Created: 11/1/1985

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The International Narcotics Trade: Implications for US Security

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W' International Narcotics

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$1 Trafficking


The Thieal to US Security Interests From Drug Traff

insurgent Involvement In the Drug

Terrorist Use of Ihe Narcotics

Sovereign State Involvement in the Drug

Implications and


scope note

raHlcking is used tn this Estimate in

describe all aspects of the drug trade collectively, including illicitrop cultivation, refining and processing of narcotics, and thend distribution of drugs. While we recognize thai Important dlmen-Islons of US security are effects of drug traffickinghe domestic scene, this NIE focuses on those ramifications of drug trafficking that can threaten the Integrity of other democratic nation*

nevertheless, this Estimate does

underscore the manner and degree to which drug trafficking can fundermine countries important to the United States, and it defines the j; Inlerrelationshlp between drug trafficking and other issues significantur national interest such as Insurgency and terrorism.


Tbe multibilhon-dollarinterriational narcotics IradehreatUS security Interest* that goes beyond concern for the drug problem

Powerful trafficking organizations can corrupt and undermine political, economic, social, and security Institutions withinnations.

Some insurgent groups are heavily involved In trafficking and others have the opportunity, motive, and capability toin the drug trade.

There are reports of sporadic involvement between somegroups nnd dtug traffickers.

Some sovereign stales support or at least condone international drug trafficking.

. ili

,. 1:


Judge that the near-term threat to US Interests from the drug trade is particularly severe In Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the neit several years, the drug trade will continue to pose serious problems in Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru. Jamaica. Panama, and The Bahamas. Other countries in the region are now being drawn increasingly into the narcotics trade and we COnaicWr them vulnerable to its many debilitating Impacts.

f immediate concern to us is the increase in drug-related violencegovernment narcotics control officers and high-level officialswith drug control, including US personnel. We expectorrelation between stepped-up enforcement pressures andsponsored violence against'off icials to continue.

'l Although the Impact of the narcotics Industry on national financialeconomic institutions and policies Is not clear, we believe that continued expansion of the drug trade In some areas, along wilh deteriorating economic conditions, could further disrupt economics in countries such as Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and]

e judge that insurgent involvement in the drug tradeelatively small Impact on the overall narcotics situation, bul access to drug money and narcotics smuggling networks couldajor impact on the capability of insurgent forces. The current involvement


the drug trade of the Revolutionary Armed Forces ofCommunist Party,groups ts sufficiently

ep that It enhances their capability lo sustain operations against vernments friendly to or important to the United States. If their volvement In trafficking were to increase significantly, we believe this uld further enhance the capabilities of these groups to acquire or ove arms, equipment, or personnel.

We are also concerned about the National Liberation Armythe People's Liberation Army of Colombia. SenderoTamil dissidents, and the

ew People's Army in the Philippines because they either have shown me occasional interest in narcoticsundraijlng proposition or icause they are located In areas where the drug trade Is expanding pidly.'

We fudge that urban terrorists are less likely to become directly lr> ilved in drug trafficking than insurgents, but we note that the profits om even one consignment could provide small terrorist cells with bstantial operating

the expanding. European drug market id the recent entry into these groups of less Ideologically committed embers could lead to their involvement in narcotics trafficking to ise money or to obtain access to the gray arms market.

Some sovereign states support or at least condone international _ug trafficking,

but we suspect tnai

e leaders oi these countries see the disruption drugs causeeficial byproduct of an activity that they engage in for other reasons. ch as obtaining hard currency, gaining access to smuggling networksmove arms or equipment, collecting Intelligence, and promoting bverslve activities beyond their borders.


Narcotics Trcrf ticking

jVu5 Coverrinvcot source*thatjlKe dollar value of illegal drug trafficking andelated cost tomay0aruioBlly. The ctandeitme natorc of the drug trade complicates not only estimates of IU profits bul alto " any-attempt to determine the definition of the

rofits. In particular what share eventually returmr* eountries Involved in production and trafficking..We suspect that drug money returned home byfickers3 probably repfeJenled tile principal

|ira twilMUcTog^Fwell aware of theof aucbn Interanks, andudge that some of them might decide that accea to - drug money might obviate the need to take austerity

. IV Meat the locoo* f^

I distributor* In majorith rignllleinrlyccruing to those involved In production and trans-

.Tag mlUlonairai of the interna tionil narcotics Industry are groupa aocfa as the Urge Colombian cocaine-trafficking organizations thai supply the US mar let. for their control extends from acquisition of the raw nutetiali In the coca-producing countries of South America through whoiewU dbtribvaioo la the United Slates. We estimate that grow receipts of Colombian trafficking organizations from US salei3 were in tha billions of dollars and that about half

tbi) waa profit In terms of affluence, theclotest competitor! are lhe large Meucanwho ano handle multiple drugs and operate deep within the US market.

