oversight

Drug Control: Long-Standing Problems Hinder U.S. International Efforts

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1997-02-27.

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

                  United States General Accounting Office

GAO               Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee
                  on National Security, International
                  Affairs, and Criminal Justice, Committee
                  on Government Reform and Oversight,
                  House of Representatives
February 1997
                  DRUG CONTROL
                  Long-Standing
                  Problems Hinder U.S.
                  International Efforts




GAO/NSIAD-97-75
             United States
GAO          General Accounting Office
             Washington, D.C. 20548

             National Security and
             International Affairs Division

             B-275976

             February 27, 1997

             The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
             Chairman, Subcommittee on National Security,
               International Affairs, and Criminal Justice
             Committee on Government Reform and Oversight
             House of Representatives

             Dear Mr. Chairman:

             Illegal drug use, particularly of cocaine and heroin, continues to be a
             serious health problem in the United States. Under the U.S. national drug
             control strategy, the United States has established domestic and
             international efforts to reduce the supply and demand for illegal drugs.
             Over the past 10 years, the United States has spent about $20 billion on
             international drug control and interdiction efforts to reduce the illegal
             drug supply. At the request of the former chairman and your staff, this
             report summarizes the findings from our past work on international drug
             control and interdiction efforts and provides our overall observations on
             (1) the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to combat drug production and the
             movement of drugs into the United States, (2) obstacles to implementation
             of U.S. drug control efforts, and (3) suggestions to improve the operational
             effectiveness of the U.S. international drug control efforts. This report
             contains recommendations for the Director, Office of National Drug
             Control Policy (ONDCP), and matters for congressional consideration. (See
             the list of related GAO products at the end of this report.)


             The United States has developed a multifaceted drug control strategy
Background   intended to reduce the supply and demand for illegal drugs. The 1996 U.S.
             drug control strategy includes five goals: (1) motivate America’s youth to
             reject illegal drugs and substance abuse; (2) increase the safety of U.S.
             citizens by substantially reducing drug-related crime and violence;
             (3) reduce health, welfare, and crime costs resulting from illegal drug use;
             (4) shield America’s air, land, and sea frontiers from the drug threat; and
             (5) break foreign and domestic drug sources of supply.

             The last two goals of the national drug control strategy are the primary
             emphasis of U.S. international drug control and interdiction efforts. These
             are aimed at assisting the source and transit nations1 in their efforts to

             1
              The major source countries for coca and cocaine are Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. The major source
             nations for opium are Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Laos, Colombia, and Mexico. The major drug
             transit areas include Mexico, the eastern Pacific, the Caribbean, and the nations of Central America.



             Page 1                                                              GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
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    (1) destroy major drug-trafficking organizations by, among other things,
    arresting, convicting, and incarcerating their leaders and seizing their
    drugs and assets; (2) reduce the supply of drugs through eradication, a
    reduction in drug crop cultivation, and other enforcement efforts;
    (3) increase the political will and capabilities of nations’ institutions to
    fight drug-trafficking activities; and (4) make greater use of multilateral
    organizations to share the burdens and costs of international drug control
    efforts.

    Federal drug control spending is categorized into four functional areas:
    demand reduction, domestic law enforcement, international, and
    interdiction. The latter two categories, funded at approximately
    $400 million and $1.4 billion, respectively, for fiscal year 1997, deal
    primarily with curbing the production of drugs in foreign nations and
    stopping the movement of drugs from the sources of production to the
    United States.

    ONDCP  is responsible for producing the national drug control strategy and
    coordinating its implementation with other federal agencies. Although
    ONDCP has authority to review various agencies’ funding levels to ensure
    they meet the goals of the national strategy, it has no direct control over
    how these resources are used. Furthermore, although various federal
    agencies are involved in implementing the national drug control strategy,
    the following principal federal agencies are involved in implementing the
    international portion of the drug control strategy:

•   The Department of State is the lead agency for coordinating all U.S.
    antidrug efforts overseas and also provides assistance for eradication and
    interdiction efforts to counterdrug organizations of foreign nations.
•   The Department of Defense (DOD) assists both U.S. and foreign
    government law enforcement agencies by providing detection, monitoring,
    and tracking support; intelligence support; planning assistance; and
    communications, logistics, and training support.
•   The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the principal federal
    agency responsible for coordinating drug enforcement intelligence
    gathering overseas, conducting law enforcement operations, and providing
    training to foreign government law enforcement personnel.

    Other U.S. agencies involved in counternarcotics activities overseas
    include the U.S. Agency for International Development; the U.S. Coast
    Guard; the U.S. Customs Service; various U.S. intelligence organizations;
    other U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office,



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                   which directs the investigation and prosecution of federal drug cases
                   against international narcotics traffickers and money launderers; and the
                   Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which assists and supports some
                   international counternarcotics activities. (See app. I for information on the
                   roles of these agencies.)


                   Despite long-standing efforts and expenditures of billions of dollars, illegal
Results in Brief   drugs still flood the United States. We have reported on obstacles faced by
                   the United States and host countries in their efforts to reduce illegal drug
                   supplies. Although these efforts have resulted in some successes,
                   including the arrest of traffickers and the eradication, seizure, and
                   disruption in the transport of illegal drugs, they have not materially
                   reduced the availability of drugs.

                   A key reason for U.S. counternarcotics programs’ lack of success is that
                   international drug-trafficking organizations have become sophisticated,
                   multibillion-dollar industries that quickly adapt to new U.S. drug control
                   efforts. As success is achieved in one area, the drug-trafficking
                   organizations change tactics, thwarting U.S. efforts. Other significant,
                   long-standing obstacles also impede U.S. and drug-producing and transit
                   countries’ drug control efforts. In the drug-producing and transit countries,
                   counternarcotics efforts are constrained by competing economic and
                   political policies, inadequate laws, limited resources and institutional
                   capabilities, and internal problems such as terrorism and civil unrest.
                   Moreover, drug traffickers are increasingly resourceful in corrupting the
                   countries’ institutions. U.S. efforts have been hampered by competing U.S.
                   foreign policy objectives, organizational and operational limitations,
                   difficulty in obtaining bilateral and multilateral support for U.S. drug
                   control efforts, inconsistency in the funding for U.S. international drug
                   control efforts, and the lack of ways to tell whether or how well
                   counternarcotics efforts are contributing to the goals and objectives of the
                   national drug control strategy, which results in an inability to prioritize the
                   use of limited resources.

                   There is no panacea for resolving all of the problems associated with
                   illegal drug trafficking. However, a multiyear plan that describes where,
                   when, and how U.S. agencies intend to apply resources would provide a
                   more consistent approach. This plan should include performance
                   measures and long-term funding needs linked to the goals and objectives
                   of the international drug control strategy. ONDCP should, at least annually,
                   review the plan and make appropriate adjustments. With this multiyear



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                       plan, program managers and policymakers can make more-informed
                       decisions on prioritizing funding levels based on performance and results.
                       Also, we believe improved use of intelligence and technology and the
                       development of a centralized system of “lessons learned” could enhance
                       counternarcotics efforts.


                       Over the past 10 years, the U.S. agencies involved in counternarcotics
Illegal Drugs Remain   efforts have attempted to reduce the supply and availability of illegal drugs
Readily Available      in the United States through the implementation of the U.S. international
                       drug control strategy. Although they have achieved some successes, the
                       flow of cocaine, heroin, and other illegal drugs into the United States
                       continues, and the availability of drugs and the cultivation of drug crops
                       have not been reduced. In fact, between 1988 and 1995, illegal drug
                       cultivation and drug-related activities have increased throughout South
                       America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and other countries.

                       According to the August 1996 report of the National Narcotics Intelligence
                       Consumers Committee,2 cocaine and heroin were readily available in all
                       major U.S. metropolitan areas during 1995. Since precise information is
                       not available, U.S. agencies use data obtained through several surveys to
                       measure drug availability and use. Fluctuations in drug price and purity
                       levels are two yardsticks used by DEA to measure illegal drug availability.
                       According to the DEA Administrator, a depressed price and elevated purity
                       often signals an increased availability of a specific drug, on the other hand,
                       increased price and declining purity indicates decreased availability of that
                       drug. As shown in table 1 and figure 1, the price and purity of cocaine has
                       remained relatively constant since 1988.




                       2
                        The National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee is a multiagency U.S. government panel
                       that was established in 1978 to coordinate foreign and domestic collection, analysis, dissemination,
                       and evaluation of drug-related intelligence.



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                                        B-275976




Table 1: Average Retail Price for One
Kilogram of Cocaine (1988-95)           Year                                                                       National price range
                                        1988                                                                          $11,000 - $34,000
                                        1989                                                                          $11,000 - $35,000
                                        1990                                                                          $11,000 - $40,000
                                        1991                                                                          $11,000 - $40,000
                                        1992                                                                          $11,000 - $42,000
                                        1993                                                                          $10,500 - $40,000
                                        1994                                                                          $10,500 - $40,000
                                        1995                                                                          $10,500 - $36,000
                                        Source: DEA and the National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee.




