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Homeland Security

Washington File

10 July 2003

Text: U.S. Counterdrug Efforts Reduce Colombia Coca Crops

(State's Simons outlines National Drug Control Strategy to Congress)
U.S.-backed counternarcotics efforts brought a "banner year" in
Colombia in 2002, according to Acting Assistant Secretary of State for
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Paul E. Simons,
testifying before the House Committee on Government Reform July 9.
Simons said coca cultivation declined by 15 percent in Colombia
overall and by as much as 50 percent in two key drug-producing regions
as a result of coordinated efforts by the United States and the
Colombian government. Nevertheless, in seeking a $730 million
allocation for the Andean Counterdrug Initiative for the upcoming
year, Simons said the counternarcotics campaign in Colombia is
difficult because of the activity that is conducted outside of the
zone of government security.
"Some Colombian extremist groups have become increasingly dependent on
drug-related revenues," Simons said. "We expect that these groups will
increasingly use their firepower and ingenuity to protect and expand
their drug interests in Colombia."
In wide-ranging testimony describing the breadth of National Drug
Control Strategy programs, Simon also discussed U.S. activity in
Bolivia, Peru, Mexico, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, North Korea and
other nations.
Following is the text of the Simons testimony as prepared for
(begin text)
U.S. Department of State
Disrupting the Market: Strategy, Implementation, and Results in
Narcotics Source Countries
Paul E. Simons, Acting Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics
and Law Enforcement Affairs
Testimony Before the House Committee on Government Reform
Washington, DC
July 9, 2003
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, thank you for this
opportunity to meet with you today to discuss how the Bureau for
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) at the Department of
State is contributing to efforts to disrupt the market in key
narcotics source countries.
The INL Bureau directly supports the National Drug Control Strategy
and its orchestration of United States Government (USG) efforts to
reduce the availability of illicit drugs in our country. Specifically,
we actively support supply reduction programs through direct
assistance programs, as well as multilateral and diplomatic efforts
conducted in cooperation with other departments and agencies of our
government. Prominent among our programs are those that support the
national strategy of reducing the production and trafficking of drugs
in the principal source countries.
The major foreign-produced illicit drugs significantly affecting the
United States are cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and synthetics such as
methamphetamine or Ecstasy. The source areas for these threats include
the Western Hemisphere principally the Andean Ridge (cocaine, heroin),
Asia (heroin), Europe (synthetics), and Mexico (heroin,
methamphetamine/synthetics and marijuana). Following is a summary
discussion of INL-managed and/or supported programs around the world
in support of the National Drug Control Strategy to reduce the supply
of illicit drugs from key source areas.
Our programs are comprehensive both in geographic reach and in scope
of attack. They are critical to the success of the U.S. and
international effort to demonstrate that illegal drug production can
be controlled and reduced given sufficient political will and
well-designed, fully funded programs. INL protects Americans by
fighting the illegal drug trade through a variety of means: direct
eradication of illicit crops, support for alternative livelihoods of
poor cultivators, training and equipping of anti-drug police forces in
partner countries, counternarcotics intelligence coordination and
interdiction, justice sector reform, support for demand reduction and
education in host countries, and strengthening of international and
multilateral cooperation in law enforcement. These programs are
expensive, but demonstrably effective.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, we need your support to
ensure full funding of these essential activities. I look forward to
answering your questions.
The Administration has requested $731 million for the Andean
Counterdrug Initiative for FY 2004. Full funding of this request is
critical to sustaining our success in Colombia and to protecting
Colombia's neighbors from a spillover effect. Our efforts in Colombia
are making a difference, and we should not let up now.
Market disruption in Colombia involves an aggressive combination of
eradication, interdiction, institution building, and alternative
development programs. Last year (2002) was a banner year for
counternarcotics efforts in Colombia, the source of more than 90
percent of the cocaine and most of the heroin entering the United
States. For the first time since drug cultivation began increasing in
the mid-1990s, overall coca cultivation declined and by over 15
percent. Opium poppy cultivation also declined by 25 percent from 2001
levels. Cultivation in the key coca growing provinces of Putumayo and
Caqueta declined by more than 50 percent. Consequently, potential
production of Colombian cocaine dropped to 680 metric tons of cocaine,
down from 795 metric tons in 2001, and potential production of
Colombian heroin dropped to 11.3 metric tons, down from 15.1 metric
tons in 2001.
These declines are the direct result of the robust U.S.-assisted
aerial eradication program, which sprayed over 122,000 hectares of
coca in 2002, a 45 percent increase over 2001, itself a record year.
In addition, the spray program destroyed more than 3,000 hectares of
opium poppy, a 67 percent increase over 2001. With this year's
delivery of the final spray airplanes procured with funds appropriated
in support of Plan Colombia, Colombia plans to accelerate the pace of
aerial eradication of both coca and opium poppy in 2003 and beyond.