f;^ijrwegoUted source of hard eomr*7TiiBV

TrallickJvg Orparitotiom

riminal diug-trolfWklng organ! rat ion* range, from small tpeciallted oprratiara active In one teg-men! of thr production, smuggling, or attributionpecific drug to Urge, lopftbtkatcd enieiprbes (hitertically inteuated. muhinatKiial cima ny In their nee. scope, ind manner of opentions. The inlrait incline ofuge network rivals manyineuei and even some national gmern-menti in the amount of property, snryhlilicalloti of equipment, and network ol financial, political, and ccnirncTciil contacts Colombian organ! tattoos that dominate the production, processing, and distribution of cocaine lor the US market are the best examples of ihisrae traf licking network mtyspecial-hr In one drug, such at cocaine, il can uie lis Infrastructure and contacti to handle other drugi In response to shifting market preference or totargets of opportunity: for eiample, Colomblaiitraffickers began rurobin* ihe US market with methauoal'me when thai became popular. Drugusually know one another aod cooperate on occasion However, whenwed, drug shlp-rnenls are stolen, or someone cooperate* with law enforcement, rcprtiiLi arc often violent There is also coco petition among traffickersrger share of the drug mar id



Ihis haDprni- ihe rimlltcutloni furlleilar heiond eoneern loi the iwrcullo nmb-lem. Trafficker pcnelrallon atld Influence iner friend-Iv governmentsnimrdiiile concern In laillri America ami the Caribbean, hul Ita potential problem In virtually any countryloiiridiinp. rarciMici industry. Many nl their Main have other prinritiei ind hate beeniulde or unwilling to coram it niff ieieni rwnuicw to cxnintcrnarcotks effort*

6ox of Ok media, thfluenee with pubUc official* and iwiitcro with lei opin-Hortiilcfhave been ablr to arouse puMir opininncontrolby pUvtnt oo ni Horn Its ic themes and labeling wrh programs rnan ifeit attorn of "Yankeeuch artlriikei could affeci more than halitrral coopnition on nineties centre-measures, thev could undermine the ability of lhe KDvernroent to cooperate vrtlh the United Statesidef for Han policy or tccurity Initiatives Although attempts to manipulate local and nalional public opinion in fawn of the narcotic* industry are most common tn Latin America ond the Caribbean, they also occur In other counlrti'ii

i Immediate concern to id It the increase in drug-related violence agalnit government narcotics-control officers and hlah.lcvef offlclili tdentlfled with drug control Including foreign citlxen* inch at US Embassy ceitonnel. Traffickers haveillingness to uie ttnoritl (actio In an attempt lo iniirnidaie govemmenlela li

B We eiped lhe correlation between sleptied-up caiorcrracat prevturn and trafficker qmnsoredagainst offktab to continue Inigh-level auitiant ia the Julie* Ministry was asnui-nated iaostle* Mtntster Lara Boclla wis mnrderrd inuperior Court judgeewas killed In5 Colcenbiari Government agreement lo sitradtie iraffickeri rrtgaered death threati to President Betan-eur among others, bomb esploiton near the US Embawv In Bogota to4 and perhapt another near an Arneri-can-owned language ichool Also9S-flnanccd coca eradication team were murdered In Peru f-


| Since HHfii, moreexkan officials associated with drug-control programs have bee.

traffickers, and In, iraf-Drui Enb'nrccment Ad in in in ration Agent Camarens and tits Meticani* DEA agents have been threatened tke world.

tthe narcotics trade can threaten tfceariicsrJlt of dehsoeratfc governments by corrupting political and judicial Institutions,

n addition, we are concerned aboul the Impact of the drug irade on agricultural production In imf. ficking countries. Legitimate farmers face increasinB competition from drug crop growers for land and labor In such countries as Mexico. Peni, Bolivia, and.

JOsntinued expansion ol ihe dm*

trade in nmr areai. alongeteriui Jiinv economic cond'lions, could lull her dbropi economtn In inese nafficking coortiles. Illicit dram produeiion and traf-ficLins have alreadyegitimate agricultur-a! export*

Within several trafficking countries, this is fur-liter complicated by Ihe widespread belief on the part of local leaders and cttlxens thai the benefits of the drug trade arc enormous. Tms frequently preventsfiom invoking strvct couniernaicotie* prograrris Tboar res-men that are returned to local levels wlthlD source ctamtrics have given thea strong grip on many ruraluch a> lhe Tlngo Maria area In Peru's Upper Huallaaaet Valley and the Cfiapare Region In Bolivia.