Figure 1: Average Cocaine Purity
(1988-95)                               100    Percent

                                         90

                                         80

                                         70

                                         60

                                         50

                                         40

                                         30

                                         20

                                         10

                                          0

                                          1988           1989        1990       1991         1992        1993           1994       1995

                                          Year

                                                         Kilograms
                                                         Grams



                                        Source: DEA.




                                        DEA reports indicate that, like cocaine, the average price and purity of a
                                        kilogram of heroin has remained relatively constant since 1990. However,



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                                        the purity of lesser weights of heroin sold on the streets of the United
                                        States has more than doubled, while its average price has remained
                                        relatively constant during this period. (See app. II for additional
                                        information on the trends in the price and purity of heroin.)

                                        Despite long-term efforts by the United States and many drug-producing
                                        countries to reduce cultivation, to eradicate crops, and to seize illicit
                                        drugs, the total net area of cultivation for coca leaf and opium poppy has
                                        increased. Between 1988 and 1995, about 56,000 hectares3 of coca plants
                                        were eradicated. However, while the areas under cultivation have
                                        fluctuated from year to year, farmers planted new coca faster than existing
                                        crops were eradicated. Thus, the net area under cultivation increased from
                                        186,000 hectares to 214,800 hectares, or by about 15 percent. According to
                                        officials at the Department of State, initial information indicates that
                                        during 1996 significant reductions occurred in the amount of coca under
                                        cultivation in Peru. In addition, the amount of opium poppy under
                                        cultivation increased by over 46,000 hectares, or by about 25 percent
                                        between 1988 and 1995. (See table 2.)

Table 2: Changes in Area of Land
Under Cultivation for Drug Crops From   Numbers in hectares
1988 to 1995                                                                                       Net change in area
                                                                          Area under cultivation            cultivated
                                        Crop cultivated                         1988          1995      (1988 to 1995)
                                        Coca
                                        Bolivia                               48,500         48,600                 100
                                        Colombia                              27,000         50,900             23,900
                                        Peru                                 110,500       115,300                 4,800
                                        All other countries                      240               0                (240)
                                        Total                                186,240       214,800              28,560


                                        Opium poppy
                                        Burma                                104,200       154,070              49,870
                                        Laos                                  40,400         19,650             (20,750)
                                        Afghanistan                           23,000         38,740             15,740
                                        Mexico                                 5,001          5,050                  49
                                        All other countries                   15,141         16,704                1,563
                                        Total                                187,742       234,214              46,472
                                        Source: Department of State.




                                        3
                                         One hectare equals 2.47 acres.



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                                         The amount of cocaine and heroin seized between 1990 and 1995 made
                                         little impact on the availability of illegal drugs in the United States and on
                                         the amount needed to satisfy the estimated U.S. demand. The August 1996
                                         report by the National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee
                                         estimates potential cocaine production at about 780 metric tons for 1995,
                                         of which about 230 metric tons were seized worldwide. The remaining
                                         amount was more than enough to meet U.S. demand, which is estimated at
                                         about 300 metric tons per year. Heroin production in 1995 was broadly
                                         estimated to be over 300 metric tons, while seizures were about 32 metric
                                         tons and U.S. demand was between 10 and 15 metric tons. (See
                                         figs. 2 and 3.)


Figure 2: Potential Cocaine
Production, Seizures, and Availability
(1989-95)                                Metric tons
                                         1,000


                                           800


                                           600


                                           400


                                           200


                                             0
                                             1989          1990           1991          1992            1993           1994     1995
                                                                         - - - - - - Total potential production

                                                                Cocaine supply after seizures     Worldwide seizures




                                         Source: National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee.




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                                         B-275976




Figure 3: Potential Heroin Production,
Seizures, and Availability (1990-95)
                                         Metric tons
                                         400



                                         300



                                         200



                                         100



                                            0
                                            1990              1991              1992                1993             1994           1995
                                                                           - - - - - - Total potential production


                                                                     Heroin available         Worldwide seizures


                                         Note: Accurate worldwide seizure data is unavailable for 1989.

                                         Source: National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee.



                                         A primary reason that U.S. and foreign governments’ counternarcotics
Drug-Trafficking                         efforts are constrained is the growing power, influence, adaptability and
Organizations Have                       capabilities of drug-trafficking organizations. Because of their enormous
Substantial                              financial resources, power to corrupt counternarcotics personnel, and
                                         operational flexibility, drug-trafficking organizations are a formidable
Resources,                               threat. In March 1996, the DEA Administrator testified that
Capabilities, and
                                         “Drug trafficking organizations in Mexico have become so wealthy and so powerful over
Operational Flexibility                  the years that they can rival legitimate governments for influence and control. They utilize
                                         their vast financial wealth to undermine government and commercial institutions. We have
                                         witnessed Colombia’s struggle with this problem, and it (is) not unexpected that the same
                                         problems could very well develop in Mexico.”4




                                         4
                                           The Narcotics Threat to the United States Through Mexico—S.1547, Committee on Banking, Housing,
                                         and Urban Affairs, U.S. Senate, March 28, 1996.



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                        Despite some short-term achievements by U.S. and foreign government
                        law enforcement agencies in disrupting the flow of illegal drugs into the
                        United States, drug-trafficking organizations have continued to meet and
                        exceed the demand of U.S. drug consumers.

                        Many extremely wealthy drug-trafficking organizations operate in some of
                        the poorest countries in the world. The governments of these countries
                        have few resources with which to counter the traffickers’ activities. The
                        widespread poverty within many source and transit countries makes
                        government personnel, especially low-level law enforcement officials,
                        especially susceptible to corruption.

                        According to U.S. agencies, drug-traffickers’ organizations use their vast
                        wealth to acquire and make use of expensive modern technology such as
                        global positioning systems and cellular communications equipment. They
                        use this technology to communicate and coordinate transportation as well
                        as to monitor and report on the activities of government organizations
                        involved in counterdrug activities. In some countries, the complexity and
                        sophistication of their equipment exceed the capabilities of the foreign
                        governments trying to stop them.

                        When confronted with threats to their activities, drug-trafficking
                        organizations use a variety of techniques to quickly change their modes of
                        operation, thus avoiding capture of their personnel and seizure of their
                        illegal drugs. For example, when air interdiction efforts have proven
                        successful, traffickers have increased their use of maritime and overland
                        transportation routes. According to recent U.S. government reports, even
                        after the capturing or killing of several drug cartel leaders in Colombia and
                        Mexico, other leaders or organizations soon filled the void and adjusted
                        their areas of operations.


                        The United States is largely dependent on the countries that are the source
Obstacles in Foreign    of drug production and transit points for trafficking-related activities to
Countries Impede U.S.   reduce the amount of coca and opium poppy being cultivated and to make
Drug Control Efforts    the drug seizures, arrests, and prosecutions necessary to stop the
                        production and movement of illegal drugs. While the United States can
                        provide assistance and support for drug control efforts in these countries,
                        the success of those efforts depends on their willingness and ability to
                        combat the drug trade within their borders.




                        Page 9                                            GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
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                          Like the United States, source and transit countries face long-standing
                          obstacles that limit the effectiveness of their drug control efforts. These
                          obstacles, many of which are interrelated, are competing economic,
                          political, and cultural problems, including terrorism and internal unrest;
                          corruption; and inadequate law enforcement resources and institutional
                          capabilities. The extent to which the United States can affect many of
                          these obstacles is minimal.


Drug Control Competes     The governments involved in drug eradication and control have other
With Other Economic,      problems that compete for limited resources. As we reported in 1988, six
Political, and Cultural   drug-producing countries’ efforts to curtail drug cultivation were
                          constrained by political, economic, and/or cultural problems that far
Problems                  exceeded counternarcotics program managers’ abilities to resolve. For
                          example, these countries had ineffective central government control over
                          drug cultivation areas, competing demands for scarce host nation
                          resources, weak economies that enhanced financial incentives for drug
                          cultivation, corrupt or intimidated law enforcement and judicial officials,
                          and legal cultivation of drug crops and traditional use of drugs in some
                          countries.5

                          Many of the source countries lack the political will necessary to reduce
                          coca and opium poppy cultivation, partly because drug trafficking
                          contributes to their economies. In Peru, for example, U.S. officials stated
                          that it would not be feasible for the government of Peru to push hard for
                          the eradication of coca leaf without a guarantee that the United States and
                          other countries would support extensive, long-term economic
                          development efforts because of the coca-growing farmers’ potential
                          influence in general elections. In 1996, we reported that part of the reason
                          the Burmese government had done little to pursue counternarcotics
                          initiatives was that it ceded control over key opium-producing regions of
                          Burma to an insurgency group.6

                          Most of the countries where opium poppy and coca leaf are grown are
                          very poor. In fact, both Bolivia and Peru are two of the poorest countries
                          in the Western Hemisphere. Consequently, a cash crop like coca is vitally
                          important in these regions, where legitimate business alternatives are few.
                          According to a 1996 study, the cocaine industry added $640 million to
                          Peru’s gross domestic product in 1993 and 4 percent to Bolivia’s 1994

                          5
                           Controlling Drug Abuse: A Status Report (GAO/GGD-88-39, Mar. 1, 1988).
                          6
                          Drug Control: U.S. Heroin Program Encounters Many Obstacles in Southeast Asia (GAO/NSIAD-96-83,
                          Mar. 1, 1996).



