White House Drug Policy Director Highlights Progress In Combating Southwest Border Drug Threats
- Cites Administration’s Commitment to Reducing U.S. Drug Demand-
(Washington, D.C.)– Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), released a report highlighting counterdrug progress made along the Southwest border and emphasized the critical role reducing drug consumption in the United States plays in reducing drug violence in both the United States and Mexico.
The National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy Implementation Update, released as an update to the 2009 National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy, cites significant progress made in key areas, such as stemming the outbound flow of illegal bulk cash and weapons, interdiction at and between ports of entry, countering smuggling in the air and maritime domains, investigations and prosecutions, border security and law enforcement technology, intelligence collection and information sharing, and enhancing cooperation with Mexico on counterdrug efforts.
"Drug use in America drives instability and violence in Mexico," said Director Kerlikowske, "That is why this Administration has committed increased resources to reduce the demand for drugs in the United States, at the same time we are deploying unprecedented levels of personnel, infrastructure, and technology to secure the Southwest border."
Already, in Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized more than $104 million in southbound illegal currency – an increase of more than $28 million, compared to FY2007- 2008. Further, in FY2009 and FY2010, CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized more than $282 million in illegal currency, more than seven million pounds of drugs, and more than 6,800 weapons along the Southwest border – increases of more than $73 million in cash, more than one million pounds of drugs, and more than 1,500 weapons, compared to FY2007-2008.
The Implementation Update highlights other key areas of progress, including a Memorandum of Cooperation with Mexico that strengthens Department of Homeland Security efforts to share criminal history information electronically with officials in Mexico, and a February 2010 U.S.-Mexico Bi-national Conference on Demand Reduction, which resulted in a declaration committing the two nations to specific steps to reduce illicit drug use.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has also secured a record number of extraditions to the United States from Mexico, culminating in 107 in 2009, up from 12 in 2000 and trained 5,462 Mexican prosecutors and investigators at the state and Federal level. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has also now allocated nearly 29 percent of its domestic agent positions to DEA’s five Southwest border field divisions.
Additionally, multi-agency law enforcement operations led by DOJ have significantly disrupted transnational criminal organizations. These include "Project Deliverance," which resulted in more than 2,200 arrests, the seizure of approximately 74 tons of drugs, and $154 million in United States currency, and "Project Coronado," which led to the arrest of 303 individuals in 19 states and the seizure of 729 pounds of methamphetamine, 62 kilograms of cocaine, 967 pounds of marijuana, 144 weapons, and 109 vehicles. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearm’s "Project Gunrunner," also seized 2,589 firearms and 265,500 rounds of ammunition destined for the Southwest Border in FY 2009.
The Obama Administration is committed to restoring balance to U.S. drug control efforts by coordinating an unprecedented government-wide public health approach to reduce drug use and its consequences. This effort includes increasing funding for drug prevention by $203 million and treatment programs by $137 million, placing a heavier emphasis on early intervention programs in healthcare settings, aligning criminal justice policies and public health systems to divert non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of jail, funding scientific research on drug use, and, through the Affordable Care Act, expanding access to substance abuse treatment. ONDCP has also revamped the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign to include a broader focus on substances most often abused by American teens, including prescription drugs, marijuana, and alcohol, and partnering with communities to reach at-risk youth populations in rural, suburban, and urban communities.
To read more about ONDCP’s efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences, or to download the National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy and the Implementation Update, visit www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov.