International Crime

Recent transformations in the global economy and in international political alignments have been a boon to the criminal underworld. Capitalizing on increased cross-border flows of goods, money and people, criminal organizations have expanded their territorial reach and augmented their wealth and power relative to national governments. This development has spawned various direct and indirect threats to U.S. national interests. On the one hand, the new face of organized crime introduces new uncertainties into the international political environment, complicating U.S. relations with a number of foreign governments. For example, powerful narcotics constituencies increasingly threaten electoral processes, the exercise of sovereignty and the rule of law in a number of Latin American and Asian states. In post-Communist countries, violence, corruption and predatory behavior associated with emergent mafia formations jeopardize democratic reforms and generate nostalgia for authoritarian rule. On the other hand, organized crime's business lines--such as extortion rackets, and trafficking in weapons, drugs, or (potentially) fissile nuclear materials--are themselves a threat to public safety and the health of populations. The human misery inflicted by drugs in the United States is an obvious case in point.

Within the global criminal archipelago, some forms of entrepreneurship approximate traditional models of organized crime, even resembling formal organizations in certain operational aspects. But the contours of the new international crime threat are in certain respects diffuse and ill-defined. These new entities have fluid boundaries, no clearly-defined hierarchy and little permanent structure. Yet, small groups with few organizational resources and limited systemic penetration (in the sense of ties to officialdom or to the legal economy) may be capable of inflicting great harm on society. At the same time, the transnational properties of the more powerful and established organized crime groups need to be highlighted. Organizations that maintain permanent representation outside their home states, enjoy corrupt relationships with foreign leaders, forge strategic alliance with criminal counterparts abroad, and penetrate the legitimate economies of other states are by definition transnational.

Eight Major International Organized Crime Groups and their Principal Illegal Activities

Source: Inspired by L'Express (Paris), 15 Dec 1994.

Background and Trends

Traditionally a domestic concern in a handful of countries (such as the United States, Italy, and Japan), organized crime's increased scale of operations, territorial reach and destructiveness potentially threaten the stability of the international order. Largely as a result of expanded transnational activities, criminal organizations have been able to accumulate wealth and power on a scale that impairs the legitimacy and effective functioning of governments.

The Eight Principal Organized Crime Groups

Virtually no country is free from organized crime and almost every country has produced criminals who belong to or work for such groups. Nonetheless, eight countries have brought forth the largest and strongest of such organizations:

Of these, the Colombians, the Sicilians and the Chinese are generally considered the best organized, the most ubiquitous and the most powerful. Recently, however, Russian organized crime has begun to rival these in power and global reach; according to CIA director John Deutch, some 200 large mafia groups conduct extensive criminal operations throughout Russia and around the world. While they are smaller, criminal organizations based on Korean, Filipino, Thai, Burmese, Pakistani, Israeli, Albanian, Nigerian and Jamaican national bases also have begun to cause serious worry for law enforcement officials. All of these criminal organizations engage in the smuggling and sale of controlled substances and illegal drugs. But they also profit from other crimes such as smuggling illegal immigrants; loan sharking; currency and document counterfeiting; money laundering; arms trafficking; pillaging of financial institutions, and pirating of trademarked or copyrighted properties. Murder-for-hire, forced prostitution, terrorism, protection rackets and extortion, vehicle theft and the corruption of union, political and police officials are also profitable criminal activities. And all of these activities do direct and serious damage to American interests.

Wide agreement exists that organized crime corrodes and degrades the international environment and threatens Western visions of a good society. Yet the precise character and contours of the phenomenon remain unclear. Groups differ significantly along such dimensions as size, wealth, internal structure and cohesion, core activities and international links. For instance, Colombian organizations concentrate on one product line--drugs--while most other crime groups engage in a range of illegal activities. The Yakuza and the American Cosa Nostra derive most of their earnings from domestic activities, whereas Colombian traffickers' profits depend almost entirely on international sales.

Additionally, traditional models of organized crime--emphasizing such attributes as hierarchy, continuity of operation and corrupt ties to governments--are inadequate descriptors of modern criminal enterprises. Much harmful criminal activity is carried out by groups that do not fit the formal model. Many, in fact, are small, loosely structured systems that expand or contract in accordance with changing opportunities and risks. Some groups are venture-specific: perpetrators come together to commit a crime, divide up the profits (if any) and then disperse. Such a pattern is characteristic of Chinese heroin groups and nuclear smuggling networks in former East-bloc states. In the United States, computer crime which costs U.S. companies an estimated $10 billion per year generally is perpetrated by small teams of digital "hitmen" or by isolated talented hackers. Vast organizational resources, elaborate hierarchal arrangements and coteries of compliant government officials are not prerequisites for serious crimes--including actions that can cause great damage to the planet.

