Archive for the ‘drugs’ Category

New From the GAO

August 9, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Counternarcotics Assistance: U.S. Agencies Have Allotted Billions in Andean Countries, but DOD Should Improve Its Reporting of Results. GAO-12-824, July 10.
Highlights –

2. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: More States Counting Third Party Maintenance of Effort Spending. GAO-12-929R, July 23.

Public Security Challenges in the Americas

July 21, 2012 Comments off

Public Security Challenges in the Americas
Source: Brookings Institution

Kevin Casas-Zamora and Lucía Dammert are right to call for a comprehensive approach to fighting crime in Latin America. The need to incorporate well-designed socio-economic approaches into anti-crime strategies applies not only to policies toward social phenomena such as Latin American youth gangs, but also to fighting organized crime. This is because large populations in Latin America in areas with inadequate or problematic state presence, great poverty, and social and political marginalization continue to be dependent on illicit economies, including the drug trade, for economic survival and the satisfaction of other socio-economic needs. For many, participation in informal economies, if not outright illegal ones, is the only way to assure their human security and provide any chance of their social advancement.

Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Study

June 14, 2012 Comments off

Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Study (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Sexual assault is one of the most serious crimes facing society and, over the past several decades, increasing attention has been paid to the proper collection of physical evidence from victims to document and reconstruct the crime, to identify the assailant, and to aid in the prosecution of the assailant. When victims report such offenses to the police and are examined at hospitals, medical personnel employ sexual assault kits and accompanying protocols to guide the collection of evidence from the victim. Sexual assault kit (SAK) report forms also record important information from the victim about activities prior to, during and after the assault. Given the likely transfer of biological secretions in such crimes, sexual assault kits and DNA evidence have the power to verify the crime and pinpoint the identity of the assailant. The probative value of such scientific evidence, however, depends largely on the circumstances of the particular case, being pivotal in one instance and less important in another.

Although law enforcement agencies and hospitals have greatly improved and expanded procedures to gather sexual assault kit evidence, scientific resources and procedures to test such evidence have not kept pace. The National Institute of Justice staff, researchers and investigative journalists have uncovered the fact that backlogged and untested sexual assault kits (SAKs) are a major problem facing forensic crime laboratories and law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. The combined untested SAKs from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) reached 10,895 cases in the fall of 2008. As the result of growing public concern, Human Rights Watch undertook a study in Los Angeles to document reasons behind the accumulation of these untested kits and found a number of organizational and resource deficiencies throughout the city and county. They were not crime laboratory backlogs per se but were untested kits held in police property rooms in cold storage, where investigators and prosecutors had not requested that the SAK be tested. In 2009, however, the chief executives of Los Angles city and county law enforcement agencies announced that all backlogged kits would be tested, using outside private DNA testing laboratories.

UK — The Drug Data Warehouse: Linking data on drug misusers and drug-misusing offenders

May 30, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Home Office
Home Office Research Report 63 introduces the Drug Data Warehouse, a newly created database that anonymously links a range of drug treatment and criminal justice datasets on drug misusers. It provides a unique overview of drug misusers’ activity across the Criminal Justice System and drug treatment in a way which has not been done before. The Drug Data Warehouse is a resource to aid understanding of the complexity of drug misusers’ contact with services in turn informing their effective management.
The report also presents findings from initial, descriptive analysis on levels of drug use of different groups of individuals within the Drug Data Warehouse as well as the different treatment and criminal justice groups which individuals have contact with.

CRS — Medical Marijuana: The Supremacy Clause, Federalism, and the Interplay Between State and Federal Laws

May 25, 2012 Comments off

Medical Marijuana: The Supremacy Clause, Federalism, and the Interplay Between State and Federal Laws
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Open CRS)

As part of a larger scheme to regulate drugs and other controlled substances, federal law prohibits the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana. No exception is made for marijuana used in the course of a recommended medical treatment. Indeed, by categorizing marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the federal government has concluded that marijuana has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” Yet 16 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized medical marijuana by enacting exceptions to their state drug laws that permit individuals to grow, possess, or use marijuana for medicinal purposes. In contrast to the complete federal prohibition, these 17 jurisdictions see medicinal value in marijuana and permit the drug’s use under certain circumstances. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has established Congress’s constitutional authority to enact the existing federal prohibition on marijuana, principles of federalism prevent the federal government from mandating that the states actively support or participate in enforcing the federal law.

