’s
                             submission. For DEA, the passback specified minimum funding for the
                             methamphetamine strategy, the Southwest Border project, and the
                             domestic heroin strategy, but it did not discuss specific staffing estimates
                             or foreign enhancements. Prior to the passback, DEA had received its
                             fiscal year 1997 appropriation, but we were unable to ascertain how it
                             affected the passback.

DEA/DOJ Reviewed OMB         According to DOJ budget officials, DOJ reviewed OMB’s fiscal year 1998
                             DOJ passback to determine what could be funded according to the
Passback and Appealed It     Attorney General’s priorities. They said that as a result of OMB’s specifying
With Some Success            funding levels for DEA’s methamphetamine, Southwest Border, and heroin
                             initiatives, no funds for the enhancements in other initiatives were
                             available within the DEA budget submission. The DOJ budget officials said
                             that they then sent DOJ’s interpretation—which was based on the Attorney
                             General’s priorities—of the OMB passback to DEA.

                             According to DOJ budget section officials, DEA developed its appeal to the
                             OMB passback and then presented it to OMB, through DOJ, in early
                             December 1996. DEA’s specific staffing-related appeals and outcomes
                             were as follows:

                           • Methamphetamine initiative: DEA requested additional resources,
                             including 131 positions. DOJ and OMB agreed to a slight increase in the
                             funded amount to cover 74 positions.
                           • Southwest Border initiative: DEA sought 131 additional positions,
                             including 90 special agents. DOJ and OMB agreed to increase the funded
                             amount to cover the additional agents.

                             OMB and DOJ officials reported that the method used to settle appeals
                             varied from year to year. In fiscal year 1998, OMB and DOJ agreed on an
                             overall spending level on appeal and DOJ’s spread of the increase, which
                             provided DEA with funding to cover additional positions for both the
                             methamphetamine and Southwest Border initiatives described above.




                             Page 92                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                              Chapter 4
                              DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




ONDCP Certified DOJ/DEA       Concurrent with departmental and OMB reviews of budget submissions,
                              each agency with a drug mission is required by the drug budget
Budget Submission             certification process to submit a drug control budget to ONDCP. However,
                              in 1996, due to the appointment of a new ONDCP Director and the
                              reformulation and consequent late release of ONDCP’s drug strategy, the
                              national drug budget certification process did not follow ONDCP’s
                              established procedures and schedule. Specifically, ONDCP requested only
                              one fiscal year 1998 budget submission in September 1996, coincident with
                              the OMB deadline.

                              On November 8, 1996, while OMB was reviewing DOJ’s budget submission,
                              DOJ sent its budget request to ONDCP. On November 18, 1996, for
                              consideration before finalizing DOJ’s fiscal year 1998 budget request, the
                              ONDCP Director advised the Attorney General of two DEA program
                              initiatives that did not appear to have been included in DOJ’s submission.
                              The initiatives in question were (1) the continued expansion of vetted law
                              enforcement units in key source and transit countries and (2) a request for
                              additional resources for DEA’s Domestic Cannabis
                              Eradication/Suppression Program. The Director’s letter did not specifically
                                                                          8
                              discuss staffing related to the initiatives. Final ONDCP budget
                              certification was withheld until ONDCP reviewed DOJ’s final budget
                              submission. According to DOJ and ONDCP officials, DEA received
                              sufficient resources in its fiscal year 1997 appropriation to address the
                              ONDCP Director’s concerns. Therefore, on the basis of ONDCP’s final
                              review, the Director notified the Attorney General on February 7, 1997—1
                              day after the President submitted the fiscal year 1998 budget request—that
                              the resources requested by DOJ were certified as adequate to implement
                              the goals and objectives of the National Drug Control Strategy.

The President’s Fiscal Year   The President submitted his fiscal year 1998 budget to Congress on
                              February 6, 1997. As a result of the iterative process between DEA/DOJ
1998 Budget Submission        and OMB over DEA staffing estimates and after consideration of the
                                                                                           9
                              resources provided in DEA’s fiscal year 1997 appropriation, the
                              President’s budget requested 345 new positions, including 168 special
                              agents, for DEA domestic offices. As shown in table 4.2, the number of
                              total positions requested was approximately one-half the number DOJ

                              8
                               Although no specific mention of DEA staffing was made in the ONDCP certification correspondence
                              for fiscal year 1998, DEA officials indicated that during fiscal year 1998, DEA acted on the ONDCP
                              Director’s recommendations for additional staffing for DEA offices in Santo Domingo, Dominican
                              Republic; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and Nassau.
                              9
                               DEA’s fiscal year 1997 appropriation, as part of DOJ’s appropriation, was enacted on September 30,
                              1996. See Department of Justice Appropriations Act of 1997, P.L. 104-208; and H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 104-
                              863.




                              Page 93                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                        Chapter 4
                                        DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




                                        initially estimated in its OMB submission. The number of special agents
                                        requested was approximately 50 percent of the original DOJ estimates.

                                        Some of the differences between the DOJ estimates and the DEA staffing
                                        request in the President’s budget submission reflected changes
                                        recommended by DOJ or OMB, which were previously discussed.
                                        However, other revisions took into account DEA’s fiscal year 1997
                                        appropriation. For example, according to DOJ officials, although DEA’s
                                        international crime initiative was not included in the President’s budget
                                        submission for fiscal year 1998, DEA was able to staff the Vientiane and
                                        Managua offices, included in that initiative, with fiscal year 1997 funds
                                                                            10
                                        from the Source Country Initiative. In addition, because Congress
                                        provided almost twice the funds for the MET Program requested by DEA
                                        in fiscal year 1997, the program was fully funded (130 agents were
                                        provided) as of that year. Additional funds for the MET Program, which
                                        had been included in the fiscal year 1998 violent crime initiative, were no
                                        longer necessary.

Table 4.2: Comparison of DOJ’s
Estimates and the President’s Request                                            Additional total and special agent positions
for Additional DEA Total and Special                                           DOJ’s DEA staffing        President’s DEA staffing
Agent Positions for Fiscal Year 1998                                            estimates to OMB           request to Congress
                                                                                 September 1996               February 1997
                                                                                                Special                     Special
                                        Initiative                                  Total       agents          Total       agents
                                                                                                                     a             a
                                        Violent crime                                 94             48
                                        Methamphetamine                              208             96            74           60
                                        Southwest Border                             193             96          192            96
                                        Domestic heroin                               97             53            60           12
                                                                                                                     a             a
                                        International crime                           54             18
                                        Investigative shortfall                      125              0            19             0
                                        Total                                        771            311          345           168
                                        a
                                         The conference report for DEA's fiscal year 1997 appropriation provided an additional 75 agents for
                                        source countries and 130 special agents for the MET Program, thereby addressing at least some of
                                        DOJ's initial estimates for the violent crime and international crime initiatives (H.R. Conf. Rep. No.
                                        104-863).
                                        Source: DEA Fiscal Year 1998 Office of Management and Budget Submission, September 1996, and
                                        DEA Fiscal Year 1998 Authorization and Budget Request to Congress.




                                        10
                                           The conference report for DEA’s fiscal year 1997 appropriation included a source
                                        country/international strategy, which provided an additional 75 agents, to increase on-site DEA agents
                                        in source countries. See H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 104-863.




                                        Page 94                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                         Chapter 4
                         DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




                         As shown in table 4.3, the conference committee recommended 531
Congress Added Staff     additional positions, of which 240 were special agent positions. On the
for a New Caribbean      basis of the recommendations of the House and Senate Appropriations
Initiative and Changed   Committees, the conference committee also provided guidance as to how
                         those positions were to be allocated, including a new Caribbean initiative.
Staffing Recommended
for Other DEA            During the fiscal year 1998 appropriations process, the House
Initiatives              Appropriations Committee recommended, and Congress approved as part
                         of the conference committee’s report on DEA’s appropriation, a new
                         Caribbean initiative, which was not included in the President’s budget.
                         According to the House Appropriations Committee report, this initiative
                         was proposed to address the increase in drug trafficking throughout the
                         Caribbean. The initiative provided 60 additional DEA special agents for
                         Puerto Rico, the Northern Caribbean, and south Florida.

                         In addition, the conference committee recommended additional positions,
                         above the President’s request, for the heroin and investigative shortfall
                         initiatives. On the basis of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s
                         recommendation, the Conference Committee’s report included 120 new
                         positions, 24 of which were special agents (twice the number of total and
                         special agent positions in the President’s budget request), to continue
                         efforts to reduce heroin trafficking within the United States. The
                         Conference Committee also identified the need for 85 additional
                         intelligence analysts for the investigative shortfall initiative.

                         The President signed DEA/DOJ’s fiscal year 1998 appropriation into law on
                         November 26, 1996.




                         Page 95                                     GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                     Chapter 4
                                     DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




Table 4.3: Comparison of the
President’s Request and Congress’                                             Additional total and special agent positions
Appropriations Guidance for DEA                                                                         Fiscal year 1998 DOJ
Additional Total and Special Agent                                                                   appropriation conference
Positions for Fiscal Year 1998                                            President’s DEA staffing    report with DEA staffing
                                                                            request to Congress               guidance
                                                                               February 1997               November 1997
                                                                                             Special                     Special
                                     Initiative                                  Total       agents          Total        agents
                                     Methamphetamine                               74a            60            74            60b
                                     Southwest Border                             192             96           192             96
                                     Domestic heroin                                60            12           120            24c
                                     Investigative shortfall                        19             0            85              0
                                     Caribbean                                    N/A            N/A            60             60
                                     Total                                        345            168           531           240
                                     Notes: N/A—Initiative not included at that point in the process.
                                     a
                                         Fourteen of the positions were requested through VCRP.
                                     b
                                      The conference report called for 54 special agents in accordance with the House report. The House
                                     report also identified six additional agent positions to conduct clandestine lab training. Fourteen
                                     positions were provided through VCRP.
                                     c
                                      The conference report called for 120 positions, in accordance with the Senate report. The Senate
                                     language specified that 24 of the positions be special agents.
                                     Source: DEA FY 1998 Authorization and Budget Request to Congress; the Departments of
                                     Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998, P.L.
                                     105-119 (1997); H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 105-405; H.R. Rep. No. 105-207; and S. Rep. No. 105-48.


                                     After receipt of its annual appropriation, DEA is responsible for budget
DEA’s Fiscal Year 1998               execution and the allocation of new staff. In addition to the guidance
Allocation Process                   provided by Congress, DEA officials said they consider factors, such as
Considered a Variety of              recently changing drug trends, to determine that allocation.
Factors                              For fiscal year 1998, according to a DEA official involved in the allocation
                                     process that year, DEA’s Executive Policy and Strategic Planning,
                                     Operations Division, Financial Management Division, and Office of
                                     Resource Management staff prepared a draft allocation for the additional
                                     resources provided in DEA’s appropriation. The official indicated that
                                     among the factors considered in determining the allocation of additional
                                     staff were congressional direction; the number of agents added by
                                     Congress, broken out by mission and team; FMPs and any other written
                                     requests from the field divisions; DEA and DOJ strategies, initiatives, and
                                     priorities, including the Southwest Border and methamphetamine plans;
                                     actual hours worked by agents on particular types of cases; and drug
                                     trends that had emerged since the original fiscal year 1998 budget
                                     submission. The recommendations were sent to the DEA Administrator for
                                     review and final approval.




                                     Page 96                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                         Chapter 4
                                         DEA's Staffing Needs Determination and Allocation Process for Fiscal Year 1998




                                         DEA allocated 531 new positions, including 240 special agent positions, for
                                         the 5 initiatives included in its appropriation. As shown in table 4.4, DEA’s
                                         fiscal year 1998 staffing allocation followed Congress’ appropriations
                                         guidance.

Table 4.4: Comparison of Congress’
Appropriations Guidance and DEA’s                                                Additional total and special agent positions
New Staffing Allocation for Additional                                        Fiscal year 1998 DOJ
DEA Staffing and Special Agent                                              appropriation conference
Positions for Fiscal Year 1998                                               report and DEA staffing      DEA fiscal year 1998
                                                                                    guidance                staffing allocation
                                                                                 November 1997                February 1998
                                                                                                Special                      Special
                                         Initiative                                 Total       agents           Total        agents
                                         Methamphetamine                              74a            60            74             60
                                         Southwest Border                            192             96           192             96
                                         Domestic heroin                             120            24b           120             24
                                         Investigative shortfall                       85             0            85              0
                                         Caribbean                                     60            60            60             60
                                                                                                                                    c
                                         Total                                       531            240           531           240
                                         a
                                          The conference report called for the 54 special agents in accordance with the House report. The
                                         House report also identified six additional agent positions to conduct clandestine lab training.
                                         Fourteen positions were provided through VCRP.
                                         b
                                          The conference report called for 120 positions, in accordance with the Senate report. The Senate
                                         language specified that 24 of the positions be special agents.
                                         c
                                         DEA also allocated 45 additional positions provided through other funding sources for a total of 576
                                         positions allocated, of which 245 were special agents.
                                         Source: The Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies
                                         Appropriations Act, 1998, P.L. 105-119 (1997); H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 105-405; H.R. Rep. No. 105-207;
                                         S. Rep. No. 105-48; and DEA.


                                         The process used for determining DEA’s staffing needs, as carried out in
Conclusions                              fiscal year 1998, was systematically linked to its budget formulation
                                         process. The DEA process was typical of and consistent with the
                                         processes and procedures that federal agencies are expected to follow,
                                         according to federal laws and regulations and procedures promulgated by
                                         OMB. Moreover, the DEA process considered factors related to DEA’s
                                         ability to carry out its mission, including emerging drug trafficking trends,
                                         staffing requests from the field, the Administrator’s vision statement, and
                                         the SAC’s vision statement from each field office. Once Congress approved
                                         DEA’s fiscal year 1998 appropriation, DEA senior management
                                         systematically determined the allocation of the additional staff to
                                         headquarters and field offices, taking into consideration congressional
                                         guidance and such factors as field office requests.




                                         Page 97                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I

Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field
Divisions and Foreign Offices

               During our review, we visited four Drug Enforcement Administration
               (DEA) domestic field divisions—Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; New Orleans,
               LA; and Washington, D.C./Baltimore, MD. We also visited three foreign
               country offices—Bogota, Colombia; LaPaz, Bolivia; and Mexico City,
               Mexico—and the Caribbean (Puerto Rico) Division, which has both
               foreign and domestic responsibilities. The following profiles provide a
               snapshot of each division/office at the time we performed our work at
               those locations between February and September 1998. The profiles
               include information, as of that time (unless otherwise noted), on the (1)
               geographic region covered by each division/office and its organizational
               structure; (2) drug trafficking situation and threat faced by each
               division/office; (3) enforcement response of each division/office in terms
               of priorities, programs, and initiatives; and (4) enforcement statistics and
               case examples. Many of the programs and initiatives referred to in the
               profiles are generally described in chapter 2 of this report. We developed
               the profiles on the basis of information—including various documents and
               statistical data—provided by DEA field officials, although we could not
               always obtain comparable information from all divisions/offices. We did
               not independently verify the accuracy of the information provided.




               Page 98                              GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Appendix I
                           Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Los Angeles Division
Geographic Region and      DEA’s Los Angeles Division covers a vast geographic area that includes
                           portions of California and all of Nevada, Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, the
Organizational Structure   Republic of Palau, and American Samoa. Los Angeles has the busiest
                           maritime container port complexes in the United States at the ports of
                           Long Beach and Los Angeles. Los Angeles International airport is the third
                           busiest in the world. In addition, there are major airports in Orange and
                           San Bernardino Counties, Las Vegas, and Honolulu. California and Nevada
                           are also served by an extensive highway system.

                           The Los Angeles Division is headed by a Special Agent in Charge (SAC),
                           two Associate SACs, and seven Assistant SACs (ASACs). It includes the
                           division office, three district offices, four resident offices, and three posts
                                                            1
                           of duty, as shown in figure I.1.




                           1
                               The maps included in the profiles in this appendix are not drawn precisely to scale.




                           Page 99                                               GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                                 Appendix I
                                                 Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Figure I.1: Los Angeles Division Map




                                                                                                      Reno
                                      Pacific
                                                                                                     South Lake Tahoe
                                      Ocean


                                                                                                                         Nevada


                                                                                             California

                                                                                                                               Las Vegas



                        Honolulu
                                                Maui

                                                                                               Ventura
                                   Hawaii                                                                 Los Angeles
                                                       Hilo                                                        Riverside
                                                                                                                 Santa Ana

      Guam




      Division office
      District office
      Resident office
      Post of duty


                                                 Source: DEA’s Los Angeles Division.




                                                 Page 100                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                            At the time of our visit in February 1998, the division was authorized to
                            have 445 staff, including 283 special agents. There also were 114 state and
                            local officers from various law enforcement agencies assigned to task
                            forces operated by the division.

Overview of Drug            According to DEA, the region covered by the Los Angeles Division is one
                            of the most significant worldwide centers of drug trafficking, money
Trafficking Situation and   laundering, and drug-related violence. The region serves as a source,
Threat                      transit area and distribution site for a variety of illegal drugs.

                            The division’s size, multiplicity of jurisdictions, and ethnic diversity all
                            pose law enforcement challenges, as do its myriad entry points and transit
                            corridors. The proximity to the Southwest Border makes the region easily
                            accessible to trafficking organizations bringing cocaine, heroin, and other
                            drugs into the United States. The region is also a major source of
                            methamphetamine clandestinely produced in laboratories and high-grade
                            marijuana cultivated in outdoor and indoor operations. In addition, DEA
                            reported that much of the region is plagued by drug-related violent crime,
                            often gang related, and that most of California’s violent gang activity is in
                            Los Angeles county.