The social diimptlon caused by diug abuse and drug triffkklrHi manifests itself In four major BHMU an erosion of lhe moral standards and the sense of Individualarapllan af lhe family unit; lower edocallona) anduevementN resulting fiom the mental and physicalcaused by drug use;requent cause of suicide. Almost every major drug-tiaffirking country Isise In domestic drug abuse, an unavoidable byproduct of eipanding narcoticsand the desire of the traffickers to find new markets Coea-prud racing countries have alwaysarge poc-ilalion that chewed the roc* leaf, but now ihey are developing urban addict populaMont who use refined coca products such as cocaine. (

ountries In which therehriving narcotics industry alsoising tale of societal violence. Including crimes by (hose seeking to buy drugs and by Ibose trafficking

ifw the Caribbean slates heavily dependent on foreignepunt'wigh crime rite can adversely "feet this Important source of hard currency for tbe national economy.

e Judge thai over lhe not several sears therade will continue to pose serious problems for several Latin American and Caribbean countries^Mesloo. Colombia, Bolivia. Petg. Jamaica. Panama, and The Bahamas, f

^countries on thei'trafficking areas are now being drawn increasingly Into the narcotics trade in response to changingelsewhere. We consider these countriesto several debilitatlna aspects of the drug trade-

Irut*gent Invorvernetit In the Drug Trade

onve Insurgent groups ore heavily Involved In trafficking snd others have the opportunity, motive, ami capability to parttclpate In the drug trade.and Illicit drug cultivation tend to occur In remote regions foe the same reaaom. government presence ia limited; economic and political Infrartruc-tara Is weak or nooeuatent. tbe kcarpocuiace often has few thaa to tbe national regime; and rugged terrain make* it difficult for the police or military (orces to operate.

ocation of the two activities fostersthat can lead to linkages among Insurgents and trafflckcri; cooperation between the twoatliaclive in manv reapeeti. The drug trade offers Insurgents accesi to limbic amounts of money to obtain arms and equipment and lo finance political and social welfare programs Some Iraurgen: groups tax drug producers aod trafficker* In the same fashion as any other economic er.'erpTite that occurs hi areas where they operate Otherowever, erKOurastr growers and ref Irserlea In then area, and provide protect Ion or transportation. Some eventually become full-fledged narcotics Iraf ticking operations Inwn right. The extent of Involvement varies with need andsome groups have become heavily engaged In narcotics only after other sources of financing dried up- From lheerspective, well-armed r

iiHurgeitti cait prrartaV nrig-rvitun from inllir.rafficker) and liHurernli need clandestiner.ltnetwnrks. lhe one lo thin driagi out c4 lhe region, lhe other to bring arm* hi In hrtS rases, ike ahilrft lo appear lo he defending tol interest*ational guierrsnaerat actions pee- ides common cause and help* enhst popular supportai find il eoatvr-nient lo support local peiunti imolird in drng culti-vaiion because ihis is another *ai tn sidethrm against lhe national goirrnmeM.

nsurgent Involvement In lhe drug Iradehas relatively small impact on lhe overall narcotic* situation, bul access to drug money and narcotics-smuggling networks couldajor impact on lhe capability of the Insurgent forcet Thli is of particular concern in countries where (he national miliiary forces are poorly armed and trained. Insurgents who can establish Ihelr own arms pipeline based on narcotics smuggling also have more Independence from ouliide luppocters. The type ol weapons mail huurgrnl group* favor are low-cost, small arras easily purchased on the gray arm* market.

russ far, Irssantent* Involved In tbe ratcoiics industry have been largely testrlcted to growing and refining the drugs. Ik* krast profitable pan of the industry But. if the* were to acquire control of produeiion at refiningarge area, ihli couldore lucrative source of funds than any other form of enterprise available to groups operating in remote areas. The only comparable support would, be an unlimited money and equipment pipelineajor outside state supporler.

n addition lo using the naicolici tradeeans to acquire revenue aims, and logistic support, we arc also concerned thai Insurgent and other disat-denl groups may seek lo take advantage of Ihe resent-menl that could be aroused in tural areas byovernment nareotlo-eonlrol programs. Activeprogranu lhat upset rural economies and make enemies of peasant growers could play Into Ibe hands of insurgent groups looking for adherer.U. The isaurgeftts need not make the first approach;aod groweii we king to dvield their acUvtriea from ao-cinmeot erifiecement might well appmoch tbeseeking cooprrailoo against government forces-Si. We fudge thai the current involvement of tbe following insurgent groups in lhe drug trade tsdeep thainhance* their eapablblv to sustain operations against government* friendly lo orto lhe United States IInvolvement in lhe