Drug Trafficking, Violence, and Instability

May 14, 2012 Comments off

Drug Trafficking, Violence, and Instability
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

Although challenges posed by various kinds of violent armed groups initially appear highly diverse and unrelated to one another, in fact they all reflect the increasing connections between security and governance and, in particular, the relationship between poor governance and violent armed groups. In many cases, these groups are overtly challenging the state; in others they are cooperating and colluding with state structures while subtly undermining them; in yet others, the state is a passive bystander while violent armed groups are fighting one another. The mix is different, the combinations vary, and the perpetrators of violence have different motives, methods, and targets. In spite of their divergent forms, violent nonstate actors (VNSAs) share certain qualities and characteristics. These violent armed groups represent a common challenge to national and international security, a challenge that is far greater than the sum of the individual groups, and that is likely to grow rather than diminish over the next several decades. This monograph focuses on the complex relationship between human security, crime, illicit economies, and law enforcement. It also seeks to disentangle the linkages between insurgency on the one hand and drug trafficking and organized crime on the other, suggesting that criminal activities help sustain an insurgency, but also carry certain risks for the insurgency.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

Categories: crime, drugs, international

CRS — Drug Offenses: Maximum Fines and Terms of Imprisonment for Violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act and Related Laws

January 10, 2012 Comments off

Drug Offenses: Maximum Fines and Terms of Imprisonment for Violation of the Federal Controlled Substances Act and Related Laws (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

This is a chart of the maximum fines and terms of imprisonment that may be imposed as a consequence of conviction for violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and other drug supply and drug demand related laws.

It lists the penalties for: heroin, cocaine, crack, PCP, LSD, marihuana (marijuana), amphetamine, methamphetamine, listed (precursor) chemicals, paraphernalia, date rape drugs, rave drugs, designer drugs, ecstasy, drug kingpins, as well as the other substances including narcotics and opiates assigned to Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act (Title II and Title III of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act).

It maps the penalty structure for violations of 21 U.S.C. 841 (drug trafficking), 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(5) (cultivation on federal property), 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(6) (environmental damage from illegal manufacturing), 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(7) (crime of violence), 21 U.S.C. 841(c) (offenses involving listed chemicals), 21 U.S.C. 841(d) (booby traps on federal lands), 21 U.S.C. 841(f) (distribution/possession of listed chemicals), 21 U.S.C. 841(g) (Internet sales of date rape drugs), 21 U.S.C. 841(h) (dispensing controlled substances that are prescription drugs by means of the Internet), 21 U.S.C. 842 (regulatory offenses), 21 U.S.C. 843 (communications-related offenses), 21 U.S.C. 844 (simple possession), 21 U.S.C. 846, 963 (attempt and conspiracy), 21 U.S.C. 849 (drug dealing at truck stops), 21 U.S.C. 848 (continuing criminal enterprises (CCE)), 21 U.S.C. 854, 855 (investment of illicit drug profits), 21 U.S.C. 856 (establishing manufacturing operations), 21 U.S.C. 858 (endangering human life), 21 U.S.C. 859 (distribution to infants, minors, children, juveniles, and those under 18 years of age), 21 U.S.C. 860 (distribution in school zones), 21 U.S.C. 861 (distribution to pregnant women), 21 U.S.C. 863 (trafficking in drug paraphernalia), 21 U.S.C. 864 (theft of anhydrous ammonia, or transportation of stolen anhydrous ammonia), 21 U.S.C. 865 (smuggling methamphetamine into the United States), 21 U.S.C. 960 (illicit drug import and export), 21 U.S.C. 960a (narco-terrorism), 21 U.S.C. 962 (recalcitrant drug smugglers), 21 U.S.C. 1906 (financial transactions with designated foreign narcotics traffickers), 18 U.S.C. 545 (smuggling goods into the United States), 18 U.S.C. 546 (smuggling goods into foreign countries), 18 U.S.C. 924(c) (firearms and armor piercing ammunition in connection to drug trafficking crime), 18 U.S.C. 924(e) (armed career criminals), 18 U.S.C. 1952 (Travel Act), 18 U.S.C. 1956 (money laundering), 18 U.S.C. 1957 (monetary transactions in property derived from unlawful activity), 18 U.S.C. 1959 (compensated crime of violence in aid of racketeering), 18 U.S.C. 1963 (racketeering (RICO)), 18 U.S.C. 2118 (robberies and burglaries involving controlled substances), 18 U.S.C. 3559(c) (three strikes), 19 U.S.C. 1590 (aviation smuggling), 26 U.S.C. 7201 (tax evasion), 26 U.S.C. 7203 (failure to file required returns), 26 U.S.C. 7206 (fraud and false statements), 31 U.S.C. 5322 (currency transaction reporting (smurfing)), 31 U.S.C. 5332 (bulk cash smuggling into or out of the United States), 46 U.S.C. 70506 (maritime drug law enforcement).

