DEA Congressional Testimony
March 20, 2002

Statement of
Asa Hutchinson
Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration
Before the
House Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, State, the Judiciary and Related Agencies

photo - U.S. capitol

Good Morning Chairman Wolf, Ranking Member Serrano, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee: I am grateful for the opportunity to address this Subcommittee on the President's FY 2003 Budget Proposal for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

More than ever, I am grateful to the Subcommittee for its unwavering support of DEA's fight to end the cycle of drug abuse, violence, and crime carried out by drug trafficking organizations in our communities, and against our values and our families. Most recently, the Subcommittee has demonstrated its commitment to DEA by supporting our FY 2002 budget initiatives for DEA's Special Operations Division, forensic sciences, and information infrastructure; providing $2 million in discretionary grant funding for the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; and holding a hearing on OxyContin® in December of 2001, which raised national awareness of this growing problem. Your strong support is greatly appreciated by DEA's men and women who courageously carry out our drug law enforcement mission every day domestically and overseas.

The President's National Drug Control Strategy

On February 12, 2002, President Bush unveiled the new National Drug Control Strategy, which sets clear and specific national goals for reducing drugs in America, which in turn will save thousands of lives. The President's National Drug Control Policy is based on three core principles:

  • Stopping drug use before it starts;
  • Healing America's drug users; and
  • Disrupting the market.

The President's National Drug Control Strategy seeks to reduce the use of illegal drugs by 10 percent over two years, and by 25 percent over five years. It emphasizes supply reduction through aggressive drug enforcement and interdiction programs while simultaneously emphasizing demand reduction through effective drug education, prevention, and treatment programs. I concur with the President's and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Director Walters' philosophy that the U.S. Government needs a balanced strategy with specific goals to reduce the availability and use of illegal drugs in the United States.

The Challenge:
International Drug Trafficking Organizations and Narco-Terrorism

In announcing the 2002 National Drug Control Strategy, President Bush stressed a new reason for continuing our anti-drug efforts - the link between illegal drugs and terrorism. Law enforcement officials around the world have long recognized this close connection, but a changing world and recent events make it imperative that we focus our combined efforts on breaking this connection now. Terrorism and drug trafficking organizations are often linked in a mutually beneficial relationship by money, geography, and tactical lawlessness. Drug trafficking provides terrorists with a steady revenue source to finance their operations. Twelve of the 28 organizations the Department of State has identified as "foreign terrorist organizations" have benefited from the illegal drug trade, including the Al Qaeda, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL), the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Lebanon-based Hizballah.1 It is important we recognize that when money goes from the pocket of an American to buy drugs, it may contribute to the financing of unspeakable crimes of violence around the world. Buying and using illegal drugs is not a victimless crime - it has negative consequences that touch the lives of people around the world in immeasurable ways. Today, more than ever, drug law enforcement plays a critical role in protecting our national security and our allies overseas by reducing the financial base of criminal organizations and depriving them of drug proceeds that may be used to fund terrorist acts.

DEA's Mission and Strategic Plan

DEA is the world's leading drug law enforcement agency and the only single-mission federal agency dedicated to enforcing the Nation's drug laws. DEA has developed the unique capability of identifying, targeting, investigating, disrupting and dismantling drug organizations headquartered overseas and in the United States. To accomplish its mission, DEA has developed a new five-year strategic plan for FY 2001- FY 2006, consistent with the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Strategic Plan issued by the Attorney General, that arrays DEA's resources into four strategic focus areas to achieve the maximum impact against the full spectrum of drug trafficking activity: international, national/regional, local, and infrastructure support. DEA's strategy takes into account the current drug trafficking situation affecting the United States and identifies the drug trade's characteristics and vulnerabilities at all levels, targeting each of them simultaneously. The plan's four strategic focus areas are:

International Targets: This focus area is comprised of trafficking organizations based overseas that are the primary supply source for the distribution of illegal drugs within the United States. Through DEA's International Operations program, the Special Operations Division (SOD), and numerous field divisions throughout the country, DEA targets these organizations and their members by collecting intelligence and building prosecutable cases to bring these criminals to justice.

National/Regional Targets: These organizations operate domestically throughout the United States and are responsible for distributing drugs from international and domestic sources to U.S. communities. In many cases, these groups report directly to major drug traffickers overseas. They also operate on a national or regional basis, supplying several interstate markets. Most DEA cases fall into this category. Investigations against these organizations are generated and supported by every DEA office in the United States.