Post-Cold War World Growth of Transnational Organized Crime

Massive changes in the global economy--stemming from disintegration of hostile power blocs, technological advances in transportation and communications and diminished government controls over flows of goods, service and money--have fundamentally changed the context in which organized crime operates. Increased legal commerce provides a handy cover and justification for the movement of illegal merchandise and cash proceeds. As a result, criminal organizations have been able to globalize their operations, to position themselves in new markets and to expand the range of their illicit activities.

The collapse of the Soviet empire and the re-introduction of capitalism in China has removed Cold War barriers to business but also to criminal activity. Expanding worldwide financial and market systems have increased the magnitude and frequency with which people, goods and money move across national frontiers. The sheer volume of transactions allows much criminal enterprise and money laundering to go undetected. The establishment of a free trade area in North America (NAFTA) and the ongoing lowering of customs and passport controls in Europe also has provided unintended opportunities for the spread of criminality in the guise of legitimate business. The fact that only about 3 percent of the 9 million containers that enter the United States annually are checked by U.S. Customs underscores the problem.

Major Narcotics Cultivation Areas and Trafficking Routes 1991

At the same time, the grave weakening of state power in the former Warsaw Pact countries and other ex-dictatorships has weakened their law enforcement and criminal justice systems. In former Warsaw Pact states porous frontiers and newly convertible currencies have increased the attractiveness to international criminals of local markets for drugs and other illicit substances. The demise of communism and the weakening of state power in these countries has diminished the resources available to law enforcement and criminal justice systems. As a result of such trends, organized crime in its various guises--drug trafficking, counterfeiting, dealing in stolen cars and art objects, arms smuggling and commerce in illegal aliens and human body parts--is flourishing in post Communist states.

Perhaps the greatest beneficiary of these global economic shifts and political realignments has been the illicit drug trade, which is both booming and evolving in new directions. World opium and coca leaf production have doubled since 1985, according to State Department estimates. Significant new opium production has appeared in Colombia, Venezuela, China, Vietnam and former Soviet Central Asia. Colombia, traditionally a "cocaine" country, now supplies at least one third of the heroin consumed in the United States. China is now an important transit country for Burmese heroin; also, entrepreneurial North Koreans are entering the heroin business, perhaps with the backing of the Pyongyang government. Poland, China, Russia, Azerbaizan, Mexico and the Baltic States are emerging as important producers and exporters of sophisticated amphetamine drugs. Demand for cocaine, though stabilizing in the United States, is soaring in Western Europe; moreover entrepreneurial criminals increasingly are peddling cocaine and heroin to consumers in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Reasons That Organized Crime Is Growing

Organized crime--like many modern corporations--has developed new strategies and structural arrangements to compete more effectively in the international market place. That is, organized crime has become transnational. This new phenomenon is difficult to define precisely. Yet these transnational criminal enterprises (as opposed to those that merely sell products into foreign markets) appear to comprise several key characteristics.

Potential Flashpoints

Drug Trafficking

The booming global traffic in narcotics, manipulated by powerful international actors with supporting casts of domestic entrepreneurs, generates total revenues of $180 billion a year, according to United Nations' estimates. This enormous illicit enterprise threatens public safety, the health of citizens, the integrity of societies and the attainment of national goals almost everywhere on the planet. In the United States, law enforcement, correctional and public health costs of drugs are estimated by the White House to be $67 billion annually.

Surge in drug use since 1960s

For the moment, the harm done by the illegal drug activities of international organized crime poses the greatest threat to American national security interests. While Americans constitute only 5 percent of the world's population, over 50 percent of the total supply of illegal drugs in the world each year are consumed by Americans. The widespread abuse of controlled substances that began in the 1960s in the United States causes many of the most serious social ills afflicting contemporary American society. Crime experts Roy Godson and William Olson point out that fewer than 30,000 people were arrested in the U.S. in 1960 for violating drug laws. Recently, drug arrests have numbered more than one million annually. In the 1990s, more people have been imprisoned for drug offenses than for all violent crimes combined. Furthermore, the majority of violent crimes committed in the United States occur under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The explosion of drug-related offenses explains why there are more than one million people incarcerated in American prisons.