Cocaine                     At the time of our review, DEA considered cocaine to be one of the biggest
                            drug trafficking problems for the division. Los Angeles is a major
                            transshipment point for cocaine en route to other parts of the United
                            States and Canada. Cocaine is smuggled into Southern California primarily
                            across the U.S.-Mexico border.

                            According to DEA, Mexican drug trafficking organizations smuggle most of
                            the cocaine coming into and through Los Angeles. Although Colombian
                            traffickers control the worldwide supply of cocaine, they prefer to move
                            their cocaine into Mexico and sell it to Mexican organizations. Cocaine
                            traffickers use various means, such as automobiles and tractor-trailers
                            with hidden compartments, to move cocaine across the border. Other
                            points of entry for cocaine include airports and maritime ports in the
                            region.

                            DEA reported that traffickers were using “stash houses” to store cocaine in
                            Los Angeles and Riverside counties. From these stash houses, cocaine was
                            being distributed locally or moved to other destinations in the United
                            States and Canada. Mobile street gangs were involved in handling the local
                            cocaine distribution. These gangs were also transporting cocaine and
                            crack cocaine to other destinations.




                            Page 101                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Heroin                      At the time of our review, Mexican heroin was the heroin of choice for
                            users in the area covered by the Los Angeles Division, according to DEA.
                            Heroin was also coming into the region from Southeast Asia (principally
                            Thailand and the Philippines) and Canada, and to a lesser extent from
                            Southwest Asia/Middle East (Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon) and Colombia.
                            Although heroin was being smuggled into the country in a variety of ways,
                            DEA reported that most was arriving in maritime containers or aircraft for
                            passengers or cargo.

                            Also, according to DEA, black tar heroin and Mexican brown heroin, the
                            most available and popular form of heroin in the Los Angeles area, were
                            both supplied by Mexican traffickers. Trafficking in Southeast Asian
                            heroin, which was being imported into the Los Angeles area and
                            transshipped to the East Coast, was dominated by Thai nationals and
                            Thailand-based Nigerian traffickers.

Methamphetamine and Other   At the time of our review, methamphetamine was the most manufactured
Dangerous Drugs             and distributed illegal drug in the geographic area covered by the Los
                            Angeles division, according to DEA. It is the division’s top enforcement
                            priority. Although methamphetamine trafficking takes place throughout
                            the region, it is predominantly concentrated in Riverside and San
                            Bernardino counties, where there has been a tremendous increase in
                            clandestine methamphetamine laboratories. These two counties have been
                            designated as the methamphetamine capital of the nation.

                            The division’s most serious methamphetamine threat is from Mexican drug
                            trafficking organizations that dominate the production of high-quality
                            methamphetamine in southern California. At the time of our review, DEA
                            reported that the number of Mexican methamphetamine laboratories was
                            increasing at an alarming rate. Other individuals were operating small,
                            unsophisticated methamphetamine laboratories that made up most of the
                            clandestine laboratories in southern California.

                            The diversion of legitimately produced controlled substances is also a
                            serious threat in the region, particularly in the Los Angeles area. Numerous
                            means are used to divert these drugs to local abusers and traffickers. At
                            the time of our review, traffickers were shipping the drugs throughout the
                            United States and abroad, according to DEA. Other dangerous drugs are
                            also trafficked in the area covered by the division, including PCP and LSD.

Marijuana                   According to DEA, marijuana importation, cultivation, and trafficking
                            remain an ongoing enforcement challenge throughout the division.
                            Marijuana is prolific throughout the region, and Los Angeles is a major



                            Page 102                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                            transshipment area for marijuana destined for other parts of the United
                            States.

                            Mexican trafficking organizations smuggle marijuana into the region. DEA
                            reported that these organizations had cornered the wholesale and retail
                            distribution markets for marijuana in Southern and Central California.
                            Colombian organizations also were involved in marijuana trafficking, using
                            Mexican organizations to transport marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico
                            border.

                            Domestic cultivation also is a problem, with high-grade marijuana being
                            grown in outdoor gardens and on farms in Hawaii, California, and Nevada.
                            According to DEA, Hawaii leads the nation in domestic marijuana
                            cultivation. The division reported seeing an increase in the number of
                            large-scale indoor operations in California and Nevada.

Priorities, Programs, and   At the time of our review, the Los Angeles Division reported operating
                            various programs and initiatives in response to the drug trafficking threat
Initiatives                 in the region. The division was working with other federal, state, and local
                            law enforcement agencies to carry out its programs and initiatives. For
                            fiscal year 1998, the division’s goal was to focus available resources on
                            identifying, investigating, and prosecuting criminal drug enterprises, their
                            support systems, and the individuals responsible for their origin and
                            proliferation. Another priority of the division was to use federal asset
                            forfeiture laws to affect criminal organizations by seizing proceeds derived
                            from their criminal activity.

                            Division resources to carry out its programs and initiatives included task
                            force operations, an asset forfeiture group, an intelligence program, a drug
                                                        2
                            diversion control program, investigative initiatives aimed at gangs
                            involved in drug-related violent crimes, Mobile Enforcement Team (MET)
                            Program operations, the Southwest Border Initiative, and a
                            methamphetamine initiative. At the time of our review, the division had
                            planned to continue expanding its Title III (electronic surveillance)
                            program; promote greater cooperation in developing joint investigations
                            with other federal, state, and local agencies aimed at the highest level of
                            drug trafficking; and widen the scope of interagency task forces.


                            2
                             DEA’s drug diversion control program is designed to enforce federal laws and regulations controlling
                            the legal production and distribution of legitimately manufactured controlled substances; prevent and
                            detect, through criminal, civil, and administrative actions, the diversion of controlled substances from
                            legitimate channels; and control the diversion of legally produced precursor and essential chemicals to
                            the illicit manufacture of drugs.




                            Page 103                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




The division office in Los Angeles had nine enforcement groups at the time
of our review. According to the SAC, three of the groups were working on
                                 3
the Southwest Border Initiative, a major drug enforcement operation
along and across the Mexican border using resources from DEA, FBI, the
Customs Service, and state and local law enforcement agencies. The office
also had groups focusing on Southeast Asian heroin, Mexican heroin,
drugs primarily from Southeast Asia and Europe, methamphetamine, and
violent drug trafficking groups. In addition to the enforcement groups, the
division office had support groups, including technical operations, asset
removal, intelligence, and diversion control.

The division’s district offices, resident offices, and posts of duty all had
enforcement groups focusing primarily on specific drug trafficking
problems in their areas. For example, the Riverside district office, with
four enforcement groups, concentrated on methamphetamine trafficking
and the Southwest Border Initiative. These outlying offices are encouraged
to cooperate and conduct joint efforts with state and local law
enforcement agencies in developing cases and conducting other
operations.

The division had state and local task forces in Riverside, Santa Ana, Reno,
Las Vegas, Honolulu, Saipan, and Guam. Though not part of a DEA-funded
state and local task force, the Ventura office assisted three narcotics task
forces in its area. Also, DEA’s group at Los Angeles International airport
was an informal task force with officers from the Los Angeles Police
Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office working together with
DEA special agents.

At the time of our review, the division had one MET that it was using to
target organizations engaged in violent drug-related crimes, particularly
with regard to cocaine and crack cocaine trafficking. In commenting on a
draft of our report, DEA officials informed us that a second MET was
established in October 1998. The officials also informed us that as of May
1999, the first MET had 10 special agents assigned to it, and the second
MET had 11 special agents assigned.

Further, as of May 1999, the first MET had received 19 requests for
assistance since 1995 and was deployed for 14. Since its inception, the
second MET had received two requests for assistance and was deployed
for both.

3
 In addition, four DEA special agents were assigned to a Southwest Border Initiative group located at
the Los Angeles FBI office.




Page 104                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Appendix I
                             Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                             The division is a major participant in the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug
                             Trafficking Area (HIDTA), which is the largest HIDTA in the country. At
                             the time of our review, a DEA Associate SAC headed the Southern
                             California Drug Task Force (SCDTF) in the HIDTA, and a DEA ASAC
                             headed one of three SCDTF divisions. The SCDTF is a multiagency,
                             integrated task force that comprised 105 federal, state, and local law
                             enforcement officers, including 40 DEA special agents, at the time of our
                             review. SCDTF’s primary objective is to conduct investigations targeting
                             major drug trafficking organizations that operate on a regional, national,
                             and international level. The Los Angeles HIDTA’s fiscal year 1998 strategy
                             referred to SCDTF as the “cornerstone” of the HIDTA. DEA also had an
                             intelligence group assigned to SCDTF, as well as staff assigned to other
                             Los Angeles HIDTA units.

                             Other major programs and initiatives being implemented by DEA’s Los
                             Angeles Division at the time of our review included the following: (1) the
                             Methamphetamine Strategy, which was aimed at major domestic and
                             Mexican traffickers involved in producing methamphetamine and other
                             dangerous drugs and was being carried out with state and local law
                             enforcement agencies; (2) money laundering investigations and seizures of
                             criminally derived drug-related assets, which were carried out in
                             conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Customs
                             Service, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and California Bureau of
                             Narcotics Enforcement; and (3) the Domestic Cannabis
                             Eradication/Suppression Program (marijuana program), particularly
                             initiatives conducted in cooperation with state and local law enforcement
                             agencies in Hawaii.

                             Most of the division’s resources have been devoted to cases involving
                             cocaine, methamphetamine, and other dangerous drugs. For example, in
                             fiscal year 1997, the division’s special agents spent about 35.7 percent of
                             their investigative work hours on cocaine cases and about 35.7 percent on
                             cases involving dangerous drugs, including methamphetamine. In fiscal
                             year 1998, they spent about 33.2 percent of their investigative work hours
                             on cocaine cases and about 41.8 percent on cases involving dangerous
                             drugs, including methamphetamine.

Enforcement Statistics and   Enforcement activity results reported by the Los Angeles Division
                             indicated that the division initiated 1,573 cases in fiscal year 1997 and 1,446
Case Examples                cases in fiscal year 1998. The division reported 1,892 arrests in fiscal year
                             1997 and 2,214 arrests in fiscal year 1998. The division also reported
                             seizing approximately 4,500 kilograms of cocaine, 25 kilograms of heroin,
                             16,400 kilograms of marijuana, and 268 kilograms of methamphetamine in



                             Page 105                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Appendix I
  Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




  fiscal year 1997. For fiscal year 1998, the division reported seizing
  approximately 4,656 kilograms of cocaine, 59 kilograms of heroin, 9,235
  kilograms of marijuana, and 673 kilograms of methamphetamine. In
  addition, the division reported seizing assets amounting to $52.4 million in
  fiscal year 1997 and assets amounting to $122.2 million in fiscal year 1998.
  Further, the division reported seizing 87 clandestine laboratories in fiscal
  year 1997 and 90 clandestine laboratories in fiscal year 1998.

  The following are two examples of what the Los Angeles Division
  considered to be successful major investigations.

• DEA’s Los Angeles Division conducted an investigation targeting a
  Mexican-based cocaine trafficking organization operating in the Los
  Angeles area. The organization was responsible for smuggling large
  quantities of cocaine into the United States from Mexico, stockpiling it in
  the Los Angeles area, and distributing it throughout the United States.
  Members of the organization collected drug proceeds and transported the
  money to Mexico. The investigation involved the wire interception of 29
  cellular telephones and the electronic interception of 19 digital paging
  devices. It resulted in the arrest of 52 individuals and seizures of over $15
  million, 3.5 tons of cocaine, and 570 pounds of marijuana. On the basis of
  leads developed from this investigation, DEA offices in San Diego, San
  Francisco, Chicago, New York, and Calexico, Mexico initiated related
  investigations and wiretaps. Surveillance teams comprising state and local
  agencies assisted DEA with this investigation.

• DEA’s Los Angeles Division and Islamabad Country Office worked with
                                                                      4
  the Pakistan Antinarcotics Force to conduct a controlled delivery of
  Southwest Asian heroin. DEA, U.S. Customs agents, local law enforcement
  officers, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were subsequently
  involved in the arrest of several drug traffickers. The operation resulted in
  the seizure of 106 kilograms of Southwest Asian heroin and approximately
  $509,000 in U.S. currency, as well as three arrests in the United States,
  three in Canada, and one in Pakistan.




  4
   A controlled delivery is an investigative tool whereby law enforcement authorities monitor a shipment
  of illegal drugs to its intended destination for eventual seizure.




  Page 106                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Appendix I
                           Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Miami Division
Geographic Region and      DEA’s Miami Division is responsible for federal drug law enforcement in
                           Florida, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and Cuba. The division’s 8,462
Organizational Structure   miles of coastline and 14 deep-water ports have made it very attractive for
                           maritime smugglers, and its 18 commercial cargo and passenger carrier
                           airports also pose a smuggling threat. The Miami Division, which is headed
                           by a SAC, 2 Associate SACs, and 8 ASACs, includes the division office, 3
                           district offices, 10 resident offices, 1 post of duty, and 1 country office, as
                           shown in figure I.2.




                           Page 107                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                                       Appendix I
                                                       Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Figure I.2: Miami Division Map



   Pensacola
                                      Jacksonville
                        Tallahassee
        Panama
        City
                                         Gainesville
                           Florida
                                                Orlando


                                            Tampa


                                                        Ft. Pierce
                                                                                       Freeport
                                                       W. Palm Beach
                                                       Ft. Myers
                                                       Ft. Lauderdale
                                                             Miami
                                                                                                                     Bahamas
                                                                                                     Nassau
                                                                        Key Largo

                                                            Key West


      Division office
      Country office
      District office
      Resident office
      Post of duty

                                                                                                  Cuba




                                                       Source: DEA’s Miami Division.




                                                       Page 108                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                            At the time of our visit in June 1998, the division was authorized to have
                            600 staff, including 400 special agents. In addition, there were 99 staff from
                            state and local agencies authorized for various task forces and groups in
                            the division, including 92 law enforcement officers.

Overview of Drug            According to DEA, at the time of our review, South Florida continued to be
                            one of the principal gateways for cocaine entering the United States. The
Trafficking Situation and   Miami Division reported that South American drug traffickers were
Threat                      shifting their trafficking patterns back to routes in the Caribbean, as
                            evidenced by the amount of trafficking activity in the Bahamas and
                            Florida. Further, as Colombian traffickers have become increasingly
                            involved in heroin trafficking, Miami International Airport became the
                            principal port of entry for Colombian heroin into the United States.

                            Other drugs were also a concern of the division. For example, DEA
                            reported that marijuana trafficking through the Caribbean has traditionally
                            been a problem, and there had been an increase in the amounts of
                            marijuana and methamphetamine from the Southwest Border being
                            transshipped through central and northern Florida. DEA also reported an
                            increase in the production of methamphetamine in clandestine
                            laboratories in the Florida area.

Cocaine                     The Miami Division reported that as drug law enforcement efforts
                            increased along the Southwest Border in recent years, South Florida
                            became the North American command and control center for major South
                            American trafficking organizations. Colombians dominate the major South
                            Florida drug-smuggling organizations, and they continued to finance and
                            control the wholesale cocaine distribution market in the area. The division
                            further reported that drug intelligence indicated that the Colombian
                            traffickers did not completely trust Mexican trafficking organizations;
                            consequently, cocaine trafficking patterns had begun to shift in 1997 and
                            1998. Once again, large shipments of cocaine were being sent from South
                            America, through Mexico and the Caribbean, to South Florida.

                            The Caribbean serves as a major transit zone for cocaine from Central and
                            South America, and Florida is a significant importation and transit area for
                            cocaine smuggled through the Bahamas. According to DEA, airdrops of
                            cocaine from planes coming directly from Colombia to the Bahamas were
                            taking place at an accelerating rate in 1998. The primary threat, however,
                            was “go-fast” boats and pleasure craft. Such vessels were being used to
                            carry up to 1,500 kilograms of cocaine through the Bahamas to the United
                            States. Small commercial cargo vessels were also being used to smuggle
                            drugs through the Bahamas.



                            Page 109                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                            Cocaine was also smuggled in other ways into the area covered by the
                            division. For example, DEA reported that aircraft were used to smuggle
                            cocaine directly into Florida from the Eastern Caribbean. Maritime
                            smuggling continued to be a significant factor, including the shipment of
                            cocaine hidden within containerized cargo on ships travelling from South
                            America to Florida. There also were indications that the Florida Keys were
                            increasingly being used as an off-load point for Cuban traffickers.

                            According to DEA, crack cocaine was the most significant problem for the
                            division’s offices outside South Florida. South Florida traffickers were
                            supplying most of the state, except for the Florida panhandle area, which
                            was being supplied by trafficking organizations along the Southwest
                            Border.

Heroin                      According to DEA, the drug threat in the area covered by the Miami
                            Division has expanded to include increased heroin importation from South
                            America to the United States through Florida. Opium poppy cultivation
                            and heroin trafficking have become part of the Colombian illegal drug
                            trade, and Colombian traffickers were increasing their efforts to sell
                            multikilogram quantities of heroin to distributors in the United States.

                            Miami International Airport replaced New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport
                            as the principal port of entry for Colombian heroin into the United States.
                            Another significant heroin smuggling route was from the Caribbean
                            directly to Orlando, where the heroin was then transported through
                            Florida and on to large markets in major northeastern cities.