Local Initiatives: Criminal organizations included in this category generally deal in smaller quantities of drugs and are responsible for providing drugs to users within the United States. DEA works extensively with state and local law enforcement counterparts to identify and immobilize these organizations, with a special emphasis on arresting the most violent members.

Management and Infrastructure: To be effective, DEA must operate simultaneously on the global, national/regional, and local levels. This requirement poses significant challenges. The development of a secure and effective infrastructure and management oversight is necessary to provide DEA personnel with the tools necessary to get the job done. DEA must also have the systems and structures to monitor its programs carefully, comply with reporting and information sharing requirements, and manage its finite resources efficiently.

DEA's Strategic Plan provides the long-range goals and objectives by which we will measure our progress and be held accountable. DEA's overarching goal is to: (1) enforce the law; (2) increase the risk of seizure and incarceration to drug traffickers; and (3) reduce illegal drug availability and usage. We accomplish this by working to disrupt and dismantle Priority Drug Trafficking Organizations (PDTOs). To this end, DEA compiles a comprehensive list of PDTOs from those submitted by the field enforcement divisions and developing a system to link resources expended to results achieved. Ultimately, DEA's goal is to achieve full cost accounting of its resources for each of the plan's strategic focus areas. In doing so, DEA will more effectively evaluate the core effectiveness of enforcement efforts and be more accountable to the American public, the Congress, and the President.

The President's FY 2003 Budget Proposal for DEA

The President's FY 2003 Budget Proposal for DEA of $1.7 billion and 8,497 positions responds to the challenges we now face - International Drug Trafficking Organizations and Narco-Terrorism. Of this amount, $1.6 billion and 7,704 positions is requested under the Salaries and Expenses (S&E) Appropriation, and $114 million and 793 positions under the Diversion Control Fee Account (DCFA). This request represents a 6 percent increase, or $91.8 million and 183 positions over the FY 2002 enacted appropriation.

DEA's FY 2003 Budget Request includes four initiatives that directly support DEA's strategic focus areas and are linked to the Department of Justice's Strategic Goal: "Keeping America Safe by Enforcing Federal Criminal Laws."

  • Securing DEA's Sensitive Information: DEA seeks $6.7 million and 23 positions to strengthen the security of DEA's classified and sensitive information infrastructure. Ensuring that sensitive information is not lost, stolen, or compromised is critical to the success of DEA's investigations and the security of its law enforcement personnel. The resources requested will allow DEA to: (1) comply properly with federal regulations and accreditation requirements, including those mandated by the Computer Security Act of 1987 and the Office of Management and Budget; (2) perform centralized real-time security audits to prevent and detect intrusions; (3) conduct security training and compliance reviews; and (4) update the inventory of its encryption equipment.
  • Reducing the Diversion of Controlled Substances: Under the DCFA, DEA requests $24.6 million and 133 positions (including 75 Diversion Investigators) to strengthen its enforcement capabilities to prevent, detect, and investigate the diversion of controlled substances, particularly OxyContin®. As you may know, OxyContin® has become the number one prescribed Schedule II narcotic in the United States, and its illegal use and sale represent a growing problem throughout the nation. This request includes $12.1 million and 40 positions to address the rapidly growing OxyContinâ diversion and abuse problems and to upgrade current mainframe systems and other technical and investigative equipment. The upgrade of the mainframe system will provide a more efficient registration process and will enable the system to more readily provide current registration data to support the E-commerce initiatives. The technical and investigative equipment will provide our field investigators with the latest technology to detect and investigate diversion and other violations of the CSA. An additional $12.5 million is included to reduce diversion through DEA's E-Commerce and Internet Online Project. DEA is confident that an Electronic Controlled Substances Ordering System as well as Electronic Prescriptions for Control Substances will provide a strong deterrent against the diversion and illegal prescribing of controlled substances, allow for the rapid and effective detection of diversion, and provide critical customer service support. Furthermore, these resources will enhance the Internet Online Investigations Project.
  • Strengthening Financial Investigations: DEA requests $4.1 million and 27 positions (including 20 Special Agents) to enhance financial investigations in domestic field offices, with emphasis on the financial hubs of New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. Money laundering is becoming more frequent and sophisticated. DEA has been successful in investigating and dismantling money laundering organizations, but we are limited in our resources. DEA must improve its ability to monitor and track the financial holdings and transactions of drug trafficking organizations, especially with the demonstrated nexus between the profits from drug trafficking, terrorist activities, and violence. With these resources, DEA will train its field office personnel, local law enforcement, and banking officials on how to conduct financial investigations, and on the latest money laundering techniques criminal elements employ. Special Agents will work closely with their local counterparts in the financial community to disrupt the international and domestic flow of drug money.
  • Protecting DEA Personnel: DEA requests $18 million to increase anti-terrorism security measures to protect employees at DEA's domestic and foreign facilities. The request includes $7 million for critical physical security upgrades at foreign facilities, such as in Cartagena, Colombia, Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and Vienna, Austria, to meet the U.S. Department of State Inman Standards. For domestic offices, DEA requests $11 million to enhance overall physical security in domestic sites by upgrading x-ray equipment to detect explosive devices, installing optical turnstiles in headquarters, installing security devices in new offices, and formalizing our operational security program.