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                            economy. U.S. Embassy officials in Peru reported that an estimated
                            200,000 farmers are involved in the coca industry, which represents a
                            sizable portion of the Peruvian economy.7 In addition, as we reported in
                            1992, severe economic problems in Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela limited
                            these countries’ ability to devote the resources needed to develop effective
                            drug control efforts.8

                            Internal strife in the source countries is another problem that competes
                            for resources. Two primary source countries—Peru and Colombia—must
                            allocate scarce funds to support military and other internal defense
                            operations to combat guerilla groups, which negatively affect
                            counternarcotics operations. We reported that in Peru, for example,
                            terrorist activities had hampered antidrug efforts.9 The December 1996
                            hostage situation at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima is the
                            latest example of the Peruvian government’s having to divert antidrug
                            resources to confront a terrorist threat. Although some key guerilla
                            leaders in Peru and Colombia have been captured, terrorist groups will
                            continue to hinder efforts to reduce coca cultivation and the country’s
                            efforts to reduce its dependence on coca as a contributor to the economy.
                            In 1991 and 1993, we reported similar problems in Colombia, where
                            several guerilla groups made it difficult to conduct effective antidrug
                            operations in many areas of the country.10 More recently, Colombia has
                            encountered resistance from farmers when it has tried to eradicate their
                            coca crops.


Corruption Permeates        Narcotics-related corruption is a long-standing problem in U.S. and foreign
Institutions in Countries   governments’ efforts to reduce drug-trafficking activities. Our work has
Involved in Drug            identified widespread corruption in Burma, Pakistan, Thailand, Mexico,
Production and Movement



                            7
                             Patrick L. Clawson and Rensselaer W. Lee III, The Andean Cocaine Industry (New York: St. Martin’s
                            Press, Aug. 1996).
                            8
                              The Drug War: Extent of Problems in Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela (GAO/NSIAD-92-226, June 5,
                            1992).
                            9
                              The Drug War: U.S. Programs in Peru Face Serious Obstacles (GAO/NSIAD-92-36, Oct. 21, 1991) and
                            The Drug War: Observations on Counternarcotics Programs in Colombia and Peru
                            (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-2, Oct. 23, 1991).
                            10
                               The Drug War: Counternarcotics Programs in Colombia and Peru (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-9, Feb. 20,
                            1992) and The Drug War: Colombia Is Implementing Antidrug Efforts, but Impact Is Uncertain
                            (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-53, Oct. 5, 1993).


                            Page 11                                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
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                             Colombia, and Peru—among the countries most significantly involved in
                             the cultivation, production, and transit of illicit narcotics.11

                             Corruption remains a serious, widespread problem in Colombia and
                             Mexico, the two countries most significantly involved in producing and
                             shipping cocaine.12 In March 1996, the State Department reported that
                             corruption in Colombia was pervasive and high-level government officials,
                             members of congress, judicial officials, and government functionaries
                             were under investigation for corruption. And according to the U.S.
                             Ambassador to Colombia, corruption in Colombia is the most significant
                             impediment to a successful counternarcotics effort. In March 1996, the
                             State Department also reported that persistent corruption within Mexico
                             continued to undermine both police and law enforcement operations.
                             While several hundred law enforcement officers have been dismissed due
                             to corruption, the Mexican attorney general believed that the problems of
                             corruption are deep-rooted and will take all 6 years of the current
                             administration’s term to address.

                             Drug-related corruption also exists, although to a lesser extent, throughout
                             several island nations in the Caribbean13 and in Bolivia and Peru. In
                             March 1996, the Department of State reported that corruption exists in the
                             Peruvian government and impedes drug law enforcement efforts.


Inadequate Resources and     Effective law enforcement operations and adequate judicial and legislative
Institutional Capabilities   tools are key to the success of efforts to stop the flow of drugs from the
Limit Arrests and            source and transit countries. Although the United States can provide
                             assistance, these countries must seize the illegal drugs and arrest,
Convictions of Drug          prosecute, and extradite the traffickers, when possible, in order to stop
Traffickers                  the production and movement of drugs internationally. However, as we
                             have reported on several occasions, these countries lack the resources and
                             capabilities necessary to stop drug-trafficking activities within their
                             borders. In commenting on a draft of this report, officials of the U.S.
                             Southern Command stated that some countries are making strides in


                             11
                              Drug Control: U.S.-Supported Efforts in Burma, Pakistan, and Thailand (GAO/NSIAD-88-94, Feb. 26,
                             1988); The Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-2, Oct. 23, 1991); The Drug War: Colombia Is Undertaking
                             Antidrug Programs, but Impact Is Uncertain (GAO/NSIAD-93-158, Aug. 10, 1993); The Drug War
                             (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-53, Oct. 5, 1993) and Drug Control: Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico
                             (GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996).
                             12
                              Drug War: Observations on the U.S. International Drug Control Strategy (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182,
                             June 27, 1995) and Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996).
                             13
                               Drug Control: U.S. Interdiction Efforts in the Caribbean Decline (GAO/NSIAD-96-119, Apr. 17, 1996).



                             Page 12                                                            GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
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                     stopping drug-trafficking activities within their own borders and Colombia
                     and Venezuela have started cross-border, joint operations.

                     In 1991, we reported that the lack of resources and adequately trained
                     police personnel hindered Panama’s ability to address drug-trafficking and
                     money-laundering activities.14 Also, in 1994, we reported that Central
                     American countries did not have the resources or institutional capabilities
                     to combat drug trafficking and depended heavily on U.S. counternarcotics
                     assistance.15 In June 1996, we reported that equipment shortcomings and
                     inadequately trained personnel limited the government of Mexico’s ability
                     to detect and interdict drugs and drug traffickers, as well as to aerially
                     eradicate drug crops.16

                     Our more recent work indicates that the problem persists. For example,
                     we reported in 1995 that the Colombian national police had only 10
                     helicopters available for interdiction and eradication operations in the
                     entire country.17 According to a senior Bolivian government official,
                     Bolivia is highly dependent on U.S. assistance, and any reduction in the
                     current level of U.S. aid would result in a corresponding reduction in
                     Bolivian drug control efforts. U.S. officials in Peru stated that developing
                     an adequate force to counter drug traffickers’ expanded use of rivers to
                     move illegal drugs will take 3 to 10 years because Peru has no strategy for
                     addressing the problem and lacks trained personnel, equipment, and
                     infrastructure.


                     Our work over the past 10 years has identified other obstacles to
Other Obstacles      implementing the U.S. international drug control strategy: (1) competing
Inhibit Success in   U.S. foreign policy objectives, (2) organizational and operational
Fulfilling U.S.      limitations among and within the U.S. agencies involved, (3) inadequate
                     financial and program management accountability of U.S. resources,
International Drug   (4) the lack of support from bilateral and multilateral organizations, and
Control Strategy     (5) inconsistent U.S. funding levels.




                     14
                       The War on Drugs: Narcotics Control Efforts in Panama (GAO/NSIAD-91-233, June 16, 1991).
                     15
                      Drug Control: Interdiction Efforts in Central America Have Had Little Impact on the Flow of Drugs
                     (GAO/NSIAD-94-233, Aug. 2, 1994).
                     16
                       Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996).
                     17
                        Drug War: Observations on U.S. International Drug Control Efforts (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-194, Aug. 1,
                     1995).