During the first six months of this year, we sprayed 73,522 hectares
of coca and 1,658 hectares of opium poppy, compared to the first six
months of last year that yielded 53,717 hectares of coca and 1,837
hectares of opium poppy. We plan to spray all coca and opium poppy in
Colombia by the end of the year.
On the interdiction side in 2002, Colombian military and police
counterdrug forces destroyed 129 cocaine-processing labs and nearly
1,247 cocaine base labs while seizing more than 55 metric tons of
cocaine and 30 metric tons of coca base.
However, Colombia faces several significant challenges to its
counternarcotics efforts. In Colombia, the drug trade has a clear
advantage since the bulk of coca and opium poppy grows in zones that
fall beyond the firm security control of the central government. As
eradication squeezes the industry, ground fire from narco-terrorist
groups has increased: aircraft have taken 225 rounds of ground fire
during eradication operations this year to date. This figure is
already more than the total number of hits in 2001 and 2002. Some
Colombian extremist groups have become increasingly dependent on
drug-related revenues. Accordingly, we expect that these groups will
increasingly use their firepower and ingenuity to protect and expand
their drug interests in Colombia. The increased frequency of damage
inflicted on aircraft by ground fire has resulted in 350 days when it
has been necessary to ground the spray aircraft for repairs during the
period January May 2003, as compared to 48 days for the same period in
Conducting spray operations is dangerous work. All of the pilots in
the spray program have extensive flying experience and receive
specialized training for the type of flying and local conditions that
they will face. We also provide advance survival training for our
pilots in the case of a forced landing. Each spray mission is planned
for maximum security, using all available intelligence. If a spray
mission should face major risk, it is cancelled or conducted with
pre-positioned counterdrug ground troops. There are armed security
escort helicopters as well as at least one search and rescue (SAR)
helicopter. We are constantly evaluating our operations to refine our
procedures and improve security for our personnel.
Our counternarcotics program also faces a major challenge as our air
assets and the Colombian counterdrug units we support are increasingly
called on to pursue a more active role to assist the Colombian
government in its unified campaign against narcotics trafficking and
activities by organizations designated as terrorist organizations and
to take actions to protect human health and welfare in emergency
circumstances, including undertaking rescue operations.
President Uribe's tough stance on drug trafficking and
narco-terrorists has ushered in a new political climate and an
increase in counternarcotics and counterterrorism operations around
the country. He has boosted security spending and fully supports an
aggressive eradication effort. We continue to coordinate with the
Colombian government to see how best to use the new authorities
enacted in the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act for Further
Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Acts against the United States
(P.L. 107-206) and in the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and
Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2003 (P.L. 108-7) in support of
President Uribe's national security strategy. While U.S. policy now
recognizes the flexibility introduced by the expanded authorities,
counternarcotics, alternative development, and judicial reform, as
well as humanitarian assistance and social and economic development,
remain key components of our support to Colombia's democracy and the
Colombian government's programs to exercise authority throughout its
national territory.
Since USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) began
implementing alternative development programs in late 2000, its
activities have benefited more than 22,829 families and supported more
than 24,549 hectares of licit crops in both coca and opium
poppy-producing areas through March 31, 2003. The U.S.-funded
alternative development program has also completed more than 349
public infrastructure and income-generating projects in 11
municipalities in key coca-producing provinces, including construction
of roads, bridges and sewer systems and rehabilitation of schools.
Other USAID projects have improved local governments.
To date, USAID has established a total of 33 legal service centers
(Casas de Justicia), which have increased access to justice and
promoted peaceful conflict resolution by handling a cumulative total
of roughly 1.6 million cases. The establishment of these centers helps
the Colombian government expand the presence of state institutions and
services to remote and conflict-ridden areas of Colombia. As a first
step in facilitating Colombia's transition to a modern accusatorial
system of justice, USAID has helped to establish a cumulative total of
19 oral trial courtrooms and trained roughly 3,400 judges in oral
trials, legal evidence, and procedures.
As of May 31, 2003, USAID programs had aided 774,601 internally
displaced persons and 733 former child combatants with health care
services, education, vocational and skill development training, and
assistance to those families that are willing and able to safely
return to their original communities.
The Department of Justice is developing specialized units to combat
money laundering and pursue asset forfeiture initiatives. The
International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program
(ICITAP) is nearing completion of a virtual forensic laboratory that
will link through shared databases the four Colombian law enforcement
agencies that have primary investigative responsibility for criminal
activity, including drug trafficking and human rights abuses. The
program includes installation and sharing of Automated Fingerprint
Identification System (AFIS), Integrated Ballistic Identification
System (IBIS), Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), and digital imaging
databases. The Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development,
Assistance and Training (OPDAT) is also providing assistance in legal
code reform and prosecutor training under an accusatorial system.