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force

The FY 2003 President's Budget includes $6.1 million and 58 positions for DEA under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program. These resources will enhance DEA's manpower in those areas of the country with the largest illegal drug supply (e.g., Southwest Border, Florida, and the Caribbean) to conduct multi-district electronic surveillance investigations against the leadership level of OCDETF targets.

Counter-Terrorism Intelligence Support

The President's FY 2003 Budget Proposal also includes $35 million requested in the Attorney General's Counter-Terrorism Fund to enhance DEA's communications intercept and intelligence capabilities in support of agencies conducting counter-terrorism activities in America and overseas. An additional $6.5 million and 45 positions are also included in the

FY 2003 Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Budget to reimburse DEA for its counter-terrorism support.

DEA intelligence indicates that some terrorist organizations impose "taxes" on, or provide protection to, drug producers, transporters or traffickers within geographic areas under their control. Other terrorist organizations engage in drug trafficking activities directly. In the course of conducting daily investigations against international drug trafficking organizations, DEA often uncovers information of a more general criminal nature, including money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities. With the counter-terrorism resources requested in the President's Budget, DEA will rigorously pursue Title III investigations and provide intelligence in support of counter-terrorism efforts to other agencies, including the FBI, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

Operation Containment

In DEA's FY 2003 Budget Request, we informed the Subcommittee of our intention to reprogram $17.4 million from prior year resources in the Violent Crime Reduction Program (VCRP) to implement DEA's Afghanistan Initiative, known as Operation Containment.

Operation Containment will identify, target, investigate, disrupt and dismantle transnational heroin trafficking organizations in Central Asia. This initiative includes opening a new DEA office in Kabul, Afghanistan; expanding existing offices in Asian and European cities where Afghan morphine base is transported, processed, and distributed (e.g., Islamabad and Peshawar, Pakistan, London, England, Moscow, Russia, Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan); creating three host-nation Sensitive Investigative Units (SIUs) in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan; collecting intelligence; examining regional trafficking trends; determining host nation requirements; developing a Confidential Source program, and creating a chemical control program.

DEA indicators and the National Institute of Drug Abuse's research show that heroin availability and abuse is a serious problem in America today. In Calendar Year (CY) 2000 heroin/morphine2 was the second most frequently mentioned illegal drug reported to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) by participating Emergency Departments (ED), comprising 16 percent of ED episodes and 97,287 drug mentions. According to the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), approximately 1.2 percent (2,779,000) of the persons represented in the survey have used heroin at some time in their lives. Among the 104,000 new heroin users in CY 1999, 87,000 were between the ages of 12 and 25, and 34,000 of these new users were under the age of 18. In CY 1998, the estimated number of hard-core heroin users in the United States was 980,000 - an increase of 56 percent from the estimated 630,000 heroin-user population in 1992.

Afghanistan is the primary source of illicit opium in Central Asia, producing 70 percent of the world's opium supply and 80 percent of the opiate products destined for Europe in 2000. Afghan morphine base is transported to Turkey for processing via Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan and other Central Asian States, and distributed to markets in Europe, Russia and North America.

Although this strategy is specifically designed to reduce the heroin supply in Central Asia, the additional resources will substantially enhance DEA's ability to combat the illegal drug trade in Southwest Asia. Today's most significant drug syndicates operate on a global scale with transnational networks to conduct illegal enterprises simultaneously in many different countries. These organizations are often involved in the trafficking of more than one drug and/or illegal commodity. Therefore, while this initiative will primarily address heroin trafficking, it will also enhance DEA's efforts to address other drugs, such as, cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy.

The full cost of this initiative in FY 2002 and FY 2003 will be covered through the reprogramming of prior year resources in the DEA's Violent Crime Reduction Program (VCRP). Additionally, DEA plans to reallocate 25 of its existing authorized positions to provide the manpower support for Operation Containment in FY 2002 and FY 2003. I believe it is critical for the United States to strengthen DEA's presence in Central Asia to stem the flow of illegal drugs into the United States and, in the process, deprive criminal organizations of drug trafficking proceeds.

DEA's Demand Reduction Program

The challenges America faces require a comprehensive drug control strategy. DEA's Demand Reduction Program complements DEA's drug law enforcement mission by providing a comprehensive anti-drug effort that includes effective law enforcement, prevention, treatment, and education. To this end, I announced a new DEA initiative in December 2001: Integrated Drug Enforcement Assistance (IDEA), a coordinated anti-drug plan that combines law enforcement with intensive community follow-up to reduce drug demand.

Historically, DEA's Demand Reduction efforts following a Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) or Regional Enforcement Team (RET) deployment have been limited to one-time, conference-style community mobilization training for a small team of community leaders. Under IDEA, DEA will assign a full-time Special Agent Demand Reduction Coordinator (DRC) to work with the target community on a long-term basis. This on-site DRC will work in conjunction with DEA Headquarters' Demand Reduction staff to facilitate on-going efforts in the areas of prevention, treatment, education and community mobilization. Additionally, DEA will bring other partners and resources to the community to support these efforts.

My goal is to double the number of field Special Agents in the Demand Reduction Program and to ultimately place a Demand Reduction Coordinator in every state. To implement IDEA in FY 2002, DEA will reallocate 11 Special Agent positions from the Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) program (one agent from each of 11 different METs). An additional 11 Special Agent positions will be reallocated in FY 2003, for a total of 22 additional Special Agent positions dedicated to the Demand Reduction Program. The Special Agents will be drawn from a cross-section of the DEA's domestic divisions to minimize the impact on any particular office or state.

DEA's Response to Current Drug Threats

The drug syndicates operating today are far more sophisticated and dangerous than any of the other organized criminal groups in America's law enforcement history. DEA remains committed and dedicated to its primary goal of targeting and arresting the most significant drug traffickers in the world - drug traffickers whose criminal activities and violence threaten towns and cities across America. To this end, DEA employs "Priority Targeting" to disrupt and dismantle criminal drug trafficking organizations that manufacture, transport, import, and distribute illegal drugs into the United States.

The enhancements requested in the FY 2003 President's Budget, along with DEA's base resources, represent the minimum funding required to accomplish DEA's mission in FY 2003. It is important to emphasize that our efforts are making a difference. Drug abuse has been reduced by half over the last 20 years. Cocaine use is down by 75 percent in the last 15 years. While these may be just statistics, they represent thousands of family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues that are no longer affected by the drug problem.

Despite our successes, the challenges we are facing are many. Drugs continue to be the most important problem teens say they are facing. According to the CY 2000 DAWN data, young adults age 18 to 25 had the highest rate of ED drug episodes: 426 episodes per 100,000 in 2000. Drug-related ED episodes increased 20 percent for patients age 12 to 17.

DEA faces an enormous challenge in protecting American communities from drug traffickers who smuggle MDMA, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana, and those who divert OxyContin®. I would like to take this opportunity to briefly discuss these current trends and how DEA is continuing to make a difference.

MDMA ("Ecstasy")

MDMA, also known as "ecstasy," is one of the "club drugs"3 that have become popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and "raves." According to the 2000 NHSDA survey, more than 6.4 million people age 12 and older reported that they had used MDMA at least once in their lifetime. Among 12-17 year olds, 2.6% reported lifetime MDMA use, while almost 10 percent between the ages of 18 to 25 reported lifetime MDMA use. During CY 2000, there were 4,511 MDMA mentions to the DAWN. MDMA is mostly produced in clandestine laboratories in Europe, although some labs have been seized in the United States.