This report reflects amendments to the Controlled Substances Act made by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-220) that increased the quantities of crack cocaine necessary to trigger certain penalties and also increased the fine amounts for major drug traffickers.

The Challenge of Violent Drug-Trafficking Organizations: An Assessment of Mexican Security Based on Existing RAND Research on Urban Unrest, Insurgency, and Defense-Sector Reform

January 8, 2012 Comments off

The Challenge of Violent Drug-Trafficking Organizations: An Assessment of Mexican Security Based on Existing RAND Research on Urban Unrest, Insurgency, and Defense-Sector Reform
Source: RAND Corporation

Violent drug-trafficking organizations (VDTOs) in Mexico produce, transship, and deliver into the United States tens of billions of dollars worth of narcotics annually, but their activities are not limited to drug trafficking. VDTOs have also engaged in human trafficking, weapon trafficking, kidnapping, money laundering, extortion, bribery, racketeering, and assassinations. In an effort to clarify the scope and details of the challenges posed by VDTOs, a RAND team conducted a Delphi expert elicitation exercise, the results of which offer an assessment of the contemporary security situation in Mexico through the lens of existing RAND research on related issues. The exercise centered around three strands of prior RAND research on urban instability and unrest, historical insurgencies, and defense-sector reform. Although this prior research was not designed specifically for the study of Mexico, all three areas offer applicable insights. Assessment scorecards from these projects were used to obtain input from the expert panel and to guide the resulting discussion. The goal was not to break significant new ground in understanding the dynamics of drug violence in Mexico or to offer a qualitative assessment of these dynamics, but rather to provide an empirically based platform for identifying key areas that merit further investigation.

+ Summary (PDF)
+ Full Document (PDF)

UK — Local to Global: Reducing the Risk From Organised Crime

December 14, 2011 Comments off
Source:  Home Office

The overall cost to the UK from organised crime is estimated as between £20 billion to £40 billion a year. It involves around 38,000 individuals, operating as part of around 6,000 criminal gangs. Those organised criminals have a global reach and a local presence.

About half of all organised criminals are involved in the illegal drugs trade. Others are involved in human trafficking, fraud and money laundering, and organised acquisitive crime, ranging from armed robbery to organised vehicle theft. Many are involved in more than one crime type. As new opportunities arise, such as computer-enabled crime, organised criminals will be quick to take advantage and unless we have a flexible and effective response it will be the ordinary people of Britain who will pay the price.

This comprehensive cross-government organised crime strategy is the first of its kind in this country. It will help galvanise and coordinate the work of all those with a role in combating organised crime. For the first time it will mean all the agencies involved in tackling organised crime working to common objectives and with a clear line of accountability. The strategy puts an emphasis on preventative and self-protection work, alongside a focus on enforcement activity. It establishes a basis for enhanced international cooperation in combating this global threat. It also includes implementation work to improve our intelligence gathering, analysis and exploitation and further research to strengthen our understanding of the impact of organised crime.