Certainly the human and economic costs are terrible. Americans spent $49 billion on drugs in 1993, more than they spent on health insurance or furniture. According to the 1995 National Survey on Drug Abuse, 12.8 million Americans used illegal drugs at least once a month in 1995 and hospital emergencies related to drugs reached more than 530,000 in that year. In 1994 more than 8,400 people died from drug overdoses in the United States.

Rising social costs of drug addiction

Drug cases are clogging the U.S. court system and making the constitutional guarantee of speedy trials impossible to implement. The soaring costs of the American health system are in part due to: gunshot wounds, child and spouse abuse, tuberculosis, venereal disease, AIDS, cardiovascular disease, automobile accidents and crack baby cases filling hospitals. A great many of these cases are drug-related. One of the root causes of both poverty and increasing welfare costs in the United States is drug abuse. The widespread use of stupefying drugs by school children, in particular, supposedly innocent marijuana, weakens American public education. The use of marijuana by American high school students leaped by 50 percent between 1992 and 1995, from 8 percent of the tenth grade students having used marijuana in the last month to 17 percent. Drug abuse lies behind the destructive behavior which has devastated public housing. In general, much of the hopelessness afflicting the growing American underclass can be traced to the effects of substance abuse.

Nuclear Smuggling

A compelling international security concern in the 1990s has been the soaring illegal traffic in radioactive isotopes and other nuclear materials that originates principally in the nuclear complexes of former Soviet states. While most stolen materials offered for sale internationally have little military significance, at least eight diversions of weapons-usable uranium or plutonium from Russian facilities have occurred in the 1990s; in four of the cases the material was smuggled successfully to Central Europe before being impounded by authorities.

As of 1996, trafficking in radioactive materials has not been a primary or even a secondary source of business for Russia's established mafia groups. Organized crime's traditional business--narcotics, extortion, raw materials smuggling and the like--offer fewer risks and more secure profits. Yet organized crime's involvement in brokering of "dual-use" materials (non-radioactive metals used in construction of atomic weapons but also in civilian industrial manufacture) has been amply documented.

Moreover, unlike other forms of transnational crime (drugs, for example), smuggling does not appear to involve an elaborate organizational infrastructure. That is, supply chains and mechanisms to transport such materials over long distances and across international boundaries already are a reality in the post-Communist world and in the West. Networks typically comprise loose assortments of former nuclear workers, small metals traders, opportunistic businessmen and petty smugglers. For instance, the trafficking chain that delivered 363 grams of plutonium-239 to Munich in August 1994 comprised three former employees of the Obninsk Institute of Physics and Power Engineering, a Moscow scientist, a Colombian medical doctor-turned-broker in military goods and two Spanish entrepreneurs in the construction business. In Russia, this nascent dealer network sometimes is supported by a crew of couriers and guards who transport radioactive material. Furthermore, nuclear trading channels at times are augmented by the participation of former and active government officials, diplomats, and intelligence operatives. Networks typically have fluid boundaries and tend to coalesce around one or two deals; yet some smuggling configurations or components of them (metals trading firms, for example) might handle nuclear materials on a fairly regular basis. In any event, nuclear smuggling while rudimentary in organizational terms holds ominous potential as an illegal specialty business.

Threats to Democracy

Organized crime presents two broad types of threats to an existing political authority. One is that the activities of criminals will merge with and reinforce existing civil conflicts or separatist tendencies. For example, the international traffic in drugs and arms has contributed to the breakup or partial disintegration of several nation-states: Burma, Afghanistan, Tadjikistan and Yugoslavia. Burma's Shan United Army, for example, controlled territory and fought the government with proceeds from opium and heroin sales. In Colombia, cocaine traffickers and paramilitary groups sought in the late 1980s to create a quasi-independent anti-subversion bastion in the Middle Madgalena Valley. The Medellín kingpin Pablo Escobar created a Rebel Antioquia movement in the province of the same name as a final gesture of defiance against the Bogotá government in early 1993. In Colombia and Peru, communist guerrillas tax narcotics production and exports to further their revolutionary objectives. In Colombia, guerrillas' levies from the cocaine and opium trade exceed $100 million annually. In the immediate aftermath of the Soviet Union's collapse, many observers feared the prospect of a symbiosis of emergent criminal actors, the breakdown of law and order and centrifugal political tendencies in the Russian Republic. Had the government's crime prevention system and control over the localities collapsed, Russia's far-flung nuclear establishment would have been up for grabs.