DEA continues to apply a holistic approach by using a well coordinated combination of programs that include enforcement and education to address the destructive nature of MDMA trafficking, use and abuse. In August 2001, DEA culminated Operation Green Clover with 28 arrests and the seizure of 85,000 tablets of MDMA, 40,000 dosage units of LSD, 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, 5 pounds of meth, 320 pounds of marijuana, 4,100 marijuana plants, and $1.36 million in U.S. currency. During that same month, DEA concluded Operation Rave I and II with the arrest of 247 individuals, the seizure of 7.5 million tablets of MDMA, $2.7 million in U.S. currency and $1.9 million in other assets. In October 2001, DEA successfully completed Operation Triple X. DEA dismantled a major methamphetamine and MDMA (Ecstasy) drug lab in Escondido, California. During the two-day takedown, 20 people were arrested for their participation in the trafficking organization that was capable of producing millions of Ecstasy tablets.

DEA will continue to utilize a multi-faceted approach employing both prevention and enforcement strategies in targeting MDMA trafficking and abuse. DEA is working with law

enforcement officials throughout Europe and Israel to identify, target, dismantle, and prosecute those organizations responsible for the proliferation of MDMA throughout the United States and Europe. We will hold accountable those rave promoters who reap huge profits while deliberately remaining ignorant of the blatant club drug distribution and tragic events occurring at these rave venues. At the same time, we will continue to work hard through our demand reduction programs and club drug conferences to educate the youth of America on the dangers of club drugs.

OxyContin®

As I testified before this Subcommittee on December 11, 2001, OxyContin® has become the number one prescribed Schedule II narcotic in the United States accounting for 7.2 million prescriptions in CY 2001. From CY 1999 to CY 2000, episodes related to drugs containing oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin®, increased by 68 percent (from 6,429 to 10,825 ED mentions).

The illegal use and sale of OxyContin® is a growing problem throughout the nation. It is particularly widespread in the eastern United States although it is quickly spreading to the West. The growing popularity of OxyContin® as a drug of abuse has given rise to an increase of associated criminal activity. Individuals demanding OxyContin® by name have targeted pharmacies nationwide for robberies, bypassing cash and other controlled substances.

In response to OxyContin's® escalating diversion and abuse, DEA has established a comprehensive National Action Plan, which focuses on investigations targeting key diversion points (e.g., forged and fraudulent prescriptions, pharmacy theft, doctor shoppers, and unscrupulous medical professionals) and in-depth investigations of OxyContin's® manufacturer and distributors to determine compliance with regulatory requirements designed to prevent diversion. The National Action Plan also includes cooperative efforts among DEA, other government agencies and the medical community, to send the message that OxyContin® is a highly abusable and addictive substance. One of the National Action Plan's tenets involved DEA working with the Food and Drug Administration in their efforts to have OxyContin's® manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, revise the package insert. As a result, Purdue Pharma added cautionary language on the drug's abuse and diversion potential to the package insert in July of 2001. The medical community has also received additional information on the proper use of OxyContin®. In addition, Purdue Pharma, OxyContin's® manufacturer, announced recently that it is reformulating the drug to reduce its intravenous abuse potential, but this reformulation will do little to curb the widespread abuse of orally consumed tablets.

In the FY 2003 President's Budget, DEA is requesting $24,616,000 and 133 positions to strengthen its enforcement capabilities to prevent, detect, and investigate the diversion of controlled substances, particularly OxyContin®. The resources, requested as part of DEA's DCFA, will enhance the Internet Online Investigations Project, support an Electronic Controlled Substances Ordering System as well as Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances, and provide critical customer service support.

DEA recognizes that the best means of preventing the diversion of controlled substances, including OxyContin® and all other drugs, is to increase awareness of the proper use and potential dangers of the products. DEA is taking a measured, reasonable approach to dealing with OxyContin® and other drugs of abuse, and is committed to ensuring that there are adequate supplies of pain medications for those with legitimate needs while we strive to protect the public from the consequences of abuse.

Cocaine

Cocaine continues to be the primary drug threat in the United States, particularly in its inexpensive, smokable form known as "crack cocaine." While cocaine use has declined over the past fifteen years, the rate of use in recent years has stabilized at high levels. It is estimated that 3.1 million Americans are hard core cocaine users while another 2.2 million are occasional users. In CY 2000 cocaine led the ED drug episodes accounting for 174,896 mentions.

