SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC63855
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
JULY 29, 1999
Serial No. 65
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFor sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
EDWARD A. PEASE, Indiana
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
JAMES E. ROGAN, California
LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, South Carolina
MARY BONO, California
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., General Counsel-Chief of Staff
JULIAN EPSTEIN, Minority Chief Counsel and Staff Director
Subcommittee on Crime
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida, Chairman
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
GLENN R. SCHMITT, Chief Counsel
DANIEL J. BRYANT, Chief Counsel
RICK FILKINS, Counsel
BOBBY VASSAR, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
July 29, 1999
McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida, and chairman, Subcommittee on Crime
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Berger, William, Chief of Police, North Miami Beach, FL
Maginnis, Robert, Family Research Council, Senior Director for National Security and Foreign Affairs
Marshall, Donnie R., Acting Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice
Rabkin, Norman J., Director, Administration of Justice Issue Area, U.S. General Accounting Office
Reuter, Peter, Professor, School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Jackson Lee, Hon. Sheila, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas: Prepared statement
Marshall, Donnie R., Acting Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice: Prepared statement
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida, and chairman, Subcommittee on Crime: Prepared statement
Rabkin, Norman J., Director, Administration of Justice Issue Area, U.S. General Accounting Office: Prepared statement
Reuter, Peter, Professor, School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland: Prepared statement
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
THURSDAY, JULY 29, 1999
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Present: Representatives Bill McCollum, Steve Chabot, Asa Hutchinson, Robert C. Scott, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Maxine Waters.
Staff present: Daniel J. Bryant, Chief Counsel; Rick Filkins, Counsel; Bobby Vassar, Minority Counsel; and Veronica L. Eligan, Staff Assistant.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN McCOLLUM
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The Subcommittee on Crime will come to order. This morning the subcommittee convenes for an oversight hearing of our Nation's leading drug enforcement agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration. We do so against a very troubling backdrop. Today, heroin and cocaine are pouring into the United States from abroad, endangering the future of our children and spreading fear through countless neighborhoods and communities. Drug quantity is up, drug purity is at an all-time high and prices are down.
International drug cartels, more powerful and sophisticated than ever before, have criminal networks reaching into the streets of every major city in America. Clandestine methamphetamine labs are now operating throughout the entire country pumping out their deadly poison that destroys people and pollutes the land. And in recent years we have been experiencing a heroin epidemic involving Colombian heroin, which is cheaper and stronger than any heroin we saw during the 1960's, and which is commonplace on our streets. Tragically, this has led to unprecedented numbers of teenagers dying from heroin overdoses in the last 2 years.
Drug use among our children is skyrocketing. The numbers are simply shocking. In the last 5 years, drug use among youth aged 12 to 17 has more than doubled. It is up 120%. For kids 12 to 17, first-time heroin use has increased 875% since 1992. During that same period, marijuana use increased 253% among 8th-graders, 151% among 10th-graders, and 84% among 12th-graders. Overall, among kids 12 to 17, marijuana smoking has jumped 125% since 1991.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To me this is unacceptable, as I think it is to most Americans. We owe our children every effort to rid our streets and schools of drugs and the violence that accompanies the drug trade. Drugs rob our children, children of all backgrounds, of the prospect that their future will be one of hope and opportunity. And it is for the sake of their future that we must rededicate ourselves to a drug-free America.
I want to be quick to state that the drug problem we face is profound, but the situation is not hopeless. There are many heroic efforts being undertaken every day in the schools, streets and communities of our country to confront the drug crisis. And these local community efforts are backed up by and coordinated with local and State law enforcement efforts, and by numerous Federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration.
At its best, our national war against drugs is a smart, balanced attack against drug supply and demand. To the extent that our efforts weaken in any one area, we invite the problem to worsen. To the extent we pursue effective community-based prevention and vigorous enforcement of our drug laws, we stand to make progress. This morning, we have the opportunity to take a look at the role of the DEA in our Nation's effort to combat illegal drugs. They are only one of many participants in the national campaign against drugs, but they are a vital participant.
Indeed, the DEA is the leading Federal agency responsible for enforcing Federal drug control laws and for coordinating and pursuing U.S. drug investigations in foreign countries. The DEA is also an agency that has experienced considerable growth in recent years. During the 1990's, funding for the DEA has nearly doubled, from $806 million in fiscal year 1990, to approximately $1.5 billion in fiscal year 1999. The DEA now has 21 field divisions throughout the United States, each with numerous local offices, and 79 offices in 56 foreign countries. Of all the law enforcement agencies in the United States, the DEA is the only one that has as its sole mission to combat the drug problem all around the world.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I have traveled overseas and had the chance to see them working side-by-side with law enforcement from other countries, and I can say without hesitation that DEA agents abroad are doing outstanding work. In fact, I think that DEA's expertise overseas, helping to train effective counter drug agents in foreign countries, is one of the single most important things the U.S. contributes to the international efforts against drugs.
And that is why I would like to see the DEA presence around the world increased. The more effectively we can attack the drug problem close to the supply source, the greater our chances of significantly shutting down the supply and driving up the cost. And that would mean fewer kids experimenting with drugs, fewer kids getting addicted, and more kids leading drug-free lives.
We have the benefit this morning of hearing from the General Accounting Office, which has just completed a review of the DEA's mission, strategies and operations through the 1990's. I look forward to hearing the GAO's testimony and that of the DEA and the other witnesses who follow. And I recognize Mr. Scott for any comments he may make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. McCollum follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. BILL MCCOLLUM, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA, AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME
Washington, D.C.This morning the Subcommittee on Crime convenes for an oversight hearing of our nation's lead drug enforcement agency: The Drug Enforcement Administration. We do so against a troubling backdrop.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Today, heroin and cocaine are pouring into the United States from abroad, endangering the future of our children and spreading fear through countless neighborhoods and communities. Drug quantity is up, drug purity is at all-time highs and the price is down.
International drug cartelsmore powerful and sophisticated than ever beforehave criminal networks reaching into the streets of every major city in America. Clandestine methamphetamine labs are now operating throughout the entire country, pumping out their deadly poison that destroys people and pollutes our land. And in recent years we've been experiencing a heroin epidemic, with Colombian heroin, which is cheaper and stronger than any heroin we ever saw during the 60s, commonplace on our streets. Tragically, this has led to unprecedented numbers of teenagers dying from heroin overdoses in the last two years.
Drug use among our children is skyrocketing. The numbers are simply shocking. In the last five years, drug use among youth aged 12 to 17 has more than doubled. It's up 120%! For kids aged 12 to 17, first-time heroin use has increased 875% since 1992. During that same period, marihuana use increased by 253 percent among eighth-graders, 151 percent among tenth-graders, and 84 percent among twelfth-graders. Overall, among kids aged 12 to 17, marihuana smoking has jumped 125% since 199 1.
This is unacceptable. We owe our children every effort to rid our streets and schools of drugs and the violence that accompany the drug trade. Drugs rob our childrenchildren of all backgroundsof the certainty that their future will be one of hope and opportunity. And it is for the sake of their future that we must rededicate ourselves to a drug-free America.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I want to be quick to state that although the drug problem we face is profound, the situation is not hopeless. There are many heroic efforts being undertaken every day throughout the schools, streets and communities of our country to confront the drug crisis. And these local, community efforts are backed up by and coordinated with local and state law enforcement efforts, and by numerous federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration.
At its best, our national war against drugs is a smart, balanced attack against drug supply and demand. To the extent that our efforts become imbalanced, we invite the problem to worsen. To the extent that we pursue effective, community-based prevention AND vigorous enforcement of our drug laws, we stand to make progress.
This morning, we have the opportunity to take a look at the role of the DEA in our nation's efforts to combat illegal drugs. They are only one of many participants in the national campaign against drugs. But they are a vital participant. Indeed, the DEA is the lead federal agency responsible for enforcing federal drug control laws and for coordinating and pursuing U.S. drug investigations in foreign countries.
The DEA is also an agency that has experienced considerable growth in recent years. During the 1990s, funding for the DEA has nearly doubled, from $806 million in fiscal year 1990, to approximately $1.5 billion in fiscal year 1999. The DEA now has 21 field divisions throughout the United States, each with numerous local offices, and 79 offices in 56 foreign countries. Of all the law enforcement agencies in the United States, the DEA alone is charged exclusively with attacking the drug problem all around the world.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I've traveled overseas and had the chance to see them working side-by-side with law enforcement from other countries. And I can say without hesitation that DEA agents abroad are doing outstanding work. In fact, I think that DEA's expertise overseashelping to train up effective counter drug agents in foreign countriesis one of the single most important things the U.S. contributes to the international effort against drugs. And that's why I'd like to see the DEA presence around the world increased: The more effectively we can attack the drug problem close to the supply source, the greater our chances of significantly shutting down the supply and driving up the cost. And that would mean fewer kids experimenting with drugs; fewer kids getting addicted; and more kids leading drug-free lives.
We have the benefit this morning of hearing from the General Accounting Office, which has just completed a review of the DEA's mission, strategies and operations throughout the 1990s. I look forward to the GAO's testimony and that of the DEA and the other witnesses.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I am pleased to join you in convening this oversight hearing on our Nation's Drug Enforcement Agency. I am mindful that there are thousands of dedicated DEA employees who enforce our drug laws and directives, many of whom are putting their lives on the line daily to do so. Therefore, I consider it our responsibility in directing their efforts to insure that their dedication and sacrifices are not in vain or in furtherance of policies and activities which are ineffective or counterproductive in their result.
The DEA is involved in drug interdiction activities all over the world. However, it is not clear that all of these activities are as effective or as important as others in stopping or reducing the scourge of drug abuse. Mr. Chairman, some evidence suggests that as our efforts to reduce drug abuse have intensified in this country, the street price for some of the most dangerous drugs have gone way down while the quality has gone way up and drug use has increased or stayed the same.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Other data suggests that the massive drug enforcement effort in this country has resulted in legions of users and street level dealers imprisoned for long periods of time with huge strains on State and local budgets with no discernible impact on the drug trade. Still other evidence suggests that while most illegal drug use in all major abuse categories occurs among white Americans, the vast majority of those imprisoned for drug law violations are black and Hispanic. Drug use data indicates that some 60% of crack cocaine users are white, while 94% of those imprisoned for crack cocaine violations are black or Hispanic.
At the same time, there is information to suggest that much of this growth disparity is due to deliberate targeting of minority group members through wholly unsubstantiated and unscientific drug courier profiling. The scientific information that does exist clearly establishes that drug treatment and prevention efforts are more effective and less costly than drug law enforcement in stemming illegal drug use by street level violators. One study showed that drug treatment saved $7 in later prison and medical costs for every $1 spent on drug treatment.
Some of the testimony today will point to the scientific evidence on effectiveness of law enforcement on treatment approaches. In addition to several other agencies and operations State and local law enforcement agencies are intensely involved in drug law enforcement and drug use reduction efforts but the DEA is the only law enforcement agency with international drug enforcement jurisdiction.
Questions regarding the effectiveness of DEA's involvement in street level drug enforcement may suggest that its resource would better be spent in doing what it is exclusively commissioned to do rather than adding to the massive effort already underway by entities in areas of mutual jurisdiction. I hope that the testimony today will shed some light on this issue. In any case, it seems to me that if we are going to have drug law enforcement policies, we may have to make sure that they are effective policies and that we get the most bang for the buck. Mr. Chairman, I look forward to the testimony and hope that we can shed light on this important issue as we have our oversight responsibility for the DEA.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, at this point I would ask unanimous consent that the gentlelady from California be able to participate in this hearing. She is not a member of the subcommittee but obviously a member of the committee.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Scott, under the rules that we established for that purpose, she is certainly welcome to participate in the sense of making an opening statement but she will have to be yielded time to ask questions and you and I will have to work on how to do that. Mr. Hutchinson, do you have any opening comments?
Mr. HUTCHINSON. No, Mr. Chairman. I just thank you for the hearing and look forward to the testimony.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Does the gentlelady from California have an opening statement?
Ms. WATER. Yes, thank you very much, Mr. Scott, for your invitation to participate and thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for supporting the invitation for me to participate. I think most of you know of my very long and strong interest in the drug problem in America and of the work that I have done over the last 3 years or so taking a look at drugs and crack cocaine particularly as it relates to the intelligence community involvement. And while I would love to spend a lot of time today talking about the role of DEA relative to the information that we discovered about the intelligence community's operations with the Contras and one particular individual in particular, Mr. Denilio Blandone, who is on the payroll of DEA.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I know we can't do that but I have a long way to go with that and I will continue to look at it today. I think we will be learning a lot about your mission, about what you are doing, taking a look at the DEA's strategies and operations for the 1990's, and I am hopeful that we will be able to understand a little bit more about Operation Pipeline and all of the information that has come to the forefront, and your relationship to the strategies that were developed to identify suspected drug carriers, users, operatives, etc. So with that, I think it is important to hear and hopefully I will be able to ask some questions.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Ms. Waters. We welcome our first panel today. Our first and only witness on panel I is Norman Rabkin of the General Accounting Office. Mr. Rabkin has been the Director of GAO's Administration of Justice Issue Area since October, 1994. He is responsible for GAO's programmatic reviews of Federal law enforcement agencies including the DEA, FBI and Customs Service, the Federal judiciary and Federal funds provided to State and local law enforcement agencies.
Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Rabkin assisted in managing GAO's working involvement with the military operations, the Veterans Administration's health care system, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Cancer Institute. Mr. Rabkin received his BS degree in accounting from the University of Scranton and his Master's degree in science administration from George Washington University. We welcome you, Mr. Rabkin, and please proceed to give us your testimony. Thank you for coming.
STATEMENT OF NORMAN J. RABKIN, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ISSUE AREA, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. RABKIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee. I am pleased to be here this morning to talk with you about how DEA's operations have changed during the past decade. My testimony is based on the report we issued last week to you and to Senator Grassly, the chairman of the Senate's Caucus on International Narcotics Control. With me are Dan Harris on my right, who is responsible for much of the audit work that GAO does at DEA and the FBI, and Ron Viereck from our Los Angeles office, who is in charge of the work that led to this report.
To summarize our report in only a few minutes, I would like to highlight the major programmatic changes DEA went through during the 1990's and the reasons that we recommended that DEA develop measurable performance targets for achieving its strategic goals. The Nation's strategy for reducing illegal drug use is two strategies really, reducing demand and reducing supply. DEA's mission is to enforce the drug laws and bring illegal drug traffickers to justice, and its role is in the supply reduction side of this strategy.
DEA investigates drug trafficking, including criminals and gangs involved in drug-related violence. It manages a drug intelligence system and it works with other Federal, State, local, and foreign agencies to achieve its longstanding goal of disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations. As you mentioned, during the 1990's DEA's budget nearly doubled to about $1.5 billion. Its on board staff increased about 40% during the decade from about 6,000 to 8,400.
Our report highlights three significant changes DEA experienced during the 1990's. DEA increased its investment in the assistance it provides to the anti-drug efforts of State and local enforcement agencies. Secondly, it began to focus on the communications of major drug trafficking organizations, and, third, it started new programs in foreign countries. I would like to just give a little bit of information on each of those three initiatives.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Our report describes how DEA became more involved with State and local police through task forces and its Mobile Enforcement Team (or MET) program, both of which were designed to bring Federal resources to bear on local drug problems. DEA special agents assigned to field offices in the United States spent about 9% of their time on the task forces in 1990. By 1998 that amount had increased to about 20% of their time. DEA didn't have comparable data for the MET program but it wasn't as large an effort and it started later in the decade.
With respect to the focus on traffickers' communications, DEA significantly increased the number of wire taps it conducted during the 1990's. In 1990, DEA carried out about 223 wire tap orders. When it started its Kingpin Strategy focusing on the leaders of the major drug trafficking organizations in 1992, that number increased to about 330. By 1996, when DEA reorganized this effort into its Special Operations Division the number of wire taps had increased to about 546, and more recently it has grown into the 600, 650 range.
The decade also marked some significant changes in DEA's operations overseas. DEA's foreign mission is to work with other U.S. and foreign agencies to disrupt and dismantle the drug cartels and to stem the flow of illegal drugs coming into the United States. During the 1990's, DEA expanded its presence overseas in terms of the number of offices it staffed and the number of countries in which it has a presence. DEA works closely with the law enforcement agencies in each country helping to train their agents and helping them to apprehend drug traffickers.
DEA foreign offices also share information gathered in domestic investigations and from other sources, which can result in law enforcement action in these foreign countries. Now, I would like to focus on the extent to which these activities have achieved DEA's goals and have contributed to reducing the supply of drugs coming into the United States. As I mentioned earlier, DEA's principal goal is to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. DEA points to numerous success stories, major traffickers arrested, tons of drugs seized, and even the disruption of major cartels in Colombia.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
However, there are two problems with these claims of success. First, despite DEA's achievements there still appears to be enough of a supply of drugs in the United States to meet the demand. Short-term gains, such as the arrest of leaders of powerful cartels or the seizure of huge amounts of illegal drugs or huge sums of money, seem to be offset by new sources, new organizations, new products, and even new marketing strategies. The question of whether the current strategy of focusing on the trafficking organizations is producing acceptable results is one that the Congress may wish to discuss with ONDCP, (the Office of National Drug Control Policy), and the key players involved in carrying out the strategy, including DEA.
The second issue of concern is whether DEA's efforts to disrupt and dismantle the trafficking organizations are contributing as expected to the national strategy. In other words, is DEA doing its part? Before we or anyone else for that matter can answer the question, DEA needs to identify more specifically just what its part is. In the vernacular of the Government Performance and Results Act it needs to set annual performance targets.
ONDCP has set specific overall targets regarding the percentage of drug trafficking organizations that should be disrupted and dismantled with the funds made available for supply reduction efforts each year. We believe that DEA's targets, whenever they are set, should be consistent with those ONDCP targets. Without those targets it is difficult for DEA, for the Justice Department, for this subcommittee or for the American public to quantitatively assess whether the resources invested in DEA are producing adequate results.
DEA has told us that it has prepared preliminary targets for submission with its fiscal year 2001 budget and performance plan, and we look forward to seeing those final targets. Mr. Chairman, this completes my oral statement. We would be glad to try to answer your questions or those of the subcommittee at this time.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rabkin follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF NORMAN J. RABKIN, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE ISSUE AREA, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
DRUG CONTROL: DEA'S STRATEGIES AND OPERATIONS IN THE 1990S
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:
I am pleased to be here today to discuss the results of our recently completed comprehensive review of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) strategies and operations in the 1990s. We undertook this work at the request of this Subcommittee and the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control. As agreed with the Subcommittee and the Caucus, we focused our work primarily on determining (1) what major enforcement strategies, programs, initiatives, and approaches DEA has implemented in the 1990s to carry out its mission; and (2) whether DEA's strategic goals and objectives, programs and initiatives, and performance measures are consistent with the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) National Drug Control Strategy. Also, as requested, we reviewed how DEA determined its fiscal year 1998 staffing needs and allocated the additional staff.
My statement is based on and will outline the detailed results of our July 21, 1999 report(see footnote 1) (which I would now like to submit for the record). Overall, we determined that, consistent with its mission, DEA enhanced or changed important aspects of its operations during the 1990s, including expanding its focus to target local drug dealers in addition to major drug trafficking organizations. In this regard:
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
DEA expanded its domestic enforcement operations to work more with state and local law enforcement agencies and help combat drug-related violence in local communities.
DEA implemented an investigative approach focusing on intercepting the communications of major drug traffickers.
DEA enhanced its foreign operations by (1) participating in two interagency programs to target major drug trafficking organizations in Latin America and Asia and (2) screening and training special foreign police units to combat drug trafficking in certain key foreign countries.
We also determined that DEA's strategic goals and objectives, and enhanced programs and initiatives, in the 1990s were consistent with the National Drug Control Strategy. However, DEA has not developed measurable performance targets for its programs and initiatives that are consistent with those adopted for the National Strategy.
I will now briefly outline the results of our work.
As you know, DEA has significant responsibilities for the drug supply reduction portion of ONDCP's National Drug Control Strategy. DEA's overall mission is to enforce the nation's drug laws and regulations and to bring drug traffickers to justice.
DEA is the lead agency responsible for enforcing the federal drug control laws and for coordinating and pursuing U.S. drug investigations in foreign countries. DEA's primary responsibilities include (1) investigating major drug traffickers operating at interstate and international levels and criminals and drug gangs who perpetrate violence in local communities; (2) managing a national drug intelligence system; (3) seizing and forfeiting traffickers' assets; (4) coordinating and cooperating with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies on mutual drug enforcement efforts; and (5) carrying out, under the policy guidance of the Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassadors, programs associated with drug law enforcement counterparts in foreign countries.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Funding for all federal drug control efforts has increased by about 49 percent, in constant 1999 dollars, in the 1990s to the fiscal year 1999 level of about $18 billion. Funding for DEA almost doubled, in constant dollars, from about $806 million in fiscal year 1990 to about $1.5 billion in fiscal year 1999. The number of DEA staff increased from about 6,000 in fiscal year 1990 to about 8,400 in fiscal year 1998.
Nevertheless, during the 1990s, the demand for and supply of illegal drugs have persisted at very high levels and have continued to adversely affect American society. For example, on the basis of the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that in 1997 there were 13.9 million current users(see footnote 2) of illegal drugs in the United States aged 12 and older, representing 6.4 percent of the total population. This number has fluctuated somewhat but has remained fairly constant overall since 1990, as have the numbers of current users of cocaine and marijuana, with 1.5 million cocaine users and 11.1 million marijuana users in 1997.
Also, a report prepared for ONDCP showed that drug users in the United States spent an estimated $57 billion for illegal drugs in 1995.(see footnote 3) ONDCP, in its 1999 National Drug Control Strategy, noted that illegal drugs cost our society approximately $110 billion annually. The societal costs include lost jobs and productivity, health problems, and economic hardships to families. In addition, many violent crimes are drug related, according to ONDCP.
Drug trafficking organizations have continued to supply drug users in the United States despite short-term achievements by DEA and other law enforcement agencies in apprehending drug traffickers and disrupting the flow of drugs. In the 1990s, DEA pointed to many drug enforcement accomplishments. But, despite these accomplishments, national and international drug trafficking organizations continued to smuggle large amounts of illegal drugs, including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine, into the United States. In addition, methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant that has had a devastating impact in many cities across the nation during the 1990s, is clandestinely produced in this country; and marijuana is grown here. Local gangs and individuals deal in these and other drugs in local communities and have caused violence in doing so.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
DEA's Enforcement Operations Reach From the International Level to the Local Level
Since it was established in 1973, DEA's top priority has been to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations. During the 1990s, DEA broadened the focus of its enforcement operations. DEA now focuses on what it calls the ''seamless continuum'' of drug trafficking, with programs and initiatives directed at major regional, national, and international trafficking organizations; violent, street-level drug gangs and other local community problems; and domestically cultivated and manufactured illegal drugs.
During the 1990s, DEA, primarily through its Kingpin Strategy and then its Special Operations Division, increased its emphasis on intercepting communications between top-level drug traffickers and their subordinates to identify and target the leaders and dismantle their operations. This resulted in a 183-percent increase, from fiscal years 1990 through 1998, in the number of electronic surveillance court orders requested and conducted by DEA.
DEA also started working with other federal agencies on two programsthe Linear Approach and Linkage Approach Programsto target and investigate major drug trafficking organizations in Latin America and Asia, respectively. In 1996, to improve its effectiveness in several key foreign countries, DEA began to screen and train special foreign police units. The intent of this effort is to improve the capabilities of foreign police and to build trustworthy and reliable foreign antidrug units with which DEA works.
At the same time, DEA attempted to improve its effectiveness in addressing the ''seamless continuum'' of drug trafficking by giving domestic drug trafficking a higher priority, including focusing resources on regional and ''local impact'' drug problems. In this regard, during the 1990s, DEA devoted more resources to its State and Local Task Force Program. Also, in 1995, DEA established the Mobile Enforcement Team Program to assist local police with violent drug gangs and other local drug problems.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
DEA Has Not Yet Developed Performance Targets Consistent With the National Strategy
DEA's strategic goals and objectives and its enhanced programs and initiatives in the 1990s have been consistent with the National Drug Control Strategy. Both the National Strategy and DEA hope to reduce the illegal drug supply and drug-related crime and violence by disrupting and dismantling domestic and international drug trafficking organizations.
The principal objectives in the National Drug Control Strategy relating to DEA are:
combat drug-related violence, disrupt criminal organizations, and arrest the leaders of illegal drug syndicates; and
disrupt and dismantle major international drug trafficking organizations and arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate their leaders.
For domestic drug trafficking organizations, the National Strategy calls for increasing by 5 points the percentage of drug trafficking organizations disrupted or dismantled by 2002 as measured against the percentage recorded in the base year using a prioritized list of designated targets. It calls for at least a 10 percentage point increase above the base year by 2007.
For international drug trafficking organizations, the National Strategy calls for achieving by 2002 a 50 percent success rate in the number of organizations disrupted or dismantled as measured against a designated target list established in the base year. The Strategy also calls for increasing the success rate to 100 percent by 2007 as measured against the base year list. According to ONDCP and DEA, neither the domestic nor international designated target lists referred to above have been developed.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Unlike the National Strategy, DEA's performance plans for fiscal years 1999 and 2000 do not contain performance targets for assessing its progress in disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations. DEA has no annual, mid-, or long-range measurable performance targets for disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations. In commenting on a draft of our report, DEA indicated that (1) it had developed preliminary performance targets for inclusion in its fiscal year 2001 budget submission to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and (2) it could not finalize its targets and measures until the responsible federal agencies complete a designated targeted list of international drug trafficking organizations, as called for in the National Strategy. Nevertheless, in the absence of finalized performance targets, it is difficult to quantitatively assess DEA's overall effectiveness in achieving its strategic goals.
DEA's Fiscal Year 1998 Staffing Needs Determination Process Was Consistent with Federal Processes and Procedures
In order to carry out its mission and operations during the 1990s, including the programs and initiatives I have mentioned, DEA received funds to staff its operations through various sources, including its annual appropriations salaries and expenses budget, as well as DOJ's Violent Crime Reduction Program(see footnote 4) and other reimbursable programs, such as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program. Our report discusses in detail the process used in fiscal year 1998 to determine and allocate additional DEA positions provided through its salaries and expenses budget. DEA and DOJ officials considered this process to be generally typical of the process DEA has used in other years.