A second type of threat is almost a mirror image of the former: that flagrant lawlessness and criminal threats to the legitimacy or integrity of governments will provoke a citizen's backlash of sorts--facilitating the growth of extremist or authoritarian movements that promise to re-establish order and fairness. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 owed its success largely to the collusive relationship between the American mafia and the Cuban power structures in the 1940s and 1950s. The conversion of Cuba into a tourist mecca for cocaine, prostitution and gambling, and the criminals' penetration of many sectors of the Cuban economy did much to delegitimize the Batista regime, offering a convenient political pathway for Fidel Castro's rise to power.

In this respect, organized crime presents a particular threat to the growth of young democracies, notably in the ex-Communist states. Such countries lack government regulatory agencies and business codes to prevent the kinds of predatory commercial activity organized crime thrives on. Furthermore, following the collapse of the old dictatorships with which they were closely associated, the police forces of ex-Communist states tend to be demoralized, underpaid, underfunded and ill-equipped. As a result, what laws are in effect tend to be poorly enforced. Such a situation encourages both the offer and the acceptance of bribes, as well as the use of violence by organized gangs against honest law enforcement officials. The resultant atmosphere of flagrant lawlessness has hollowed out support for democratization and free markets, discouraged Western investment, retarded economic growth and made a return to authoritarianism and state control of the economy seem attractive to many. In Russia, for example, intensified criminal activities fanned the discontent that produced ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky's electoral success in the December 1993 parliamentary elections when his Liberal Democratic party won 23 percent of the Russian vote. Zhirinovsky's platform included on the spot execution of criminal gang leaders by firing squads and seizure of criminal assets to finance a reduction of government budget deficits.

Collusive Relationships

Ironically, the organized crime sector--despite its potentially baneful implications for political systems--often functions with the acquiescence and even the support of governments. One reason derives from criminal economic clout in some societies. Take, for example, the Andean countries in South America. Cocaine is the region's largest export (in fact it is Latin America's second largest export after petroleum). Cocaine accounts for approximately 3 to 4 percent of the gross domestic product of Peru and Bolivia and 8 percent of Colombia's. The cocaine industry employs 450,000 to 500,000 Andeans directly in farming, processing, transport, security, and money handling operations. Legions of others earn a living by providing goods and services essential to the industry.

Andean governments are reluctant to launch a frontal attack against an industry that is such a vital source of revenue and employment. Real or perceived threats such as violent retaliation from drug lords, a foreign exchange crisis, an economic downturn in narco-dependent industries (such as construction and retail trades), upsurges in guerrilla violence and migration of hordes of dispossessed coca farmers to Lima, La Paz, and Bogotá largely explain governments' inaction on the drug front. A complicating factor is that narcotics organizations have taken over functions normally reserved to the state, especially in such areas as social welfare and (ironically) maintenance of law and order. In Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru traffickers have devoted large sums to community development projects (such as roads, schools and housing). Such activities have expanded drug capos' bases of political support among poor communities that governments were unable to reach. In Colombia and to a lesser extent Peru, paramilitary organizations financed by drug dealers supplanted a weak central government in providing local security against predatory guerrilla groups. Obviously, narcotraffickers' intrusion into areas of the state and the law impact a new and ominous dimension to their activities.

Acquiescence sometimes verges on active collusion. That is, governments (or parts of governments such as military or intelligence organizations) employ criminals to accomplish specific political objectives. To some extent, this is not an entirely new reality. During the Second World War, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence formed understandings with both the American and Sicilian Mafias to help undermine the Fascist regime in southern Italy.

Contemporary Russia provides a good example of the relationships that have come into being between organized crime groups, and some national police and intelligence services. Such an alliance developed in the 1960s. In essence, the relationship was based on the ability of criminals to provide Soviet officials with consumer goods and services unavailable legally under the Communist system. As Gorbachev's reforms evolved into capitalism in the early 1990s, Russian criminals were well positioned to take advantage of the new economics and grew rich accordingly. Russian organized crime retained its links to Russian officials. But the power relationship shifted greatly in favor of the criminals, as the state weakened and illicit profits soared. Furthermore, a good many ex-Communists were either forced from or chose to leave the police, security and intelligence services. Their old links to organized crime, as well as their knowledge and skills, made these former police and intelligence agents natural recruits for the Russian gangs.

