A U.S. joint military task force's progress in detecting, monitoring and stopping illicit drug trafficking from South America, Central America and the Caribbean could be in "jeopardy" due to defense cutbacks and limited resources.
While some nations favor the current hardline global approach in dealing with illicit drug production, trade and use, others want to liberalize elements of that framework, creating uncertainty for an international conference next year that will debate such issues.
The service is the nation's foremost defense against cocaine, but about half of the Coast Guard's high-confidence intelligence drug trafficking cases in the Caribbean cannot be acted on because it doesn't have enough ships there.
Conditions at Mexico's southern border show little to suggest that Mexico and Guatemala have enough capacity for or interest in building the kind of strict controls seen at Mexico's northern border, a new report indicates.
Canadian and U.S. government officials announced March 16 a new agreement that allows federal agencies to conduct immigration, customs and agriculture inspections in each other's countries while facilitating travel.
United States customs officers didn't always effectively use certain critera to assess the risk of some rail shipments entering from Canada and Mexico nor did some use required radiation detection equipment to examine high-risk cargo – problems that have since been addressed.
The Coast Guard, which has numerous responsibilities ranging from search and rescue to drug interdiction, would see a modest 1.6 percent increase – or about $153 million – under the president's recently unveiled 2016 budget proposal.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which enforces immigration laws and conducts counterterrorism and other border security investigations, was one of the biggest budget winners among agencies within the Homeland Security Department. The agency is requesting $6.28 billion for next fiscal year, or nearly $923 million above this year's estimated spending level.
More than a fifth of U.S. law enforcement agencies say controlled prescription drug abuse is the greatest drug threat, a significant increase since 2009, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency's recently issued threat assessment.
While the United States has conditionally tolerated the regulated use of marijuana in two states – Washington and Colorado – national drug policy is at odds with the international drug control regime, said panelists at an Oct. 17 discussion at the Brookings Institution.