The fiscal year 1998 DEA staffing needs determination process was systematically linked to its budget formulation process. It was typical of and consistent with the processes and procedures that federal agencies are expected to follow, according to federal laws and regulations and procedures promulgated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Moreover, the process considered factors related to DEA's ability to carry out its mission, including emerging drug abuse and trafficking trends, staffing requests from the field, the DEA Administrator's vision statement, and the Special Agent in Charge's vision statement from each field office.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
DEA's fiscal year 1998 budget submission to DOJ estimated the need for a total of 989 new positions, including 399 special agent positions. As a result of reviews by DOJ, OMB, and ONDCP and consideration of the resources provided in DEA's fiscal year 1997 appropriation,(see footnote 5) the President's fiscal year 1998 budget, which was submitted to Congress in February 1997, requested a total of 345 new positions for DEA, including 168 special agent positions. In its fiscal year 1998 DEA appropriation, Congress provided 531 additional positions, of which 240 were special agent positions, with guidance as to how the positions were to be allocated. Then, DEA senior management systematically determined the allocation of the additional staff to headquarters and field offices, taking into consideration congressional guidance and such factors as field office requests.
Conclusions and Recommendation
Mr. Chairman, let me close by emphasizing that although DEA's strategic goals and objectives, as well as its enhanced programs and initiatives, are consistent with the National Drug Control Strategy, DEA has not developed measurable performance targets for disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations. Without such performance targets, it is difficult for DEA, the Department of Justice, Congress, and the public to quantitatively assess (1) how effective DEA has been in using resources provided by Congress to achieve its strategic goals and (2) the extent to which DEA's programs and initiatives in the 1990s have contributed to reducing the illegal drug supply. Measurable performance targets would also help in determining what DEA resources, including staff, are needed and how resources should be allocated and used to produce the expected results of DEA's strategies, goals, programs, and initiatives.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In this regard, our report recommended that the Attorney General direct the DEA Administrator to work closely with DOJ and ONDCP to develop measurable DEA performance targets for disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations consistent with the performance targets in the National Drug Control Strategy.
This concludes my prepared statement, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to answer any questions.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very, very much for being here with us today and giving us an overview of the GAO's report. I will yield myself 5 minutes and then the rest of the panel. There are many people in Congress, Mr. Rabkin, who view the DEA's recent role in allocating resources to the State and local fight as being perhaps excessive, that is, doing more in that area than perhaps it should be doing relative or vis-a-vis the other operations that it participates in. You have indicated some review of that in what you have given to us today.
Could you elaborate on how it is that the DEA has devoted more resources to the State and local programs, for example, increased agents, man hours, etc.? Is that perception correct? Have they really done a lot more than one would have normally expected them to do in the last few years?
Mr. RABKIN. I am not sure I can say that they are doing more than one would have expected them to do. I think DEA has been up front about its involvement in State and local task forces, its work with local law enforcement agencies. It has been part of its budget submission and Congress has funded these efforts. Certainly it's assistance has increased during the decade. They are doing more now than they did 10 years ago. I think this was a part of the vision of the former administrator. When he came in, this is something that he continued and built on.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The question of whether such assistance is more valuable given the DEA has finite resources, even though it is $1.5 billion we are talking about, it is a finite amount of resources and DEA has a number of places in which it can invest those resources. Which is the best investment depends in our view on what they will get with that investment, what the results will be, not just how many arrests will be made but what contribution DEA will make to the overall National Drug Control Strategy.
As you pointed out, there are over 50 agencies that are involved in the National Drug Control Strategy, DEA being one of them. They have a role to play and the extent to which they can meet that role, both here in the United States and internationally, is part of the decisions that are made every year by the Congress in giving the appropriations to DEA and by the Administration itself in allocating those funds among those offices.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, let me ask this question. Have you been able to discern in your study of the DEA whether or not the effort that has been expended in the State and local arena has diminished or negatively affected the DEA's efforts abroad?
Mr. RABKIN. I don't think it has affected the effort abroad because that has grown as well. If the Congress decided not to provide the resources or DEA decided not to ask for the resources for the build-up in the State and local assistance, whether DEA would have taken resources and applied them to the international program is speculative and I really can't answer that question. But I think I also have to point out that there are some limits into how much DEA can grow internationally.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is a matter of working with the State Department, working with the embassies, on the extent to which it can expand its presence in any foreign country. Each one is a little different. In Mexico, for example, there are some constraints that the government of Mexico places on DEA and the number of staff it can have in that country.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Well, do you know how many State and local task forces the DEA is operating with right now?
Mr. RABKIN. We have that information in the report. Dan, do you have that?
Mr. HARRIS. Yes. Mr. Chairman, in fiscal year 1999 there were 179 total task forces that DEA was operating throughout the country. This had grown from 94 in 1991.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Is there a criteria that they use to determine whether to get involved with a State and local task force?
Mr. HARRIS. I am not aware of a specific criteria. I think it depends on what is going on in a particular geographical area.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Okay.
Mr. HARRIS. The relationship with the State and local authorities, for example.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. One last question before my time runs out. You mentioned that we should include performance targets in the efforts of the DEA so you can track them and so on. And you mentioned the drug czar's office as an example of how that works. How do you respond to those who would say that if law enforcement agencies, Mr. Rabkin, adopted performance targets generally other than what you described that the drug czar does, if they adopted some performance targets that includes specific numbers of arrests or seizures that it will encourage a kind of bounty hunting effect? I have heard them say that. How do you respond to that?
Mr. RABKIN. I think that it is wise for them to be cautious about that issue. I know the Attorney General has brought up that issue in the department's strategic plan and its annual plans. We are not calling for those kinds of performance targets. Those measure the amount of activity that an agency is involved in, how many cases it brings, for example, or the outputs, how many people it arrests.
What we think they ought to be focusing on, and what we think is more relevant to what ONDCP is interested in is what are the results and impact of all the arrests, what are the results and impact of the cases, to what extent are they achieving their goal of dismantling and disrupting drug trafficking organizations or reducing drug-related crime. That is what really ought to be measured.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much. Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Rabkin, you were talking about the goal of the DEA. What is their stated goal?
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. RABKIN. Their overall mission is to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. And we get into the definition of what is a mission and what is a goal, and I think they are closely related. What we were focusing on is measurable targets, how many and how many this year with the resources that have been appropriated for that purpose.
Mr. SCOTT. Is the amount of drug use, reducing the amount of drug use, a goal?
Mr. RABKIN. That is beyond DEA's control, quite frankly. DEA is focusing on reducing the drug supply. It helps other Federal agencies such as the Customs Service, the military, the Coast Guard, and the State Department in trying to reduce the supply coming into the country. There are other agencies that are focusing on treatment and prevention that would help reduce the demand. When you put all that together overall its intent, the whole effort of these agencies is intended to reduce drug use.
Mr. SCOTT. I have a chart up that charts the cost of cocaine, I am having a little trouble with these bifocals, dropping over the course of the years. What can we interpret from that chart?
Mr. RABKIN. If you believe that the cost is a factor of supply and demand and if you believe that demand is steady or is increasing and the cost is going down, it must be that the supply is going up. There are a number of other factors including purity that affect the price but I think that is an overall conclusion.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCOTT. Well, the purity has been going up.
Mr. RABKIN. Well, if the purity is going up and the cost is going down, it says something about the supply, I would say, and that the supply is also going up.
Mr. SCOTT. What do other countries do about their drug problems in terms of spending money, locking people up? Do you have any idea where we would compare with other countries in terms of drug enforcement and incarceration?
Mr. RABKIN. I don't have at my hands that detailed information. I have some anecdotal information about drug problems and drug enforcement in some of the countries that we looked at as part of where DEA was working to try to disrupt the trafficking organizations. We were in Mexico, Colombia and Bolivia.
Mr. SCOTT. Mexico doesn't lock up nearly as many people per hundred thousand population as the United States does.
Mr. RABKIN. I am not aware of how many but I would assume you are correct.
Mr. SCOTT. The last time I checked, we were somewhere around 500 or 600 and Mexico was down to around 100. Mr. Harris, do you know?
Mr. HARRIS. No, sir.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SCOTT. Okay. Have you calculated the amount of drugs, a reduction in the amount of drugs per dollar we spend and where that money ought to best be put?
Mr. RABKIN. No, we haven't, although I suppose it could be calculatedthe amount of drugs that have been seized per dollar invested in the interdiction.
Mr. SCOTT. The overall goal is to reduce drug use. What can we best do to reduce drug use, put more money into the DEA or put more money into drug rehabilitation?
Mr. RABKIN. That is a tough question that faces the policy makers, the Congress, and ONDCP as it speaks for the Administration. And traditionally about two-thirds of all the dollars have gone into supply reduction and one-third into demand reduction. And while the Administration has started to move that to less dollars on supply and more on demand reduction, the movement has been very small but that is a policy call. The ONDCP proposes its budget with that balance and then the Congress reacts every year.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, that is part of the goal, I guess, that I was trying to get at. If the goal is to reduce the amount of drugs consumed, illegal drugs consumed, then that kind of calculation ought to be part of the mix.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Scott. I will take a second round. I want to ask a question. And Ms. Waters is here and if you want to yield to her, you certainly may. I was just curious, Mr. Rabkin, do you know how many high intensity drug trafficking areas (HIDTA) there are today?
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. RABKIN. It is in the 20's. There are some additional ones that are being authorized in the appropriations bill this year, I think, about 25, 27.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The reason for asking that question was to lay a predicate to ask another one, whether you think there is merit to sunsetting these programs, in other words, is there a need for us to, after a certain period of time unless there is a demonstrated need that it be sustained, that we sunset some of them or is this something that is working so well that we should use it as a model and expand it?
Mr. RABKIN. We have done some work looking at the HIDTA program and quite frankly the Federal investment in HIDTA is higher up front as they are getting organized in an area and then it sort of wanes and the investment is more at a maintenance level. There is some Federal investment for facilities and logistics, but the main investment is the investment of time of the people that work with State and local agencies in these areas. So once they get operational, I suspect that they are probably more cost-effective than they are when they start. And a sunset might not save that much if the purpose were to end the Federal investment in the HIDTAs.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. All right. Thank you very much. Mr. Scott, do you want to take time and yield to Ms. Waters or I can yield the rest of my time?
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be recognized for 5 minutes and yield to the gentlelady from California.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you very much. I would like to get back to that part of your discussion that talks about the information that has been given by DEA about interdiction and their successes and the amount of drugs they have been able to confiscate, etc. And I think everybody agrees that even if that is true that the supply seems to get bigger and bigger in the United States and certainly keeping up with this terrible demand, etc.
Did you look at the practicesone of the things I have learned over the past few years is the DEA works with drug dealers and in an effort to try and get more drug dealers they work with some of the worse drug traffickers and dealers. In exchange for information these drug traffickers and drug dealers it appears often times are able to continue to traffic in drugs or all of a sudden they get religion and they come on the DEA's payroll but they are some of the worse offenders. And I have seen this and can absolutely document it. Do you know anything about this and how they operate and whether or not this adds to their inability to stem the flow of drugs into our country?
Mr. RABKIN. Ms. Waters, we didn't look at the specific operations that DEA was involved with, either domestically or overseas, and I am just not in a position to answer that question.
Ms. WATERS. Are you familiar with Operation Pipeline?
Mr. RABKIN. I am vaguely familiar with it, yes.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WATERS. This would be part of the domestic operation working with local law enforcement to apprehend somebody.
Mr. RABKIN. As I understand it, the operation was started years ago as a result of DEA's intelligence and other information that saw drugs entering the country in South Florida from the Caribbean and South America and being trafficked, driven up the East Coast to major metropolitan areas in the Northeast, and that was the pipeline. And, DEA started this effort to work with State and local law enforcement agencies to identify couriers that were driving the drugs up and they helped train the State and local agencies in how to recognize traffickers that is about all I know.
Ms. WATERS. How successful was the operation?
Mr. RABKIN. I don't have that kind of information. Perhaps, you ought to ask the acting administrator about that.
Ms. WATERS. I see. How much time is spent in local communities dealing with low level crack dealers as opposed to big drug traffickers?
Mr. RABKIN. In the State and local task forces that DEA was involved with about half of their efforts washalf the cases were directed to local or regional traffickers and the other half was directed toward the national or the international traffickers. For MET program, which is a newer program focusing on specific areas and working with specific police departments, only about 25% of DEA; effort was focused on national or the international traffickers and the bulk of it was focused on local traffickers.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But DEA argues that drug trafficking is what they call a seamless continuum. That is local traffickers are getting their drugs from middle men, who are getting it from distributors, who are getting it from the people who are smuggling it across the border, who are getting it from the cartels either in Mexico or Colombia, and that there is this connection and each case links with others. So there is some benefit for focusing at the local level, according to DEA.
But I think it is fair to say that DEA also gets that kind of information from the State and local law enforcement agencies who are operating without DEA, but who when they make arrests and get relevant information, it is supposed to be shared with DEA to help them go after the larger traffickers.
Ms. WATERS. Did you look at arrests for possession as opposed to arrests for the sale or manufacture of drugs? We have some information that says although many drug targets, drug smugglers and kingpins of the 1,506,000 arrests for drug law violations in 1996 75%, that is, 1,131,000 were for possession of a controlled substance and only 25%, 374,000 were for the sale or manufacture of a drug. Do you have any more information?
Mr. RABKIN. I don't have any specific information but that doesn't surprise me.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Waters. I don't want to take more time to ask more questions of this panel because we have another one coming up but I do want to thank you, Mr. Rabkin, for coming and for the work that you have done. You have given us some analysis. There are several things in your report that you didn't particularly highlight this morning that we find useful and will be asking the DEA about. So thank you very much.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. RABKIN. My pleasure.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I appreciate it. Our second panel consists of really only one witness as well, which we know is unusual to have two panels in a row with only one witness each, but each one represents a very important segment of our Government. I am pleased to welcome on panel II Donnie Marshall, the Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Mr. Marshall began his career as a special agent with the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the predecessor agency of the DEA.
Since then, he has served in a number of positions at the DEA both here and abroad. In 1998, Mr. Marshall was confirmed by the Senate as Deputy Administrator of DEA and was recently named Acting Administrator with the departure of Thomas Constantine. Good morning, Mr. Marshall. We are very glad to have you with us this morning. And if you would please summarize your testimony, we will put in the entire testimony as we will without objection of the GAO into the record, and I hear no objection so it is so ordered. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF DONNIE R. MARSHALL, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mr. MARSHALL. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, committee members. Thank you for inviting me to appear here today to discuss the DEA's mission, strategy and accomplishments and our future challenges. I would also like to thank the committee for your support to DEA and our Nation's fight against illegal drug trafficking. I have, as you said, Congressman, prepared a complete written statement for the record, and I would like to submit that for the record.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I would also like to speak very briefly about the current state of drug trafficking in our country today, our strategies to fight it, and perhaps a little bit about the way that we can go about measuring success. My written statement contains an assessment of the drug threat facing the United States today, an overview of DEA's strategy to combat that complex threat, a summary of our recent accomplishments, a brief discussion on how we might better measure our progress in a variety of areas, and a look at what challenges I believe lie ahead of us in drug enforcement.
I would like to first talk briefly about the state of drug trafficking today. The international drug trafficking syndicates that we see today are really more powerful and sophisticated than any criminal enterprises that our Nation has faced at any time in its history, I believe. Most of the drugs available in the United States originate overseas outside of this country and are smuggled into the United States through elaborate networks and methods.
In the last 5 years there has in fact been a considerable increase in the amount of heroin and methamphetamine being imported into the United States. Now my written statement contains a detailed explanation of how the drug organizations from Colombia and Mexico have evolved over the years. Three important changes in the drug trafficking have really had major negative results in the United States.
First is the rise of poly drug traffickers based in Mexico and their alliance with Colombian drug traffickers and especially their efforts to saturate U.S. markets with methamphetamines, the Colombian traffickers' aggressive production and marketing of strong and pure heroin and, third, the growing use of well-established trafficking routes and methods in the Caribbean. I would like to stress
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Marshall, what was the second one, would you repeat the second one again?
Mr. MARSHALL. That would be the rise of the poly drug traffickers in Mexico and Colombia, their efforts to saturate U.S. markets with methamphetamine, and second would be the aggressive marketing production of Colombian heroin by the Colombian traffickers. I would like to address the issues of performance measures and we have heard a bit about that from the previous witness. I acknowledge that we have not yet developed adequate performance measures that can be used to track our progress, and the lack of performance measures really, I want to emphasize, shouldn't be interpreted as a lack of commitment or an unwillingness on the part of DEA to commit to such measures.
Frankly, we are having some difficulty in establishing those measures because so many of the aspects of the drug problem, as we heard the previous witness refer to, so many of those aspects are beyond our control. For instance, we have a limited ability to influence the action of foreign governments where most of the world's major drug traffickers reside. We also cannot unilaterally through drug enforcement improve the crime rates in cities and communities across the Nation.
However, Mr. Chairman, we are committed to having meaningful performance measures in place very soon after I am able to establish an updated vision and a new 5-year strategic plan for the Drug Enforcement Administration. Our enforcement strategy has really three essential elements. First, we want to target and build cases against the major international drug traffickers who have a significant impact in the United States. We want to target and immobilize their operatives in this country, and we want to assist communities as they work to reduce drug trafficking and drug-related violent crime.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The first part of our strategy really is the international aspect. Cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies is really essential to the DEA mission because the trafficking groups that operate insideor that distribute drugs inside the United States, they don't operate solely within our borders. They are controlled from outside our borders. The second major part of our three-part strategy is to attack the domestic surrogates of those international organizations. This strategy recognizes that the leadership of today's international drug syndicates reside and operate in foreign countries.
As a result, we target the members of those international organizations who actually operate on U.S. territory. We attack those organizations at the highest levels of their command and control structures. We employ a complex wire tap and other communication intercept investigations to identify those organizations at all levels and to obtain actionable information which can lead to their dismantling.
We have, for example, the Special Operations Division, which targets the communication systems of Mexico and Colombia-based trafficking groups that transport and distribute drugs into the United States. Our enforcement philosophy, the very basic philosophy, is anchored in our belief that the only way to successfully attack any organized crime syndicate is to build strong cases against leadership and their command and control functions.
Now with the assistance of foreign governments, the long-term incarceration of those people in leadership positions in these organizations in many cases can be accomplished and can leave the organizations in disarray and hopefully disrupt their operations inside the United States. This approach has worked very well in recent years in Colombia and in Southeast Asia.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The third part of our strategy is to work hand-in-hand with State and local counterparts here in this country to attack leaders of domestic drug gangs who distribute drugs in local communities. Now a lot of these criminals employ violence to achieve their ends and they can literally take over a community and paralyze the citizens with fear. State and local agencies often suffer from limited resources to combat these most violent of the offenders, and DEA has a long tradition of cooperating with State and local law enforcement beginning with our State and local task force programs, continuing with our REDRUM programs.
We have made this commitment to help State and local agencies that are experiencing these problems. Now a prime example of that commitment, we have already heard it referred to as well, is the Mobile Enforcement Team. This program was created in 1995 and under that program we deployed teams of special agents directly to communities who are affected by this drug-related violence. We work cooperatively with the requesting local law enforcement agency and we actually target drug organizations and individuals who are responsible for violent crime.
Now through this cooperative approach, we have since the program has been in existence, we have arrested over 8,200 of the most violent drug traffickers in the country and we have made over 200 communities across this country safer places to live. Now in this program we have actually been able to measure some of our success and we hope to apply similar performance measures to other aspects of DEA operations. Those performance measures in the MET program actually show that we have had an impact on violent crime. It shows that there is less violent crime in many of these communities at the MET deployment than there were before and more importantly perhaps it shows a reduction in drug-related homicides. It has shown that there are in toto about 200 less homicides post-MET deployment than there were pre-MET deployment. That is in the aggregate. That is the total and that is 200 people that I believe are alive today that would not have been but for DEA's involvement in that program.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The DEA is really, I think, a vigorous and innovative agency that has adapted to the constantly changing drug trafficking environment over the past 25 years. We have grown significantly due in large part to the generous support of the U.S. Congress and we have worked very hard to keep pace with the growing complexity and power of these internationally based drug trafficking syndicates. Now my written statement provides the subcommittee with information on a wide range of DEA accomplishments and cases over the last several years.
These include the take-down of the Medellin and Cali cartels which I believe is a success that I am very proud of. It also describes progress against Mexico-based organizations operating in the United States. The successes described in my written statement graphically illustrate, I think, the reach of these international drug trafficking organizations and the complexity of our long-term investigations. It also illustrates the progress that we can make with this approach but those successes also illustrate the challenges that these sophisticated organizations present and, believe me, those challenges are many and complex.
I believe that unless the power and influence of these international drug trafficking groups is checked our Nation will continue to suffer the consequences of increased drug availability, criminal activity and drug abuse. I can assure the members of this committee that DEA is continuing to work hard to maintain our reputation as an effective force in our country's battle against drugs. Again, Mr. Chairman, and members, I thank you for the opportunity to appear today, and I will be happy to try and answer any questions that you might have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Marshall follows:]
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENT OF DONNIE R. MARSHALL, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee: I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Drug Enforcement Administration's mission, strategies, accomplishments and future challenges. DEA appreciates the support we have received over the years from Chairman McCollum, Ranking Member Scott and the Subcommittee's other members. Without your steadfast backing and your faith in the men and women of the Drug Enforcement Administration our job would be infinitely more difficult.
Today I would like to provide the subcommittee with information on a number of topics: first, an assessment of the drug threat facing the United States in 1999 and information on how dramatic changes in the international drug trade affect our nation; second, an overview of DEA's strategy to combat the complex drug threat we face today; third, a summary of our recent accomplishments; fourth, a brief discussion on how DEA measures our progress in a variety of areas; and fifth, a prospective look at what challenges we believe lie ahead in the years to come.
I. THE INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRADE AND ITS IMPACT ON THE UNITED STATES
The international drug trafficking syndicates that are operating today are more powerful and sophisticated than any criminal enterprises our nation has previously faced. They are well-organized, influential and extremely savvy, relying on a worldwide network of personnel, technological assets and financial resources that rival those held by international businesses.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The vast majority of the drugs available in the United Statesall of the cocaine and heroin, and much of the methamphetamine and marijuanaoriginate overseas and is smuggled into the United States through elaborate networks and methods. Foreign-source methamphetamine and heroin availability have increased significantly during the past five years, adversely affecting major regions of the United States.
The nature of the international drug trade has changed a great deal over the past fifteen years, although these changes are not readily visible to the average American. At the height of the cocaine epidemic, the manufacturing and importation of that product was controlled by a group of traffickers from Medellin, Colombia, whose boldness, violence and political fervor stunned the world. Beginning in the late 1970's, the major cocaine trafficking organizations based in Colombia generally relied on an intricate smuggling network which facilitated the shipment of multi-tons of cocaine predominantly through the Caribbean. These traffickers also amassed great wealth and they invested heavily in luxury products and property within the United States. Until July 1991, when a new Constitution in Colombia was adopted, members of the Medellin cartel were truly fearful of the threat of extradition to the United States, and they successfully bribed and intimidated officials in the Government of Colombia to outlaw their extradition.
While the Medellin cartel engaged in high-profile violence and political action, the Cali organization assumed a much more businesslike approach to their cocaine smuggling enterprises. They slowly and steadily established markets within the United States, particularly in New York, and dominated the cocaine trade after the leaders of the Medellin cartel were arrested or killed. One of the Cali organization's major strengths was their utilization of the ''cell'' structure, and they used it in much the same way as terrorist organizations did, insulating their members from knowing too much about overall strategies and operations. Cells were routinely set up in major cities around the United States and compartmentalized decision-making and activities allowed the Cali leaders to control all aspects of the cocaine business from communications to security to transportation and financial management.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The Cali leaders also mastered sophisticated business techniques and relied on state-of-the-art communications equipment and technology to monitor all phases of their business dealings in Colombia, Mexico and the United States. Through a complicated network of cell phones, faxes, pagers and computers, they tightly controlled their U.S. workers and reduced the need for top leadership to operate on U.S. soil.
During the 1980's and early 1990's leaders of the cocaine cartels turned to traffickers in Mexico to assist them in transporting tons of cocaine into the U.S. For many years, traffickers in Mexico had been using their expertise to smuggle heroin and marijuana into our nation, and the organizations in Colombia began to rely on them to fly large quantities of cocaine over the Mexican border. Eventually, traffickers from Mexico demanded and received payment in cocaine rather than cash, and they were then able to assume an even greater role in cocaine trafficking, leading to their major role today. Coupled with the arrests of the major Cali leadership in 1995 and 1996, the re-alignment of traffickers' roles in the cocaine business allowed traffickers from Mexico to gain unprecedented power and influence.
Three other important changes in drug trafficking have had major negative results on the United States: the orchestrated efforts by traffickers based in Mexico to saturate markets with methamphetamine; the Colombian traffickers' aggressive production and marketing of strong, pure heroin; and the re-emergence of well-established trafficking routes and methods in the Caribbean.
Methamphetamine Situation: Today, there are two major forces fueling the methamphetamine trade within the United States: first, the well-organized, high volume, ''super-lab'' methamphetamine manufacturing and trafficking groups based in Mexico; and second, a widely scattered series of local methamphetamine producers, predominantly based in rural areas around the United States.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Traffickers based in Mexico control all phases of their involvement in the methamphetamine trade from beginning to end. Because methamphetamine is a synthetic drug created from a mixture of chemicals, traffickers based in Mexico do not have to rely on traffickers in other nations to provide coca or finished cocaine for distribution. These groups initially had ready access to precursor chemicals on the international market. These chemicals have fewer controls in Mexico and overseas than in the United States, a fact which allowed the organizations to produce large quantities of high purity methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories, both in Mexico and Southern California. Methamphetamine organizations based in Mexico have developed international connections with chemical suppliers in Europe, Asia, and the Far East, and with these connections, they have been able to obtain ton quantities of the necessary precursor chemicals (ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine) to manufacture methamphetamine and amphetamine. In recent years, with the growth of DEA-led international efforts to control the flow of bulk ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine, Mexican traffickers have also turned to tableted forms of these precursors to manufacture their product and now frequently buy their products from rogue chemical suppliers in the United States.
