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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Electronic Information and Publications Office > Photo Gallery > Photos by Regions and Topics > International Narcotics and Law Enforcement

Helping Curb the Flow of Illegal Drugs in the United States


April 1, 2003

Air Tractor 802 spray airplaneThe Office of Aviation in the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, working with the Colombian National Police, had its best year ever destroying coca leaves, the ingredient for manufacturing cocaine. The office, based at Patrick Air Force Base, in Florida, is helping to curb the flow of cocaine into the United States.

Colombia’s President endorsed the spraying as the most effective way to end illicit drug cultivation and expanded the program to attack all major growing areas in Colombia.

The office uses an Air Tractor 802 spray airplane, which is touted as the world’s largest single-engine spray plane. In 2002, the team sprayed more than 300,000 acres of coca leaves compared with 208,100 in 2001. Records show that this is a 45% increase and a 61% upshot from the 117,006 acres sprayed in 2000.

Whether the Department has made a difference in reducing cocaine busts on the streets of America has not been confirmed by the Justice Department, but Drug Enforcement Agency records show dramatic decreases in cocaine busts at the same time the Bureau was setting records destroying Colombian coca leaves.

(State Magazine, April 2003)


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