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U.S. Foreign Policy       In carrying out its foreign policy, the United States seeks, among other
Objectives Compete for    things, to promote U.S. business and trade, improve human rights, and
Attention and Resources   support democracy, as well as reduce the flow of illegal drugs into the
                          United States. These objectives compete for attention and resources, and
                          U.S. officials must make tough choices about which to pursue more
                          vigorously. As a result of U.S. policy decisions, counternarcotics issues
                          have often received less attention than other objectives. According to an
                          August 1996 Congressional Research Service report, inherent
                          contradictions regularly appear between U.S. counternarcotics policy and
                          other policy goals and concerns.18

                          Our work has shown the difficulties in balancing counternarcotics and
                          other U.S. foreign policy objectives. For example, in 1990, we reported
                          that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for
                          International Development disagreed over providing assistance to Bolivia
                          for the growth of soybeans as an alternative to coca leaf.19 The Agriculture
                          Department feared that such assistance would interfere with U.S. trade
                          objectives by developing a potential competitor for U.S. exports of
                          soybeans. In 1995 we reported that countering the drug trade was the
                          fourth highest priority in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. During our visit, the
                          U.S. Ambassador told us that he had focused his attention during the prior
                          18 months on higher-priority issues of trade and commerce such as the
                          North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S. financial support
                          program for the Mexican peso. In 1996, the embassy elevated
                          counternarcotics to an equal priority with the promotion of U.S. business
                          and trade.20

                          In addition, resources allocated for counternarcotics efforts are
                          sometimes shifted to satisfy other policy objectives. For example, as we
                          reported in 1995, $45 million originally intended for counternarcotics
                          assistance for cocaine source countries was reprogrammed by the
                          Department of State to assist Haiti’s democratic transition.21 The funds
                          were used to pay for such items as the cost of non-U.S. personnel assigned
                          to the multinational force, training of a police force, and development of a
                          job creation and feeding program. A similar diversion occurred in the early


                          18
                             International Drug Trade and Its Impact on the United States, Congressional Research Service,
                          96-671F, August 9, 1996.
                          19
                           Restrictions on U.S. Aid to Bolivia for Crop Development Is Competing With U.S. Agricultural
                          Exports and Their Relationship to U.S. Anti-Drug Efforts (GAO/T-NSIAD-90-52, June 27, 1990).
                          20
                            Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182, June 27, 1995).
                          21
                            Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-194, Aug. 1, 1995).



                          Page 14                                                            GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                          B-275976




                          1990s when U.S. Coast Guard assets in the Caribbean were reallocated
                          from counternarcotics missions to the humanitarian mission of aiding
                          emigrants in their mass exodus from Cuba and Haiti.

                          Likewise, the United States has terminated most efforts to address opium
                          cultivation in Burma, the world’s largest opium producer, because of its
                          human rights policies and the failure of the Burmese government to
                          recognize the democratically elected government.22


Organizational and        The United States faces several organizational and operational challenges
Operational Limitations   that limit its ability to implement effective antidrug efforts. Many of these
Hamper Drug Control       challenges are long-standing problems. Several of our reports have
                          identified problems involving competing priorities, interagency rivalries,
Efforts                   lack of operational coordination, and inadequate staffing of joint
                          interagency task forces.

                          For example, our 1995 work in Colombia indicated that there was
                          confusion among U.S. Embassy officials about the role of the offices
                          involved in intelligence analysis and related operational plans for
                          interdiction.23 In 1996, we reported that several agencies, including
                          Customs, DEA, and the FBI, had not provided personnel, as they had agreed,
                          to the Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) in Key West because of
                          budgetary constraints.24 Our recent fieldwork in Bolivia and Peru showed
                          that coordination between the counternarcotics police and military units
                          continues to be a problem.

                          We also found instances where lessons learned from past counternarcotics
                          efforts were not known to current planners and operators, both internally
                          in an agency and within the U.S. antidrug community. For example, the
                          United States recently developed an operation to support Colombia and
                          Peru in their efforts to curtail the air movement of coca products between
                          the two countries. This operation is similar to an operation conducted in
                          the early 1990s. However, U.S. Southern Command personnel stated that
                          while they were generally aware of the previous operation, they were not
                          aware of the problems that had been encountered, or of the solutions
                          developed in the early 1990s when planning the current operation. U.S.
                          Southern Command officials attributed this problem to the continual

                          22
                            Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-83, Mar. 1, 1996).
                          23
                            Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182, June 27, 1995).
                          24
                            Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-119, Apr. 17, 1996).



                          Page 15                                             GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                           B-275976




                           turnover of personnel and the requirement to destroy most classified
                           documents and reports after 5 years. These officials stated that an
                           after-action reporting system for counternarcotics activities is now in
                           place at the U.S. Southern Command.


Limited Oversight of       We have reported that in some cases, the United States did not adequately
U.S.-Provided Assistance   control the use of U.S. counternarcotics assistance and was unable to
                           ensure that it was used as intended.

                           Despite legislative requirements mandating controls over U.S.-provided
                           assistance, we found instances of inadequate oversight of
                           counternarcotics funds. For example, between 1991 and 1994, we issued
                           four reports in which we concluded that U.S. officials lacked sufficient
                           oversight of aid to ensure that it was being used effectively and as
                           intended in Peru and Colombia.25 We reported that the government of
                           Mexico had misused U.S.-provided counternarcotics helicopters when it
                           used the helicopters to transport Mexican military personnel during the
                           1994 uprising in the Mexican state of Chiapas.26

                           Our recent work indicates that oversight and accountability of
                           counternarcotics assistance continues to be a problem in Mexico. We
                           reported in 1996 that the number of staff devoted to monitoring the use of
                           previously provided U.S. counternarcotics aid was reduced, limiting the
                           ability of U.S. officials to oversee how this assistance was being used.
                           Furthermore, in 1995, we reported that the U.S. Embassy had conducted a
                           1993 inventory of U.S.-funded spare parts for aircraft used by the
                           Colombian counternarcotics police and found that over $200,000 worth of
                           equipment could not be found.27


Counternarcotics           The U.S. international drug control strategy emphasizes the use of
Contributions of           multilateral institutions and bilateral donors to share the burden and costs
International Donors Are   of drug control efforts, especially where the United States has limited
                           access and influence. Although international organizations have
Limited                    undertaken drug control efforts in countries where the United States has
                           no bilateral program and have supplemented U.S. programs, in many cases

                           25
                              Drug War: Observations on Counternarcotics Aid to Colombia (GAO/NSIAD-91-296, Sept. 30, 1991);
                           The Drug War (GAO/NSIAD-92-36, Oct. 21, 1991); The Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-2, Oct. 23, 1991);
                           and The Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-53, Oct. 5, 1993).
                           26
                             Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-163, June 12, 1996).
                           27
                             Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182, June 27, 1995).



                           Page 16                                                          GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                        B-275976




                        their contributions have been too small to make a significant impact. For
                        example, in March 1996, we reported that the United Nations Drug Control
                        Program (UNDCP) to reduce opium production in Burma, supplemented
                        with U.S. funds, lacked sufficient scope in poppy-growing areas to result in
                        long-term crop reductions.28 In addition, its funds supplementing U.S.
                        bilateral efforts in Peru have also been limited: $2.2 million compared to
                        the U.S. expenditure of an estimated $15 million in 1995. According to the
                        Department of State, UNDCP’s annual budget for its global activities is about
                        $70 million, or about half of State’s international narcotics funding in fiscal
                        year 1996. In Peru, UNDCP recently reduced its activities, since Italy—one
                        of its largest donors—decided South America is no longer a regional
                        priority.

                        In addition, international donors’ drug control goals and objectives
                        sometimes differ from those of the United States, and some do not link to
                        the U.S. international drug control strategy. In June 1993, we reported that
                        donors in Europe and Asia tend not to support interdiction efforts. They
                        prefer instead to provide assistance for law enforcement training and
                        equipment and for activities to reduce the demand for illegal drugs.29 Also,
                        U.S. officials in Peru stated that although international donors often
                        support development assistance efforts in drug crop cultivation areas,
                        many have been reluctant to link their assistance to specific illicit crop
                        reduction goals. These officials further stated that European donors’ and
                        UNDCP’s development activities in Peruvian coca-growing areas often lack
                        this link.


Inconsistent Funding    From 1986 to 1996, the United States spent about $103 billion on domestic
Levels Have Adversely   and international efforts to reduce the use and availability of illegal drugs
Affected Drug Control   in the United States. Of this amount, $20 billion was spent on international
                        counternarcotics efforts supporting (1) the eradication of drug crops, the
Efforts                 development of alternative forms of income for drug crop farmers, and
                        increased foreign law enforcement capabilities ($4.1 billion) and
                        (2) interdiction activities ($15.6 billion). However, from year to year,
                        funding for international counternarcotics efforts has fluctuated and until
                        recently had declined. In some instances, because of budgetary
                        constraints, Congress did not appropriate the level of funding agencies
                        requested; in others, the agencies applied funding erratically, depending
                        on other priorities. The reduction in funding has sometimes made it


                        28
                          Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-83, Mar. 1, 1996).
                        29
                          Drugs: International Efforts to Attack a Global Problem (GAO/NSIAD-93-165, June 23, 1993).



                        Page 17                                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                                          B-275976




                                          difficult to carry out U.S. operations and has also hampered source and
                                          transit countries’ operations (see fig. 4).


Figure 4: Funding for U.S. Interdiction
and International Drug Control Efforts             Dollars in millions
(Fiscal Years 1987-97)
                                          2000

                                          1750

                                          1500

                                          1250

                                          1000

                                           750

                                           500

                                           250

                                               0

                                               1987      1988       1989     1990   1991   1992   1993     1994   1995    1996   1997

                                               Fiscal year

                                                             International
                                                             Interdiction



                                          Note: 1997 figures are requested amounts.