In addition to readily available precursor chemicals which allow groups from Mexico, such as the Amezcua-Contreras trafficking organization, to produce thousands of pounds of methamphetamine in laboratories in Mexico and California, the methamphetamine organizations based in Mexico also have well-established, polydrug distribution networks in place throughout our country. Trafficking organizations from Mexico have infiltrated numerous communities around the nation, particularly areas where large numbers of Mexican workers are involved in the meat packing business or other agricultural industries. It is common now to find hundreds of traffickers from Mexico, many of them illegal aliens, established in communities like Boise, Des Moines, Omaha, Charlotte, and Kansas City, distributing multi-pound quantities of methamphetamine.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The impact of methamphetamine trafficking on these communities has been devastating. In Iowa, health officials expressed deep concern about the thousands of infants who have been exposed to methamphetamine before their births. Furthermore, an expert associated with Marshall County Iowa's Juvenile Court Services estimated that in 1998, one third of the 1,600 students at Marshalltown High School had tried methamphetamine.
While the vast majority of methamphetamine available in the United States is produced and trafficked by the well-organized groups from Mexico, domestic production of methamphetamine by U.S. citizens is also a significant problem. The production level of these laboratories, often makeshift and described as ''mom and pop'' labs, is relatively low; however, the large number of these labs and the environmental and law enforcement concerns associated with their operation pose major problems to state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as to DEA.
Our nation's growing methamphetamine lab epidemic can also be attributed to the evolution of technology and the increased use of the Internet. In the past, methamphetamine chemists closely guarded their drug recipes; but with modern computer technology and chemists increasing willingness to share their recipes, this information is now available to anyone with computer access. Methamphetamine is one of the only widely abused controlled substances which an addict, without chemical expertise, can make on his own. A cocaine or heroin addict cannot make his own cocaine or heroin, but a methamphetamine addict only has to turn on his computer to find a recipe for the chemicals and processes required to make the drug.
Methamphetamine is, in fact, a very simple drug to produce. A user can go to retail stores and easily purchase the vast majority of the ingredients necessary to manufacture the drug. Items such as rock salt, battery acid, red phosphorous road flares, pool acid, and iodine crystals can be utilized to substitute for some of the necessary chemicals. A clandestine lab operator can utilize relatively common items such as mason jars, coffee filters, hot plates, pressure cookers, pillowcases, plastic tubing, gas cans, etc. to substitute for sophisticated laboratory equipment. Unlike Fentanyl, LSD, or other types of dangerous drugs, it does not take a college educated chemist to produce methamphetamine. In fact, less than 10 percent of those suspects arrested for the manufacture of methamphetamine are trained chemists, which may be one reason we see so many fires, explosions, and injuries in clandestine lab incidents.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Methamphetamine production also poses a grave problem to the communities in which where they are located. Several years ago, during a major case, DEA discovered a working methamphetamine laboratory at an equestrian center where children were taking riding lessons. In another case, a laboratory capable of producing 180 pounds of methamphetamine was discovered within a thousand feet of a junior high school. This type of discovery is being made more and more frequently by DEA and other law enforcement agencies working methamphetamine cases.
The threats posed by clandestine labs are not limited to fire, explosion, poison gas, drug abuse, and booby traps; the chemical contamination of the hazardous waste contained in these labs also poses a serious danger to our nation's environment. Each pound of methamphetamine generated in a clandestine lab can result in as much as five pounds of toxic waste, which clandestine lab operators routinely dump into our nation's streams, rivers, and sewage system to cover up the evidence of their illegal operations.
Colombian Heroin: The current heroin problem that has emerged in the United States is controlled not by American organized crime, but by a new group of international organized crime figures from Colombia. In much the same way that their Medellin and Cali predecessors ensured their dominance over the cocaine trade in the 1980's, heroin traffickers from Colombia are employing savvy marketing concepts to successfully rebuild American users' interest in heroin.
Beginning in the early 1990's, independent traffickers from Colombia began to supply retail level outlets primarily in the Northeast United States with high quality, cheap heroin. Colombian traffickers had spent several years cultivating opium and refining their heroin production capabilities, positioning themselves to take advantage of a gradually diminishing crack market. By supplying dealers with high purity heroin to give away as free samples, and by establishing ''brand names'' to garner customer loyalty, Colombian traffickers quickly gained a foothold in the burgeoning heroin market in cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. They also began using Puerto Rico as a major transit area to distribute their product to places such as Florida and New Orleans. Colombian heroin was also more attractive than competitors' products because of its low price$75,000 per kilo in New York Cityand its extremely high purity.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The impact has been staggering. A snapshot of the drug situation in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1950 compared with 1997 illustrates how the scale of the heroin problem has changed dramatically. In 1950, Baltimore had 300 heroin addicts out of a population of 949,708, meaning that one in 3,166 individuals residing in Baltimore was a heroin addict. By 1997, there were 38,985 heroin addicts reported in Baltimore, representing one heroin addict for every 17 residents of Baltimore.
Most of the heroin seized by the DEA now comes from Colombia and Mexico. Previously, Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin dominated the U.S. market, but these types are no longer available in sizeable quantities in cities along the East Coast, where, historically, there had been the greatest demand for heroin. In 1997, the DEA Heroin Signature Program indicated that 75 percent of the heroin seized in the United States originated in South America and another 14 percent came from Mexico. Further evidence of increasing amounts of Mexican heroin was substantiated in a 1998 study by an independent organization which indicated that the volume of heroin from Mexico could exceed 25 percent (at the dealer level).
Mexico: Nearly all of the heroin produced in Mexico is destined for U.S. distribution, and Mexico-based heroin continues to dominate the market in the western half of the United States. Evidence suggests that trafficking organizations from Mexico are attempting to produce higher purity heroin. For example, a 1997 analysis of samples of Mexican heroin distributed in Plano, Texas, revealed purity levels of 30 to 60 percent, with some samples reaching levels of more than 70 percent. Higher purity heroin has resulted in a greater number of heroin-related deaths. In New Mexico, heroin-related deaths more than doubled in the three-year period 19951997 (274 deaths) compared to the period 19891991 (131 deaths). Mexican heroin distribution networks in the United States are managed almost entirely by criminal organizations operating from Mexico and by Mexican-American criminal gangs that are in charge of the street-level distribution of heroin.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Increased Drug Trafficking in the Caribbean: The Colombian trafficking organizations' presence and influence in the Caribbean are overwhelming. The Caribbean has long been a favorite smuggling route used by the Cali and Medellin crime groups to smuggle thousands of tons of cocaine to the United States. During the late l970's and the l980's, drug lords from Medellin and Cali, Colombia established a labyrinth of smuggling routes throughout the central Caribbean, including Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamian Island chain to South Florida, using a variety of smuggling techniques to transfer their cocaine to U. S. markets.
Today, 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.
Trafficking groups based in Mexico normally charge Colombian traffickers 50% of each shipment to transport their product through Mexico to the U.S. Meanwhile, groups from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic offer the same service for as low as 20%. Thus, many groups from Colombia, particularly those who have risen to power since the Cali syndicate's fall, have returned to traditional smuggling routes in the Caribbean. This has resulted in larger shipments of cocaine transiting the Caribbean. Seizures of 500 to 2,000 kilograms of cocaine are now common in and around Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are the United States' southern most points of entry, and as such, provide an excellent gateway for drugs destined for cities on the East Coast of the United States. More importantly, Puerto Rico's commonwealth status means that once a shipment of cocaine, whether smuggled by maritime, air or commercial cargo, reaches Puerto Rico, it may not be subjected to further United States Customs Service (USCS) inspection en route to the continental U.S. Today, cocaine and heroin traffickers from Colombia have transformed Puerto Rico into the largest staging area in the Caribbean for smuggling Colombian cocaine and heroin into the U.S.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Dominican Republic: In the past, the role of traffickers from the Dominican Republic in illegal drug activity was limited to being ''pick up crews'' and couriers who assisted the Puerto Rican smugglers in their drug smuggling ventures. Much of this has changed with the evolution of the drug trade over the last three years. This new breed of Dominican trafficker functions as smuggler, transporter, and wholesaler in many U.S. cities on the East Coast. 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 U.S., in cities ranging from Boston to Charlotte, North Carolina.
Haiti: As is the case with the Dominican Republic, Haiti presents an ideal location for the staging and transshipment of drugs. There is effectively no border control between the two countries, allowing essentially unimpeded traffic back and forth. The vast amount of the South American drug traffic, which arrives in Haiti, is transported across the porous border with the Dominican Republic, and then on to Puerto Rico by Dominican transportation groups. Once the heroin and cocaine reach the Dominican Republic, Dominican groups take control over both smuggling the drugs into the U.S. and carrying out an increasing percentage of wholesale and some retail distribution along the East Coast.
The Bahamas: The Bahamas remains a central conduit for air and maritime shipments of drugs moving through the Western 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 United States. Colombian traffickers air drop shipments of cocaine off the coast of Jamaica, or utilize boat to boat transfers on open seas.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Transportation groups from Jamaica and the Bahamas then use canoes to smuggle their payloads into the Bahama chain, frequently using the territorial waters of Cuba to shield their movements. The cocaine is then transferred to pleasure craft which disappear into the inter-island boat traffic. Traffickers also use twin-engine turbo-prop aircraft, with long range capability and Global Positioning Systems, which pinpoint drop zones and meeting spots in the middle of the ocean. Cellular telephones are used to minimize their exposure to interdiction assets and ensure the smooth transfer of their cargo of cocaine for shipment onto the United States.
Drugs and Crime in the United States: The sale of narcotics on the street, the so-called retail sale, is typically handled by a diverse assortment of criminals, many times controlled by traffickers based overseas. Throughout the United States, lower-level dealing in drugs is being increasingly handled by violent and highly organized criminal gangs. Many street gangs are indigenous to the neighborhoods in which they operate. But numerous gangs have gone national. Such ''supergangs'' are hard to distinguish from major organized crime groups. For example, two supergangs, the Crips and the Bloods, have their origin in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. At first, their activities were confined to large urban areas. But these two gangs now have more than 1,000 affiliates in more than 100 cities. Many of the affiliates are ''cultural'' rather than ''structural,'' meaning they take a gang's recognizable name but are not necessarily associated with other chapters. Almost half of these cities are small to mid-size, with populations of less than 100,000, because drugs often yield much higher profits in small cities and in rural areas than they do in big cities. Consequently, members of both gangs have moved to smaller cities and set up distribution networks that reach back to their counterparts in the large cities and sometimes to the major international trafficking groups themselves.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This situation demonstrates that international drug trafficking organizations and their surrogates operating in the United States have had a tremendous impact on the drug trafficking and crime problems in U.S. communities. The link between violent crime and drug use and trafficking has been established in numerous studies, including the 1998 Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM) published by the National Institute of Justice. This report indicated that 65 percent of males arrested on various offenses used drugs at the time they were arrested. Statistics also indicate that homicide rates increased dramatically during the crack cocaine epidemic in the late 1980s which peaked in 1992. During this time period, violent crime rates increased by over 50% and murders increased by 31%.
Fortunately, law enforcement has also had a tremendous impact on the levels of violent crime in communities around the United States; these levels have dropped dramatically in places like New York, Los Angeles, and Houston, cities that were hardest hit by the crack epidemic and the proliferation of violent criminals during the past decade. Consistent, aggressive law enforcement is one of the most effective solutions to the problems posed by violent drug trafficking in the United states and in other nations.
New York City illustrates this point. In the early 1990s, after three decades of rapidly increasing levels of violent crime that were exacerbated by the crack epidemic , the City of New York embarked upon an ambitious program to enhance its law enforcement capabilities. City leaders increased the police department by 30%, adding 8,000 officers. Arrests for all crimes, including drug dealing, drug gang activity, and quality of life violations that had been tolerated for many years , increased by 50%. the capacity of New York prisons was also increased. The results of these actions were dramatic: the total number of homicides in 1998633was less than the number of murders recorded in 1964. Over an eight-year period, the number of homicides was reduced from 2,262 to 633a reduction of more than 70%.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Drugs Moving to Smaller Cities: Despite the dramatic decreases in violent crime in many major urban areas, similar reductions in smaller cities and suburban and rural areas have not been realized. In fact, many smaller cities are confronting the same problems that larger urban areas faced a decade ago: increased drug trafficking activities, escalating homicide rates, the influx of illegal aliens involved in the drug trade, and criminal justice infrastructures that are ill-equipped to handle these new pressures. While 1998 violent crime rates decreased (9.5%) in cities having populations between 250,000 and 999,999, significantly smaller decreases took place in suburban counties (5%) and rural areas (2%). However, between 1997 and 1998, violent crime rates increased in a number of mid-size communities. For example, during this time period, the violent crime rate in Plano, Texas, rose 86%. Omaha, Nebraska, and Spokane, Washington, also experienced dramatic violent crime rate increases of 54% and 42%, respectively.
The emerging drug problems of smaller cities and rural areas have been exacerbated by the emergence of methamphetamine trafficking and the violence that accompanies meth production and use. As previously mentioned, since 1994, methamphetamine has become a major drug trafficking and abuse problem for cities such as San Diego, Phoenix, Des Moines, and Boise. High-purity, cheap heroin from Mexico and Colombia have also taken a serious toll on smaller cities like Plano, Texas and Orlando, Florida. Unlike large urban areas where heroin addiction and abuse are commonplace, these cities were caught unprepared to deal with the tragedies associated with heroin use by young people. In the past five years, DEA investigations and investigations carried out by state and local law enforcement indicate that powerful international drug syndicates based in Mexico and Colombia have established operations in places such as Charlotte, North Carolina; Omaha, Nebraska; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Salt Lake City, Utah; Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and many other places which were previously untouched by major drug trafficking and abuse problems.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
II. DEA'S STRATEGY TO ADDRESS DRUG TRAFFICKING
DEA's enforcement strategy has several essential elements: to target and build cases against the most significant international drug traffickers who have an impact on the United States; to target and immobilize their surrogates in this country; and to assist communities as they work to reduce drug trafficking and violent crime.
DEA's International Strategy: Since the time of America's first major drug epidemic at the beginning of this century, policymakers have recognized the need for international cooperation as the basis for a successful strategy. Recent historical events, including the rise and fall of the French connection, the Medellin cartel and the Cali organization for example, all illustrate the need for close international cooperation to dismantle the sources of the supply of drugs coming to the United States. While it has been true for a period of time that international drug lords operate from their headquarters overseas, with the elimination of extradition in Colombia, and with aggressive law enforcement within the United States the heads of international drug trafficking organizations are now likely to remain in their own countries, conducting their business from afar. It is that much more critical for the U.S. and foreign governments to work cooperatively to deny safehavens to these international criminal organizations.
As complex as the command and control communications arrangements of international organized criminal groups are, U.S. law enforcement agencies have been able to exploit their communications by using court approved telephone intercepts. With the top leadership of these organizations physically beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement, we have directed our resources at their organizational structure, and their transportation and distribution elements in the United States.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
By using intelligence to focus on drug trafficking organizations' command and control function, DEA will be able to arrest the leadership of these organized crime groups in the U.S., including the surrogates who act as their wholesale outlets, and will be able file provisional warrants for the arrest of the organizations leadership hiding in foreign countries. With this strategy of mounting strategic strikes on command and control, DEA will be able to degrade the ability of the organizations to conduct business and impede their ability to import drugs into the United States. Each time we demolish an organization as part of this strategy, we will further facilitate the intelligence collection process which is critical to the dismantling of drug organizations. DEA will gain vital intelligence about the rest of the organization to use both in further strikes and in increasing the accuracy of information provided to interdiction operations conducted by other agencies.
Effective intelligence can also support law enforcement efforts against the independent cocaine and heroin trafficking organizations in Colombia, and the splinter groups from the Cali organization, which are ultimately supplying the majority of cocaine to the Eastern United States. Many of these groups are returning to traditional smuggling routes in the Caribbean corridor to smuggle cocaine and heroin into the United States. While building cases against these criminal groups, DEA will employ intelligence gained from its investigations in coordination with Coast Guard, Treasury Department, and DoD assets, making it possible to substantially step up interdiction of smuggled drugs at geographic and transportation choke points along maritime routes and at ports of entry.
Additional resources have allowed DEA to improve our technological edge and address some critical infrastructure needs that support our international investigations. With the growing sophistication of today's internationally based and national drug trafficking organizations, law enforcement, including DEA, relies heavily on investigative tools such as Title III wiretaps to successfully investigate major drug trafficking organizations. DEA has also developed sophisticated methods to compile investigative information which ensures that all leads are properly followed and coordinated through our Special Operations Division (SOD). This mechanism allows all DEA field divisions and foreign offices to capitalize on investigative information from various sources as cases are being developed. Numerous major cases have been developed with the assistance of the SOD, which is increasingly a central player in cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin investigations.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Foreign Cooperative Investigations: Cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies is essential to the DEA mission because the trafficking syndicates responsible for the drug trade inside the United States do not operate solely within its borders. Such cooperation was initiated in 1949 by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, one of the DEA's predecessor agencies. Two agents were sent to Turkey, which was the world's main producer of morphine base, and to France, where the morphine base was converted into heroin and shipped to the United States. The number of agents working on international cases gradually increased, and by the 1960s and 1970s, international federal drug law enforcement agents were conducting major operations. International efforts at that time focused on reducing marijuana trafficking along the border with Mexico and on curbing heroin trafficking by members of the French underworld, a case that became known as the ''French Connection.''
In 1973, the DEA was created, and the number of agents stationed in foreign countries continued to increase. By the 1990s, drug syndicates possessed greater financial and technological resources than ever before and as a result, had a greater ability to operate on a global scale. International cooperation became even more crucial to effective drug law enforcement. To support international investigations, the DEA is operating offices in 56 foreign countries in 1999. In 1976, the U.S. Government, through the Mansfield Amendment, adopted formal rules concerning DEA agents' duties and activities while working abroad. Among the many restrictions, DEA agents were prohibited from active involvement in arrests of suspects in host countries and from participating in unilateral enforcement actions without the approval of officials from the host government. Operating strictly within these guidelines, DEA agents participate in six different law enforcement functions while working abroad:
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Bilateral Investigations: DEA special agents assist their foreign counterparts by developing sources of information and interviewing witnesses. Agents work undercover and assist in surveillance efforts on cases that involve drug traffic affecting the United States. They provide information about drug traffickers to their counterparts and pursue investigative leads by checking hotel, airport, shipping, and passport records. In addition, when host country authorities need to know the origin of seized illicit drugs, DEA agents ship them back to DEA facilities in the United States for laboratory analysis. Also, the DEA, in collaboration with federal prosecutors, seeks U.S. indictments against major foreign traffickers who have committed crimes against American citizens. In a number of cases, international drug trafficking syndicates were severely crippled when the DEA had cartel leaders indicted in the United States for violating U.S. laws and then extradited.
Foreign Liaison: The DEA actively participates in several international forums to promote international law enforcement cooperation. One forum is the annual International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) that brings together upper-level drug law enforcement officials from South, Central, and North America, as well as the Caribbean, to share drug-related intelligence and develop operational strategies that can be used against international drug traffickers. The yearly conferences focus on such areas of common concern as the growing sophistication of drug trafficking organizations and money laundering.
Institution Building: The DEA tries to help host countries fight the criminals in their midst by working with the people who have the integrity and the courage to pass strong anti-drug laws and build strong law enforcement institutions. For example, DEA's successful operations in concert with the Colombian National Police (CNP) is an outgrowth of its long-term, persistent strategy to develop strong working relationships with reliable, honest governmental institutions. The fact that the CNP has been able to remain steadfast in the face of continuing threats of violence and the temptations of corruption is testimony to the honesty and valor of its leadership, particularly Director General Rosso Serrano.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Intelligence Gathering: The DEA, respected for its drug intelligence gathering abilities, supports its foreign counterparts' investigations by providing information, such as who controls the drug trade; how drugs are distributed; how the profits are being laundered; and how the entire worldwide drug system operates at the source level, transportation level, wholesale and retail levels. One U.S. federal effort is the Joint Information Coordination Centers program, which provides computer hardware and software, as well as training, to 20 host country nationals overseas, primarily in Central and South America and the Caribbean. This program enables those countries to establish intelligence-gathering centers of their own and is modeled after the DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center.
Vetted Units: To successfully disseminate classified information between U.S. and foreign officials, it is necessary to ensure that the officials receiving the information maintain integrity and are incorruptible by criminal elements. This is accomplished by vetting foreign nationals that need access to sensitive information. During October 1996, Congress approved $20 million for Fiscal Year 1997 to expand and support the vetted unit program in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. In January 1997, the first (vetted) Sensitive Investigation Unit became operational in Mexico. Since then, units also have become operational in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Thailand, and Brazil. Currently, DEA is seeking to expand the vetted unit program to Pakistan, Ecuador, Chile, and Nigeria.
International Training: DEA's International Training Section consists of 16 Special Agent instructors and six support personnel. From the base of operation in Quantico, three teams of instructors travel around the world, providing drug law enforcement training to the DEA's foreign drug law enforcement counterparts. Since 1969, the DEA and its predecessor agencies have trained more than 40,000 foreign officers and officials. In 1998 alone, the DEA trained over 3,000. The goal of the international training curriculum is to build on the capabilities of drug enforcement officials in other countries. The subject matter covered includes such enforcement techniques as surveillance methods, drug field testing, intelligence collection, as well as law enforcement management principles and skills. The DEA's new Justice Training Center offers state-of-the-art training for visiting foreign law enforcement officers. In addition, the international training section of the DEA offers counter-narcotics training at three International Law Enforcement Academies: one in Budapest, Hungary, a second tentatively located in Panama City, Panama, and a third, operated in cooperation with the Royal Thai Police and the DEA in Bangkok, Thailand.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Part of DEA's international training program includes a leadership school for foreign officials. The current environment in international drug law enforcement mandates that all DEA supervisors, managers and senior executives possess effective leadership and management skills. Through DEA's Career Development Plan, we have established a model training program for first and second line supervisors. Our training programs focus on leadership, management, and ethics and integrity, as well as financial and human resource management. The establishment of the Leadership and Ethics Training Unit will expand our quality leadership training to the mid-level management and executive training levels.
While we already have included ethics training in all of our employee training programs, the inclusion of an ethics component in the Leadership Training Unit will significantly enhance and professionalize the ethics training program. Significantly, we will be able to include an ethics training component in our International Training Programs, including our Vetted Unit training.
Attacking Domestic Surrogates: DEA employs an aggressive strategy against the leaders of international organized crime groups who are responsible for the distribution of narcotics into and within the United States. This strategy is modeled after law enforcement's efforts to dismantle the American mafia and it recognizes that the leadership of today's international drug syndicates reside and operate in foreign countries.
As a result, DEA targets the surrogates of these international drug lords who operate on U.S. soil. We attack these organizations at the highest levels of their command and control structures of these organizations. DEA also attacks the leaders of the domestic gangs who distribute drugs in local communities and are responsible for the vast majority of the violent crimes that are associated with their drug activities.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
DEA employs complex wiretap and other communication intercept investigations to identify these organizations at all levels and to obtain actionable information which can lead to the dismantling of these organizations.
The Southwest Border Initiative (SWBI), in operation since 1994, is a cooperative effort by federal law enforcement agencies to establish seamless narcotic law enforcement strategies and operations that dismantle entire identified Mexico-based trafficking organizations along the U.S. Southwest Border.
The SWBI attacks these organizations by targeting the communication systems of their command and control centers. This strategy allows the DEA to track the seamless continuum of drug traffic as it gradually flows from Colombia or Mexico to the streets of the United States where it is distributed.
The initiative is anchored by the DEA's belief that the only way to successfully attack any organized crime syndicate is to build strong cases against its leadership and their command and control functions. With the assistance of foreign governments, the long-term incarceration of those in leadership positions typically leaves entire organizations in disarray and renders them unable to conduct business in the United States.
This initiative, along with bi-national task forces in Monterrey, Juarez, and Tijuana, has provided a solid base for effective law enforcement operations aimed at major international drug traffickers.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Caribbean: In 1995, the DEA established the Caribbean Division based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as its 21st field division. As traffickers operating in this area began to have a serious impact on the United States, controlling the sale of multi-hundred kilogram shipments of cocaine and heroin, it became clear that a re-invigorated strategy to attack all aspects of the drug trade in this region needed to be forged. The Caribbean Corridor Initiative, now a major part of the Southern Frontier Initiative, was created to disrupt and ultimately dismantle criminal organizations that smuggle illicit drugs into the United States through the Caribbean Corridor. This corridor consists of the islands of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and the Lesser Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao), and has become increasingly more important as a smuggling route for Colombia-based trafficking organizations as a result of law enforcement success along the Southwest Border. Recent data also shows that Puerto Rico has become a major transshipment point for Colombian heroin destined for the United States. Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and the Netherlands Antilles are also major money laundering centers.
The results of the Caribbean Corridor Initiative include several major multi-national operations. One, Operation Summer Storm, conducted in 1997, was a combined effort of all the Caribbean nations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the navies of Great Britain, the Netherlands, France and the United States. It succeeded in closing down the Eastern Caribbean to drug trafficking for about 60 days. Operation Summer Storm resulted in the seizure of large amounts of drugs, including 57 kilograms of cocaine, and the arrests of 828 people.
Operation Genesis, conducted in late 1998, was a multi-national initiative, involving the United States, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Prior to this operation, Haiti and the Dominican Republic had never coordinated their anti-drug efforts with one another. The precedent set by Operation Genesis will aid in improving the ability to coordinate anti-drug efforts on the island of Hispaniola.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
DEA has also provided a communication system, known as Unicorn, which allows the island nations to exchange drug enforcement information among themselves. This same system is also linked to the larger Information and Coordination Center, based in Puerto Rico.
HIDTA: DEA has programs in a number of major cities around the nation, particularly in those where drug trafficking is especially intense. DEA works closely with its counterparts on the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program (HIDTA), which was authorized by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and is administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Since the original designation of five HIDTAs in 1990, the program has expanded to other areas of the country. The DEA plays a very active role, and now has 255 special agent positions dedicated to the program.