Almost all of the world's coca cultivation occurs in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. Potential cocaine production in CY 2001 is estimated at 930 metric tons. Cocaine trafficking, distribution, and abuse, along with related violence, seriously weaken the quality of life for many American cities and towns. With the help of our law enforcement partners, DEA dismantled several major cocaine trafficking organizations in FY 2002. Here are a few recent examples:

  • In November 2001, DEA, along with other federal, state, and local agencies, culminated a 17-month investigation targeting a major international drug trafficking organization. Operation Perfect Storm resulted in the arrest of 144 defendants and the seizure of over 2,700 kilograms of cocaine, 17 kilograms of heroin, and $3 million in U.S. currency.
  • In December 2001, DEA and foreign law enforcement counterparts dismantled two international drug trafficking organizations as a result of Operation Crossroads II and Operation Caribe I. Seventeen individuals were arrested for cocaine and heroin trafficking, and laundering millions of U.S. dollars obtained from their drug trafficking activities. Their activities extended to Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and New York.
  • In 2001, DEA also played a major role in the extradition of Fabio Ochoa Vasquez, the former right hand man of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Ochoa will stand trial in the United States for charges emanating from Operation Millenium, a 1999 case that targeted the Bernal Madrigal (aka Juvenal) cocaine trafficking organization.

Most recently, on March 9, 2002, Mexican authorities captured Benjamin Arellano-Felix, the head of one of the most powerful, violent, and aggressive drug trafficking groups in Mexico, and one of FBI's Ten Most Wanted. The Arellano-Felix organization is responsible for transporting, importing, and distributing multi-ton quantities of cocaine and marijuana as well as large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine into the United States. This drug trafficking organization has been a high priority for DEA and Mexican authorities since 1992. Benjamin's arrest will have a significant impact on the organization's ability to traffic cocaine into the United States and elsewhere. DEA will pursue efforts to extradite Benjamin to the United States to stand trial for cocaine trafficking and money laundering violations.

Heroin

The increased availability of low cost, high purity heroin, which can be snorted or smoked, has become an alarming threat to our youth. While avoiding the stigma and additional health hazards of using needles, this user group is ingesting larger quantities of the drug and progressing toward addiction in greater numbers. As mentioned previously, heroin was the second most frequently mentioned illegal drug reported to EDs after cocaine. Most new users are under the age of 25. Disturbingly, hard core heroin use has increased by 56 percent since 1992.

In 2001, DEA succeeded in dismantling a major heroin trafficking organization with the assistance of several federal law enforcement agencies and Mexican law enforcement authorities. On November 15, 2001, DEA culminated Operation Landslide, which targeted a Mexico-based heroin distribution organization with distribution cells in 31 U.S. cities within 11 states. Operation Landslide brought the arrest of 38 individuals in the United States and 5 individuals in Mexico. Drug seizures from this operation totaled over 770 pounds of heroin, 34 pounds of methamphetamine, and 3 kilograms of cocaine.

The current worldwide heroin situation demands that DEA respond globally and strategically. Opium cultivation and heroin production are pervasive in four geographic areas of the world: Colombia, Mexico, Southwest Asia, and Southeast Asia. Although heroin strategies exist for all four source zones, DEA's resources are concentrated on the drug threats directly impacting the U.S. illegal drug market, primarily Mexico and Colombia. Through Operation Containment, DEA will improve its ability to address heroin production at its source in Southwest Asia.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is the most prevalent synthetic drug illegally manufactured in the United States. Its highly addictive potential has caused the use of the drug to increase dramatically throughout the nation. Although it was originally concentrated in the West, methamphetamine has spread to almost every major metropolitan area in the United States with the exception of the Northeast. During CY 2000, four percent of the U.S. population (8.8 million) reported trying methamphetamine at least once in their lifetime. Of those between the ages of 18 to 25, 4.1 percent reported lifetime use and for those between the ages of 12 and 17, 1.3 percent reported lifetime use of methamphetamine. According to the 2000 DAWN report, methamphetamine-related episodes increased 29 percent between 1999 and 2000 (from 10,447 to 13,513).

Methamphetamine can be manufactured easily in clandestine laboratories using store bought materials, such as pseudoephedrine. Clandestine laboratories in California and Mexico are the primary suppliers of methamphetamine in the United States. Over the past several years, a large number of loosely knit Mexican national trafficking organizations based in Mexico and the western United States have dominated the domestic manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine. The dominant presence of these Mexican trafficking organizations can be attributed to: (1) their ability to obtain large quantities of the chemicals needed to product methamphetamine; (2) their control over clandestine "super labs" which produce 10 pounds or more of methamphetamine in a 24-hour period; and (3) their access to established transportation and distribution networks.

Methamphetamine production can be very dangerous because the chemicals used are volatile and the by-products are very toxic. Methamphetamine labs present a danger to the methamphetamine cook, the community surrounding the lab, and the law enforcement personnel who discover the lab. According to a Center for Disease Control Study, methamphetamine labs caused injury to 79 emergency personnel in 14 States participating in the study between 1996 and 1999. Cleaning methamphetamine labs requires special training and costs between $3,100 and $150,000 depending on the size. In FY 2001, the National Clandestine Laboratory Database in the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) reported 7,769 clandestine methamphetamine laboratory seizures, 294 of which were super labs. The number of seizures increased to 11,875 when chemical, glassware, equipment and dumpsite seizures were included.

On January 10, 2002, DEA, in partnership with other federal agencies and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, arrested more than 100 individuals in twelve cities as part of a nationwide investigation targeting the illegal trafficking of pseudoephedrine. This investigation was Phase III of Operation Mountain Express, which targeted rogue U.S. based individuals and groups who were illegally diverting and distributing pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine production organizations. Profits from this operation were traced to the Middle East.

To confront the methamphetamine threat, we will continue to work aggressively with our Federal, State, local, and foreign law enforcement counterparts to ensure a safe future for both our law enforcement personnel dedicated to addressing this dangerous problem as well as our citizens. DEA endorsed and implemented elements of the National Methamphetamine Strategy that focus on international drug trafficking groups, independent domestic methamphetamine operations, and rogue chemical companies responsible for the smuggling, production, and distribution of methamphetamine in the United States. Providing assistance and training to state and local law enforcement efforts is also vital to DEA's methamphetamine strategy.

Marijuana

Marijuana continues to be the most widely abused and readily available illegal drug in the United States and a 'gateway' to the world of illegal drug abuse. Seventy-six percent of illegal drug users in America smoke marijuana. Forty percent of the teen population (9.4 million) has tried marijuana. ED episodes related to chronic effects of marijuana use increased 25 percent between CY 1999 and CY 2000 (from 6,891 to 8,621).

Marijuana smuggled into the United States, whether grown in Mexico or transported from other Latin American source countries, accounts for most of the marijuana available in the nation. High-potency marijuana enters the U.S. drug market from Canada. U.S. drug law enforcement reports also suggest that the availability of domestically grown marijuana is increasing.

DEA is aggressively striving to halt the spread of marijuana cultivation in the United States through the Domestic Cannabis Eradication and Suppression Program (DCE/SP) -- the only nationwide program that exclusively targets marijuana. DEA continues to improve the effectiveness of its marijuana eradication efforts by spending $13.1 million in FY 2001 to support the 102 state and local agencies that are now active DCE/SP participants. In addition, DEA continues monitoring state legislation to combat marijuana legalization. Where appropriate, DEA provides information to state legislators about the facts concerning marijuana and how proposed legislation impacts on drug law enforcement.

Summary

The Administration is committed to vigorously enforcing the drug laws of the United States. Toward this end, DEA directs and supports investigations against the highest levels of the international drug trade, their surrogates operating within the United States, and drug traffickers whose violence and criminal activities threaten towns and cities across our nation. The President's FY 2003 Budget Proposal, including the $35 million in the Attorney General's Counter-Terrorism Fund for Intelligence Support and the proposed reprogramming to implement DEA's Operation Containment, will ensure that DEA has sufficient resources to address the Nation's drug problem and continue providing critical narco-terrorism intelligence to those agencies on the front lines of the counter-terrorism effort.

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Serrano, and members of the Subcommittee, this concludes my prepared remarks. I will be glad to address any questions you may have at this time.

Thank you.


1ONDCP has identified the following 12 organizations listed in the Department of State's October 2001 Report on Foreign Terrorist Organizations as having links to drug trafficking: Abu Sayyaf Group, Basque Fatherland and Liberty, Hizballah, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Kurdistan Workers Party, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, National Liberation Army, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Shining Path, and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.

2Once the body metabolizes heroin and/or morphine, they can not be differentiated.

3Club drugs include MDMA/Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), Rohypnol (flunitrazepam), GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate), and ketamine (ketamine hydrochloride).

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