Experts disagree on the degree to which the new Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (FIS), Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Interior Ministry (MVD) are allied to organized crime. Some argue that the links are purely personal, connecting some corrupt FIS, FSB and MVD officials to former KGB, MVD and police colleagues who now work in the underworld. Others believe that the FIS and FSB is officially employing the services of Russian organized crime to carry out assassinations, launder money and perform other services. Some observers of the Russian scene insist that one of the major reasons for the December 1994 Russian attack on Chechnya was to eliminate the brazenly independent Chechen mafia as a rival to Russian organized crime. There is little doubt that the late Chechen leader Dudayev was in league with organized crime leaders in his country.

Furthermore, legitimate economic elites in Russia find that the mafia fills an important vacuum in society. In the absence of functioning commercial and legal codes and a viable judicial system, mobsters provide protection of business, and regulation of disputes (including helping businesses avoid taxes, stave off unfriendly creditors and collect bills). As in South America, organized crime supplants the state in many areas, offering arbitrage services, providing employment, and contributing to charitable causes. According to Stephen Handelman, one St. Petersburg mobster, Anatolii Vladimirov, made a large donation to an impoverished astronomy research institute in that city in return for which grateful scientists decided to name an obscure star "Anvlad" after their benefactor.

U.S. Interests and Approach

Net Assessment

The immense profits that can be realized by the smuggling of drugs, military arms, nuclear materials and other banned products may not only tempt individual intelligence or security agents but even the leadership of such services. The large amounts of money to be made by turning an official blind eye to smuggling or even by engaging in it can be used not only for personal enrichment but to finance the activities of the intelligence organs of poor states. Even wealthier intelligence or security services may see such profits as a way to pay for projects not approved by governmental superiors. Furthermore, drugs, counterfeit currency or weapons may be considered a means to weaken an adversary state and their passage through their own country may be permitted by intelligence or security forces for such reasons. But, for whatever reasons such cooperation between organized crime and certain intelligence services may exist, the assistance by government officials to criminal gangs adds greatly to the national security threat that they pose. As was the case for terrorist organizations during the Cold War, when a criminal organization is aided by the resources available to intelligence services, it becomes far more dangerous.

U.S. Interests

While international organized crime does not present a military threat to the interests of the United States, it nonetheless is inflicting significant damage domestically and internationally. Intense transnational cooperation to reduce such a threat is thus warranted. The main objectives with regards to this subject are:

Prevent criminal activity from damaging the people of the U.S.

There is no prospect that organized crime could present a threat to the U.S. government. However, criminal activity in the United States victimizes individuals and undermines the nation's social fabric. Crime, whether at home or abroad, can damage U.S. business. The U.S. interest is in the prevention of criminal activity, irrespective of whether its point of origin is domestic or foreign.

Prevent organized crime from undermining emerging democracies

The U.S. has an interest in the enlargement of the community of democratic nations. It has a further interest in ensuring stable governments committed to respecting international law, which will not undermine their neighbors. Organized criminal groups could challenge these interests in several ways. In some countries, such as Colombia, criminal activities finance guerrilla movements that could threaten social stability, even if their prospects of taking power are slim. Particularly in small countries, organized crime can threaten to put its associates directly into power in the government. And in countries in transition from authoritarian rule, rampant organized crime can undermine support for the new political system.

Prevent criminal activity from damaging the people of other advanced industrial nations

There is little if any prospect that organized crime could present a threat to the governments of other advanced industrial nations. However, criminal activity hurts the residents of those countries. As part of its general support for the welfare of the community of industrial democracies, the U.S. has an interest in combatting international organized crime. Furthermore, the spread of organized crime can hurt the free flow of goods, money, and people across borders by requiring onerous inspections and record-keeping designed to impede crime. That in turn hurts Americans who wish to trade, invest, and travel abroad.

U.S. Approach

The security challenges posed by organized crime threaten the U.S. foreign policy objective of enlarging the community of democratic and free market states. The principal instruments used to meet this challenge will be non-military, such as greater cooperation between national police forces, the sharing of criminal intelligence, facilitating extradition and mutual legal assistance, and increasing flows of international technical and financial assistance to law enforcement entities of drug-torn or crime-torn states. Furthermore, crime control initiatives are linked to broader policy initiatives--such as economic growth, free trade, and strengthening of democratic institutions.

