Segment 2 Of 2 Previous Hearing Segment(1)
SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 DRUG INTERDICTION AND OTHER MATTERS RELATING TO THE NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 1998
U.S. House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:10 a.m., in Room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Wayne Gilchrest (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. GILCHREST. The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation will come to order.
I want to welcome everyone here this morning for what I hope will prove to be a very informative hearing. We look forward to the testimony from the witnesses, and we will do all we can to use the information that we receive here this morning to disseminate that information to the rest of the Members so that we can do something very specific and very concrete in what is our basic goal, our collective goal, to stem the flow of drugs into this country.
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I welcome everyone to this hearing to discuss this most important issue, the rising drug use by America's young men and women. Experts may disagree on the best way to attack this problem, but one thing I am certain of is we are not doing enough to respond to the alarming increase in drug use since 1992.
Despite the President's announcement this week of a $2 billion advertising campaign to influence children to stay away from drugs, if we don't establish and maintain secure boarders against the drug smugglers until educational efforts take hold we will continue to lose ground as more people turn to inexpensive, readily available drugs. The purpose of this hearing is to focus on the efforts of the Coast Guard, the Customs Service and the drug enforcement administration in stopping drugs before they reach our shores.
I am particularly interested in the reduction of about $100 million from the Coast Guard's interdiction budget. I am at a loss to understand how the administration could significantly cut funding for a program that has worked so well and that has shown so many positive results. I believe that international cooperation is important in stopping the flow of drugs into our country, but it is time for the United States to take the lead in the international arena by stopping drug smugglers before their deadly cargo reaches our streets and our shores.
Before 1992, our national drug control strategy was balanced between supply reduction and demand reduction. It worked. Drug use in this country consistently declined during the Reagan-Bush years. President Clinton changed our national strategy to emphasize demand reduction, especially drug treatment for hard-core addicts.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Demand reduction is a positive goal. Treatment is necessary. But that is not the only cure for this ill. I support effective drug treatment, but treating addicting while leaving our borders vulnerable is a reactionary strategy that will always leave us one step behind the drug cartels.
I have heard a number of times that this is a war on drugs. We have all heard that for about 30 years. A war on drugs means that we reduce demand. A war on drugs means that we treat the addicts. Just like in a real war when you have hospitals or mash units, those are absolutely necessary. But unless you have an effective strategy to reach out and prevent the drugs from reaching our shore, it is like fighting a war with just hospitals and ambulances, and it will not work.
By reducing the supply of drugs on our streets through effective interdiction we can drive prices up, which deters our most vulnerable citizens, teenagers, from using drugs. If we can stop teenagers from starting a drug habit, we will begin the process of winning the war on drugs.
I think our inititative to fight the war on drug use has diminished for some reason. In some way, we think we cannot win it. In some way, we have given up. I think we have to turn that tide around.
TV ads alone will not keep drugs off our streets and out of the hands of our children. Now is the time to renew our commitment to slashing drug availbility and use. Now is not the time to slash the Coast Guard's drug interdiction budget. Our task is to find the money to get the job done. It is a moral imperative for us to do all we can to secure our borders and to work with the international community to prevent the drugs from being grown in the first place.
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It seems that the strategy that we have now of not spending enough on drug interdiction, by not going about it the right way, by not having an effective, comprehensive, international strategy, especially of a Coast Guard strategy with the DEA, the Customs Service, and DOD, resembles a third world country to protect their borders.
We have the means to protect our borders. And it seems to me, and I do not want to be too harsh here, but our strategy is naive, to say the best about it.
Now if we are the leading economic power of the world, we are the leading democracy of the world, the world cannot function in centuries to come unless they have a democratic process and unless the U.S. is reflective of an intellectual understanding. That means we know all the details, we are attempting to have some sort of vision to pursue a policy that is going to work, not just hold the line but is actually going to work; and we need to put forth every single effort that we have at our disposal.
Part of it is a congressional problem. We will spend, I would guess, some $1.6 trillion in fiscal year 1999. And we spend about, I would guess, $17 billion of that on our drug control strategy.
Well, I think it is time that we understand the positive ramifications for a better drug control strategy that has more money in it. Part of that is what you recommend and part of that is what we have to do as Members of Congress. I hope we can all work together by exchanging information, having a sense of tolerance for somebody else's opinion if it is different from our own, and then reach out for that goal, which I think we can be successful at.
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I now yield to my friend from Tennessee, Mr. Clement.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
And I agree with everything you said, and I embrace what you said. We have a real problem with illegal drugs in the United States, and the problem is getting worse rather than getting better. We continually spend more Federal money on counterdrug programs, but yet drug usage among high school seniors is continuing to increase. We have tripled the amount of money spent for drug rehabilitation programs for hard-core users, yet the number of hard-core users is continuing to increase.
Meanwhile, the former commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Kramek, gave a final interview to the Washington Post before he left the Federal Government in which he stated that I have two-thirds of the money, half of the ship time and half of the aircraft flight hours I need. You cannot get there from here. You cannot make a 50 percent reduction in demand and the flow of drugs into this country over the next ''10 years'' as called for in the administration's plan.
As I said at the hearing in February on the Coast Guard's budget, I am very concerned about the lack of resources that are being allocated to drug interdiction activities. We should increase, not decrease, the number of aircraft and cutter hours assigned to the Caribbean and Southern California coast. I continue to believe that the Coast Guard should build additional 87 foot-patrol boats, assign these boats to the continental United States, and permanently move some 110 foot-patrol boats down to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
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In 1997, the Coast Guard interdicted 206,000 pounds of drugs. In fiscal year 1999, they believe they will only interdict 167,000 pounds. The rest of the drugs are going to be sold on our streets and in our schools.
I believe this is totally unacceptable. The Coast Guard is going to be combating drug smugglers for the next 20 years. Therefore, we should permanently assign more vessels to the mission. Meanwhile, we are going to spend 17.6 percent of the operating budget on fisheries law enforcement, while we will only spend 13.3 percent on drug interdiction. While fisheries enforcement is important, very important, keeping drugs off our streets is even more important.
Maybe it is time for Congress to set a minimum amount of resources dedicated to the Coast Guard's drug interdiction mission in the Coast Guard reauthorization bill. Similarly, we should consider specifying the types of vessels being acquired, just as is done in the defense authorization bill, so that we can make sure the Coast Guard is buying sufficient numbers of vessels for this mission.
The Coast Guard's efforts in Operation Frontier Shield were successful in interdicting drugs that would have gone through Puerto Rico. I am disappointed that we will not be able to continue these efforts this coming year.
I look forward to hearing from today's witnesses on our Federal program to decrease the amount of illegal drugs used in the United States. However, I believe it is time for Congress and this committee to take over the leadership role in the at-sea drug interdiction effort. If the administration is not going to provide the assets and the funding necessary, then we must.
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Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you Mr. Clement.
Mr. Coble, opening statement?
Mr. COBLE. No opening statement.
[Mr. Shuster's prepared statement follows:]
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. LoBiondo.
Mr. LOBIONDO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I believe the subcommittee is going to hear some testimony today that confirms what we already know and certainly what you, Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Clement have talked about. The United States Coast Guard needs more funding for drug interdiction.
In case anyone has any doubts, the drug war is on and it is as fierce as ever. And if the numbers regarding drug use in the United States, especially among children, are any indication, I would say that we need to seriously reassess our budget priorities when it comes to the Coast Guard.
A look at the statistics proves that drugs are still entering this country and winding up in the hands of America's kids. Teen drug use has increased two to three times since the early '90s. Use of marijuana, cocaine and LSD is increasing among 12 graders. The mean age of new users is 16 years of age. Make no mistake. The youth of America is being corrupted by drug lords in Columbia and Mexico.
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If there has been any change in the drug war, it has been the speed with which drug lords and cartels have shifted their tactics for smuggling on the high seas. The seizures of cocaine in the waters off Caribbean have risen to over 40 percent of all cocaine confiscated by US forces.
Another example is the emergence of Haiti as a critical stopover point for Colombian drugs headed for south Florida. Last month, for instance, 1,500 pounds of cocaine were seized from two Haitian boats. By admission of General Barry McCaffrey, Haiti will soon be a disaster for the United States' anti-drug efforts unless our forces can mobilize and confront the smugglers before they enter the U.S. waters.
So we see from increased drug use by children and increased activity on the seas that international drug criminals are alive and well and very focused on bringing their product into the United States by any means necessary.
While we talk about making the war on drugs a priority and an issue of national security, are we settling for a stalemate? What can we do to tip the balance of power in our favor?
Mr. Chairman, I think we should be very clear. We cannot squeeze the Coast Guard's budget and then ask them to do the impossible. We are fighting a war and you don't try to fight a war with one hand tied behind your back. We need to increase the Coast Guard's budget so that they can apply their resources forcefully at sea and in the air. Let's give them the ability to recruit more men and women willing to join their ranks.
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Most importantly, we need to arm the Coast Guard to the teeth with the most up-to-date equipment and technology so that their interdiction operations like Frontier Shield, going on as we speak, become the most potent force available against any drug lord or any cartel that seeks to transport drugs inside the United States border.
Mr. Chairman we, and I mean every member of this subcommittee, have a chance to make a impact on the war on drugs. Let's begin by doing all we can to enhance the Coast Guard's interdiction efforts.
Thank you very much.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. LoBiondo.
Mr. COBLE. Very briefly, Mr. Chairman.
You and the gentleman from Tennessee and the gentleman from New Jersey pretty well put your finger on the pulse. This is a problem that I think has the potential to destroy or nation, and many people are very casual about it. Oh, it is just a phase. They will get over it next week or next month.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 When I sat in that chair that you now occupy, Mr. Chairman, we had two hearings on this very subject, and I don't know that we are any farther along now than we were then. I am not blaming you for that, of course. I am not blaming anybody specifically. But there is a lot of blame to go around, and I think somebody in this town needs to recognize that we can no longer be casual about this problem, and it is going to take some money to square it away.
When I think about the past 25 or 30 years, how money was squandered in this town recklessly, we ought to be able to find enough money to earmark for the Coast Guard and earmark it further for drug interdiction.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Coble. And we are going to do that.
Mr. JOHNSON. No statement.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, gentlemen.
I am going to change the order just slightly for the witnesses because I understand Mr. Williams has to leave in about 15 minutes. So we will go to Mr. Williams first and then Admiral Riutta, Mr. Maxwell and then Mr. McDonough.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. Williams.
TESTIMONY OF GREGORY K. WILLIAMS, CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION; REAR ADMIRAL ERNEST R. RIUTTA, ASSISTANT COMMANDANT FOR OPERATIONS, U.S. COAST GUARD; JOSEPH W. MAXWELL, ACTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AIR INTERDICTION DIVISION, U.S. CUSTOMS SERVICE; AND JAMES R. MCDONOUGH, DIRECTOR OF STRATEGY, OFFICE OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
Mr. WILLIAMS. Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee. I appreciate the opportunity to appear today to discuss the drug trafficking from South America and the Caribbean as well as the joint law enforcement efforts that have been employed that is a formidable threat.
International drug syndicates operating throughout our hemisphere are resourceful, adaptable, wealthy, and sophisticated, much more so than the traditional organized crime we have seen in the United States since the turn of the century. Today's international crime syndicates have at their disposal a sophisticated arsenal of technology, equipment and weapons, enabling them to dominate the illegal drug market very effectively. Their wealth and power allows them to bribe and intimidate public officials and citizens. Their strength presents substantial challenges to law enforcement.
In order to effectively dismantle these organizations, we must take a hemisphere approach to attack these groups. The vast majority of the cocaine entering the United States continues to come from the source countries of Columbia, Bolivia and Peru. Heroin produced in Columbia represented 52 percent of the heroin seized in the United States last year. Colombian traffickers continue to dominate the movement of cocaine from the jungles of Bolivia and Peru to the large cocaine hydrochloride conversion factories in southern Columbia. Once cocaine hydrochloride is manufactured, it is shipped by a maritime or aircraft to traffickers in Mexico or shipped through the Caribbean corridor, including the Bahamas Island chain to the U.S. entry points.
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Colombian traffickers, due to the increase in law enforcement pressure in South America and the Caribbean, were forced to turn to the experienced Mexican drug smugglers to move their products in the United States. The Mexican organizations now control virtually all cocaine sold in the western half of the United States; and, for the first time, DEA is seeing a concerted effort on the part of the Mexican traffickers to expand into lucrative East Coast markets.
The Caribbean has long been a favored smuggling route used by the Cali and Medellin criminal groups to smuggle thousands of tons of cocaine to the United States. Drug traffickers in the early 1970s and 1980s established a number of smuggling routes throughout the central Caribbean, including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Bahamas Island chain to the south of Florida.