Methamphetamine and Other   According to DEA, methamphetamine trafficking and use had increased
Dangerous Drugs             throughout Florida, particularly in central and northern Florida. Mexican
                            organizations in Florida were the primary sources of methamphetamine.
                            DEA reported that most of these organizations had ties to similar
                            organizations in Southern California and/or Mexico where they were
                            obtaining the drug. In addition to smuggling methamphetamine into
                            Florida, local organizations were becoming increasingly adept at
                            clandestinely manufacturing it. DEA also reported there was a great
                            amount of drug-related violence associated with the distribution and use of
                            methamphetamine.

                            The diversion of legal pharmaceutical drugs to illegal channels continued
                            to be a problem in Florida. Physicians and pharmacists were the source of
                            most of these drugs through activities such as indiscriminate and illegal
                            prescribing practices and forged prescriptions. In addition, numerous
                            chemical companies and brokers in Florida were diverting and supplying



                            Page 110                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                   Appendix I
                   Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                   chemicals used by clandestine laboratory operators to produce
                   methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.

Marijuana          Marijuana was widely available throughout the area covered by the
                   division, according to DEA. Although marijuana trafficking through the
                   Caribbean has traditionally been a concern, the division also reported an
                   increase in the amount of marijuana coming from the Southwest Border
                   and being transshipped through central and northern Florida.

                   Traffickers were using a variety of smuggling routes and methods to bring
                   marijuana into Florida. For example, DEA reported that trafficking groups
                   were transshipping marijuana from Colombia through Florida using
                   private vessels. Other traffickers were using commercial trucks to bring
                   marijuana into Florida from Texas and Mexico. Smaller quantities of
                   marijuana were being dispatched in luggage on commercial airline flights
                   or via AMTRAK. Additionally, Federal Express and other package delivery
                   services were frequently used to transport small quantities of marijuana.

                   A large percentage of the marijuana consumed in South Florida was being
                   grown locally. DEA reported that indoor marijuana cultivation had reached
                   record levels. Typically, indoor growing operations were located in private
                   residences and consisted of about 200 to 300 plants. Larger indoor
                   operations consisting of up to 10,000 plants were becoming more
                   prevalent. Outdoor growing operations, sometimes amounting to several
                   thousand plants, were usually located on private property in more rural
                   areas or on protected forest land.

Money Laundering   According to DEA, South Florida continues to be a major center for
                   Colombian drug traffickers’ money laundering activities. At the time of our
                   review, recent financial investigations indicated that traffickers were using
                   electronic fund transfers to move narcotics proceeds from the United
                   States to Central and South America. Traffickers were also using both
                   legitimate and illegitimate import/export businesses to purchase products
                   with illegal drug proceeds for export mostly to South America, thus hiding
                   the source of the proceeds and providing additional profit.

                   Intelligence also indicated that smuggling of large shipments of bulk
                   United States currency from Florida to Colombia has continued. In recent
                   cases, traffickers wrapped and shipped bulk currency in hollowed
                   appliances and containers. At times, these bulk shipments were sent to
                   Colombia via third countries, such as Venezuela or Panama.




                   Page 111                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Priorities, Programs, and   The Miami Division’s traditional priority has been regional, national, and
                            international investigations aimed at disrupting the ability of major South
Initiatives                 American traffickers to import and distribute cocaine, as well as their
                            ability to move the proceeds of their operations to South America. The
                            division believes such investigations have become increasingly important
                            as drug trafficking through the Caribbean has increased.

                            In this regard, the division’s management plans, at the time of our review,
                            called for it to (1) direct investigative efforts towards major international
                            organizations, targeting every aspect of their operations; and (2) increase
                            cooperative efforts with foreign counterparts as well as other federal,
                            state, and local law enforcement agencies. The plan also called for the
                            division to (1) attack street-level drug gangs through the MET Program,
                            task forces, and drug enforcement training for state and local officers; and
                            (2) continue to take a proactive role with the media, business and
                            community groups, and schools to increase awareness of DEA’s mission
                            and the dangers of drug abuse.

                            At the time of our review, the division office in Miami had eight
                            enforcement groups as well as four HIDTA task force groups and two
                            METs. In addition to these groups, the division office had a diversion
                            control group and support groups, including technical operations, asset
                            removal, and intelligence. The division’s outlying district, country, and
                            resident offices had various enforcement groups, including eight state and
                            local task forces and a HIDTA task force group. Also, the Orlando and
                            Tampa district offices each had a diversion control group.

                            The Miami Division received 62 new positions in fiscal year 1998. Most of
                            these positions resulted from a congressional appropriation designed to
                            increase DEA’s efforts against drug trafficking in the Caribbean and
                            Florida (referred to as the Caribbean initiative). The additional positions
                            were added to offices throughout the division, particularly in South
                            Florida, the Bahamas, and the Florida Keys.

                            The division office’s four HIDTA task force groups were part of the Miami
                            HIDTA established in 1990. The Miami HIDTA’s fiscal year 1998 goals were
                            to reduce drug trafficking, money laundering, and drug-related crime and
                            violence as well as to prevent and reduce drug abuse. DEA officials said
                            that all four HIDTA groups focused primarily on Colombian cocaine cases.
                            However, one group also investigated indoor marijuana growing
                            operations, and another group also conducted “street sweeps” with City of
                            Miami and Miami-Dade police. Miami HIDTA task force group participants




                            Page 112                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




included special agents from DEA, Customs, IRS, and the FBI as well as
officers from various state and local law enforcement agencies.

The Central Florida HIDTA was established in Orlando, FL, in 1998. Its
fiscal year 1998 mission was to measurably reduce drug trafficking and
related money laundering and apprehend violent drug fugitives, thereby
reducing the impact of drug-related crimes in Central Florida. As part of
this HIDTA, the Miami Division’s Orlando District Office operated a
multiagency heroin task force, and its Tampa District Office managed a
multiagency methamphetamine task force.

Financial investigations are a priority of the division. Enforcement groups
have carried out investigations targeting money launderers, such as
Operation Cali-Man, and also initiated Operation Greenskeeper to
penetrate major trafficking organizations by offering money laundering
services to traffickers. In addition, the division reestablished its asset
removal group, whose primary goal was to provide asset forfeiture training
to special agents and task force officers. The division planned that this
group would expand its role to support the division’s financial
investigations and then eventually assume a proactive role in conducting
and assisting financial investigations.

The division’s efforts to combat marijuana trafficking included
investigations of organizations responsible for smuggling marijuana into
the United States, transporting marijuana to Florida from the Southwest
Border, and transporting marijuana to other locations within the United
States. DEA offices located in the Florida Panhandle, for example,
participated in Operation Pipeline with state and local agencies to interdict
marijuana being shipped on Florida highways.

In addition, the division participated in DEA’s marijuana eradication
program to assist in the detection and eradication of marijuana plants
grown in Florida. DEA provided the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement (FDLE) with $320,000 to implement this program in fiscal
year 1998. The division’s marijuana eradication program manager in
Tallahassee, along with DEA field coordinators in various district and
resident offices, are to work with the FDLE and maintain liaison with the
various federal, state, and local agencies involved in the program to
coordinate their activities. DEA also participates in eradication operations
and investigations of growers and provides program training.

The Miami Division had two METs at the time of our review. The first was
established in February 1995 and the second in February 1997. Each MET



Page 113                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Appendix I
                             Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                             had 12 special agents. According to the ASAC responsible for the METs, in
                             assessing a request from a police chief or sheriff for MET assistance, the
                             teams decide whether they can make an impact on the drug-related
                             violence in the community. The assessment includes, but is not limited to,
                             the extent of drug-related violence as measured by criteria such as the
                             murder rate and the number of violent gangs. At the time of our review,
                             the first MET had been deployed to four local communities in the
                             geographic area covered by the division; the second MET had completed
                             deployments to three local communities and was conducting a fourth.

                             At the time of our review, another major program conducted by the Miami
                             Division was Operation Bahamas, Turks, and Caicos Islands (OPBAT).
                             OPBAT was designed to interdict illegal drugs being shipped through the
                             Bahamas to the United States. The division’s Nassau Country Office works
                             with the Bahamian police, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Army to carry out
                             this operation. The DEA ASAC responsible for OPBAT said it is basically a
                             response force. Some patrols are conducted, but OPBAT personnel
                             primarily react to specific intelligence about drug shipments.

                             Most of the division’s resources have been devoted to cocaine cases. For
                             example, in fiscal year 1997, the division’s special agents spent about 71.6
                             percent of their investigative work hours on cocaine cases. In fiscal year
                             1998, they spent about 70.6 percent of their investigative work hours on
                             cocaine cases.

Enforcement Statistics and   The Miami Division reported 3,945 arrests in fiscal year 1997 and 3,417
                             arrests in fiscal year 1998. The division reported seizing 17,860 kilograms
Case Examples                of cocaine, 34.1 kilograms of heroin, and 14,935 kilograms of marijuana in
                             fiscal year 1997. For fiscal year 1998, the division reported seizing 24,484
                             kilograms of cocaine, 96 kilograms of heroin, and 26,849 kilograms of
                             marijuana. The division also reported that 108,178 marijuana plants were
                             eradicated in calendar year 1997, and 55,311 marijuana plants were
                             eradicated in calendar year 1998. In addition, the division reported seized
                             assets totaling $142 million in fiscal year 1997 and $68 million in fiscal year
                             1998.

                             Operation Zorro II is an example of what DEA officials considered a
                             successful major investigation by the Miami Division. Operation Zorro II
                             targeted Colombian drug trafficking organization cell or group heads
                             responsible for importing and distributing large shipments of cocaine and
                             laundering money throughout the United States. The groups were
                             associated with the Colombian Cali cartel. Operation Zorro II consisted of
                             joint investigations initiated by DEA offices in Miami, New York, and Los



                             Page 114                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Angeles in coordination with DEA Headquarters’ Special Operations
Division (SOD) and the Department of Justice, targeting the Colombian
group heads in their respective cities. In addition, DEA’s Miami Division
worked jointly with the City of Miami Police Department and received
assistance from several other local law enforcement agencies during this
operation.

Operation Zorro II was conducted in three phases. During the first phase,
Miami Division special agents arrested 26 group members responsible for
importing and distributing throughout the United States multithousand-
kilogram quantities of cocaine. During the second phase, the special agents
used Title III (electronic surveillance) intercepts to monitor the activities
of the money launderers associated with the organization. As a result of
this phase of the investigation, 11 Colombian money launderers were
indicted and arrested, and over $1 million in cash and assets were seized.
Finally, during the third phase, the special agents targeted the distribution
networks that were assisting the organization in distributing multikilogram
quantities of cocaine in the South Florida area. An additional 11
defendants were indicted. At the time of our review, a total of 47 arrests
had been made in Miami as part of Operation Zorro II.

Another example of what DEA officials considered a successful major
investigation involved the Miami Division’s district office in Orlando, FL.
Working in cooperation with the division’s Fort Lauderdale office, special
agents in Orlando identified a drug trafficking organization headed by two
individuals, including a transportation specialist for Colombian drug
traffickers. The transportation specialist’s primary role was to accept
delivery of drugs in Puerto Rico, store the drugs, and later transport the
drugs to central Florida and other regions of the United States.

The Orlando office led an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force
(OCDETF) investigation targeting this trafficking organization, and
representatives of the Customs Service, IRS, Marshal’s Service, Postal
Service, and local law enforcement agencies participated. The
investigation revealed that from 1994 through June 1998 (the time of our
visit), the organization had transported over 166,000 kilograms of cocaine
and about 200 kilograms of heroin from Colombia, via Puerto Rico, into
the United States. Cocaine and heroin were distributed and sold in Miami,
New York, Orlando, and Charleston, SC, as well as in Puerto Rico. The
investigation also uncovered numerous acts of violence committed by
organization members, including three homicides.




Page 115                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




At the time of our review, DEA reported that the investigation had resulted
in the arrest of 61 individuals, including both of the principal targets. Fifty-
six of the individuals had been convicted in federal court, and 4 were
convicted in state court. The drug transportation specialist and another
individual were each sentenced in federal court to life in prison, and
several organization members received prison sentences exceeding 20
years. Over 800 kilograms of cocaine; 1 kilogram of heroin; numerous
firearms; over $19 million in U.S. currency; and $4 million in real estate,
cars, and boats were seized. In addition, two of the homicides were solved.




Page 116                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Appendix I
                           Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




New Orleans Division
Geographic Region and      DEA’s New Orleans Division is responsible for federal drug law
                           enforcement in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi
Organizational Structure   and covers an area of 205,882 square miles within 10 federal judicial
                           districts. Although largely rural and heavily forested, the division has seven
                           metropolitan areas within its jurisdiction. Three of the states border the
                           Gulf of Mexico and provide substantial maritime access to the interior
                           portion of the region. The New Orleans Division, which is headed by a SAC
                           and five ASACs, includes the division office, two district offices, eight
                           resident offices, and three posts of duty, as shown on figure I.3.




                           Page 117                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                                     Appendix I
                                                     Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Figure I.3: New Orleans Division Map




         Fayetteville



      Fort Smith


                                                                                    Huntsville
                              Little Rock

                                                             Oxford
                        Arkansas

                                                                              Birmingham


                                                     Mississippi
                                                                                        Alabama

                Shreveport                                                                  Montgomery

                                                        Jackson



                         Louisiana


                                                                               Mobile
                                                                Gulfport
                              Baton Rouge



                                   Lafayette
                                               New Orleans



      Division office
      District office
      Resident office
      Post of duty


                                                     Source: DEA’s New Orleans Division.




                                                     Page 118                                      GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                            At the time of our visit in March 1998, the division was authorized to have
                            220 staff, including 136 special agents. In addition, there were 141 staff
                            from state and local agencies authorized for various task forces and groups
                            in the division, including 133 law enforcement officers.

Overview of Drug            According to DEA, the major drug-producing countries of Central and
                            South America have a significant impact on the New Orleans Division
Trafficking Situation and   because of its proximity to the Gulf Coast. Ports on the Gulf coastline and
Threat                      vast waterways, which are not patrolled, provide opportunities for
                            smuggling, thereby making the area potentially attractive to drug
                            traffickers.

Cocaine                     Cocaine and crack cocaine pose the most significant drug threats in the
                            area covered by the division, according to DEA. At the time of our review,
                            cocaine was readily available, with distribution and use trends either
                            stable at high levels or increasing in every metropolitan area, while crack
                            cocaine continued to make inroads into rural areas.

                            DEA reported that Colombian and Mexican organizations operating out of
                            Texas were responsible for bringing in most of the cocaine. Local cocaine
                            trafficking organizations varied widely. Some organizations were loose-
                            knit local violators with ties to traffickers in the source areas, while others
                            were well-organized small groups with well-established markets. Some of
                            the organizations were in the form of “street gangs” modeled after, and
                            affiliated with, certain Los Angeles gangs. Violence common with gang
                            activity was occurring in some areas within the division.

Heroin                      At the time of our review, heroin was not considered a significant threat to
                            most of the area covered by the New Orleans Division, according to DEA.
                            Heroin availability and trafficking were confined mainly to the Greater
                            New Orleans area. However, there were indications that higher purity
                            Colombian heroin in the New Orleans area was surfacing.

Methamphetamine and Other   DEA reported that the manufacture and use of methamphetamine have
Dangerous Drugs             continued to grow. DEA identified several organizations that were bringing
                            methamphetamine into the area from California, Arizona, and Texas.
                            Methamphetamine laboratories have proliferated, especially in Arkansas.

                            The diversion of legal drugs to illicit use was occurring primarily at the
                            pharmacy and practitioner level, according to DEA. Such diversion
                            resulted from indiscriminate prescribing and dispensing of drugs,
                            forgeries, illegal call-ins of prescriptions, and people “doctor-shopping” to




                            Page 119                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                            obtain numerous prescriptions. Diverted drugs were either being sold or
                            used by individuals.

Marijuana                   According to DEA, marijuana is the most widely abused drug in the area
                            covered by the division, and the profit margin for marijuana trafficking is
                            second only to that of cocaine. Although most of the marijuana
                            encountered was coming from Mexico, at the time of our review, DEA
                            reported that a substantial portion was domestically cultivated, and
                            marijuana cultivation was extensive in each of the four states in the
                            division’s area.

Priorities, Programs, and   The New Orleans Division’s management plan called for it to focus
                            enforcement activities, beginning in fiscal year 1998, on (1) disrupting the
Initiatives                 flow of drugs in the area covered by the division and (2) responding more
                            effectively to drug-related crime and the attendant violence plaguing its
                            communities. The plan’s domestic operational strategy attempted to strike
                            a balance between major regional cases with interstate ties and local
                            impact cases targeting violent drug organizations and gangs.

                            The cornerstone of the division’s plan is increased cooperation with
                            counterpart law enforcement agencies at all levels, making optimum use of
                            resources available in programs such as OCDETF, HIDTA, and MET.
                            According to the division’s SAC, although cooperation with state and local
                            police agencies has long been a hallmark of DEA, his intent was to make
                            DEA more visible, accessible, and “user friendly” to such agencies. He
                            noted that unilateral DEA investigations would become a thing of the past,
                            and every involved agency would benefit by pooling its resources.

                            As part of the plan, the SAC directed all the offices in the New Orleans
                            Division to develop a targeting strategy for all types of drugs in their areas.
                            Individuals and organizations are to be identified and prioritized for joint
                            investigations with federal, state, and local agencies. The division’s
                            enforcement components are to use the various resources available
                            through the OCDETF and HIDTA Programs. According to the SAC, he is
                            committed to aggressively pursuing joint federal, state, and local
                            investigations where productive and practical.

                            At the time of our review, the New Orleans Division had 12 state and local
                                                                  5
                            task forces in the 4 states it covers. Two of the state and local task forces
                            were at the division office in New Orleans, and, according to DEA, one of

                            5
                             Four of the 12 task forces were provisional, awaiting authorized funding approval from DEA
                            Headquarters.




                            Page 120                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




these worked mostly OCDETF conspiracy cases. This task force was
staffed by four DEA special agents, including a supervisor, and seven
officers from local police and sheriff’s departments.

The other state and local task force at the division office was called the
REDRUM (“murder” spelled backward) task force. It was established in
1992 to identify and dismantle the most violent groups involved in drug-
related crimes in the city of New Orleans. At the time of our visit, the task
force was staffed by six DEA special agents (including a supervisor), a
deputy U.S. Marshal, an INS agent, a Louisiana state police officer, a New
Orleans police department homicide detective, and a National Guard
intelligence analyst. In addition to carrying out the REDRUM mission, the
task force sometimes conducts drug investigations that do not involve
violence.

The New Orleans Division had two METs at the time of our review.
According to the division’s management plan, the major portion of the
division’s response to the cocaine and crack cocaine problems is an
enhanced MET Program, with a second MET added. The division’s first
MET was established in 1995, and the second MET became operational at
the start of fiscal year 1998. Each MET was made up of 10 DEA special
agents. Between May 1995 and March 1998, the METs had been deployed
to nine local communities in the geographic area covered by the division.
The deployments were short-term operations conducted to identify and
arrest local violent drug dealers.

The division had six HIDTA task force groups in three states at the time of
our review. In December 1996, ONDCP established the Gulf Coast HIDTA
in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to reduce the impact
of Gulf Coast drug trafficking on other parts of the United States and to
reduce violent drug trafficking in the three-state area. DEA is one of many
agencies participating in the Gulf Coast HIDTA. In participating, DEA
carries out its own mission and strategies in coordination with other
agencies participating on multiagency teams.

The division office had one enforcement group made up entirely of DEA
special agents who concentrated primarily on interstate and international
drug investigations. According to DEA officials, most of the group’s cases
involve high-level drug traffickers and result in federal drug conspiracy
charges. This group had more OCDETF cases than any other group in the
division. The group was staffed with nine DEA special agents, including a
supervisor.




Page 121                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Appendix I
                             Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                             Most of the division’s resources have been devoted to cocaine cases. For
                             example, in fiscal year 1997, the division’s special agents spent about 68.6
                             percent of their investigative work hours on cocaine cases. In fiscal year
                             1998, they spent about 71.9 percent of their investigative work hours on
                             cocaine cases.

Enforcement Statistics and   The division made 1,864 arrests in fiscal year 1997 and 2,286 arrests in
                             fiscal year 1998. In addition, the division made 688 seizures of assets
Case Examples                valued at $12.5 million in fiscal year 1997 and 644 seizures of assets valued
                             at $11.5 million in fiscal year 1998. In fiscal year 1997, the division opened
                             839 cases and closed 563 cases. In fiscal year 1998, it opened 950 cases and
                             closed 356 cases.

                             An example of what the New Orleans Division considered a successful
                             major investigation involved the REDRUM task force. In 1996, the task
                             force initiated an investigation targeting a violent heroin trafficking
                             organization operating in the city of New Orleans. This case evolved into
                             an OCDETF investigation and was worked jointly with the New Orleans
                             Police Department Homicide Division and the FBI. Various investigative
                             techniques were used, including conducting two federally court-authorized
                             wiretaps. As a result, 13 people were indicted by a federal grand jury in the
                             Eastern District of Louisiana for violations including murder, engaging in a
                                                              6
                             continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy, and other drug-related
                             charges. Ten defendants pled guilty prior to trial. In June 1997, the head of
                             the organization was found guilty of all charges and received a life
                             sentence. According to DEA, as a result of this investigation five homicides
                             in the city of New Orleans were solved, and 359 grams of heroin and
                             $60,000 in drug-related assets were seized. DEA also reported that this
                             investigation significantly reduced violent crime locally and disrupted the
                             flow of heroin into the inner city.

                             Another example of what the division considered a successful major case
                             involved the Mobile, AL, resident office. In 1997, the resident office
                             collaborated with a U.S. Customs Service undercover group in “Operation
                             Skymaster” to initiate an investigation of an individual who was seeking
                             transportation for a multikilogram shipment of cocaine from South
                             America to the United States. After a series of undercover meetings in
                             Alabama and Florida, a fake delivery of cocaine took place. Since that
                             time, the investigation has resulted in the arrest of 26 individuals and the
                             6
                              The federal Continuing Criminal Enterprise statute (21 U.S.C. 848) is directed at major drug
                             traffickers and the forfeiture of their assets. A person is considered as engaging in a continuing
                             criminal enterprise if he or she occupies a position of authority over five or more people engaged in a
                             series of drug violations from which substantial income is derived.




                             Page 122                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




seizure of approximately $145,000 in U.S. currency and 8 vehicles. The
investigation identified international smugglers of multikilogram quantities
of cocaine as well as the recipients of the cocaine in Alabama, Florida, and
Michigan. The case led to several domestic investigations in Florida,
Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania.




Page 123                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Appendix I
                           Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Washington Division
and Baltimore District
Office

Geographic Region and      The Washington Division is located on the East Coast corridor between
                           two major drug import cities, Miami and New York. Its area of
Organizational Structure   responsibility extends through Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the
                           District of Colombia. Three international airports, two international
                           seaports, railway systems, and an extensive interstate highway network
                           provide commercial and noncommercial transit to and through the region.
                           The area’s population is ethnically diverse and international, with urban,
                           suburban, and rural communities. At the time of our July 1998 visit, the
                           division, which was headed by a SAC and five ASACs, comprised the
                           division office in Washington, D.C.; two district offices; three resident
                           offices; and seven posts of duty, as shown on figure I.4.




                           Page 124                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                             Appendix I
                                             Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Figure I.4: Washington, D. C. Division Map




                                                  Wheeling


                                                                                           Hagerstown

                                                                                                          Maryland
                                                  Clarksburg                                          Baltimore


                                                                                  Winchester
                                       West Virginia                                    Washington, D.C.



                                Charleston

                                                                                                                            Salisbury




                                                                           Virginia

                                                                                               Richmond

                                                   Roanoke
                                                                                                            Newport News
                            Abingdon                                                                              Norfolk




      Division office
      District office
      Resident office
      Post of duty


                                             Source: DEA’s Washington Division.


                                             As of March 1998, the Washington Division had 262 staff, including 158
                                             special agents.

                                             In response to the interests of the congressional requesters, this section
                                             also provides information on the Baltimore District Office, which is part of
                                             the Washington Division. At the time of our review, the office included two
                                             of the division’s seven posts of duty, as shown on figure I.4. As of March
                                             1998, it had 60 staff, including 39 special agents.




                                             Page 125                                      GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                   Appendix I
                                   Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Overview of Drug                   The Washington region, according to DEA officials, is both a drug transit
                                   zone between Miami and New York and a final destination point for drugs,
Trafficking Situation and          serving as a secondary distribution region. Cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and
Threat                             methamphetamine are available throughout the area. The most significant
                                   threat is cocaine and crack distribution, dominated primarily by
                                   Dominican traffickers, and the violence associated with these activities.
                                   However, the division has recently seen a dramatic increase in heroin
                                   trafficking and distribution. Jamaican traffickers also threatened the
                                   region because of their wide-ranging distribution of marijuana and other
                                   drugs. Also available are LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy), Rohypnol, Ketamine, and
                                         7                                    8
                                   GHB, drugs that are consumed at “raves,” in nightclubs, and on college
                                   campuses.

                                   According to DEA officials, three levels of drug violators operate in the
                                   Washington division’s area of responsibility. These include (1) major
                                   international organizations; (2) mid-level organizations, which include
                                   major national and regional organizations, usually made up of longtime
                                   local traffickers; and (3) retail groups, including street-level violators and
                                   violent drug gangs. The majority of the violators are mid- and retail-level.
                                   Small neighborhood-based drug trafficking groups or “crews” use violence
                                   to control their areas and protect their drug trafficking enterprises from
                                   rival groups.

Baltimore Overview                 Baltimore, according to DEA, although primarily a consumer drug market,
                                   is also a drug source for smaller Maryland cities and towns, including
                                   Annapolis, Hagerstown, and Salisbury. Cocaine, heroin, and marijuana are
                                   the primary drug threats to the area. Typically, drugs are transported into
                                   Baltimore from Miami, New York, and other source states by car, train,
                                   airline, bus, or sometimes via ship through the port. However, DEA
                                   officials indicated that airports are relied upon less, possibly due to past
                                   enforcement successes. Traffickers tended to be street- to mid-level
                                   violators.

Cocaine Trafficking in Baltimore   At the time of our review, according to DEA, cocaine was a major drug of
                                   choice in the Baltimore area, and the urban crack threat was migrating to
                                   smaller towns and cities throughout the surrounding suburban
                                   jurisdictions. Generally, local independent dealers go to New York City

                                   7
                                     MDMA (methylenedioxymeth-amphetamine) has hallucinogenic effects. Rohypnol (flunitrazepam),
                                   smuggled primarily from Mexico, is a depressant not approved for sale in the United States. Ketamine
                                   is an animal tranquilizer with legitimate uses in veterinary medicine. GHB (gamma hydroxy butyrate) is
                                   used as a date rape drug.
                                   8
                                       A rave is a party designed to enhance a hallucinogenic experience through music and behavior.




                                   Page 126                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                  Appendix I
                                  Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                                  weekly, buy 2 to 3 kilograms of cocaine from Dominican sources, bring the
                                  drugs back to Baltimore, and distribute them over a several block area.
                                  These distributors have no ties to larger organizations. Law enforcement
                                  officials reportedly believed that youth gangs were increasingly involved in
                                  drug distribution and related criminal activity, primarily violent crime.

Heroin Trafficking in Baltimore   Baltimore is also one of the largest and most active heroin markets in the
                                  country, according to both DEA and ONDCP. Dominican traffickers bring
                                  wholesale quantities of high-quality Colombian heroin into the city, and
                                  Nigerians distribute Southeast Asian heroin from Thailand. Traffickers are
                                  street- to mid-level violators, distributing drugs in open-air drug markets
                                  and in housing projects. Violence has increased, even at the lower level of
                                                                                                           9
                                  drug street sales. Moreover, in 1996, the Drug Abuse Warning Network
                                  (DAWN) reported that Baltimore had the highest rate of heroin-related
                                  emergency room episodes per 100,000 population.

Marijuana Trafficking in          According to DEA, marijuana is transported into the Maryland area from
Baltimore                         the Southwest border states and Mexico. Much of the marijuana entering
                                  the area is conveyed by individuals using highways and mass
                                  transportation. Jamaicans supply wholesale quantities of marijuana in
                                  Baltimore. In addition, marijuana is also cultivated along Maryland’s
                                  Eastern Shore.

Priorities, Programs, and         At the time of our review, the majority of the Washington Division’s efforts
                                  were, according to DEA, directed toward violent drug trafficking gangs. In
Initiatives                       Baltimore, an Assistant U.S. Attorney said that since the mid-1990s, that
                                  office had received cases involving violence from DEA. Moreover, DEA
                                  and the U.S. Attorney were responding to requests for assistance and now
                                  prosecuting cases from the state’s attorneys’ offices in order to obtain
                                  higher federal penalties for defendants.

                                  The division’s and Baltimore district office’s targeting of drug trafficking
                                  gangs was reflected in the distribution of its investigative work hours. By
                                  geographic scope, combined domestic and local cases for fiscal years 1997
                                  and 1998 accounted for about two-thirds of the total investigative work
                                  hours expended each year by the division and more than one-half and two-
                                  thirds of the total investigative work hours, respectively, for those years,
                                  expended by the district office. Investigative work hours expended on
                                  international and regional cases, in contrast, accounted for approximately
                                  30 percent of the division’s investigative work hours and almost 40 percent

                                  9
                                   Since the early 1970s, DAWN has collected information on patients seeking hospital emergency room
                                  treatment related to illegal drug use or nonmedical use of legal drugs.




                                  Page 127                                        GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




and 30 percent of the district’s investigative work hours in those years,
respectively. By type of organizations targeted, the division expended the
greatest portion of its investigative work hours on independent traffickers
(31 percent and 42 percent for fiscal years 1997 and 1998, respectively).
The Baltimore Office expended the greatest portion of its investigative
work hours on violent organizations (almost one-third) in both fiscal years
1997 and 1998.

As indicated above, cocaine and heroin presented the major drug threats
to the region. By drug, both the division and the Baltimore district work-
hour statistics for fiscal years 1997 and 1998 reflect the cocaine and heroin
threats. Each year, the division expended more than half its investigative
work hours on cocaine-related cases and about 20 percent of its
investigative work hours on heroin-related cases. The Baltimore office also
spent about half its investigative work hours each year on cocaine-related
cases and 33 percent on heroin-related cases.

As proposed in its 1998-2000 Field Management Plan, the number of
Washington Division cases accepted as OCDETF cases increased in fiscal
year 1998. During that year, the division had 73 of its cases accepted as
OCDETF cases compared to 36 cases in 1997, an increase of 103 percent.
Similarly, the percentage of the division’s investigative work hours, by
source of case, expended on OCDETF cases increased from about 29
percent in fiscal year 1997 to 31 percent in fiscal year 1998. Most of the
division’s higher level cases were handled through OCDETF. The
Baltimore District Office reported 6 cases accepted as OCDETF cases in
fiscal year 1997 and 22 in fiscal year 1998.

The Washington Division’s 1998-2000 plan also called for the continued
targeting of violent drug traffickers through the MET Program. The
division had 1 MET team that had 10 special agents. In fiscal years 1997
and 1998, the team conducted deployments in Washington, D.C.;
Baltimore, MD; Annapolis, MD; and Petersburg, VA.

Division officials emphasized to us the importance of their undertaking
enforcement efforts with state and local law enforcement agencies to
address the drug problems of the region. According to these officials, the
division worked with approximately 240 state and local law enforcement
agencies in Washington, D.C., and the 3 states in its area of responsibility.
In addition, the division was involved in training state and local law
enforcement personnel throughout the division. The Baltimore District
Office had a task force, including DEA agents and Baltimore City police




Page 128                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Appendix I
                             Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                             officers, which investigated major heroin distribution networks or
                             distributors in open-air markets.

                             In fiscal year 1998, 10 HIDTA task forces were operating within the
                             division’s area of responsibility, including 3 led by the Baltimore District
                             Office. The latter three comprised law enforcement officers from DEA, the
                             Baltimore Police Department, the Baltimore County Police Department,
                             the Maryland State Police, and other local police agencies. One task force
                             investigated violent drug traffickers and trafficking organizations that
                             affected safety in the Baltimore metropolitan area; the second
                             concentrated on major heroin and cocaine traffickers and targets of
                             opportunity; and the third conducted interdiction operations—“hit and
                             runs”—targeting the movement of drug and currency shipments at the
                             Baltimore/Washington International Airport and the train and bus stations.

                             During fiscal year 1998, the Washington Division also participated in
                             several special enforcement programs coordinated by DEA Headquarters.
                             The Division reported that in fiscal year 1998, 20 investigations had
                             resulted from its participation in a special enforcement program that
                             focused on traffickers operating in the United States under the direction of
                             Colombian, Dominican, and/or Mexican drug organizations. As part of
                             another such program, the Baltimore District Office investigated West
                             African drug trafficking organizations dealing in heroin, their foreign
                             sources of supply, and their distributors within the United States.

                             In addition, the division participated in DEA’s Domestic Cannabis
                             Eradication/Suppression Program. However, this effort was undertaken
                             state by state. The Baltimore and Richmond District Offices and the
                             Charleston, WV, Resident Office each provided assistance to drug
                             enforcement groups in their respective states.

Enforcement Statistics and   As a result of its efforts, the Washington Division reported 2,056
                             defendants arrested in fiscal year 1997 and 2,156 defendants arrested in
Case Examples                fiscal year 1998. Approximately 60 percent of those arrested in both years
                             were categorized as being involved in cocaine-related cases. In fiscal year
                             1997, almost 50 percent (985) of the defendants arrested were categorized
                             as independent traffickers, 19 percent as associated with violent crime
                             organizations (382), and 15 percent (309) as involved in criminal
                             organizations. Fiscal year1998 data showed the continued predominance
                             of independent traffickers, 51 percent (1,093), among defendants arrested;
                             this compared to defendants associated with violent crime organizations,
                             13 percent (275), or criminal organizations, 12 percent (251).




                             Page 129                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                            Appendix I
                                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                                            The Baltimore Office reported 745 arrests in fiscal year 1997 and 705
                                            arrests in fiscal year 1998. For these fiscal years, respectively, 55 and 61
                                            percent of these arrests were cocaine-related, and 22 and 20 percent were
                                            heroin-related.

                                            In addition, DEA reported defendants arrested in OCDETF cases in which
                                            the Washington Division participated—409 in fiscal year 1997 and 729 in
                                            fiscal year 1998. Over half of the arrests each year were cocaine-related.
                                            The Baltimore Office reported 100 and 248 defendants arrested in
                                            OCDETF cases in fiscal years 1997 and 1998, respectively.

                                            For fiscal years 1997 and 1998, the division and the Baltimore Office
                                            reported drug seizures of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, as well as other
                                            dangerous drugs. These data are presented in table I.1.


Table I.1: Drug Seizures for Washington Division and Baltimore District Office for Fiscal Years 1997 and 1998
                                                    Washington Division                        Baltimore District Office
                                                          Fiscal year                                 Fiscal year
Drug seized                                                1997                  1998                  1997                  1998
Heroin (Kgs)                                               17.7                  14.8                   12.4                    9.6
Cocaine (Kgs)                                          1,158.2                  125.9               1,053.6                   56.8
Marijuana (Kgs)                                           254.8                 401.4                 159.3                 127.8
Hashish (Kgs)                                                1.0                   5.7                    1.0                   1.4
Stimulants (D.U.)                                     313,328                303,602                 15,988                27,637
Depressants (D.U.)                                      10,936                  1,799                    782                   587
Hallucinogens (D.U.)                                    13,922                 10,860                    305                     43
Other narcotics (D.U.)                                    7,886                 4,083                 7,231                      38
                                            Note: D.U. refers to dosage unit.
                                            Source: DEA.


                                            As a result of its fiscal years 1997 and 1998 MET deployments in
                                            Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, MD; Annapolis, MD; and Petersburg, VA, at
                                            the time of our visit, the Washington Division reported 165 arrests, in total.
                                            These deployments resulted in the seizure of about 2.5 kilograms of crack,
                                            1.8 kilograms of cocaine, 176 grams of heroin, and 1.2 kilograms of
                                            marijuana, as well as a number of weapons, more than $34,000 in cash, and
                                            over $120,000 in assets. This included the Baltimore deployment, which
                                            accounted for 81 defendants arrested and 950 grams of crack, 501 grams of
                                            cocaine, 176 grams of heroin, and 453.5 grams of marijuana seized.

                                            The Washington Division’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression
                                            Program, carried out by the DEA office with state and local law
                                            enforcement within the three states in the division’s area of responsibility,
                                            resulted in the eradication of marijuana plants and arrests. For example, in


                                            Page 130                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Appendix I
  Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




  calendar year 1997, with the support of DEA’s Baltimore Office, DEA
  reported that 4,826 marijuana plants (836 cultivated indoors and 3,990
  cultivated outdoors) were eradicated; and 120 persons were arrested in
  Maryland. In calendar year 1998, DEA reported that 3,442 marijuana plants
  (2,724 cultivated indoors and 718 cultivated outdoors) were eradicated;
  and 89 persons were arrested.

  In addition, the Division also provided the following examples of cases it
  considered successful.

• The Baltimore Office conducted an investigation with the Baltimore City
  Police and the Offices of the U.S. Attorney and local State’s Attorney that
  led to the conviction of local drug dealer on such charges as conspiracy to
  murder and kidnap in aid of a racketeering enterprise, murder in aid of a
  racketeering enterprise, attempted murder in aid of a racketeering
  enterprise, conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, and conspiracy to
  distribute heroin and cocaine. In addition, nine other members of the
  organization were found guilty of a variety of charges, including
  conspiracy to murder and kidnap in aid of a racketeering enterprise and
  conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine. Evidence of 10 murders was
  presented at the trials. Moreover, according to DEA, witnesses testified
  that the dealer sold $30,000 worth of heroin and cocaine a day in the
  Eastern District of Baltimore City. Sixty-six arrests were made during this
  investigation. The Division identified this case as an OCDETF case.
• According to DEA, in the investigation of one trafficker, DEA, with other
  state and local agencies—the Fairfax County, VA, Police Department;
  Arlington County, VA, Police Department; Washington, D.C., Metropolitan
  Police Department; and Maryland State Police—dismantled a violent drug
  distribution organization in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and
  solved the attempted murder of a Maryland State trooper. In December
  1995, while transporting a kilogram of cocaine from New York to
  Washington, D.C., in a vehicle owned by the trafficker, a long-time
  kilogram-level cocaine distributor in the District was stopped and arrested
  by a Maryland State trooper. Subsequently, the distributor conspired with
  other individuals to kill that trooper to eliminate him as a witness in an
  upcoming trial; however, the wrong trooper was shot. During March 1997,
  investigations by the Fairfax, Arlington, and Washington, D.C., Police
  Departments focused on the trafficker’s cocaine activities. DEA reported
  that the distributor was involved in a conspiracy, with others, to distribute
  cocaine in the Washington, D.C., area, and launder the proceeds through
  legitimate businesses. As a result of this investigation, a total of 18
  individuals were found guilty of various charges, and nearly half a million
  dollars in criminally acquired assets were seized.



  Page 131                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Appendix I
                           Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Bogota, Colombia,
Country Office
Geographic Regional and    At the time of our visit in July 1998, DEA’s Bogota, Colombia Country
                           Office was the second largest DEA office in South America. It covers the
Organizational Structure   country of Colombia, which is bordered by the Caribbean Sea, Pacific
                           Ocean, and four other countries and divided by the Andes Mountains. The
                           Bogota Country Office, which is headed by a Country Attaché, includes a
                           DEA resident office in Barranquilla, Colombia, as shown in figure I.5.




                           Page 132                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                       Appendix I
                                       Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Figure I.5: Bogota, Colombia Country
Office Map
                                                                                                                    Caribbean
                                                                                                                       Sea
                                                                  Barranquilla




                                                                                                             Venezuela




                                                                                 Bogota
                                               North
                                               Pacific
                                               Ocean

                                                                                     Colombia




                                                                                                                Brazil
                                                     Ecuador



                                                                        Peru


                                             Country office
                                             Resident office

                                       Source: DEA’s Bogota, Colombia, Country Office.


                                       The country office was staffed with 65 DEA personnel, including 43 special
                                       agents. Also, representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
                                       Firearms (ATF), Customs Service, FBI, IRS, Secret Service, and the
                                       Department of Defense (DOD) were working with DEA in Colombia. DEA
                                       had two enforcement groups and an intelligence group located in Bogota
                                       and one enforcement group in the Barranquilla office.




                                       Page 133                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                            DEA is a member of the U.S. Embassy’s Bogota Country Team, which is
                            headed by the Ambassador and consists of U.S. agencies attached to the
                            embassy in Colombia. DEA works with Colombian law enforcement
                            authorities, primarily the Colombian National Police (CNP), to carry out
                            drug enforcement and intelligence operations. However, DEA agents in
                            Colombia do not have police authority and cannot make arrests or seize
                                                   10
                            drugs in that country.

Overview of Drug            According to DEA, Colombian drug traffickers continue to supply most of
                            the world’s cocaine. However, Colombian trafficking organizations had
Trafficking Situation and   become much more fragmented in the 1990s. In the past, large Colombian
Threat                      cartels controlled the cocaine industry. There are now numerous
                            independent traffickers and organizations with decentralized operations.

                            According to DEA, clandestine laboratories in Colombia are used to
                            convert cocaine base into cocaine hydrochloride (HCL) for eventual
                            export to the United States and Europe. The cocaine base is either
                            imported from other countries, primarily Peru, or made from coca leaves
                            grown in Colombia. The cocaine laboratories are primarily located in
                            jungle areas southeast of the Andes Mountains in Colombia, referred to by
                            DEA as the Colombian Source Zone. After processing, the cocaine is
                            typically flown across the Andes mountains to northwest Colombia for
                            further transport out of Colombia.

                            The major cocaine transportation points in northwest Colombia, according
                            to DEA, are located in an area that includes the Pacific and Caribbean
                            coasts and all of Colombia’s major population centers. The transportation
                            points include clandestine airstrips, major airports, seaports, and locations
                            from which small “go-fast” boats and commercial containerized cargo
                            vessels can transport cocaine. Preferred transshipment areas for drugs
                            originating from Colombia are Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti,
                            Mexico, Panama, and Puerto Rico. Mexico- and Caribbean-based
                            transportation groups are involved in shipping cocaine to the United
                            States.

                            The diversion of chemicals essential to cocaine production continues to
                            increase in Colombia, according to DEA. For the most part, these
                            chemicals are legally imported into Colombia from the United States,


                            10
                               We recently reported on the narcotics situation in Colombia, U.S. and Colombian efforts to address
                            drug trafficking activities in Colombia, and the continuing challenges each government faces to combat
                            these activities: Drug Control: Narcotics Threat From Colombia Continues to Grow (GAO/NSIAD-99-
                            136, June 22, 1999).




                            Page 134                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Europe, and the Far East. They are then diverted for the production of
cocaine.

The availability of heroin produced in Colombia and smuggled into the
United States dramatically increased in recent years, according to DEA. In
1997, 75 percent of the heroin seized and analyzed in the United States was
Colombian. The Colombian heroin trade is dominated by trafficking
groups operating independently of the major cocaine trafficking
organizations. Colombia’s climate allows for year-round cultivation of
opium poppies, from which opium gum is processed into heroin in
clandestine laboratories throughout the country.

At the time of our review, according to DEA, the majority of the heroin
produced in Colombia was being exported through the international
airports in Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and, to a lesser extent, Barranquilla.
DEA estimated that about 90 percent of the Colombian heroin destined for
the United States was transported via couriers (also known as “mules”) on
commercial airlines. Miami, Dallas, and New York City were principal
“gateways” for Colombian heroin entering the United States. Heroin
traffickers were also transporting heroin into the United States through
other countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean. The
primary method of smuggling heroin was ingestion or concealment on the
couriers’ bodies. The heroin might also have been concealed in such items
as false-sided luggage, clothing, food, or equipment.

Insurgent guerrilla groups have been associated with cocaine and heroin
trafficking in Colombia. Guerrillas have provided security for cocaine
laboratories, opium poppy fields, and clandestine airstrips. They have also
been known to charge a “tax” for guarding coca and opium poppy fields,
for permission to transport opium gum or morphine to sites for sale within
the guerilla territory, for kilograms of coca leaf sold to produce cocaine
base, and for kilograms of cocaine exported from the Colombian Source
Zone. The “tax” has often been paid in weapons instead of currency.
According to DEA, the guerillas have increased the risk of conducting drug
enforcement operations. For example, a guerilla ambush of a CNP unit at a
clandestine airstrip and cocaine storage complex in March 1998 left one
CNP officer dead, two officers wounded, and five officers captured.

According to DEA, marijuana is exported in tons from Colombia to the
United States and Europe. It is reportedly grown in mountain ranges near
the Colombian Caribbean coast and is usually compressed into bales. The
primary method of transportation is containerized commercial cargo and
commercial cargo vessels departing from ports on the northern coast of



Page 135                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                Appendix I
                                Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                                Colombia. It might be off-loaded at sea onto smaller ships or speedboats
                                for delivery to locations in Mexico and onward transport to the United
                                States.

Priorities, Programs, and       The Bogota Country Office is involved in activities to combat the
                                Colombian drug trafficking threat and support DEA’s South America
Initiatives                                    11
                                Regional Plan. The September 1997 South America Regional Plan
                                contains the following seven objectives:

                            •   identify, investigate, and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations;
                            •   support U.S. domestic investigations;
                            •   enhance host nation counterdrug capabilities;
                            •   develop a country intelligence program;
                            •   control essential chemicals;
                            •   conduct financial investigations; and
                            •   promote regional counterdrug cooperation.

                                DEA’s Bogota Country Office also supports the U.S. Embassy’s Flow
                                Reduction Strategy, which is designed to reduce the flow of cocaine and
                                heroin from Colombia. This strategy is carried out by the embassy’s
                                Bogota Country Team. The goal of the strategy, which focuses on the
                                Colombian Source Zone southeast of the Andes Mountains, is to reduce
                                the amount of cocaine crossing the Andes into northwest Colombia by 50
                                percent. The Flow Reduction Strategy concentrates on eradicating coca
                                plants and opium poppies, destroying cocaine laboratories, and controlling
                                the transportation of cocaine base and HCL into and out of the Colombian
                                Source Zone by aircraft or rivercraft. For its part, DEA focuses primarily
                                on the organizations responsible for controlling the manufacture and
                                transportation of cocaine, while the State Department is responsible for
                                eradication efforts.

                                At the time of our review, DEA was involved in three intelligence
                                initiatives focused on the Colombian Source Zone.

                            • Information Analysis/Operations Center (IA/OC): The IA/OC was created
                              to collect drug intelligence from U.S. and Colombian agencies and other
                              sources, particularly regarding the production and transportation of
                              cocaine in the Colombian Source Zone; serve as a focal point for U.S. and
                              Colombian agencies’ requests for information; and support drug
                              enforcement operations in the Colombian Source Zone. The center was

                                11
                                 DEA’s South America Regional Plan, which is updated periodically, provides strategic guidance for
                                DEA’s operations in South American countries, including Colombia and Bolivia.




                                Page 136                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Appendix I
  Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




  staffed by DEA, Customs, and U.S. military personnel at the time of our
  review.
• Operation Papagayo: The objective of this operation is to intercept
  traffickers’ communications in the Colombian Source Zone to help identify
  organizations controlling the manufacture and transportation of cocaine.
  The operation is conducted by a vetted or screened CNP unit that is to
  share the collected intelligence with DEA.
• Operation Selva Verde: The objective of this operation is to identify the
  organizations manufacturing cocaine in the Colombian Source Zone, locate
  and destroy their laboratories, collect evidence and intelligence, and arrest
  those involved. CNP, Colombian military, and DEA personnel operating in
  the Colombian Source Zone collect intelligence and provide it to IA/OC.
  Using this and other intelligence, IA/OC identifies targets for enforcement
  operations. CNP jungle units, in coordination with the Colombian military,
  then raid the targeted cocaine laboratories. Evidence and intelligence
  collected at the raided laboratories are used to help identify the trafficking
  organizations involved.

  The DEA office in Bogota had committed one of its enforcement groups to
  investigations of major drug traffickers, including those on DEA’s list of
  major targets in Colombia. The DEA agents in this group work with a CNP
  Special Investigative Unit (SIU), which was vetted by DEA. The SIU
  collects intelligence and targets and investigates major traffickers. At the
  time of our visit, another Colombian SIU had been vetted by DEA and was
  starting to work with this DEA enforcement group. This SIU was
  established to target major money laundering organizations, and an IRS
  agent assigned to the embassy was slated to assist the SIU. There were
  three vetted Colombian prosecutors assigned to work with the two SIUs.

  At the time of our review, DEA’s other enforcement group in Bogota was
  committed to working with CNP on several different programs, including
  the major programs discussed below.

• Aircraft Control Program (Operation Gemini Clipper): This is a CNP-
  operated general aviation aircraft inspection and enforcement program
  designed to help identify trafficking organizations using aircraft to
  transport illegal drugs. The program is based on a requirement by the
  Colombian government that all general aviation aircraft in Colombia be
  registered and inspected. Under the program, CNP inspects aircraft and
  their registrations, immobilizes or seizes aircraft found to be illegal, and
  collects information to help identify those responsible for using the
  aircraft to transport drugs.




  Page 137                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                               Appendix I
                               Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                             • Chemical Control Program: A DEA diversion investigator and special agent
                               were working with a CNP chemical control unit. This unit, which was
                               vetted by DEA in 1998, audits companies authorized to legally import the
                               chemicals essential to cocaine processing and companies that distribute
                               chemicals in Colombia. The unit is authorized to seize or immobilize
                               unauthorized or illegal chemicals and can coordinate with another
                               Colombian government agency to revoke the licenses of chemical
                               importers violating the law.
                             • Heroin Program: DEA and CNP established a heroin task force to focus on
                               Colombian heroin trafficking organizations. The CNP on this task force
                               were not vetted at the time of our visit. Although the task force primarily
                               concentrates on heroin transportation organizations, it has also identified
                               and targeted heroin laboratories, according to DEA.

Enforcement Statistics and     The Bogota Country Office reported the following as significant
                               accomplishments for fiscal years 1997 and 1998.
Case Examples
                             • Operation Papagayo was established, and CNP officers assigned to this
                               operation identified 13 different drug trafficking organizations.
                             • Operation Selva Verde destroyed 189 cocaine laboratories.
                             • CNP vetted units carried out 10 major investigations with DEA domestic
                               offices. One of the vetted units’ investigations produced the first two
                                                       12
                               “controlled deliveries” of cocaine and heroin from Colombia to the United
                               States. This investigation resulted in 17 arrests in Cali, Colombia, as well as
                               wiretaps in Miami and Newark.
                             • The vetted units had a total of 17 investigations; 30 arrests that DEA
                               considered significant; and seizures of 2,666 kilograms of cocaine, 1.5
                               kilograms of heroin, 520 real estate properties, 17 vehicles, and $4.6 million
                               in U.S. currency.
                             • The Aircraft Control Program resulted in 29 aircraft seized by CNP in
                               calendar year 1997, with a value estimated at $57 million. During calendar
                               year 1998, 81 aircraft were grounded or seized, 10 of which were returned
                               due to innocent third party ownership. In addition, 5 stolen aircraft were
                               recovered in 1998.
                             • The Chemical Control Program produced the first two arrests of chemical
                               diverters in Colombia. In addition, the Colombian government revoked five
                               chemical licenses during this period. In fiscal year 1997, 26.7 tons of
                               chemicals were seized by the CNP chemical control unit; and in fiscal year
                               1998, the CNP unit seized 2,191 tons of solid chemicals and about 1.5
                               million gallons of liquid chemicals.

