DEA Congressional Testimony
May 14, 1997

DEA Congressional Testimony

Statement by:
Thomas A. Constantine, Administrator
Drug Enforcement Administration

Before the:
Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control

Regarding:
SWB Corruption

Date:
May 14, 1997

Note: This document may not reflect changes made in actual delivery.

Contents

DEA’S EFFORTS IN INTEGRITY ASSURANCE

SPECIAL AGENT RECRUITMENT AND HIRING

TRAINING

DRUG DETERRENCE

MENTOR PROGRAM

THE OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

CORRUPTION ALONG THE SOUTHWEST BORDER

THE ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATES FROM MEXICO

AMADO CARRILLO-FUENTES

THE ARELLANO-FELIX BROTHERS

MIGUEL CARO-QUINTERO

JESUS AMEZCUA

JOAQUIN GUZMAN-LOERA

CORRUPTION AND INTIMIDATION: TOOLS OF THE TRADE

IMPACT ON THE UNITED STATES

CONCLUSION

 

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Drug Caucus: I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today on the subject of Corruption of U.S. Law Enforcement Officers Along the Southwest Border. My comments today will focus on the drug situation in Mexico and the Southwest border that create an atmosphere where corruption can flourish, if not aggressively monitored and investigated. I would also like to discuss what steps the Drug Enforcement Administration has taken to ensure our employees uphold the highest standards of personal and professional integrity. I would like to point out that all instances of alleged corruption reported to DEA, other than those involving DEA employees, are referred either to the Federal Bureau of Investigation or to the inspection service of the agency involved conducting the appropriate investigation.

The prime directive of the Drug Enforcement Administration is to provide the best drug law enforcement possible to the American people. The agency is charged with disrupting and apprehending major domestic and international drug criminals, while addressing the growing problem of drugs and violence in communities across the United States. The integrity and irreproachable ethics of our personnel are not only vital, but fundamental to our mission and the success of our operations. DEA takes very seriously its obligation to the public and holds its employees to the highest standards of personal integrity.

Corruption, intimidation, and violence are the lifeblood of Organized Crime and the most successful criminal syndicates of this century have used these tools with impunity to silence and coerce as they built their criminal empires. American law enforcement history is replete with examples of how the ill-gotten gains of criminal activity can be used to infuse these organizations with the power to corrupt, ensuring that their criminal enterprises flourish and eventually dominate criminal activity in a particular city or region of our country.

Organized Crime is non-ideological [excluding political terrorism] and is motivated by the criminal’s desire for illicit economic gain through the use of raw power in which the members continually strive to keep the organization in existence and operating profitably. The organization will try to avoid competition, by organizing on a territorial basis, but when pressed will not hesitate to use any means for control from threats and bribery to extreme violence against citizens or against other criminal organizations.

There have been various organized criminal groups throughout American history. Labor racketeering helped give the United States the bloodiest and most violent labor history of any industrialized nations in the 19th and early 20th Century. In the 20th Century, so-called "traditional" Organized Crime in America, grew from criminal families, whose organizations were built around bosses, underbosses, lieutenants, and soldiers, [all described by differing terminology, depending on the particular organization]. These families divided the country between themselves into cities and regions, or dominated particular businesses. Organized Crime in this early era was particularly energized by the criminal opportunities presented by prohibition. After the repeal of prohibition, organized crime focused on gambling, prostitution, racketeering, and drug trafficking. This form of organized crime was, although of immigrant background, rooted and operated in America. It was eventually fought and defeated by American law enforcement, after Attorney General Bobby Kennedy seriously targeted organized crime in the early 1960s and began enacting consistent law enforcement policies, which resulted in tangible gains against a forty year foe.

Just as traditional Organized Crime was being challenged by vigorous law enforcement, organized crime groups controlled by master criminals in other countries rose to take center stage. Whether in the form of the Colombian crime syndicates, which have begun to be contained by cooperative efforts of U.S. and international law enforcement, or the sophisticated and increasingly powerful Mexican groups which have sprung up to share the role as the leaders in international drug trafficking, these international Organized Crime groups share the characteristics of all organized crime, but enjoy the added benefit of operating largely beyond the easy reach of U.S. law enforcement. To ensure that our ranks do not succumb to the bribes offered by these organized criminal syndicates, it is essential that law enforcement agencies establish and maintain viable Integrity Assurance Programs.

 

DEA’S EFFORTS IN INTEGRITY ASSURANCE

One of my first and highest priorities, after accepting the position as Administrator of DEA, was an evaluation of our Integrity Assurance Programs. Based on that evaluation, I determined that the integrity programs were in need of improvement and since 1994 we have moved to improve each of the following program areas to ensure DEA employees maintain the highest standards of personal integrity and that allegations of misconduct are reported and promptly and fairly investigated.

 

 SPECIAL AGENT RECRUITMENT AND HIRING

Integrity is the backbone of every law enforcement agency and the genesis of that integrity is in the selection and hiring process. DEA’s Special Agent recruitment program has been enhanced to ensure that DEA hires only the most highly qualified candidates for the Special Agent positions. As an integral part of the process, each applicant who receives a tentative offer of employment is now required to undergo a series of screening processes, including:

 

  • Psychological Screening and Clinical Interview

Each Special Agent Applicant who receives a conditional offer of employment is scheduled for a battery of psychological tests, including personality inventory testing. The results of these tests are sent to a clinical psychologist designated to review the testing material and interview the applicant. The psychologist then prepares an assessment, which describes the extent to which the applicant has the personal, emotional and psychological characteristics needed to successfully perform as a Special Agent. Information resulting from the psychological assessment is not used to screen applicants out of the hiring process, but as in the case of polygraph examinations are utilized to address issues during the conduct of the background investigation of an applicant.

 

  • Drug Deterrence Screening

The importance of drug testing is heightened for DEA due to the nature of our mission as the primary drug law enforcement agency in the United States government. Our standards are necessarily strict, and just as our work force is subject to random drug testing our applicant pool receives one unannounced drug test during the application process.

 

  • Polygraph Examination

The polygraph examination is utilized as a tool to determine and direct attention to possible problem areas in an applicant’s background. However, it is never the sole determining factor in determining the applicant’s suitability for employment by DEA.

 

  • Panel Interview Conducted by Supervisors and Senior Special Agents

Utilizing objective standards, DEA has developed a best qualified pool of applicants who represent a diverse group of individuals best suited for a position as a Special Agent. To ensure that objective and equitable interviews of the best qualified prospective applicants are conducted, standard interview questions have been developed. Personnel responsible for conducting applicant interviews have received training to more effectively conduct interviews and accurately evaluate the applicant.

 

  • Comprehensive Background Investigation

Special Agents, who have received specialized training, then conduct an exhaustive full-field background investigation on Agent applicants. In the past, DEA used contract investigators to conduct background investigations. However, our review showed that with contract employees agency control over the thoroughness and accuracy of the background investigations diminished, and doubts were raised over the integrity of the critical background investigations. Although having Special Agents conduct these investigations creates an extra task for our field offices, I am committed to hiring Special Agents of the highest integrity to carry on the proud tradition of DEA.

Quality remains the driving force in DEA’s Special Agent recruitment effort. The keen competition and stringent screening standards for Special Agent positions allow DEA to accept no less than the highest standards for education, experience, physical health, and integrity. To describe for you how selective DEA’s recruitment program is, DEA has processed more than 14,000 applications since 1994 and as of April hired 746 Special Agents, roughly nineteen applicants for every Special Agent hired.

 

TRAINING

To complement the improvements in our selection process we have put programs in place to ensure that the new agent workforce is also educated in ethics and integrity. We incorporated 25 hours of ethics training, strategically dispersed throughout our sixteen-week training program. The ethics training includes blocks of instruction by each component involved in the disciplinary process and includes Ethical Awareness Workshops to provide new employees with the moral tools needed to tackle ethical dilemmas and provide clear guidance on DEA policies.