Our focus on the Cali organization's command and control functions in the U.S. enabled us to build formidable cases against the Cali leaders, which allowed our Colombian counterparts to arrest and incarcerate the entire infrastructure of the most powerful crime groups in the history. Now independent groups of traffickers from the Northern Valle dal Cauca and splinter groups from the Cali syndicate have risen to prominence and are responsible for huge volumes of cocaine and heroin being shipped to the United States through the Caribbean. These groups tend to be smaller and less organized. However, they continue to rely on fear, bribery, intimidation and violence to expand and control their trafficking empires.
The threat we now face in the Caribbean is consistently changing. Mexican trafficking groups normally charge Colombian traffickers 50 percent of each shipment to transport their product through Mexico to the United States. Meanwhile, Puerto Rican and Dominican groups offer the same services for as low as 20 percent. Thus, many Colombian groups have returned to the traditional smuggling routes in the Caribbean.
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In addition to the Cali cartel remnants, we have identified a number of separate groups, many of which operate in the Northern Valle dal Cauca. These organizations are a significant force in today's heroin and cocaine markets.
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are the United States' southernmost points of entry and, as such, provide an excellent gateway for drugs destined for cities on the East Coast of the United States. Puerto Rico's 300-mile coastline, the vast number of isolated caves and 2 million square miles of open water between the U.S. and Columbia make the region difficult to control and make it ideal for land, sea and air smuggling of drugs, weapons, illegal aliens and currency.
Only 360 miles from Colombia's north coast and 80 miles from the East Coast of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico is easily reachable by twin-engine aircraft, hauling payloads of 500 to 700 kilos of cocaine. The Go-Fast boats make their round trip cocaine runs to the southern coast of Puerto Rico in less than a day. Today, cocaine and heroin traffickers from Columbia have transformed Puerto Rico into the largest staging area in the Caribbean for smuggling Colombian cocaine and heroin into the United States.
The Dominican's role in illegal drug activity in the past was limited to being couriers who assisted the Puerto Rican smugglers in their drug smuggling ventures. Much of this has changed due to the evolution of the drug trade over the last 3 years. This new breed of Dominican trafficker functions as smugglers, transporters and wholesalers in many U.S. cities on the eastern coast.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In the last year, criminals from the Dominican Republic have emerged as the dominant force in the mid-level cocaine and heroin trade on the East Coast of the United States. Many new Colombian drug syndicates have chosen to franchise a significant portion of their heroin and cocaine wholesale operations. From Boston, Massachusetts, to Charlotte, North Carolina, well-organized Dominican trafficking groups are controlling and directing the sale of multi-hundred kilogram shipments of cocaine and multi-kilogram quantities of heroin for the first time. Their influence has spread beyond the big city landscape into the smaller cities and towns.
The Hartford Connecticut Police Department recently arrested 40 members of the Dominican traffic group responsible for the sale of thousands of baggies of heroin brought into Hartford from New York City. In New Haven, Connecticut, one Dominican trafficking group was responsible for about 90 percent of all the heroin being sold in that area.
Haiti is strategically located in the Central Caribbean. Just 80 miles from the east coast of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico is easily accessible by plane or boat.
The island of Hispaniola is 430 miles from Colombia's most northern point and can be reached by twin-engine aircraft. The two countries on the island, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, share similar coastal features, facilitating intra-island boat traffic. There is effectively no border control between the two countries, allowing essentially unimpeded traffic back and forth.
The proximity of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the lack of an effective legal system has allowed Haiti to become a key link in the transportation chain. The DEA has identified many Colombian organizations that are based in Haiti. In addition, several Haitian splinter groups with directs ties to Columbia have also been identified.
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The Bahamas Island chain, which lies northwest of the island of Hispaniola and just northeast of Cuba, has been a center for smuggling contraband for centuries. The Bahamas remain a central conduit for air and maritime shipments of drugs moving through the west and central Caribbean to the southeast United States.
Transportation groups located in the Bahamas utilize a variety of methods to move cocaine from the islands to the U.S. Colombian traffickers. Air drop shipments of cocaine off the coast of Jamaica are utilized, boat-to-boat transfers on the open seas. Jamaican and Bahamian transportation groups then use canoes to smuggle their payloads into the Bahamian chain. Cellular telephones are used to minimize their exposure to interdiction assets and ensure the smooth transfer of their cargo of cocaine into the United States.
To counter the threat in the northern Caribbean, the United States government initiated Operation Bahamas and Turks and CaicosOperation BATin 1982. Operation BAT has had enormous success over the years, literally driving transportation groups working for the Cali syndicate out of the northern Caribbean and resulting in many of the changes I have already described with respect to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Over time, law enforcement in the U.S. has been able to effectively counter organized crimes by attacking the command and control systems of the syndicates through the use of court approved intercepts. This was originally designated our Southwest Border Initiative but has become a strategy employed throughout the hemisphere. DEA and our counterparts direct their resources against the communications system of the demand and control functions of the organized crime groups in both the Caribbean and South America.
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In response to the threat posed in the Caribbean, DEA has enhanced the Caribbean Field Division by 25 Special Agents. In fiscal year 1997, the Caribbean Division arrested 652 defendants, initiated 124 criminal cases and document over $13 million in asset seizures. In July of 1997, to disrupt the flow of drug traffic in the Caribbean, DEA, in cooperation with the United States Coast Guard and the Department of Defense, initiated Operation Summer Storm and Operation Blue Skies which target air, land and maritime smuggling networks.
A successful counterdrug strategy must incorporate an interdiction component that is fed critical intelligence which is necessary to be successful. DEA remains committed to our primary goal of targeting and arresting the most significant drug traffickers operating in the world today. In order to meet this goal, it is essential that we have trustworthy and competent agencies in the Caribbean and South America working side by side with us.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.
Mr. Chairman, I will be happy to respond to any questions you have or any other members.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Williams.
I understand you have to leave about 15 minutes of?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir. I have a few more minutes I can spend with you.
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Mr. GILCHREST. I think what we will do, then, is have the members ask you questions now in case you cannot stay for another, let's say, 15 minutes.
Mr. WILLIAMS. If I can leave at 5 to 11, that would work.
Mr. GILCHREST. I guess we will just get started with questions for you, and then we will go on to the other witnesses.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. In your testimony, you said that an interdiction effort is an important component of our drug control policy. Do you feel that the interdiction effortyou said it was first started in 1982?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. It is 1998. Have you been involved since 1982?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Have I been with Drug Enforcement since 1974? Yes.
Mr. GILCHREST. Do you see any trend in our ability to interdict drugs over the past, let's say, 16 years?
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. WILLIAMS. I think we have made some progress. We have new initiatives with the Drug Enforcement, Customs and the FBI where we are using title 3 intercepts that we have been using all the time. But working together, sharing intelligence, we have made inroads in actually attacking more of the command and control of organizations and having more of an impact in not only taking out street-level dealers but really following it back to the source countries and trying to really disrupt the whole organization. So I think we are doing a better job than we have in the past.
Mr. GILCHREST. Could you give us some indication as to why the amount of drugs coming into the country has increased in the last 5 or 6 years instead of continuing its decline?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I think that South America is increasingly sending more drugs throughoutwell, through Mexico and the Caribbean to the U.S. I think we are getting better intelligence, making more seizures. I think there have been more drugs coming into the U.S. all the time. But we are focusing on making more seizures, that actually we can track and get better intelligence to show the real amount of drugs coming into the U.S.
I am having difficulty with this question, because it is really hard to identify why we are seeing more of an increase with, actually, the amount of drugs even decreasing in price.
Mr. GILCHREST. Do you think that an increase in the funding specifically to the Coast Guard, which is a part of this team that you are involved in, and I am not talking about an astronomical amount of dollars, but is there an understanding thatlet's take a figure of about $100 milliongiven the assumption that DEA and Customs also have a similar increase to coordinate their efforts?
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Mr. WILLIAMS. I think it is a worthwhile expenditure. I think it is an excellent component, working with the intelligence that DEA has and all the other enforcement agencies, that we need the Coast Guard there actually in the forefront to try to interdict as much drugs as they possibly can before it actually hits our borders.
Mr. GILCHREST. So if the Coast Guard actually has to reduce its flight hours and reduce its cutter hours in their involvement with this program, whether it is the ones you have mentioned or FRONTIER SHIELD or FRONTIER LANCE, if the Coast Guard has to reduce the number of hours of their participation in this interdiction effort, then, given the fact that there is more drugs coming in and the drug smugglers seem to be getting increasingly sophisticated and, to some extent, more fragmented and difficult to pinpoint, we will continue to see an increase in drugs coming into the country. Is that a fair statement?
Mr. WILLIAMS. If the Coast Guard reduces their hours?
Mr. GILCHREST. Yes.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir. That is correct.
Mr. GILCHREST. Can you give us some estimatelet's say that the Coast Guard, the Customs, the U.S. drug control strategy, DEA, your efforts with the international community, if there is some reasonable understanding as to the coordinated efforts of the U.S. agencies in the international community, especially the Caribbean and Latin America region, could we, over the next 5 to 10 years, make resources available to reduce through interdiction the drugs coming into the United States by as much as 50 to 80 percent?
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Mr. WILLIAMS. I am not sure if we can actually put a percentage onto what we can reduce. I think that with the Coast Guard continuing their efforts and maybe possibly increasing their efforts that we can have an impact on the drug flows coming into the U.S.
I believe that the United States Government cannot do it alone. We have to have all the host countries to also participate. We need to get the Dominican Republic more involved. We have to have the Haitian government get involved and provide us assistance and identifyingproviding intelligence to the Coast Guard so they can actually go out and conduct interdiction efforts.
We will be able to decrease the amount of drugs coming into the U.S., but I am not sure if we will be able to hit the 50 percent mark, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. We in Congress pretty much have to use terms like ''percentages.'' Otherwise, it is difficult to transfer that understanding to other Members.
Goal 4 of the National Drug Control Strategy of 1998 is to shield America's air, land, and sea frontiers from the drug threat. Goal 4 states that the long-term objective to reduce incoming drugs by the year 2000 is to reduce them by 20 percent by the year 2007.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GILCHREST. Do you think that is a laudable goal? That is the extent of what we can reduce it over the next 7 or 8 years? Can we reduce it any more than that?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I think that is a laudable goal. We will try our best to reduce it even more than that, but I think that is kind of a fair assessment. If I said more than that, I do not know if we could really meet that goal sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. So you do not think we could reduce drugs coming into the United States by more than 20 percent by the year 2007?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I am really not sure what percentage. I may have to defer this question to ONDCP. I am just not sure what the percentage would be.
Mr. GILCHREST. I guess the percentage would be the amount of dollars that the administration is putting into the drug interdiction program now. But if that was increased, I would assume that we could increase the percentage of interdiction.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir, with more resources we probably could do that.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Williams.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Williams, do you ever think we have had a so-called war on drugs?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, I do, sir.
Mr. CLEMENT. In what way? What have we done to curtail drugs?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I think, right now, with all the enforcement working together, we are sharing intelligence better than we have in the past. We have collectively established some initiatives where DEA, FBI, Customs are working on trying to target the major organizations and really focus most of our resources on those organizations. We have increased our resources along the southwest border and throughout the Caribbean. We are working with those governments through Haiti and the Dominican Republic to try to get them actually more involved and have them embrace our efforts a little more.
Mr. CLEMENT. What about the turf fights? Are you saying that they are over between the various agencies concerning the so-called war on drugs?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I am not sure I can say they are totally over. But we have made great strides in reducing the number of turf fights that we have seen in the past.
Mr. CLEMENT. What seems to be some of the major problems there with the turf fights about various agencies and what they think their jurisdiction is versus their response, whether it pertains to intelligence information or enforcement?
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Mr. WILLIAMS. I believe in the past a lot of the turf fights came overintelligence really drives enforcement agencies, and everybody was very protective of their intelligence. We see now more today agencies willing to share and collectively work with the intelligence and try to identify common goals that we want to reach.
The objective between DEA, Customs, and the FBI as I know it and what I have seen in the last few years is that we are working well to just reach a common goal and forget about turf battles and protecting what we consider our ball park. We are willing to work together and attack the organizations that we deem appropriate.
Mr. CLEMENT. Well, have you seen instances where the intelligence was there but the enforcement was not there or we did not seek out, search out, simply because we did not have the equipment or the resources available?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I think the resources has been the main problem. These trafficking organizations that we are trying to target and attack are very fluid. They move very quickly. As we put pressure on the southwest border, they change their trafficking routes; and now we see a lot of the drug trafficking coming through the Caribbean.
We are shifting our resources and building up the Caribbean as quickly as we can in coordination with the Coast Guard and all the other agencies. But additional resources would probably help us keep pressure on all the points and not having to reallocate all the time. I think that is our biggest problem.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CLEMENT. Mexico, they truly have not worked with us or cooperated with us. I know I have talked to a number of agencies that said, you know, they just will not respond. I mean, here we ask for help, we ask for support, and they just are not there for us. They do not seem to want to cooperate to help solve the problem.