Our FY 2004 budget request of $463 million for Colombia includes $313
million for hard side programs of interdiction and eradication and
$150 million for soft side alternative development and institution
building programs. The interdiction and eradication budget is split up
between $158.7 million in support for the Colombian military and
$147.5 million for Colombian National Police Programs. Support for the
Colombian military is divided into $147.3 million in Army aviation
support, $6.4 million to support the air bridge denial aerial
interdiction program, and $5 million to sustain the Colombian Army's
Counterdrug Brigade.
The INL FY 2004 request increases funding for Colombian Army aviation
support by $19 million. The 71 helicopters supported with this funding
provide air mobility for the counterdrug brigade and other vetted
units and, given the severely limited number of helicopters otherwise
available, will continue to be the only reliable airlift available for
military units engaged in counternarcotics operations. As the
counterdrug brigade has already expanded operations beyond southern
Colombia in 2003, these aircraft will also be used to conduct missions
throughout Colombia, responding to opportunities to interdict high
value narco-terrorist targets.
The FY 2004 INL request for support to the Colombian National Police
(CNP) includes $60.3 million in aviation support, $44.2 million to
continue successes in aerial eradication, and $41 million for
interdiction programs, and $2 million in administrative support for
the CNP. This request reflects a $19 million increase to boost CNP
interdiction operations and other counternarcotics programs under CNP
command by improving forward counternarcotics operating base
capabilities, enhancing road interdiction operations, assisting the
auxiliary police, and helping the CNP/DEA Heroin Strategy Program.
INL's FY 2004 soft side request for Colombia will sustain at FY 2003
levels the USAID-administered programs to support democracy ($24
million), to encourage alternative development ($60.2 million), and to
assist vulnerable groups ($38 million). This request also increases by
$1.5 million support for PRM-administered programs to provide
protection, food, potable water, basic health services and sanitation,
education, and other humanitarian assistance to Colombia's internally
displaced people.
The INL request also will provide $7.5 million for selected Department
of Justice programs to support training and protection of the
Fiscalia's human rights units, continue reform of Colombia's legal
code, train human rights prosecutors, set up an asset forfeiture and
money laundering database, and improve prison security and drug
rehabilitation programs. Also included under rule of law programs is
$13.8 million (a $3 million increase) for the CNP reinsertion program
to increase government presence and law and order to areas of
conflict. This program -- largely funded by the Government of Colombia
-- has placed well-trained and equipped police units into 77
municipalities that lacked security presence thus far this year.
Bolivia and Peru
To prevent traffickers from further developing alternative drug
production sources elsewhere, we are actively reinforcing our
counternarcotics programs in the countries surrounding Colombia. In
Bolivia and Peru, our efforts to support stronger government
counternarcotics actions have been slowed by radical cocalero
movements that have seized upon the historical tradition of coca
cultivation as a rallying cry for indigenous rights against the
dominant urban political culture. Economic difficulties in both
countries have also weakened government resources to enhance
counternarcotics efforts.
As a result, despite eradicating 12,000 hectares in 2002, Bolivia had
a 23 percent (4,500 hectares) net increase in coca cultivation due to
massive replanting in the Chapare and the government's reluctance to
conduct forced eradication in the coca-rich Yungas province in the
face of violent cocalero opposition. In response, we have supported
Bolivian government efforts to strengthen its eradication and
interdiction efforts by expanding the Special Drug Police (FELCN) by
15 percent, constructing 14 new bases, establishing a national
communications grid, and creating several data banks and
information-sharing systems to enhance law enforcement intelligence.
FY 2004 funding will strengthen these programs, which are focused on
developing the Government of Bolivia's capacity to enforce all drug
laws, maintain the rule of law in outlying areas and continue national
and regional interdiction activities. In addition to supporting these
law enforcement programs, our funds support Bolivian efforts to
consolidate and sustain regional alternative development programs
(bringing direct improvement to farmers and communities), with special
emphases on developing viable and sustainable domestic and
international markets for crops other than coca.
USAID has assisted over 21,500 families. The annual value per family
of licit agricultural products for assisted families now averages
$2,055, up from $1,706 in 2000. For comparison, the average annual per
capita income for Bolivia in 2000 was $994. Over 51,000 farming jobs
and 600 non-farming jobs have been created through USAID's alternative
development program. Some 8,500 families have received electricity in
their homes. Over 3,000 kilometers of road and 110 bridges have been
paved or improved.
In the socially volatile Yungas, following careful preparation and
work with the local populace, U.S.-funded alternative development
programs are being implemented among cocalero communities that are
willing to decrease coca (legal and illegal) cultivation. USAID's
Yungas Development Initiative is focused on improving the quality of
life of the people of the Yungas by promoting health, developing the
licit economy, improving basic infrastructure and strengthening local
government. Seventeen sanitation services have been completed
benefiting over 8,000 people and 10 projects providing access to
potable water will benefit over 3,000 people. In addition,
municipalities are receiving assistance in budgeting, responding to
citizen needs, and regional economic planning.