The HIDTA's mission is to reduce drug trafficking in the most critical areas of the country, thereby reducing its impact in other areas. This is accomplished by institutionalizing teamwork among local, state, and federal efforts; synchronizing investments in strategy-based systems; and focusing on outcomes.
OCDETF: In 1982, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) program was initiated to combine federal, state, and local law enforcement efforts into a comprehensive attack against organized crime and drug traffickers. OCDETF objectives are to target, investigate, and prosecute individuals who organize, direct, finance, or are otherwise engaged in high-level illegal drug trafficking enterprises, including large-scale money laundering organizations; to promote a coordinated drug enforcement effort in each task force region; to encourage maximum cooperation among all drug enforcement agencies; and to make full use of financial investigative techniques.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Aspects of the program have served as models for every major law enforcement initiative in recent years, such as HIDTAs, Weed and Seed, and the Anti-Violence Initiative. The success of OCDETF has been attributed to fostering collaboration among federal, state, and local law enforcement and effectively using prosecutors at the early stages of investigations. Since the inception of OCDETF, the DEA has played a leading role and now has 1,000 positions, including 775 special agents, dedicated to the program.
Assisting Communities to Fight Drug Trafficking: An additional way we target drug traffickers is by working hand-in-hand with our state and local counterparts to attack the leaders of domestic drug gangs. These gangs are responsible for distributing drugs in local communities and often commit the violent crimes that are associated with their drug activities. These criminals can in effect take over a community and paralyze citizens with fear.
State and local agencies often suffer from limited resources to combat these violent offenders. Beginning with the creation of our State and Local Task Force and REDRUM programs years ago, the DEA has long had a commitment to help state and local agencies that are experiencing problems arising from violent drug-related crime in their communities. In 1995, we established the Mobile Enforcement TeamMETprogram, where, upon the request of local law enforcement, we deploy teams of special agents directly to communities affected by drug-related violence. We work cooperatively with the requesting local law enforcement agency to target drug gangs and individuals responsible for violent crime. Through this cooperative and aggressive approach, we have achieved numerous successes. We have jointly arrested more than 8,200 of the most violent drug traffickers and have made more than 200 communities across the country safer places to live.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Statistics indicate that, on average, communities participating in the MET program have seen a 12% reduction in homicides, 15% reduction in robberies, and 7% reduction in assaults. More important than any statistics, however, is the immeasurable improvements in the quality of life for thousands of Americans who suffered at the hands of violent drug-trafficking organizations for too long.
An important aspect of the MET program is that we are able to accomplish this with a relatively minimal budget and staffing. In fiscal year 1999, we have 250 special agents assigned to MET teams throughout the country with a total operating budget of $51.1 million.
Another way the DEA works to assist communities in fighting drug trafficking is through our State and Local Task Force Program. This program provides a federal presence in sparsely populated areas where the DEA would not otherwise be represented. Combining federal leverage and the specialists available to the DEA with state and local officers' investigative talents and detailed knowledge of their jurisdiction leads to highly effective drug law enforcement investigations. The DEA state and local task force program currently consists of 173 state and local task forces, of which 122 are funded and 51 are provisional. Participating state and local officers are deputized to perform the same functions as DEA special agents.
We also make it a priority to share our knowledge, expertise, and information with law enforcement officers working in anti-narcotics efforts across the country. The DEA offers numerous training opportunities to state and local law enforcement officers in all areas of drug law enforcement. One example is the clandestine laboratory training course we offer. We've trained well over 1,000 state and local officers, and the course has taken on increasing importance with the growing production of methamphetamine. Dismantling one of these meth labs is the equivalent of bomb disposal and cleaning up an EPA Superfund site all rolled into one. Raiding a clandestine drug lab is one of the most dangerous activities law enforcement officers can engage in, so we make sure they're all properly trained in safety techniques.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In addition, the DEA will soon begin providing intelligence training for state, local, federal, and foreign agencies to help meet the expanding need for such training for a wide-range of users. We will work to raise the level of analysis and management capabilities across the drug intelligence community and to establish consistent and comprehensive analytical techniques.
While the program is still evolving, we intend to present a framework of courses ranging from basic drug intelligence to the Master's degree level. Officers, agents, and analysts from agencies at all levels involved in the drug issue, along with visiting scholars and guest speakers from around the world will provide instruction on drug intelligence.
A final way we're working to help law enforcement at all levels combat drug traffickers is through the National Drug Pointer Index Program. In a truly cooperative effort, we jointly developed with state and local law enforcement agencies a mechanism to provide timely notification to law enforcement agencies working common drug targets. Law enforcement at all levels has long recognized this as an absolute necessity in this time of highly mobile traffickers. NDPIX, as it's called, became operational almost two years ago, and more than 40,000 targets of drug investigations are in this secure, automated telecommunications systems. The system allows officers to determine if an active case suspect is under investigation by any other participating agency. As more and more law enforcement agencies participate in NDPIX, it will have far-reaching implications in the effort to dismantle drug organizations.
In this age of mobile, wealthy, sophisticated drug traffickers, no single agency can accomplish the job of dismantling them alone. The DEA has and will continue to dedicate numerous resources to assisting communities, large and small, across the nation that are under siege by violent criminals and drug trafficking organizations.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
III. RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Examples of recent accomplishments include:
Major Cocaine Transportation Organization Seizure: The DEA and European and Colombian authorities conducted a joint investigation of a Greek maritime shipping company that utilized vessels to smuggle multi-ton quantities of cocaine concealed in legitimate cargo from Colombia into the United States and Europe. As a result, with our counterparts, we effected the seizure of 18.7 tons of cocaine in maritime vessels destined to both Europe and the United states. This organization is considered a major cocaine distributor suspected of smuggling in excess of fifty tons of cocaine into the United States and Europe. The joint investigation yielded the arrest of Gustavo Gomez-Maya and ten associates on June 8, 1999, on drug charges in Colombia by Colombian National Police with assistance from the DEA. The United States has requested the extradition of Gomez-Maya and several of his associates. This case is ongoing with follow-up leads being investigated by the DEA, Spanish, British, Colombian, and Greek authorities.
MDMA Tablet Seizure: Working with our European counterparts, the DEA initiated an investigation against a major Israeli organized trafficking group involved in the acquisition of MDMA (Ecstasy) tablets in the Netherlands and distribution of the drug in cities throughout the United States. This organization is the largest known supplier of Ecstasy to U.S. Cities, and to date, has been directly linked to the seizure of over 2 million MDMA tablets. The leader of this organization and a second high level member have been arrested, and this investigation is ongoing with additional arrests and seizures expected.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Operation Cali-Man: This Miami, Florida, based investigation is still active and is targeting major Colombian narcotics and money laundering organizations. To date, the arrest of 135 individuals and the seizure of over $40 million in assets are attributable to this operation.
Operation Full Circle: This investigation began in the spring of 1998 and is targeting the New York cell head of a Medellin, Colombia, based cocaine trafficking organization. To date, we've arrested 34 individuals and seized 1,500 kilograms of cocaine and $786,000 in currency.
Operation Back-Track: This operation began in February 1997 and targets gray market chemical companies and other independent operators who distribute large quantities of precursor chemicals that are diverted for the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine. Back-Track's accomplishments include: 167 arrests nationwide, 134 million precursor tablets seized, more than 10,000 pounds of methamphetamine has been prevented from being manufactured, and more than $10 million in assets has been seized.
Los Angeles Investigation: On November 11, 1998, an investigation conducted by DEA's Los Angeles Field Division, in conjunction with several state and local law enforcement agencies, resulted in the issuance of nine federal search warrants and ten federal arrest warrants. All ten of those arrested were from Apatzingan, Michoacan, Mexico. The drugs this organization distributed were sold in Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Nebraska. Two of those arrested included Mario Sanchez, the cell leader, and Maurillio Sanchez, the methamphetamine laboratory operator based in Mexico. The investigation also resulted in the seizure of 129.2 pounds of meth, 68.4 pounds of black tar heroin, 10.4 pounds of amphetamine, 92 pounds of cocaine, $156,600 in U.S. currency, 16 vehicles, and 18 arrests.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
New York Investigation: On July 1, 1998, the New York Field Division Task Force concluded a 27-month investigation of a major Colombia-based heroin distribution organization with the arrest of its Bogota-based head, Maria Lara-Nausa, and her husband, Julio Cesar Casas, in Orlando, Florida. The following December, Maria Lara-Nausa's brother, Jaime Lara, was indicted in New York and arrested in Colombia. Formal extradition papers have been filed. The Lara-Nausa organization supplied 15 to 20 kilograms of heroin each week for the ''911'' organization in New York. Both Lara-Nausa and her husband have pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing. More than 60 other people were arrested during this investigation.
Operation Rio Blanco targeted a trafficking and smuggling group based in Mexicali, Mexico, headed by Jorge Castro-Gastelum. Six members of the gang, including Castro-Gastelum himself, were arrested on June 26, 1998. This organization has been identified as smugglers and domestic distributors of cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. In addition, they provided transportation services for Colombian groups that operated distribution cells in New York and New Jersey. During this investigation, more than 5,000 telephone calls were intercepted by law enforcement. The operation seized about 4,300 kilograms of cocaine, 150 pounds of methamphetamine, 1413 pounds of marijuana and $17 million in U.S. currency. All told, more than 100 individuals were arrested.
Richard Pena cocaine organization: On January 14, 1999, Richard Pena, the head of a New Orleans-based organization of cocaine distributors, pled guilty to an assortment of charges, including murder, and will receive a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole. Pena's history of violent crimes made him a great threat to the New Orleans community. The six year investigation of his organization concluded not only with his conviction, but with the arrest of 35 other defendants, the closing of sixteen murder investigations, and the seizure of $4 million dollars in drug-related assets.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The James Mulholland drug distribution organization: This independent drug trafficker helped smuggle thousand-gallon quantities of the chemical, P2P, into the United States from China via Mexico for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine. During the pat several years, the DEA has seized numerous meth laboratories operated by outlaw motorcycle gangs and other career criminals that were receiving large quantities of P2P from the Mulholland organization.
MET deployments: Earlier this testimony referenced our MET deployments and what we have achieved since the program's inception in 1995. To illustrate the kinds of successes we can achieve by cooperatively with our state and local counterparts, I'd like to give you a brief summary of a recent MET deployment and describe the results. At the end of last year, we completed a deployment in Pueblo, Colorado. During this 3-month operation, we were able to dismantle a large-scale cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking organization, which utilized violence to maintain its distribution network. 76 individuals were arrested and significant amounts of drugs and weapons were seized, resulting in an overall reduction of crime in the targeted area. Colorado authorities were also able to close six licensed bars utilized by the drug trafficking organization.
Southwest Border Operations: DEA has undertaken several successful operations in support of the Southwest Border Initiative. Specifically, Operation Zorro II, Operation Reciprocity, and Operation Limelight each relied extensively on numerous court-ordered wire taps that were coordinated and monitored by law enforcement officers operating under the SWBI. Collectively, these three operations resulted in the arrest of 156 individuals and the seizure of over 22,000 kilos of illegal drugs and $35 million. The SWBI has also helped to reduce corruption, violence, and alien smuggling associated with drug trafficking activities carried out along the border.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Linear Program accomplishments: The Linear Approach Program was created through a collaborative effort between the DEA and CNC, with the goal to bring together law enforcement (LEA) and intelligence community (IC) resources to work more effectively against major Latin American narcotics trafficking organizations. The Linear Approach Program has targeted 37 organizations, from 1994 to 1998. The arrest statistics are categorized by main targets and associates arrested. For the period 1994 through 1998 there have been 21 main targets and 22 associates arrested, for a total of 43 arrests. The Linear Approach Program not only targets organizations but also creates LEA and IC working groups to target the transportation and financial aspects of narcotics organizations, commissions interagency studies for publication, and has created a regional strategy to target organizations operating in regions with limited resources. The Linear Approach Program has maintained a strategy of making more effective use of all U.S. Government counter drug collection, analytical and operational capabilities, while adapting to continually changing narcotics organizations and methods of operation throughout the years.
Other Recent Successes: DEA has had a number of major successes over the years, as illustrated by the following major cases:
Operation META (1997): The influence of the Mexico-based methamphetamine-trafficking organizations in the United States has increased dramatically in recent years. DEA reports indicate that methamphetamine (meth) seizures at Mexico ports of entry have increased from 6.5 kilograms in 1992 to 438 kilograms in 1997. This trend was illustrated by Operation META, a large-scale investigation that targeted a major U.S. meth-trafficking organization that was supplied by the Amezcua-Contrera group from Mexico.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
As part of Operation META (meta means ''the goal'' in Spanish and is traffickers' slang for methamphetamine), the DEA worked in collaboration with the FBI and other federal agencies. This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation also involved state and local agencies in 17 different U.S. cities in nine states. Through extensive surveillance, the DEA was able to uncover the trafficking group's system of moving precursor chemicals to the Los Angeles area where they were converted into methamphetamine. The group then shipped the drug to Dallas for distribution throughout the United States.
Operation META, which concluded in December 1997, was a huge success. It resulted in the arrest of 121 members of the trafficking ring and the seizure of 133 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,765 pounds of marijuana, and 1,100 kilograms of cocaine. During the META raids, agents discovered and dismantled three methamphetamine labs that were each capable of producing more than 300 pounds of methamphetamine at a time. One of these labs was located near a day-care center and another was close to an equestrian center where riding lessons were being conducted.
The Operation META seizures were especially important because they alerted the law enforcement community to the growing methamphetamine problem in the United States. At one time, meth trafficking was confined to the West Coast. However, Operation META intelligence revealed that meth was being distributed to cities in North Carolina, Illinois, New Jersey, and Texasobviously indicating that the meth problem is spreading eastward.
Larry Hoover & The Gangster Disciples (1997): In 1997, several indictments marked the beginning of what law enforcement officials predict will be a long battle to completely dismantle the notorious Chicago-based prison gang, the Gangster Disciples. For the past 25 years, the reputed leader of the organization, Larry Hoover, had run the 30,000-member, militaristic gang and its drug trade from a state prison.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Hoover was serving a 200-year sentence for a 1973 gang-related murder. The gang had been selling about 2 kilograms of cocaine per week for the past five years. Finally, the five-year undercover investigation by the federal government led to drug conspiracy, extortion, and other criminal charges against Hoover and other high-ranking members of the street gang.
Hoover and six associates were found guilty of these charges, and Hoover was transferred to a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. Hoover's incarceration in the federal prison is expected to seriously disable the Gangster Disciples gang.
Operations Reciprocity and Limelight (1996): Two investigations in the late 1990s demonstrated that Mexico-based drug traffickers had displaced some of the Colombia-based cocaine organizations that had traditionally dominated the New York City cocaine traffic.
During a highway interdiction stop on October 30,1996, near Tyler, Texas, two state troopers discovered over $2 million in cash concealed in a van heading south. This stop was the first seizure linked to Operation Reciprocity. On December 3, investigators seized 5.3 tons of cocaine from a Tucson, Arizona, warehouse. Evidence linked the warehouse operation to a Los Angeles investigation, a New York operation, a Michigan transportation group, and a trafficking cell connected to the Carrillo-Fuentes organization. On December 13, the same state troopers stopped a tractor trailer truck in Tyler, Texas, and seized 2,700 pounds of marijuana from a hidden compartment in the ceiling of the vehicle. The investigation revealed that traffickers were smuggling cocaine to the New York City area in concealed compartments in the roofs of tractor trailer trucks and in hollowed-out five-foot tall stacks of plywood. The same trucks were being used to transport the cash in kilo-sized packages of $5, $10, and $20 bills, back to Mexico.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
On April 9, 1997, the U.S. Customs Service found $5.6 million in street cash hidden in a tractor trailer truck ceiling compartment in an Operation Reciprocity seizure in El Paso, Texas. This operation resulted in 41 arrests, as well as the seizure of 7 tons of cocaine, 2,800 pounds of marijuana, and more than $11 million. Meanwhile, an investigation initiated by the DEA's Imperial County, California Resident Office in August 1996 developed into Operation Limelight, which involved several state, local, and U.S. Treasury agencies, including the IRS and the U.S. Customs Service. The investigation focused on the Alberto Beltran transportation and distribution cell, which was part of the Carrillo-Fuentes organization.
Operation Limelight resulted in the arrest of 48 people and the seizure of over 4,000 kilos of cocaine, over 10,800 pounds of marijuana, and over $7.3 million. State and federal investigators believed this Beltran cell was responsible for the monthly smuggling of at least 1.5 tons of cocaine, typically concealed in crates of vegetables and fruits and trucked across the United States by Mexican nationals.
In March 1996, the head of the Beltran organization in the United States, Gerardo Gonzalez, was arrested by Operation Limelight investigators. The arrest was the result of the carrot case, which also led to the New York seizure of 1,630 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a 30-ton shipment of chopped up carrots used for horse feed. At that time, the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force also seized $1.3 million and arrested nine organization members. Eight more members of the organization, including Gonzalez's wife, were arrested on August 1, 1997, in the second phase of this investigation.
Operation Zorro II (1996): As part of the Southwest Border Initiative that was launched in 1994, the Zorro II investigation targeted Mexico-based cocaine smuggling and distribution organizations, as well as the partnership groups based in Colombia. Working together, these organizations were responsible for importing and distributing almost six metric tons of cocaine throughout the United States.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Zorro II illustrated the close and efficient partnership that existed between the drug organizations from Mexico and Colombia. More importantly, this case showed that the international drug trade was a seamless continuum, a criminal enterprise that stretched, without interruption, from the jungles of South America across transit zones, such as Mexico to the cities and communities of the United States.
Zorro II was particularly important because, for the first time, law enforcement dismantled not only a Colombian organization that produced the cocaine, but also the organization in Mexico that provided the transportation. During the course of the 8-month investigation, law enforcement officers coordinated and shared information gleaned from more than 90 court-authorized wiretaps. The operation involved 10 federal agencies, 42 state and local agencies, and 14 DEA field divisions across the country.
As a result of the investigation, over $17 million and almost 5,600 kilos of cocaine were seized, and 156 people were arrested. Zorro II confirmed that Mexico-based traffickers were not just transporters, but had their own distribution networks throughout the United States.
Operation Global Sea (1995): In 1994, Southeast Asian heroin, which was smuggled by ethnic China and Nigeria-based traffickers, was one of the greatest drug threats to the United States. Almost 60 percent of the heroin that came to the United States at that time originated in Southeast Asia's ''Golden Triangle''Burma, Laos, and Thailand. Those mainly responsible were ethnic Chinese traffickers who controlled sophisticated international networks that smuggled hundreds of kilograms of heroin in commercial cargo on a regular basis. In addition to the China, Nigeria and West Africa-based trafficking organizations helped smuggle the heroin, typically using the ''shotgun'' approach to smuggling by recruiting third party couriers to travel aboard commercial airlines and smuggle from one to 10 kilograms of heroin per trip. In response to this facet of the drug trade, Operation Global Sea targeted a Nigerian, female-led, drug trafficking organization that was responsible for smuggling into the United States $26 million worth of high-purity Southeast Asian heroin.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Global Sea, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force operation, was comprised of the DEA, the U.S. Customs Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and law enforcement authorities in Thailand, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Mexico, and the Netherlands. By the end of this 18-month investigation, Operation Global Sea had immobilized the Chicago-based drug organization by seizing 55.5 kilograms of heroin with an average purity of 80 percent and arresting 44 defendants in Bangkok, Chicago, New York City, Detroit, and Pakistan.
Operation Foxhunt ''Zorro'' (1994): In September 1994, the DEA concluded Operation Foxhunt, a two-year investigation of a major Cali organization transportation operation based in Los Angeles. The investigation targeted two Colombian cell transportation directors who were responsible for the movement of multi-ton quantities of cocaine from main distribution points in Los Angeles to wholesale distribution centers in New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. The drugs were then moved to consumer distribution points in cities such as St. Louis, Missouri; Newark, New Jersey; San Antonio, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and New Orleans, Louisiana. The operation took its name from one of the investigation's primary targets, Diego Fernando Salazar-Izquierdo, a Cali transportation cell director in Los Angeles, known as ''Zorro,'' which is Spanish for ''fox.'' The second cell director, Over Arturo Acuna, referred to as Arturo, directed parallel drug operations in Los Angeles. Both Zorro and Arturo reported directly to drug lords in Cali, Colombia. It took 31 concurrent investigations and two years to identify and arrest Zorro, because the Cali operatives used sophisticated systems of fax lines and cellular communications to foil wiretaps. They also used computer software to ''clone,''or steal the telephone numbers of unsuspecting individuals and segmented organizations to avoid detection. By the time the investigation concluded, 6.5 tons of cocaine and over $13.5 million had been seized, and 191 suspects had been arrested. Fifty-five federal, state, and local agencies had participated in this investigation.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Tiger Trap (1994): Operation Tiger Trap was conceived at DEA's Bangkok Office during June of 1994 with the goal of identifying and targeting the major heroin traffickers in the region. Operation Tiger Trap was the first of its kind, a multi-agency international operation designed to dismantle or disrupt the trafficking activities of the world's largest heroin trafficking organization, the Shan United Army (SUA). Also known as the Mong Tai Army, it was located primarily in the areas of Burma adjacent to the northern border provinces of Thailand. The SUA Warlord Khun Sa claimed that his army, which was financed primarily through heroin trafficking, was fighting the Burmese for the independence for the Shan people.
The SUA controlled the cultivation, production, and transportation of heroin from the Shan State. Although other insurgent groups in Burma also trafficked heroin, the SUA had been the dominant force in worldwide distribution. Prior to Operation Tiger Trap, the percentage of southeast Asian heroin from the DEA's Heroin Signature Program rose from 9 percent in 1977 to 58 percent in 1991.
Tiger Trap was divided into phases which would all target key Shan United Army (SUA) functionaries. On November 27, 1994, the operation culminated when teams of Royal Thai Police, Office of Narcotics Control Board Officers, and Royal Thai Army Special Forces Soldiers working with DEA agents lured targets in Burma into Thailand where they were then arrested. This action significantly damaged the ability of the SUA to distribute heroin. The Royal Thai Army then worked with the Thai Border Patrol Police to close the Burma border to ''commercial quantities'' of goods entering the Shan State.
When law enforcement authorities had completed their operations, 13 senior SUA traffickers were arrested, and all were pursued for extradition/expulsion to the United States. These 13 principal defendants in Operation Tiger Trap included some of the most persistent and high-level heroin traffickers operating out of Thailand. They were all subjects of U.S. indictments in the Eastern District of New York (EDNY). The defendants were a mixture of three distinct categories: those who were eligible for expulsion (illegal aliens in Thailand); those who possessed fraudulent identification; and authentic Thai citizens.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Operation Dinero (1994): Operation Dinero, a joint DEA/IRS (Internal Revenue Service) operation, was launched by the DEA's Atlanta Division in 1992. In this investigation, the U.S. Government successfully operated a financial institution in Anguilla for the purpose of targeting the financial networks of international drug organizations. In addition, a number of undercover corporations were established in different jurisdictions as multi-service ''front'' businesses designed to supply ''money laundering'' services such as loans, cashier's checks, wire transfers, and peso exchanges, or to establish holding companies or shell corporations for the trafficking groups. Believing these services were legitimate, the Cali organization engaged the bank to sell three paintings, a Picasso, a Rubens, and a Reynolds. These paintings, estimated to have a combined value of $15 million, were seized by the DEA and IRS in 1994.
The operation resulted in 116 arrests in the United States, Spain, Italy, and Canada and the seizure of nine tons of cocaine, and the seizure of more than $90 million in cash and other property. The two-year joint enforcement operation was coordinated by the DEA, IRS, INS, FBI, and international law enforcement counterparts in the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, and Spain.
Operation Green Ice (1992): By the late 1980s, the DEA's financial investigative skills had evolved to such a high degree that the agency set up its own bank to lure drug traffickers looking to launder their profits. In 1989, the investigative team created Trans America Ventures Associates (TARA) and established its credentials in the financial community. The result was so convincing that Hispanic Business Weekly listed TARA as one of the top 500 Hispanic Corporations in America. Undercover agents then posed as money launderers and offered to pick up funds anywhere in the world. They used informants to identify drug money brokers from Colombia who acted as middlemen between Cali organization kingpins and money laundering operations in the United States.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Beginning in San Diego and Los Angeles, the investigations took undercover agents to Houston, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Chicago, and New York to pick up money and to establish ''fronts,'' such as leather goods shops, in these cities. During the course of the investigation, DEA agents laundered more than $20 million for the Colombia-based cartels. As the investigation developed, cartel operatives asked the undercover agents to provide money laundering services in Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean. Consequently, Operation Green Ice was expanded into a coordinated international law enforcement effort involving Canada, the Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In September 1992, undercover agents finally arranged a meeting with top-ranking Cali financial managers at locations in the United States, Italy, Spain, and Costa Rica. The drug lords arrived, expecting to discuss plans for their criminal business, but instead were arrested. Operation Green Ice was an unprecedented collaboration of talent and financial expertise that successfully formed the first international task force to attack the monetary networks of the Cali organization. Operation Green Ice led to the arrest of seven of the Cali organization's top financial managers, the seizure of more than $50 million in assets worldwide, and the arrest of 177 persons, including 44 in the United States.
Methamphetamine Effort: DEA statistics indicate that in 1993, DEA seized a total of 218 methamphetamine labs. This total increased to 263 labs in 1994; 327 labs in 1995; and 879 labs in 1996. In 1997, DEA participated in the seizure of 1,451 clandestine labs, 98% of which were methamphetamine labs. In FY1998, DEA seized over 1,600 methamphetamine laboratories, and to date in FY 1999, we have seized over 1,200.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCIV. HOW DEA MEASURES SUCCESS
The American people expect that their tax dollars are being spent wisely and that their government is providing them with the most effective programs possible. The Drug Enforcement Administration appreciates the support and faith that the American people have invested in us, and we work hard to ensure that this faith is justified. Where once federal law enforcement measured success in the number of violators arrested, and the amount of drugs seized, we are now acutely aware of the fact that these statistics do not tell the entire story. The quality and long-term impact of arrests are more telling than sheer numbers, and the reductions in criminal activity and corresponding increases in the quality of life of various communities are also critical to our eventual success.