Inspectors from DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility now make regular presentations at conferences and in-service training programs designed for DEA managers and employees. These presentations are designed to reinforce the training received in the 16-week basic program and to ensure all DEA employees remain cognizant that they are held to high standards of conduct and integrity.

We have, on a regular basis, included Integrity Assurance as part of the agenda for our executive management conference. This past January, the FBI and DEA held a joint management conference that featured an ethics and leadership workshop led by Dr. Edward Delattre, a highly regarded expert on police ethics, and Professor Neil Snyder from the University of Virginia.

 

DRUG DETERRENCE

In 1988 DEA began random drug testing, an invaluable tool in maintaining the highest possible integrity of the agency and its employees. However, a review of the drug deterrence program in 1995 showed that underfunding over the years had caused the number of random drug tests to decline to an unacceptable level. I directed that the Drug Deterrence Program be augmented with additional funding in FY 96, to allow for the testing of 1,920 employees in 1996, approximately 25% of DEA’s workforce. For the first time, DEA employees assigned to overseas posts of duty will be subject to random drug testing. DEA has also implemented a drug screening program as a part of our pre-employment process for all employees.

 

MENTOR PROGRAM

The Drug Enforcement Administration instituted the Field Training Agent Program in June 1995 as a follow-up program to our Basic Agent training. This initiative is designed to provide continuous transitional training to new Special Agents upon graduation from Basic Agent Training at Quantico as they begin work in a DEA field office. Each new Agent is assigned a Field Training Agent to monitor and guide their activity for 26 weeks once they report to their office of hire, but no formal rating or review process is conducted. Once a new agent reports to their official post of duty they are assigned a Field Training Agent and begin a formalized on-the-job training program designed to fully acclimate them to the work environment and prepare them to eventually operate independently, applying the knowledge, skills, and abilities learned through sixteen weeks of Basic Agent Training with the information provided by a seasoned Field Training Agent.

 

THE OFFICE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Our review disclosed that the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) was severely understaffed with only 22 inspectors for 7,131 employees, 3,639 of which were Special Agents. This situation directly impacted the offices’ ability to complete and process investigations in a timely and thorough manner. We have corrected this shortfall by establishing an OPR staff commensurate with our employee staffing levels and with the potential integrity issues facing our DEA employees.

Law enforcement standards and common sense hold that an agency should select and develop only its most competent employees for the conduct of internal investigations. In reaching our new staffing levels in the OPR, we implemented a selection and review process to ensure only the most qualified Agents were assigned to OPR; often they are outstanding employees who had not applied, but were selected for positions in OPR. We also found that training for inspectors was inadequate. A training program was specifically developed and designed for Inspectors, which was more consistent and thorough, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of OPR. In FY 95, DEA expended $30,600 in training funds for a wide variety of training sessions and seminars for the OPR staff. I also mandated that presentations be made by OPR Inspectors at management conferences and training seminars, to publicize the OPR function, reporting requirements and accountability.

As an integral part of our enhanced OPR program, DEA has imposed a strict uniform centralized reporting requirement, mandating that all allegations, complaints, and information of misconduct of any DEA employee are promptly reported to the OPR. In 1995 we developed and implemented a training program for all DEA supervisors which reinforces the strong stance I have taken on the integrity assurance program, acquaints first and second line supervisors with the new program; which places the accountability for enforcement of integrity assurance at their level; and encourages a dialogue regarding the application of the new programs and policies. This system ensures that every allegation is handled in a consistent manner and that any discipline imposed as a result of an internal investigation is appropriate to the charges and consistent agency wide.

Even though we have made significant strides in improving our integrity assurance process, the existing system of discipline for DEA Special Agents has several serious structural faults that in some cases create an environment for misconduct. The Merit System Protections Board (MSPB) sits at the end of the appellate process for the disciplinary actions of all government employees. MSPB judges substitute their judgement of appropriate conduct or the level of sanction for inappropriate conduct. This frequently results in a watering-down of discipline which holds that federal law enforcement employees should be judged the same way as other federal employees.

