Money Laundering

Treasury Department agencies that play a role in controlling illicit drugs include the U.S. Customs Service, which stops and seizes illegal drugs as well as other contraband being smuggled into the United States; The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF), which investigates violations of laws dealing with weapons, particularly federal drug offenses invoking weapons; and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which assists in financial investigations, particularly money laundering.

Two agencies in the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Coast Guard, are significantly involved in drug-control activities. The FAA uses its radar systems to assist in detecting smuggling by air; the Coast Guard is involved in interdiction of drugs being smuggled into the U.S. by water.

The Postal Inspection Service of the U.S. Postal Service is also involved in the antidrug effort. This agency enforces laws against using the mail to transport drug paraphernalia and illegal drugs.

The Department of State's role in international drug policy is to coordinate drug-control efforts with foreign governments. Within State, the Bureau of International Narcotics Matters (INM) is responsible for international antidrug policy. This bureau provides technical assistance, money, and equipment to foreign governments for local law enforcement, transportation of personnel, and equipment for crop eradication. It also monitors worldwide drug production. Each U.S. Embassy abroad has a designated narcotics coordinator. In countries where there is considerable drug-related activity, there may be an entire narcotics-assistance section at the embassy. The state department also helps selected foreign governments with demand-reduction activities. Helping countries adversely affected economically by drug Crop Control and eradication is a responsibility of the Agency for International Development. The U.S. Information Agency provides information about drug policy and rele vant laws to U.S. officials serving in foreign countries.

The Department of Defense (DOD) is involved in detecting and monitoring aircraft and ships that might be involved in smuggling drugs into the United States. Until the 1980s, the military was prohibited from exercising police power over U.S. civilians by the Possae Comitatus Act of 1876. Changes in the act allow the military to share resources with civilian law-enforcement agencies, although military personnel are still not permitted to arrest civilians. The National Guard also assists federal agencies in border surveillance and in marijuana eradication.

Eleven agencies are involved in the Intelligence Center at El Paso, Texas (EPIC), operated by the DEA. EPIC is designed to target, track, and interdict drugs, aliens, and weapons moving across U.S. borders. The participating agencies, in addition to the DEA, are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS); the Customs Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; the U.S. Coast Guard; the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); the Secret Service; the Department of State Diplomatic Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF); and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). There is also a Counternarcotics Center developed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that coordinates international intelligence on narcotics trafficking. This effort involves personnel from the National Security Agency (NSA), the Customs Service, the DEA, and the Coast Guard.

(See also: Crime and Drugs; Drug Interdiction; International Drug Supply Systems; Terrorism and Drugs)


Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Program, U.S. Department of Justice. (1992). Drugs, crime, and the justice system. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Drug Abuse Policy Office, Office of Policy Development, The White House. (1984). National strategy for prevention of drug abuse and drug trafficking. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Executive Office of the President, The White House. (1995). National drug control strategy. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. (1993). United States government manual 1993/1994. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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