The nature of the global drug trafficking trade is essentially fluid, fueled by the existence of well-entrenched international drug syndicates that target U.S. communities with well-marketed products and take advantage of changing trends and opportunities. It is important that DEA's strategic goals and objectives, as well as our performance measures reflect our commitment to a clear articulation of what we can achieve and the timeframe in which it can be achieved.
Later this afternoon, I am meeting with a select group of Special Agents in Charge of DEA's major field divisions. One of the purposes of this important meeting is to convey to them the importance of identifying, setting, reaching and reporting on ambitious goals. I am informing them that DEA will have a new five-year strategic plan in place by January, and that they and their colleagues will be required to carry out specific activities in furtherance of our strategic plan. Performance measures will emanate from this plan which will also be consistent with the National Strategy established by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In general terms, the strategic plan will identify DEA's priorities in combating the highest levels of the international drug trade, and will articulate how we plan to target international traffickers, halt the operations of their surrogates within the United States, and assist state and local partners as they work to reduce violent crime in their communities. I will aggressively monitor how well we are reaching our goals, and will manage DEA's programs and personnel to ensure that we have achieved what we set out to do. DEA has been working with the Department of Justice and ONDCP in establishing accurate and measurable performance indicators and targets. These working groups include representatives from all DOJ components. Meetings are held regularly to develop appropriate measures.
Additionally, DEA has hired a contractor to facilitate its establishment of a GPRA compliant 5-year strategic plan and to validate/develop GPRA compliant performance measures. This will be accomplished during strategy development sessions with field and headquarters management officials. The performance management sessions will address strategic and program planning, performance measurement and other GPRA-related issues for each of DEA's core business systems.
Presently, the Special Agents in Charge (SAC) are required to annually develop a SAC Outlook and a Field Management Plan (FMP). The Outlook is a description of the drug threat facing the division. The FMP is a contract between the SAC and the Deputy Administrator and Chief of Operations. It describes the priorities set by the SAC to counter the division's unique drug threats and delineates the methods for accomplishing the agency's missions and priorities. The FMPs are used as part of the DEA inspections process. Inspectors assess the division's adherence to the plan and its accomplishment of stated initiatives. With the assistance of the contractor, specific performance measures will be included in the FMP and each SAC will be required to provided a status on accomplishment of the target. Inspections will continue to review and assess each division's/SAC's accomplishment of the performance targets.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The agency senior executives and key managers are held accountable for achieving results through the inspections and performance appraisal processes. Inspections are conducted of each field division as well as each Headquarters entity. As a part of the inspection, the entitydivision or officeis reviewed and assessed to determine if it is successfully achieving the objectives and priorities established by the Administrator. Success or failure of the manager in achieving stated goals and objectives is included in the performance discussed in the midyear performance review. If problems/failures are not corrected, they are documented in the manager's annual performance appraisal. As stated previously, once performance measure have been incorporated into the field management plans, managers will be held accountable for specific targets and result-based achievements.
The allocation of discretionary resources is one area in which performance information is used to manage the agency. As a part of the annual staffing review process, and in assessing requests for enhancements, inspections reports, field management plans, and other pertinent information are used as a basis for allocating positions and resources. DEA uses this data to ensure that additional funding and personnel are placed in areas where managers are most efficiently and effectively using their resources as well as where the drug threat is most acute.
V. FUTURE CHALLENGES
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a vigorous and innovative agency that has adapted to the changing drug trafficking environment over the past twenty-five years. We have grown significantly, due in large part to the generous support of the U.S. Congress, and we have worked hard to keep pace with the growing complexity and power of internationally-based drug trafficking syndicates who adversely affect our nation.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I believe that unless the power and influence of the international drug trafficking groups is checked, our nation will continue to suffer the consequences of increased drug availability, criminal activity and drug abuse. Drug traffickers are taking advantage of rapidly advancing technology, including encryption which is used to disguise the content of conversations, to thwart law enforcement attempts to interfere with their operations, and ultimately bring them to justice. In some ways, the traffickers have established an electronic sanctuary where they are free to plan and plot the ruination of American families and communities.
The presence of the trafficking organizations' surrogatesmany of whom are illegal aliensin communities which were once untouched by violent crime rampant drug trafficking will continue to be problematic, and DEA is committed to identifying and targeting these organizations operating on U.S. soil. We are concerned by the spread of methamphetamine and heroin into communities unaccustomed to battling foreign-based drug trafficking organizations that are wreaking havoc in their jurisdictions.
During the coming years, it will be critical for DEA to maintain our growth and look after our infrastructure needs, including rapidly changing technology. As international organized criminal groups grow stronger, and as they diversify into various new products, methods and strategies, DEA will continue to meet the challenges posed by these powerful international and domestic organizations. Our primary strength is our workforce which has grown to over 9,000 individuals who bring myriad talents to the tasks they carry out. During the next five years, DEA's intelligence capabilities will increase dramatically as we refine our methods and products, keeping pace with the ever-changing drug trade here and abroad.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Marshall. I yield myself such time as I may consume. In the GAO's report to us today, they discuss the national drug control strategy and one of the principal objectives of the national drug control strategy relating to the DEA is to combat drug-related violence, disrupt criminal organizations, etc. In that report it says that the strategy calls for increasing by 5 percentage points the number of drug trafficking organizations disrupted or dismantled by 2002, as measured against the percentage recorded in the base year using a prioritized list of designated targets. And then it says it calls for at least a 10-percentage point increase above the base year by 2007.
Mr. Rabkin's report goes on to say that for international drug trafficking organizations the national strategy calls for achieving by 2002, a 50% success rate and the number of organizations disrupted is measured against a designated target list, that calls for increasing the success rate to 100% by 2007. But then it goes on to say that according to both the ONDCP and the DEA neither the domestic nor international designated target lists that are referred to in this strategy have been developed. Is there a reason why the target lists haven't been developed as opposed to the difficulty of accomplishing the task? I am just curious why the target lists have not been developed.
Mr. MARSHALL. Mr. Chairman, we are in the process of developing those target lists. Actually it is a bit of a misnomer, I think, to say that there are no target lists. We have developed target lists of the major upper echelon international traffickers in our linear strategy and in our linkage strategies. Now what we have not done quite as well a job at is developing the domestic target list and the reason for that is that the drug trafficking is really for the very most part in this country controlled by those upper echelon international traffickers that are based outside the United States.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And what they do is they send their operatives into the United States. They send cell heads in, for instance, for transportation. They send a cell head in for moving money. They send a cell head in for laundering money. They send a cell head in for actually distributing the drugs and collecting the money for them. Now all of these cells are isolated. They are compartmentalized. They are not known even within the organization to each other in the United States. And once a cell is immobilized the operatives outside the United States establish simply a new cell, so that is the difficulty that we have had in establishing the domestic targeting list.
We are doing a number of things in that regard, however. We have worked on a couple of projects here at headquarters to help us using some sophisticated intelligence methods to help us establish linkages between those international drug groups and the domestic drug groups and actually establish linkages between the domestic drug groups themselves. We also use the Special Operations Division to target those organizations now. It is my belief that through those methods and combining that with input from our local special agents in charge from our State and local counterparts that we work with, the FBI, U.S. Attorneys, members of HIDTA groups where we have HIDTA groups.
I believe that we are going to be able to establish those target lists. We are doing considerable work on it. We have considerable challenges to do it but we are in the process and I hope by the end of the year to have that done.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Let me change your focus completely from that to Latin America and particularly to Colombia. I am deeply disturbed right now, as I am sure you must be with what is going on in Colombia with the FARC controlling a good deal of the country with threats apparently to the Pastrano government, with the absence of Howard Air Force Base, with no overflights and so on and so forth. This has got to be an enormous problem for our DEA presence in Colombia, as well as the rest of Latin America. How do you assess the situation in Colombia today? Is there really a threat of Columbia becoming a narco state in terms of the drug organizations actually taking over and becoming impossible for us to deal with? How do you see it at this moment in time?
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MARSHALL. We have had quite a bit of discussion and I think analysis on that and it is a very complex situation. I have to say that not all the agencies that are involved in that completely agree on the nuances of that situation. For DEA's part, we look at it from a law enforcement perspective and we usually try towe try to gather intelligence and we try to investigate cases and organizations with a view toward prosecutable cases either in our country or in some other jurisdiction. And we have not gotten anywhere close to prosecutable cases against the BARC or the ELN as drug trafficking entities.
Now there is no question that those groups are associated with drug traffickers. They provide protection perhaps. They extort traffickers perhaps but they also do that type of activity in a wide range of other, the extortion and the protection racket in a wide range of other areas so we have not yet really come to the conclusion, DEA, the FARC and ELN are drug trafficking entities per se. It is our best professional judgment that they more are involved in the protection and extortion and that sort of stuff.
Now with regard to that becoming a narco State, I am concerned frankly about the militarized zone and how that may affect drug trafficking through there. Fortunately, the demilitarized zone is not in and of itself one of the source areas. It is kind of surrounded by source areas but we haven't seen a great deal of difference in the drug trafficking situation in that demilitarized zone itself since it has become demilitarized.
So the bottom line, Congressman, is it is something that we are very concerned about and keeping an eye on but there are other agencies who have equally valid perspectives on that and unfortunately I can't give you a conclusive answer. That is the best I can do.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much. Mr. Scott, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, are we going to have two rounds?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes. It is my intention to come back and let
Mr. SCOTT. I will yield to the gentlelady from California.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you very much. There are any number of agency-type organizations, I don't know what they all are, these task forces working in these HIDTAs or whatever you call them where people are supposed to come together and cooperate to know what each of you are doing. We know that with the increase in trade between Mexico and the United States it appears that there were more opportunities for drugs to come across the border and perhaps that is a problem of customs.
We also know that our drug czar provides his own kind of leadership where he has got relationships in Colombia and other places where he attempts to get cooperation from generals and give them helicopters and airplanes so that they will be nice to us and all of that stuff. I also know that you disagree sometimes with the CIA and the way that they do things. Now at what point can we hear from DEA that something or somebody is getting in the way of their ability to do the best job and ask us to do something dramatic to help you. I mean I know you got to tell us about the good things that you are doing and we hear you.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But the fact of the matter is whether it is a school teacher that we expect to educate the children and we judge them based on whether or not the children can read, write and compute or whether it is us who expect of our constituents to represent them or they don't elect us to office, we have to measure you the same way. The drugs continue to flow despite what you tell me. I haven't heard you talk about money laundering in Mexico. We know that Raul Salinas, for example, took $180 million up to City Corp. and they just banked it, no questions asked. No questions asked. That is dope money. That is drug money.
What do you think about that? What can we do? I mean at what point do you say that as long as we have American companies that are willing to help launder drug money you can't do your job. You got to tell on somebody. You got to do something, just like those guys you go out there and get to tell on somebody, you got to tell on somebody that is getting in the way. What can you tell us about what would help you to do your job better? What gets in the way of you gettingbreaking up more drug trafficking and big time dope dealers?
Mr. MARSHALL. Well, that is a veryit is really very complex and complicated issue to explain. As I mentioned, there are manymuch of this activity does go on outside the United States beyond the control of actions that DEA or indeed the U.S. government can take. I think that where we see a lack of cooperation or problems in foreign governments, I think that we really do try to point that out. There was a time not too
Ms. WATERS. Not in foreign governments, our own operations. What would you likehow could the drug czar and you work better together? How could you and CIA not trip over each other? I mean what is really happening
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MARSHALL. Well, actually, Congresswoman, what is really happening is that while we do have a lot of difficulties in that type of cooperation we have different institutional ethics. We have different institutional cultures. Cultures is what I meant to say rather than ethics. We have a lot of different reporting structures. We have different departments, all that kind of stuff. But in spite of all of those problems, I really believe that law enforcement cooperation in this country is better than it has ever been.
DEA works hand in glove with the FBI. In the overseas arena we work well with the CIA each within our own competencies. We work very well with State and local people. We work with the Treasury Department.
Ms. WATERS. Okay, but my time is about to run out. Okay, so we have good cooperation. I just have to ask you this
Mr. MARSHALL. We do have good cooperation.
Ms. WATERS [continuing]. Because I am worried about these control deliveries of dope that you bring in, and there was one that I had been working on for the past 3 years where you disagreed with the CIA and wanting to bring in a huge shipment of cocaine and we neverthat cocaine got into the United States. We don't know what happened to it. I know what happened to it. It ended up in my community and in New York and places. I am worried about these controlled shipments coming in by you or the CIA or anybody else and get lost so what happened to all those drugs that are used in controlled deliveries and they get lost?
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MARSHALL. I actually am not familiar with the particular instance you are talking about. If you give me more details after the hearing, I will be happy to research that.
Ms. WATERS. General DeVilla from Venezuela who was the only one that was identified but it was our CIA who filled up theand you disagreed, DEA disagreed with that, we never found the drugs.
Mr. MARSHALL. I will have to look into that. Let me just comment generally that we do use controlled deliveries as a technique. We use it. The FBI uses it. State and local people use it. Customs use it. And we believe that we have a reasonably good, not perfect, coordination mechanism and from time to time we do disagree. We try to work those disagreements out to the satisfaction of all. From a DEA standpoint we are looking at two main issues when we look at controlled delivery. Number one, we want to try our very best to be sure that we have adequate safeguards and controls that those drugs don't get into the communities.
And then, secondly, we don't want to do a controlled delivery just to be doing it and just to get an insignificant violator on the other end of it. We want to have that controlled delivery further a significant case in some significant way, so those are our criteria. And I believe that in most cases we work out those disagreements. If you would like, I will look into that case further for you.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Waters. We have a vote on right now and we will be back for a second round of questions so, as they say in the TV show business, don't go away, but we are in recess until after this vote.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. The subcommittee will come to order. When we recessed, we had finished the first round of questions and I will yield myself 5 minutes for a second round with Mr. Marshall. The difficulties that we have in drug trafficking around the world are obviously great and you could go almost anywhere in your questioning about what is going on with regard to this. I want to express a concern. I don't know to what extent you can answer, but in my experience over the last few years in Latin America, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, the whole area, DEA agents have joined with those from the other agencies involved in fighting the drug trafficking effort and have expressed, perhaps not publicly, but certainly to me and to others, the fact that they are very frustrated with not receiving the kind of equipment and support that they need to get the job done.
In fact, all of them in unison at one time or another have said that if we had X, Y and Z resources, if you gave us everything in essence that we really wanted, nobody has ever asked us what that is in many cases, but if you did we could reduce the flow of drugs coming out of each of those countries by 85% or more before it ever gets to the United States, before it ever gets to Mexico and so forth.
Has DEA ever considered, or maybe you already have done so, charging your liaisons abroad, be that in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, perhaps over in the Far East, with the task of coming back to you with some formal suggestion or report or perhaps collectively with other law enforcement, or not even law enforcement but drug-fighting groups, be it the CIA, the State Department, the DEA, with a specific plan that they would implement for a particular country to reduce the flow of drugs and what would be necessary to do that in the way of equipment and so forth.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I know a few years ago it had not been done but I am curious to know if you considered doing that or if you might have done it in the intervening years since I have asked that question.
Mr. MARSHALL. Mr. Chairman, yes, we do that, and I am not sure if it would be in quite as formal or as structured a way as you may be asking the question but we have a number of mechanisms for doing that. Number one, our own country attached as the head of these offices in these foreign countries. They do a semi-annual what they call a foreign situation report and in that report they outline to us what their problems are and what resources they think they need to address that.
Now on the next level the country team within the embassy, and that brings the various agencies together, it is my understanding that they put together a plan which goes to the State Department, and it is actually the International Narcotic and Law Enforcement Bureau that is charged with a lot of providing the equipment that would be used by the foreign countries so a lot of this is other agencies and a lot of this is beyond our control.
And a lot of times when you talk to the agents, they know that if the host country had certain things and certain equipment that we could make an impact on it. And not always is that really a DEA function. We have a very narrow focus and that is to conduct criminal investigations against the major international organizations. If I could have a bit of time, and I will look into exactly how that process is done, and I will get back
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Let me interrupt only to this extent. In my travels what I have seen and what troubles me is that the DEA, for example, has a law enforcement mission you just described and I am sure the DEA attache in each country is going to be participating with the others to come up with a plan and recommendations relative to what they are doing. But what I discovered was that perhaps because each agency has a different mission, nobody had ever asked them either together or collectively what it would take to actually reduce the flow of drugs by a certain amount, 60%, 40%, 80%, whatever it might be over a given period of time and what resources it would take to do that.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
None of them a couple years ago when I went down to Latin America had ever been asked those kind of questions, and they all had answers to them, easy answers, and had never submitted those answers. And I would just encourage you to, as you continue your role as acting head of the DEA, to ponder the possibility of working with perhaps even some of the other agencies to submit that kind of question to them, to find some way to get your field fellows to come back with what is itregardless of the budget because so often I think we are driven by what somebody at ONB says or what you got in your budget or whatever but just a bald-faced question, what would it take to actually win the war or what would it take to accomplish a specific goal which would be reducing the flow of drugs by a significantly high percentage?
I use the term and we used it in the Drug Elimination Act of 85% because we got that figure out of the field and because that figure was one which they thought was realistic. In fact, if they were given the equipment they could do that, but they never envisioned in their wildest dreams they would ever be given the support necessary to do that, and sometimes I think we think too small and when you ask for the bigger goal maybe at least you set the predicate for being able to really knock this huge thing in the head. I am not going to do more than make that point to you and I yield to Mr. Scott.
Mr. MARSHALL. I will follow up on that, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you. Mr. Scott, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just following up on that question, could you give us some order of magnitude of the amount of resources you would need to actually reduce the supply below the demand so that when some user calls a supplier, the supplier would say, no, I don't have any today?
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MARSHALL. You have asked me, Congressman, and I regret to say this, you have asked me an almost impossible question, and I will try to explain to you why it is so difficult to answer that.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, let me ask it another way. Is there any reasonable expectation that we would ever get to the point where the supplier would have to tell the user, no, I can't get any for you today?
Mr. MARSHALL. I hope we can ultimately get to that point. That is certainly what we are all working for. Over the short term, I am honestly pessimistic that we will get to that point. Over the long term combining law enforcement with prevention education programs, I hope that over the long term we can get to that point. Over the short term, we are really not and the reason I think is because there are so many factors that go into that.
We have only very indirect control and influence over what the foreign governments do. The traffickers themselves
Mr. SCOTT. I am not blaming anybody. I am justit is my belief that the amount of money that it would take to reduce the supply to the point where a supplier would tell his user I can't get any for you today would be so immense that if that amount of money were put into rehabilitation, prevention, early intervention, even things as early as parental training and prenatal care, that you would reduce drug use much more with that kind of investment than the investment that you would have to make to reduce the supply below the demand.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MARSHALL. Well, again, sir, you have a good point over the long term but in my opinion there is also a bit of a flaw in the rationale. I believe that over the long term you really do have to look at demand reduction, education, prevention, those kinds of things to change social attitudes for this country to decide that we are not going to tolerate it any longer. We are not going to tolerate it in our schools. We are not going to tolerate it in our businesses. We are just not going to tolerate it in our society. That is the long-term goal and that is really the key to eliminating and getting down to a management level the drug problem in this country.
But in the meantime, in the meantime, we have a lot of very sophisticated, very wealthy, very violent, just very mean and vicious criminals that are preying on the weak people in this society. And until we can get to the long-term goal of reducing the demand and basically arriving at where our children don't want to use drugs anymore because it is not acceptable in society, we have to deal with those mean and vicious and violent criminals. And that is why we have to maintain this strong law enforcement approach over the near term.
This is a decade long fight and even after we make progress we have to keep up the focus on it and so you have to break it down into the short term and the long term. And in the short term, we have to keep this focus and protect our communities.
Mr. SCOTT. Let me ask another question. Do you support the strict enforcement of the exclusionary rule?
Mr. MARSHALL. Sir, would you explain the exclusionary rule to me, please?
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. SCOTT. That illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in court.
Mr. MARSHALL. Okay. Yes. Well, yes, sir, we try through our education and training programs to obtain our evidence in the proper ways and, yes, I think illegally obtained evidence should be suppressed.
Mr. SCOTT. Who benefits from the exclusionary rule?
Mr. MARSHALL. I am not sure I understand, sir.
Mr. SCOTT. Well, some suggest that a criminal caught red-handed would benefit from the exclusionary rule and that is true because he might get off from something he did. But on a larger sense, the fact that illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in court removes any incentive for the police officers to obtain evidence illegally and therefore law-abiding citizens are not harassed or illegally arrested as a result of the strict enforcement of exclusionary rule. And that is
Mr. MARSHALL. Congressman, I have to
Mr. SCOTT. I just want to make sure that you understood that the exclusionary rule was there to protect innocent people, and I guess my next question would be that if you are not careful about articulable suspicion and probable cause before you stop and arrest people, then you are relegated to using just your basic prejudices as who ought to be stopped and who shouldn't. An exclusionary rule tends to eliminate that situation. You are aware of the articles that have been written about racial profiling and singling out minorities?
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MARSHALL. Many of them, yes.
Mr. SCOTT. Okay. What is your response to racial profiling and singling out or targeting minority communities for arrests?
Mr. MARSHALL. Well, obviously I don't think that our law enforcement should be racially motivated in any way, shape, form or fashion. Many of the issues and the forums in which I have seen this racial profiling raised is in, frankly, Operation Pipeline. And I would say that our involvement with Operation Pipeline is an indirect involvement where we try to train officers on indicators of drug couriers. We try to do this because we know that the drugs move along our Nation's highways and streets and we believe that in the course of normal routine day-to-day activities police officers come in contact with many people, and we believe that since a lot of drugs are moved on the highways and streets many of thosethere are many opportunities to interdict drugs there.
Now we do not teach racial profiling. In fact, we teach just the opposite. We teach that not only is racial profiling wrong but it is a bad investigative technique. It is a bad investigative technique because even if you look at the fact that a lot of our drugs are coming from Mexico with the Mexican-controlled organizations that doesn't mean that all of the drug couriers and all the people on the highways moving those drugs are Hispanics.
In fact, one of our largest cases emanated from a pipeline stop in which a State trooper in Texas seized several million dollars out of a semi-trailer that was driven by a white male based in Grand Rapids, Michigan of all places. It didn't meet any kind of profile. And what we teach is that if an officer uses racial profiling, they are limiting themselves from good investigative work and they are going to end up overlooking a lot of drugs.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Another example that I would give is that we have a lot of Nigerian criminals in the world and a lot of them are moving drugs, but it is not in this day and age the Nigerian people themselves that are moving drugs, they have turned to using predominantly young white females as their drug couriers so again if an investigator or an officer practices racial profiling, he is limiting his ability to be a good investigator and to interdict drugs.
What we try to look at or teach in these things quite to the contrary is that we try to teach them in the course of their routine, day-to-day business and the contacts that they come in in the course of that business, we try to teach them to look for things like inconsistent statements, odor of drugs or heavy perfuming in the car. We try to teach them to look for extreme nervousness. We try to look at the destination, excess mileage on a new car, a map that indicates they may have come from a source city, duct tape, screws or things of that sort in the interior of the vehicle that might indicate a panel had been removed.
We teach those kinds of investigative techniques and indicators and we very strongly believe that not only is it wrong, it limits our ability as investigators and that is what we teach.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Scott. We want to thank you, Mr. Marshall. As you depart, I just want to make one comment to you. It was a DEA agent and I think the attache, if my recollection serves me, who inspired what I think General McCaffrey has embraced that air interdiction in Colombia could overcome a lot of the other deficiencies we have and difficulties we have there and could make a huge difference if we provided the equipment. I think that is one of the things we are progressing to try to do now.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So I encourage you to do what you just said, go back to the field and get them to think big rather than just asking questions related to compliance with the immediate DEA objectives of the moment because you have some great talent out there, despite all of our oversight concerns and questions and criticisms and prodding that we may give to you and them. DEA agents around the world are performing the right service. You have some wonderful people out there. So I wanted to conclude by thanking you for coming and to make that comment about those who serve in your agency, our agency.
Mr. MARSHALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I will take your advice.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you. Thank you very much for being here. We have a third panel now. In panel III, we have three witnesses and I welcome all of them. Our first witness is Professor Peter Reuter of the University of Maryland, School of Public Affairs and the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Professor Reuter has served as the co-director of the Drug Policy Research Center at the RAND Corporation, and is the author of two books, including Lesser Evils, Choosing Among Legalization and Prohibition and Other Drug Control Regimes.
Our second witness isI guess he is not here with us today, am I correct? Jim McDonough was going to be with us today, the Director of the Florida Office of Policy Control, and so I will skip him. So our second witness is William Berger, the Chief of Police of the City of North Miami Beach, Florida. Chief Berger, who has been Chief since 1989, has extensive law enforcement experience. Prior to becoming Chief, he held the rank of captain with the City of Miami Police Department. While there, he commanded the City of Miami's robbery, homicide, sexual battery and communications units. Chief Berger holds both a Master's degree in public administration and a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice from St. Thomas Villanova University.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And our third witness is Robert L. Maginnis, Family Research Council, Senior Director for National Security and Foreign Affairs. He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel. He conducts the National Voter drug polling and advises the ONDCP and Congress on a number of issues of concern to us. He is an advisor on several anti-drug boards, and we really welcome him here today.
With that in mind, we first of all ask Mr. Reuter, if you would proceed to give us your testimony and we will go in the order of introduction. Thank you. And your full testimony will be placed in the record. You may summarize.
STATEMENT OF PETER REUTER, PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
Mr. REUTER. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for the opportunity to testify. In addition to teaching at the University of Maryland, I am also a consultant to RAND and will primarily today present findings developed by my colleagues there.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has primary responsibility to investigate and apprehend drug dealers for Federal prosecution. That responsibility also requires use of discretion as to which dealers get targeted Federal enforcement.
These decisions should take into account the high public costs of current Federal sentencing policies so as to insure that drug control resources are well allocated. Federal mandatory minimum sentences are frequently criticized on a variety of legal and ethical grounds. This testimony addresses a different dimensionthe effectiveness of the current mandatory minimums at reducing cocaine consumption for each public dollar spent. When I say the current mandatory minimums I mean those implemented in the sentencing guidelines and applied to drug dealers appearing in Federal court.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The empirical work of my RAND colleagues suggest that mandatory minimum sentences are more expensive as a means of reducing cocaine consumption than are some other Federal enforcement options. These results are based on data from the early 1990's for cocaine and on a model that had been used to compare a variety of drug policy changes. Effective arrests, seizures and incarceration, all components of drug enforcement, are modeled initially in terms of how they increase the costs and risks of drug dealing.
High risks and costs are passed on through higher prices, which generate lower consumption. The model compares different kinds of enforcement in terms of how much U.S. cocaine consumption is reduced by additional expenditures of $1 million on each enforcement program. The reason for using an economic model is that the effects of drug enforcement can only be understood now, 15 years after cocaine became a mass drug market, in terms of the deterrent effect and prices. It is implausible at this stage that enforcement can incapacitate enough to create a shortage of competent dealers. My colleague's study compares a number of enforcement programs. Here I will just consider two. Assume that $1 million is available for either of two programs. The first is to investigate and arrest more cocaine dealers and then sentence them under the Federal regime that existed prior to the current mandatory minimums. The second is to incarcerate for longer terms those who would have been convicted anyway as under the current regime. The principal finding is that spending money on bringing more dealers to justice, more dealers of the same kind that are brought into court now, is superior in terms of the consequent reduction in cocaine consumption. Whereas spending $1 million more on arrests, etc., generates a reduction of 63 kilograms in cocaine consumption, spending $1 million more on longer sentences reduces consumption by only 36 kilograms.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This suggests that shifting resources used for additional prison time to investigative and prosecutorial agencies could lead to less cocaine consumption and associated crime. So far these results have been demonstrated only for cocaine. The underlying logic suggests that they are likely to be true for heroin as well. This is not to say that longer sentences can never be efficient. If mandatory minimums were actually applied just to high level dealers, then they might be more cost effective than conventional enforcement.
The current sentence structure based on amount and prior criminal history is intended to achieve this kind of targeting but does not do so. The class of dealers for whom Federal mandatory minimums are cost effective consists of those dealers that are most difficult to arrest precisely because they value their freedom highly and are able to spend money on security and distancing themselves from their operations.
These are not indisputable findings. They come from a model which is both structurally complex and dependent on many assumptions. However, it represents the only effort to date to develop a systematic understanding of the resource implications of longer Federal sentences. I would be happy to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Reuter follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF PETER REUTER, PROFESSOR, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
The following written testimony is derived from the report entitled Caulkins, JP; Rydell, CP; Schwabe, WL and J. Chiesa Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences: Throwing Away the Key of the Taxpayers' Money?, published by RAND in 1997.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In recent decades, the American public has responded favorably to political leaders and candidates who have espoused longer sentences for the possession and sale of drugs. Among the more popular sentencing extensions are ''mandatory minimums,'' which require that a judge impose a sentence of at least a specified length if certain criteria are met. For example, federal law requires that a person convicted of possessing half a kilogram or more of cocaine powder be sentenced to at least five years in prison.
Mandatory minimums have enjoyed strong bipartisan support from elected representatives and presidential candidates. To these proponents, the certainty and severity of mandatory minimums make them better able to achieve incarceration's goals than are more flexible sentencing policies. Those goals include punishing the convicted and keeping them from committing more crimes for some period of time, as well as deterring others not in prison from committing similar crimes. Critics, however, worry that mandatory minimums foreclose discretionary judgment where it may most be needed, and they fear mandatory minimum result in instances of unjust punishment.
These are all important considerations, but mandatory minimums associated with drug crimes may also be viewed as a means of achieving the nation's drug control objectives. As such, how do they compare with other means? Do they contribute to the central objectivedecreasing the nation's drug consumption and related consequencesat a cost that compares favorably with other approaches? In the RAND report Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences: Throwing Away the Key of the Taxpayers' Money?, we estimate how successful mandatory minimum sentences are, relative to other control strategies, at reducing drug consumption, drug-related crime, and the total flow of revenue through the cocaine market. The latter is a worthy objective in itselfAmerica would be better off if money spent on drugs were spent on almost anything elseand it is also associated with drug-related crime.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We focus on cocaine, which many view as the most problematic drug in America today. We take two approaches to mathematically modeling the market for cocaine and arrive at the same basic conclusion: Mandatory minimum sentences are not justifiable on the basis of cost-effectiveness at reducing cocaine consumption, cocaine expenditures, or drug-related crime. Mandatory minimums reduce cocaine consumption less per million taxpayer dollars spent than does spending the same amount on enforcement under the previous sentencing regime. And either type of incarceration approach reduces drug consumption less than does putting heavy users through treatment programs, per million dollars spent. Similar results are obtained if the objective is to reduce spending on cocaine or cocaine-related crime. A principal reason for these findings is the high cost of incarceration. (Note these findings are limited to relative cost-effectiveness. As mentioned above, mandatory minimums have been justifiedand criticizedon other grounds.)
REDUCING CONSUMPTION: MORE ENFORCEMENT AGAINST TYPICAL DEALERS
First, we estimate the cost-effectiveness of additional expenditures on enforcement against the average drug offender apprehended in the United States (whether that apprehension is by federal, state, or local authorities). In this approach, we track the flows of users among light-use, heavy-use, and no-use categories, and we analyze how overall cocaine market demand and supply respond to price. That is, if more money is spent on enforcement and incarceration, costs to dealers are increased, and so is the street price of cocaine; higher prices mean lower consumption. If more money is spent on treatment, consumption is reduced for most clients while they are in the program, and, for some, after they get out. We estimate the changes in total cocaine consumption over time for an additional million dollars invested in the alternatives considered.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
First we consider spending a million dollars on additional enforcement by agencies at various levels of government against a representative sample of drug dealers. If that money were used to extend to federal mandatory minimum lengths the sentences of dealers who would have been arrested anyway, U.S. cocaine consumption would be reduced by almost 13 kilograms. If, however, the money were used to arrest, confiscate the assets of, prosecute, and incarcerate more dealers (for prison terms of conventional length), cocaine consumption would be reduced by over 27 kilograms. (As a point for comparison, we estimate that spending the million dollars treating heavy users would reduce cocaine consumption by a little over 100 kilograms.)(see footnote 6)
Note that we refer to ''longer sentences'' rather than to ''mandatory minimums.'' Data on drug dealers arrested at state and local levels are insufficient to isolate those associated with drug amounts sufficient to trigger mandatory minimums. Instead, we analyze a hypothetical policy of applying the mandatory minimum sanctionlonger sentencesto all convicted dealers.
The values shown are dependent, of course, on various assumptions we make. If the assumptions are changed, the values change. But for changes in assumptions over reasonable ranges, do the values change enough to make longer sentences more cost-effective than either of the other alternatives? We find they do not.
As an example, the values shown are dependent on the time horizon in which one is interested. The reason for this is as follows. When faced with extended sentences, drug dealers will want more income today to compensate them for the risk of increased prison time. As a result, cocaine prices will go up and consumption will go down. Benefits from reduced consumption will thus accrue immediately, while the costs of the extended prison terms will stretch out into the future. In contrast, if more users are treated this year, the costs accrue immediately, while the benefits in terms of reduced consumption by those who stay off cocaine stretch out into the future. In our analysis, we account for these different allocations of costs and benefits across future years in that future costs and benefits are discounted annually., The aforementioned 13, 27, and 100 kilograms reduction in cocaine consumption includes costs and benefits out to 15 yearsa time horizon typical in analyzing public policy. Beyond that point, any further costs and benefits count as zero. What if that terminal point were moved closer? What if one had not just a discounted interest in anything beyond the immediate future, but no interest? If the time horizon is set early enough, the effect is to ''zero out'' both the future stream of costs from mandatory minimums and the future benefits from treatment. Only if the time horizon is shortened to about three years mandatory minimums appear preferable to additional conventional enforcement. Hence, mandatory minimums appear cost-effective only to the highly myopic.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We also analyzed the implications of changing other assumptions. For example, dealers would want to be compensated for the increased risk of imprisonment they would incur in the event of increased enforcement. But the typical person would demand less compensation for being imprisoned five years from now than next year, and we assume drug dealers demand even less compensation for future risksi.e, are even more ''present-oriented.'' What would happen, though, if dealers wanted more risk compensation and if they discounted future costs less heavily than we assume? Longer sentences would seem more burdensome than we assume, dealers would demand a higher premium for handling cocaine, the price of cocaine would rise even more with increased enforcement spending, and consumption would fall even more. Consumption would also fall more than we expected if users were more responsive to price increases, i.e., if demand were more ''elastic.'' We attempted to swing the balance toward extended incarceration by simultaneously increasing risk compensation by one-third, cutting the dealer discount rate by two-thirds, and increasing the elasticity of demand by 50 percent. Although the cost-effectiveness figures did indeed change, the order of the ranking did not.
REDUCING CONSUMPTION: MORE ENFORCEMENT AGAINST HIGHER-LEVEL DEALERS
The analysis discussed above represents enforcement approaches applied to a representative sample of all drug dealers arrested. Perhaps mandatory minimum sentences would be more cost-effective if they were restricted to somewhat ''higher-level dealers.'' By higher-level dealers, we mean those who operate at higher levels of the drug distribution system, who make more money and thus have more to lose from more intensive enforcement. To approximate such a restriction, we limit the set of offenders analyzed to those who are prosecuted at the federal level and possess enough drugs to trigger a federal mandatory minimum sentence.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The results are shown in the figure below. There, the darkest bars represent the reduction in cocaine consumption from spending an additional million dollars in enforcement against the federal-level offenders just defined. The light bars represent enforcement against the ''typical'' drug dealer, the ''average'' among all arrested, which was addressed above. Reading from the left, each light/dark pair of bars represents the same kind of program. The distribution of long sentences is the same for the first two bars, and the kinds of additional enforcement actions funded (arrest, seizure, prosecution, and incarceration for conventional sentence lengths) are the same for the next two bars.
Federal mandatory minimums applied to higher-level dealers do better than longer sentences for all dealers. To the higher-level dealers considered in this analysis, time in prison carries a greater cost, and amounts of cocaine and other assets seized through increased enforcement are also larger. . Thus, risk compensation must be higher, and the higher resulting cocaine prices drive down consumption more. Nonetheless, at any given level of government, or against any given type of dealer, mandatory minimums are less cost-effective than conventional enforcement.
Why is that the case? Drug enforcement comprises two types of components, each of which is costly for taxpayers and each of which contributes to keeping drugs expensive: (1) arrest and conviction, which impose costs on suppliers principally through the seizure of drugs and other assets, and (2) incarceration of convicted defendants. Amid complaints about the ''revolving door'' of justice, some overlook that arrest and conviction impose costs on dealers. In fact, on average, arrest and conviction impose greater costs on dealers per taxpayer dollar spent than does incarcerating dealers. Since mandatory minimums alter the mix of these two components of enforcement in favor of incarceration, they dilute or reduce the efficiency of enforcement relative to simply expanding both components proportionately.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
As with the light bars, the precise heights of the dark bars in the figure depend on various assumptions. Again, these include assumptions about such uncertain values as the compensation dealers would demand for increased imprisonment risk, the rate at which dealers discount future costs, the responsiveness of buyers to shifts in cocaine prices, what it costs to arrest a dealer, and the value of drugs and other assets seized. To test the sensitivity of our results to these assumptions, we vary the assumed values of factors such as these one at a time over substantial ranges. In all cases, conventional enforcement is more cost-effective than mandatory minimums (and treatment is more than twice as cost-effective as mandatory minimums). Even when assumed values are varied two at a time, large departures from assumed values are required for mandatory minimums to be the most cost-effective approach. For example, the government's cost of arresting a dealer and the compensation a dealer wants for risking a year of imprisonment are assumed to be about $20,000 and $85,000. Our model indicates that mandatory minimums would be the most cost-effective alternative only if arrest costs were to exceed $30,000 and a dealer were to value his time at some $250,000 or more per year. Such dollar values would typify only those dealers at a fairly high level in the cocaine trade and who are unusually difficult to arrest.(see footnote 7) For dealers costing less to arrest, cocaine control dollars would be better spent on further conventional enforcement. For dealers demanding less risk compensation, the money would be better spent treating heavy users than on enforcement against such dealers.
Long sentences could thus be a smart strategy if selectively applied. This sort of targeting is achieved to some degree by mandatory minimum sentencing laws. For a mandatory minimum sentence to take effect, certain conditions must be met, e.g., some threshold quantity of drugs has to have been in the. convicted person's possession at the time of arrest. Federal law (as well as some state laws) regarding mandatory minimum drug sentences contains such quantity triggers, along with other provisions regarding prior convictions. Unfortunately, because the thresholds that trigger mandatory minimum sentences are low, they are not selectively applied to high-level dealers.(see footnote 8) Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests that high-level dealers can sometimes avoid mandatory minimums more easily than their subordinates. High-level dealers have more knowledge about their organization to use as bargaining chips with prosecutors. Furthermore, such dealers often do not physically possess their drugs, as is required for a mandatory minimum to take effect; they hire others to incur that risk.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
REDUCING COCAINE-RELATED CRIME
Of course, cocaine consumption is not the only measure of interest. Many Americans are worried about the crime associated with cocaine production, distribution, and use. Using data on the causes of drug-related crime and our cocaine market analysis, we quantify the approximate crime reduction benefits of the various alternatives. We find no difference between conventional enforcement and mandatory minimums in relation to property crime; the former, however, should reduce crimes against persons by about 70 percent more than the latter.
Most drug-related crime is economically motivated-undertaken, e.g., to procure money to support a habit or to settle scores between rival dealers. Fewer crimes are the direct result of drug consumptioncrimes committed ''under the influence.'' However, we find very little difference between conventional enforcement and mandatory minimums in their effects on the money flowing through the market, and thus very little difference in their effects on economically motivated crime. We do find, as shown in the figure, appreciable differences in consumption effects, and thus appreciable differences in effects on crimes committed under the influence. The latter are more likely than are economically motivated crimes to be crimes against persons.
Wen a dealer facing the risk of a longer sentence raises his price, say one percent, to compensate, buyers will reduce the amount of cocaine they purchase. The best evidence suggests that reduction will be something on the order of one percent. Thus, the total revenue flowing through the cocaine market stays about the same, and so do the incentives for economically motivated drug-related crimes. Therefore, the effect of the enforcement alternatives is limited almost entirely to the relatively small number of crimes committed under the influence. Treatment, however, has an advantage over enforcement in reducing the economic value of the cocaine market and thus against the larger number of economically motivated crimes.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The first conclusion deriving from the analysis is that extending sentences for all drug dealers is less cost-effective than expanding the scope of conventional enforcement by arresting and prosecuting more dealers under traditional sentencing laws. Thus, if the objective is to increase the stringency of drug enforcement in a manner that maximizes the benefits obtained per dollar spent, expanding conventional-enforcement budgets is preferable to passing laws increasing sentence length.
Longer sentences, however, can be more efficient if they are limited to drug dealers with a higher-than-average position in the distribution hierarchy. Our second conclusion, however, is that even the level of targeting achieved by federal mandatory minimum sentencing is not enough to make such sentences more cost-effective than conventional enforcement against similar offenders.
A third conclusion, though, is that there does exist a class of drug dealers for whom long sentences such as those imposed by federal mandatory minimums are more cost-effective than conventional enforcement. That class is identified by two distinguishing characteristics. First, they must be substantially more difficult to arrest than the typical dealer apprehended by federal agencies. Second, they must demand very high compensation for the risk of spending a year in prison, on the order of the annual dollar profits of someone who makes 25 one-kilogram cocaine sales per year.
Our fourth conclusion is that the targeting principle applies across types of enforcement. Not only are long sentences for dealers qualifying for federal mandatory minimums more cost-effective than long sentences for typical dealers, but conventional enforcement directed against dealers qualifying for federal mandatory minimums is more cost-effective than conventional enforcement applied to typical dealers.(see footnote 9)
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
A fifth conclusion of the analysis is that treatment is more cost-effective at controlling drug use, drug spending, and drug-related crime than is either conventional enforcement or long sentences, whether targeted through mandatory minimum ''trigger'' provisions or applied generally.
Our sixth conclusion is that mandatory minimum sentences should seem most appealing to people with very short time horizons. The benefits of imposing mandatory minimum sentences are realized up front, whereas the costs come due in the future. In contrast, the costs and benefits of conventional enforcement are roughly contemporaneous (and treatment the costs come early and the benefits accrue over time). Mandatory minimums might be supported by people with no concern for cost and benefits accruing more than a few years in the future, even though such sentences are not cost-effective for society as a whole.
The conclusions drawn about effectiveness above are of general interest with regard to debating and formulating drug policy. However, our report was motivated by a rather specific policy question: Are mandatory minimum drug sentences a good policy that should be extended or should they be repealed? There is no one answer to that question. Different people will have different opinions depending on their values and what they think drug control policy should strive to achieve. Some might support mandatory minimums because they think such sentences constitute ''just'' punishment for convicted defendants, regardless of other consequences or considerations of effectiveness. Some might oppose them because they are triggered by the amount of drugs possessed, not the amount owned or controlled, again without considering other factors.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The opinion of many people might, however, be influenced by an assessment of how well mandatory minimum sentences ''work'' at controlling drug-related problems. If they could be shown to work well, that might be sufficient to draw support from some who are troubled by the sharp distinction drawn between cocaine powder and crack. If they are shown not to work well, that night give pause to those who value mandatory minimum laws' power to induce plea bargains and cooperation from defendants.
To some it may seem strange to evaluate drug sentences in terms of benefits achieved per million taxpayer dollars spent. After all, no legislature votes explicitly on a budget item labeled ''extending sentences for dealers who meet the criteria for mandatory minimum sentences.'' Nevertheless, many public officials make decisions that do lead to more or fewer taxpayer dollars being spent on such sentences. This is most obvious for members of Congress and state legislators. When a new sentencing bill is passed (or repealed), it influences who goes to prison for how long, and incarcerating people costs money.
More subtly, prosecutors influence how corrections budgets are divided between mandatory minimum sentences and punishment of other offenders whenever they decide whether to prosecute an arrested dealer or not, or to prosecute the dealer under one statute or another. Heads of enforcement agencies do likewise when they decide how many people to assign to drug control work and whether to target lower-level or higher-level dealing. The more enforcement agents there are, the more drug arrests. The more drug arrests there are, the more long sentences for drug offenders. And, as this analysis shows, the higher the targeted dealers are in the drug market hierarchy, the more cost-effective are the enforcement efforts. This is particularly true when the sentences are as long as are current federal mandatory minimums.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The analysis above certainly does not say that drug enforcement should be eliminated, for at least two reasons. First, reducing drug use and related crime and spending are not the only legitimate objectives of drug control. Second, the analysis pertains to relatively modest changes in the scale of drug-control programs. Eliminating federal mandatory minimum drug sentences would constitute such a modest change. (Recall that most dealers are convicted in state courts and those convicted in federal courts would still be subject to conventional sentences.) Eliminating all enforcement would not be a modest change, and its consequences cannot be inferred by extrapolating the results above.
The analysis above does say, however, that passing and maintaining laws such as the federal mandatory minimum sentencing statutes do not represent an effective or efficient way of reducing drug use, drug spending, or drug-related crime. Conversely, a desire to fight drug use, spending, and crime is not sufficient reason to oppose repealing these laws. It would be perfectly reasonable for someone dedicated to controlling drug use to support repeal of mandatory minimum sentences. That is particularly the case if repeal could be tied to a reallocation of the resources saved into other, more effective drug control programs. Given that one such alternative program is conventional enforcement without mandatory minimum sentences, such a reallocation is not difficult to imagine. It could be achieved, for example, by simultaneously repealing mandatory minimum sentencing laws and expanding the number of enforcement agents, prosecutors, and judges enough to hold constant total spending on drug enforcement.
The title of this report asks whether mandatory minimum drug sentences should be seen as just punishment for heinous offenders (''throwing away the key'') or simply as wasteful (''throwing away the taxpayers' money''). Issues of justice cannot be reduced to numbers; issues of efficiency are, however, amenable to quantitative analysis. Our analysis shows that mandatory minimum drug sentences do throw away taxpayer money in the sense that there are other, more efficient, less costly ways of achieving the same drug control ends.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Long sentences for serious crimes have intuitive appeal. They respond to deeply held beliefs about punishment for evil actions, and in many cases they ensure that, by removing a criminal from the streets, further crimes that would have been committed will not be. But in the case of black-market crimes like drug dealing, a jailed supplier is often replaced by another supplier if demand remains. And not all agree whether mandatory minimums satisfy American standards of fairness and justice. Even those who believe they do must ask themselves to what extent might it be desirable to give up some punishment of the guilty to gain some further reduction in cocaine consumptionconsumption that can victimize the innocent. This trade of punishment for drug use reduction must be considered because long sentences are expensive and cocaine control resources are limited. As we show, if reducing consumption or violence is the goal, more can be achieved by spending additional money arresting, prosecuting, and sentencing dealers to standard prison terms than by spending it sentencing (fewer) dealers to longer, mandatory term. (And that is to say nothing of what might be achieved by redirecting resources from enforcement to treatmentadmittedly, a more difficult reallocation because those programs might be run by completely different agencies.) We find an exception in the case of the highest-level dealersthose who value their time most highly and are hardest to apprehendwhere sentences of mandatory minimum length appear to be the most cost-effective approach. However, current mandatory minimum laws are not focused on those dealers.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Reuter. Chief Berger, we are delighted to have you here today. We thought you were going to be preceded by Florida's new drug chief, Jim McDonough, but as you know his situation did not allow him to be here with us today so being a Floridian, I would like to specifically welcome you. We thank you for coming a good distance to be with us and you may please proceed with your testimony.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
STATEMENT WILLIAM BERGER, CHIEF OF POLICE, NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL
Mr. BERGER. Yes, sir. Thank you very much. I do not have a prepared text. I would like to speak just very generically. When I received my phone call, I guess it was Tuesday afternoon at about 5 asking me if I could actually be here and I got up this morning at 4 a.m. in order to be on that 5:20 flight. I consider it a great honor to be here and to testify before you. And when I say on behalf of DEA, not certainly as an employee but as a thankful local police chief who has had first-hand knowledge working with DEA. As my resume will state to you, I have been in law enforcement 25 years.
I was the commander of the Miami Homicide Unit when we had the dubious honor of being the murder capital of the world back in 1981 through about 1984. And unfortunately when I saw the carnage that took place mostly directed either toward the Mariel boat lift that came over, shortly after that a lot of reprisal type murders, but also the integration of heavy cocaine trafficking from an international market that caused a tremendous amount of murders. We went from approximately 80 to 90 murders a year in excess of 200 just in the City of Miami Proper.
And through the hard work of all agencies, and specifically the locals working with DEA, we have curtailed that greatly. And though New York gets a tremendous amount of credit for what they have done with their murder rate and crime rate, we are very proud in the State of Florida that if you look at our numbers they were never that high to begin with, but we have significantly made some strides in reducing, as I mentioned before, the carnage that has taken place with the integration of drugs.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
When I think of DEA, I have had exposure both at the local level and international level. I am the international vice president of the International Associations of Chief of Police as a third vice president, so I have been able to see both arenas, both at the local level working very closely with HIDA, working with their money laundering task forces, working with Operation ODESA, which deals with Russian organized crime and other crime entities. Utilizing your Federal resources has been a tremendous tool that we could not, we could not, I emphasize this as a local-based agency, we could never undertake because of lack of funding and resources.
When they say Uncle Sam is here to help you, HIDA is a true example of that. I know the South Florida HIDA has been used as a role model for the rest of the country so we are very, very honored and very thankful for that effort. The MET team, and though I am a small community in comparison to let's say New York and Miami Proper, I am a community of about 45,000 people, kind of an upscale community. We have had our problems with drugs also. And unfortunately when you are a small-based community of 105 sworn officers and those officers because we are completely community-oriented policing agency, I was very proud of the fact that Robert Chujonowitz and I talked together last year before his unfortunate and untimely death, but we are very integrated, and it is very difficult to do drug investigations when the community knows your officers by not only by face but by first name.
So we were able to identify a very dangerous group that had been working in our community and the surrounding community probably for the last four or 5 years, and they were a drug enterprise and they dealt with crimes of violence and narcotic trafficking. And we were able to go ahead and secure the MET team by just a phone call to DEA and asked them that we need your specialized resources to come into our community and assist us. And within a very short period of time, and I mean 2 weeks maximum, we were able to take out this criminal family called the Thomas family.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I can't tell you how many calls I received and thank yous from that community, predominantly African-American, to say thank you very much. We were so tired of hearing gunshots at night. We were so fearful of our safety because of these hoodlums, these criminals. And in effect we were able to basically eliminate that scourge that had been taking over that community for a long period of time because of our inability really to do effective drug enforcement.
And that is just a small illustration of how DEA, the Federal Government, is able to help locals fight crime basically in our neighborhoods. I have also had the opportunity to serve on the Special Orders Committee which basically is setting profile with the pharmaceutical companies dealing with the ingredients that make up methamphetamines. So from a standpoint of both local based and from a national perspective, I can't tell you enough, and I think a lot of it has to do with DEA's comfortability with law enforcement.
I believe 60% of the agents are basically people that were hired who have previous law enforcement experience that came from local law enforcement so there is a great relationship that starts right from the get-go. They have a true understanding of municipal or county policing. And I can't tell you over the last 5 years we have really enjoyed a very special relationship with Tom Constantine, the former director administrator of DEA, who truly was a cop's cop, superintendent of New York State Police, somebody who would roll up his sleeves and basically say we are really here to help. And I guess that concludes my testimony.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you for coming. I know the feeling about getting up at 4 a.m. to catch a flight back up here so we really appreciate that. Mr. Maginnis, you are recognized, and thank you for coming on very short notice too.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
STATEMENT ROBERT MAGINNIS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL, SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Mr. MAGINNIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and the committee. The American people, frankly, are very discouraged about these issues, sir, and on a routine basis, and I brought recent national polls that we hire a national pollster to ask the people about drug policy. And I thought perhaps for a couple of minutes I would share what they are saying. It is interesting that 72% of our voters, and I only ask voters, by the way, believe that elicit drug use has increased compared with 10 years ago, 33%, in fact, say this is the most pressing social issue in America today.