                                          Source: ONDCP.




                                          Funding for drug interdiction in the transit zone declined from about
                                          $1 billion in 1992 to $570 million in 1995. This adversely affected U.S.
                                          interdiction capabilities. In addition, funding to support source country
                                          activities—called for in the new cocaine policy of 1993—did not
                                          materialize. Moreover, as we reported in August 1993, the State
                                          Department reduced the support of military and law enforcement
                                          counternarcotics activities in Colombia from a planned level of $58 million
                                          to $26 million because of budgetary constraints. As a result, Colombian
                                          police and military requirements could not be met.30 In 1995, U.S. Embassy


                                          30
                                            The Drug War (GAO/NSIAD-93-158, Aug. 10, 1993).



                                          Page 18                                                        GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                                         B-275976




                                         officials stated that without additional funding they could not adequately
                                         support plans for both eradication and interdiction operations.

                                         In March 1994, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the amount
                                         of funding to support counternarcotics efforts in the Andean region source
                                         countries was substantially below the 5-year level proposed by the
                                         executive branch (see fig. 5).31


Figure 5: Proposed and
Actual/Estimated Funding Levels for      600      Dollars in millions
Support of Drug Control Efforts in the
Andean Region (Fiscal Years 1989-94)
                                         500



                                         400



                                         300



                                         200



                                         100



                                              0

                                              1989                 1990            1991             1992               1993          1994

                                              Fiscal year


                                                            Proposed
                                                            Actual and estimated



                                         Source: Congressional Budget Office.




                                         In April 1996, we reported that U.S. funding in source countries had
                                         declined in 1994 and 1995 from earlier levels, even though U.S. policy
                                         called for greater emphasis on source country counternarcotics efforts.32
                                         The lack of consistent funding for counternarcotics efforts has in some
                                         cases made countries hesitant to fully cooperate with the United States.

                                         31
                                           The Andean Initiative: Objectives and Support, Congressional Budget Office, March 1994.
                                         32
                                           Drug Control (GAO/NSIAD-96-119, Apr. 17, 1996).



                                         Page 19                                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
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                          For example, according to U.S. Embassy officials, the Peruvian
                          government has been reluctant to push for the eradication of mature coca
                          partly because the United States cannot promise consistent or negotiated
                          levels of alternative development assistance to support the long-term
                          efforts needed to significantly reduce the growth of coca leaf. U.S.
                          Southern Command officials concur in the view that sporadic funding has
                          adversely affected drug control efforts and believe that some minimal level
                          of support should be established as a baseline for drug control efforts in
                          the source countries and transit regions.

                          For fiscal year 1997, the funding levels for some agencies’
                          counternarcotics activities were increased. For example, the State
                          Department’s international narcotics control and law enforcement
                          programs were fully funded for fiscal year 1997 at $213 million. However,
                          without longer-term budget stability, it may be difficult for agencies to
                          implement programs that they believe will reduce drug production and
                          drug trafficking.


                          There is no easy remedy for overcoming all of the obstacles posed by
Ways to Improve the       drug-trafficking activities. International drug control efforts aimed at
Effectiveness of U.S.     stopping the production of illegal drugs and drug-related activities in the
International Drug        source and transit countries are only one element of an overall national
                          drug control strategy. Alone, these efforts will not likely solve the U.S.
Control Efforts           drug problem. Overcoming many of the long-standing obstacles to
                          reducing the supply and smuggling of illegal drugs requires a long-term
                          commitment. We believe the United States can improve the effectiveness
                          of planning and implementing its current international drug control efforts
                          by (1) developing a multiyear plan with measurable goals and objectives
                          and a multiyear funding plan, (2) making better use of available
                          intelligence and technologies and increasing intelligence efforts, and
                          (3) developing a centralized system for recording and disseminating
                          lessons learned by various agencies while conducting law enforcement
                          operations.


Develop Long-Term Plans   U.S. counternarcotics efforts have been hampered by the absence of a
That Include Multiyear    long-term plan outlining each agency’s commitment to achieving the goals
Funding Requirements      and objectives of the international drug control strategy. Judging U.S.
                          agencies’ performance at reducing the supply of and interdicting illegal
                          drugs is difficult because the agencies have not established meaningful
                          measures to evaluate their contribution to achieving these goals. Also,



                          Page 20                                          GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
B-275976




agencies have not established multiyear funding plans that could serve as
a more consistent basis for policymakers and program managers to
determine requirements for effectively implementing a plan and
determining the best use of resources.

We have issued numerous reports citing the need for an overall
implementation plan with specific goals and objectives and performance
measures linked to them. In 1988, we reported that goals and objectives
had not been established in any of the six drug-producing countries
examined,33 and in 1991 and 1992, we reported a similar situation in
Colombia and Peru.34 Moreover, in 1993, we reported that DOD’s
surveillance mission in support of interdiction efforts was not cost
beneficial, partially because ONDCP had not established quantifiable goals
or valid effectiveness measures. Later, in 1993, we recommended that
ONDCP develop performance measures to evaluate agencies’ drug control
efforts and incorporate the measures in the national drug control
strategy.35

Under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993
(P.L. 103-62), federal agencies are required to develop strategic plans
covering at least 5 years, with results-oriented performance measures.
ONDCP officials recently told us that they are now working with an
interagency group to develop performance effectiveness measures that
will be linked to a 10-year drug control strategy. In our view, this effort is
long overdue and will be critical for evaluating the overall success of
counternarcotics efforts and for establishing a better basis to set resource
priorities. Because changing events may significantly affect the plan, ONDCP
needs to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments at least
annually.

In addition, with the involved agencies’ multiyear funding requirements,
ONDCP could prepare an aggregated multiyear budget plan that clearly
reflects the total nature and extent of combined efforts. By establishing a
longer-term funding plan similar to DOD’s Future Year Defense Program
(FYDP),36 some of the problems caused by sporadic funding patterns could

33
  Drug Control: U.S. International Narcotics Control Activities (GAO/NSIAD-88-114, Mar. 1, 1988).
34
  Drug War (GAO/NSIAD-91-296, Sept. 30, 1991) and The Drug War (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-9, Feb. 20, 1992).
35
 Drug Control: Reauthorization of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (GAO/GGD-93-144, Sept.
29, 1993).
36
 The FYDP is DOD’s budget “blueprint” supporting the defense strategy. It provides an official set of
planning assumptions and projections far enough ahead to allow DOD to estimate the future
implications of its current decisions. The FYDP has been annually submitted to Congress since 1988.



Page 21                                                             GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                     B-275976




                     be overcome. Like the FYDP, an overall multiyear counternarcotics budget
                     plan linked to the international drug control strategy could lay out
                     program requirements to enable policymakers to better judge each
                     agency’s contribution toward achieving results.


Improve and Expand   In an environment of limited budgets and assets, it is important for U.S.
Intelligence and     officials to effectively use their resources to make the maximum impact
Technology Efforts   against drug-trafficking activities. A key component of U.S. operational
                     strategy is reliable and adequate intelligence to help plan interdiction
                     operations. Having timely intelligence on trafficking activities is
                     increasingly important because traffickers frequently change their
                     operational patterns and increasingly use more sophisticated
                     communications, making it more difficult to detect their modes of
                     operations. U.S. officials have indicated that more intelligence resources,
                     including human intelligence resources, are needed. They recognized that
                     this expansion could take several years, even if additional funds are made
                     available. Nevertheless, expanded intelligence efforts are critical to law
                     enforcement and interdiction activities.

                     As traffickers become more sophisticated in using technology to
                     communicate and conduct their operations, technological improvements
                     will become increasingly important. Use of detection technology is needed
                     because over 400 million people, almost 120 million cars, and 10 million
                     containers and trucks pass through the 301 points of entry into the United
                     States each year. Two general groups of technologies can be used to
                     detect narcotics. The first group uses X-rays, nuclear techniques, or
                     electromagnetic waves, while the second group—referred to as trace
                     detection technologies—uses chemical analyses to identify narcotics’
                     particles or vapors.37

                     The U.S. Customs Service, which is responsible for the ports of entry,
                     currently has inspectors with relatively little equipment other than
                     handheld devices that manually screen containers to detect false
                     compartments. Customs has identified containerized cargo at commercial
                     seaports as its greatest unsolved narcotics detection requirement. Tests
                     have shown that fully loaded containers can be effectively screened for
                     narcotics with available high energy X-ray technologies. According to DOD
                     and Customs officials, future efforts in container screening will include
                     less expensive X-ray systems with higher energy levels, mobile X-ray

                     37
                      Terrorism and Drug Trafficking: Technologies for Detecting Explosives and Narcotics
                     (GAO/NSIAD/RCED-96-252, Sept. 4, 1996).



                     Page 22                                                          GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                            B-275976




                            systems, and more capable handheld trace detection systems. We believe
                            these technologies will likely become more important in addressing
                            maritime and border trafficking threats.


