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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs > Remarks, Fact Sheets, Reports, Other Releases > Fact Sheets > 2002

Narcotics and Crime Control: The Role of United States Government Agencies

Washington, DC
January 2, 2002

The United States Government can best carry out comprehensive drug- and crime-control strategies if its agencies have clearly defined domestic/international roles and cooperate closely in all elements of the strategy. The agencies listed below have been given the following international responsibilities for drug control or anti-crime by statute and, in some cases, by the authority vested in the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

1. The Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy is charged with formulating and coordinating national drug control policy. ONDCP is responsible for establishing and promulgating objectives/policies, producing the National Drug Control Strategy, coordinating the implementation of policies, and overseeing the fulfillment of the assigned drug control program responsibilities.

The Director recommends to the President changes regarding organizations, management, budgets, and allocations of personnel in federal departments and agencies. The Director also reviews agency budgets prior to their submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

2. The Department of State is the lead agency for international narcotics control and anti-crime policy formulation and implementation. It is responsible for coordinating the international narcotics control and anti-crime assistance activities of all U.S. Government agencies operating overseas.

The Secretary of State has designated the Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) as State's primary focal point for all international narcotics and international criminal matters. The State Department's role, carried out by INL, is both diplomatic and programmatic.

The Bureau of International Organizations works with INL to coordinate the activities of various United Nations agencies involved in narcotics and crime control with U.S. international drug and crime control objectives.

Regional bureaus, such as the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the Bureau of South Asian Affairs, and the Bureau of European Affairs, are responsible for guiding the operations of the U.S. diplomatic establishments of their areas.

3. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has the lead role in enforcing U.S. laws in the public interest. With respect to narcotics cases, it investigates and prosecutes traffickers. Justice, together with State (Office of the Legal Adviser), is also responsible for negotiating and implementing extradition treaties and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs). MLATs provide a formal intergovernmental mechanism for the provision of evidence and other forms of law enforcement assistance for criminal investigations, prosecutions, and related proceedings. Justice, through its Office of Professional Development and Training (OPDAT) and International Criminal Investigation Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), provides technical assistance to support Administration of Justice Programs abroad.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the primary federal drug enforcement agency for counternarcotics. Its main responsibility is to enforce the Controlled Substances Law and regulations of the U.S. and bring organizations or individuals violating these laws to justice. DEA is also engaged in recommending and supporting enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances and precursor chemicals in the domestic and international markets.

Overseas, in addition to their investigative work with foreign enforcement organizations, the DEA provides technical support to these organizations to reduce narcotics manufacturing/trafficking through training and the sharing of law enforcement techniques. DEA also develops, analyzes, and disseminates intelligence; coordinates drug-related intelligence-sharing with foreign enforcement agencies; and works with governments to seize drug-related assets.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) collects, analyzes, and disseminates domestic law enforcement related intelligence on criminal organizations. The FBI conducts long-term domestic investigations aimed at dismantling criminal organizations and their support mechanisms, such as money laundering, public corruption, and organized crime.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is responsible for facilitating the entry of persons legally admissible as visitors or as immigrants to the United States; granting benefits under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, including providing assistance to those seeking permanent resident status or naturalization; preventing unlawful entry, employment, or receipt of benefits by those who are not entitled to them; and apprehending or removing those aliens who enter or remain illegally in the United States and/or whose stay is not in the public interest.

The International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) is responsible for law enforcement training of foreign police. ICITAP is an arm of DOJ, but has no program funding of its own. INL provides funding for any law enforcement training in both narcotics and crime programs. The Office of Professional Development and Training (OPDAT) is responsible for criminal justice training programs for public prosecutors and for providing commentary on draft legislation requested by foreign governments.

The U.S. Marshals Service, in drug-related matters, is responsible for apprehending most federal fugitives, operating the Federal Witness Security Program for endangered governmental witnesses, and seizing, managing, and selling property forfeited to the Government by drug traffickers and other criminals.

4. The Department of the Treasury is the lead U.S. Government agency for financial crimes enforcement and is responsible for administering and enforcing the Bank Secrecy Act. Treasury has been designated by Congress as the lead agency for negotiating international agreements on money-laundering cooperation (Kerry Amendment) and has chaired the U.S. delegation to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Created by the 1989 Economic Summit, FATF is an inter-governmental body representing more than two dozen of the world’s leading financial centers, whose purpose is to develop and promote policies to combat money laundering. Treasury receives and analyzes more than 7 million financial transaction reports annually and provides information to a number of enforcement agencies within Treasury, Justice, and other federal departments.