When we asked about your local neighborhood, 58% of the voters said it is a serious problem amongst my children and 43% said it is a serious problem amongst the adults in our community. What priority should Congress give this issue? Well, 33% said it should be the number one priority of the United States Congress. 91%, in fact, said that on a scale of 1 to 10, it has to be 5 or higher. So they put it pretty high. Who is to blame? Well, first, parents; second, the individual; third, the government, that is all government; and, fourth, the pop culture.
Down at the bottom, education. In fact, most people say the public schools are doing a great job. What should the priority be for the Federal Government? Well, in foreign policy terms they say forget terrorism, illegal immigration and free trade, the most important thing for them is drug interdiction.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. SCOTT. Excuse me, Mr. Maginnis.
Mr. MAGINNIS. Yes.
Mr. SCOTT. Could you repeat that last list of whowas that who is at fault, you said?
Mr. MAGINNIS. Who voters blame for the drug problem in the United States, yes, sir. And the first one was parents, 35%. The four traditional fronts on the drug war, of course interdiction, prevention, treatment, law enforcement, the Federal Government's role according to the voters is 32% for interdiction, second is prevention at 25%, treatment, law enforcement, 10%. With regard to interdiction, especially along the Mexican border, three out of four voters agree that the United States should focus more resources on stopping the flow of illegal drugs to and across our border.
Three out of four votes favor basing foreign trade on the producing and transient Nation's cooperation with the U.S. in reducing the supply. Now we need a balanced approach. We have got to have a tough supply reduction but also voters are very vocal with regard to prevention. We find that more than three out of four votes, say, for example, let's give local businesses some sort of tax incentive to educate them so they can talk to their kids about the drug problem because apparently we are not getting to the kids, only through the schools.
Frankly, the ONDCP's media campaign, I think, and I have seen the data, I think it is beginning to have some positive results and I appreciate Congress' approach on that. As far asit is interesting, drug testing. My daughter recently got her driver's license and I am fearful at this point to go on the roads with her but frankly, you know, the voters, 7 out of 10 voters in the United States say, look, let's make it a right of passage. If you want your driver's license, you are going to do a drug test. It sends a clear message that we don't tolerate alcohol and drug use on the highways of America.
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
What about prevention? It is interesting that when you ask the voters, they blame the pop culture. In fact, they say that 82%, according to the voters, 82% of the voters say that teenagers are influenced by the pop culture to use elicit drugs. 58% of our voters say that adults are influenced by the pop culture to use elicit drugs. Yes, and there are mixed messages out there that the voters are concerned about. Six out of 10 voters say that the issue of medical marijuana is influencing teenagers on their willingness and their perception of risk with regard to drugs.
The issue of needle exchange, a controversial issue in this chamber certainly, more than 120 of these various types of legal, illegal and so forth across the Nation, but 6 out of 10 voters say it sends the wrong message to kids about drugs and in fact it may encourage them to use drugs. I would add voters are very vocal in terms of treating inmates because we have a lot of recidivism in this country from drug-addicted people that just go through the system and get out and haven't been treated, 7 out of 10 voters believe the providing inmates with drug treatment before they are released to reduce future crime. They want this done, and certainly ONDCP, I think, is recommending some interesting things that may in fact help us in that regard.
They are in favor of coercive approach to people that have been convicted on a crime such as Drug Corps. Almost 80% favor that. So, Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, what voters are telling us is that they believe the drug problem is getting worse, and it has over the last decade. Voters expect Congress to make fighting drugs a high, very high, priority. Voters expect the Federal Government to be in the business of fighting the drugs before they get here, stopping it before they cross our borders and certainly not later than our borders.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And, interestingly, law enforcement at the Federal level is not something they perceive as being a high priority in relation to the other things. Demand reduction, of course, they see as very critical and key. Parent involvement is absolutely essential. We have to do everything we can to involve parents. We have to as the ONDCP is doing fighting the pop culture and sending the right messages.
And, finally, treatment. They favor treatment. They want these people that are drug addicted who go to prison to make sure they are clean and able to stay clean once they leave. I thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you very much, Mr. Maginnis, for that enlightening analysis of your studies. I want to ask Chief Berger the first question in the time that I have here. You described an incident in North Miami Beach in your police department where there was DEA and MET cooperation to break up a drug gang. Tell me first how that came about, how was the DEA involved, how was the decision made in that particular case? Maybe it would be a good illustration for us as to how you cooperate and work together.
Mr. BERGER. We locally had gathered intelligence about this particular group who had been longstanding, four or 5 years, working a drug enterprise. And individual members would be arrested and virtually they would be released before the paperwork dried with the police officer. We have computers now but virtually before that last report was viewed by a supervisor. Very, very frustrating. We are very intense. We do a lot of town meetings in this particular community all throughout the city. We have actually nine neighborhoods that were identified.
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And every time we would go to the Washington Park area the people themselves would say we are just tired of this. We can't go outside our homes, you know. We are hearing bullets being fired at all hours of the night and we know drug trafficking is occurring. And then we would traditionally go in there, we would make arrests, and subsequently, as I said, within 24 hours those people would be released whether on their own recognizance or very small bonds.
We know one thing that the Federal Government can do to us is enhance sentences. We know that if we can go ahead and work complex cases up then these persons can be put away and send a very strong signal to that community that drugs don't pay, that if you are going to do the crime, as they say, you are going to do the time. And once we had made this decision, I called at that time Jim Milford, who was the ASAP for the Miami office and then he was replaced by Billy Mitchell. And I had asked could this possibly take place because, as I said before, in the scheme of things North Miami Beach and Dade County were the size of Rhode Island but I think we are the sixth largest city.
Without hesitation they said let our people meet with your people, let's see exactly if we can come up with the results that you need, you know, actually develop, you know, conspiracies, identify players involved in this criminal enterprise, and let's see if we can go ahead and work that. What they did is not only did they bring in their own people but other agencies throughout South Florida who participate in the MET, multi-jurisdictional task forces. They came in there. We did a series of buys and subsequently within that 2 weeks the investigation was over. We went ahead and served warrants early, early in the morning, not to affect the general population. And basically we took them out of business within a very, very short period of time.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Were they arrested to be tried in Federal court as opposed to State court?
Mr. BERGER. Yes and no. The individuals that we could show a continuing criminal enterprise, they were charged federally. Several of the lower level players were charged State but with DEA coming in here and the focus on this case building a bigger priority the local State attorney of course signed main prosecutors to this so it had a very positive effect. None of those persons were virtually released, as I said before, within 24 hours.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. So in essence, you obtained prosecutions you might not have gotten otherwise at the State level. You had some prosecuted at the Federal level and you basically got attention to the matter that would not have occurred otherwise.
Mr. BERGER. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Maginnis, I am intrigued by all the figures you have given us about voter interest in this drug issue. There are some who have suggested that the public's concerns and interest have waned on the drug issue even though we know that drug prices are cheaper, quantity is up and the kids are more involved with drugs, that indeed the public over the last five to 6 years has moved efforts against drugs down on its priority list and put a lot of other things ahead of it and isn't as concerned about it as before.
I have heard some pollsters say that. What do your findings show? Is that contradictory to your findings? Do you think the public still places the concern over the drug issue high at the top of the list or am I mistaken in what some other pollsters have reported?
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MAGINNIS. There has been a decline, I think, in where it stands in terms of intensity perhaps, Mr. Chairman, but still when you put it together with the related crime it still goes to the very top and consistently though I think the intensity of the feeling may not be what it was. But once again it depends upon the demographic groups that you talk to. Are you talking to the groups where they are saying, yes, it is a serious problem in my neighborhood and then put it at the top priority or are you talking to groups that traditionally don't have the problem.
Go to Plano, Texas, go to Northern New Jersey where they have an increasing heroin problem like they do in Orlando and elsewhere and I will tell you the parents there are very concerned so when you do a profile, a voter random profile of the United States on any given day, you may not be hitting some of those sensitive points. But I believe certainly as I talk to parents around this country that the intensity of concern is still there but maybe some of the messages that we are getting in the pop culture and from government as well are conflicting and they are not really sure what to think any longer.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I was going to say in those areas that aren't Plano, Texas or New Jersey or Orlando where the issue isn't right at the forefront, is the general population you think less exposed to the serious growth of the drug problem, in other words, they aren't aware? Do your polls and your studies show the lack of maybe the President or others calling attention to this problem as much as a few years ago? Is that being reflected in the polls?
Mr. MAGINNIS. Well, like in Miami if you are not hearing the gunshots and you are not seeing on your local television and hearing on your radio about the drug busts, about the drug problems and so forth, and quite frankly the numbers are down, sir, so we are not hearing it as much as we need to for in fact it is a very serious problem in this country but that influences poll results. You know, they are consumers of the media. If they are not hearing that there is a problem out there and if it is not, you know, on their own doorstep they are going to perceive that the problem is not really as terrible as it frankly is.
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you. Mr. Scott, you are recognized.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, I will yield to the gentlelady from California.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Ms. Waters, on Mr. Scott's time you are recognized.
Ms. WATERS. Thank you very much. Mr. Berger, we expect the DEA and the local police to do exactly what you described they did. As a matter of fact, in many of the communities similar to the one that you described they have been ignored when the police have gone out for help. We have seen around the Nation communities organize, put on tee shirts, walk the community, talk about taking back the community, and they have done a lot of this without a lot of support and a lot of help, and so we expect the DEA, the local police, all of these committees that we have, we expect people to do just that and we want to do even a better job of it.
I don't believe that the interest of Americans has waned in relationship to drugs and drug enforcement but we do see an interesting and unsettling kind of trend and this is what some of us are seeing. We are seeing an emphasis on lower level drug dealers on young people with one rock of crack cocaine getting thrown into the Federal system getting mandatory minimum sentencing. These young people for the most part once they spend 5 years in prison for five grams of crack cocaine their lives are basically over. They are not going to be able to do very much.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We don't see the big plan. We don't see the emphasis on the big drug dealers. We also see the numbers increasing in prison of these low level drug dealers who are notmany of them are users and there is no real rehabilitation going on. And we see that since law enforcement is successful with these lower level dealers who don't have lawyers and all of that they are going to lock them up and they are going to send them to prison. And they are using more tactics like conspiracies where you don't have actual documentation, you don't have evidence. Somebody tells on somebody else and even though you don't have the documentation you get them on conspiracy so that you can get them locked up.
Well, some of us do not believe that that is going to solve America's drug problem. All it is going to do is cost Americans more money locking up low level dealers. The prisons will overflow. A disproportionate amount of our money will go toward maintaining these prisons and it will not get at the big drug dealers and the big money launderers. If there was no money laundering there would be no dope selling. If you don't get the profits out of it, it doesn't do you any good.
What we don't hear is, we don't hear the strategies on money laundering. When I talk about the case with City Corp. having accepted $180 million from Raul Salinas, nobody is going to talk about that. Two big to touch. Too big to touch. When we talk about those who are part of the big trafficking operations with sophisticated lawyers who can get the representation and get out, we don't see a strategy that talks about what we do with those kind of traffickers.
So having said all of that, does anyone have any recommendations about what we can do to turn this trend around to really get at the big drug dealers, stop filling up the prisons with low level and mandatory minimum sentences. What is your recommendation, anybody?
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BERGER. Well, from the supply side I think you have to deal with immigration. It is very common that these couriers come over and if they are in fact apprehended whether it be with illegal profits or money or with drugs themselves many times they are sent back to their country and within a short period of time they are back under a different name, a different ID, so that has been a continuing problem.
I know for the States of Florida and Texas and California, your State, it is a tremendous problem because you are dealing with this almost revolving door because a lot of the big profit people you are talking about, the multi-billionaires are sitting in other countries and they use these people. I have heard they have kidnapped their relatives and forced them to come to this country to do this or they hold them hostage by saying that I will pay your trip over here but, you know, you better do what you are told to do.
So we definitely need to look at the entire problem. When I hear things like as you mentioned before about City Corp. and the local banks and businesses that accept this type of money and accept thisyou know, they are partners and we need to prosecute them. We need to take them out. We need to make them pay for their crimes because they are basically rubber stamping this, this poison that is affecting our entire community. One thing I am most proud of is not only my law enforcement career but I have five children. And let me tell you something, it has been very, very difficult. It is very difficult. The inducements are there every day.
And any parent who is lucky enough to say they have never had this problem, God love them. But I am telling you, and I am in law enforcement, I have had problems with my own children and it rips your heart out. Another thing I think is very important, and I am going to talk to you as a parent right now, I think the insurance companies need to be accountable, and what I mean by that is insurance companies don't cover drug treatment. And in many cases if parents are tuned to their children and they can recognize problems are starting to take place, that children are doing poorly in school, that they are starting to drop out, they are starting to be involved in activities they shouldn't be.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The first thing you want to do is try and get them the treatment or have some type of programs, and quite frankly those programs are extremely expensive and most insurance companies put very small caps, and you are helpless. I have parents come to me all the time, what am I going to do, Chief, what am I going to do? And I don't know what to do from that standpoint because unfortunately my resources, and we are very committee friendly, are basically as you had mentioned, you know, I can only place them in situations in the criminal justice system. If we can establish something before that level, it will go far to eliminate this problem, and it is a very big problem in this country.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Waters.
Ms. WATERS. You have someone else that was going to speak.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes. Mr. Reuter, do you want to add to that?
Mr. REUTER. Thank you. If I could just make two points, Congresswoman. First of all, as my testimony tried to point out, it is the growing length of sentences that I think is part of the problem that you are concerned with here but I have to say that there are not all that many major drug traffickers in this country. If you look at the pyramid of drug trafficking, what you see is lots of small dealers and a very small number of large dealers.
Unfortunately, the imprisoned population of drug dealers is always going to look like that. Probably if you take the pyramid in prison, look at the big traffickers and the small ones, I think actually there would be more like this whereas the actual pyramid is like that. I think being a high level drug trafficker if you are not staying in Colombia is probably a very high risk business in this country, more so even than being a low level trafficker.
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Waters. We will take a second round as we have done with the other panels. First of all, I am only going to comment, I will be very brief and let Mr. Scott ask questions, but with regard to getting some kind of better treatment and having insurance coverage for that, Chief Berger, I certainly would like to see something that would better oversee the treatment programs and sort them out. Maybe the insurance industry would do this. But my impression, and I would ask both you and Mr. Reuter this question and perhaps Mr. Maginnis, but the majority of research I have seen before this subcommittee since I have been chairman of it would indicate that we have a lot of trouble with treatment programs, that most of them are ineffective, but that there are some good ones. I have been to visit some.
But unfortunately most are ineffective and they don't lead to sustained reduction or recidivism rates and so on. Is that your experience, Chief Berger?
Mr. BERGER. I can tell you that emphatically and personally, yes, there are many programs that say they do this and that but they do not help in this situation. Many of them are ruses that they are there for grants and claim tremendous successes when in fact that is not the case. But I can tell you that within South Florida taking the three largest counties, Palm Beach, Broward and Dade, which would be almost the size of most States in this country that there is less than a handful of very good drug treatment programs that can truly help especially children.
Even that is a problem because that almost bifurcates it right there, we are dealing with adolescents. There are very few that specialize in adolescents. Most of them are court-mandated. They are kind of halfway houses for sometimes, and no reflection on these folks, but some of them are people who had drug experience, heavy drug experience. They will come and lecture and it is a different community, a differentit seems like every generation has their own language and own culture and, quite frankly, it is very difficult.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I don't consider myself old but, you know, and I thought I was pretty in tune but I am out of tune, and I think even people that are in their 20's are out of tune with today's teenagers and today's teenagers will be out of tune with the next generation that will come along.
Ms. WATERS. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I certainly will yield, Ms. Waters.
Ms. WATERS. Have you found that the rich and famous have access to better drug treatment centers and that they have been able to overcome their addictions better than just the average working stiff or poor person?
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Reclaiming. I have not seen a study to show that but I would assume some of that may be true. On the other hand, my experience, and I don't know what the Chief and Mr. Reuter and Mr. Maginnis' experiences are, is that across the board drug treatment programs generally aren't very effective for anybody even if you have the money to pay for them. However, I have seen a couple that are effective.
In fact, I have seen in my area in central Florida one which is court-referred. In that case, the young people who are juveniles who are going there are required to spend a year and in that process they are in an incarcerated type of status, detention status, and it is an intense program and it involves a whole lot more than just getting them off drugs. It involves basically getting them to change their thinking, giving them hope and opportunity and direction and education and all kinds of things. And I assume that isyou are shaking your head, Chief Berger. Is that what we are seeing? That is more important than who has got the money.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. BERGER. Very much so. And it is self-esteem and as you mentioned before character building. There are just so many stresses. Well, maybe the stress is on us but children today have tremendous amount of stresses. And quite frankly what I have seen personally and professionally, unfortunately as you mentioned before there are very few that meet that need.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Reuter, I want to let you comment. Am I correct that there are very few programs that meet that need?
Mr. REUTER. There is enormous variability in the quality of treatment programs. There is no doubt about that. The research literature shows that you have programs which are four or five times more effective than others and finding out a way of lifting the programs out of the bottom is obviously very important. On the other hand, if you average across those programs and ask ''do they bring enough benefit just in terms of reduced drug use for some period of time and reduced crime?'' the answer is fairly unambiguously yes.
Studies, for example, sponsored by the California Drug and Alcohol Department, have shown very substantial reductions in particularly crime related to drug use.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. But that is because those programs that are effective are very effective and there are a bunch of other programs that aren't very effective so we are not spending our $1.50 wisely there either.
Mr. REUTER. I certainly am not arguing about that we are targeting it well. If we could figure out a better way of targeting, that would be wonderful. It is hard to come up with regulations. In this arena, where you have third party purchases that aren't verypurchasers who aren't very well informed, in particular county corrections departments, you are likely to get a lot of weak programs. Something is structurally flawed about this which is hard to fix.
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCCOLLUM. And, Mr. Maginnis, is the public view of treatment consistent with this or do they think treatment is universally a good thing?
Mr. MAGINNIS. Well, they universally support treatment that works. Obviously there is concern out there. One of the earlier points on insurance, I asked recently the question whether or not if your premiums were to increase, say, for $1 per month and that would guarantee you treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction, would you like to have that. 61% said yes. So, in fact, there is some recognition that there is a need for help out there.
Longer term programs, I have been to longer term programs in this country, certainly in Italy, San Patrigno, a major 4-year program for heroin addicts, hard core heroin addicts that does work, a program in the Netherlands called The Hope, which is an incredible government-hosted program that does work. The Phoenix House, of course, in this country. These are long-term programs. There is incredible research that says these short-term programs that often are government sponsored are worthless, and in fact we shouldn't be putting our money in that.
And that is why I think that for especially the chronic offender who ends up in prison, we are going to have them there for a while serving their sentence, we have to begin to address their addictive lifestyles so that we don't turn them back on society just to redo those crimes. I will tell you that there are some public sector programs, Teen Challenge, not for everyone but for those that go into those types of programs, faith-based programs, they do work. I have seen them in several countries. So I think the treatment programs in this country go from wonderful to worthless. Unfortunately, we have too many that are on the worthless side.
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you. Mr. Scott, you are recognized.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Reuter, I think we made the point that just calling a program a prevention program doesn't mean it works.
Mr. REUTER. We talked about treatment but I am perfectly happy to use that as well for prevention.
Mr. SCOTT. You mentioned a California program that had been studied.
Mr. REUTER. Yes.
Mr. SCOTT. Could you give us a little brief sketch as to how much money was saved for every dollar put into that program?
Mr. REUTER. Yes, Congressman. This was a study carried out by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, under California State government auspices. It was a survey of drug use and crime amongst persons admitted to anya sample of persons admitted to State government funded treatment programs I think in 1992. And what it found was that there was a substantial reduction in drug use generally and in associated crime so that using speculative but sensible figures they estimated that the value was $7 in reduced crime and increased other social benefits for every dollar spent on treatment. And there is I believe one other study which I can't recall at the moment which has similar results, I think perhaps done by Research Triangle Institute.
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. SCOTT. Now a lot of people are looking for drug rehabilitation and can't find it so as we look for places to put our money, you mentioned in your report on mandatory minimums. Could you tell us the name of that report?
Mr. REUTER. Yes. It is Mandatory Minimums: Throwing Away the Key or the Taxpayers' Money.
Mr. SCOTT. And that title came about after you saw what your findings looked like?
Mr. REUTER. Yes. I was not a co-author of that report though. I was involved actually as a referee, a reviewer of it, but, yes, I think the authors came to that title afterwards.
Mr. SCOTT. As we look at the investments in the supply reduction, we asked the DEA how much money we would actually have to spend to reduce the supply to under the demand. Obviously we are nowhere close yet. Could you speculate as to what order of magnitude we would be talking about and what the price chart over here that showed the price going down and the purity going up, what that might mean?
Mr. REUTER. Let me start with that second question because I think it will help me with the first one. The decline of prices for cocaine and heroin, which have gone down almost together over a period of 15 years, is a genuine puzzle. I am working with the National Institute of Justice funds to try and see if I can model this. There are two kinds of explanations that you might offer. One is that back in the 80's there was a fat happy cartel and it controlled the price, and gradually more people got in the business and the price collapsed because the cartel came to an end.
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I think I can make a reasonable showing that there never was a cartel that could really control production and what was exported from Colombia, which is the point at which you might have monopoly power. The second explanation is sort of much more grubby. There are lots of little things that go to make up that. And one of them is just that this is a business in which basically though we have a large number of users of cocaine and heroin, we have had very few new addicts created over the last 10 to 15 years.
The result is we are getting a bunch of older people involved in this business. They are more committed to this business than they were before. They are less violent just because they are older. There are a bunch of things that make this a less risky business from point of view of violence, and the labor market opportunities are less so that keeps them trapped in here and that is one of the things that presses down the price.
But there are going to be a whole lot of things separate from enforcement that I think are going to contribute to that explanation. Now one reason to pay attention to price is that when you talk about reducing supply below demand that takes the notion that there is some fixed quantity which is the amount demanded. In fact, the amount demanded is very much a function of price. I think the collapse in price has not led to more people becoming cocaine addicts
Mr. SCOTT. Has not?
Mr. REUTER. Has not led to more people becoming cocaine addicts but to those who are cocaine dependent using more of the drug and that is why the quantity consumed has stayed pretty stable over a long period of time which the number of cocaine users has gone down. I think more effective enforcement might be able to raise the price some but this notion that you sort of make it impossible for users to find someone to supply them I think is not a reasonable ambition. In the short run you might be able to do it in some places. There is one time in modern history in which it occurred and that was in the late 1970's when heroin supplies became really much tighter.
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
A bunch of heroin addicts basically dropped out of using heroin for a period of maybe four or 5 years in which the market was very tight and then around the late 70's, early 80's, they came back in. Maybe you could achieve that though I certainly have no suggestions on the strategy for doing that.
Mr. SCOTT. What is the most cost effective way of reducing drug use?
Mr. REUTER. At the margin, I believe treatment will do more to reduce drug consumption and crime than any other program that we have available to us.
Mr. SCOTT. In your study on mandatory minimums you mentioned parental training too.
Mr. REUTER. There are a bunch of early intervention programs that have lots of consequences, one of which is reducing drug consumption. And in a separate RAND study there is a real showing that those are very cost effective. Part of it depends on the time. A parental training program will help you with a drug problem 15 years from now. If what you are concerned with is the next 5 years, parental training doesn't have a lot to offer, and clearly one needs a portfolio to both deal with a current problem and with a problem in the long run. So that sort of prevention is very important for the long run parental training and for the very, very long run. Treatment is much more important for the near term.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Scott. Ms. Jackson Lee, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and of course thank you for holding this oversight hearing. And I apologize to the previous panels and to this panel that I was previously detained in what is still an ongoing hearing on another subcommittee on the House Judiciary Committee. I will ask brief questions and then make a comment. First, I think I understood Professor Reuter to talk about the lack of credibility or value in mandatory minimums if I am hearing him correctly.
I was with some Federal judges just the other day who experienced frustration in not having some discretion in these instances of drug cases because some of them are so much like a fish net sort of haul everybody in. If you would comment quickly on that. Let me throw another question out. And then would you comment on a new phenomenon that is catching everyone is the drug use in rural and suburban areas, so maybe someone would say, yeah, we sure do need mandatory minimums, it is spreading.
And lastly let me commend to this committee that I hope to have before this committee the Hillary J. Ferraras date rape drug legislation dealing with date rape drug which some of the members of the committee, including Mr. McCollum, have seen in the last session which we have specifically included an education and prevention aspect to it, that is, of course, if you heard of that date rape drug sort of you just fall limp and it has impacted many women.
And so I would take from your comments that you are not suggesting that the DEA shouldn't be in the business of prohibiting or regulating illegal drug use or drugs that can kill but I would like to hear your comments on the two questions that I raised.
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. REUTER. On the mandatory minimums, my testimony was very much that it is an inefficient use of resources. If you are going to spend that money, you should lock up more people for shorter periods of time rather than a few people for long periods of time. And certainly the guidelines and the quantities used in those guidelines I think are real problems in terms of leading to people who are very minor in the drug trade serving sentences that are certainly inefficient and perhaps unfair as well.
The spread to the rural and suburban areas is hard to explain and there is a long period of time in which there was both a spread of heroin and cocaine in the cities and then decline and the rural areas really saw very little of it. Whether this is part of the increasing integration of American society so that in some sense we are all part of one society now in a way that wasn't true even 20 years ago, I think is as good as I can come to an explanation as to why that is happening now.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank you. Does anyone else want to comment on that?
Mr. MAGINNIS. Yes, ma'am. As we track the disintegration of the family, as we track parental time with children, I think you will find we have greater drug use in our rural, our non-suburban areas. Obviously, the pop culture reaches every corner of this country as it does the inner city so now that we have kind of removed a lot of those barriers, we have a very common lack of parental supervision.
You weren't here, ma'am, but earlier on I pointed out that the voters who I have routinely asked in national polling have indicated that they blame parents for the problem among their kids. Eight out of 10 say that is the problem so if a parent is removed more times than they ought to be and they are not having the influence on the child and they are having the same pop culture issues across the country, and, yes, voters say the pop culture is contributing to drug use especially amongst teenagers then we begin to, I think, can begin to explain the problem a little better than in the past.