Mr. WILLIAMS. I believe that there is a very small number of Mexican officials, law enforcement officials, that DEA does cooperate with. We have vetted through polygraphing a number of Mexican law enforcement officers that we actually work with on a daily basis. But for us to be successful and make more inroads we really have to have a larger number.
Mr. CLEMENT. What about this incident that happened down on the border just the last day or two recently, about some agents thatabout the arrest of a number of people down there close to the border that crossed the border? Are you familiar with what I am talking about? About some illegal trade activity?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Was that a shooting?
Mr. CLEMENT. Operation Casa Blanca, about a laundering investigation by the U.S. law enforcement people. Are you familiar with that particular situation that happened recently?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, sir, I am familiar with that. But that was a Customs-led investigation.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you.
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Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Clement.
Mr. COBLE. I am disappointed Mr. Williams cannot stay with us. I realize, Mr. Williams, that in this town we all have to be at four or five places simultaneously. But it seems to me that when we have these hearings, Mr. Chairman. I would like for the witnesses to be available, because we all have questions to put to him. It seems to me, Mr. Williams, your testimony would benefit this panel. As I say, you may have another obligation that outweighs the significance of this hearing, but I am disappointed you cannot stay for the entire hearing.
You might be able to answer this, Mr. Williams, and I may have to go to others on the panel. What I said earlier, Mr. Chairman, there is plenty of blame to go around, and maybe we have to assume some of that, but I am disappointed that the Clinton Administration does not seem to emphasize the significance of interdiction.
Having said that, the focus has also been shifted more to treatment. Mr. Williams, the Federal Government will spend over $2.8 billion in fiscal year 1998 on programs to treat drug addicts. This is $487 million more than what was spent in fiscal year 1994. Is it your belief that this increase in spending from drug treatment has resulted in a reduced number of hard-core drug addicts?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Sir, I really cannot respond to that, because I am not sure what effects that has had. You know, reducing demand is important. But I believe that might be better responded to Mr. McDonough.
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Mr. MCDONOUGH. I can field that question, if you would like, sir.
Mr. COBLE. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCDONOUGH. We estimate right now in the United States we have about 4.1 million addicted addicts. Of that, we are able do give treatment to about 50 percent. The figure, in fact, has stayed fairly flat over the last several years. We brought it down significantly from 1979 up to the present.
For example, in cocaine, we have brought that down from 5.7 million to 1.5. But we have hit a spate of time here where these, particularly crack addicts, are older, and they are hanging with the habit. Yet we do believe treatment is very important; and if we can get them off these drugs, we believe that is cost effective.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. McDonough, do you know the percentage, of drug addicts that return to drug use after treatment, number one; and what percentage of addicts who have been through treatment return for another session?
Mr. MCDONOUGH. I have some general data, and I can give it to you. I will give you a more detailed answer for the record.
[The information follows:]
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Mr. MCDONOUGH. But it is like smoking. Stopping smoking is very hard. You find that, on average, a person tries about six times before they are able to successfully stop.
We find the same thing with drugs. In fact, it is a little bit easier with drugs. You have to put them in treatment. You have to keep them in treatment and sustain them and maintain them. You need all kind of support structures, particularly family.
And we do have some successes. The older they are, the longer they will have been addicted to drugs, the tougher it is to get them off the drug. But with all that, we maintain that treatment can get some of these 4.1 million people off the drug and keep them off the drug for a lifetime.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Coble.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me first begin with an observation. I am frustrated with the dumb, partisan statements that have been made today.
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In February, I spent a week down in Colombia, in places where very few Americans go. Let me make an observation. As we speak, there are American SGIs under contract flying crop dusters in the mountains against the heroin problem in the valleys, against the cocaine problem, that are being shot at. To say that people are not trying is a lie. To say that there are no efforts to go after the source country is a lie.
Now, in all fairness, let's also point out that Colombians no longer control the country. They cannot collect taxes. If you cannot collect taxes, obviously, they are not going to be able to stop the crop from being produced. Everybody there is in the drug business. The paramilitaries are in the drug business. The government is in the drug business. The rebels are in the drug business. They are all bad acts.
Having said that, I do want to compliment Congressman Clement. I think he is exactly right. Having watched this thing now for 7 or 8 years, I think it is our job, not the Coast Guard's, to direct the budget. I think we ought to do it. I think you are exactly right. We are spending too much time fooling with fisheries and nitpicking people with whether or not their life preservers have holes in them. We are the only ones that can change that.
Mr. GILCHREST. Will the gentleman yield for just a second?
Mr. TAYLOR. If we have got the gumption to do it, we should not be criticizing the administration. I am really convinced that we really like in this townand I would like you to comment on this. I am must say in this town it is real easy to beat up on Mexicans. It is real easy to beat up on Colombians. They do not vote for us and do not contribute to our campaigns. We have not got tough on the users. We coddle them in the DEA. If you coddle, you lose your job. We do not insist that the people who work for this Nation take a drug test.
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Test and retest my whole staff. But why don't we test everybody who works for this Nation. If they are going to take a Federal paycheck, why don't we have it as a condition of their employment that says, you are going to be subject to random drug testing and if you fail, you are fired. Just like in uniform. Unless we are willing to take action, and I am not a Bill Clinton defender, but to sit here and point fingers is absolutely silly when we have the ability to change things.
I would welcome your thoughts on this, Mr. Williams. I think the Coast Guard guys, nobody is looking inside containers that are coming from all of these different countries and they just do not have the manpower to do so.
So my question to you as the drug enforcement agency, let us get serious about taking away the driver's license, let us get serious about firing people who work for our Nation who use drugs. Why don't we set the moral tone that we are not going to allow this to happen, and hopefully, all of those countries we do business with will do the same thing.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Sir, we in this country, we have drug policy. Our administrator is very committed to making sure that we do whatever we can, and make sure that we can eliminate all the traffic and the drugs that are going to the children in this
Mr. TAYLOR. If I may, Mr. Williams, I have to cut you off. Is there anyone in the DEA doing drug testing for all employees? I know it worked in the Coast Guard, I know it worked in the military. The closest thing we have to a drug free society is the United States military.
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Mr. WILLIAMS. To my knowledge, no, sir, no.
Mr. TAYLOR. Why not?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I can't answer that. I am not sure.
Mr. TAYLOR. I mean, doesn't it seem to you as someone who has spent the better part of 20 years trying to stop this that we as a Nation, when we ask some people who work for this Nation, putting their lives on the line for the war on drugs, but we don't ask other employees of this Nation simply to take a test that they are not using the same drugs?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I agree with you. To my knowledge, no one in our agency has put forth
Mr. TAYLOR. Commander, are all of your civilian employees, are they subject to drug testing?
Admiral RIUTTA. I am not actually sure. I know our uniformed personnel are all subject to it. I believe the civilians are as part of the Department of Transportation, but I will have to find out.
Mr. TAYLOR. Would you get back to me on that?
Admiral RIUTTA. Yes, sir.
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[The information follows:]
Civilian employees of the Coast Guard are subject to Department of Transportation policy that provides for random urinalysis testing for positions characterized as having critical safety or security responsibilities. Individuals occupying positions that require Top Secret or higher security clearances are subject to testing regardless of occupation. Also, licensed merchant mariners regulated by the Coast Guard are required to be enrolled in a random drug testing program.
Mr. TAYLOR. Would anyone else like to comment on that?
Mr. MCDONOUGH. I would, if I could, sir. We do believe that the prevention of drugs is a very vital step. Drug testing is one part of that. There are also other things that come into it. We have tried to work it in comprehensively. You are exactly right about the armed forces. We went from the 1970s, and I was there then, with drug usage approaching over 50 percent, just riddled with drugs, and has come down to what is now less than 1 percent. That takes care of right off the bat 1.75 million of our people
Mr. GILCHREST. I am going to interrupt just for a second. Mr. Taylor, these questions were directed to Mr. Williams because he has to leave. The other gentlemen will give their testimony.
Mr. TAYLOR. You are very generous and it is good to be a member of your subcommittee.
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Sir, if you would, I would welcome your thoughts in writing, since the Chairman is of limited time.
[The information follows:]
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. LoBiondo? Mr. Johnson?
Mr. Williams, thank you very much.
Mr. GILCHREST. We will now proceed to testimony from Admiral.
Admiral RIUTTA. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to be here this morning on behalf of the Commandant to discuss the Coast Guard drug interdiction.
Security of our maritime borders is an essential component of the national drug control strategy. As the Assistant Commandant for Operations, I can personally assure you that the Coast Guard has the will to defeat drug smugglers at sea. I have submitted a written statement for the record, and with your permission I would like to continue with a few opening remarks.
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Mr. GILCHREST. Without objection, so ordered.
Admiral RIUTTA. To begin, I would like to offer 3 observations. First, maritime interdiction does work. It reduces drug flow. Second, funding of our 1999 budget request is absolutely critical simply to sustain our current level of operations. Third, any drawdown of other Coast Guard multi mission resources to support increased interdiction must be carefully weighed because it has serious implications in other areas, specifically fisheries missions and our migrant interdiction operations.
As the lead agency for maritime interdiction and co-leader for air interdiction in the Transit Zone, the Coast Guard has a clear mandate to employ the necessary resources to increase the effectiveness of interdiction and to improve results. But the task of maintaining a comprehensive picture of activity in the 6 million square mile Transit Zone and sorting targets of interest from legitimate and air surface traffic is daunting.
I brought with me today a chart I borrowed from the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator to give you an idea of how big the Transit Zone really is. It is 6 million square miles. That covers an awful lot of sea and a lot of ground between the United States and the source countries.
The chart on my right represents the Transit Zone, and it represents the flow rates that have been shown for cocaine. The red arrows indicate the flow and their major flowing routes; the percentages in the square boxes in white give you an idea of how much flows through those particular routes. The boxes with the names of GULF SHIELD, BORDER SHIELD, OPBAT, and the like are indications of the various interdiction operations that we have ongoing in the Transit Zone.
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Equally difficult is the logistics challenge of supporting our forces in such an expansive theater of operations, particularly in the eastern Pacific, which is a very long way from any support bases. In 1997, an estimated 430 metric tons of cocaine, 13 metric tons of heroin, significant quantities of marijuana, and smaller amounts of illicit substances passed through the Transit Zone. Noncommercial maritime traffic in the form of small coastal freighters, fishing vessels, and more recently, ''go-fast'' boats, currently accounts for about 60 to 70 percent of the total flow. This represents an increasing trend toward noncommercial maritime trafficking.
The National Drug Control Strategy specifically tasks the Coast Guard to conduct flexible operations to deter, disrupt, detect, and seize illegal drugs in the Transit Zone and at the U.S. borders. The Strategy's mid-term objective is to reduce the rate at which illegal drugs entering the Transit and Arrival Zones successfully arrive in the United States by 10 percent by the year 2002. Our long-term objective is a 20 percent reduction in this rate by the year 2007.
The Coast Guard is further obligated to improve coordination and effectiveness of law enforcement, improve bilateral and regional cooperation and support, and highlight research and technology. In response, Campaign STEEL WEB is the Coast Guard's multiyear plan to position interdiction forces where they can best counter drug smuggling.
The strategic concept is to deny drug smugglers access to the maritime routes by a sequence of operations concentrating forces in high-threat areas to significantly disrupt drug trafficking. Once a credible presence is established, interdiction forces will be redeployed to other high-threat areas, leaving an enhanced presence to deter and interdict subsequent smuggling. Ultimately, successful pulse operations in each high-threat area will systematically reduce drug flow through the Transit Zone.
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This concept was successfully demonstrated by the Coast Guard's Operation FRONTIER SHIELD and more recently by OPERATION FRONTIER LANCE. Operation FRONTIER SHIELD was introduced in 1997 to test this concept in the maritime approaches to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This region was identified as the second largest gateway behind the southwest border for drugs entering the United States. The results serve as a case study for the genuine value of interdiction.
During fiscal year 1997, the FRONTIER SHIELD forces seized 23 vessels transporting 31,000 pounds of cocaine, arrested more than 100 subjects, and interrupted deliveries of an estimated 37,400 pounds of cocaine. The combined street value of FRONTIER SHIELD seizures and disruptions exceeds $2.4 billion. By interagency estimates, FRONTIER SHIELD and Customs' Operation GATEWAY reduced the flow of cocaine into Puerto Rico by 46 percent and forced drug smugglers to shift to other maritime routes farther to the west.
Our multimission assets also interdicted 2,400 illegal migrants and turned back another 545 during the course of this operation. Operations FRONTIER SHIELD and GATEWAY demonstrate the tangible positive impacts on interdiction in Puerto Rico. In 1997, drug-related crime in Puerto Rico was down 37 percent from the year before, purity on the street declined, and the street prices rose by nearly 36 percent.
This year we conducted operation FRONTIER LANCE, a limited pulse operation off the coast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They have emerged as high threat areas for ''go-fast'' smuggling because of their proximity to Colombia. About 15 percent of the cocaine bound for the U.S. flowed through this region. This operation ran from 1 March to 1 June of this year.
