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

. (page 5 of 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 5 of 8)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

cultural ties with Central Asia and a tightemng of security along the border with Pakistan In
recoit years, bundred-kilogrun quantities of heroia have been smuggled on Russian rails
irom Afghanistan to Western Eurqje and occaskxaUy then on to the United States.



Kilogram quandritt of heroin, shipped from Thailatul and India fbr European
consumers, also have been seized at Moscow's international airport. Although Russian
authorities, in the past, have attributed trafflddng in their country to foreign criminals, there
15 now unequivocal recogniaan of the role being played by Russian and Central Asian
organized cruninal groups. WiUi the capability to smuggle large quantities of dnigs from
Afghanistan and Iran, ethnic-based cnminal gangs have expanded their international criminal
conuKta to diacuas the movement of drugs. Initially expanding their acdvlries on ihc
periphery of the former Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe, Russian criminals have oecome
more active throughout Europe and in the United States, particularly in Florida, New Yoric.
and Pennsylvania.

Citing the need to fight organized crime and drug trafficking, the Russian Interior
Minister signed an agreement with India to increase cooperation among law enforcement
components. In 1993, European poUce authorities expressed concern over the potential for
an increase in drug trafficking through the former Soviet Union. European sources,
explaining their apprehension, cited the Ruuian poKce fortes' loss of nearly 20 percent of
lU personnel and the 1992 deaths of 300 offlcers in the line-of-duty. Ethnic criminal groups
composed of Armenians, A2«ris, Chechens, Georgians, Russians, and others were cited for
involvement in drug tiafflcldiig.

The major opium poppy growing regions in the Commonwealth of independent States
are the Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and



Uzbekisian. In August 1993, authorities seized 1.2 metric tons of marphme base/hcroin
from & Turkish truck in Uzbekistan. Some states, notably Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, aod
Uzbekisiar, cooperated on drug law enforcement but remain plagued by personnel and
equipmen: shorti-ics and overwhelmed by civil strife, violence, and other national security

DEA's Heroia Strateey

DEA's overall heroin strategy ia structured to disrupt, dismantle, and destroy the
m^or heroin trafficking organizations that are responsible for the production, transportation,
and distribution of heroin destined for the United States and other world nnarkKs. This
strategy is DEA's framework for planning, directing, and supporting miuor investigations and
operations that target the highest level of the heroin trafTlc. The intent is to focu« and
coordinate U.S. Government efforts to combat hcrtnn trafficking in and through the various
geographical regions. The strategy identifies and seta pnorides targeting the most in:portant
haoin traffickers in the United States and foreign countries for intelligence coUecdon and
exploitation and ultlmaiely arrest and incarceration here and abroad. Unlike cocaine, heroin
is produced in four distinct geographic areas of die world each vnih iu own methods of
production, transportatioo and disthbutioa. This diversity calU for separate heroin strategiM
for each geographical area. DEA has developed a three-pronged strategy to attack the



various levels of tiaffickerj in each geographical area. DEA's three-pronged strategy focuics
on: 1) Production/Rfflningi 2) Tnosporters/Broken/Banken, and 3) Domwtic

A summary of the initiatives thai DEA has already underakcn to implement its 'Jiree
pronged strategy is as foUou-i:

In Southeast Asia. DEA's Bangkok office is utilizing intelligence to target the
command, control and communication centers of heroin production in the "Golden Triangle'
and the link to heroin brokers in Bangkok. Taiwan, and Hong Kong. DEA is also devoting
added resources and developing data bases to target the transponers of Southeast Asian
herom located in Bangkok, Taiwan and Hong Kong. We have also targeted Nigerian
transportation organizations who, on the basis of recent domestic and foreign courier and
cor.taiaerized seizure activity, have now become a force to be reckoned with ui the Southeast
Asian heroin trade. As with the producers, intelligence and surveillance is being used to
target the command, control and communication centers of these transportation organizations.