                               12
                                 A controlled delivery is an investigative tool whereby law enforcement authorities monitor a
                               shipment of illegal drugs to its intended destination for eventual seizure.




                               Page 138                                          GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Appendix I
  Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




• The heroin task force destroyed 11 heroin laboratories and seized 237
  kilograms of heroin, 55 kilograms of morphine, and 85.5 kilograms of
  opium.
• Since its inception in October 1997, the Airport Passenger and Cargo
  Inspection Program had yielded 175 arrests and seizures of 911 kilograms
  of cocaine and 58 kilograms of heroin.
• The Barranquilla Resident Office reported drug seizures of 16,133
  kilograms of cocaine, 18 kilograms of heroin, 22 kilograms of morphine, 17
  kilograms of opium, and 17 metric tons of marijuana. This office also
  contributed to the seizure of 12,741 kilograms of cocaine, 2 kilograms of
  heroin, and 2 tons of marijuana being smuggled outside of Colombia.

  According to DEA, a major success in Colombia was the dismantlement of
  the Cali cartel, which DEA considered to be the most powerful criminal
  organization that law enforcement had ever faced. Since 1995, all of the
  top Cali cartel leaders have been captured by or surrendered to CNP, with
  the exception of one who was killed in a shoot-out with CNP at the time of
  his arrest. According to DEA, evidence gathered through years of
  investigations by DEA, CNP, and other federal, state, and local law
  enforcement agencies led to the identification, indictment, arrest,
  conviction, and incarceration of the cartel leaders on drug charges in
  Colombia.




  Page 139                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Appendix I
                           Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




La Paz, Bolivia,
Country Office
Geographic Region and      At the time of our visit in July 1998, the La Paz, Bolivia, Country Office was
                           DEA’s second largest foreign office worldwide. The Office covers the
Organizational Structure   country of Bolivia, which is surrounded by the countries of Argentina,
                           Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru. The Office, which is headed by a
                           Country Attaché, included resident offices in Cochabamba, Santa Cruz,
                           and Trinidad, Bolivia, as shown on figure I.6.




                           Page 140                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                      Appendix I
                                      Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Figure I.6: La Paz, Bolivia Country
Office Map




                                                                                                    Brazil


                                           Peru




                                                                           Trinidad



                                                                             Bolivia
                                                     La Paz

                                                                Cochabamba
                                                                                       Santa Cruz




                                              Chile                                                      Paraguay



                                                                       Argentina

                                            Country office
                                            Resident office

                                      Source: DEA’s La Paz, Bolivia, Country Office.


                                      The country office was staffed with 114 personnel, including 43 special
                                      agents. Some of these personnel were located at a Bolivian police camp in
                                      the Chapare region where coca is grown. In addition, representatives from
                                      DOD were assigned to work with DEA in Bolivia.

                                      The U.S. Ambassador is responsible for the drug control efforts of all U.S.
                                      agencies in Bolivia. The U.S. Embassy gives a high priority to drug control
                                      activities, such as the State Department’s crop eradication efforts, the U.S.
                                      Agency for International Development’s support for alternative


                                      Page 141                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                            development activities enabling farmers to support themselves and their
                            families without the need to cultivate coca, and DEA’s drug enforcement
                            programs and operations. In carrying out its responsibilities, DEA works
                            with and assists Bolivian law enforcement authorities. However, DEA
                            special agents in Bolivia do not have police authority and cannot make
                            arrests or seize drugs in that country.

Overview of Drug            DEA reported that coca leaf cultivation continues in Bolivia. Bolivia is also
                            a source country for cocaine, which is processed from coca leaves and
Trafficking Situation and   smuggled into the United States and Europe.
                                                                        13

Threat
                            Coca cultivation in Bolivia occurs primarily in two areas—the Chapare
                            region in the Cochabamba Department and the Yungas region situated in
                            the Altiplano of the La Paz Department. DEA estimated that 90 to 95
                            percent of the coca leaves produced in the Chapare region, Bolivia’s major
                            cultivation area, is illegally processed into cocaine products. Most of the
                            coca leaf cultivated in the Yungas region is cultivated in accordance with
                            Bolivian law for legal consumption.

                            After Bolivian peasants harvest their coca fields, the leaves are dried and
                            packaged in 100-pound bags. Low-echelon producers or the coca growers
                            themselves process the dried leaves into cocaine base in clandestine
                            laboratories, mostly in the Chapare region. The cocaine base is sold to
                            buyers who act as agents for cocaine trafficking organizations and
                            consolidate shipments for transport out of the Chapare.

                            In the past, according to DEA, the cocaine base was primarily transported
                            out of Bolivia, usually to Colombia, for further processing into cocaine
                            HCL. In recent years, however, Bolivian trafficking organizations have
                            begun producing cocaine HCL in clandestine laboratories as well as
                            distributing Bolivian-produced cocaine. At the time of our review, DEA
                            reported that traffickers were moving cocaine base out of the Chapare
                            region, primarily to the Santa Cruz and El Beni regions of Bolivia, using a
                            variety of land, river, and air transportation methods. Once the cocaine
                            base reaches the Santa Cruz and El Beni regions, it is either processed
                            locally into cocaine HCL or transported into Brazil or Colombia for
                            processing.


                            13
                              Coca has deep cultural roots in Bolivia, where it has been cultivated for at least 2,000 years. Today,
                            coca cultivation and consumption still have considerable cultural and economic importance, and even
                            legal acceptance, in Bolivia. At the time of our review, it was estimated that 400,000 to 500,000
                            Bolivians chewed coca leaf to alleviate the effects of cold, hunger, fatigue, and altitude sickness. A type
                            of tea is also brewed from coca. In general, the leaf is a focus for rituals and social occasions.




                            Page 142                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                Appendix I
                                Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                                According to DEA, at the time of our review, several Bolivian family-based
                                transportation/production networks dominated cocaine trafficking in the
                                country. The networks were managing the majority of cocaine moved
                                within Bolivia as well as the cocaine shipped out of the country. The
                                trafficking networks were financing cocaine base purchases from Chapare-
                                based suppliers, arranging for transportation from the Chapare, operating
                                base purification and/or cocaine laboratories, and consolidating large
                                shipments for international transport. A few of these networks still dealt
                                with Colombian drug organizations; but Bolivians were also working with
                                traffickers from other countries, such as Brazil, Peru, Chile, Paraguay,
                                Mexico, and Nigeria.

Priorities, Programs, and       During the 1990s, the La Paz Country Office shifted from conducting
                                predominantly “jungle operations” in Operation Snowcap—which
Initiatives                     identified and destroyed cocaine base laboratories and interdicted cocaine
                                base shipments—to placing increased emphasis on identifying, targeting,
                                and investigating cocaine trafficking organizations. Using funds
                                appropriated for DEA’s Andean Ridge Initiatives and vetted Sensitive
                                Investigative Units (SIU) of the Bolivian National Police (BNP), DEA
                                reported that drug intelligence collection efforts in Bolivia have been
                                enhanced; and the investigative capabilities of BNP’s Special Forces for
                                the Fight Against Narcotics Trafficking (Fuerzas Especiales Para la Lucha
                                Contra Narco-Trafico, or FELCN) have been improved with more
                                personnel, additional equipment, and better training.

                                The La Paz Country office’s programs and initiatives were designed to
                                combat the Bolivian drug trafficking threat and support DEA’s South
                                                       14
                                America Regional Plan. The South America Regional Plan contains the
                                following seven objectives:

                            •   identify, investigate, and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations;
                            •   support U.S. domestic investigations;
                            •   enhance host nation counterdrug capabilities;
                            •   develop a country intelligence program;
                            •   control essential chemicals;
                            •   conduct financial investigations; and
                            •   promote regional counterdrug cooperation.

                                According to DEA, at the time of our review, the country office’s priority
                                was investigating Bolivia-based drug trafficking organizations with

                                14
                                 DEA’s South America Regional Plan, which is updated periodically, provides strategic guidance for
                                DEA’s operations in South American countries, including Bolivia and Colombia.




                                Page 143                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




connections to the United States. However, DEA officials said this has
become more difficult. In the past, there was a link from Bolivia to the
United States through Colombia. At the time of our review, however, fewer
Colombian drug traffickers were involved with the Bolivian cocaine trade,
and Bolivian traffickers were dealing with people from a number of
different countries. The country office was focusing most of its operations
in two areas: the Chapare region, where most of the cocaine base comes
from, and the Santa Cruz area, where most of the cocaine HCL comes
from.

The country office, according to DEA, was working closely with FELCN to
carry out drug enforcement and intelligence operations. FELCN exercises
operational control over various Bolivian drug law enforcement units, such
as the Mobile Rural Patrol Unit (Unidad Movil de Policia Rural, or
UMOPAR); Financial Investigative Unit (FIU); Grupo de Inteligencia y
Operaciones Especial (GIOE), FELCN’s intelligence arm; and Grupo
Investigaciones de Substancias Quimicas (GISUQ), FELCN’s Chemical
Investigations Group. The police units are supported by the Bolivian Air
Force’s Red Devil Task Force, which provides aviation support, and the
Bolivian Navy’s Blue Devil Task Force, which patrols rivers.

At the time of our review, FELCN/UMOPAR units were stationed
throughout Bolivia and were based primarily in the Chapare region,
Trinidad, and the Yungas region. Members of UMOPAR are considered
specialists in paramilitary counterdrug operations, including jungle patrol
and reconnaissance, air insertions, mobile roadblocks in rural areas, and
river operations. DEA started Operation Gatekeeper primarily to focus
UMOPAR resources on interdicting cocaine base leaving the Chapare. With
specialized teams of police conducting mobile roadblocks on highways,
Operation Gatekeeper provides a rapid response in areas of Bolivia where
intelligence indicates the movement of large quantities of drugs or
chemicals. In 1998, UMOPAR established new mobile enforcement teams
(called Border Enforcement Teams), headquartered in La Paz, to conduct
intelligence-driven drug interdiction operations, including roadblocks,
along Bolivia’s borders with Chile, Peru, Brazil, and Argentina. DEA refers
to this program as Operation GRIRMO.

At the time of our review, FELCN/GIOE had 3 SIUs with approximately 75
vetted personnel. The SIUs were located in Cochabamba, La Paz, and
Santa Cruz. They were collecting information through surveillance
operations, with special emphasis on violators operating at the highest
levels. The intelligence was being used to help investigate and dismantle




Page 144                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
  Appendix I
  Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




  major drug trafficking organizations in support of both Bolivian and U.S.
  drug enforcement objectives.

  The La Paz, Bolivia, Country Attaché told us that he believed the Bolivian
  SIUs are helping to create a DEA-like organization in Bolivia. He said the
  vetting process for members of these units is similar to DEA’s hiring
  process, and the SIUs consist of police with integrity, training, expertise,
  equipment, and other tools needed to successfully conduct drug
  enforcement operations. He said DEA is building the infrastructure of
  FELCN and trying to do more intelligence-driven investigations of drug
  trafficking organizations.

  In addition, the following efforts were ongoing at the time of our review,
  according to DEA:

• The country office had established a Major Violators Task Force with
  FELCN officers. This program focused on arresting high-level traffickers
  involved in transporting cocaine and dismantling their organizations. Task
  force operations were being carried out in Cochabamba, La Paz, and Santa
  Cruz.
• Operation Argus had consistently been the most valuable intelligence
  resource in Bolivia, according to DEA. This FELCN intelligence operation
  was feeding actionable intelligence to FELCN/GIOE, which led to arrests
  and seizures in numerous cases. The program has been funded almost
  entirely by DOD and the State Department and was expanded to several
  locations in Bolivia.
• Operation Camba is an enforcement and intelligence-gathering program
  that was targeting drug traffickers who used trains in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz
  and Tarija Departments to transport cocaine and precursor chemicals to
  and from the Bolivian frontiers with Brazil and Argentina. According to
  DEA, Operation Camba enabled the country office and FELCN to gather
  extensive intelligence that, combined with enforcement operations,
  significantly increased seizures of cocaine and precursor chemicals being
  transported on Bolivian trains.
• FELCN/FIU is responsible for investigating money laundering and other
  links between finances and drug trafficking and for providing case support
  when financial assets are seized in drug investigations. According to DEA,
  the country office has been working with the FIU to refine a 1998 Bolivian
  money laundering law to help make it fully functional.
• According to DEA, the country office had a diversion investigator working
  with FELCN/GISUQ, which is responsible for investigating violations of
  Bolivia’s laws against trafficking in chemicals essential to processing
  cocaine. GISUQ intercepts contraband chemicals entering Bolivia from



  Page 145                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                 Appendix I
                                 Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                                 foreign countries, develops intelligence concerning precursor chemical
                                 diverters throughout Bolivia, has operated checkpoints to seize precursor
                                 chemicals in the Chapare, and investigates established chemical handlers
                                 in conjunction with the Bolivian National Directorate for the Control of
                                 Chemicals.
                             •   Operation Mugshot is an airport intelligence program that was being
                                 conducted by the country office. In the program, names from passengers’
                                 passports and airport employee lists were being run through DEA’s
                                 worldwide computer database containing information on known and
                                 suspected drug traffickers.
                             •   Operation Civic Action Plan is a television, radio, and poster campaign that
                                 advertised rewards for information about drug trafficking.
                             •   Operation Education was designed to develop schools for Bolivian law
                                 enforcement personnel to enhance their investigative capability through
                                 specialized training.
                             •   Through Operation Night Watch, the country office assisted in
                                 restructuring FELCN to make it a more effective and less bureaucratic
                                 organization.

Enforcement Statistics and       The La Paz Country Office provided us with the results of drug
                                 enforcement operations in Bolivia during fiscal years 1997 and 1998.
Case Examples
                                 In fiscal year 1997, the country office initiated 219 investigations. Of this
                                 total, 99 investigations involved cocaine HCL, 90 involved cocaine base, 26
                                 involved cocaine-related chemicals, 3 involved marijuana, and 1 involved
                                 heroin. The Santa Cruz Resident Office initiated 94 of the investigations;
                                 the Cochabamba Resident Office initiated 93 investigations; and the office
                                 in La Paz initiated 32 investigations. The country office reported that BNP
                                 made 1,483 arrests and seized 11,452 kilograms of cocaine HCL and base
                                 during fiscal year 1997 in association with DEA’s activities in Bolivia.

                                 In fiscal year 1998, the country office initiated 487 investigations. Of these,
                                 483 investigations involved cocaine, 3 involved marijuana, and 1 involved
                                 heroin. The Santa Cruz Resident Office initiated 262 of the 487
                                 investigations, the Cochabamba Resident Office initiated 156
                                 investigations, the Trinidad Resident Office initiated 12 investigations, and
                                 the office in La Paz initiated 57 investigations. BNP made 2,112 arrests and
                                 seized 11,554 kilograms of cocaine base and HCL during fiscal year 1998 in
                                 association with DEA’s activities in Bolivia.

                                 An example of what DEA officials considered a successful investigation
                                 involved the Santa Cruz resident office. In May 1997, DEA and BNP’s
                                 FELCN initiated an investigation into the cocaine air shipment activities of



                                 Page 146                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




a Bolivian trafficking organization. Intelligence revealed that the
organization was shipping multihundred-kilogram loads of cocaine to a
Brazilian organization located in Campo Grande, Brazil, several times a
month. In addition, through intelligence, DEA and FELCN were able to
identify the majority of the members of the organization and their
operating areas. In October 1997, information surfaced about a scheduled
air shipment of cocaine by the Bolivian organization. On the basis of this
information, in November 1997 a joint operation resulted in the arrest of
the Bolivian organization’s head and 17 members of his organization. In
addition, 354.4 kilograms of cocaine base and $1.4 million in trafficker-
owned assets were seized.

In another example provided by DEA officials, 602 kilograms of cocaine
base were seized in July 1997 at a checkpoint in the Yungas region. This
drug seizure, along with subsequent arrests and document seizures, led to
the discovery of a large, multifaceted trafficking organization. Document
analysis and related research of personal telephone directories, financial
documents, business papers, and personal papers seized from members of
the organization revealed a network of drug and illicit chemical traffickers
numbering over 100 persons. Investigative developments revealed that the
organization was responsible for the full range of cocaine trafficking,
including obtaining cocaine-essential chemicals, operating cocaine base
laboratories, transporting cocaine base out of the Chapare region for
further processing into HCL, and shipping the drugs out of Bolivia.
Although the majority of the organization members identified were
Bolivian nationals, other possible targets were located in Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Arrests tied to this
cocaine trafficking organization numbered over 55, and the value of seized
assets exceeded $1 million.




Page 147                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                           Appendix I
                                           Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Mexico City, Mexico,
Country Office
Geographic Region and                      DEA’s Mexico City Country Office covers all of Mexico, which is
                                           approximately 761,600 square miles in size, or about three times larger
Organizational Structure                   than Texas. Mexico has a 2,000-mile border with the United States, 5,804
                                           miles of coastline, and is situated between the United States and the South
                                           American countries that supply much of the illegal drugs smuggled into the
                                           United States.

                                           At the time of our visit in September 1998, the Mexico City Country Office,
                                           which was headed by a Country Attaché, included seven resident offices
                                                                                             15
                                           spread throughout Mexico, as shown in figure I.7.