For example, DEA recently recommended the removal from service for Agents who have committed thefts or violations of integrity. MSPB ordered these employees back to work even when the allegations were proven, resulting in a situation where these highly paid Agents are no longer credible as witnesses in virtually any court in the United States.

Moreover, under the Walsh Decision, Agents being investigated for misconduct are now allowed to lie and/or fabricate evidence to exculpate themselves from the responsibility for the original wrongdoing. Even when the internal investigation determines that the Agent has supplied completely false information to supervisors, the MSPB ruling advises that there can be no sanction. These are just two examples of why FBI Director Freeh and I have requested that the DEA and FBI employees be removed from the aegis of the MSPB and the agencies be allowed to design a system that is fair and equitable to the employee, while still allowing our agencies to address integrity issues in our Special Agent workforce. Law enforcement officers should be held to the highest standards of integrity for no less is expected and demanded by the citizens of our country.

 

 CORRUPTION ALONG THE SOUTHWEST BORDER

The power and influence of traditional Organized Crime groups pale in comparison to the sophisticated, wealthy syndicates who control the drug trade today in the Western Hemisphere. For the first time in our history, organized crime in the United States is controlled by individuals who reside outside our borders. These mob leaders of today are the Rodriguez-Orejuela brothers in Colombia and Amado Carrillo-Fuentes, Miguel Caro-Quintero and the Arrellano-Felix Brothers in Mexico. They are far wealthier and more influential than their predecessors, which make them a more dangerous and difficult adversary to attack.

It is essential that we understand that the power and influence of these syndicate bosses are not just felt in their countries and along our borders but extends all along the seamless continuum of the drug trade. Our central enforcement strategy against these international syndicates is to attack the communication systems of the command and control functions as well as the leadership of their organizations. Referred to as the Southwest Border Strategy, it has provided a clearly defined picture of the way in which these organizations conduct their business. One thing has become perfectly clear; their influence does not stop at the Southwest border but extends into virtually every city and town in the United States as they dominate the cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine trade in our country. The corruption that we are concerned with here today does not stop in San Diego, Nogales, and Brownsville, but extends its tentacles everywhere these organizations distribute their poison. As their wealth and power increases, often exponentially, so does their ability to corrupt. Our Southwest Border Strategy may well be better named the Western Hemisphere strategy, for wherever we face this enemy we see corruption, intimidation, and violence, the tools of the organized criminal.

 

THE ORGANIZED CRIME SYNDICATES FROM MEXICO

It is important to know exactly who are the criminals impacting our day to day lives far more than their domestic predecessors. In the past they have been referred to in terms such as "cartels" or "federations", however, these business terms convey respectability to these vicious destructive entities. It is far better to identify the criminal syndicates by the names of their leaders, rather than their region, so the citizens of our country can clearly identify those responsible for much of the crime and social disease they see every day. Since the incarceration of Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela and his confederates who once controlled the most powerful organized criminal syndicate in history from Cali, Colombia, the major criminal groups from Mexico have steadily gained in power until they now rival the empire built by Miguel Rodriguez-Orejuela.

The criminal groups from Mexico, for the first time, now control almost all of the cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine distribution in the western and Midwestern United States and have begun making inroads into the lucrative East coast market which was once completely controlled by the groups from Cali and Medellin, Colombia. Just recently, more than 1500 kilograms of cocaine controlled by traffickers from Mexico were seized in New York City. Trafficking groups from Mexico offer a wide range of services to Colombian cocaine organizations, who are still entrenched on the East Coast of the U.S. These services range from smuggling and transportation to money laundering and may now even include wholesale distribution of cocaine.