The U.S. Customs Service has the authority for investigating a wide variety of international criminal activities, including smuggling of contraband, violations of intellectual property rights, drug trafficking, and money-laundering violations. Customs's efforts include programs designed to combat illegal transportation of contraband through the ports of entry of the United States concealed in commercial cargo, in international containers, in passenger baggage, and by individual couriers.

Customs provides training and technical assistance to foreign governments and participates in joint enforcement operations with source, transit, and bank haven countries.

The U.S. Secret Service has the authority to investigate a wide variety of international financial crimes, including credit card fraud, and counterfeiting of U.S. currency and financial instruments. Secret Service efforts include programs to help foreign governments detect counterfeit U.S. currency in foreign banks.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has the authority to investigate the illegal flow of firearms from the United States. The use of firearms is inherent in international criminal activities. ATF is committed to identifying the source of firearms and stemming the availability of firearms illegally obtained from the United States. ATF develops programs to trace firearms seized during domestic and foreign law enforcement operations and, through the use of federal firearms laws, prosecutes unlawful sources of firearms.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) directs its investigation of crimes toward major money-laundering organizations. In addition to its investigation of tax-related violations and its assistance in multiagency asset seizure and forfeiture actions, the IRS has statutory authority to investigate nearly all violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, as well as transactional money-laundering violations under the provisions of Title 18 of the United States Code. Additionally, the IRS's Detroit Computing Center processes nearly 7 million financial transaction documents, such as the Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), each year and maintains these reports in a financial database for subsequent retrieval and analysis.

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) is a domestic training center for Treasury and Justice agencies. FLETC also provides training for foreign officials on international money laundering and financial fraud.

5. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), as principal maritime law enforcement agency for the United States, contributes to the counternarcotics and anti-crime strategy in several key ways. First, it employs aircraft, cutters, and personnel in a broad array of interdiction strategies against marine and air smugglers and participates in a variety of joint-agency and joint-nation operations. Second, it plays an integral role in the intelligence process, collecting and analyzing raw data from both open and sensitive sources, and through the exchange of information with cooperating agencies and nations. Third, Coast Guard shares its maritime expertise with countries affected by criminal organizations through an extensive program of classroom and on-site training. Finally, frequent assistance is given to countries that lack extensive roadways and aircraft resources by providing Coast Guard aircraft logistic support.

6. The Department of Defense (DOD) has been designated as the lead agency for detection and monitoring of aerial and maritime transit of illegal drugs into the United States. DOD has directed selected U.S. Commands to execute these responsibilities and has created three Joint Task Forces to help coordinate the use of DOD resources in support of interdiction agencies. DOD provides training and technical assistance to foreign governments in conjunction with the Department of State. DOD is also responsible for integrating federal C3I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) assets into an effective network.

7. The Agency for International Development (AID) is responsible for the design and implementation of development assistance programs worldwide. AID assists the coca/cocaine producing countries to diversify their economies away from coca dependency and towards open, outward market economies.

In the short term, it is AID's responsibility to help promote and sustain legal economic and social alternatives to replace narcotics production eliminated by successful drug control programs. In the longer run, AID's mandate includes ameliorating severe poverty, achieving lasting growth, sharing the benefits of growth more broadly, and strengthening democratic institutions and respect for human rights. AID also sponsors anti-drug education programs that are designed to build institutions overseas to address the growing problem of drug abuse. AID also is responsible for funding Administration of Justice programs to strengthen host nation capability to prosecute criminal cases in court and to develop and implement laws to deter criminal elements.

8. The Intelligence Community's role is to collect and analyze counternarcotics and anti-crime strategic intelligence in support of all appropriate federal agencies. The community also supports the requirements of law enforcement and interdiction agencies for timely, actionable tactical intelligence.

To support the U.S. Government’s counternarcotics efforts further, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) established the Counternarcotics Center (CNC) in April 1989. (In 1994, the CNC changed its name to the Crime and Narcotics Center to reflect its expanded mandate to include all international crime issues.) The center brings together the analytic, collection, and technical elements of the CIA to enhance its agency-wide efforts against international crime, including narcotics trafficking. It also functions as a community center by including representatives from law enforcement and other national security agencies with an interest in transnational crime threats.

Finally, the CNC is creating ways to provide more information of direct use to law enforcement agencies while also providing improved and timely strategic assessments to policymakers. The Center led an interagency effort that produced and released in December 2000 an unclassified assessment of the threat of international crime to the United States in support of and pursuant to the International Crime Control Strategy.

9. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an Institute of the Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services, has the lead responsibility in the U.S. Government for drug abuse research. It is an important source of expertise in demand reduction for the international narcotics program and provides various technical services funded by INL, e.g., epidemiology studies, clearing house publications, household surveys, etc.

10. The Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service, assists in the development of crop substitution programs and in studies on the environmental impact of illicit narcotics cultivation and production.

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