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I think, quite frankly, ONDCP's program to communicate to the pop culture and their various segments of the pop culture is beginning to have an effect, so I think that is a very positive move.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. What I hear you saying is that we have combined forces that we have to deal with in this highly technical and communicative society. In looking at your background, I know that you would think that law enforcement certainly needs to be part of this and I assume laws that would prohibit or make illegal drug use, drugs that are illegal or that can kill is an important part, and then prevention and treatment I hope is an important part of this issue.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I would ask unanimous consent to allow my opening statement to be submitted into the record.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Without objection it is so ordered.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. Chairman, I would like to convey my gratitude to you and the Committee for convening this oversight hearing to examine the DEA's strategies and operations throughout the 1990's. To my knowledge, we have not held an oversight hearing on the DEA in nearly a decade. Accordingly, I look forward to hearing the testimony of the witnesses empanelled here today.
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Last year, the Chairman of the Crime Subcommittee and Senator Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control requested the General Accounting Office (GAO) to conduct a comprehensive review of the DEA. The DEA is charged with the task of enforcing the nation's drug laws and bringing drug traffickers to justice. The GAO study was designed to evaluate the extent to which the DEA is achieving its goals.
Funding for all federal drug efforts has increased, in constant 1999 dollars, by 49 percent in the 1990s to the fiscal year 1999 level of nearly $18 billion. Funding. for the DEA has nearly doubled, in constant 1999 dollars, from approximately $806 million in fiscal year 1990 to approximately $1.5 billion in fiscal year 1999. The number of DEA staff increased from about 6,000 in fiscal year 1990 to about 8,400 in fiscal year 1998 (including 4,300 special agents). With such a dramatic increase in funding and personnel, I am curious in determining how effective the DEA has been in reducing illegal drug consumption.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) estimates that illegal drugs cost our society about $110 billion annually, including lost jobs and productivity, health problems, and economic hardships to families. There is also a well documented correlation between violent crimes and drugs. In 1998, ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey announced a detailed ''Performance Measurement System'' for our national anti-drug strategy. He announced specific ''targets'' to be reduced by specific percentages over the next five and ten years. I am, like the GAO, concerned that the DEA has not developed baselines or performance targets. So, I hope that this issue can be addressed.
I am also troubled by disparate impact that federal drug enforcement (particularly cocaine enforcement) has on black defendants. In 1998, less than one in four federal drug defendants was white. Yet in 1997 there were 10.3 million white current drug users and only 1.8 million current black drug users. I am deeply interested in hearing what the witnesses have to say on this and the related topic of mandatory minimum sentencing.
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We are all gathered here today to discuss how the DEA can curtail illegal drug usage in the United States. I trust that today's dialogue will help us achieve this goal.
I thank you.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Yes, Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. I would ask unanimous consent that these documents be entered into the record, one, a statement on behalf of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation and a study by them, and an Esquire magazine article.
Mr. MCCOLLUM. Without objection it is so ordered.
[The information referred to follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ERIC E. STERLING, ON BEHALF OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY FOUNDATION
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Scott, thank you very much for the opportunity to submit a statement to you about the Drug Enforcement Administration. The first hearing I set up for members of the House Judiciary Committee, in March 1980, was a DEA oversight hearing. I have been following DEA's activities and other drug policy matters for almost 20 years.
These are the key points I think the Subcommittee should keep in mind.
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC(1) There is a need for Congressional oversight of DEA's performance.
(2) DEA is not being held accountable.
(3) DEA has been profoundly ineffective as demonstrated by key measures.
(4) DEA's priorities are misdirected.
(5) Federal drug enforcement is prima facie racist in effect.
(6) Race is a factor in profiling drug suspects.
(7) Case selection is driven by informants, not DEA managers.
(8) DEA can play an important role in fighting violent crime domestically.
It is important to note at the outset that criticism of DEA is not a disparagement, in the least, of the courage and dedication of the individual men and women of DEA. Drug enforcement is necessary. A great many of the current crop of drug trafficker are among the most dangerous and evil persons alive today, and they must be fought by representatives of the law. The men and women who engage in that dangerous fight deserve our respect.
It is also important to make clear at the outset that to be critical of DEA does not mean that one is not 100% committed to the objectives of our national drug strategyof raising children who never use drugs, of having neighborhoods free of the crime and disorder of drug trafficking and violence, of protecting the public from the dangers of those under the influence of drugs, of protecting governments and the administration of justicehere and abroadfrom corruption, and of protecting the global economy from being undermined by money laundering and racketeering.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Indeed, if one is indifferent to these objectives there really is no need to pay any attention to DEA. DEA is a bureaucracy. Unless its activities are carefully overseen by the Congress, and its managers required to account to the public for the agency's performance, DEA will inevitably follow its own leadings, and not those of the taxpayers.
(1) THERE IS A NEED FOR CAREFUL EVALUATION OF DEA'S PERFORMANCE.
DEA has grown enormously. During the 1980s, when I was counsel to this subcommittee, as you know Mr. Chairman, then-Chairman William J. Hughes of New Jersey frequently held hearings to examine DEA's policies and priorities. Mr. Hughes prodded DEA, in the face of pressure to cutback to meet larger budget balancing objectives, to expand its cooperation with state and local law enforcement, to expand its international program, and to more aggressively address the problem of diverting legitimate pharmaceuticals from legitimate medicine to abuse in the streets.
My understanding from communication with the committees' document clerks is that neither the House nor Senate Judiciary Committees have held hearings specifically on DEA oversight in the past decade.
I commend you, Chairman McCollum, for convening this hearing, and I encourage you to continue this work. I especially commend you for requesting the General Accounting Office to examine DEA's work in a number of areas.
(2) DEA IS NOT BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Performance Measurement System of the National Strategy
In 1998, ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey announced a detailed ''Performance Measurement System for our national anti-drug strategy. Numerous drug strategy ''targets'' would be reduced by various percentages over five or ten years. Developing these targets has been underway since 1996, but three years later, there are still no baselines for most of those targets.
In the report from GAO to you, GAO notes that DEA has not developed either targets or baselines for its role in the strategy. DEA has not collected data that would support the strategy, such as the number of drug trafficking organizations.
Failure to set baselines for reductions means that the targets aren't real. How could anyone say with a straight face to the American people and to the Congress that America's anti-drug efforts are going to reduce a variety of specific drug trafficking problems by specific percentages over the next five and ten years when, at the time these statements are made, the anti-drug agencies do not know or cannot agree what the actual size of those problems are? The 1999 National Drug Strategy is based on the targets of ONDCP's Performance Measurement System, and on that basis, the strategy is a fraud.
DEA, with 25 years of experience as the lead agency, should be in the front of the effort to accurately analyze the scope of the drug problem and to present concrete and realistic assessments of what can be achieved. Unfortunately, DEA is not in the habit of being held accountable.
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
(3) DEA HAS BEEN PROFOUNDLY INEFFECTIVE AS DEMONSTRATED BY KEY MEASURES.
Price and Purity of Drugs Sold in the U.S.
''In the early 1980s, when I was counsel to the Judiciary Committee and DEA Administrator Bensinger testified, he pointed to the increasing price and decreasing purity of heroin as evidence of DEA's successful efforts. Price and purity are very important concrete measures of the effectiveness of the anti-drug effort.
Raising the price of drugs is good policy. Drug users are price sensitive. Raising the price of drugs deters experimenters. Higher prices limit the degree of drug use, and high prices encourage addicts to seek treatment.
Drug prices also measure the market. Higher prices means that drugs are scarcer, they are less available. It means its takes more effort for drug users to find drugs. High prices measure the risks the traffickers face. If a drug trafficker doesn't believe that his or her cost of going to prison, or otherwise being harmed in the market is very great, the trafficker doesn't have to charge very much.
Decreasing drug prices tell us the opposite. Failing drug prices mean that drug traffickers face less risk.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPurity
The purity of the drug on the street is also an important indicator. Drugs are ''cut,'' that is, they are adulterated, to improve profits. If a seller is not motivated to cut the drugs, that means he is quite satisfied with the level of profit he is making. Purity also indicates that traffickers are competing against each other for market. Higher purity is a sign of trafficker health, not starvation.
Purity is also important as a public health matter. While the adulterants used to cut drugs can sometimes be harmful in themselves, higher purity, particularly for heroin, creates a greater risk of overdose. Heroin suppresses respiration, and as DEA will tell you, the number of overdoses from heroin is increasing.
Using DEA's data, reprinted in the 1999 National Drug Control Strategy (Table 29, p. 131), the price of a gram of pure heroin at retail has declined from $3,114.80 in 1981 to $1798.80 in 1998, not controlling for inflation. This decline has been almost completely steady. The average purity of retail heroin has increased from 4.69% in 1981 to 24.49% in 1998.
In March 1980, DEA began its oversight hearing by proudly pointing out that during the 16 calendar quarters from the beginning of 1976 through the end of 1979, the retail purity of heroin had dropped from 6.7% to 3.8%. The price of heroin had increased from $1250 per gram to $2300 per gram.
Cocaine price and purity data has shows the same catastrophic changes. The 1981 retail price for a pure gram of cocaine was $328.70. Last year it had dropped to $169.25, not controlling for inflation. Street level purity at retail averaged 40.02% in 1981 and was up to 71.23% in 1998.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Wholesale cocaine prices have dropped even more dramatically. From a 1981 level of $191.35 per gram, the price was down to $44.30 per gram, the lowest level during the entire period. This number tells us that at the wholesale level, drug traffickers have continually evaluated the risk they faceprimarily of arrest, imprisonment and seizure of their assetsas declining.
Price and purity are probably the most important hard numbers available for accurately evaluating DEA's real impact on the drug trade. By these measures, DEA's performance has been worse than abysmal. Of course, it may not be DEA's fault. As we know, markets around the world have demonstrated that they are highly independent of government efforts to intervene in them. But at a minimum, this data tells us that we are profoundly and systematically failing in a key objective of our anti-drug effort.
Drug Availability to Teenagers
In one sense, I'm sure that you would agree that DEA's most important performance measure ought to be how hard it is for kids to get drugs. For 24 years we've been asking high school teenagers to tell us how easy they believe it is for them to get various drugs. This is obviously subjective. And because most of the respondents do not actually use the drugs the are reporting about, it is, as an actual measure of availability, of very limited accuracy. It is a case in which the trend is probably much more important than the actual percentage.
Mr. Chairman, last year America's high school seniors said, ''Heroin and crack cocaine have never been easier to get!''
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
35.6% of the nation's high school seniors reported heroin was 'fairly easy' or 'very easy to get,' the highest percentage since the survey was commenced in 1976. 43.8% said the same about crack cocaine, the highest percentage since the question was first asked in 1987. This was reported in HHS' Monitoring the Future survey released last winter, reported on the survey from the spring of 1998 (Table 11, Long-Term Trends-in-Perceived Availability of Drugs by Twelfth Graders).
(4) DEA'S PRIORITIES ARE MISDIRECTED.
The Need for a ore effective international enforcement effort
These failures are some sense ironic. Heroin and cocaine come to the U.S. from abroad. The management of heroin and cocaine production, smuggling and distribution is more complex than for other drugs. And heroin and cocaine trafficking organizations pose much greater threats to legitimate governments around the world. They are wealthier and have access to larger, better trained, better paid armies or paramilitary forces than organizations involved in other drugs. Seriously hurting these organizations is important not only for drug enforcement purposes but for the protection of democracy and the global economy from corruption.
Evaluating the international assets available for a comprehensive, international anti-drug fight, DEA and other Federal agencies are the probably the only highly equipped, highly trained, mostly honest agencies that can effectively target global drug and crime organizations. It is not realistic to think that Mexican or Colombian law enforcement agencies will effectively or substantially combat drug trafficking organizations at any time in the foreseeable future.
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But DEA is going in the wrong direction. DEA is increasing its efforts on insignificant defendants and cases that can best be handled by the hundreds of thousands of state and local law enforcement officers around the nation. DEA is wasting scarce, precious resources. Almost 40% of DEA's effort is targeted on local cases, and that percentage has roughly doubled in the past decade.
The mistake of a Federal focus on local drug traffickers
On consequence of the over-Federalization of local law enforcement, and local drug enforcement, is that appropriate Federal law enforcement doesn't take place. You can't expect the Orange County Sheriff or the Isle of Wight County Sheriff, or even the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or the Virginia State Police to investigate drug trafficking organizations in Mexico and Colombia, or money laundering in Grand Cayman. When you ask DEA is investigate crack dealing organizations in Orlando or Richmond, you are wasting very scarce Federal assets. There are over a half million state and local law enforcement officers in America and 4,515 DEA Special Agents. There is space to incarcerate 1.8 million persons in America's state and local prisons and jails, and 130,000 persons in Federal prison.
When you direct DEA and the Department of Justice to lock up a street-level crack dealer in Federal prison for 20 years after a Federal investigation and Federal court trial, you have wasted some of the most precious assets in the world available for fighting the global plague of crime, violent and corruption that is intrinsic to drug prohibition.
We need almost-every Federal anti-drug agent focused on the international, high-level drug trafficking organizations if we are at all serious about fighting drugs through enforcement.
Page 150 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The Federal focus on low-level offenders
DEA claims to be fighting the highest level traffickers, but the results of Federal drug enforcement efforts are seen in who goes to prisonoverwhelmingly low-level offenders. Last year, two-thirds of Federal drug prisoners didn't meet the very low quantity thresholds required to be sentenced to a ten-year mandatory minimum. Only 41 defendants, out of over 20,266 prosecuted for drug offenses, were sentenced under the Federal drug kingpin statute. More than ten times that number were sentenced for simple possessionthat's the population of entire Federal prison, with an annual cost of more than $80,000,000.
(5) FEDERAL DRUG ENFORCEMENT IS PRIMA FACIE RACIST IN EFFECT.
If these failures weren't bad enough, Federal drug enforcement (particularly cocaine enforcement) is prima facie a racist enterprise. In 1998, less than one in four Federal drug defendants was white. It is inconceivable that in a nation dominated by whites that such a lucrative industry is not also dominated by whites. Indeed, looking at all Federal crimes, except for immigration crimes (dominated by Hispanics trying to illegally enter the United States, 91.2%), and Federal enforcement of violent crimes on Indian reservations (such as sexual abuse, assault, murder, manslaughter, and burglary), whites are much more frequently are accused of violating Federal criminal laws than other racial groups. Whites were typically 40, 50, or 70 or 80% of sentenced Federal offendersfor crimes such as firearms, auto theft, forgery, bribery, money laundering, gambling, pornography, arson, etc., as well as antitrust (100%) or food and drug (82.6%).
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The largest category of Federal prosecutions for hard drugs is crack cocaine, 4,890 persons sentenced to prison in FY1998. These prisoners were 84.8% black, 8.7% Hispanic, 0.7% other, and 5.7% white.
Federal cocaine prosecutions are dominantly against people of color. Only 12.3% of all new Federal cocaine prisoners in 1998 were white. 85.2% of all black Federal drug defendants were charged with cocaine offenses. Black cocaine defendants were 27.8% of all Federal drug offenders sentenced to prison in 1998.
Black cocaine defendants were 11.3% of all persons sentenced to Federal prison in 1998 for all crimes.
Bear in mind that drug use is overwhelmingly a white phenomenon in America. In 1997 there were 10.3 white current drug users and only 1.8 million current black drug users. There were 970,000 white current cocaine users, and only 342,000 black current cocaine users, according to the National Household Survey.
American citizens who are prosecuted are overwhelmingly black Americans. Federal crack cocaine defendants are 93% American citizens. For other types of drugs, one-quarter to one-half of the Federal defendants are non-citizens.
The crack cocaine defendants targeted by the Federal government overwhelmingly blackare overwhelmingly low-level. Only 5.5% of the crack defendants were identified as high-level offenders by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in its 1995 study. 63.1% of the crack defendants were street-level dealers, bodyguards, couriers or mules. The percentage of high-level crack defendants was the lowest for all categories of drugs.
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Of more than 1.5 million drug arrests in the America in a year, all of which could be prosecuted in Federal court, the selection of a group that is overwhelmingly low-level (in contradiction to the goals of the National Drug Strategy, and common sense) and overwhelmingly blackfor sentences that are the longest imposed for all classes of drugs, and for defendants who are on average six years younger than other Federal drug traffickers, suggests that there is a pattern or practice of racial discrimination in the selection of cases.
How is this possible? DEA and the Justice Department have no systematic review of cases to assure that racial factors do not enter into investigations and prosecutions.
(6) RACE IS A FACTOR IN PROFILING DRUG SUSPECTS.
In Maryland, the State Police recirculated a teletype from an Allegany County law enforcement agency that drug couriers were black males and black females. African-Americans are stopped by the Maryland State Police on Interstate 95 in numbers completely disproportionate to their numbers among all motorists.
On April 9, 1999 Attorney General Reno asked law enforcement to study whether drug searches are based on racial profiles. Eleven days later, in New Jersey, where racial profiling was formally in violation of state policy, then-Attorney General Peter Verniero issued a report conceding that racial profiling on the New Jersey Turnpike is ''real, not imagined.'' 77.2% of the motorists searched were black or Hispanic, while 21.4% were white. New Jersey is 74% white, 13% black and 9% Hispanic. Two New Jersey State Troopers have been indicted for falsifying reports to make it appear that black motorists they stopped were white.
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
In Esquire in April 1999, journalist Gary Webb, on assignment as an investigator for the California legislature, wrote of DEA's role in ''Operation Pipeline,'' a program to stop the transportation of illegal drugs over the nation's highways. Webb writes that participants in Operation Pipeline understood that blacks and Hispanics were presumptively more likely to be stopped.
I commend the Members who voted in the 104 1h Congress for H.R. 118 to study the racial and ethnic data on traffic stops. As I noted above, whites are the dominant segment of the population that uses drugs. Race is not a proxy for suspicion of drug use. But the truth is that race has been one of the bases, around the nation, for making decisions about who to investigate for a drug offense.
(7) CASE SELECTION IS DRIVEN BY INFORMANTS, NOT DEA MANAGERS.
In practice, how are most Federal drug prosecutions initiated? An informant provides information to a DEA Special Agent or other law enforcement officer about drug trafficking. Cases start with informants.
Many of DEA's problems are due to the fact that informantswho, if they are to have any information that is at all significant must actually be in the drug tradehave more impact on case selection than DEA managers, the Justice Department, or ONDCP. As long as you provide information on low-level and mid-level traffickers, you can make a good living as a DEA informant. Rep. John Conyers, when he was chairman of the then-Committee on Government Operations, developed information about the numerous Federal informants making six-figure incomes. If you are making a good living as an informant on low-level Federal casesthe ones that dominate the Federal trial dockethow powerful are the incentives to provide information on the highest-level traffickers? If you do so, your life is in jeopardy if you testify against a truly high-level trafficker. Low-level, if not minor traffickers are much less likely to try to have you killed, and the compensation from the government is just as good.
Page 154 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
(8) DEA CAN PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN FIGHTING VIOLENT CRIME DOMESTICALLY.
DEA needs to limit its domestic operations to high-priority matters. Drug traffickers who engage in murder are certainly high-priority targets. An example of the valuable role DEA has played fighting violent drug gangs were in cooperative efforts of Operation Ceasefire in Boston. That effort has practically eliminated youth gang homicide. The operation, with important direction by David Kennedy of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, identified the numerous youth drug gangs operating in Boston, and the patterns of conflict between them. The gangs were contacted and told that while enforcement against all of their illegal activities would continue, if they engaged in any homicides they would be the focus of an extraordinarily intense enforcement that would destroy them. As I understand it, one gang, the Intervale Posse, greeted this warning with contempt, and engaged in several murders. DEA brought in out-of-town personnel and conducted a sufficient number of buys to indict 18 members of the gang for crack offenses carrying long mandatory minimums. Soon some of the defendants identified the killers, and the murders were solved. More importantly, Operation Ceasefire gained credibility.
DEA, when it is selective, can play a very important role in support of state and local law enforcement.
Mr. Chairman, DEA has an important role to play, but it is not playing it. Without oversight by the Congress, DEA will not be held accountable to the public which it serves. I commend you and Mr. Scoff for holding this hearing today.
Page 155 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCEric E. Sterling, an attorney, was counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee from 1979 to 1989, where he was principally responsible for anti-drug legislation and other anti-crime matters. Since 1989, he has been President of The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, a non-profit charity that promotes innovative solutions to the problems of the criminal justice system.
Page 156 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC63855i.eps
Hon. BILL MCCOLLUM, Chairman,
|U.S. Department of Justice,|
|Drug Enforcement Administration,|
|Washington, DC, September 8, 1999.|
Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you for the courtesy and interest that was shown to me at your June 29, 1999 hearing on the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) mission. I appreciate all of the support you and other members of the Crime Subcommittee have given us over the years. This letter is to follow up on your questions to me at the recent hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime about DEA's process to identify and consider the needs of Country Attaches as they make recommendations on overseas drug enforcement programs. I will also describe the continuous efforts to improve DEA's overseas operations through regular interaction between our foreign offices, the interagency community and DEA headquarters.
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
DEA participates with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and other federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies in implementing our national drug control strategies. DEA is a member of a number of interagency groups such as the ONDCP chaired Counternarcotics Interagency Working Group and the Special Coordinating Group on international crime chaired by the National Security Council, where coordination of issues pertaining to the implementation of strategies designed to address international drug trafficking occurs. We are fully engaged with DOJ in formulating the department's Drug Control Strategic Plan, including the section on international enforcement efforts and programs.
DEA's Operations Division ensures the development of a regional plan for the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Mexico, Europe, the Far East, the Middle East, and Africa. This plan establishes operational priorities and provides guidance to our Country Attaches in the region for their implementation. The intelligence annex to the plan identifies the major trafficking organizations operating in the various countries of the region. Country Attaches, following the guidance provided, develop an annual Country Office Work Plan that presents specific programs and operations required to accomplish the objectives set forth in the regional plans.
In addition, Country Attaches, as members of their embassy's Country Team, play an integral role in developing the drug law enforcement section of the Mission Performance Plan (MPP). The MPP sets forth the goals and objectives that components of the embassy will strive to accomplish in a given year. Our Country Attaches, in coordination with other law enforcement and intelligence agencies present at the post, develop objectives for the MPP that reflect the guidance provided in the regional plans. Country Attaches make sure that the MPP and the Country Office Work Plan are coordinated and complement each other. The Work Plan presents a more detailed design for accomplishing the objectives outlined in the MPP.
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
At the headquarters level, DEA has established Special Agent liaison positions throughout the interagency community to assist in the coordination of strategy development and implementation specifically focused on international traffickers. In addition to exchanging personnel with other federal law enforcement agencies, we maintain DEA liaison positions with the ONDCP, Department of State, Department of Defense, USIC, INTERPOL, JIATF East, JIATF West, SOUTHCOM, and the Central Intelligence Agency. We also co-chair two interagency groups that combine law enforcement and intelligence community efforts to identify and target major international drug trafficking organizations.
To maintain and enhance the efficiency of DEA's foreign operations, the Office of International Operations will conduct an off-site meeting early in October. The meeting will bring together our senior managers responsible for international programs and four Country Attaches representing geographical regions worldwide. The purpose is to address specific management concerns and establish a course of action to improve our support to the field. In addition, the meeting will review DEA's objectives and performance measures that pertain to international operations. A portion of the meeting will focus on developing an agenda for a worldwide Country Attaches Conference scheduled for February 2000. This Conference will provide Country Attaches with the opportunity to gain insight into current management policies and concerns, as well as participate in an assessment of current strategic goals and objectives associated with specific performance measures. The Conference will offer an effective forum for the exchange of ideas, opinions and views among DEA's senior management and our Country Attaches.
I hope this letter has presented an adequate description of DEA's significant involvement with the planning of international drug law enforcement strategy. Given the dynamics of the ever-changing drug trafficking trends, DEA will strive to improve upon our efforts through innovative techniques designed to have a positive impact to counter these trends.
Page 159 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your continued support to DEA and the overall counter-drug effort. Please let me know if you need any additional information.
|Donnie R. Marshall, Acting Administrator.|
Mr. MCCOLLUM. I want to thank the panel very much for coming today. I know, Chief Berger, you came the longest distance and I already heard you say, that you got up really early this morning to do that, so you have been diligent and very helpful to us this morning. We thank each one of you for being here. Thank you very much. This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:35 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
(Footnote 1 return)
Drug Control: DEA's Strategies and Operations in the 1990s (GAO/GGD99108, July 21, 1999).
(Footnote 2 return)
A current user is an individual who consumed an illegal drug in the month prior to being interviewed.
(Footnote 3 return)
What America's Users Spend on Illegal Drugs, 19881995; prepared for the Office of National Drug Control Policy by William Rhodes, Stacia Langenbahn, Ryan Kling, and Paul Scheiman; September 29, 1997.
(Footnote 4 return)
The Violent Crime Reduction Program was established by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (P.L. 103322, as amended).
(Footnote 5 return)
See Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1997, P.L. 104208 and H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 104863 (1996).
(Footnote 6 return)
Note we are estimating the impact of an additional million dollars. The results can be extrapolated to multiples thereof, but not to extremely large changes in spending. They certainly do not suggest that the most cost-effective approach is to shift all drug control resources from enforcement to treatment.
(Footnote 7 return)
Even for these dealers, it is possible that conventional enforcement would be more cost-effective than mandatory minimums. That would be the case if the range of conventional sentences could be matched to the range of offenders so that the highest-level dealers received very long sentences.
(Footnote 8 return)
A typical drug dealing hierarchy might have retail sellers buying fractions of an ounce to resell in fractions of a gram, first-level wholesale dealers buying multiple ounces to resell as fractions of an ounce, second-level wholesale dealers buying kilograms to resell in multiple ounce lots, and third-level wholesale dealers selling kilograms at a time. This suggests that sentences as long as federal mandatory minimums might be cost-effective for some third-level wholesale dealers, but not for their subordinates.
(Footnote 9 return)
This suggests an implication for local enforcement policy. Because federal enforcement is more targeted at higher-level dealers than are state and local efforts, state and local enforcement is typically less cost-effective at driving up drug prices than are federal efforts. However, local enforcement is more directly able to respond to the problems generated by street markets, ranging from simple disorder to drive-by shootings. Hence, one might infer that local enforcement should be freed, to some extent, from the expectation or obligation that it must seek to impose costs on dealers generally. Instead, it should be allowed to focus on dealers who generate problems beyond those inherent to selling problems such as violence and the exploitation of youths for criminal labor.