United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Heroin trafficking : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, September 29, 1994 online

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cooperation with allied countries.

Regional Approach

In many major heroin source and transit countries, the
United States has important national security interests that
extend beyond drugs; however, to pursue these other interests,
the drug industry and its criminal activities must be dealt with
as well. Our heroin strategy seeks to optimize our very limited
counternarcotics resources as well as carefully target those
countries and regions that pose the most direct heroin threat to
the domestic health and national security interests of the United

Southeast Asia: Since more than 60 percent of all the
heroin sold in the United States comes from Southeast Asia, our
primary heroin control priority will be to reduce this flow.
This requires a strong international attack on the trafficking
and financial kingpins outside Burma, and a diplomatic campaign
to encourage political reform and greater counternarcotics
efforts in Burma.

As a result of my recent trip to Southeast Asia, I have
concluded that we will have to increase our diplomatic efforts,
highlighting cooperation, to influence Burma's neighbors -
especially China and Thailand - to exert more narcotics control
pressure on the Government of Burma by emphasizing to them the
regional threat posed by Burma's heroin trade.

Burma continues to be the world ' s largest opium producer
with the production areas located outside of government control.
In identifying counternarcotics actions that the Burmese must
take, we will capitalize on the Burmese Government's desire for
acceptance in the international community. We should be able to
test the military regime's seriousness without undermining other
aspects of U.S. policy.



In particular, I believe that there are steps we can take
with the Government of Burma that wj.11 not undermine our strong
support for human rights. For example, we can speak to the
Government of Burma about the problem of heroin trafficking and
discuss the possibility of sharing actionable information. Such
an exchange would permit us to measure the Burmese Government ' s
actions and accomplishments. This would also serve to send a
message to our friends in Southeast Asia, particularly in China
and Thailand, that we are serious about the heroin problem.

Thailand remains key to our regional program. I had
discussions in Bangkok with Thai officials about the future of
our cooperative effort. They are eager to continue this
important relationship and have agreed to work even more closely
with us against narcotics trafficking elements in Thailand. I
have asked DEA and the State Department to keep our
counternarcotics effort in Thailand fulled staffed.

We also will increase support to the United Nations Drug
Control Program's ( U^fDCP ) Sub-Regional Project, working with
Burma and its neighbors to reduce opium production and enhance
regional cooperation. Alternative development programs are
important, but they take years to execute. UNDCP, the
Multilateral Development Bank (MDB), and the international
financial institutions ( IFI ) , therefore are the ideal agents to
conduct them. Laos is a good example of what is possible.

Development projects, especially those sponsored by UNDCP,
have been key to the Laotian counternarcotics program and have a
real chance to succeed. With the help of the United Nations,
Laos has developed a comprehensive drug control plan that could
serve as a model for other producing countries. The plan seeks
to significantly reduce poppy cultivation and drug addiction by
the year 2000. It also calls for judicial reform, and new
legislation necessary for Laos to sign, and implement, the Vienna




Southwest Asia: In view of Afghanistan's importance as a
major opium source country, the United States has established the
principle that assistance to major drug-producing areas in
Afghanistan should he in the context of a plan to reduce opium
growing and processing. The United States will continue to
encourage Pakistan to make a serious effort to reduce heroin and
opium production, and increase its investigative efforts on
high-level trafficking. The U.S. will provide appropriate
judicial training and other technical assistance necessary to
enhance Pakistan's capability to successfully prosecute, convict,
or extradite major traffickers.

Changes in worldwide opium production and trafficking
patterns are increasing Turkey's importance to the drug industry
for processing and transshipment and as a clearinghouse linking
the Southwest Asian trade to European, Middle Eastern, and North
American markets. U.S. policy will continue to promote Turkish
political will and commitment to improve its investigative and
prosecutorial capabilities, to target the country's
well-established drug syndicates, and to assist with the
technical and operational expertise required to undertake this

Latin America: Opium poppies are being grown in Mexico and
Colombia and, most recently, in Peru and Venezuela. These crops .
are almost exclusively aimed at the United States. Colombia
presents a major new heroin supply threat. The cartels have all
the prerequisites to capture a large part of the U.S. domestic
heroin market: sufficient poppy cultivation to meet U.S. supply
needs, product quality is high, and retailing capabilities are
well developed. Given these advantages and the proximity to the
United States, the cartels can provide stiff competition to Asian
traffickers. The cartels already are selling very pure,



high-quality heroin in the United States at a cheaper price than
their Asian counterparts.

I recently spoke with Colombian President Samper about the
potential heroin problem. I encouraged him to continue his
country ' s aggressive poppy eradication program and to attack the
heroin traffic with the same vigor he has promised to employ
against the cocaine trade. Colombia's eradication of poppy has
been very successful, and we will continue to support them in the
aerial spraying of both poppy and coca. I personally looked at
Mexico's poppy eradication efforts last February. They have a
large program of aerial spraying and manual eradication. In
1993, they eradicated nearly 7,000 hectares. I expect the 1994
results, however, to be lower, since the uprising in Chiapas has
diverted miliary resources from the eradication effort.

Africa: Nigerian and related West African trafficking
organizations demand special attention because they move a
substantial portion of the heroin coming to the United States
from Southeast Asia. As you know, the United States did not
certify Nigeria last year because it has not adequately
cooperated with the U.S. on countemarcotics nor has it
implemented the provisions of the Vienna Convention as obligated.
As a result, I made an effort during my trip there in August to
convince the Nigerian Government that the United States wanted to
certify them, but they had to earn it. In the three months left
in this calendar year, Nigeria needs to take aggressive action.
The Nigerians were embarrassed by decertification and have made
an effort in recent months to extradite several narcotraf flckers
and have voiced cooperation and support for our heroin strategy.

Nigerian trafficking organizations dominate the drug trade
between Africa and the United States. These organizations appear
to be global in scope, capable of effecting major capital flows
to Africa from other parts of the world, and able to Influence



the political apparatus and economic functioning of Nigeria as
well as other Afrj.can countries.

We also must work closely with South Africa to help them
oppose criminal elements now setting up transit operations in
Pretoria and Cape Town. I was impressed during my visit to
Pretoria by the cooperative spirit of the South African Police
Countemarcotics Bureau. I believe they can play a significant
leadership role in Africa by providing training and technical
assistance to neighboring countries.

The CIS and Europe: Since Europe is one of the largest
world markets for heroin, the United States will encourage
European and other major consumer countries to take the lead in
thwarting heroin production and trafficking in and through
Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States,
providing these countries with badly needed financial and
material antinarcotics assistanqe. U.S. countemarcotics
assistance for the Commonwealth will be provided through UNDCP,
along with limited direct assistance for building indigenous law
enforcement, demand reduction, and money laundering enforcement

As you know, we have been working for some time on
establishing an exchange of countemarcotics Information with the
Russians. The recent visit to Moscow by FBI Director Freeh and
DEA Administrator Constantine has formalized this relationship.

International Crime and Narcotics

International criminal activity, particularly narcotics
related crime, threatens to reverse democratic advances and
economic accomplishments in many countries. We can help preserve
and advance political stability ax«J administrative effectiveness
by working with countries to improve their civilian and military
countemarcotics institutions. The Administration already is



working closely with overseas partners to develop detailed
information on the worldwide narcotics trade to exploit vul-
nerabilities identified inside and outside the respective
countries. Accordingly, the United States will continue to
provide countries with established judicial institutions the
support they need to take aggressive legal action against major
traffickers and corrupt government officials.

The United States will continue to treat the operations of
international narcotics syndicates as serious national security
threats. We will act both unilaterally and with other nations to
implement an international strategy that is in concert with our
overall national drug strategy. International heroin control is
a major foreign policy objective and we need to elevate its
priority as a foreign policy objective, especially in major drug
source and transit countries.

Resources and Funding

Heroin traffickers are expanding worldwide and investing
heavily in building their global business enterprises. Since
their ratas of investment for developing and protecting
operations are increasing rapidly, and since no single consumer
country can match this investment, the United States and its
partners must ensure that counter-heroin resources are
coordinated and optimized. Many of the initiatives included in
our strategy will not need increased funding, but we will ask
agencies and departments to make a realistic appraisal of their
counter -heroin resource requirements for FY 96. Currently, Ju«t
over ten percent of our international count emarco tics budget is
directed against heroin.


Because the principal drug threat to the United States 1«,
and is likely to remain, the use and consequences of cocaine, w
have focused the overwhelming proportion of our resources,



programs, and activities on stemming the flow of cocaine to the
united States. However, as the supply and puril / level of heroin
have risen, so has use. If left unchecked, these conditions can
produce another drug use epidemic in the United States that will
create more health problems, more drug related crime, and
staggering social and economic costs.

I am convinced that we must respond to these troubling
trends by doing a better job of providing education, maximizing
prevention, early intervention and treatment efforts, especially
where heroin inhalation is becoming prevalent. We must also
continue with efforts to identify and treat the chronic, heavy
user population - those who use cocaine, those who use heroin,
and especially those who use multiple drugs.




Mr. ScHUMER. Mindful of your schedule and the fact that we
have to take a full Judiciary Committee picture, what I think I am
going to do — I had two questions. Let me tell you what they are.
You don't have to answer them. You can submit them in writing
so that we can break. And maybe the other Members can do the

One, related to what we can do — the recent surveys show that
the acceptability of drugs — all kinds of drugs — among youth is
going back up. We had a dramatic decline. Now it is beginning to
go back up. Interesting. I was just briefed by the Partnership for
a Drug-Free America and all the good work they do.

It is about the same trend in well-to-do suburbs and in the inner
city. There was this idea, well, the attitudes are different. They are
not, especially now that the focus has been aimed at both places.
So I would Hike to ask you what we can do about that and what
you think of those statistics.

And, second, about Burma. A very difficult question. They are a
human rights wasteland, and yet to get the cooperation we need
from their Government to put DEA and others in there we might
have to — it is sort of the China situation but much more difficult.
And I would be interested in your specific thoughts on how dip-
lomatically we resolve the Burma situation.

Do we become a little more cooperative with their Government
in an effort to decrease the flow? As you stated. Southeast Asia is
the biggest supplier of heroin. Do we continue to crack down? Can
we just rely on their neighboring countries? It seems to me prob-
ably we can. So I would ask that you answer those questions in

Mr. Brown. I would be glad to submit those answers in writing
to you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. ScHUMER. Mr. Conyers.

Mr. Conyers. Thank you very much.

I am happy to hear Director Brown's statement. I am hoping that
this very serious problem can be tackled in a way that will show
the difference between you and the previous attempts that have
been brought to bear on the problem. And so I have listened to the
international problem, the domestic problems, and I will be work-
ing with you both in this committee and in Government Operations
as well, Lee.

And I want you to know that we are behind you, but we really
want to come down with a focus when you get that strategy to-
gether. We want to see something happen, particularly with the
financiers of this, the people that are really making the money. We
have got to look into the profitability as well as keeping emphasis
on the education.

Thank you very much.

Mr. ScHUMER. Thank you.

Mr. Brown. I appreciate your strong support and will call on you
to work with us in developing our new strategy.

Mr. ScHUMER. We are going to take a 15-minute break.


Mr. ScHUMER. OK, the hearing will resume. Like everything else
I guess when the Judiciary Committee takes a picture it takes
longer than they stated. So I apologize for being a little late.

85-909 0-95-2


For our next panel we are fortunate to have experts in fighting
drug trafficking on both domestic and international fronts. Thomas
A. Constantine was appointed Administrator of the Drug Enforce-
ment Administration, the Nation's lead agency in drug law enforce-
ment in March 1994. Before accepting this position, Mr. Con-
stantine had more than 30 years of experience with the New York
State Police where he served as superintendent.

Ambassador Cresencio S. Arcos is the Department of State's
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics
Matters. Ambassador Arcos is a career Foreign Service officer. In
recent years, he served as American Ambassador to Honduras and
is a member of the State Department's North American Free Trade
Agreement Task Force.

Gentlemen, I would ask that your entire statements will be read
into the record and try to limit your testimony. As I said we are
going to try to, with the exception of Dr. Brown, to strictly adhere
to the 5-minute rule.


Mr. Constantine. Thank you. Congressman, for bringing some
attention to this matter. Much of what Dr. Brown discussed is close
to the things I have been brought forward in my presentation any-

I would like to mention some things as a career police officer.
Watching this whole resurrection of neroin, it's important to re-
member that it never really disappeared from America. It always

Cocaine, because of its tremendous impact and the amount of vi-
olence attached to it and a lot of the connections with South Amer-
ica, creates so much attention that I think society forgot that we
had had tremendous problems with heroin in America historically,
and now as we look at the increased production, the increased us-
ages and the percentage rates — I am going to give you just briefly
some of the things that have changed in regards to heroin. The in-
formation we have up there on some boards I think drastically
point these changes out. And, from there, I will discuss my belief
that any strategy for an enforcement agency like DBA is really
driven by the dynamics of the organization that you are trying to
counter. Heroin is very different from cocaine. We are really deal-
ing with four different systems of production, sale and transpor-
tation across the globe.

The thing that I think is very important in helping people to esti-
mate whether the problem is serious and is dramatically changing
is the chart on the left which gives the price in milligrams of pure
heroin. You go from, in 1980, 3.9— $3.90— down to $1.47 in 1993.
Obviously, there have been inflationary adjustments also within
the economy that would make that all the more dramatic if it were
adjusted for that figure.

Then you go to the retail purity where you go from street level
purity of 3.6 percent for a bag of heroin in most places in the coun-
try up to 35 or 36 percent on a nationwide average. That really
doesn't tell the true story of what the purity rates are. These are


samples of what the glassine envelopes or bags look like that are
bought on the streets of the various cities throughout the United
States. And, of course, these vary depending upon what type of her-
oin is purchased by the addict.

As you can see, in New York City, which I am most familiar
with, the purity is up to 77 or 61 percent. I mean, that was abso-
lutely unheard of in the 1970's and early 1980's, when we thought
we had a heroin problem. Washington, DC, 95 percent; Boston, 98
percent. Those are guaranteed overdose levels of purity if injected
early by a drug user.

Much is made of the fact that many people are now snorting her-
oin, as an introduction into heroin. People are snorting heroin to
avoid AIDS and perhaps think that they have not gotten them-
selves into that terrible situation of being a drug addict merely be-
cause they snort the heroin. They become addicted anyway.

In the mid-1960's I worked narcotics on the streets of the city of
Buffalo for the State police. And usually the way that people
became involved with heroin was through snorting. The habit then
was called a Jones, and the people who were snorting it were called
by the addicts on the street people who had a "nose Jones," and
it was not very long before those people started injecting the drug.

I think if you have people who become addicted by inhaling or
snorting heroin at this purity there will be a time when a substan-
tial number of them will flee to intravenous injections.

There are four areas in the world that produce the heroin. DEA
is trying and trying to develop new strategies to deal with it. The
first, as mentioned oy Dr. Brown, is Southeast Asia, and the whole
production system is in Burma; there are two groups, the Shan
United Army and the Wa. These are actual armies of people with
not only semiautomatics but heavy weapons dug into fortresses and
military compounds. And it is a whole cultural thing in addition to
drug production, and often it is outside the control of the Nation
of Burma.

Just the feasibility of mounting a war against these substantially
armed troops I am sure has entered into their consideration along
with what other cultural things that you had mentioned. The drug
then goes to their connections into Thailand, and from there it is
a brokered type of drug. It is not a hierarchy where one person con-
trols it from production to street sale.

Once the individuals who have made their brokered deal in Thai-
land are through, they are no longer on the set, so that means that
it is very difficult to get evidence against them to move them for-
ward. Increasingly, then, the Nigerians take over the transpor-
tation svstem throughout the world. They have gone from being in-
dividual smugglers who might swallow a balloon full of drugs and
try to get it into Kennedy Airport to being an organized transpor-
tation group that is available to any broker to bring the drugs any-
place, whether it is to Moscow or to Kennedy Airport. And as it
goes increasingly now we are seeing evidence of it going through
mainland China, into Taiwan and from there into the United

The Drug Enforcement Administration has a substantial commit-
ment of resources in Thailand, and we have a small detail in
Burma, and we have offices in Hong Kong and Malaysia, all of the


near locations. We are looking at enhancing those operations into
the command and control centers of these brokers in Thailand. We
have numbers of them already indicted in the Eastern District of
New York, but you can't get them back to face trial here in the
United States.

The next group is the people from Afghanistan and Southwest
Asia. That is mainly a family-operated business because Afghani-
stan is without central government control. Also in the newly inde-
pendent States of the lormer Soviet Union a tremendous amount
of poppy is being grown.

Third now is Colombia. It has moved to be the third major pro-
ducer of opium, almost as big as Afghanistan, in the short period
of time of 4 years. We know the history of it. We have a cartel
called the Cali cartel there that has been operating almost with im-
munity over the last 10 years in the cocaine tramc. They now are
involved in parts of the heroin traffic.

We have reports from people on the street that if you buy a
multikilogram amount of cocaine from this cartel you are also
forced to take a kilogram of heroin to further move the market be-
cause it is more expensive and it cuts down on the amount of vul-
nerability that they have throughout the system.

And the last is the group which is mostly on the west coast and
Southwest, Mexican heroin, either brown heroin or black tar. It is
about 8 percent of our imports. They have extremely well-estab-
lished criminal transportation groups in Mexico. They operate as
the transportation group largely for the Colombian cocaine cartel.
They have gotten very good at it, very powerful, with a lot of
money and very violent. They also are involved in the smuggling
of heroin into the country and control some of the distribution sys-
tems of the United States.

So in that — we have 5 minutes — ^that is kind of a capsule over-
view of where we are. I would agree I don't think it is an epidemic
here yet, although is a global epidemic. Countries that once before
never had heroin problems now have phenomenal problems. And if
anybodv ever wants to analyze the relationship between availabil-
ity of drugs and usage of drugs, I would have them look at Paki-
stan where 10 years ago there were only a handful of heroin ad-
dicts and now the best estimate is 2 million people in that country
addicted to heroin as they became a major transshipment point.

And we know now in Africa and in Eastern Europe as well as
Western Europe heroin has become a drug of availability, and it is
a problem for all in society. So, while that is sad, hopefully that
will increase the cooperation. No longer is it just a problem of
American citizens, or a problem of Western Europe. Maybe every-
body now can recognize just how serious this is.

Thank you. Congressman.

Mr. ScHUMER. Thank you, Mr. Constantine.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Constantine follows:]



Thomas A. Constantine

TTu Drug Sn/breimsiu Ajtmiustnatton
UHtttd SUin DtpiutmsiC o/JiuUct


Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice

U.S. House of Represenatives

Heroin Production and Traffickini Trends

September 29. 1994


Cbairnun Schumer and Memben of the Subcoirmuttee on Ciime and Cnminai
Justice: It ia t privUag* for me to appe&r before the Subcomminee today to provide you with

1 3 5 6 7 8

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JHeroin trafficking : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, September 29, 1994 → online text (page 3 of 8)