Figure I.7: Mexico City, Mexico, Country
Office Map                                      Tijuana



                                                                   Ciudad Juarez

                                                                   Hermosillo


                                                                                                                            Gulf of
                                                                                   Mexico                                   Mexico

                                                                                              Monterrey


                                                                                   Mazatlán



                                                                                    Guadalajara
                                                                                                                                      Merida
                                                   Pacific
                                                   Ocean                                          Mexico City




                                                 Country office
                                                 Resident office

                                           Source: DEA’s Mexico City, Mexico, Country Office.




                                            The country office had resident offices in Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Ciudad Juarez, Mazatln, Merida,
                                           15


                                           Monterrey, and Tijuana.




                                           Page 148                                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                            There were 88 DEA staff authorized, 45 of which were special agent
                            positions. The Government of Mexico limits the number of special agents
                            DEA can have in Mexico, and it permitted DEA to increase the number of
                            special agents in the country from 39 to 45 in July 1997. Also,
                            representatives from the FBI and DOD were assigned to the country office.

                            DEA is the principal U.S. agency for drug investigation and drug
                            intelligence coordination in Mexico. DEA works with Mexican law
                            enforcement authorities to carry out drug enforcement and intelligence
                            operations. DEA agents in Mexico do not have police authority and cannot
                                                                        16
                            make arrests or seize drugs in that country.

Overview of Drug            According to the State Department, no country poses a more immediate
                            drug threat to the United States than Mexico. Mexico is the principal
Trafficking Situation and   transit country for cocaine entering the United States, with an estimate of
Threat                      almost 60 percent of the U.S. cocaine supply smuggled across the U.S.-
                            Mexico border in 1998, typically coming from Colombia through Mexico.
                            Mexico is also a major source country for heroin, marijuana, and
                            methamphetamine.

                            Since the late 1980s, according to DEA, the Mexican/Central American
                            corridor has been the primary smuggling route for cocaine destined for the
                            United States from source countries in South America. Cocaine is shipped
                            to Mexico in various ways (e.g., in fishing vessels, in containerized cargo
                            on commercial ships, and on small planes and trucks). Once in Mexico,
                            most of the cocaine is smuggled into the United States by vehicle.

                            In recent years, Mexican drug trafficking organizations have expanded
                            their cocaine operations. According to DEA, Mexican trafficking groups
                            were once solely transporters for Colombian cocaine traffickers. In the
                            early 1990s, however, major Mexican organizations began receiving
                            payment in cocaine for their services. These organizations ultimately
                            emerged as wholesale distributors of cocaine within the United States,
                            significantly increasing their profit margin.

                            Mexico has been a significant source of heroin used in the United States
                            for many years, according to DEA. Analysis of drug seizures indicates that
                            14 percent of the heroin available in the United Sates is produced in
                            Mexico. Opium poppy cultivation takes place in the central and
                            16
                              In June 1998, we reported on the status of counternarcotics activities in Mexico: Drug Control: U.S.-
                            Mexican Counternarcotics Efforts Face Difficult Challenges (GAO/NSIAD-98-154, June 30, 1998). We
                            later updated that report in congressional testimony: Drug Control: Update on U.S.-Mexican
                            Counternarcotics Activities (GAO/T-NSIAD-99-98, March 4, 1999).




                            Page 149                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




southwestern parts of the country. Clandestine laboratories are used to
produce heroin from opium with essential chemicals that are widely
available in Mexico. DEA reported that Mexico has also been increasingly
used as a transit country for heroin from other source countries.

According to DEA, Mexico is the primary foreign supplier of marijuana to
the United States, and Mexican organizations have been involved with
marijuana trafficking for decades. Marijuana is cultivated in Mexico, with
the heaviest concentration in the western states. In recent years, growers
have increased their efficiency and are cultivating higher grade marijuana,
which commands a higher price in the United States.

Mexican drug trafficking organizations, according to DEA, have expanded
their methamphetamine operations, using their well-established cocaine,
heroin, and marijuana distribution networks to dominate wholesale-level
methamphetamine production and distribution in recent years. At the time
of our review, DEA estimated that the majority of the methamphetamine
available in the United States was either produced in Mexico and
transported to the United States or manufactured in the United States by
Mexican drug traffickers.

DEA reported that Mexican drug trafficking organizations are becoming
stronger. According to DEA, Mexican organizations have billions of dollars
in assets and have at their disposal airplanes, boats, vehicles, radar,
communications equipment, and weapons that rival the capabilities of
some legitimate governments. One such Mexican organization generated
tens of millions of dollars in profits per week.

The State Department reported that Mexico has become a major money
laundering center. Drug trafficking organizations launder the proceeds of
illegal drug sales in legitimate businesses in both Mexico and the United
States. They favor transportation and other industries that can be used to
facilitate drug, cash, and arms smuggling and other types of illegal
activities.

DEA reported that Mexican traffickers are also a growing threat to citizens
within Mexico and the United States because of their willingness to
murder and intimidate witnesses and public officials. According to the
Justice Department, the number of threats to U.S. law enforcement
officials in Mexico has also increased.




Page 150                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                              Appendix I
                              Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Priorities, Programs, and     The Mexico City Country Office maintains liaison with Mexican law
                              enforcement and intelligence organizations, and it promotes interagency
Initiatives                   cooperation and coordination in the areas of drug law enforcement
                              activities and intelligence collection and dissemination. The country
                              office’s mission is to (1) coordinate with Mexican law enforcement
                              authorities on investigations directed against major drug trafficking
                              organizations in Mexico, (2) collaborate in developing a connection to the
                              United States for the investigations initiated in Mexico, and (3) engage in
                              cooperative “institution building” to improve the capabilities and
                              effectiveness of Mexican drug law enforcement authorities.

                              The office’s work plan cited the following priorities for fiscal year 1998:

                            • develop focused intelligence-gathering activities,
                            • increase the impact of counterdrug efforts in Central America on drug
                              trafficking in the United States,
                            • enhance host nation counterdrug capabilities, and
                            • initiate regional counterdrug cooperation.

                              According to DEA’s Country Attaché, the country office focuses on
                              investigating major drug trafficking organizations in Mexico involved in
                              supplying illegal drugs to the United States. He said that at the time of our
                              visit, the Mexico City Country Office had a list of 10 major targets, and
                              virtually all of the office’s efforts were devoted to investigations of these
                              targets. In these investigations, the country office was attempting to attack
                              the “command and control” communications of targeted organizations and
                              was working closely with DEA’s Special Operations Division at
                              headquarters.

                              Another priority of the Mexico City Country Office has been the attempt to
                              locate a fugitive accused of participating in the June 1994 murder of a DEA
                              special agent in Arizona. According to DEA, the country office has
                              dedicated all available staff and equipment, in coordination with and in
                              support of the Mexican government, to apprehend this fugitive.

                              The Country Attaché told us that the key change to DEA’s operations in
                              Mexico in the 1990s was the establishment of Mexican vetted units for
                              drug law enforcement. He said this was a dramatic departure from the way
                              the country office previously operated and coordinated with Mexican law
                              enforcement authorities. At the time of our review, DEA’s Mexico office
                              was essentially working only with the vetted units, which are part of the
                              Mexican Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Health (FEADS) and
                              include personnel assigned to the Organized Crime Unit (OCU) and the



                              Page 151                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Border Task Forces (BTF). FEADS reports to Mexico’s Office of the
Attorney General (PGR).

OCU, located in Mexico City, is the principal agency responsible for
enforcing a Mexican organized crime law passed in November 1996
covering drug trafficking, money laundering, conspiracy, electronic
surveillance, and organized crime corruption. The narcotics section of
OCU has vetted personnel whose mission is to investigate high-level drug
trafficking groups, as well as drug-related money laundering groups,
throughout Mexico.

OCU is also the umbrella agency for the Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU),
which has vetted personnel. The SIU collects and analyzes intelligence
from various sources, develops investigations against major organizations,
and disseminates actionable information to other law enforcement units.

At the time of our review, the BTFs were investigating what DEA
considered the most significant drug trafficking organizations along the
U.S.-Mexico border as well as a major organization in Central Mexico
                                                                17
considered key to the booming U.S. methamphetamine trade. The
primary work of the BTFs is intelligence; i.e., they gather, analyze,
integrate, and interpret information from various sources. The FEADS
officers assigned to the BTFs are vetted; and, at the time of our work, they
were assigned to BTF locations in Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Monterrey, and
Guadalajara and their respective suboffices in several other locations in
Mexico.

Mexico passed a law in May 1996, and expanded it in December 1997,
establishing trafficking in precursor and essential chemicals as a criminal
offense. These chemicals can be used in the production of heroin, cocaine,
and synthetic drugs of abuse. The implementation of the law and
development of an administrative infrastructure for enforcing it were
under way at the time of our visit. As part of the U.S. assistance and
training to Mexico for carrying out the law, the country office was
participating in a Bilateral Chemical Control Working Group and
encouraging the establishment of Mexican chemical control programs. The
country office was also working with specialized chemical control units in
FEADS and CENDRO, a Mexican intelligence unit, to exchange chemical
import/export information and other intelligence. In addition, the BTF that

17
   The Guadalajara BTF was instrumental in apprehending two brothers who headed this organization
in June 1998. As of May 1999, the brothers were incarcerated in Mexico awaiting extradition to the
United States.




Page 152                                         GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                             Appendix I
                             Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                             DEA works with in Guadalajara was considered to be the first Mexican
                             chemical task force and had targeted the Amezcua-Contreras organization,
                             which DEA reported as the most powerful and dominant
                             methamphetamine trafficking organization in Mexico.

                             The country office also participates in the U.S. Embassy’s Money
                             Laundering Task Force. Membership includes the FBI, Customs, IRS, and
                             the Economic, Political, and Narcotics Affairs sections of the embassy. The
                             task force oversees joint financial investigations, provides training to
                             Mexican counterparts, and coordinates an exchange of information with
                             Mexico. In addition, the task force encouraged the Mexican government to
                             develop major investigations to test Mexico’s May 1996 law making money
                             laundering a criminal offense.

                             Also located at the country office is an Information Analysis Center (IAC)
                             that develops tactical intelligence for interdicting drugs and chemicals
                             being smuggled. According to DEA, the IAC interacts daily with CENDRO
                             and an antismuggling unit of the Mexican military. The IAC is staffed with
                             DEA intelligence analysts, DOD analysts and computer support personnel,
                             a Customs air officer, and assigned liaison personnel from an intelligence
                             agency.

                             At the time of our review, DEA special agents in the Mexico City Country
                             Office were spending the majority of their investigative work hours on
                             programs and initiatives involving cocaine. During fiscal year 1997,
                             cocaine operations accounted for 71.4 percent of the special agents’
                             reported investigative work hours. In fiscal year 1998, the special agents
                             reported spending 62.8 percent of their investigative work hours on
                             operations involving cocaine.

Enforcement Statistics and   The Mexico City Country Office provided us with a statistical summary of
                             the results of its operations during fiscal years 1997 and 1998.
Case Examples
                             In fiscal year 1997, the country office initiated 90 investigations. The
                             office’s operations resulted in 57 arrests, 26 of which were related to
                             cocaine and 23 of which were related to marijuana. The office reported
                             seizures of approximately 4,025 kilograms of cocaine, 3 kilograms of
                             heroin, 24,290 kilograms of marijuana, and 264,314 dosage units of
                             dangerous drugs such as amphetamines.

                             In fiscal year 1998, the country office initiated 77 investigations, 44 of
                             which were related to cocaine and 23 of which were related to marijuana.
                             The office’s operations resulted in five arrests, of which three were related



                             Page 153                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




to cocaine and two were related to marijuana. The office reported seizures
of 573 kilograms of cocaine, 26 kilograms of heroin, 860 kilograms of
marijuana, and 64,000 dosage units of dangerous drugs.

An example of what DEA considered a successful major investigation
involved the Mexican drug trafficking organization known as the Gulf
cartel. This organization transported cocaine, marijuana, and heroin into
the United States from Mexico and was closely aligned with the Colombian
Cali cartel. The organization was headquartered in both Matamoros and
Monterrey, Mexico, and had significant influence in the Mexican states of
Chihuahua, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, and Veracruz. DEA, in conjunction
with the FBI and the Customs Service, initiated an investigation that was
expanded to include task forces from U.S. federal, state, and local agencies
and international agencies. The Mexican Attorney General’s Office took
the lead in the investigation, arrested several key organization members,
and provided valuable information from cooperating defendants and
intelligence sources. DEA’s Monterrey resident office cultivated and used
informants, resulting in the arrest of other organization members and,
eventually, the head of the organization. The individuals were indicted on
30 counts of drug and money laundering violations.

After the arrest of the Gulf cartel’s leader, another individual took control
of the organization. DEA’s Monterrey office took the lead in an
investigation that involved DEA domestic offices, the FBI, U.S. Attorneys’
Offices, and Mexican law enforcement authorities. The new organization
head was arrested and charged with numerous drug and money laundering
violations. At the time of our review, he was incarcerated in a Mexican
prison.

Despite the incarceration of the second leader, the Gulf cartel continued to
bring ton quantities of cocaine into the United States, according to DEA.
Thus, at the time of our review, investigations of the remaining
organization members were being conducted and coordinated by U.S. and
Mexican law enforcement agencies, including DEA’s Monterrey office.




Page 154                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Appendix I
                           Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Caribbean Division
Geographic Region and      Established in October 1995, the Caribbean Division is unique in that it has
                           both foreign and domestic responsibilities. The Division’s area of
Organizational Structure   responsibility is the entire Eastern Caribbean Corridor, including the
                                                            18
                           commonwealth of Puerto Rico; the U.S. Virgin Islands; and the countries
                           of Barbados, the Netherlands Antilles (Curacao), and Trinidad and Tobago,
                           as well as Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti) in the Central
                           Caribbean and Jamaica in the Western Caribbean. At the time of our visit
                           in September 1998, the division’s field office, which was headed by a SAC
                           and two ASACs, was located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It also had six
                           foreign county offices and three domestic resident offices, as shown in
                           figure I.8.




                           18
                                Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth, in union with the United States.




                           Page 155                                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                           Appendix I
                                           Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Figure I.8: DEA Caribbean Division Map



                Cuba

                                         Haiti Dominican
                                                Republic                            San Juan
      Jamaica                                                                                      St. Thomas
                                                                               Puerto                                U.S. Virgin
                                 Port-Au-Prince        Santo Domingo                 Rico                             Islands
               Kingston                                                            Ponce
                                                                                                     St. Croix




                                                                                                                                  Barbados
                                                                                                                                Bridgetown
     Division office                                              Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)

     Country office
     Resident office


                                                                                                                  Port of        Trinidad
                                                                                                                  Spain
                                                                                                                                   and
                            Colombia                                      Venezuela                                              Tobago
                                           Source: DEA’s Caribbean Division.


                                           As of March 1998, the division’s 161 staff (140 in domestic offices, 21 in
                                           foreign offices) included 105 special agents (87 domestic and 18 foreign),
                                           12 domestic intelligence staff, 13 diversion staff, and 31 other support
                                                 19
                                           staff.

Overview of Drug                           According to DEA, in recent years the Caribbean Corridor has reemerged
                                           as a major trafficking route between Colombia and the continental United
Trafficking Situation and                  States. In 1995, the El Paso Intelligence Center estimated that
Threat                                     approximately 100 drug trafficking organizations were working in the
                                           Caribbean area. Caribbean drug organizations are generally multinational,
                                           but dominated primarily by Colombians, who were the command and
                                           control managers, and Dominican nationals, who operated the
                                           19
                                             DEA’s Fiscal Year 1998 appropriation included a Caribbean initiative, which increased the number of
                                           staff in the division (see ch. 4).




                                           Page 156                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
          Appendix I
          Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




          transportation networks. The traffickers transport cocaine, heroin, and
          marijuana through the Caribbean corridor using private planes and yachts;
          commercial airlines; cargo air; “motherships”; fishing vessels; small,
          motorized, high-performance “go-fast” boats; cruise ships; and cargo
          container vessels. Once in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the
          southernmost entry points of the United States, drugs are more easily
          smuggled into the continental United States, because no additional
          Customs inspections are required.

Cocaine   According to DEA, cocaine, in both powder and crack forms, continues to
          be the drug of choice of both traffickers and users in the region. The
          Caribbean basin is a major transshipment point for cocaine destined for
          the continental United States and Europe. The primary routes are the
          Western Caribbean (Jamaica-Bahamas), the Central Caribbean
          (Hispaniola), and the Eastern Caribbean (Lesser Antilles-Puerto Rico). The
          El Paso Intelligence Center has estimated that 140 tons of cocaine flow
          through the Eastern Caribbean each year and, according to the Interagency
          Flow Assessment Committee, approximately one-third of the cocaine
          arriving in the continental United States comes through Puerto Rico, Haiti,
          and the Dominican Republic. DEA also reported the emergence of new
          local markets in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean due to Colombian
          traffickers paying for services using drugs, not currency.

          Cocaine traffickers use a variety of smuggling methods—via air, land, and
          sea, according to DEA. For example, cocaine destined for the United
          States may be dropped from private planes to waiting maritime vessels or
          smuggled in “go-fast” boats into the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and
          the U.S. Virgin Islands. From Puerto Rico cocaine may be transported into
          the continental United States in airfreight cargo. Couriers on commercial
          airlines from Colombia and Panama are also used to move cocaine through
          the Dominican Republic, from Haiti to Miami, and from Puerto Rico to the
          U.S. mainland.