There are four major trafficking organizations that represent the highest echelons of organized crime in Mexico. Their leaders are under indictment in the United States on numerous charges. The Department of Justice has submitted Provisional Warrants for the arrest of many of these syndicate leaders to the Government of Mexico, and only one, Juan Garcia Abrego, has been sent to the U.S. to face justice. The other leaders are living freely in Mexico, and have so far escaped Mexican law enforcement.

 

AMADO CARRILLO-FUENTES

The most powerful drug trafficker in Mexico at the current time is Amado Carrillo-Fuentes, who, as recently reported, has ties to the former Commissioner of the INCD, Gutierrez-Rebollo. His organized crime group, based in Juarez, is associated with the Rodriguez-Orejuela organization and the Ochoa brothers, from Colombia. This organization, which is also involved in heroin and marijuana trafficking, handles large cocaine shipments from Colombia. Their regional bases in Guadalajara, Hermosillo, and Torreon serve as storage locations where later, the drugs are moved closer to the border for eventual shipment into the United States.

The scope of the Carrillo-Fuentes network is staggering; he reportedly forwards $20-30 million to Colombia for each major operation, and his illegal activities generate billions of dollars per year. He was a pioneer in the use of large aircraft to transport cocaine from Colombia to Mexico and became known as "Lord of the Skies". Carrillo-Fuentes reportedly owns a fleet of aircraft and has major real estate holdings.

Like his Colombian counterparts, Carrillo-Fuentes is sophisticated in the use of technology and counter surveillance methods. His network employs state- of-the-art communication devices to conduct business. His organization has become so powerful he is even seeking to expand his markets into traditional Colombian strongholds on the east coast of the United States.

Presently, Carrillo-Fuentes is attempting to consolidate control over drug trafficking along the entire Mexican northern border, and he plans to continue to bribe officials on both sides of the border to ensure that his attempts are successful. Carrillo-Fuentes, who is the subject of numerous separate U.S. law enforcement investigations, has been indicted in Florida and Texas and remains a fugitive on heroin and cocaine charges.

 

MIGUEL CARO-QUINTERO

Miguel Caro-Quintero’s organization is based in Sonora, Mexico and focuses its attention on trafficking cocaine and marijuana. His brother, Rafael, is in prison in Mexico for his role in killing Special Agent Kiki Camarena in 1985.

Miguel, along with two of his other brothers--Jorge and Genaro--run the organization. Miguel was arrested in 1992, and the USG cooperated in Mexico’s prosecution of him. Unfortunately, that effort was thwarted when Miguel was able, through what we believe to have been criminal means, to have his charges dismissed by a federal judge in Hermosillo. He has operated freely since that time.

The Caro-Quintero organization specializes primarily in the cultivation, production, and distribution of marijuana, a major cash-crop for drug groups from Mexico. The organization is believed to own many ranches in the northern border state of Sonora, where drugs are stored, and from which drug operations into the United States are staged. Despite its specialization in marijuana cultivation and distribution, like the other major drug organizations in Mexico, this group is polydrug in nature, also transporting and distributing methamphetamine and cocaine. Federal indictments are currently pending against Miguel Caro-Quintero in Arizona and Colorado.

 

THE ARELLANO-FELIX BROTHERS

Benjamin Arellano-Felix heads up an organization based in Tijuana, Mexico, and controls drug operations in the Mexican State of Baja California, and parts of the States of Sinaloa, Sonora, Jalisco, and recently Tamaulipas. Benjamin’s brothers--Ramon, Javier, and Francisco--work closely with him to ensure the success of their business.

The Arellano-Felix Brothers, arguably the most violent of all the groups from Mexico, attempted to kill a rival trafficker, Joaquin Guzman-Loera at the Guadalajara airport in 1993, but instead killed Cardinal Posadas-Ocampo as he was traveling in the area. They used a group of Mexican-Americans from a San Diego gang to do the shooting; these gang members were bodyguards for the Arellano-Felix organization. Francisco Rafael, Benjamin’s brother, was arrested on 12/5/93 in Tijuana on charges of illegal possession of arms, drug charges, and complicity in the murder of Cardinal Posadas and is being held at Almoloya de Juarez maximum security prison near Mexico City.