Terrorlst Uie of lhe Norcolfcs Industry

UlDin lefToflSH art moil Itturif idin the distribution rather lhan lhenajcories. Terrorist groups and narcoticsHi the same illegal milieu, have contactssmugglers,etience in movingdandratlnely. are willing lo usears lo raiae large amounts of money. Asmembers of terrorist groups and drug-Iraforganlulloni may well come in contact withwc think It likely lhai hardcoremembers wouldareful bufferand lhe traffickers because the latterknown to pohce and could comproeniatol the

c fudge that, in contrast lo Insurgent groups, urban terrorist! are on balance less likely lo become

directly Involved with the nucoiiei Industry. We eipect. raowever. that some terrorist groups willto take advantage ol Ihe dnif Hade to wpport their activitiea but that ihti contact will continue lo be ad hoc and loom lhe lower levels of bothlthough ideological constraints mayole, we Maw that the deciding (actor wiD be the ability of icrroriat group* to obtain sufficient linanclal tupport through olber mean* '

errorist groupi operatingct from drug-trailIcklog areaa may have tbe advantige in eiploiUng the drug trade for their own audi. Tbe groupi that i. depond heavily on aitate sponnr (or operating capital Ijh ;and support might bo most tempted to take advantageI'/ot tberade la order to achieve more ladeper>dence. We are partlcuairly concerned about Middle Eastern terrorist groups because: large volumes ' 'of drug* rjsove through ihii irgson; their bases are > located In area* lhat alsolourishing narcotics 9 prod ud loo. refining, and trafficking Industry! Bnd political and social turmoil lo the region facilitatescontact withhere ue probably also lore, standing ethnic and family tie* anions the terrorists.nd trglfieklna families,!


Implkolioni ond Option*

e judge that the rtwr-terra threat to US interests doer th* drug trade it particularlyin Latin America and the Caribbean. During tha neat few yean, criminal drug trafficked willhreat to the political,social, and securityInaft ic king count lies In the Western Hemisphere. We are concerned that certainterrorists, gad hostile sovereignhe Western Hemuphere hate conned ions with lheIndustry. At present, we Judge such'involvement In mot cases to be sufficiently low level or Infrequent that tt does not ttgnrficantry enhance the capabilities of these group* nor does tt markedly affect the site or nature of the drug trade. Over the longer term, however, any of these groups might decide tomore actively In the drug trade, and this could wbUantlaQybe threatroup could pose to frtendty goverwrseots or US Interests.

he scale of the drug trade ai well a* political, economic, and security real!He* within thephere will continue to hamper counternarcotioi pro-grama for the foreseeable future In tbe nearrobably noto make major Inroads against the drug trade in countries where tt Is alreadyAn aggressive attack oo the trafficker* by an Individual government could rucceed In some case* Infew Instances, however, it couldeavy cost in economic, political, and sccial dislocation We would not expect any Latin American government to wtourse, however, forsuspect thateader* aod trafficker*eenof the limits nl action and thai neither Mould deliberately cross the boundary. Either tide ciaild miscalculate, however, lhe assassination of Cosombisn Justice Minister Lara Bonilla tt an eiamcle ofisstep by the drug traffickers It not only provoked popular outrage and stronger government counter*ut in so doing demonttrated to the govern-men: ihat the narcotics industry was more vulnerable to attack than had previously been thought possible.

espite the dillieultiei, wr Judge thai most governments could do more to keep the traffickers off balance aod increase their coats of doingev factor will be irscrestlng public and government awareness of the domestic economic, political, and security threat posed by an entrenched narcoticsTo be effective, many counter narcotic*will need the same level and type of forces asounter! nsurccocy campaign. This Include* pot only wed-equipped and well-trained paramiiiuiy force* capable of conducting remote aieaul also political action team* to counter theaitpeal.lo.local self-interestii .the central government. None nf the governments In the region at proem ba* theanpower, or equipment to stittsiriwar onmall-scale cou menu rootlet strike force wouldreat deal of outride ajtlttanee. Including military aid.

listing efforts to Improve internationalcould lay lhe bast* for an affective regional counternarcotics prog]am. Some Latin Americanare already participating In coordinated regional approaches. At present, however. Iialflcker* benefit greatly from tbe difference* to priority and tactics used by the variousver lean eouolrvr* If all countries In the reason better understood the nature of the threat, it would increase the chance* that cooperation would advance to effective Joint act Ions, Including Intelligence sharing, interdiction, and border control We judge that continued regional effort* lucfahose by Colombia aod its neighbor* could restrict traffickers' freedom of action. At the same time, such effort* could alto decrease the attractiveness of drug trafficking forcrrorlttt, or sovereign stales.

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