Also, our judicial support programs continue to help Bolivia's
transition to an oral accusatory system while increasing the
capabilities and capacities of those offices that deal with
drug-related investigations and prosecutions.
The FY 2004 Bolivia funding request for $91 million is broken down
into three major efforts: $33.7 million is focused on supporting USG
efforts to develop the Government of Bolivia's long term ability to
sustain law enforcement and judicial institutions capable of enforcing
all drug laws, increasing interdiction of essential chemicals and
cocaine products, and increasing successful prosecutions of major
narcotics traffickers at a time of significant political and economic
weakness in the Bolivian state. Integral to this effort is our support
for substantial air, river and ground forces in major coca cultivation
areas that provide for rule of law, security for alternative
development and support for eradication efforts. An additional $10
million is focused on coca eradication and its supporting security and
logistical infrastructure.
In addition to these law enforcement programs, $38.5 million will
support Bolivian efforts to consolidate and sustain regional
alternative development programs (bringing direct improvement to
farmers and communities), with special emphases on developing viable
and sustainable domestic and international markets for crops other
than coca. In the socially volatile Yungas, following careful
preparation and work with the local populace, U.S.-funded alternative
development programs will decrease legal and illegal coca cultivation
among cocalero communities. The balance of the funding request is for
smaller supporting programs such as demand reduction, policy planning,
administration of justice projects and administrative support.
In Peru, labor unrest on a national scale slowed the Peruvian
government's efforts to expand coca crop eradication, leading to
increased resistance and violence against government development
projects by organized cocaleros in the first six months of 2003. In
response, the Peruvian government has reorganized its approach to
provide stronger alternative development incentives for voluntary
eradication by coca growing communities, while simultaneously
reinforcing national law enforcement interdiction efforts. The
participatory eradication model was conceived as a means to establish
a commitment on the part of an entire community to eliminate illegal
coca plots. Communities that do not participate face forced
eradication. Participants receive daily wages for work eradicating
coca, as well as food rations. Communities that remain coca free for
two to three years will receive infrastructure improvements. Over 200
communities have asked to participate in the eradication program with
more asking to join every day. The pilot phase of the program was very
successful. More than 1,000 hectares of coca were eradicated, helping
Peru to achieve its 2002 goal of 7,000 hectares eradicated for the
Seizures of drugs and chemicals by Peruvian law enforcement units have
increased, but coca eradication currently remains below the 7,000
hectares eradicated in 2002. We believe that eradication rates will
improve in the second half of the year.
U.S. Government efforts to support an enhanced Peruvian law
enforcement interdiction and security presence in coca-growing areas
will require substantial FY 2004 funding to establish and sustain
forward operating locations, as well as additional operating funds for
the necessary fixed wing and helicopter airlift assets that provide
regional mobility to Peruvian interdiction forces directed at
trafficker production sites and other units charged with maintaining
the rule of law in alternative development areas.
Despite these increases, cultivation in both Bolivia and Peru remain
significantly below the peak years of the mid-1990s and far below the
levels in Colombia. Even with these increases, the total Andean coca
crop declined by about 8 percent in 2002.
The FY 2004 Peru funding request for $116 million has an intense focus
on reducing coca by at least 8,000 hectares through an integrated
voluntary/ involuntary eradication and development assistance program
with specific coca communities. Supporting this goal in FY-04 requires
$35 million in additional helicopter and fixed wing aerial support for
Peruvian counternarcotics police units that provide security for
eradication, interdiction and alternative development projects in
outlying areas. The Administration has requested $13 million to
support the Peruvian police in sustaining a counternarcotics presence
on outlying coca-growing areas, as well as monitoring roads and rivers
used by trafficking interests.
The Administration has requested $11.3 million to support programs
aimed at involuntary eradication and licit/illicit crop monitoring, as
well as seeking out opium poppy for immediate manual forced
eradication. Approximately $8 million will be required to construct a
safe and effective Airbridge Denial Program, although this remains
subject to negotiation with the Peruvian Government. The critical
alternative development program, $50 million in FY 2004, will increase
the number of communities committed to coca reduction, currently 200
communities, and provide near-term alternative development emergency
assistance to help meet nutritional and health needs, generate family
income lost to eradication of coca fields, and long-term alternative
development to sustain rural licit economies.
Airbridge Denial Program
On April 28 of this year, we signed a bilateral agreement with the
Government of Colombia for an Airbridge Denial (ABD) Program. The
agreement creates a legal framework that would help ensure that all
USG legal and procedural safety requirements are fully satisfied (to
preclude situations like the tragic shootdown of missionaries in Peru
in 2001), and to protect USG employees and contractors involved in ABD
from undue legal liability. Preparations for final Presidential
approval for a re-initiation of the Colombian ABD program are nearly
complete, after which the Colombian government will be able to take
important steps to retake control of its airspace from aerial
trafficking. It is important to note that an effective Colombian ABD
program will require a substantial Colombian and U.S. commitment of
funding and resources to secure suspected aerial trafficking routes.