New From the GAO

December 10, 2011 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Mississippi River: Actions Are Needed to Help Resolve Environmental and Flooding Concerns about the Use of River Training Structures.  GAO-12-41, December 9.
Highlights -

2. Managing for Results: Opportunities for Congress to Address Government Performance Issues.  GAO-12-215R, December 9.

3. Adult Drug Courts: Studies Show Courts Reduce Recidivism, but DOJ Could Enhance Future Performance Measure Revision Efforts.  GAO-12-53, December 9.
Highlights -

Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption

December 3, 2011 Comments off

Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

To date, 16 states have passed medical marijuana laws, yet very little is known about their effects. Using state-level data, we examine the relationship between medical marijuana laws and a variety of outcomes. Legalization of medical marijuana is associated with increased use of marijuana among adults, but not among minors. In addition, legalization is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption. Our estimates provide strong evidence that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.
+ Full Paper (PDF)

Mexico’s “Narco-Refugees”: The Looming Challenge for U.S. National Security

November 24, 2011 Comments off

Mexico’s “Narco-Refugees”: The Looming Challenge for U.S. National Security
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College

Since 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels, there has been a rise in the number of Mexican nationals seeking political asylum in the United States to escape the ongoing drug cartel violence in their home country. Political asylum cases in general are claimed by those who are targeted for their political beliefs or ethnicity in countries that are repressive or are failing. Mexico is neither. Nonetheless, if the health of the Mexican state declines because criminal violence continues, increases, or spreads, U.S. communities will feel an even greater burden on their systems of public safety and public health from “narco-refugees.” Given the ever increasing cruelty of the cartels, the question is whether and how the U.S. Government should begin to prepare for what could be a new wave of migrants coming from Mexico. Allowing Mexicans to claim asylum could potentially open a flood gate of migrants to the United States during a time when there is a very contentious national debate over U.S. immigration laws pertaining to illegal immigrants. On the other hand, to deny the claims of asylum seekers and return them to Mexico where they might very well be killed, strikes at the heart of American values of justice and humanitarianism. This monograph focuses on the asylum claims of Mexicans who unwillingly leave Mexico rather than those who willingly enter the United States legally or illegally. To successfully navigate through this complex issue will require a greater level of understanding and vigilance at all levels of the U.S. Government.

+ Full Paper (PDF)

CRS — Synthetic Drugs: Overview and Issues for Congress

November 15, 2011 Comments off

Synthetic Drugs: Overview and Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Synthetic drugs, as opposed to natural drugs, are chemically produced in a laboratory. Their chemical structure can be either identical to or different from naturally occurring drugs, and their effects are designed to mimic or even enhance those of natural drugs. When produced clandestinely, they are not typically controlled pharmaceutical substances intended for legitimate medical use. Designer drugs are a form of synthetic drugs. They contain slightly modified molecular structures of illegal or controlled substances, and they are modified in order to circumvent existing drug laws. While the issue of synthetic drugs and their abuse is not new, the 112 th Congress has demonstrated a renewed concern with the issue.

Synthetic drug abuse is reported to have dramatically increased between 2009 and 2011. Calls to poison control centers for incidents relating to harmful effects of synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants have increased at what some consider to be an alarming rate. The reported harmful effects of these substances range from nausea to drug-induced psychosis. Due to the unpredictable nature of synthetic drugs and of human consumption of these drugs, the true effects of these drugs are unknown. Many states have responded to this issue by passing synthetic drug laws banning certain synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants.

In March 2011, the Attorney General—through the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)— used his temporary scheduling authority to place five synthetic cannabinoids on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In October 2011, the DEA used this temporary scheduling authority to add three synthetic stimulants to Schedule I. Concern over the reported increase in use of certain synthetic cannabinoids and stimulants has led some to call on Congress to legislatively schedule specific substances. This is, in part, because congressional action could permanently place certain substances onto Schedule I of the CSA more quickly than might occur through administrative scheduling actions authorized by the CSA.