An After-Action Reporting   U.S. agencies could strengthen their planning and operations through the
System Could Strengthen     development of an after-action reporting system similar to DOD’s system.
Planning and                Under DOD’s system, operation reports describe an operation’s strengths
                            and weaknesses and contain recommendations for consideration in future
Implementation              operations. A governmentwide system would allow agencies to learn from
                            the problems and impediments encountered internally and by other
                            federal agencies in implementing past efforts and interdiction operations.
                            With such information, the agencies could develop plans that avoid past
                            problems or contingencies in known problem areas. ONDCP should take the
                            lead in developing a governmentwide lessons-learned data system to
                            quickly provide agency planners and operators with information to enable
                            them to anticipate changing drug-trafficking patterns and respond
                            accordingly and to develop more effective source country efforts.


                            To ensure continuity and commitment to achieving the goals and
Matter for                  objectives of the drug control strategy, Congress should consider
Congressional               providing ONDCP the authority to require that key U.S. drug control
Consideration               agencies develop and submit multiyear funding plans tied to the drug
                            control strategy.


                            To aid decisionmakers in planning improved counternarcotics efforts and
Recommendations             using U.S. resources to their best advantage, we recommend that the
                            Director, ONDCP, (1) complete the development of a long-term plan with
                            meaningful performance measures and multiyear funding needs that are
                            linked to the goals and objectives of the international drug control
                            strategy; (2) at least annually, review the progress made and adjust the
                            plan, as appropriate; (3) enhance support for the increased use of
                            intelligence and technology to improve U.S. and other nations’ efforts to
                            reduce supplies of and interdict illegal drugs; and (4) lead in developing a
                            centralized lessons-learned data system to aid agency planners and
                            operators in developing more effective counterdrug efforts.


                            In commenting on a draft of this report, ONDCP said it supports all of our
Agency Comments             recommendations. According to ONDCP, the President’s Drug Control



                            Page 23                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
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                     Council fully supports a 5-year drug budget planning process in
                     conjunction with the development of a 10-year drug strategy. ONDCP
                     indicated that the executive branch had developed a 5-year national drug
                     control budget for submission to Congress for fiscal year 1998. The budget
                     process is expected to identify the resources needed to achieve the goals
                     and objectives in the 1997 strategy. ONDCP added that it has already begun
                     the process of developing measures of effectiveness in concert with the
                     national drug control program agencies.

                     ONDCP pointed out that it must be reauthorized by the end of fiscal
                     year 1997 and that reauthorization language was being developed for
                     submission to Congress. Central to ONDCP’s reauthorization is legislation to
                     permit a 10-year strategy and an annual report to Congress on progress.

                     To enhance support for the increased use of technology and intelligence,
                     ONDCP indicated that it had initiated reviews of both the overall intelligence
                     architecture and the work of the Counterdrug Technology Assessment
                     Center. ONDCP also stated that it anticipated that a coordinated
                     implementation plan will be key to making a centralized lessons-learned
                     data system operational. (ONDCP’s comments are reprinted in full in
                     app. III.)

                     In written and oral comments, the Department of Justice expressed
                     concern that the report did not recognize the full extent of its role in
                     international drug control activities. We added information on the role
                     played by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in investigating and
                     prosecuting drug cases against international drug traffickers. Justice’s
                     comments and our evaluation of them are included in appendix IV. The
                     Departments of State and Defense orally advised us that they had no
                     disagreement with the findings, conclusions, and recommendations in our
                     report.

                     We have made technical changes and updated information in the report,
                     where appropriate, based on suggestions provided by the Departments of
                     State, Defense, and Justice; ONDCP; and the U.S. Southern Command.


                     The previous Chairman, Subcommittee on National Security, International
Objectives, Scope,   Affairs, and Criminal Justice of the House Committee on Government
and Methodology      Reform and Oversight requested that we provide information on U.S.
                     international drug control efforts. The objectives of our review were to
                     summarize the findings from our past work and provide our overall



                     Page 24                                            GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
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observations on (1) the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to combat drug
production and the movement of drugs into the United States,
(2) obstacles to implementation of U.S. drug control efforts, and
(3) suggestions to improve the operational effectiveness of the U.S.
international drug control strategy.

To address these issues, we employed a combination of approaches. To
obtain information for this report, we reviewed 59 prior GAO reports,
testimonies, and supporting documentation on U.S. international drug
control efforts. To obtain information on past, ongoing, and planned drug
control policies and efforts, we spoke with appropriate officials and
reviewed planning documents, studies, cables, and correspondence at the
Departments of Defense, State, and Justice—primarily DEA; the U.S. Coast
Guard; the U.S. Customs Service; the U.S. Agency for International
Development; the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator; and ONDCP in Washington,
D.C.

To obtain information on drug-trafficking activities in the Caribbean and
U.S. efforts to address this problem, we visited the U.S. Atlantic Command
in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Joint Interagency Task Force in Key West,
Florida, where we obtained detailed briefings from U.S. officials and
reviewed documents, cables, and related documents. To obtain
information on drug-trafficking activities in the source countries of South
America, we visited the U.S. Southern Command in Panama and the Joint
Interagency Task Force at Howard Air Force Base in Panama, where we
met with senior U.S. military officials and obtained detailed briefings on
planned and ongoing drug interdiction efforts in the cocaine source
countries of Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru.

We visited the U.S. embassies in La Paz, Bolivia, and Lima, Peru, where we
met with numerous U.S. Embassy personnel involved in planning and
implementing drug control efforts in these two countries. We also
reviewed planning documents, field reports, cables, and correspondence
maintained at the embassies. To obtain the views of the governments of
Bolivia and Peru, we met with senior Bolivian, Peruvian, and United
Nations law enforcement and drug control officials responsible for
counternarcotics programs. In Bolivia, we also visited the Chapare
coca-growing region and met with U.S. and Bolivian drug control officials
and numerous coca- and non-coca-growing farmers.

Our report contains various figures and tables showing data related to the
production and consumption of illegal narcotics. Because of the nature of



Page 25                                          GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
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the illegal drug trade, in which traffickers’ activities are not always known
to foreign and U.S. government agencies, it is difficult to develop precise
and reliable information. For the most part, the data are only
approximations and represent the best available U.S. government
estimates. In addition, our report includes data through 1995 because U.S.
government data for 1996 was not available and will not be officially
issued until March 1, 1997, when the Department of State publishes its
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.

We conducted our review from June 1996 through January 1997 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. As
you requested, we obtained written agency comments from ONDCP on a
draft of this report. We also discussed the information in this report with
officials of other concerned agencies and included their comments where
appropriate.


We are sending copies of this report to other appropriate congressional
committees; the Secretaries of State and Defense; the Attorney General;
the Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Director of
the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Copies will also be made
available to other interested parties upon request.

If you or your staff have any questions concerning this report, I can be
reached on (202) 512-4128. Major contributors to this report are listed in
appendix V.

Sincerely yours,




Benjamin F. Nelson
Director, International Relations
  and Trade Issues




Page 26                                            GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Page 27   GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Contents



Letter                                                                                            1


Appendix I                                                                                       30
                        Department of State                                                      30
U.S. Agencies           Department of Defense                                                    30
Involved in             Department of Justice                                                    31
                        U.S. Coast Guard                                                         31
Developing and          U.S. Customs Service                                                     31
Administering           U.S. Agency for International Development                                32
Counternarcotics
Activities
Appendix II                                                                                      33

Trends in the Price
and Purity of Heroin
Appendix III                                                                                     34

Comments From the
Office of National
Drug Control Policy
Appendix IV                                                                                      36

Comments From the
Department of Justice
Appendix V                                                                                       42

Major Contributors to
This Report
Related GAO Products                                                                             45


Tables                  Table 1: Average Retail Price for One Kilogram of Cocaine                 5
                        Table 2: Changes in Area of Land Under Cultivation for Drug               6
                          Crops From 1988 to 1995




                        Page 28                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
          Contents




          Table II.1: U.S. Retail Prices for One Kilogram of Heroin, by              33
            Region or Country of Origin, 1988-95

Figures   Figure 1: Average Cocaine Purity                                            5
          Figure 2: Potential Cocaine Production, Seizures, and Availability          7
          Figure 3: Potential Heroin Production, Seizures, and Availability           8
          Figure 4: Funding for U.S. Interdiction and International Drug             18
            Control Efforts
          Figure 5: Proposed and Actual/Estimated Funding Levels for                 19
            Support of Drug Control Efforts in the Andean Region
          Figure II.1: Average Retail Heroin Purity, 1988-95                         33




          Abbreviations

          DEA        Drug Enforcement Administration
          DOD        Department of Defense
          FBI        Federal Bureau of Investigation
          FYDP       Future Year Defense Program
          GPRA       Government Performance and Results Act
          JIATF      Joint Interagency Task Force
          ONDCP      Office of National Drug Control Policy
          UNDCP      United Nations Drug Control Program


          Page 29                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix I

U.S. Agencies Involved in Developing and
Administering Counternarcotics Activities

                      The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), located within the
                      Executive Office of the President, oversees international and domestic
                      drug programs. It is responsible for developing the U.S. national drug
                      control strategy and overseeing and coordinating the drug control efforts
                      of about 50 different U.S. federal agencies engaged in implementing the
                      strategy and managing programs. ONDCP does not manage the programs
                      themselves. Some of the key U.S. agencies involved in counternarcotics
                      efforts are the Departments of State, Justice, and Defense; the Drug
                      Enforcement Administration (DEA); the U.S. Coast Guard; the U.S.
                      Customs Service; and the U.S. Agency for International Development.


                      In the Department of State, the Assistant Secretary for International
Department of State   Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs is responsible for formulating and
                      implementing the international narcotics control policy and for
                      coordinating the narcotics control activities of all U.S. agencies overseas.
                      The Assistant Secretary also manages the International Narcotics Control
                      Program, authorized by section 481 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961,
                      as amended, which provides aid to law enforcement agencies involved in
                      antidrug activities. In addition, the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of
                      Politico-Military Affairs manages the Foreign Military Financing Program,
                      and the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Human Rights and
                      Humanitarian Affairs is responsible for ensuring that U.S. human rights
                      policies are implemented. A number of key U.S. embassies overseas are
                      staffed with a narcotics affairs section which manages the International
                      Narcotics Control Program. The section’s mission is generally to provide
                      equipment and training, operational support, technical assistance, and
                      coordination to host country agencies involved in counternarcotics.


                      In the Department of Defense (DOD), the Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Department of         Defense for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support is responsible for
Defense               planning, implementing, and providing support to law enforcement
                      agencies that have counternarcotics responsibilities. The Director of the
                      Defense Security Assistance Agency is responsible for providing
                      equipment and training to host country military and law enforcement
                      agencies. DOD’s overall activities include detecting and monitoring
                      suspected drug traffickers and providing training and equipment. At a
                      number of U.S. embassies overseas, military aid is administered by the
                      U.S. Military Group, which is responsible for coordinating security
                      assistance programs with host countries’ military forces and with other
                      U.S. agencies involved in counternarcotics activities.



                      Page 30                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                        Appendix I
                        U.S. Agencies Involved in Developing and
                        Administering Counternarcotics Activities




                        DEA is the principal federal agency responsible for coordinating drug
Department of Justice   enforcement intelligence overseas and conducting all drug enforcement
                        operations. DEA’s objectives are to reduce the flow of drugs into the United
                        States through bilateral criminal investigations, collect intelligence
                        regarding organizations involved in drug trafficking, and support
                        worldwide narcotics investigations covering such areas as money
                        laundering, control of chemicals used in the production of cocaine and
                        heroin, and other financial operations related to illegal drug activities. DEA
                        also provides training to host country law enforcement personnel.

                        The Department of Justice and its U.S. Attorney’s Office enforce the
                        narcotics and money-laundering laws and prosecute cases against
                        international drug traffickers and money launderers and seize and forfeit
                        their illicit proceeds and laundered assets domestically and overseas. The
                        Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a role in drug trafficking
                        investigations and has concurrent status with DEA because of its
                        responsibility for traditional organized crime groups. The FBI has placed
                        agents in several DEA offices overseas and is involved in joint U.S.-Mexican
                        law enforcement initiatives. The FBI also supports international drug law
                        enforcement training by either conducting or facilitating courses in
                        drug-related topics.


                        The U.S. Coast Guard is the principal maritime law enforcement agency,
U.S. Coast Guard        with jurisdiction on and over the high seas, as well as in U.S. territorial
                        waters. The goal of the Coast Guard’s drug interdiction effort is to
                        eliminate maritime routes as a significant trafficking mode for the supply
                        of drugs to the United States through seizures, disruption, and
                        displacement. The program emphasizes interdicting vessels and aircraft
                        smuggling cocaine and marijuana into the United States and tracking,
                        monitoring, and apprehending aircraft suspected of carrying drugs from
                        source and transit countries over the high seas.


                        The U.S. Customs Service is primarily responsible for preventing
U.S. Customs Service    contraband from entering or exiting the United States. It plays a key role
                        in interdicting illegal drugs and investigating drug-smuggling
                        organizations. The Customs Service has a border inspection force and an
                        extensive air program, which aims to detect and apprehend
                        drug-smuggling aircraft, and a variety of seagoing vessels.




                        Page 31                                            GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                  Appendix I
                  U.S. Agencies Involved in Developing and
                  Administering Counternarcotics Activities




                  The Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development is
U.S. Agency for   responsible for planning and implementing U.S. economic assistance
International     programs that are directed to the international drug problem through
Development       alternative development—strengthening and diversifying the legitimate
                  economies of drug-producing and trafficking countries. Agency activities
                  also include assistance to host countries in repaying debt and improving
                  judicial systems, drug awareness and education programs, and general
                  project support.




                  Page 32                                         GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix II

Trends in the Price and Purity of Heroin


Table II.1: U.S. Retail Prices for One
Kilogram of Heroin, by Region or         Dollars in thousands
Country of Origin, 1988-95                                             Southeast           Southwest        South
                                         Year                               Asia                Asia       America              Mexico
                                         1988                      $100 - $210             $70 - $200            N/A      $100 - $200
                                         1989                          $60 - $204          $45 - $160            N/A          $70 - $130
                                         1990                          $70 - $260          $70 - $200            N/A           $65 - $80
                                         1991                          $90 - $260          $80 - $220            N/A          $50 - $200
                                         1992                          $90 - $250          $80 - $200            N/A          $50 - $150
                                         1993                      $150 - $250             $70 - $200            N/A          $50 - $250
                                         1994                      $100 - $260             $75 - $200    $85 - $180           $50 - $250
                                         1995                          $70 - $260          $70 - $260    $80 - $185           $50 - $250
                                         Note: N/A - Not applicable.

                                         Source: DEA.




Figure II.1: Average Retail Heroin
Purity, 1988-95                          50   Percent

                                         45

                                         40

                                         35

                                         30

                                         25

                                         20

                                         15

                                         10

                                          5

                                          0

                                          1988          1989           1990         1991         1992     1993         1994         1995

                                          Year



                                         Source: DEA.




                                         Page 33                                                        GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix III

Comments From the Office of National Drug
Control Policy




               Page 34           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix III
Comments From the Office of National Drug
Control Policy




Page 35                                     GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix IV

Comments From the Department of Justice


Note: GAO comments
supplementing those in the
report text appear at the
end of this appendix.




See comment 1.




See comment 2.




                             Page 36   GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                 Appendix IV
                 Comments From the Department of Justice




See comment 3.




See comment 3.




                 Page 37                                   GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
                 Appendix IV
                 Comments From the Department of Justice




See comment 3.
Now on p. 20.




See comment 4.
Now on p. 22.




See comment 5.



See comment 6.
Now p. 8.




                 Page 38                                   GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix IV
Comments From the Department of Justice




Page 39                                   GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
               Appendix IV
               Comments From the Department of Justice




               The following are GAO’s comments on the Department of Justice’s letter
               dated February 20, 1997.


               1. This report reflects the contents of previous GAO reports. When
GAO Comments   appropriate, the prior GAO reports included agency comments and our
               evaluation of these comments.

               2. We did not obtain formal Department of Justice comments on a number
               of our reports and testimonies because (1) they made no reference to the
               Department of Justice; (2) at hearings scheduled by congressional
               committees, we were asked to provide our views, not the views of other
               witnesses; or (3) in the past, we honored requests of congressional
               committees that specifically asked us not to obtain agency comments.
               However, it should be noted that DEA—recognized by the Department of
               Justice as the lead agency for most U.S. international drug trafficking
               investigative efforts—did provide written comments on three of the four
               reports we have issued since September 1994. DEA was not mentioned in
               the fourth report. We obtained oral comments from DEA officials on all of
               our international drug control reports in which DEA activities were
               discussed.

               3. We have included additional information on other Department of Justice
               entities involved in U.S. international counterdrug activities. However, it
               should be clearly recognized that some activities were largely beyond the
               scope of our review. These include (1) the U.S. Attorney’s Office efforts to
               prosecute money-laundering and drug-trafficking cases and (2) the FBI’s
               efforts to deal with traditional organized crime groups. In addition, the
               Department’s comments did not reflect any disagreement with the fact
               that (1) the counternarcotics efforts to date have not significantly impeded
               the flow of drugs and (2) the obstacles we identified have hampered
               counterdrug efforts.

               4. The report text has been modified to reflect this information.

               5. We do not take a position on the merit of digital telephony legislation
               and the need to intercept and decode encryption transmissions because it
               was beyond the scope of our review.