The Colombian government has already committed substantial resources
to ABD and we plan to support Colombian efforts with FY 2004 funds to
establish forward operating locations for tracker and intercept
aircraft involved in the effort.
Plans to provide some form of airspace control against trafficking
aircraft are currently under discussion with the Government of Peru.
It is our expectation that implementation of a viable airspace control
program in Peru would require greater USG funding than in Colombia,
due to a lack of necessary Peruvian government resources and a
shortfall in national communications and radar system architecture
both prerequisites for a Colombia-style program.
Mexico is the principal transit zone for most illicit drugs from South
America destined for the U.S. as well as a source country for heroin,
methamphetamine, and marijuana. Mexico-based drug trafficking
organizations operate an extensive distribution network across the
U.S., posing a significant domestic criminal threat. Under the Fox
administration, cooperation between the United States and Mexico in
fighting drug trafficking and other transnational crime has
significantly improved.
During 2002, the Government of Mexico extradited 25 fugitives to the
United States, up from 17 in 2001, but the extradition relationship
remains a difficult one due to Mexico's inability to extradite
fugitives who face life imprisonment in the requesting country.
Mexican law enforcement agencies and military personnel continued
their successful targeting of major drug trafficking organizations and
their leaders, including the arrest of 36 major fugitives wanted on
drug charges in the United States. Opium poppy cultivation, which is
widely dispersed in small plots in isolated areas, dropped in 2002. At
the same time, Mexico conducted an intensive, primarily manual,
eradication program. Potential heroin production was reduced from 8.4
metric tons in 2001 to 5.6 metric tons in 2002.
To raise the profile and urgency of counternarcotics, the Fox
administration unveiled an ambitious six-year National Drug Control
Plan in 2002 that called on Mexican society and institutions to wage a
frontal assault against all aspects of the drug problem, including
production, trafficking, and consumption. Following September 11, the
United States and Mexico significantly stepped up cooperation on
border security to ensure tighter screening of both people and goods.
The Fox administration has taken steps to curb corruption in Mexico's
institutions. The arrests of two Mexican generals in 2002 and the
disbanding of a Mexican Army battalion in Sinaloa due to corruption
reflect the willingness of the Fox government to attack corruption. In
order to prevent corruption, the Mexican anti-drug police force
(FEADS) has been disbanded and the new federal investigation agency
(AFI), a more modern police force, has been structured with
anti-corruption and the protection of information as chief priorities.
In 2002, Presidents Bush and Fox signed the U.S.-Mexico Border
Partnership to improve controls along our shared border. The 22 action
items focus on developing infrastructure, the movement of people, and
the movement of goods. Using $25 million in emergency supplemental
funding appropriated by Congress, INL has been working with U.S.
partner agencies to provide Mexican customs and immigration agencies
with inspection equipment, safety training, computers and software for
port of entry management and advanced passenger information exchange,
and other enhancements. The goal is to expedite the movement of
legitimate flows of goods and people while increasing the ability of
law enforcement to detect criminal activity.
In FY 2004, INL proposes to merge the counternarcotics and border
programs through a combined request for $37 million. Of this,
approximately $17.5 million would be used to build on the foundation
supported by Emergency Supplemental funding; $2.5 million would
complement that effort through assistance to enhance maritime port
security. In addition, $10.9 million would be used to support
counterdrug and countercrime operations and $3.4 million would be used
to expand our important work with Mexico in criminal justice sector
reform, training and professionalization. We also plan to continue
modest ongoing programs relating to drug abuse prevention, crime
prevention, and alternative development.
Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, which had been banned in 2000 under
the draconian rule of the Taliban, resumed following September 11 in
an environment that saw a devastated economy and an absence of law and
security throughout the country. Afghanistan resumed its position as
the world's largest producer of heroin in 2002 and preliminary results
for 2003, despite our own efforts and the significant contributions of
the UK as the lead country on Afghan counternarcotics, show only
modest gains thus far. Without an organized security force or rule of
law, the drug trade and the revenues and criminal groups generated by
it will undermine the stability of both Afghanistan and the region.
Following the fall of the Taliban, the U.S. and other members of the
international community laid the groundwork for rebuilding
Afghanistan's almost completely destroyed security and criminal
justice systems. Under pressure from the U.S. and others, the new
Afghan government announced a ban on the cultivation of opium poppy;
set up a Counternarcotics Directorate (CND) under the National
Security Council (where it will have the necessary authority,
visibility, and access); supported UK eradication programs (which
reduced the spring 2002 crop by an estimated 30 percent) and U.S.
alternative development programs; and began directly to press
provincial governors to support eradication.
Given the absence of central governmental authority in the provinces,
and a general breakdown of rule of law, opium brokers have been free
to provide poppy seed, fertilizer, credit, and cash bonuses to
encourage farmers to cultivate opium. Expanded agricultural support
services for legitimate crops will be necessary, and we are pleased
that USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and USAID have plans to
work to provide those services. Credit at reasonable cost will also be
required. The critical requirement, however, is the restoration of
security and the rule of law. Without an organized security force or
the rule of law, the drug trade and crime will undermine efforts to
create stable recovery in Afghanistan.
INL is working closely with other countries leading the
reestablishment of Afghan public security capabilities, including the
UK, which has the lead on counternarcotics issues; Germany, which is
providing training and equipment to the national police; and Italy,
which is developing and modernizing the judicial system. President
Karzai ratified a National Drug Control Strategy in May, and we, the
UK, and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are leading the
effort to support that strategy in a way that it can be implemented
efficiently and effectively.
Our FY 2004 budget request of $40 million for Afghanistan would be
divided in three areas: counternarcotics, police training, and justice
sector reform. The bulk of the 2004 budget ($26.5 million) focuses on
building law enforcement and rule of law programs that are essential
components for carrying out successful counternarcotics programs and
building counternarcotics law enforcement capacity. We will contribute
smaller portions ($12.8 million) to alternative development, demand
reduction, and drug awareness programs.
It should also be added that apart from our work within Afghanistan,
and our large programs in Pakistan, which I will discuss next, INL is
also working in the five countries of Central Asia, in close
cooperation with the United Nations, to upgrade their capacities for
intelligence, investigation, interdiction, and prosecution of
drug-related illicit activities. These countries themselves cultivate
poppy only on a minor scale, but they lie between Afghanistan and the
major markets of Western Europe and the sizeable and still-growing
markets of Russia and other intermediate transit countries. The
Central Asian countries are susceptible to drug trafficking as a
result of their porous borders and weak counternarcotics programs.
September 11 shifted the focus of INL assistance to Pakistan from drug
control and related programs to law enforcement, including security of
the critical border with Afghanistan. The border security program
being implemented by the Department of Justice is designed to build on
and expand initiatives undertaken with funding provided under the 2001
and 2002 supplemental appropriations acts to strengthen the capacity
of law enforcement agencies in Pakistan to secure the western border
against criminal elements (including terrorists) and narcotics
traffickers. As President Musharraf noted at Camp David last month,
the Pakistani Government has been able to enter its western border
areas for the first time in a century. INL's effort to help Pakistan
strengthen the security of its borders is paying off.
On the narcotics side, Pakistan, which was once the world's third
largest producer of opium poppy, reached record low production levels
in 2000-2001. While cultivation levels increased somewhat during the
2002-2003 growing season due to a number of factors including very
high prices and a spillover effect from Afghanistan, the Government of
Pakistan continues to make a determined effort to reduce cultivation.
The U.S. Government is aiding these efforts through a number of
programs, including crop control/alternative development support and a
road-building initiative in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
(FATA), which will allow the Government of Pakistan to bring an active
law enforcement presence to these isolated areas.
INL's FY 2004 request of 38 million for Pakistan includes two major
components that build upon efforts undertaken in previous years,
particularly since September 11. The Administration has requested
$10.8 million for assistance to Pakistan's civilian law enforcement
agencies. The proposed assistance will address two primary objectives:
providing operational assistance to support immediate term needs and
supporting Government of Pakistan-led reform of law enforcement
institutions. This assistance, spearheaded by the Department of
Justice, while perhaps not producing immediate results, will provide
for a higher quality and consistency in law enforcement and
sustainable respect for human rights. The Administration has requested
$26 million for border security, which will build upon the successful
implementation of commodity support, training, and technical
assistance that was begun with FY 2002 Emergency Relief Funds (ERF)
supplemental funds.
Funds will be used to provide ongoing maintenance, support, and
operating expenses of the Ministry of Interior Air Wing, which
includes three fixed-wing surveillance aircraft and five helicopters
based at Quetta in Balochistan province. Our assistance will also
extend air mobility for rapid response and law enforcement presence
into the North West Frontier Province through the establishment of a
new forward operating location in Peshawar with five helicopters.
These ambitious projects will require full funding in order to ensure
that they have the maximum possible positive effect.
Burma remains the world's second largest producer of illicit opium and
among the world's leading producers and traffickers of
methamphetamine, which constitute a major threat to the security and
social fabric of Thailand and other countries in the region. Drug
trafficking groups operate within Burma along its borders with China
and Thailand, and the Government of Burma has yet to curb involvement
in illicit narcotics by the largest, most powerful and most important
trafficking organization within its borders, the United Wa State Army.
Over the past several years, the Government of Burma has significantly
reduced opium production within its borders. The Burmese government
entered into a non-aggression pact with the United Wa State Army,
which controls a large territory within Burma, and under the terms of
the pact, the Wa agreed to end opium production after the 2005 growing
season. Burma has also cooperated with regional and international
counternarcotics agencies, resulting in several cases against
traffickers and their organizations and several agreements on
controlling precursor chemicals. But more much remains to be done to
address major gaps in Burma's counternarcotics efforts.
While legislation currently prohibits direct counternarcotics (or
other) assistance to the Burmese regime, we support a UN alternative
development program in the major opium-producing region in Burma, and
we support broader regional efforts through the UN and others to
coordinate counternarcotics efforts. We have been one of the major
donors to the UNODC's Wa Alternative Development Project, and have
successfully encouraged other donors to support this effort as well.
We will continue to support worthy UNODC alternative development
projects that do not directly benefit the Government of Burma, and
will continue to urge the Government of Burma to take serious,
verifiable action on counternarcotics issues.
North Korea
We are increasingly convinced that state agents and enterprises in the
DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) are involved in narcotics
trafficking. At the same time, information remains somewhat
fragmentary. While we strongly suspect that opium poppy is cultivated
in North Korea, we lack exact information regarding the extent of
production. Press reports and other sources suggests that North Korea
cultivates between 7,000 and 8,000 hectares of opium poppy and
produces 40-to-50 tons of opium annually, enough to produce about
three to five tons of heroin, but those figures can not be verified.
Although there have been a number of cases of heroin with a reported
DPRK origin being seized in recent years, including on Taiwan and in
Japan and the Russian Far East, and in a number of cases North Koreans
(including diplomats) have been apprehended, we lack direct evidence
indicating that the seized drugs were actually produced in the DPRK.
Similarly, the source of approximately 125 kilograms of heroin
smuggled to Australia aboard the North Korean-owned vessel Pong Su and
seized by Australian authorities in April 2003 is unclear its
packaging suggests, but does not prove, a Southeast Asian origin.
There have been very clear indications, especially from a series of
seizures in Japan, that North Koreans traffic in, and probably
manufacture, methamphetamine. At least since 1995, North Korea has
been importing significant quantities of ephedrine, the main
ingredient for methamphetamine production, some of which could be
diverted to manufacture illicit drugs. Japan is the largest single
market for methamphetamine in Asia, with more than 2.2 million abusers
and an estimated consumption of 20 MT of methamphetamine per year.
During the past several years, Japanese authorities have seized
numerous illicit shipments of methamphetamine that they believe
originated in North Korea. In most of these seizures, traffickers and
North Korean ships rendezvoused at sea in North Korean territorial
waters for transfer of the narcotics to the Japanese traffickers
vessels. Authorities on Taiwan also have seized several shipments of
methamphetamine and heroin that had been transferred to the
traffickers ships from North Korean vessels.
The sharp increase in large methamphetamine seizures in Japan after
earlier indications of North Korean efforts to import ephedrine
strongly suggests a state-directed effort to manufacture and traffic
this narcotic to the largest single market for it in Asia. Thirty-five
percent of methamphetamine seizures in Japan from 1998 to 2002
originated in North Korea, and Japanese police believe that a high
percentage of the methamphetamine on Japanese streets originate in
North Korea.
Likewise, seizures of drugs trafficked to Taiwan in similar fashion,
(i.e., with traffickers vessels picking up the drugs from North Korean
vessels), suggest centralized direction. In both cases, large
quantities of drugs, expensive even at wholesale prices, have been
transferred from North Korean state-owned ships, on occasion by men in
uniform, to ships provided by Japanese or ethnic Chinese traffickers
to be brought surreptitiously to Japan or Taiwan.
The U.S. Government has decided recently to step up legal and law
enforcement efforts against DPRK illicit activity, including narcotics
trafficking, both domestically and internationally. We are in the
process of discussing a range of diplomatic, law enforcement, and
intelligence-sharing initiatives with key governments in Asia and look
forward to strengthening broader international efforts to stem the
flow of illicit narcotics and other illegal products from North Korea.
Synthetic drugs, while currently a serious concern, potentially
present an even greater future threat to the United States and many
other nations. These drugs offer significantly higher profit margins
for criminal groups, are relatively easy to produce, and do not
encounter the same social stigma among user populations, e.g., youth,
as do cocaine and heroin. While there are a number of synthetically
produced drugs of abuse, the two principal threats to the United
States are methamphetamine, an amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) of
growing global concern, and Ecstasy (MDMA/XTC), a club scene drug.
Following is a summary of INL efforts against these principal
synthetic drug threats to the United States.
This is currently the principal synthetic drug of concern in the
United States. Abuse is most problematic in our western and central
states but is increasing in the eastern half of the U.S. While much of
the methamphetamine is produced domestically predominantly in the
western states the major foreign source is Mexico. Mexican-based
criminal groups are also active in methamphetamine production in the
United States.
INL-directed or supported programs that engage this threat in Mexico
include the following: (1) we support the attack against major drug
trafficking organizations by providing technical assistance and
training to Mexican law enforcement directly involved in enforcement
actions against the principal criminal groups; (2) we fund both
bilaterally and through the Organization of American States drug
secretariat CICAD chemical control enhancements designed to reduce the
availability of essential chemicals used in methamphetamine
production; (3) we actively manage a post-9/11 program to enhance
substantially the physical security along our southwest border across
which most of the foreign produced methamphetamine is smuggled; and
(4) we are emphasizing a number of programs designed to modernize and
professionalize key Mexican justice sector institutions and thereby
have a positive impact on their counternarcotics capabilities and
While Mexico appears to be the largest foreign source of processed
methamphetamine, the U.S. Government is concerned that Canada has
become a significant source of the precursor chemical pseudoephedrine.
Canada is also a source of high-potency marijuana. Over the past few
years, there has been an alarming increase in the amount of
pseudoephedrine diverted from Canadian sources to clandestine
methamphetamine laboratories in the United States. The Government of
Canada implemented regulations on the sale and distribution of
precursor chemicals this year. We welcome these new regulations, but
remain concerned that the resulting control regime may not be strong
enough, particularly on the investigative/enforcement front.
INL has worked closely with the interagency community to establish an
active dialogue with Canada about these issues, beginning with formal
correspondence last year of the USG's assessment of the proposed
regulations. We used the International Narcotics Control Strategy
Report to highlight the problem and to call on Canada to respond
forcefully. Canadian authorities have assured us of their commitment
to ensure that their new control regime effectively addresses the
Methamphetamine production and trafficking is also a serious problem
in Southeast Asia, causing governments from Thailand to the
Philippines to identify it as a major national security concern.
Although a regional problem, much of the focus centers on Burma, where
it is estimated that hundreds of millions of pills are produced and
trafficked to and through neighboring countries. Thailand has been
particularly hard hit; Thai authorities seized over 70 million pills
in 2002, prompting the Royal Thai Government to embark on a war on
drugs in 2003. A long-time U.S. ally in the fight against drugs and a
regional leader in combating illegal drugs, Thailand is a key partner
in counternarcotics activities. A one-time source country for heroin,
Thailand's aggressive counternarcotics strategy kept opium poppy
cultivation below 1,000 hectares in 2002 for the fourth year in a row,
and at the lowest level since the mid-1980s. Even so, Thailand serves
as a transit zone for heroin and the sharply increasing volume of
methamphetamine coming out of Burma and other states in the region.
Our FY 2004 request for $2 million will sustain at reduced levels
programs initiated previously to support institution building to
improve capabilities to arrest, prosecute and convict significant
traffickers, and dismantle their organizations. At U.S. urging and
with our assistance, Thailand is in the process of amending virtually
all of its basic narcotics laws and all substantive and procedural
criminal laws, including those that pertain to money laundering and
financial crime.
We are also helping Thailand modernize its criminal justice system and
improve its ability to investigate and prosecute all types of crime.
The recent spate of extrajudicial killings associated with Thailand's
war on drugs underscores the need for such assistance. We have
repeatedly expressed our concerns on this issue at the highest levels
of the Royal Thai Government, stressing the need to respect the rule
of law and seek accountability and justice in cases of extrajudicial
killings. Our efforts continue to be critical for Thailand's ability
to deter or effectively prosecute traffickers in drugs, people, and
weapons, and dismantle criminal organizations whose activities
adversely affect regional security and other U.S. interests.
The increase in the quantity of illegal synthetic drugs entering the
United States, especially Ecstasy from Europe, is of particular
concern. A significant amount of the Ecstasy consumed in the United
States is manufactured clandestinely in the Netherlands (in 2001, a
total of 9.5 million ecstasy tablets were seized in the United States,
and the DEA believes that the majority of tablets originated in the
We are working closely with Dutch authorities to stop the production
and export of Ecstasy, which we both regard as a serious threat to our
citizens. In March, we co-chaired with the Department of Justice a
high-level meeting with Dutch counterparts that resulted in a concrete
plan of action to enhance Dutch efforts against Ecstasy production and
trafficking and U.S.-Dutch cooperation on the same. Both sides are
increasing their staffing levels, sharing information (including
threat assessments) and cooperating closely to identify and disrupt
criminal organizations. At the end of June, the Dutch seized more than
12 million Ecstasy pills in Rotterdam, demonstrating both the scope of
the problem and the progress being made.
Mr. Chairman, the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics
and Law Enforcement Affairs very much appreciates the opportunity to
discuss this important issue and these key counterdrug programs with
the Committee. Further, we appreciate the Committee's continuing
interest and your many personal efforts in supporting our programs. We
look forward to increasingly close cooperation with the Committee and
the success of our combined efforts to reduce the availability of
illicit drugs produced and trafficked from the principal drug source
(end text)
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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