Strengthen International Partnerships
Efforts by the United States and partner nations have achieved major and sustained progress against cocaine use and distribution throughout the Western Hemisphere. Multiple data sets reflecting both demand and supply dimensions of the cocaine threat indicate significant progress in disrupting the international market for cocaine. First, potential cocaine production, particularly in Colombia, has decreased dramatically, due to sustained aerial spraying and manual coca crop reduction over several years. In other areas, mandatory coca elimination and alternative development programs have contributed to a thriving agricultural economy. There was a 72 percent decline in illicit coca over a three-year period in the San Martin area of Peru’s Upper Huallaga valley, a historic epicenter for global cocaine drug trafficking. (Action Item 6.2H)
Declining border seizures, increased street price, and falling cocaine retail purity all attest to reduced availability of the drug in U.S. markets. Further, domestic consumption of cocaine has declined sharply during this same time period, as shown by prevalence surveys, arrestee and workplace drug testing results, and changes in the types of drugs for which individuals are seeking treatment. Taken together, the data show a major and persisting impact on the cocaine threat.
The United States will continue to strengthen partnerships around the globe to address all aspects of the drug problem. We will look to re-shape and invigorate our collaboration with the countries in the Western Hemisphere, beginning with the development of a Western Hemisphere Counternarcotics Strategy, to be published in the summer of 2011. (Action Item 6.2G)
The Government of Mexico has responded with tremendous resolve and commitment to directly counter drug trafficking organizations. The United States, as the primary market for drugs coming from and through Mexico, is cooperating with Mexico under the Merida Initiative. The Merida Initiative is a $1.4 billion dollar program providing equipment and training to Mexico. The assistance falls within four areas: disrupting drug trafficking organizations, strengthening the institutions of law enforcement, creating a more secure border, and building stronger communities.
The United States provided equipment and training, including three Black Hawk UH-60M helicopters delivered to Mexico’s Federal police in November 2010. The United States has also provided nonintrusive inspection equipment for mobile checkpoints, delivered eight Bell 412 transport helicopters for the Mexican Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA), and accelerated the anticipated delivery of three UH-60M Blackhawks for the Mexican Secretariat of the Navy (SEMAR) by 2 years to September of this year. The U.S. will continue our strategic engagement with Mexico, but the focus will change from providing equipment to assisting with training and coordination.
For example, the U.S. Navy, working with the Coast Guard and other partners, has increased cooperation with SEDENA and SEMAR on aerial, maritime, littoral, and amphibious counternarcotics operations. The frequency of planned U.S.-Mexico maritime counternarcotics cooperative operations increased from 4 in 2008 to 10 in 2009 to 24 in 2010. In addition, SEDENA posted a liaison officer at U.S. Northern Command headquarters in 2009, and SEMAR has liaison officers posted at Joint Inter-Agency Task Force (JIATF)-South and Fleet Forces Command, in addition to U.S. Northern Command.
Such assistance will help Mexico confront the violent drug trafficking organizations more effectively, reform their institutions and enhance support for the rule of law, build a secure border, and build resilient communities that work together with Federal, state, and local officials to prevent criminal activity and mitigate the negative consequences of the drug trade. (Action Item 6.2A)
An increasingly important enhancement of the initiative is support for Mexico’s strategy to create conditions in communities that will make drug prevention permanent and sustainable. In December 2010, ONDCP worked with partners in both the U.S. Government and the Government of Mexico to organize Bi-National Cross Border treatment and prevention training conferences in El Paso and San Diego. This pilot program focused on strengthening prevention and treatment approaches at the community, school, and individual levels, coalition building, and introducing the Government of Mexico’s “Treatment and Prevention Toolkit,” which will be used as a training program for U.S. and Mexican students in border regions.
The Initiative has also led to unprecedented bilateral anti-crime information sharing and collaboration, including the placement of vetted Mexican law enforcement professionals within EPIC and the Air and Marine Operations Center. Increased information exchange, expedited operational communications, and the resulting increase in operational capacity between the United States and Mexico have enabled more complex and effective investigations, thereby enhancing interdiction and producing more kingpin arrests. In addition, data from 2007 to 2010 show that CBP and ICE have increased their seizure of southbound illegal currency and enhanced efforts to disrupt the flow of weapons into Mexico.
In response to the violence in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, the Administration continues to expand our cooperation with the Government of Mexico, as well as with governments in Central America and the Caribbean through the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), by supporting their courageous efforts to disrupt the drug trade and neutralize its corrosive effects on government institutions and society.
Through CARSI, the U.S. Government provides equipment, training, and technical assistance to support immediate law enforcement and interdiction operations, as well as strengthen the capacities of Central American governmental institutions to address security challenges and the underlying economic and social conditions that contribute to them. The work with these Central American communities helps increase both citizen safety and their resilience against criminal threats.
Through the CBSI, the United States and its Caribbean partners developed a political framework focused on improving citizen safety by substantially reducing illicit trafficking, increasing public safety and security, and promoting social justice. The United States and Caribbean nations also agreed on four technical working groups aimed at implementing the CBSI Joint Plan of Action. (Action Items 6.2C, 6.2D, and 6.2F)
The four technical working groups address maritime security, information sharing, law enforcement strengthening, and crime prevention. They coordinate the implementation of ongoing regional efforts, discuss current unmet needs and deficiencies in the region, and explore potential cooperative efforts at filling those needs.
Efforts to promote interdiction and develop law enforcement in the global arena, as exemplified by U.S.-led programs in Afghanistan, continue to make progress. In March 2010, the U.S. Government published a revised counternarcotics strategy for Afghanistan that focused on counternarcotics efforts as a means to help provide greater security for the Afghan populace. The counternarcotics strategy has become a supporting document to our overall Afghan stabilization strategy, which promotes sustainable licit economic opportunities as well as increasingly self-reliant and effective law enforcement and judicial entities.
Bilateral law enforcement programs, led on the U.S. side by the DEA, contribute to successful prosecutions of trafficking organizations and help ensure drug kingpins around the world do not operate with impunity. In March 2010, for example, Criminal Justice Task Force judges convicted and sentenced a Counternarcotics Police-Afghanistan Operational Commander to a 15-year prison term for violation of drug trafficking laws. The arrest and prosecution stemmed from an undercover operation initiated by the DEA Sensitive Investigative Unit. (Action Item 6.2B)
The Administration is focused on redevelopment of the agricultural economy in Afghanistan to facilitate job growth and raise incomes for rural families. To re-connect the Afghan people to the licit economy, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides agricultural assistance to rural families through the Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture (AVIPA plus) program.
In 2010, USAID distributed agriculture voucher packages to more than 466,000 farmers throughout 20 provinces in Afghanistan. In 2011, USAID is implementing a complementary program to AVIPA with the goal of amplifying current successes and sustaining gains made in security and stability.
The State Department’s Guiding the Recovery of Women (GROW) curriculum is the cornerstone of our ongoing effort to enhance access to gender-responsive services for substance-abusing women and their children. In addition to a 5-day basic GROW course, the curriculum includes specialized courses for treatment providers on the following: pregnantaddicted women, women and children, domestic violence, trauma, co-occurring disorders, adolescent girls, relapse prevention, aftercare, substance abuse treatment and family therapy. The basic GROW course has been piloted in a women’s residential facility in Guyana, in incarceration and therapeutic community settings in Brazil, and with Kenyan, Nigerian, Afghan, and Brazilian treatment professionals through study tours in the United States. Additional GROW training is scheduled for treatment professionals in South Africa, Afghanistan, and Ecuador in 2011.
Although potential opium production has declined in Afghanistan for 3 consecutive years, limited access to treatment and ready access to illicit opium has resulted in alarming addiction rates among Afghans, with approximately 120,000 women and 60,000 children addicted. To help Afghanistan address their addiction problem, the State Department has partnered with the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN), the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program (CPDAP), and the UNODC to open 26 new treatment facilities since 2007, including six residential treatment facilities for women, six for children, and two for adolescent males. In 2011, three new centers will open, including an adolescent female center in Kabul. With these facilities, enhanced treatment methods, training through the GROW program, and other U.S.-funded Colombo Plan initiatives, the U.S. Government is working closely with the MCN to continue to improve access to gender responsive treatment in Afghanistan.
In Central America this past year, through the CARSI program, the International Law Enforcement Training Academy in El Salvador trained approximately 450 law enforcement officers from the seven CARSI countries. In just 3 months of 2010, the Transnational Anti-Gang Unit in El Salvador handled 141 investigative leads and disseminated information to domestic and international law enforcement agencies. CBP, working with CARSI national border forces, conducted assessments of more than 30 land, sea, and air entry points throughout the region and has provided training using non-intrusive inspection equipment provided by the State Department. USAID continued its work in crime and violence prevention, working with local and national governments, civil society, and community leaders to build comprehensive prevention approaches and provide opportunities for youth at risk of becoming involved in the narcotics trade and substance abuse. (Action Item 6.2F)
In the coca-producing Andean region, U.S. assistance supports Colombia’s Strategic Development Initiative. The program expands government presence, control, and development opportunities in zones subject to influence by drug traffickers and illegal armed groups. U.S. support helps retain and make permanent the government control of territory once dominated by illegal actors, and strengthens democratic institutions. It promotes good governance, respect for human rights, and social and economic development. USAID alternative development activities in Colombia coordinate with these efforts by providing opportunities for alternative livelihoods that provide licit jobs and income. In Peru, U.S. development assistance supports coca eradication, interdiction, and alternative development programs that strengthen economic and social stability in coca growing areas. The best example of the success of these programs is in the transformation of the San Martin region of Peru from a coca growing area to a viable producer of legitimate crops.
In Bolivia, USAID continues to work with Bolivian Government counterparts, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to reduce poverty and food insecurity, provide alternative, licit opportunities for employment and income, improve health services and education, protect the environment, and combat narcotics trafficking. In Ecuador, considered a significant narcotics transit country, USAID alternative development programs worked with the Government to provide opportunities for increased jobs and income through licit agricultural and forest management activities.
The United States will continue to work closely with Colombia, a strategic partner in efforts for our hemisphere. Our efforts under the Colombia Strategic Development Initiative will consolidate and build upon the accomplishments made during the past 10 years against both cocaine and heroin production through focused eradication and alternative development programs. The transition of U.S.-supported counternarcotics programs to the Colombian government will continue in 2011. (Action Item 6.2H)
The national cocaine interdiction goal, first established in 2007, calls for removing 40 percent of documented cocaine moving through the transit zone by 2015. Annual interim targets, increasing by two percentage points per year, were established to incrementally bridge the gap between the historical 24 percent average removal rate and the 40 percent goal. The interim 30 percent cocaine removal target for FY 2010 was achieved. U.S. law enforcement, working in conjunction with Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-South) and partner nation forces, will continue to pursue the goal of 40 percent removal by 2015; the target for 2011 is 32 percent.
Interdiction in the Transit Zone
The U. S. law enforcement community, working in conjunction with JIATF-South and allied and partner nation forces, met the 2010 cocaine removal rate target of 30 percent of total documented movement through the Western Hemisphere Transit Zone. U.S. interdiction forces, working together with allied and partner nation support through bilateral agreements and USCG Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) deployments, removed 244 metric tons of the 804 metric tons of total documented cocaine movement in FY 2010. In pursuit of a 40 percent removal goal by 2015, the interim goal percentages will increase incrementally each year.
Interdiction challenges continue to grow and include reduced visibility of the threat in 2010, in concert with constantly evolving and ever-more clandestine means, methods, and modes of conveyance used by traffickers. In July 2010, the first fully submersible trafficker submarine, in its last phase of construction, was seized in the Ecuadoran jungle, and in February 2011 another was captured just prior to its departure from the mangroves of southwestern Colombia. These challenges will increase our emphasis on international partnerships and investigations, and will make evolution of interdiction tactics, techniques and procedures, and continued force provider support to JIATF-South even more critical to success in the future. To this end, the USCG sponsors a semi-annual Counter Narcotics Multilateral Summit to address gaps and shortcomings in combined littoral operations and emerging legal issues among the countries in the primary threat vector from the source countries in South America through Central America and Mexico. (Action Item 6.3.B)
Along with the successes, there remain many challenges. While the decline in cocaine availability in the United States has been welcome news, there is still a widespread global market for the drug. In addition, routes through West Africa reach expanding cocaine markets in Europe. Accordingly, although we will continue to work with our international partners to increase seizures of illicit drug shipments as close to their source as possible, where the return on investment in interdiction efforts is greatest, we will also support countries affected by shifting transit routes. We will also continue to work with our partners around the globe to implement both supply and demand reduction strategies that are tailored to each country’s unique situation.
Finally, in response to the increasing convergence of transnational criminal threats— including expanded linkages between organized crime and drug trafficking groups—the U.S. Government will issue a new comprehensive national strategy in 2011 to address transnational crime and the threat it poses to governance around the world.