               6. We have not changed the statement made by the DEA Administrator. The
               statement was cited in both the prepared statement and testimony given
               by the Administrator at a March 28, 1996, hearing before the Senate



               Page 40                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix IV
Comments From the Department of Justice




Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The statement and
hearing record have been published and contain no reference to “third
world nations.”




Page 41                                        GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix V

Major Contributors to This Report


                        Jess Ford, Associate Director
National Security and   Joe Murray, Assistant Director
International Affairs   Allen Fleener, Evaluator-in-Charge
Division, Washington,   Ron Hughes, Senior Evaluator
                        George Taylor, Senior Evaluator
D.C.                    Nancy Ragsdale, Senior Evaluator (Communications Analyst)
                        Dan Tikvart, Evaluator




                        Page 42                                      GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix V
Major Contributors to This Report




Page 43                             GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Appendix V
Major Contributors to This Report




Page 44                             GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Related GAO Products


              Customs Service: Drug Interdiction Efforts (GAO/GGD-96-189BR, Sept. 26,
              1996).

              Drug Control: U.S. Heroin Control Efforts in Southeast Asia
              (GAO/T-NSIAD-96-240, Sept. 19, 1996).

              Drug Control: Observations on Counternarcotics Activities in Mexico
              (GAO/T-NSIAD-96-239, Sept. 12, 1996).

              Terrorism and Drug Trafficking: Technologies for Detecting Explosives
              and Narcotics (GAO/NSIAD/RCED-96-252, Sept. 4, 1996).

              Drug Control: Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico (GAO/NSIAD-96-163,
              June 12, 1996).

              Drug Control: Observations on Counternarcotics Efforts in Mexico
              (GAO/T-NSIAD-96-182, June 12, 1996).

              Drug Control: Observations on U.S. Interdiction in the Caribbean
              (GAO/T-NSIAD-96-171, May 23, 1996).

              Drug Control: U.S. Interdiction Efforts in the Caribbean Decline
              (GAO/NSIAD-96-119, Apr. 17, 1996).

              Terrorism and Drug Trafficking: Threats and Roles of Explosives and
              Narcotics Detection Technology (GAO/NSIAD/RCED-96-76BR, Mar. 27, 1996).

              Drug Control: U.S. Heroin Program Encounters Many Obstacles in
              Southeast Asia (GAO/NSIAD-96-83, Mar. 1, 1996).

              Review of Assistance to Colombia (GAO/NSIAD-96-62R, Dec. 12, 1995).

              Drug War: Observations on U.S. International Drug Control Efforts
              (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-194, Aug. 1, 1995).

              Drug War: Observations on the U.S. International Drug Control Strategy
              (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-182, June 27, 1995).

              Honduras: Continuing U.S. Military Presence at Soto Cano Base Is Not
              Critical (GAO/NSIAD-95-39, Feb. 8, 1995).

              Drug Activity in Haiti (GAO/OSI-95-6R, Dec. 28, 1994).



              Page 45                                              GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Related GAO Products




Drug Control: U.S. Antidrug Efforts in Peru’s Upper Huallaga Valley
(GAO/NSIAD-95-11, Dec. 7, 1994).

Drug Control: U.S. Drug Interdiction Issues in Latin America
(GAO/T-NSIAD-95-32, Oct. 7, 1994).

Drug Control In Peru (GAO/NSIAD-94-186BR, Aug. 16, 1994).

Drug Control: Interdiction Efforts in Central America Have Had Little
Impact on the Flow of Drugs (GAO/NSIAD-94-233, Aug. 2, 1994).

Drug Control: U.S. Counterdrug Activities in Central America
(GAO/T-NSIAD-94-251, Aug. 2, 1994).

Illicit Drugs: Recent Efforts to Control Chemical Diversion and Money
Laundering (GAO/NSIAD-94-34, Dec. 8, 1993).

Drug Control: The Office of National Drug Control Policy-Strategies Need
Performance Measures (GAO/T-GGD-94-49, Nov. 15, 1993).

Drug Control: Expanded Military Surveillance Not Justified by Measurable
Goals (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-14, Oct. 5, 1993).

The Drug War: Colombia Is Implementing Antidrug Efforts, but Impact Is
Uncertain (GAO/T-NSIAD-94-53, Oct. 5, 1993).

Drug Control: Reauthorization of the Office of National Drug Control
Policy (GAO/GGD-93-144, Sept. 29, 1993).

Drug Control: Heavy Investment in Military Surveillance Is Not Paying Off
(GAO/NSIAD-93-220, Sept. 1, 1993).

The Drug War: Colombia Is Undertaking Antidrug Programs, but Impact Is
Uncertain (GAO/NSIAD-93-158, Aug. 10, 1993).

Drugs: International Efforts to Attack a Global Problem (GAO/NSIAD-93-165,
June 23, 1993).

Drug Control: Revised Drug Interdiction Approach Is Needed In Mexico
(GAO/NSIAD-93-152, May 10, 1993).




Page 46                                            GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
Related GAO Products




Drug Control: Coordination of Intelligence Activities (GAO/GGD-93-83BR,
Apr. 2, 1993).

Drug Control: Increased Interdiction and Its Contribution to the War on
Drugs (GAO/T-NSIAD-93-04, Feb. 25, 1993).

Drug War: Drug Enforcement Administration’s Staffing and Reporting in
Southeast Asia (GAO/NSIAD-93-82, Dec. 4, 1992).

The Drug War: Extent of Problems in Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela
(GAO/NSIAD-92-226, June 5, 1992).

Drug Control: Inadequate Guidance Results in Duplicate Intelligence
Production Efforts (GAO/NSIAD-92-153, Apr. 14, 1992).

The Drug War: Counternarcotics Programs in Colombia and Peru
(GAO/T-NSIAD-92-9, Feb. 20, 1992).

Drug Policy and Agriculture: U.S. Trade Impacts of Alternative Crops to
Andean Coca (GAO/NSIAD-92-12, Oct. 28, 1991).

The Drug War: Observations on Counternarcotics Programs in Colombia
and Peru (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-2, Oct. 23, 1991).

The Drug War: U.S. Programs in Peru Face Serious Obstacles
(GAO/NSIAD-92-36, Oct. 21, 1991).

Drug War: Observations on Counternarcotics Aid to Colombia
(GAO/NSIAD-91-296, Sept. 30, 1991).

Drug Control: Impact of DOD’s Detection and Monitoring on Cocaine Flow
(GAO/NSIAD-91-297, Sept. 19, 1991).

The War on Drugs: Narcotics Control Efforts in Panama (GAO/NSIAD-91-233,
July 16, 1991).

Drug Interdiction: Funding Continues to Increase but Program
Effectiveness Is Unknown (GAO/GGD-91-10, Dec. 11, 1990).

Restrictions on U.S. Aid to Bolivia for Crop Development Competing With
U.S. Agricultural Exports and Their Relationship to U.S. Anti-Drug Efforts
(GAO/T-NSIAD-90-52, June 27, 1990).



Page 47                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
           Related GAO Products




           Drug Control: How Drug Consuming Nations Are Organized for the War on
           Drugs (GAO/NSIAD-90-133, June 4, 1990).

           Drug Control: Anti-Drug Efforts in the Bahamas (GAO/GGD-90-42, Mar. 8,
           1990).

           Drug Control: Enforcement Efforts in Burma Are Not Effective
           (GAO/NSIAD-89-197, Sept. 11, 1989).

           Drug Smuggling: Capabilities for Interdicting Airborne Private Aircraft Are
           Limited and Costly (GAO/GGD-89-93, June 9, 1989).

           Drug Smuggling: Capabilities for Interdicting Airborne Drug Smugglers Are
           Limited and Costly (GAO/T-GGD-89-28, June 9, 1989).

           Drug Control: U.S.-Supported Efforts in Colombia and Bolivia
           (GAO/NSIAD-89-24, Nov. 1, 1988).

           Drug Control: U.S. International Narcotics Control Activities
           (GAO/NSIAD-88-114, Mar. 1, 1988).

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

           Drug Control: U.S.-Supported Efforts in Burma, Pakistan, and Thailand
           (GAO/NSIAD-88-94, Feb. 26, 1988).

           Drug Control: River Patrol Craft for the Government of Bolivia
           (GAO/NSIAD-88-101FS, Feb. 2, 1988).

           Drug Control: U.S.-Mexico Opium Poppy and Marijuana Aerial Eradication
           Program (GAO/NSIAD-88-73, Jan. 11, 1988).

           U.S.-Mexico Opium Poppy and Marijuana Aerial Eradication Program
           (GAO/T-NSIAD-87-42, Aug. 5, 1987).

           Status Report on GAO Review of the U.S. International Narcotics Control
           Program (GAO/T-NSIAD-87-40, July 29, 1987).

           Drug Control: International Narcotics Control Activities of the United
           States (GAO/NSIAD-87-72BR, Jan. 30, 1987).




(711228)   Page 48                                           GAO/NSIAD-97-75 Drug Control
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