Recent history is replete with examples of the violence and terror the Arellano-Felix family has spread across the landscape of Mexico. They are not just satisfied to murder their victims, but consistently torture their victims for information then dismember them to send a message to others.

 

JESUS AMEZCUA

The Amezcua-Contreras brothers operating out of Guadalajara, Mexico control a methamphetamine production and trafficking organization with global dimensions. Headed by Jesus Amezcua, and supported by his brothers, Adan and Luis, the Amezcua drug trafficking organization today is probably the world’s largest smuggler of ephedrine and clandestine producer of methamphetamine. With a growing methamphetamine abuse problem in the United States, this organization’s activities impact on major population centers as well as more rural parts of the U.S. The Amezcua organization obtains large quantities of the precursor ephedrine, utilizing contacts in Thailand and India, which they supply to methamphetamine labs in Mexico and the United States. This organization has placed trusted associates in the United States to move ephedrine to Mexican methamphetamine traffickers operating in the U.S. Jose Osorio-Cabrera, a fugitive from a Los Angeles investigation until his arrest in Bangkok, was a major ephedrine purchaser for the Amezcua organization.

 

JOAQUIN GUZMAN-LOERA

Joaquin Guzman-Loera began to make a name from himself as a trafficker and air logistics expert for the powerful Miguel Felix-Gallardo organization. Guzman-Loera broke away from Felix-Gallardo and rose to patron level among the major Mexican trafficking organizations. Presently, he is incarcerated in Mexico; however, Mexican and United States authorities still consider him to be a major international drug trafficker. The organization has not been dismantled or seriously affected by Guzman-Loera’s imprisonment because his brother, Arturo Guzman-Loera, has assumed the leadership role. Guzman-Loera’s elements and close associates are active in Mexico, along the Southwest border, in the Western and Midwestern regions of the United States, and in Central America. The Guzman-Loera organization transports cocaine from Colombia through Mexico to the United States for the Medellin and Cali syndicates. The organization is also involved in the movement, storage, and distribution of Colombian cocaine, Mexican marijuana, and Mexican and Southeast Asian heroin. This organization controlled the drug smuggling tunnel between Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico and Douglas, Arizona through which tons of cocaine were smuggled.

 

CORRUPTION AND INTIMIDATION: TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Traditionally, organized crime has depended on the corruption of officials, and the intimidation of potential or actual witnesses, as well as violence against anyone who stands in the way of business. Clearly, organized crime cannot flourish without corruption. The Medellin and Cali syndicates were masters of corruption, intimidation, and violence, and used these tools effectively to build their vast monolithic empire.

Organized Crime figures in Mexico routinely use these tools as well. The arrest of the Commissioner of the INCD in Mexico this year is an illustration of the power of these criminal organizations. In the brief time we have allotted to us today, I would like to provide you with some recent examples of the corrupting influence of these Organized Crime Groups:

  • This January, the Government of Mexico reported that the Mexican Army raided the wedding party of Amado Carrillo-Fuentes’ sister. When they arrived at the scene, Mexican Federal Judicial Police were guarding the party. In April, Mexican officials arrested a military major who had received $200,000 to warn Carrillo-Fuentes of the impending raid. A videotape of this wedding with Amado Carrillo-Fuentes in attendance was discovered during subsequent raids.
  • Documents forwarded to prosecutors in San Diego by the Mexican Government in support of an extradition request indicated the Arellano-Felix organization pays millions of dollars in bribes to government officials to obtain information from prosecutors’ offices including information on potential witnesses.

 

The extent to which these groups are willing to go to corrupt was recently seen when the Mexican Military arrested General Navarro-Lara for criminal links to the Arellano-Felix brothers after allegedly offering bribes of $1.5 million a month to Tijuana’s new top Federal prosecutor, a military officer himself, who reported the attempted bribery to his superiors. In April, Mexican authorities arrested two INCD officials after they were caught guarding more than 1600 kilograms of marijuana believed to have been stolen from a previous drug seizure.