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The Coast Guard received a $34 million increase for fiscal year 1998 in operating expenses to institutionalize FRONTIER SHIELD. Our other ongoing initiatives, GULF SHIELD and BORDER SHIELD, logically extend U.S. interdiction efforts along the land borders with Mexico into the maritime region. Our 1999 budget request includes operating expenses and capital investments necessary to maintain the current law enforcement presence. Outyear projections reflect necessary acquisitions to satisfy performance targets specified in the National Drug Control Strategy. As long as more than 400 metric tons of cocaine are moving through the Transit Zone, the value and necessity for agile interdiction forces is undeniable.
The multimission Coast Guard has traditionally provided a high rate of return to the public. In fiscal year 1997, overall interdiction efforts resulted in a record year for Coast Guard drug seizures. As was noted earlier, we seized or assisted in the seizure of over 103,000 pounds of cocaine and 102,000 pounds of marijuana products. The estimated street value of these seizures was more than $4.2 billion; that is $1 billion more than the entire Coast Guard's 1997 discretionary budget.
But these accomplishments were not achieved without a price. The Coast Guard borrowed resources from other missions last year to support pulse operations which we simply cannot sustain. National priorities also include migrant interdiction and the protection of our living marine resources, which we must also uphold. Any long-term drawdown of resources from these missions has the potential to do severe damage in those areas, and must be carefully considered before it is undertaken.
We must employ new tools to weave a seamless steel web of enforcement. The Coast Guard has a unique role and a sizable area of responsibility. Funding and resources requested for the STEEL WEB campaign will allow the Coast Guard to more effectively shield America's frontier borders. By closing the door on drugs at our borders, in the words of General Barry McCaffrey, we increase the security of all Americans.
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In closing, I would like to recognize your guidance and commitment to the national counterdrug effort and to the United States Coast Guard. With your continued support, we can achieve the objectives of the National Drug Control Strategy and protect the safety, security and well-being of all Americans.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and the members of this subcommittee, for the opportunity to discuss the Coast Guard's role in drug interdiction. I will be happy to answer any questions.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Admiral Riutta.
Mr. MAXWELL. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I would like to thank you for your interest in the collective efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs Service against the global scourge of drug trafficking. I join my colleagues from DEA and U.S. Coast Guard to outline our important and complementary roles. With your indulgence, I would like to submit my formal statement for the record and summarize it here, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. Without objection.
Mr. MAXWELL. The aviation mission of the U.S. Customs Service and the marine mission is to disrupt and dismantle drug smuggling organizations using a 3-pronged approach. We use intelligence, interdiction, and investigations to complement each other to address the scourge.
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The air program has 114 aircraft, the marine program has 84 vessels, the air program has a total of 694 dedicated men and women, and the marine program has 71 marine enforcement officers and 100 vessel-qualified special agents who work in this arena. Our arena does not cover just the entire border of the United States. We also work in the source and transit and arrival zones.
In the Source Zone we provide detection and monitoring support of the Joint Interagency Task Force South. Eighty percent of our P3AEW airborne early warning aircraft detection platforms are flown in the Source Zone to detect aircraft as they move northward towards the United States. In the Transit-Arrival Zone we work with the Coast Guard in detecting and monitoring and tracking aircraft as they approach the United States, or the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico.
The maritime jurisdiction, we have jurisdiction in territorial waters and into ports of entry. In these areas we work with the Coast Guard and the Department of Defense's joint interagency task forces in cooperative planning, coordination and synchronization of interagency efforts. An example of that was mentioned by the Admiral in Operation Gateway and FRONTIER SHIELD where our combined organizations working together accounted for a 46 percent reduction in the amount of cocaine flowing into the Puerto Rico area.
The drug smugglers adapt to these operations very quickly and again, as the Admiral mentioned and as Agent Williams mentioned, they move rapidly to thwart any effort we put on them. This has caused a large resurgence in the drug smuggling areas that were high in the 1970s and 1980s, primarily in the Bahamas and in the south Florida area. We have had numerous air drops in the past year where the aircraft departs Colombia, comes over the top of Cuba and air drops to vessels waiting just outside the military protection zone of the Cuban waters. If American assets are in place to address these air drops, the vessels go into the Cuban waters and sit and wait until we can no longer stay on the scene. The assets ultimately have to leave and refuel, at which time under cover of darkness they then begin their transit up through the island chain.
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We recently had a joint case, worked with OPBAT, as mentioned by Greg Williams, OPBAT is a combination of DEA, Customs, Coast Guard, and Bahamas, Turks and Caicos officers to work together to address this situation in that area.
On May 20 of this year, we had a successful interdiction. One of the first ones, because we had a meeting the week before that to redefine how we are going to address this problem. As a result of that, the following week, we seized 968 pounds of cocaine, a 40 foot ''go-fast'' boat, and 3 arrests as the vessel transited up the Bimini in route to the United States, the ultimate destination. Also in May, customs investigators seized almost 4,000 pounds of cocaine from a private luxury yacht in route from Bimini to Fort Lauderdale. This was again based on intelligence gained through the cooperative efforts of these agencies.
The Customs and Coast Guard work joint operations on the Miami waterfront searching Haitian commercial vessels involved in drug smuggling. The Coast Guard provides technology and detector dogs and provides backup to enforcement operations inshore to Miami and search and rescue when needed.
Intensified operations along the southwest border have caused the drug smugglers to attempt end-arounds. In other words, they attempt to go around the land border by entering the U.S. on the maritime routes up through the Brownsville, Texas area, in the Gulf of Mexico and around San Diego, California. Customs and Coast Guard again join in operations code named White Shark and BORDER SHIELD to address these smuggling attempts. These operations are continuing and have proven successful.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 We have various inter-service agreements between Customs, Coast Guard, DEA, to address these operations, and to respond rapidly to these type of changes as the drug smuggler shifts. We have Coast Guard staffing at the Domestic Air and Interdiction Coordination Center. That is a radar command center operated out of March Air Force Base in Riverside, California by the Customs Service that provides radar coverage for the Caribbean, Puerto Rico and even the United States that is a jointly manned facility with National Guard and Coast Guard and Customs employees who monitor all air traffic leading from South America in route to the U.S. Based on the intelligence developed out of that, we provide cueing for the assets to be placed and where they should respond to targets.
That basically summarizes my formal statement. I would like to thank you for your time and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Maxwell.
Mr. MCDONOUGH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning, Members. It is my pleasure to be here this morning. Sir, I would like to submit for the record my written statement, and I would like to just take a couple of minutes to sum up with a few remarks before you this morning.
Mr. GILCHREST. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. MCDONOUGH. All I wanted to do, sir, is put this somewhat in context. As you know, we have put out the document that is the strategy for dealing with drugs, and it really is built around 5 goals which we have placed conveniently right in the center, and as you have pointed out, after a great deal of study and review of where we think we get the most return, the determination has been that demand reduction is where we want to put the main effort. Right behind that is supply reduction which is very, very important to get us down to where we want to go.
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We put first among the demand reduction the education and enabling of our children, some 68 million of them, to stop them from ever getting on drugs, and we think that will have a tremendous return, if we can get them to adulthood free of drugs. Every time we test it, we find, which probably is common sense, that they are home free for the rest of their lives. So demand reduction we think is very important, but that is not to say that supply reduction isn't very important as well.
This morning we are talking really about our 4th goal at great length, which is cutting out supply of drugs coming towards the United States, and of course that gets into our 5th goal as well, which is if we do that effectively, we break the drug cartels that are doing that. I want to try to tell you how we approach that problem. I want to point out that our objective for the year 2007 is actually to reduce supply by 50 percent; not 20 percent, by 50 percent. But you have to understand that the strategy has many parts to it, and we do believe that that is the way to get at this issue. Attack each of the parts and bring them together for a better whole.
So, for example, the reduction and supply of 50 percent begins with cutting the production of the drug itself, so our goal there for cocaine would bring it down by 30 percent. We believe that we can do that, and then in the interdiction business, that is to say once it has begun its travel towards the United States to bring it down 20 percent, so if you add those 2 together you have the sum total of 50 percent cut.
I also need to point out that as we bring demand down and supply down, to some degree we are chasing each other. It may seem that the end objective is to raise the street price of the drug, and that is a very good insight. If we raise the street price of the drug, it makes it unaffordable. But remember that simultaneously we are trying to bring down the demand for the drug and we have had over the years significant success with that.
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I was pointing out earlier we have actually lowered cocaine use in America by some 75 percent and we have cut drug use overall, and here I am talking over the last 15 to 20 years, by 50 percent. We used to have 25 million users; we now have about 12.8 million. So as we lower that demand, we also have to keep lowering the supply to where we finally get to the break point where demand exceeds supply and drives the price up. But I just wanted to emphasize that the real end state is to get demand as low as we can. It is axiomatic that in the end if there is no demand for drugs in this country, then the supply won't come. There is no money if there is no demand for it.
Now, we never get a perfect world, and that is why we have tried to measure where we can be most effective and laid out the objectives as we have.
Now, in regard to cutting the supply of drugs, I would tell you that under the strategy we have designed just for that part of it, we firmly believe that we can be most effective in the Source Zone; that is to say, for example, in the Indian Ridge where the coca leaf is growing. If we can catch the bees before they leave the beehive, it is a lot easier to have a great effect.
We are pleased to see that in the last 24 months we have had, in fact, significant impact in Peru, which was heretofore the major grower of the coca leaf and we brought it down, the sum total in the last 24 months, some 40 percent. That is good. Bolivia has come down a bit, too. That is good. But like the balloon that Greg Williams talked about, when you put pressure in one place, the air pops up someplace else and sure enough, Colombia has increased. We don't like that, we are taking a hard look at that, we think we can be effective in bringing it down.
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But interestingly enough, the sum total reduction has been some 15 percent in cocaine. This is a significant step. We used to measure the global output of cocaine at about 760 metric tons. We have effectively brought it down to 650. That is 110 metric tons we don't have to worry about catching in the Transit Zone. So big success there, and focusing on the source country is the linchpin.
Now, that is not enough, and you are exactly right, we have to be effective in the Transit Zone, and you do that in a variety of ways. You apply the intelligence against the drug traffickers' operations; you chase them down, you bring them to justice, you make them pay the price, and we back your views 100 percent that we have to get the resources there where it can do the most good. We in fact have seen the drug budget for interdiction grow by about 50 percent from where it was in 1996. At that point we had some $1.2 billion allocated against the interdiction effort. We are now bringing that up to $1.8 billion in the 1999 budget. There has been some return on that investment. I will go over the figures with you in each area in a second, because it reveals some insights.
But to come back to the strategic picture I am trying to portray, catch them before they produce it, and then make them pay as they try to bring it out of the source countries. Catch them again further in the Transit Zone, trip the numbers, bring the numbers down, understanding it is such a vast area; as the Admiral has correctly pointed out, you are never going to be 100 percent effective. Catch them then and again at the borders, and we have under the strategy devised a number of campaigns, a number of approaches at the borders that will bring the numbers down as we do a better job of developing the intelligence, putting the technology to work, gaining some operations and depth, and catching them as they come in. Finally, having major grabs in 3 zones, don't give up, go after them further as they come into our streets, and here we are now into the law enforcement area, and we do believe we can be effective.
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Now, just to sum up, I did some back-of-the-envelope figures as I was coming over here and I heard people talk this morning, and I have to be very straightforward and tell you that the numbers are always loose as we deal in metric tons of flow. But it seems to me that recently, by the last year's measure, in the source country areas we were able to interdictthis is not cut the production, but interdict, some 81 metric tons in the Transit Zone aggregate, all across the board, about 85 metric tons, and at the Arrival Zone, some 54 metric tons.
We also had some successes with European-bound cocaine. As we catch it there, it is not germane to where it is going, we just want to catch it, and we rolled up another 37 metric tons there. Finally, within the U.S. borders, on good law enforcement, sharing of information, concentrating of resources, we picked up another 54 metric tons.
Again, the figures are somewhat loose, but if I aggregate all of that, we have picked up over 300 metric tons of cocaine. That is good. It still leaves far too much that is getting, as you have well pointed out, to our neighborhoods, to our children, to our people. So we plan to redouble our efforts, hit that goal of cutting supply by 50 percent, simultaneously bring down demand by 50 percent. We do believe with the good bipartisan support we have had, that we have a strategy in place that will be effective. It is long term, as a strategy should be, it takes a 10-year look, but we think we are going to go some place with this and see some success.
Thank you very much. I would be happy to answer any or all of your questions.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. McDonough.
On that point, interdicting drugs, increasing the interdiction of drugs to 50 percent by the year 2007, what does that 50 percent figure represent as opposed to the one paragraph I read, 20 percent? Let me just finish.
The 20 percent, as I understood it when I read it, represented the amount of drugs coming into the country from other places. You said reduce drugs or interdict drugs byI guess what I am asking, there is a conflict between the 2 percentages that are in your report.