An active program of evidence acquisition will be undertaken against distributors of
Southeast hertldn in major U.S. cities. DEA Field Divisions with large utt>an areas are
attacking distributors at all lewd* with an eye toward developing evidence on the their
Southeast Asian heroin sources of supply. This not only allows our Field Divisions to
impact on lower level organizatioas with a propensity tor violence, but also to identify



command and control centers for further data collection and exploiution. By using the
natural instinct of DEA Agents to work up the distribution chain. DEA will be able to
identify multi-ldlogram distributors linked to transporters and brokers.

In 1986 the New York Field Division ertiblished an Asian Heroin Task Force to
focus enforcement action on Southeast Asian heroin traffickinj organizations operanng in
New York City. Earlier this month, the task force concluded a two year joint invcstigaoon
with [he indictment of 24 members and associates of the "Ghost Shadows" and "White
Tigers" Asian gangs, who were charged with heroin trafficking and racketeering. The
successful conclusion of this investigation reinforces my belief that more heroin cask forces
are needed in other cities to effectively combat the growing hemin problem.

To address the emerging threat posed by Nigerian and West African heroin crafpcking
organizations, we have initiated an in-depth review of this problem to identify the nature and
extent of these groups, determine how they build support and inftastmciurc, and uncover
where they are vulnerable to aggressive law enforcement programs. This information will
supply a wealth of intelligence to support ongoing and future initiaiiveR against these heroin
trafflcking groups.

Production, transportation, and distribution of Mexican heroin, unlike Southeast Asian
heroin, is all interrelated. From the opium ftelds to the initial distribution in the United
States. Mexican heroin is controlled by Mexican traffickers and transporters. DEA is



targeting these trafficker and transponailon networks with the intent of providing actionable
intciligcnce to DBA'* Field diviiions to target domestic distribution organlzatiors and to
DEAs office in Mexico City to target production sites. DEA is currently working closely
with the FBI to develop a Department of Justice strategy targeting Mexican herom trafficking
organizationj along th« Soutiiwest border of the United States.

Colombian organizations, who control the South American heroin trade, operate in a
similar manner is their Meodcan counterparts. DEA is targeting the distribution end of these
organizations in the Northeast United States. The objecdv* of this program is to collect
mtelligence on command and control centers lo provide targeung data on distribution
organizations to cities and states ouuide the Nor*cas: United States and to our Bogota office
to target production and transportation centos.

Southwest Asian heroin organizations are much more fragmented than the other three
groups, thus making targeting of thdr production, transportation and distribution more
difficult. DEA is currently concentrating its effects on die transportation hub of Istanbul,
Turkey which will be very important to enforcement efforts in Europe that will provide DEA
with the necessary intelligence to target distrtbutloo oiganizations in the Unitad States and
production centers in Southwest Asia.



In order to address Ihc threat posed to the United States by drug traffickers operating
in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and to provide technical assistance to the local law
snforcement authorities in these areas, DEA plans to opea an office in Moscow in the near

In other efforts, DEA continues to utilize Operation Pipeline, Convoy and Jetway to
Qiget the interstate transportarion of heroin in much the same way as cocaine thipmenu are
intercepted. These operations have proven to 6* efficient and successful. Through these
operations, DEA works directly with state police orjar.ization* to target all modes of land
tiansponation for interstate heroin transportation.

To attack the vulnerabilities of violent drug organixations, cooperative efforts with
state and local officials will be expanded and enhanced through DEA's Violent Trafficker
Program, an initiative that focuses on local issue* and the relationship between violence and
drujs. Through this program, we have strengthened efforts with our £tate and local partners
by targeting drug-related violence, particularly in inner cities. Once these violent traffickars
have been identified, we work through our state and local task forces to put these
organizations out of buiineu.

In the coming months, DEA while Impteracnting thwe initiatives will develop other
heroin stiai^cs to addrew the myriad heroin threats from all of those trafficking groups
now producing and trafflcklng heioin.



Mr. SCHUMER. Ambassador Arcos.


Mr. Arcos. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the oppor-
tunity to appear before you this morning to address the inter-
national side of our Nation's growing heroin threat.

I have a written statement which if

Mr. ScHUMER. Without objection, that will be inserted into the

Mr. Arcos. Thank you, sir.

It is my pleasure to be here with Dr. Brown and also Adminis-
trator Con Stan tine. Let me just say their data are crystal clear.
The heroin problem is growing worse here at home. Internationally,
it is more than a problem. It is reaching crisis proportions.

While the United States is by no means the only or even the
largest recipient of this increase, we are the most lucrative market
and, therefore, the primary target for both established and new
international heroin trafficking organizations. This is a different
threat — a more complex threat, I must say — than we are accus-
tomed to facing from cocaine. It requires a truly united and orga-
nized international response.

Let me make a few quick points to put the problem in perspec-
tive and highlight our concerns and response.

First, the production problem is staggering. The pipeline is full.
Our most recent estimate covering 1993 puts worldwide illicit
opium production at 3,700 metric tons. This is double the amount
in 1986. It is enough to produce 370 tons of pure heroin, many
times more than needed to meet U.S. heroin consumption.

Second, the geographic scope of production is almost boundless.
Unlike coca. Which is concentrated in only one region of South
America and faces a prolonged startup time, opium grows in every
comer of the world. Although Burma is by far the leading producer,
with 70 percent of worldwide production in 1993, cultivation occurs
in 10 to 11 other Asian and Latin American countries.

Third, our access to opium growing areas is limited and dan-
gerous. Semiautonomous and well-armed groups control much of
the world's major opium and heroin-producing regions. They vio-
lently resist drug control efforts.

Fourth, exploding global demand increases the incentives for pro-
duction. We see the greatest increases in producing and transit
countries. Western Europe remains a major market, and we are
concerned about rising addiction in Central Europe and the States
of the former Soviet Lmion.

Fifth, trafficking organizations are proliferating faster than Cus-
toms and enforcement authorities can keep pace. They are active
in five continents. As we observed in Nigeria, peripheral countries
can quickly emerge as key brokering or distribution hubs.

It is dangerous to simplify this picture by singling out one coun-
try or region. Today Southeast Asia is our great threat. It is the
world's leading producer and supplies the greatest share of heroin
to the U.S. market. But the nature of the trade is such that no re-
gion is immune. Southwest Asia and Latin American organizations


have the potential to increase deliveries to the United States quick-
ly. And Latin American traffickers are making a strong effort to do
so, as pointed out by Administrator Constantine.

Colombia's emergence as a major producer is increasing the sup-
ply of heroin on our streets. The picture of heroin production com-
bined with efficient cocaine distribution networks already in place
is not pleasant to contemplate.

These are ominous trends. They have the potential to overwhelm
international narcotics control resources if they are not carefully
targeted and coordinated. U.S. programs alone cannot stop this
problem, nor should they be expected to. We need an international
response. Yet international awareness of the problem and commit-
ment to attacking it are woefully lagging.

As a first step, we must get across the message that heroin trade
is not simply a law enforcement problem but a fundamental threat
to a nation's social, economic and political institutions. If the heroin
Mafia in Sicily can terrorize, if a narcofigure can almost become
Thailand's Prime Minister, then no country is immune, and our in-
terests are greatly threatened.

Beyond awareness, we need to take other intensive steps. The
global heroin crisis cries out for a more aggressive international re-
sponse. We want a greater role for multilateral organizations. They
can increase international attention on the problem, lead and co-
ordinate global and regional initiatives and reach into important
countries such as Burma, Afghanistan, Iran, and Lebanon where
our access is limited. We have helped create institutions in the
United Nations to do this and will press the United Nations to take
effective action.

We are working hard to engage the international financial com-
munity for the first time in focused countemarcotics initiatives.
Quite frankly, they are an untapped resource that can provide val-
uable support to sustainable and alternative development in drug
producing regions. They can also help with institution building, but
the recipient countries must come up with the plans to use this as-
sistance. We are working closely to encourage this.

We are continuing to pursue sharply focused regional and bilat-
eral programs. We will not waste this money. The programs are de-
signed to strengthen narcotics institutions in key source and tran-
sit countries that demonstrate a commitment to narcotics control.

We want to strengthen the ability of justice systems to conft-ont
trafficking organizations. Too many countries lack the legal and in-
stitutional foundation to do this. Many that have the foundation
are not using it effectively. Our programs can bring such key coun-
tries as Pakistan and Thailand technically up to speed.

Deciding to respond aggn'essively is a matter of political will. We
will use whatever means to boost political will. This includes mak-
ing more aggressive use of the certification process.

This is not an idle threat. Last April, the President issued the
sternest certification ever, including issuing tough decisions against
two heroin trafficking countries, Nigeria which was decertified and
Laos which was granted only a national interest certification.

Crop control remains basic to our strategy. The long-term opium
production trend is down in nearly every country where we have
crop control programs. I am pleased to report that the United


States and Venezuelan Governments recently cooperated in an
eradication effort that destroyed some 2,500 acres of poppies and
I hope stopped an incipient opium trade in that country cold.

Mr. Chairman, our future initiatives will be largely shaped by
the availability of resources and other policy considerations. We
face a big challenge in developing an effective approach to Burma.
We will continue to apply pressure through its neighbors, but,
quite frankly, we must have support for a strategy toward Rangoon
that effectively advances our countemarcotics, human rights and
democracy goals.

China is another major concern, as are the potentially serious
narcotics trafficking problems emanating from Central Asia. Even
Central Asian heroin, which is not a major U.S. problem, but-
tresses crime syndicates that threaten new commercial and democ-
racy building efforts there.

Finally, i^rica and Latin America are troubling areas for ex-
panded trafficking. Our decertification of Nigeria and eradication
efforts in Venezuela should send strong signals to traffickers and
governments alike that we intend to fight the expansion of heroin
traffic on these continents.

Mr. Chairman, I think we will all agree that we cannot rely on
international efforts alone to thwart the heroin threat. We need
solid, sufficiently funded and well-coordinated domestic and inter-
national programs.

Our programs are simple, but we need more help from the inter-
national community, and we need more help from the Congress. I
look forward to working with the committee and the Congress to
ensure that heroin does not become the next American drug epi-

Thank you, sir.

Mr. SCHUMER. Thank you. Ambassador.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Arcos follows:]







SEPTEMBER 29, 1994

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for providing the State Department and the Bureau
of International Narcotics Matters this opportunity to address
the international side of our nation's growing heroin threat.
This is not just a problem, but a crisis; and it is not just
national, but global, in scope. Dr. Brown and Administrator
Constantine have presented data that i= crystal clear - this
problem is growing worse at home. The increase in heroin
availability on our streets reflects increases in heroin
production and trafficking abroad. While the United States is
by no means the only — or largest — market for this increase, we
remain the most lucrative market and therefore the primary
target for both established and new international heroin
trafficking organizations. Today's international heroin trade
presents us with a number of unique policy and program
challenges which must be met with a truly united and organized
international response.

Mr. Chairman, let me start by providing a few key
statistics to put the international heroin trade in
perspective. These are important factors to keep in mind,
particularly for those who are accustomed to assessing the
narcotics problem from the perspective of the cocaine trade.
They underscore fundamental differences between the cocaine and
heroin trades and help illustrate the policy and program
options, limitations, and opportunities of our response.

First is the sheer size of the production. Our most recent
estimate of worldwide illicit opium production is approximately
3,700 metric tons. This is double the amount estimated in
1986. 3,700 tons of opium is enough to produce 370 tons of
pure heroin. While we do not know the precise size of the US
heroin market, by all accounts worldwide opium production is
many times greater than what is needed for US heroin
consumption .

Second is the geographic scope of the production problem.
Coca production is concentrated in only one region of South
America. Illicit opium cultivation occurs in virtually every
corner of the world, and the number of producing countries is
expanding. DEA ' s signature program shows that the United
States continues to be supplied with large amounts of heroin
from Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and Latin America. Burma
is by far the leading opium producer - i ts 2,575-ton crop
accounted for approximately 70-,percent of worldwide production
in 1993 — but at least ten other countries are significant
producers for the international trade. Some of these


- 2 -

countries, such as Colombia, have entered the trade in recent
years, and traffickers are making constant attempts to start up
production in new countries. For example, we recently
supported a major eradication effort that destroyed over 2,500
acres of new poppy cultivation in Venezuela.

Third is the problem of access to producing areas. Most
opium and heroin production occurs in areas that are currently
outside the effective influence of the United States or even
the effective control of national governments. In Southeast
and Southwest Asia, opium is produced in areas controlled by
semi-autonomous, well-armed, and violence-prone, tribal,
ethnically-based, or war lord groups. Many of these groups are
heavily dependent on income from the opium trade and view any
effort to control it as a direct challenge to their autonomy.

Fourth is the rapidly escalating worldwide demand for
heroin, which is increasing the incentive for opium production
and heroin refining. Drug users in opium-producing countries
are switching from opium to heroin, a trend that has been well
documented in Pakistan and Laos. Meanwhile, heroin addiction
is spreading in key transit countries such as China and India.
Heroin addiction remains the primary drug abuse concern in
Western Europe, and we are increasingly concerned about signs
of growing heroin use in Central Europe, Russia, and other
states of the former Soviet Union.

And, finally there is the problem of the proliferation of
trafficking networks around the world. The growth in markets
and sources has created an increasingly complex web of
trafficking networks that stretches across virtually every
continent. It has also created opportunities for new
organizations to enter the trade. Countries that were once on
the periphery of the trade, such as Nigeria, are playing
increasingly important brokering and distribution roles. The
complex and constantly changing pattern of smuggling routes and
methods places enormous pressure on international customs and
law enforcement organizations just to keep pace.

In terms of volume. Southeast Asia is our greatest threat
today — it is the world's leading producer and supplies the
largest share of heroin in the US market. Yet the nature of
the heroin trade is such that no region is immune. Both
Southwest Asian and Latin American trafficking organizations
have the potential to increase heroin supplies to the United
States, and Latin American traffickers in particular are making
a strong effort to do so. DEA's data show that the
availability of heroin from Latin America is rising in the
United States. The growth appears largely the result of the
emergence of Colombia as an important opium producer since
1991. This is an especially troublesome development given the
extensive distribution network Colombian cocaine traffickers
already have in the United States. Recent detection - and


- 3 -

eradication - of significant opium cultivation in Venezuela
underscores the potential spillover of production to other
Latin American countries.

The increasing size and complexity of the international
heroin trade have the potential to overwhelm international
narcotics control resources if they are not carefully targeted
and coordinated. US programs alone cannot stop this problem,
nor should they be expected to do so. The only truly effective
response must be international. Our concern, however, is that
international awareness of the heroin problem and commitment to
attacking it are lagging. The objectives of our international
heroin control efforts are therefore to strengthen
international commitment to combat the problem and to ensure
that our programs are concentrated where they have the greatest
effect on reducing the threats to our interests.

To boost international concern, we are spreading the
message through a variety of diplomatic, public awareness, and
multilateral mechanisms that the heroin trade poses a
fundamental threat to a country's social, economic, and
political institutions. It is important that these countries
understand we do not view the heroin trade as simply a law
enforcement problem affecting the United States. The countries
most at risk need to understand that, if left unchecked, the

1 2 3 5 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 5 of 8)