Several bills have been introduced in the 112 th Congress that confront the issue of synthetic drug use and abuse. These include the Combating Dangerous Synthetic Stimulants Act of 2011 (H.R. 1571, S. 409); the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 (H.R. 1254) and its companion bill—the Dangerous Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 (also known as the David Mitchell Rozga Act, S. 605); and the Combating Designer Drugs Act of 2011 (S. 839). While these bills differ substantively from one another, they all aim to legislatively place various synthetic drugs on Schedule I of the CSA. In considering permanent placement of specific synthetic substances on Schedule I of the CSA, there are several issues on which Congress may deliberate. Policymakers may consider the implications on the federal criminal justice system of scheduling certain synthetic substances.’

Another issue up for debate is whether Congress should schedule certain synthetic substances or whether these substances merit Attorney General (in consultation with the Secretary of HHS) scheduling based on qualifications specified in the CSA. Congress may also consider whether or not placing these synthetic drugs on Schedule I would hinder future medical research. In addition, Congress may consider whether it is more efficient to place these drugs on Schedule I of the CSA or to label them as analogue controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Analogue Enforcement Act.

Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific Symposiums on Dismantling Transnational Illicit Networks Issues Final Report

November 12, 2011 Comments off

Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific Symposiums on Dismantling Transnational Illicit Networks Issues Final Report
Source: U.S. Department of State

Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William R. Brownfield and European External Action Service Director for North America and the Caribbean Tomas Dupla del Moral, Co-Chairs of the Trans-Atlantic Symposium on Dismantling Transnational Illicit Networks, signed and issued the Symposium’s Final Report on November 7. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the European Union (EU) European External Action Service (EEAS) co-hosted the Trans-Atlantic Symposium on Dismantling Transnational Illicit Networks on May 17-19, 2011, in Lisbon, Portugal.

More than 300 senior law enforcement and judicial officials from over 65 countries, including representatives from the United States, the European Union (represented by the EEAS and the European Commission including the European Anti-Fraud Office) and its Member States, Latin America, Canada, the Caribbean and West Africa, participated. Among senior representatives of international and regional organizations included officials from the G8, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Economic Community of West African States, the Organization of American States, INTERPOL, EUROPOL, and the Intergovernmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa.

The Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs also released the Co-Chairs’ Summary of Outcomes of the Trans-Pacific Symposium’s Workshop on Combating Corruption and Illicit Trade. More than 125 law enforcement and other government officials from 30 Asia-Pacific economies and representatives of regional and international organisations attended a workshop held under the auspices of the Trans-Pacific Symposium in Phuket, Thailand from 27-29 October 2011. The Phuket workshop was co-hosted by the governments of Thailand and the United States, in partnership with The Colombo Plan and other international partners.

The Trans-Atlantic Symposium Final Report will be available at the Symposium’s official website: and on Department of State INL website at: The Trans-Pacific Workshop Co-Chair’s Summary of Outcomes will also be posted on Department of State INL website at

Painting the Current Picture: A National Report on Drug Courts and Other Problem-Solving Court Programs in the United States

November 2, 2011 Comments off

Painting the Current Picture: A National Report on Drug Courts and Other Problem-Solving Court Programs in the United States (PDF)
Source: National Drug Court Institute

This document is a national report on Drug Court and other Problem-Solving Court activity in every state, commonwealth, territory and district in the United States as of December 31, 2009 (Part I) and as of December 31, 2008 (Part II).

Report Highlights
Specific to this volume and in addition to reporting on the aggregate number and types of operational Drug Courts and other Problem-Solving Court programs throughout the United States, a major section of this report is dedicated to recent research findings related to the most prevalent Drug Court models. Additionally, sections are dedicated to analyses of national survey data on Drug Court capacity; drug-of-choice trends among Drug Court participants in rural, suburban and urban areas; average graduation rates; participation costs; state Drug Court authorization legislation and funding appropriations; and international Drug Court activity. Finally, this year’s report provides first-ever national demographic data on racial and ethnic minority representation among Drug Court participants.

Drugs of Abuse

October 26, 2011 Comments off

Drugs of Abuse (PDF)
Source: Drug Enforcement Administration (U.S. Department of Justice)

Drugs of Abuse is designed to be a reliable resource on the most popularly abused drugs. This publication delivers clear, scientific information about drugs in a factual, straightforward way, combined with scores of precise photographs shot to scale.