At the same time, the military will continue to be used as an auxiliary instrument against organized crime. Factors affecting the use of the military can be divided into those regarding domestic use of the military and those regarding use of the military abroad.

The Posse Comitatus Act

The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 and its subsequent interpretations forbid the use of the Army and Air Force for the direct enforcement of the laws of the United States. Members of those services cannot make arrests, seize drugs or other illegal goods and are prohibited from involvement in the formulation of anti-crime policy. However, court decisions have made clear that those services may still render a wide variety of support services to law enforcement personnel. Furthermore, since the services under his control are not covered by the Act, the Secretary of the Navy can authorize the use of the Navy and Marine Corps to enforce American laws. In practice, however, this has rarely been done. Of course, the Coast Guard is exempt from the provisions of Posse Comitatus. Finally, the Air and Army National Guard are under the authority of state governors and do not fall under the Posse Comitatus Act. In any case, the law can be amended by Congress as it sees fit. In the 1990s, Congress significantly relaxed Posse Comitatus restrictions with regards to counter-narcotics activities. In 1996, bills were introduced in the Senate to eliminate restrictions of the Act as they pertain to terrorism and the theft of weapons of mass destruction.

Use of U.S. Armed Forces Against Criminals Abroad

The U.S. armed forces could be used to carry out combat missions against the members of organized crime and their assets. But if carried out on the territory or in the airspace of foreign countries without their approval, such operations could be perceived as attacks on state sovereignty. Not only might such actions embroil the United States in hostilities but they would risk arousing nationalist sentiment in favor of the criminals. Historical anti-American animosity in a number of countries plagued by organized crime, such as Mexico and Colombia, could well make such assaults extremely counter-productive. In addition, military action could threaten the stability and legitimacy of host country governments and cause economic problems besides. Furthermore, even well-established organized crime groups are unlikely to possess the permanent and irreplaceable infrastructure that provides targets for conventional military operations. Therefore, the principal use of the U.S. armed forces to counter organized crime abroad will be through assistance to the local military and security services.

In the case of some small, crime-ridden nearby states, American offers of assistance may be rebuffed or, if accepted, effectively sabotaged. Instead, such situations must be addressed by U.S. diplomacy. Threats of economic sanctions or diplomatic isolation are the instruments of first choice. In some cases, it may prove necessary for the U.S. to use military force--possibly sanctioned by the United Nations and the Organization of American States--as the only way to end the rule of gangsters. Such an operation might resemble the invasion of Grenada in 1983 or the 1989 action in Panama. For more discussion of this issue, see the chapter on North America. The American armed forces are already taking part in counter-drug operations. By land, sea and air, the services have assigned units to interdict drug smuggling. The Defense Intelligence Agency is cooperating with the FBI and the DEA to translate and analyze seized records of criminal activities. Both active and reserve component forces also assist with counter-crime intelligence gathering including the conduct of electronic and aerial surveillance (including AWACS aircraft), and the interpretation of surveillance photographs. They also construct and maintain border fences and roads, examine vehicles for contraband at U.S. ports of entry, and operate X-ray and laser devices to search ships and planes. The military also provides transportation for law enforcement agencies and lends them various kinds of surveillance and transportation equipment.

The Department of Defense FY 1996 counter-narcotics budget was $814 million. Of this figure, $397 million is for interdiction activities. That is a substantial reduction from the $854 million spent on interdiction in FY 1992, largely because of the judgement that some of the more expensive activities were not cost-effective. A further $281 million was budgeted in FY 1996 for support to state and local authorities. Of this, $120 million was to aid law enforcement agencies along the border with Mexico, from which perhaps 50 percent of illegal drugs enter the U.S. The remaining $136 million of the FY 1996 Defense Department counter-narcotics spending was for research, prevention, and treatment.

While valuable in specific areas such as aerial surveillance, the U.S. military plays only an auxiliary role in countering narcotics. The military is neither organized nor trained for law enforcement. At a time of shrinking defense budgets, increased demands on the armed forces for non-military duties are opposed by many because they could diminish the ability of the forces to fulfill their primary missions. Furthermore, as "Drug Czar" Barry McCaffrey has pointed out, the terms "war on drugs" and "war on crimes" are misnomers. Conducting a war and fighting crime are actually quite different activities. Except in extraordinary circumstances, law enforcement groups will continue to be the U.S. government's principal instruments against organized crime.

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