          DEA attributed the dramatic rise in drug-related violence in Puerto Rico to
          the increased influx of cocaine into the region. Competition for control of
          the domestic Puerto Rican cocaine market, which makes up an estimated
          10 to 20 percent of the total cocaine smuggled onto the island, accounted
          for some of the drug-related violence, according to DEA. Citing statistics
          from the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), DEA officials reported
          that between 1995 and 1998, the percentage of homicides in Puerto Rico
          that were drug-related had risen from 63 to 81 percent.




          Page 157                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                            Appendix I
                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




Heroin                      DEA sources indicated that Puerto Rico has become an arrival area and a
                            major transshipment point for high-purity Colombian heroin entering the
                            United States. The Eastern Caribbean island nations are used as
                            transshipment points for heroin, which is then transshipped through
                            Puerto Rico to the continental United States. Heroin is also transshipped
                            through Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, with Puerto Rico as a
                            second transshipment point, and on to the United States. According to
                            DEA, heroin from Colombia may be transported through Central America
                            into Haiti via couriers on commercial airlines. Moreover, the availability of
                            heroin in Puerto Rico itself has also increased.

Marijuana                   According to DEA, marijuana continues to be cultivated throughout the
                            Eastern Caribbean islands (particularly on St. Vincent and the
                            Grenadines), Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Puerto Rico. Jamaica is
                            one of the major marijuana producers in the world. Marijuana grown in
                            other parts of the Eastern Caribbean is transshipped through Puerto Rico
                            to external markets. In Puerto Rico, marijuana is not only cultivated both
                            indoors and outdoors in its central mountains, but also smuggled onto the
                            island from the continental United States. Containerized cargo ships have
                            been the preferred concealment and transportation method for large-scale,
                            well-established marijuana traffickers. Express mail is another method
                            used to smuggle marijuana into Puerto Rico.

Priorities, Programs, and   At the time of our review, both the domestic and foreign priority of the
                            Caribbean Division was to stem the flow of drugs through the region into
Initiatives                 the United States. In 1998, the division’s overall objective was to reduce
                            the capabilities of major drug trafficking organizations by immobilizing
                            their command and control centers and distribution networks through the
                            arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration of both leaders and
                            members. Puerto Rico was considered to be the “linchpin” of DEA’s
                            strategy in the Caribbean because it is the outermost entry-point to the
                            continental United States.

                            As noted above, the Caribbean Division included both domestic and
                            foreign offices. The Domestic Subdivision included eight enforcement
                            groups and the diversion program. The Foreign Subdivision included six
                            Country Offices and the Foreign Operations Group.

                            The division’s response to the international and transit character of the
                            drug threat in the region was underscored by its work-hour statistics.
                            During fiscal years 1997 and 1998, more than 50 percent of its investigative
                            work hours, categorized by geographic scope of the case, were expended
                            on international cases, which involve both foreign and U.S. domestic



                            Page 158                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                            Appendix I
                                            Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                                            components. Moreover, during those same fiscal years, 52.6 percent and
                                            39.9 percent, respectively, of the division’s investigative work hours,
                                            categorized by case target, were expended on transportation-related cases.

                                            In order to stem the flow of drugs into the region, the division’s
                                            investigative priorities for fiscal year 1998 included: (1) cocaine-related
                                            investigations involving violent organizations, (2) the initiation of major
                                            heroin investigations, and (3) marijuana-related investigations. The
                                            division’s investigative work-hour statistics for fiscal year 1998,
                                            categorized by the drug involved indicated that 71 percent of investigative
                                            work hours were expended on cocaine-related cases; 19 percent on heroin-
                                            related cases (about double the previous year); and 10 percent on other
                                            drugs, including marijuana. The increased investigative work hours
                                            expended on heroin investigations corresponded to the changing drug
                                            threat—the increased availability and use of heroin within, and
                                            transshipment through, the region.

                                            According to DEA officials, although the Caribbean Division used a variety
                                            of investigative methods to accomplish its priorities, during the late 1990s
                                            the division pursued a strategy that included the use of wire intercepts. For
                                            example, in a 1995 DEA-led OCDETF case (See ch. 2 for discussion of
                                            OCDETF), “Operation Omega,” DEA used undercover buys, on-site
                                            surveillance, liaison with local law enforcement, confidential source
                                            information, and cooperating defendant testimony to investigate the
                                            Ponce-based Angela Ayala-Martinez cocaine-trafficking organization.
                                            However, the 1996 DEA-led OCDETF investigation, “Operation Santa
                                            Isabel,” used Title III (electronic surveillance) telephonic intercept orders
                                            extensively in Puerto Rico. As in DEA generally (see ch. 2) and as shown in
                                            table I.2, the division increased its use of wire intercepts from 1995
                                            through 1998.

Table I.2: Caribbean Field Division’s Use
of Wire Intercepts                          Fiscal year                                                             Wire intercepts
                                            1995                                                                                  0
                                            1996                                                                                  6
                                            1997                                                                                 12
                                            1998                                                                                 30
                                            Source: DEA.


                                            During 1998, the division worked domestically with various task forces
                                            that included other federal and/or commonwealth and local agencies. In




                                            Page 159                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                                                                             20
Puerto Rico, DEA carried out investigations with PRPD, Hacienda
                                                               21
(Treasury Department), and the Special Investigations Bureau of the
Attorney General’s Office. One DEA-led enforcement group, which
included FBI agents and officers from PRPD, worked at the airport. A task
force group, comprising DEA agents and members of PRPD, targeted
lower level individuals in drug organizations with the objective of working
toward the upper echelons of the organization.

In addition, in San Juan and Ponce, DEA led task forces, supported by
HIDTA funds from ONDCP (see ch. 2 for discussion of HIDTA). The San
Juan task force, which included DEA and the United States Immigration
and Naturalization Service among other federal agencies as well as officers
from the Puerto Rico Police Department, focused on major drug
organizations in San Juan and along the northern coast of Puerto Rico. The
Ponce task force, which included agents from DEA, FBI, IRS, and the
Customs Service, among others; a Coast Guard investigator; an Assistant
U.S. Attorney on site; local officials from PRPD and Hacienda; and a
special local prosecutor, focused on major drug organizations in the Ponce
area.

Investigative work-hour statistics for the division, when analyzed
according to source of cases, highlight the significance of its cooperative
efforts. State and local task force efforts accounted for 36.4 percent and
28.8 percent of the division’s investigative work hours expended in fiscal
years 1997 and 1998, respectively. Joint state and local cases accounted for
another 5.5 and 12.9 percent of its investigative work hours expended
during those years, respectively. In addition, investigative work hours
dedicated to OCDETF cases by the division almost doubled, from 7.9 to
15.1 percent, between fiscal years 1997 and 1998.

Internationally, the division’s six country offices in the islands worked
with their foreign counterparts in those countries to respond to the drug
threat in the region. Cooperative law enforcement efforts varied from
country to country. For example, in Haiti, DEA was engaged in vetting (see
ch. 2 for discussion of vetting) local law enforcement personnel. The
division was involved in a number of special operations. For example,
Operation Buccaneer, an ongoing campaign to eradicate marijuana, was
20
   In Puerto Rico, the police are primarily commonwealth police, and law enforcement matters are
handled through them.
21
   According to its director, the Special Investigations Bureau was formed 20 years ago and focuses on
organized crime and public corruption in Puerto Rico. At the time of our review, it had 250 agents, of
whom 40 were assigned to federal task forces. The bureau has a drug section, which develops cases.
Some of these cases are worked with DEA.




Page 160                                           GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                                        Appendix I
                                        Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




                                        carried out by the Jamaicans and supported by DEA, DOD, and the State
                                        Department. In Operation Summer Storm, the division and DEA’s Belize
                                        Country Office worked with the 26 Caribbean nations, Belize, Suriname,
                                        and Guyana to conduct a combined, coordinated air, land, and maritime
                                        counternarcotics operation within each nation’s territorial borders to
                                        interdict, disrupt, and dismantle the flow of drugs. In the Dominican
                                        Republic, the DEA country office provided wire intercept assistance.
                                        During fiscal years 1997 and 1998, joint federal foreign efforts accounted
                                        for 35.3 percent and 24.2 percent, respectively, of investigative work hours
                                        categorized by source of cases.

Enforcement Statistics and              The Caribbean Division provided enforcement statistics for fiscal years
                                        1997 and 1998. These data indicated the division’s involvement in 654
Case Examples                           arrests in 1997 and 1,147 arrests in 1998. DEA also provided arrest data
                                        reported by type of case—international, national, and foreign. Domestic
                                        arrests were categorized as international or national and included arrests
                                        related to OCDETF cases. Table I.3 below shows the distribution of the
                                        division’s arrests by type of case.

Table I.3: Arrests Reported by the
Caribbean Division, by Case Type, for                                                      Number of arrests
Fiscal Years 1997 and 1998                                                                   Type of cases
                                                                                 a                  a              a
                                        Fiscal year              International             National        Foreign                         Total
                                        1997                               403                  182              69                         654
                                        1998                               483                  556            108                         1147
                                        a
                                         An international case includes targets involved in U.S. domestic and foreign criminal activities; a
                                        foreign case includes targets operating principally outside the jurisdiction of the United States.
                                        Source: DEA.


                                        The division reported seizures of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana in both
                                        domestic and foreign cases. For fiscal year 1997, the division reported total
                                        seizures of 7,780.2 kilograms of cocaine, 25.3 kilograms of heroin, and
                                        18,835.8 kilograms of marijuana. For fiscal year 1998, the division reported
                                        cocaine seizures of 5,442.2 kilograms, heroin seizures of 40.2 kilograms,
                                        and marijuana seizures of 5,910.8 kilograms.

                                        DEA also provided information on the results of specific cases mentioned
                                        above. Operation Omega, which targeted the Ponce-based Angela Ayala-
                                        Martinez cocaine-trafficking organization, resulted in 77 arrests and the
                                        seizure of more than $1 million in drug-related assets. Indictments against
                                        another 20 defendants were expected in late 1998. In Operation Santa
                                        Isabel, the Ponce Resident Office used information gathered through
                                        traditional investigative techniques to apply for Title III wiretap orders for
                                        12 telephones associated with the Rivera-Rosa cocaine importation and


                                        Page 161                                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix I
Profiles of Selected DEA Domestic Field Divisions and Foreign Offices




cocaine and heroin distribution organization. These intercepts produced
more than 60 calls related to drug trafficking and resulted in a seizure of
1,300 kilograms of cocaine in November 1996. With information on Rivera-
Rosa’s activities in the Dominican Republic gathered from these
intercepts, DEA’s Santo Domingo Country Office worked with Dominican
officials to arrest 25 members of the organization, including Rivera-Rosa,
and to seize cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and drug-related assets. As of
August 1998, DEA reported 81 arrests and the complete dismantling of this
drug organization.




Page 162                                    GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix II

Comments From the Drug Enforcement
Administration

Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.




See comment 1.




Now on pp. 6.




                             Page 163   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                 Appendix II
                 Comments From the Drug Enforcement Administration




See comment 2.




See comment 3.




Now on p. 7.



See comment 4.




                 Page 164                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                           Appendix II
                           Comments From the Drug Enforcement Administration




We did not reproduce the
enclosure.




                           Page 165                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
               Appendix II
               Comments From the Drug Enforcement Administration




               The following are GAO’s comments on the Drug Enforcement
               Administration’s letter of June 23, 1999.

               1. We inserted the word “measurable” to cover any measurable level of
GAO Comments   performance, whether numerical or percentage, against which actual
               achievement can be compared.

               2. We added the phrase “against the base year list” and a statement to
               indicate that neither the domestic nor the international target lists of drug
               trafficking organizations called for by the National Strategy have yet to be
               developed.

               3. We did not add DEA’s suggested statement. However, in our evaluation
               of DEA’s comment at the end of chapter 3, we noted DEA’s inference that
               it cannot finalize performance targets and measures until a designated
               targeted list of drug trafficking organizations, as called for in the National
               Strategy, is completed.

               4. We revised the statement that little can be said about DEA’s
               effectiveness without performance targets to clarify our intent that it is
               difficult to quantitatively assess DEA’s overall effectiveness without such
               targets.




               Page 166                                GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Appendix III

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments


                  Norman J. Rabkin, (202) 512-8777
GAO Contacts      Daniel C. Harris, (202) 512-8777

                  In addition to those named above, Ronald G. Viereck, Samuel A.Caldrone,
Acknowledgments   Lemuel N. Jackson, Barbara A. Stolz, Michael H. Little, Barry J. Seltser,
                  Ann H. Finley, Katherine M. Raheb, and Donna M. Leiss made major
                  contributions to this report.




                  Page 167                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Glossary


                        This glossary contains definitions of performance measurement terms
Performance             used in this report. Because limited standard definitions exist, we used
Measurement Terms       definitions from a variety of sources, including OMB’s circular A-11, DOJ’s
                        guidance to components on the preparation of fiscal year 2000 budget
                        estimates and related annual performance plans, and ONDCP’s 1998
                        performance measure of effectiveness plan. Essentially, OMB and DOJ
                        definitions relate to measuring agency performance as provided for in the
                        Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (the Results Act).
                        ONDCP definitions relate to assessing the performance of the National
                        Drug Control Strategy (the National Strategy).

Performance Goal        A performance goal, as defined by OMB for purposes of the Results Act,
                        means a target level of performance expressed as a tangible, measurable
                        objective, against which actual achievement can be compared. As used in
                        this report, the terms performance goal and performance target (defined
                        below) are largely interchangeable. DEA uses the term performance goal,
                        and ONDCP uses performance target.

Performance Indicator   A performance indicator, as defined by OMB for purposes of the Results
                        Act, means a particular value or characteristic used to measure output or
                        outcome (defined below). Performance indicators are associated with
                        performance goals in annual performance plans. As defined by DOJ,
                        performance indicators are signs that point to success or failure in
                        performance and answer the question, “How will we know when we have
                        been successful?” They refer to what specifically is to be measured. As
                        used in this report, the terms performance indicator and performance
                        measure (defined below) are largely interchangeable. DEA uses the term
                        performance indicator, and ONDCP uses performance measure.

Performance Measure     A performance measure, as defined by ONDCP for purposes of the
                        National Strategy, means data and variables and events used to track
                        progress toward performance targets. Measures show how progress
                        toward performance targets will be tracked. As used in this report, the
                        terms performance measure and performance indicator are largely
                        interchangeable. ONDCP uses the term performance measure, and DEA
                        uses performance indicator.

Performance Target      A performance target, as defined by ONDCP for purposes of the National
                        Strategy, means the desired end state to be achieved. It is a measurable
                        level of performance against which actual achievement can be compared.
                        As used in this report, the terms performance target and performance goal
                        are largely interchangeable. ONDCP uses the term performance target, and
                        DEA uses performance goal.



                        Page 168                             GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
                    Glossary




Outcomes            Outcomes, as defined by DOJ for purposes of guidance on the Results Act,
                    means an event, occurrence, or condition that indicates progress toward
                    achievement of the mission of the program. Outcomes can be measured in
                    terms of the extent to which they are achieved, or they can reflect the
                    quality of service delivery or customer satisfaction. Intermediate
                    outcomes are expected to lead to the desired ends but are not in
                    themselves ends. In many programs, a progression or sequence of
                    outcomes usually occurs. End outcomes are the desired end or ultimate
                    results that the agency hopes to achieve through its program activities.
                    These results are directly related to the agency’s mission.

Outputs             Outputs, as defined by DOJ for purposes of guidance on the Results Act,
                    means the products and services produced by a program or process and
                    delivered to customers, whether internal or external. Outputs result from
                    internal activity or effort. Outputs are important for measuring internal
                    work performance, but they do not in themselves indicate the extent to
                    which progress has occurred toward the program’s mission or what impact
                    a program has had on a particular goal or objective.

Reporting Agency    A reporting agency, as defined by ONDCP for purposes of the National
                    Strategy, means the agency designated to report to ONDCP on progress in
                    achieving established performance targets. The reporting agency is not
                    necessarily the only agency responsible for achieving performance targets.

Supporting Agency   A supporting agency, as defined by ONDCP for the purposes of the
                    National Strategy, means the agency that is designated to assist the
                    reporting agency with data collection and assessment or that has programs
                    that contribute to achieving the performance target.




                    Page 169                            GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Page 170   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Page 171   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Page 172   GAO/GGD-99-108 DEA Operations in the 1990s
Ordering Information

The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free. Additional
copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address,
accompanied by a check or money order made out to the
Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. VISA and
MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also. Orders for 100 or more
copies to be mailed to a single address are discounted 25 percent.

Order by mail:

U.S. General Accounting Office
P.O. Box 37050
Washington, DC 20013

or visit:

Room 1100
     th                  th
700 4 St. NW (corner of 4 and G Sts. NW)
U.S. General Accounting Office
Washington, DC

Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000 or by using fax
number (202) 512-6061, or TDD (202) 512-2537.

Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and testimony.
To receive facsimile copies of the daily list or any list from the past
30 days, please call (202) 512-6000 using a touch-tone phone. A
recorded menu will provide information on how to obtain these
lists.

For information on how to access GAO reports on the INTERNET,
send e-mail message with “info” in the body to:

info@www.gao.gov

or visit GAO’s World Wide Web Home Page at:

http://www.gao.gov
United States                       Bulk Rate
General Accounting Office      Postage & Fees Paid
Washington, D.C. 20548-0001           GAO
                                Permit No. G100
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300

Address Correction Requested




(186768)