Mr. MCDONOUGH. If I could, I would like to point out that it is the reduction in supply that is the overall supply side goal.
Mr. GILCHREST. So that is supply in the United States as well?
Mr. MCDONOUGH. That is supply that comes to the United States, that is correct, to cut the drugs growing in the United States, and there is some of that to cut methamphetamines which are produced. But I actually stand by the 50 percent figure for cocaine, because interdiction is a subset of supply, of cutting the supply.
The other things you do, you go to the source country and you eradicate crops. You come up with replacement for crops, and we are working that as part of the strategy. So the drugthe producing resource, in this case the coca leaf, never gets grown, it never goes to the chemical lab to be turned into the cocaine that then starts on its way. And as I said, this year we have had in that area alone a 15 percent success rate. We have reduced that transformation of the coca leaf to cocaine by some 50 percent.
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Mr. GILCHREST. So the 50 percent reduction is from all sources?
Mr. MCDONOUGH. It is from all sources, but you see, those reports in the street, neighborhood where you go.
Mr. GILCHREST. A 50 percent reduction in the supply represents all of those areas?
Mr. MCDONOUGH. Sir, in the mainthat is correct.
Mr. GILCHREST. Now, a question I am going to ask Admiral Riutta, I am going to promote him here just for a second, Operation FRONTIER LANCE I understand is going to be canceled; is that correct?
Admiral RIUTTA. We stood that down as of 1 June and returned to our previous operations.
Mr. GILCHREST. Now, Mr. McDonough, if FRONTIER LANCE or FRONTIER SHIELD or a number of other interdiction programs that the Coast Guard has in coordination with DEA and the customs agents and a number of international countries, if that is reduced, are you calculating that the reduction in thosecancelling FRONTIER LANCE, not being able to sustain FRONTIER SHIELD, not being able to do the kind of interdiction that the Coast Guard is now doing, is thatare you still assuming that you can interdict the number of drugs in the Transit Zone to reach the 50 percent reduction?
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Mr. MCDONOUGH. Any time you cut an operation like FRONTIER LANCE, one step in a long-term campaign, for that period of time that you have reduced that operation, you of course expect to lose the interdiction you might otherwise succeed. On the other hand, we maintain the view that over the long term, by the application of intelligence, by the development of technologies, by the increase in the budget, as I said, from $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion, as we get better at what we are doing and in synchronizing our operations, we can, in fact, over the long term, hit the goals we have set out.
Mr. GILCHREST. That sounds like a pretty long term, though.
Admiral Riutta, why was FRONTIER LANCE canceled?
Admiral RIUTTA. Well, we simply ran out of money and resources to continue the operation. It was a one-time proof of concept for us. It was an operation that we conducted off the shores of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and it was the first time that we have tried to conduct an operation from basing on a foreign shore. As you see, we had a base there at Barahona in the Dominican Republic and the assets on the left-hand side of the column show you what we put into this effort. It wasn't intended to be a long-term effort; t was a proof of concept to deny the smugglers access to Haiti and to the Dominican Republic. But at this point in time we don't have any money to continue that operation.
Mr. GILCHREST. Could you briefly tell us or respond to the critics of the drug interdiction program that say the interdiction efforts are ineffectual as far as their effectiveness in reducing drug use is concerned?
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Admiral RIUTTA. I think the interdiction program is part of a balanced approach. It is not the only thing in stopping the drug problem we have in the United States.
Mr. GILCHREST. I appreciate the comment. It is a part of a balanced approach. So if you have to eliminate a successful program like FRONTIER LANCE, it is difficult to maintain FRONTIER SHIELD, would you say that America's drug strategy with a reduction in money to interdiction by the Coast Guard is a balanced strategy?
Admiral RIUTTA. Well, I would share Admiral Kramek's frustration that there isn't quite enough money to go around to do what we would like to do or think we need to do in interdiction, but the fact is that when General McCaffrey puts out a strategy, he has to balance resources with all of the things that he has to tackle.
To those that would argue that interdiction doesn't work, though, I would point to the success of FRONTIER SHIELD and what happened around Puerto Rico and the fact that we did, in fact, reduce significantly the crime rate in Puerto Rico as a result of that operation in combination with the folks at Customs, who had Operation GATEWAY going at the same time.
Mr. GILCHREST. Does the Coast Guardis it possible to replicate FRONTIER SHIELD over the entire region, the Caribbean, the Gulf and the Pacific?
Admiral RIUTTA. At current projected funding levels, no.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GILCHREST. At current projected funding levels you would say it is impossible?
Admiral RIUTTA. Correct.
Mr. GILCHREST. For the Coast Guard, is there such a plan?
Admiral RIUTTA. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. Can you replicate FRONTIER SHIELD?
Admiral RIUTTA. Yes, sir, we can. That is the STEEL WEB campaign I told you about. We have a 5-year drug budget that has been submitted to ONDCP as part of a 10-year strategy. That strategy is to replicate a FRONTIER SHIELD-type operation across the Caribbean with the objective of moving with the threat, hitting them with overwhelming force, and then leaving a sustaining force behind.
Mr. GILCHREST. Could you give us a dollar figure on that on a yearly basis?
Admiral RIUTTA. On a yearlylet's see, I will have to refer to some notes if you don't mind, sir. I am not sure of the exactit would mean increasing our funding by approximately $200 million a year.
Mr. GILCHREST. To perform operation STEEL WEB, you would need an
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Admiral RIUTTA. Over a 5-year period all the way across. That is what is in our 5-year drug strategy.
Mr. GILCHREST. Right now you can't operate STEEL WEB?
Admiral RIUTTA. No, sir. We can only operate one portion of it, which is FRONTIER SHIELD.
Mr. GILCHREST. To operate STEEL WEB, you would need how much money over 5 years? About $200 million, you say?
Admiral RIUTTA. Yes, sir, $200 million a year.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. McDonough, just out of curiosity, since we control the funding to the degree that we can, would that extra appropriation earmarked to the Coast Guard for operation STEEL WEB, would that be a positive addition to America's drug control strategy? Not taking money away from any other program?
Mr. MCDONOUGH. The short answer is yes, absolutely.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you.
Mr. Maxwell, I understand that Customs has interdiction aircraft; is that correct?
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Mr. MAXWELL. That is correct, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. Do you have the manpower to operate all of those aircraft?
Mr. MAXWELL. We do have the manpower to operate all the aircraft. We were in a bind for a while. We are currently in a hiring process in replacing pilots lost to airlines and retirements.
Mr. GILCHREST. Is there any coordination with the Coast Guard? Is that possible, to operate some of those aircraft?
Mr. MAXWELL. We have broached that with the Department of Defense and Coast Guard. We are probably talking more about the P3AEW aircraft operated by the Navy. They have similar air crews to ours that could do that job, but the Navy is also pressed for people to do their diverse missions. So that was a limiting factor to gaining people from them.
Mr. GILCHREST. Can the Coast Guard fly those planes?
Mr. MAXWELL. No, they cannot, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. You don't have anybody to fly a P3.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Admiral RIUTTA. We don't have any P3s in our inventory, sir, no.
Mr. GILCHREST. How long would it take to train a Coast Guard pilot to fly a 3B3?
Admiral RIUTTA. Probably not very long. We have C130s, which are fairly similar.
Mr. GILCHREST. Is there an effort to coordinate some of this?
Mr. MAXWELL. We have discussed this at the headquarters levels. Currently customs just hired 27 more pilots who are moving into the P3 community right now, so we are not in the bind we were in before, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. I see.
Admiral RIUTTA. I would point out, Mr. Chairman, that we have a problem with pilot retention as well, so it is not that we have a lot of extra pilots around to go in and fill this void if it were there.
Mr. GILCHREST. How about retired American Airline pilots or United pilots? Are they available?
We will hold another hearing on that one.
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I just have one last quick question to Admiral Riutta. There has been a number of comments here today about the importance of interdicting drugs, and it seems that I have heard there is a diminished sense of importance to the Coast Guard's responsibility to protect the Nation's fisheries.
Can you comment on some of the recommendations to reduce resources to the fisheries and put those monies in interdiction for drugs?
Admiral RIUTTA. Yes, sir. When we stood up, Operation FRONTIER SHIELD, we borrowed fairly heavily from other missions, including fisheries. We were also very fortunate that at the same time we didn't have a huge demand on our migrant interdiction operations.
As we went back to the fisheries councils the following year, we found that they were very dissatisfied with our level of effort, that we hadn't been putting enough ships and planes on the fishing grounds to help with the enforcement regimes that are in place. Some of the things that are happening fairly positively that are a direct result of our ability to put some resources in there is a beginning return some of the stocks in New England. The National Marine Fisheries Service has just indicated to us that because of an improved management plan and some aggressive enforcement on the grounds, we have been able to see a turnaround in some of the stocks. Very minimal, but at least a turnaround.
Up in the Bering Sea we have a serious problem on the boundary line with Russia, which is, as you know, disputed. Right now, probably as we speak, I would venture to say there are between 30 and 50 large foreign factory trawlers that continue to press that line as closely as they can, which requires us to keep an enforcement asset, basically one of our large cutters on station, and it also requires aircraft for continual patrol.
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Further to the west, we have 2 of our large cutters involved in a high seas driftnet operation, where a number of Chinese vessels have come out and have engaged in illegal high seas driftnet activity. This is banned by U.N. moratorium. It impacts the fish stocks going into the Bering Sea. I am sure if you talk to your colleague from Alaska, he would be more than happy to tell you what they feel in Alaska at least are the impacts on the Bristol Bay salmon run as a result of these high seas driftnetters. This is a long way from home, this is something that we are mandated to do and something that we are doing. We have interdicted some of these vessels, and one of our ships has escorted 2 of them back to China for prosecution and will be in China in a couple of days.
So those are some of the things that we are doing. There are fisheries management schemes around the country that are very complex that are dedicated to preserving our fish stocks, and we are mandated under the Magnusson-Stevens Act to support these management schemes with enforcement. We are the only ones who can do that.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Admiral.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have members of my family here from Dixon, Tennessee and the Sloan family from Columbia, Tennessee, and the children. We are glad to have all of you here. Bruce Perry, I want you to know we may have to bring you out of retirement, since you are a pilot, to solve some of these interdiction problems, so get ready.
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Admiral, good to have you to testify today. I might say I surely enjoyed my experience being with you in Alaska. I will never forget that experience, and give your family my best regards as well. Glad to have you in Washington, D.C.
Admiral RIUTTA. Thank you, sir.
Mr. CLEMENT. Admiral Kramek, as you know, said recently, Admiral Kramek said, ''I have two-thirds of the money, half of the ship time, half of the aircraft flight hours I need. You can't get there from here. You can't make a 50 percent reduction in demand in the flow of drugs into this country over the next 10 years'' as called for in the administration's plan.
Do you agree with his assessment that the Coast Guard has only two-thirds of the money and half of the ship and aircraft hours needed to effectively meet the interdiction goal of interdicting 50 percent of the drug flow?
Admiral RIUTTA. I certainly share Admiral Kramek's frustration at the fact that our resources are outweighed by the threat against them. As to the exact number, it is probably a pretty good speculation on his part. He was, after all, the U.S. Interdiction Coordinator, so he probably has a pretty good handle on that.
We believe we have a good strategy that we have proven that will work in the Transit Zone. We have already realized some of those successes around the eastern Caribbean, particularly in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, but we can't have that same impact unless we have additional resources to impact the threat quarters. Those resources are spelled out in our 5-year drug plan, which we submitted to the Office of National Drug Control Policy to support their 10-year goals.
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Mr. CLEMENT. Admiral, you state that the Joint Interagency Task Force, the annual shows that of 16 known smuggling events, 3 were interdicted, but that 5 smuggling events were successful in delivering an estimated 37 tons of cocaine to the United States. Why were these 5 smuggling events successful? And if the Coast Guard had additional air and sea assets, could they have been stopped?
Admiral RIUTTA. The short answer is yes, at least some of them could have been stopped. It is very difficult to find them all, but some of those were just not prosecuted because there weren't assets out there to do the mission.
Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Maxwell, money laundering is the lifeblood of the illegal narcotics trade, and combating money laundering is a cornerstone of our Nation's war on drugs and other illegal activity. I know you are familiar with the Operation Casablanca just recently, the largest money laundering investigation in U.S. law enforcement history. As a result of the criminal probe, over 100 individuals have been arrested and 3 of the largest banks in Mexico have been indicted. The Government of Mexico has reportedly protested that it did not receive a thorough prior briefing on the operation. Moreover, it has even threatened to pursue extradition and prosecution of U.S. custom agents for allegedly acting on Mexican soil. I know I am outraged by what the President and some of the others in Mexico have said recently, and I would like to hear your response.
Mr. MAXWELL. Operation Casablanca is an ongoing investigation, sir. I am not really able to discuss much of it in this forum. I would be glad to have a briefing provided to you if you would like that later.