In addition to the serious corruption problems plaguing anti-narcotics enforcement efforts in Mexico, murders and violence are commonplace methods of silencing witnesses or rivals. Since 1993, twenty-four major drug-related assassinations have taken place in Mexico. Many of these murders remain unsolved and many of them occurred in Tijuana or have involved victims from Tijuana. In the last year, 12 law enforcement officials or former officials have been gunned down in Tijuana, and the vast majority of the 200 murders in that city are believed to have been drug-related. A number of these incidents involving law enforcement officials are a serious indication of the depth and breadth of the power of the traffickers in Mexico.

On April 23, 1997, the bodies of two Mexican Agents assigned to the Organized Crime Unit who had been missing since April 4, 1997, were found handcuffed, gagged, beaten, and each shot in the face several times. These brutal murders may have far reaching effects on the counterdrug effort in Mexico. DEA had been assisting in the Organized Crime Unit’s investigation of the Amado Carrillo-Fuentes organization.

 

IMPACT ON THE UNITED STATES

Unfortunately, both the violence and the corruption that are attendant to the drug trade in Mexico are spilling across the border into the United States. There is every expectation that Carrillo-Fuentes and others of his kind will use similar tactics in bribery and violence to sustain their criminal enterprises. Their bribery and intimidation starts at the U.S.-Mexico border where they use a portion of their multi-billion dollar annual profits to attempt to bribe U.S. officials to facilitate the transportation of thousands of tons of cocaine and thousands of pounds of methamphetamine, marijuana and heroin into the United States. If the bribe money will not suffice, then they will resort to their other instruments of intimidation, violence, and murder.

The loyalties of the violent traffickers from Mexico do not lie along the lines of nationality or culture but singularly in the advancement of their own criminal enterprises and the largesse of wealth and power they derive from the drug trade. These criminals will not hesitate to offer U.S. Law Enforcement officers millions of dollars to look the other way or provide them with information. As in other countries, if their attempts at bribery fail, they will resort to threats against family members. If their threats do not work, I believe they will not hesitate to kidnap, torture, and kill family members of reluctant officials they wish to corrupt.

Leaders of these drug organization have acted with impunity for many years; they believe they are untouchable and beyond the reach of the law. This arrogance extends into their trafficking business in the United States. We have already seen that the Arellano-Felix Brothers do not hesitate to send assassins into San Diego to exact their revenge on individuals who cooperate with the authorities or fail to pay their drug debts. They have also aggressively recruited and established a cadre of assassins on both sides of the border to carry out their orders of violence.

 Critical to the establishment of a new, viable law enforcement entity in Mexico, that can build cases, make arrests and eventually incarcerate the leaders of these major organizations, is the creation of trusted units, who receive pay commensurate with their responsibilities and duties. President Zedillo recently moved to reconstitute Mexico’s antidrug effort under the Office of the Attorney General. After disbanding the INCD, he formed the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Health. Attorney General Madrazo announced that he has assigned 55 Agents, who have passed screening tests, to the new unit. At the heart of the new program are polygraph examinations, psychological testing and background investigations. Hopefully these changes, along with the cooperative strategies the Government of Mexico is developing with the High Level Contact Group, will ameliorate problems of corruption and assist in the establishment of a strong law enforcement infrastructure.

 

CONCLUSION

Law enforcement officers at all levels are given enormous authority that causes them to affect the lives and freedoms of the citizens of our country. We can never allow the trust, that is implicit in that authority, to erode. The public’s belief that they are served and protected by officers and agents of the highest integrity and ethical standards, who will ensure the law is fair and equitably applied, must never be shaken. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every department and agency head to establish and maintain strong Integrity Assurance Programs that will provide a work force that can effectively and fairly carry out each agency’s mission and maintain the public trust. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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