Crime Rises When Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Close

October 25, 2011 Comments off

Crime Rises When Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Close
Source: RAND Corporation

When medical marijuana dispensaries close, crime rises in the surrounding neighborhood when compared to areas where dispensaries are allowed to remain open, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The findings challenge the common wisdom that marijuana dispensaries promote criminal activity.

Studying crime both before and after a large number of dispensaries were shut down in Los Angeles, researchers found that incidents such as break-ins rose in the neighborhoods of closed dispensaries relative to dispensaries allowed to remain open, at least in the short term.

In the blocks with the closed dispensaries, the study observed crime up to 60 percent greater than comparable blocks with open dispensaries, but the effects were not apparent across a wider area.

“If medical marijuana dispensaries are causing crime, then there should be a drop in crime when they close,” said Mireille Jacobson, the study’s lead author and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Individual dispensaries may attract crime or create a neighborhood nuisance, but we found no evidence that medical marijuana dispensaries in general cause crime to rise.”

Researchers say the crime detected near closed dispensaries relative to open dispensaries may be caused by factors such as a loss of foot traffic, a resurgence in outdoor drug activity, a change in police efforts such as fewer nearby patrols or a loss of the on-site security provided by dispensaries.

+ Full Report

See also: Rand removes report on crime and pot dispensaries (Los Angeles Times; 10/12/11)

See also: Rand retracts report on pot clinics and crime (Los Angeles Times; 10/24/11)

CRS — Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean

October 4, 2011 Comments off

Trafficking in Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)

Trafficking in persons (TIP) for the purpose of exploitation is a lucrative criminal activity that is of major concern to the United States and the international community. According to the most recent U.S. State Department estimates, roughly 800,000 people are trafficked across borders each year. If trafficking within countries is included in the total world figures, official U.S. estimates are that some 2 million to 4 million people are trafficked annually. While most trafficking victims still appear to originate from South and Southeast Asia or the former Soviet Union, human trafficking is also a growing problem in Latin America.

Countries in Latin America serve as source, transit, and destination countries for trafficking victims. Latin America is a primary source region for people trafficked to the United States. As many as 17,500 are trafficked into the United States each year, according to State Department estimates. In FY2010, primary countries of origin for the 449 foreign trafficking victims certified as eligible to receive U.S. assistance included Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic (along with India and Thailand).

Since enactment of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA, P.L. 106-386), Congress has taken steps to address human trafficking by authorizing new programs and reauthorizing existing ones, appropriating funds, creating new criminal laws, and conducting oversight on the effectiveness and implications of U.S. anti-TIP policy. Most recently, the TVPA was reauthorized through FY2011 in the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-457). Obligations for U.S.-funded anti-TIP programs in Latin America totaled roughly $17.1 million in FY2010.

On June 27, 2011, the State Department issued its 11 th annual, congressionally mandated report on human trafficking. The report categorizes countries into four “tiers” according to the government’s efforts to combat trafficking. Those countries that do not cooperate in the fight against trafficking (Tier 3) have been made subject to U.S. foreign assistance sanctions. While Cuba and Venezuela are the only Latin American countries ranked on Tier 3 in this year’s TIP report, seven other countries in the region—Barbados, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Bahamas—are on the Tier 2 Watch List. Unless those countries make significant progress in the next six months, they could receive a Tier 3 ranking in the 2012 report.

Activity on combating TIP has continued into the 112 th Congress, particularly related to efforts to reauthorize the TVPA and oversee TIP programs and operations, including U.S.-funded programs in Latin America. Congress may also consider increasing funding for anti-TIP programs in the region, possibly through the Mérida Initiative for Mexico, the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) or through other assistance programs. Congress is likely to monitor new trends in human trafficking in the region, such as the increasing involvement of Mexican drug trafficking organizations in TIP and the problem of child trafficking in Haiti, which has worsened since that country experienced a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. For more general information on human trafficking and a discussion of TIP-related legislation in the 112 th Congress, see CRS Report RL34317, