The DEA International Training Section (TRI) has been conducting international counter-narcotics training since 1969. TRI is recognized as the world pioneer in international training and serves as the model for a variety of international law enforcement training efforts. DEA's role has grown to include that of international consultant to law enforcement agencies, as well as foreign governments seeking to develop quality narcotics law enforcement programs, organizational infrastructures, and judicial reforms.
The specific courses offered by TRI are continually changing as new curricula are developed and instituted in response to experiences, changes in law enforcement emphasis, current international narcotics trafficking situations, new technologies, and specific requests of the host governments. However, the curricula generally include core narcotics enforcement principles and techniques. Topics of instruction include: initiation and development of narcotics investigations, surveillance techniques, pharmacology, intelligence collection and analytical methods, tactical safety, interviewing, drug identification, asset forfeiture and financial investigations, undercover operations, operational planning and an overview of current international trafficking trends and situations. All DEA international training programs have as a major objective the building of regional working relationships between countries.
The specific objectives of DEA’s International Training Program are to:
1. Upgrade the drug law enforcement capabilities of foreign law enforcement agencies.
2. Encourage and assist key countries in developing self-sufficient narcotics investigation training programs.
3. Increase cooperation and communication between foreign law enforcement personnel and DEA in international drug trafficking intelligence and operations.
4. Provide foreign officials with motivation, as well as the necessary skills and knowledge required to initiate and continue high-level international drug investigations.
5. Develop regional cooperation between countries and encourage long-range strategic planning to enhance enforcement and intelligence operations.
International Programs Offered
TRI offers both in-country and regional training programs conducted by mobile training teams. In-country programs are seminars conducted in a host country and only include participants from that country. Regional training is designed to bring together a combination of participants from a number of countries sharing common drug trafficking issues or routes. Regional schools have been found to be beneficial in fostering an improvement in professional relationships among the participants, in addition to covering the topical materials. An advance pre-school planning and assessment trip is conducted by a training team member to design each school to the specific requirements of the receiving country.
Basic Drug Enforcement Seminar: The Basic Drug Enforcement Seminar provides two weeks of basic training in traditional investigative techniques focusing on drug trafficking in the region. This training presents skills necessary to plan, organize, and operate in the drug enforcement arena and ensures that participants are fully aware of DEA's mission and how it is implemented. Another goal of the seminar is to establish and promote professional and personal relationships between the participants, which will further enhance cooperation and assistance in enforcement operations.
Advanced Drug Enforcement Seminar: The primary goal of the Advanced Drug Enforcement Seminar is to provide advanced training in specialized investigative techniques by focusing on drug trafficking in the region and the management principles of these techniques. This training also fosters professional relationships between the respective law enforcement agencies by enhancing cooperation between DEA and its law enforcement counterparts. Advanced Drug Enforcement Seminars are two weeks in length.
Asset Forfeiture Training Program: The International Asset Forfeiture Training Program goal is to provide a forum for the U.S. and host countries to exchange information on each country’s forfeiture laws, practices, and policies, as well as to promote future cooperation and assistance between the U.S. and foreign countries to identify and seize illegal proceeds. The International Asset Forfeiture Training Program objectives are to: instruct high-ranking police officials, prosecutors, policy makers, and judges on U.S. Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering laws; instruct the participants on how to develop an asset forfeiture and money laundering group, how to initiate cases and continue the investigation; instruct participants in how to gather information in conducting financial investigations through case examples. Advance courses include topics such as: Money Laundering through Internet Banking and Terrorist Financing.
Specialized Training: TRI also conducts one- and two-week specialized training seminars designed to meet the specific needs of a particular country. Where appropriate, specialized instructors augment permanent mobile training team staff for particular curricula.
Examples of specialized training schools include:
International Law Enforcement Academies
Recognizing that the pervasive influence of organized transnational crime threatens the stability and rule of law in emerging democracies around the world, the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) program was established by the U.S. Department of State in 1995. The ILEA program fosters a cooperative law enforcement partnership and involvement between the U.S. and participating nations to counter the threat of international crime within a specific region. The ILEA develops foreign police managers’ abilities to handle a broad spectrum of contemporary law enforcement issues and increases their capacity to investigate crime and criminal organizations. ILEAs are currently operating in Budapest, Hungary; Bangkok, Thailand, Gaborone, Botswana, and San Salvador, El Salvador. Funding for the ILEAs is provided by the Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
ILEA Budapest: TRI provides one-week of counter-narcotics training at each of the five annual eight-week sessions of law enforcement training at the ILEA in Budapest, Hungary. Twenty-four countries from Central Europe and the former Soviet Union have participated in ILEA Budapest training. In addition to involvement in the eight week sessions, beginning in 2005 TRI will also conduct a one-week Drug Unit Commanders Course (DUCC).
ILEA Bangkok: DEA holds the directorship at the ILEA in Bangkok, Thailand. The ILEA Bangkok core program of instruction is the six-week Supervisory Criminal Investigator Course (SCIC). TRI provides seven days of instruction during the SCIC, including officer safety, raid planning, and tactical training. Twelve countries from Southeast Asia participate in ILEA Bangkok training. TRI is also involved in several specialized courses at ILEA Bangkok including a Tactical Safety Course, Drug Unit Commanders Course, and Instructor Development Course.
ILEA Gaborone: ILEA Gaborone, Botswana, became operational in 2001. During 2002, ILEA Gaborone formalized its training programs, which now include a six-week supervisor’s course, the Law Enforcement Executive Development (LEED), and a number of specialized courses. ILEA Botswana serves 14 countries in Southern Africa. TRI provides four days of counter-narcotics training at each of the four annual sessions.
ILEA San Salvador: San Salvador, El Salvador, was selected in 2005 as the permanent venue for ILEA Latin America, and the first six-week Pilot training program, titled the “Law Enforcement Management Development Program” was conducted at the Academia Nacional De Seguridad Publica (ANSP) academy. It is anticipated that a new academy to serve Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean will be built on the ANSP grounds with a ground breaking ceremony in 2006. DEA will serve as the Deputy Director for ILEA Latin America, which will also hold some specialized training courses at an alternate training venue in Lima, Peru.
Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) Training
In the FY1997 DOJ Appropriations Act, the U.S. Congress authorized and approved funding for DEA to create, train, and support SIU programs in key countries critical to the counter narcotics objectives of the U.S. The conceptual basis of this program is to identify and train DEA foreign counterparts to work in sensitive bilateral investigations. The personnel selected from their respective countries to participate in the SIU program undergo strict security screening. These procedures, called a “vetting process,” include drug testing, background investigations, and polygraph examinations.
Upon successful completion of this “vetting process,” the SIU personnel travel to the DEA Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia, to attend a five-week SIU specialized training program. TRI is tasked with the development, coordination, and implementation of the SIU training program. Beyond the initial five-week specialized training program, TRI provides in-service training to select members of the SIUs in an effort to encourage them to develop their agencies’ institutional training and management techniques. The SIU program is managed by DEA’s Office of Foreign Logistics International Programs (OIAL). The ten countries currently involved in the SIU program are: Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Thailand, Pakistan, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and Uzbekistan. As of calendar year 2004, TRI has trained over 1,700 SIU personnel.
The International Training Classroom at the DEA Academy.