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Mr. CLEMENT. Well, for the record, I really think we need to know more about that, Mr. Chairman, because the fact is here our U.S. law enforcement agencies are doing their job and yet, Mexico is simply, because it appears that they are extremely upset, even though this has been a very, very successful operation, are very upset because as some of them stated, they didn't get complete, thorough information about what was going to happen before it happened. And the problem has been that a lot of times when they have been informed, we are the ones that have suffered, simply because information has been compromised and it has hurt our operation.
I would also like to say, Mr. McDonough, I know with our drug policy like it is now, and I know you and General McCaffrey work together very closely. General McCaffrey has stated that the metaphor ''war on drugs'' is poor because it creates the expectation of a speedy victory, and a specific end to a campaign. I agree that this is a long-term problem that requires a long-term dedication of resources. Therefore, shouldn't we permanently station more Coast Guard cutters to the Caribbean rather than moving them down from the continental U.S. for a short patrol before returning home?
Mr. MCDONOUGH. Well, you are right, sir. He does not refer to the counterdrug effort as a war, and as I think you know, he knows war and just doesn't see this as having a victory, final victory at the end. It is a continual struggle for sure, but the minute you think you have won, you are probably in trouble. There is probably a resurgence. We see that with the rise this decade in demand by our young, and the rollback of age of first use. The other aspects of that are in the end it is our people we are trying to protect, all of them, and we certainly are not prepared to make a war on them.
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Having said that, he is absolutely committed to stopping as many of the drugs coming into the United States as he can. In regard to the operations of the Coast Guard, he defers as he would even if he were in his former life as a 4-star commander, to the wisdom, to the operations, to the cunning and guile and will and resolve of the Coast Guard.
Whether or not it makes sense to permanently station resources anywhere is always a strategic question. Flexibility usually is what wins in a struggle like that. The ability to anticipate what you do will compel your opponent to do, to see where he is going to go, and to get there before he is there. The minute you get too static, the minute you begin to form a marginal line, you are probably going to see him outsmart you. But his overall approaches, his admiration for the Coast Guard, his great respect for their operations at sea, he defers to them. He does support them in giving them the resources they need to do the job. Hence, his advocacy of that $1.8 billion budget in interdiction; also supporting the Coast Guard specifically by increasing its budget over the past 4 years3 years, actually, by some 35 percent.
Having done all of that, he continues to work with them as they apply their efforts and to work the other parts of the problem: The money laundering, the cooperation of nations in the region, the technology developments, the intelligence structures, hoping to give them the support that they, Customs, DEA and others need in making us more effective in cutting the supply of drugs.
Mr. CLEMENT. Well, next time I see General McCaffrey, I am going to have to ask him what he calls the so-called war on tobacco. I have always felt like if we had a war on drugs in maybe a shorter period of time and really place all of our intensive resources on stopping a lot of these drugs, we might be very, very successful rather than dragging it out, but realizing that people get on drugs, it is a lengthy process to getting them off.
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I do want to ask you also, how do we be more effective in stopping ''go-fast'' smuggling boats in the Caribbean, and what actions could we take to stop them?
Mr. MCDONOUGH. Well, you have hit on a very serious problem. By going to the ''go-fast'' boats, it puts the drugs in a lot of containers. Just like the name implies, they go fast. The people that are doing it are daring. They are prepared to go into the dark of night, choppy water and get to where they want to go. There are lots of places they can land that stuff on the island of Hispaniola, for example, and get it over the Haitian border into the Dominican Republic and then a final run over to Puerto Rico, and then they are almost home free.
Again, what we have got to do is intercept them. We have to have the intelligence that tells us when they are going to make a move, we have to concentrate our resources, put it against them, and we have to be very effective in stopping them.
Now, since they go fast, running them down is tough, even if you have an aircraft up there. You have to make them know this is risky business for them, and it is not cost-effective. Now, if you are not careful there, and make an economic calculation of that, the worst thing that could happen is I would lose my boat, I bring it ashore, I get into the territorial water somewhere, and I am home free. My manager, the drug kingpin, will buy me another boat. So the force with which you stop them probably has a measure. I am notI think the Coast Guard is prepared to act strongly in this regard, and I applaud them for their efforts.
Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you.
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Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Clement.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
You and the gentleman from Tennessee have pretty well touched on questions that I wanted to ask. Let me ask you this, Admiral. Campaign STEEL WEB, which is the overall drug strategy you have coordinated with the Coast Guard, how does campaign STEEL WEB support the National Drug Control Strategy?
Admiral RIUTTA. Campaign STEEL WEB is written in direct support of the National Drug Control Strategy. It is our 10-year strategy with a 5-year budget that has been submitted to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Our intent, as I said earlier, is pretty simple on that one. It is to mass forces and hit the drugs hard at the place where we can do the most good. Once we disrupt their operation, we move to where the threat moves, and then retain in the back a sustaining force to keep them from returning to the orginal.
I think the campaign plan has been very well developed. We proved its usefulness around Puerto Rico, and we are prepared with adequate funding to go forward with it to support our strategy.
Mr. COBLE. Last year, then Commandant Admiral Kramek testified before this committee, Mr. Chairman, you may recall, that the Coast Guard could use additional funding for transit zone interdiction. Does your fiscal year 1999 request adequately address the transit zone needs?
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Admiral RIUTTA. Our fiscal year 1999 request allows us to continue our current level of operations. That is strictly to continue to support the sustained level of FRONTIER SHIELD. It will not allow us to go on any other jobs or pulse operations as we did with FRONTIER SHIELD in the previous year.
Mr. COBLE. Admiral, what is the Coast Guard's role and authority in negotiating bilateral maritime counterdrug agreements, A; and B, what can we anticipate in future negotiations with other transit countries?
Admiral RIUTTA. We work very closely with the State Department in negotiating bilateral agreements. So far, we have 19 bilateral agreements negotiated in the Caribbean, and we are working on several more with the State Department.
Our primary goal for the bilateral agreements is to deny the drug smugglers a safe haven, the ability to run into another country's waters and not have us be able to pursue them. Through these bilaterals, we have been able to do that. And in many cases we also, through the bilaterals and our negotiations, are able to help the other countries develop their law enforcement capabilities.
I think you can expect to see more of this as part of our overall strategy. We have been successful, like I said, to date. We expect to see more over the course of the next few years. But they do not come quickly. It takes a little time to negotiate these because of the concerns of sovereignty, as you can imagine, with these countries. So each country has to be handled individually in order for to us come up with that agreement.
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Mr. COBLE. I yield back the time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Chairman, let me start with a public apology. As the gentleman sitting at the deskI have been scratching my head trying to figure out where I know him from. His real name is Colonel Riutta. He is a true-to-life American hero, a Vietnam veteran. Admiral Riutta, we are really glad to have you here. I want to commend you on a job very well done and for your many years of service.
Admiral, one question that really does come to mind, and it goes back to what Mr. Clement said. Is it going to take congressional action to redirect policies of the Coast Guard along those lines? I mean, I remember a time when you all were heroes and people were happy that you were out there spending most of your time on drug interdiction.
As we know now, unless somebody is on fire or about to drown, they have to call a towing service. Personally, I have witnessed over the last summer in North Carolina that one of your aid in navigation boats was passed up three times, didn't even bother to ask them if they were doing okay. One of these guys obviously just had a stroke. I would have shot the guys if I had a gun. Didn't even slow down.
So are you spending your time on things that apparently just make constituents mad about drug interdiction? So the question is, is it going to take congressional action to redirect some of these policies?
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Admiral RIUTTA. Well, first off, I am not aware of the incident you are talking about. I know you are aware of it, but I cannot respond to that particular incident. But we are looking at anything like that. It is not our intent to ignore people.
[The information follows:]
The Coast Guard's Office of Law Enforcement contacted Representative Taylor's staff on June 11, 1998 to obtain amplifying information about the incident. A review of the incident and an explanation of the Coast Guard's response efforts will be forwarded when all information is received.
Admiral RIUTTA. I would point out, sir, we are complying with the laws of the land. When we enforce boating safety laws, it is because we have been told to do that. And when we fight counternarcotics operations, it is because we have been told to do that.
As far as balancing the load, we are doing what we believe is the will of this Congress right now, trying to balance the missions that we have with the requirements that we have been given. If it is the desire that we do more in a particular area, then we need to be given that signal. If it is the desire that we continue to do everything that we are doing and still do more in another area, then we need to be given more resources.
Mr. TAYLOR. Admiral, because I know some people in the off-shore supply boat business, I guess I am a little bit more aware than most of the three off-shore supply boats that the Coast Guard leased that were supposed to deploy the Aerostat that spent most of their careerwhere we paid rent to the off-shore supply boat company, but the boats stayed tied up at the dock.
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How many other congressionally or administratively mandated boondoggles are there that we should be aware of?
Because that is obviously one of them. Everyone in the Coast Guard said it was not hurting their effort one bit that these things were tied up at the dock, and yet we are paying one of the off-shore supply boat companies a hell of a lot of money to lease their vessel.
Are you or anyone else in the Coast Guard willing to, either in a signed or an unsigned letter, make us aware of some of these other things? I stumbled onto that one. I just happened to go down to Key West and see one of the boats tied up at the dock.
Admiral RIUTTA. The Aerostat vessels have been out of our inventory for, gosh, 10 to 15 years.
Mr. TAYLOR. No, that is not so. I was in Key West about 5 years ago and saw one. It was a tidewater vessel tied up at the dock, and I was told it would not hurt your efforts one bit not to use them. And I did contact the main office at tidewater. They were still being paid by the United States Coast Guard or Customs to use that vessel.
Now, hopefully, you have gotten rid of it since then. But I am just saying, how often does this sort of thing happen? I was also told that there was political pressure from some very influential people to see that these vessels were rented. Is that a continuing problem? Is it, hopefully, a one-time problem?
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Admiral RIUTTA. That particular type of problem, as far as I know, is a one-time problem. I do not know of any mandated resources that we have parked anywhere that are not earning their keep.
[The information follows:]
The Coast Guard's Mobile Aerostat Program was disestablished in fiscal year 1992 by Congressional mandate. The Office of National Drug Policy endorsed transfer of control of Sea-Based Aerostat operations to the Department of Defense. Funding adjustments were made in the fiscal year 1992 budget. It is entirely possible the vessels were tied up in Key West ''5 years ago,'' after they were transferred from the Coast Guard.
Mr. TAYLOR. How about a real simple one? I am always amazed that, you know, you will send boats halfway down the Caribbean to inspect vessels, kind ofI have used the analogy beforetrying to swat flies with a sledgehammer. And yet at natural chokepoints, like the industrial canal locks in New Orleans where every single east-west tow in America has to go right there, right next to your base, go in and get a seaman or a couple of seamen down there with a drug dog to check every one of those vessels as they come through.
There is only one way to go east-west. It is right through New Orleans. And, to my knowledge, you have never inspected vessels right there next to your own base. Why?
Admiral RIUTTA. I do not know the operation. I can check into that and get back to you on that.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 [The information follows:]
The Coast Guard has authority to conduct law enforcement boardings along the Intracoastal Waterway, and has boarded commercial and noncommercial vessels in the vicinity of the locks in New Orleans.
As a practice, establishment of a permanent checkpoint would significantly disrupt the flow of legitimate commerce, and based on previous boarding experience and available intelligence, yield little, if any, results.
Mr. TAYLOR. You would be about the fifth admiral that I have asked this question to. And my question to you, it just does not seem to make any sense at all. If we are really serious about this, that would not require a great deal of effort. Again, I have been told it is a lack of political will. I have been told that they are afraid that maybe some of the towboat companies would call and complain to their congressman and senator.
If they are serious about this, I think people ought to be willing to live with a very slight inconvenience.
Colonel McDonough, I asked your opinion both on the record and off the record a few years ago on American involvement in Bosnia. I would always welcome your thoughts on what should we be doing to do a better job on the war on drugs, and I hope you will as forthcoming with me on this as you usually are.
Mr. MCDONOUGH. I will, sir. I did not hear one part of the question. I got our discussion on Bosnia a few years ago
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Mr. TAYLOR. It is a request. I want to compliment you on being as forthcoming as you were on your thoughts on Bosnia. The second point is a request. I would hope you would be as forthcoming either on the record or off the record on what we should be doing on the war on drugs.
Mr. MCDONOUGH. On the struggle against drugs, I would be both on the record and off the record with you. I probably stand pat on both of them. I think the emphasis on demand reduction is the right one.
As you have pointed out here, I also know a war. But I think General McCaffrey and all those who have been working with him, to include many of you, have got it about right; if you can bring down the demand, you are really solving a problem.
But you would be foolish to think you could bring demand down to zero. There is always that percentage of our people that will, in fact, be drawn to drugs, for whatever reason. As I think you know, it is not germane to any particular part of our country; it is everywherethe rich, the poor, the inner city, the suburbs, the farms, every walk of life and just about every age. But if you bring down the demand, you are going a long way.
In regard to this particular hearing, cutting the drug supply is really a strategic game; and any strategy is two-sided. You do things; the other guy does things. Therefore, it has got to be a dynamic that is living all the time. You have to realize, when you put pressure on a determined foe, he is going to respond. Getting inside his decision cycle, just as in the war, in other involvements, is key. If you can penetrate his communications, if you can turn his lieutenants, if you can cut his resources, render them ineffective, if you can deter him from acting, if you can break his will, you can be effective.
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Now, what we are up against is a lot of money, some $52 billion. But we are a great country. We have great people, good leadership. We have the most advanced technology in the world. I think we can do what I just outlined.
Mr. GILCHREST. Mr. McDonough, we have 5 minutes before our next vote, so we are going to have to leave. We will recess, and you gentleman will be excused. But the next panel will come up at 1:00. We will take a break for lunch.
One quick comment. I want to say, with all sincerity, your testimony here today from each one of you has been very, very valuable for us. We are all in the same boat. Our major goal here, using all the intellectual capacity and flexibility that we can muster, is to stem the tide of the drug curse throughout the world.
I do want to make a very strong comment about the U.S. Coast Guard and the absolute, exceptional fine work that they do for this country. It is second to none. I have said in the past that if I knew about the Coast Guard in 1964, I probably would have joined the Coast Guard, as opposed to the Marine Corpsalthough the Marine Corps is a pretty good outfit. I hope Mr. Maxwell was not in the Marine Corps.
Mr. MAXWELL. I was.
Mr. GILCHREST. You were. Well, we will talk about that later, Mr. Maxwell. Maybe I would have done both.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 You have done a fine job here. Thank you very much.
We will recess until 1:00.
Mr. GILCHREST. The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee will come to order. I see now we are not going to have any more members. We will continue.
Our next panel is Barry Raff, Counterdrug Program Manager, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. RAFF. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. Applied Physics Lab?
Mr. RAFF. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. I might have some questions about time travel when we finish our questions.
Mr. RAFF. That might not help the drug effort, sir. But we will see.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GILCHREST. It may not help what?
Mr. RAFF. Help the drug effort.
Mr. GILCHREST. That is interesting. That is a good question. I read that book Hyperspace. I can't remember the name of the authors. It was, I think, a Japanese man.
Mr. RAFF. I have not read it, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. It was an interesting discussion of the evolution of the theory of relativity from the Egyptian time to the present, interspersed with some interesting dialogue about the potential possibility, via a mathematical formula, for time travel.
Mr. RAFF. I think you should be teaching our courses, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. It was a fascinating book.
Then Mr. Kenneth Wood, President, Barringer Instruments, Incorporated.
TESTIMONY OF BARRY E. RAFF, MANAGER, COUNTERDRUG PROGRAMS, APPLIED PHYSICS LABORATORY, JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY; AND KENNETH WOOD, PRESIDENT, BARRINGER INSTRUMENTS, INC
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GILCHREST. Gentleman, thank you for your patience. Does it matter who goes first?
I will start with Mr. Raff.
Mr. RAFF. Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, thank you for allowing me to testify before you today. My name is Barry Raff, and I am representing Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins university.
I would like to speak to you today about an exciting new application of technology that will enable us and enable the U.S. drug interdiction forces to get a leg up on maritime drug traffickers. This technology, which is an application and transition of existing anti-submarine warfare technology, is based upon the use of unmanned sonar buoys and listening posts to detect drug trafficking vessels and warn our forces with enough lead time to interdict these vessels.
Of the several hundred metric tons of cocaine produced in South America for the North American market, approximately 70 percent initially travels over water routes where the drug runners are vulnerable to intercept by U.S. and liaison forces. Because Coast Guard cutters and Navy combatants are slower than drug trafficking vessels, surveillance cueing of U.S. ships by surveillance assets is critical for successful intercept. The drug runner's small, high-speed craft have low radar and optical signatures; and current surveillance operations with aircraft and ships using legacy systems appear to be ineffective, resulting in low seizure rates.
Following World War II, anti-submarine warfare became a top priority for the U.S. Navy and resulted in the investment of billions of dollars in systems for detecting, classifying, and localizing very quiet submarines. The ASW investment in 1998 alone was over $1 billion, not including platform costs, i.e., costs of aircraft, costs of combatants and submarines. Because the craft used by drug traffickers can be several orders of magnitude louder than a quiet submarine, Navy acoustic technology should be extremely effective in providing critical cueing information.
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To investigate the feasibility of acoustic detection and cueing, Johns Hopkins began by employing computer-simulated models originally developed for Navy applications. These models predicted detection ranges for a variety of acoustic sensors against the ''Go-Fast'' boat. The next step was to actually demonstrate the performance of acoustic sensors at sea against actual boats in four operations.
The first was to make actually calibrated measurements of the acoustic signatures of real targets. This was done at the Joint Inter Agency Task Force, JIATF-East, in Key West in 1997, and the measurements validated the predictions.
The second task was to develop a prototype harbor-surveillance system and demonstrate it to the DEA in Nassau in June of 1997. This system consisted of a sound buoy with a radio transmitter, a shore-based receiver, and a laptop computer classifier. The battery-powered buoy was designed for long life, in excess of 6 months, and provided useful detection ranges in very shallow waters. The observed targets consisted of high-speed power boats, fishing boats, general pleasure craft, and they all had very distinct signatures. They were easily discernible against background noise.
The experiment demonstrated that acoustic technology has the necessary detection range and target-classification potential to provide great operational advantage for these areas. At one location in Nassau, a detection range of over 3 miles was obtained from a single, omnidirectional hydrophone on the harbor floor, which covered the entire area of interest.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GILCHREST. Excuse me, how many miles did you say?
Mr. RAFF. It was over 3 miles in very shallow waters.
Mr. GILCHREST. Three miles.
Mr. RAFF. At this one particular site.
The third task was to demonstrate an acoustic system for the Coast Guard during Gulf Shield. Acoustic sensors were mounted on navigational-aid buoys to create a barrier extending outward from the beach at Port Isabel in Texas. The acoustic processor, telemetry receiver, and recorder were placed close to an existing radar and infrared system. The data from the acoustic sensors were telemetered to a command center several miles away. All target vessels operated by the Coast Guard were detected and identified during controlled tests.
As a final exercise, APL coordinated with the Coast Guard to demonstrate the effectiveness of a towed array on aboard a U.S. Navy combatant off of Guantanamo Bay. The test convincingly showed the potential of acoustics to track Go-Fast boats far beyond the Navy Combatant surface search radar.
Also, in separate incidents, U.S. ships in the Caribbean used acoustic sensors to successfully make Go-Fast boat detections at ranges where no other sensors responded. APL has the acoustic recording data from two of these encounters. One of these Go-Fast boats was successfully intercepted, and a significant amount of illegal drugs was seized.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In summary, operational implementation of Navy acoustic sensor technology holds a promise of significantly aiding in the war on drugs by providing improved cueing at greatly decreased cost. Significant expertise and knowledge of the underwater environment, sensors, and evaluation methodology are already available as valuable assets to help solve this national problem.
The next step in the process is to provide the Coast Guard and other U.S. interdiction agencies with the resources to deploy these systems in strategic locations and in tactical numbers. I believe this technology will aid U.S. drug interdiction forces immeasurably in the immediate future, and I would hope that Congress would provide necessary support to the Coast Guard to deploy it.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you again and also the subcommittee members for this opportunity to appear before you today.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you, Mr. Raff.
Mr. WOOD. Thank you, Chairman Gilchrest. It is a pleasure to be here.
Along with Mr. Raff, I think I am here to talk about some of the tools that Admiral Riutta referred to as necessary to augment their law enforcement activities. And, of course, our Barringer Instruments makes one of the detectors that is being widely deployed both in drug and interdiction missions here in the U.S. and around the world as well as explosives detection missions.
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Barringer Instruments has been in the business for quite a period of time in developing analytical instruments that detect drugs and explosives. We developed a product called IONSCAN in the late 1980s that was really driven by a request from user agencies to provide them with the necessary technical tools to address what were becoming very increasing problems in the late '80s, that being a really bad and growing drug problem as well as the increase in international terrorism that we have seen.
Significant advances have been made in drug detection or drug interdiction capabilities over the past several years as state-of-the-art detection equipment has been successfully deployed with numerous law enforcement agencies both here in the U.S. and around the world. I think the key to properly utilizing advanced technology to assist these law enforcement agencies is pretty well recognized now as developing what we call in the business a systems level approach, integrating many different technologies and throwing as many tools at the bad guys as you can, to give them the best effort.
There is not a single technological solution to drug interdiction problems, but law enforcement systems being implemented here in the United States and around the world are unsurpassed in their total effectiveness.
We make equipment that looks for very small amounts of narcotics and substances or explosive substances. Of course, there is a whole other side of the business in imaging technologies that are looking for very large amounts, and those are the systems that you are probably familiar with being deployed along the southwest border, looking in cargo containers and so.
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I think the key here is that there is not a single tool, and what we are seeing now is most law enforcement agencies around the world putting these together into a packaged capability.
Barringer Instruments has been engaged in both the drug and explosives detection business for the past 10 years, and today there are more of our IONSCAN detectors deployed around the world than all other instruments combined. We have an installed base number of about 850 units around the world. This is very stable and field-proven technology. It is not prototypical instruments. Virtually every law enforcement agency in this country and their counterparts around the world utilize the IONSCAN to assist in their daily operations.
For instance, the FBI here in this country has deployed the IONSCAN since 1991, utilizing this instrument in a wide variety of drug interdiction missions as well as for post-blast forensic analysis in the World Trade Center, Oklahoma City, Atlanta Olympics, and TWA incidents. When you heard of trace amounts of explosives being reported on TWA analysis, it was this instrument that was doing that analytical work for the FBI up in New York.
Perhaps, however, the most successful user of our technology, and I say this quite proudly, as measured by the amounts of illicit narcotics that they have seized, is the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has been an IONSCAN customer for the past 5 years. They have systematically deployed the IONSCAN detector to assist with their drug interdiction efforts around our coastline, primarily in the Caribbean operations that they spoke of earlier today.
The IONSCAN is extensively used to assist with their search operations, providing the operator with the ability to efficiently and effectively look for drugs such as cocaine and heroin and methamphetamine. Over the past several years, the Coast Guard has utilized this technology to seize many tons of cocaine coming from South America with a street value of billions of dollars; and I believe that the statistics for this fiscal year is roughly 20,000 pounds of cocaine seized directly as a result of the utilization of this technology, and that has a street value of many billions of dollars. It clearly is working.
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Other United States users include the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs, the National Guard, the Department of Defense, the FAA, and numerous State and local agencies. Our equipment is also being widely deployed at correctional facilities around the country to stop the flow of drugs into our prisons, which is quite a serious problem. The technology is very widely deployed and is very clearly serving a critical role in our anti-terrorist and law enforcement activities.
Just to give you a quick idea as to what trace detection technology is. We take advantage of the fact that microscopic amounts of the target substance, whether it is drugs or explosive, will typically be present on the exterior surfaces of the particular packaging that the drug is hidden in. These traces can be quickly collected and analyzed in a few seconds to provide the operator with real-time information about the item that was sampled. For example, it is extremely difficult to smuggle narcotics without leaving and spreading trace amounts of the drug in the area or on the item in which the drugs have been packaged.
To give you a very concrete example of how the Coast Guard has deployed this, they deploy vessels, and that is quite a challenge to try to figure out where the drugs are being hidden on a large cargo container, a large cargo boat. They will go to various areas of the ship and simply wipe the hull surfaces. To the extent drugs are frequently hidden behind false walls, to the extent they are hidden in fuel tanks, Wherever those drugs are going to be hidden, there will be microscopic traces in those areas, hot spots. And they can just quickly take a swipe of that area, and they run a 6-second test on this instrument, and it will let them know in a pass-fail fashion whether there is a narcotic substance there.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 The machine will also identify the specific drug that was detected. And in that 6 seconds, this instrument will scan for 10 different narcotic substances: cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, PCP, LSD. It looks for all of those in that one single pass.
The message I would like to leave with you today is that there is a vast array of technology in this country that, if deployed systematically and with diligence, can significantly augment our international efforts on the supply side of our U.S. drug war. The U.S. Coast Guard is a perfect example of what can be accomplished by putting technology into the hands of those on the front line. It was not hard, and it did not cost them a lot of money, But they succeeded in accomplishing their mission with the use of advanced technology and through their thoroughness and diligence in attacking the problem.
This same measure of success can be realized on other law enforcement fronts as we collectively implement our national drug control policy using the high-tech tools that are currently available.
Along with others, Barringer has worked very hard in developing detection technology that meets the needs of our various user organizations; and we are proud of the capability that we have developed. We are also proud to see this equipment being deployed to serve the security and law enforcement needs of the United States.
We applaud and support the efforts of this subcommittee to assess our drug interdiction activities and to enhance our national capabilities through deployment of state-of-the-art detection technology. With the right technology to assist in interdiction efforts, we can win this war on drugs.
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Although he is not here, I would just like to take the opportunity to publicly congratulate the Coast Guard and Admiral Riutta for their tremendous success. It has been substantial, and it is making a difference.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you very much, Mr. Wood.
I will start with you, Mr. Wood.
First of all, what is better for detecting residue of drugs, a dog or your machine?
Mr. WOOD. That is an interesting marketing question. Of course, it is our machine. They both have utilities is the real answer.
A dog's greatest utility is its mobility and its capability of moving around very quickly. However, a dog can only look for one or two, at best, three substances at a time; and the utility of a dog is very poor. A drug dog can work hard for about 15 or 20 minutes, and they then must rest for an hour. And you never quite know when he is falling off the curve of his effectiveness and is potentially missing things out there, which in the case of drugs is not as serious as it is with a bomb-sniffing dog, because he might go right by what you are looking for. So the technology tends to be a little more reproducible and reliable.
Mr. GILCHREST. Does anybody ever use IONSCAN with dogs?
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. WOOD. Oh yeah, quite frequently. In other words, if you have a dog that is reacting, he is performing, whatever it is that he does, when he detects something he sits or he barks, quite complementary. They will take a sample of that area and try to identify what they think it is that the dog is alarmed at. So, yes, it really works. And dog handlers quite like the technology, by the way.
Mr. GILCHREST. IONSCAN picks up the residue of cocaine, gunpowder, things of that nature. How much has to be there before it can pick it up? Is it a cloth that you run?
Mr. WOOD. We have a couple ways of collecting, but one is actually a cloth material.
The answer to your question, Chairman Gilchrest, is it is selectable. I will give you a good example.
With explosives, you always want to run a piece of equipment at its most sensitive settings. And we have the ability to detect a trillionth of a gram. So to give you an idea what the heck that is, because I never knew what a trillionth of a gram was, picture it as a second of time out of 100,000 years.
Mr. GILCHREST. Are we talking a few molecules when we say a trillionth of a gram?
Mr. WOOD. We are talking a single molecule can give you that detection at that level. Now, that isn't always the way you would want to operate in a drug-detecting mode, and sensitivities are selectable.
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Mr. GILCHREST. So this is more than microscopic.
Mr. WOOD. Oh, absolutely.
Mr. GILCHREST. So your technology can pick up one or two or a few molecules of a residue that can be detected.
The machine, the IONSCAN, do you need a different one for explosives and a different one for drugs?
Mr. WOOD. No, sir. It is the same machine. There is a switch on the back that toggles between one and another.
And, quite true, it does pick up the invisible, which is the obvious benefit. If you are on a boat, for instance, as the Coast Guard will do, you don't know that there are drugs hidden behind a false wall. But if you take a scan of that wall, the traces absolutely will be there.
Mr. GILCHREST. How do the traces get there?
Mr. WOOD. Through the packaging process and through migration during the course of
Mr. GILCHREST. Through the wall?
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Mr. WOOD. No. Through the crevices and cracks of wherever it is that is packaged.
For example, a wall is not an airtight compartment, and the traces will migrate through the vibration of the ship and the bouncing of the ship to the outside surfaces. So you find these hot spots on a boat that are very indicative of where the drug is hidden.
Mr. GILCHREST. If you have one of these Go-Fast boats and the Coast Guard helicopter is getting close and the cutter is going to intercept and these guys dump let's say the cocaine overboard and then the Coast Guard boards the Go-Fast boat, can you pick up the residue?
Mr. WOOD. Yes, sir. In fact, we have been to court on a few cases where the most frustrating part of the Coast Guard is often that situation or they find drugs on such a boat and the first thing that the skipper of the fast boat will say is, how did that get there? It must have been one of my passengers. They have actually taken our machine and scanned the skipper and his clothing and hands and used that forensic evidence to tie him forensically to the drug, and that has held up in court. And there are some people in jail right now as a result of using the machine in that fashion.
Mr. GILCHREST. Does it take a long time to learn how to use that machine?
Mr. WOOD. It takes about 20 minutes to learn how to use that machine. Very simple.
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Mr. GILCHREST. How much does one cost?
Mr. WOOD. It is in the low $40,000 range. It is very affordable equipment. It is not million-dollar type of equipment like some other technologies that are available.
Mr. GILCHREST. Could you give us an example of the kind of countries that are using this technology?
Mr. WOOD. Countries? Virtually every country around the world for one application or another. We have almost a thousand units deployed.
We do have units in most countries in South America using this at this point in what I would call sporadic fashion. But, for instance, at the Port of Cartagena in Colombia, the Colombian government is utilizing the equipment to try their best to catch things on the way out.
Mr. Chairman, we do see that willingness increasing over the last year or two.
Mr. GILCHREST. Is the Dominican Republic using it?
Mr. WOOD. As we speak, we are in the process of finalizing a package actually for the government of the Dominican Republic for about a dozen of these machines.
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Mr. GILCHREST. Anybody in Haiti?
Mr. WOOD. I do not believe this is with any U.S. aid. I believe it is with their own money.
Mr. GILCHREST. I mean, is Haiti using it?
Mr. WOOD. I'm sorry. Haiti. Haiti does not have any of this technology. There is also a significant number of machines on the island of Puerto Rico.
Mr. GILCHREST. Do you have any idea how many the Coast Guard has?
Mr. WOOD. Yes, sir. They have in the neighborhood of 60, and they actually take them out on their cutters.
Mr. GILCHREST. How much do they weigh?
Mr. WOOD. About 45 pounds. Kind of a desktop unit. So it is very portable.
Mr. GILCHREST. Is it something that has to be calibrated so that if it is bumped around a little bit the calibration is thrown off and it does not work very well?
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Mr. WOOD. No. It has an auto calibration capability in it, very stable. We run an internal calibrant through the machine to verify that it is working accurately.
Mr. GILCHREST. How often do you have to do that?
Mr. WOOD. The machine does it itself constantly. We call it an auto cal. It is an automatic calibration that is done constantly by the machine itself.
Mr. GILCHREST. Would you recommend that the Coast Guard buy more, or do they have enough of them?
Mr. WOOD. Absolutely, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. I guess if you are selling them you might think so.
Mr. WOOD. I think I can step back out of that role for a moment and say, if you measure the success that they have had so farand I believe Admiral Riutta and his staff will tell you the same thing. They like the equipment a lot. It is a definite help to their search process. I think the measure of that, as any measure should be, is what have you accomplished with it. When they have seized 10 tons of cocaine already this fiscal year and a greater amount last year, I think those are very significant results.
Mr. GILCHREST. You say the Customs Service uses these.
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Mr. WOOD. The Customs Service does utilize our equipment. Every regional Drug Enforcement Agency lab in the country utilizes the equipment. The FBI utilizes it.
Mr. GILCHREST. Let's say, does anybody use it domestically at airports?
Mr. WOOD. Yes, sir. This is the equipment that, if you go out of National, you will see there at the checkpoint that it is being used to look for trace amounts of explosives on your baggage. We have about 180 units in pursuant to the Gore Commission recommendations a year and a half ago. This is the equipment that is going to all of the airports. So you will see it here at National or Dulles right at the checkpoint.
Mr. GILCHREST. But you do need to take whatever it is and rub it on something to pick up the trace amount?
Mr. WOOD. Yes.
Mr. GILCHREST. There is no way to detect that
Mr. WOOD. Stand off?
Mr. GILCHREST. Yeah. The baggage compartment, all the bags go through?
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. WOOD. There are different iterations of that. In fact, we are under contact with the FAA to develop an automated system that is a belt-driven system to look at bags as they are going through.
Mr. GILCHREST. Thank you.
We have another vote, but I am going to try not to have you fellows stay any longer than is needed.
Mr. Raff, your acoustic system, let's say you have a very active area where there are a lot of boats20 boats, 50 boats. Will this discern between all that? Would you call that background noise? Would that make it difficult to determine the kind of boats coming through?
Mr. RAFF. You will certainly detect all your 20 or 30 boats. It will allow you to tell the difference between diesel boats, high-powered Go-Fast boats, pleasure craft of a certain variety. If a boat that you are looking for has any peculiar characteristic about it, it is easy to pick out.
The really intended use of this system is in areas specified by JIATF-East, in choke points, in the areas where it would be very suspicious for a Go-Fast boat to be at odd hours, for intelligence gathering of illegal activities in the area, and for advanced cueing of our forces to get into position to make an intercept.
Mr. GILCHREST. And it can detect or pick up the vibrations or the sound of a boat up to 3 miles?
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Mr. RAFF. Acoustics in the Caribbean is a very complex problem. It is very harsh with regard to acoustics. The systems we are envisioning transitioning from the Navy are capable of anywhere between 3 and 10 miles, as unattended sensorsthat is, sensors that live out there in the open for a period of 6 months without any human interaction. They would relay their signal back by satellites.
Other sensors that we can attach and the Navy has attached can be transitioned to the Coast Guard, to its cutters, providing it long-range surveillance compared to anything it has today.
Mr. GILCHREST. Do you use a buoy?
Mr. RAFF. Absolutely.
Mr. GILCHREST. We don't have a map anymore, but this could be, let's say, 100 miles southwest of the Dominican Republic?
Mr. RAFF. It could be. There are regions near the Nicaragua rise, which is an area of shallow water that JIATF-East is extremely interested in. They are interested in the Windward Passage. They are interested in the Mona Passage. They are interested in sections off of greater Antigua. They are interested in advanced cueing off of Colombia, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. Are there any of these acoustic systems deployed now?
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Mr. RAFF. No. What we need to do is transition these systems from prototype to operational, useful forms.
Mr. GILCHREST. How long would that be?
Mr. RAFF. Less than 12 months.
Mr. GILCHREST. Would they be fairly uniform, this particular acoustic system technology? Or would they be different depending on where they would be located?
Mr. RAFF. If we are talking about the buoy system, they are particularly uniform. If we are talking about a region say near Port Isabel, the Coast Guard seems to be interested in underwater cable, which is a different concept, the same acoustic technology. It would be tailored to the platform. If we are talking about an array to be towed by a cutter, it is the same technology, just a different form.
Mr. GILCHREST. How much would one of these things cost?
Mr. RAFF. We would envision these unattended systems to cost $2,000 or less. We make a tremendous impact in tactically useful numbers of 20 to 50. Their life-span would be on the order of 6 months. We are talking about a very minor investment compared to what it would take an aircraft to be on station 24 hours a day, 360 days a year, which is in the tens of millions of dollars.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GILCHREST. I would assume that you would use some buoys. And if you did use some buoys, the vessel would have to come within how many miles in order to be detected?
Mr. RAFF. It depends on the location. Anywhere between 3 and 10.
Mr. GILCHREST. You said 70 percent of the drugs entering the United States transit across the water?
Mr. RAFF. Initially, sir. These are toward the Yucatan, from the coast of Colombia before the Yucatan, before they enter a road system from Colombia to Haiti.
Mr. GILCHREST. Where did you get that data from?
Mr. RAFF. From publications from JIATF-East.
Mr. GILCHREST. Has the Coast Guard shown any interest in acquiring this system?
Mr. RAFF. Everyone we have worked with in the Coast Guard has been very, very enthusiastic and has told us that they would use it if they had it. The issue being the available resources that transition it into operational use.
Mr. GILCHREST. Who owns the rights to the technology?
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Mr. RAFF. The U.S. Government, sir.
Mr. GILCHREST. The U.S. Government?
Mr. RAFF. Absolutely.
Mr. GILCHREST. That is interesting.
Do you have any idea at this point what would be the optimum number of deployable systems, whether it is the Caribbean, the Gulf, or the Pacific Ocean?
Mr. RAFF. We are under contract to the Office of Counterdrug Technology to do a study to answer that precise question. My estimate at this time would be 20 to 50 would be very, very useful and make a significant impact on our ability to interdict Go-Fast boats.
Mr. GILCHREST. This particular technology would be best suited for that type of vessel?
Mr. RAFF. This particular technology would be suited for any type of maritime vessel that uses a propeller and uses an engine for forward propulsion. These boats are extremely loud compared to quiet submarines, and this technology has been used to go after very quiet submarines. To use the slang, it seems like a no-brainer.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GILCHREST. I see.
Could this replace or would this replace any radar, or would this work with other radar systems?
Mr. RAFF. In fact, this statement was made in a public forum by the Chief of Staff at JIATF-East. The only way we have today to find Go-Fast boats is to get up in an airplane, put the sun at our back, and look at the wake. They do not have operational technology today, quoting the Chief of Staff, to make consistent interdictions.
Mr. GILCHREST. Well, gentlemen, thank you very much. We have another vote. Your testimony has been both helpful and intriguing. We will continue to work with the Coast Guard and the Customs agents to look for newer technology to help with this struggle. Gentlemen, thank you very much.
The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 1:40 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]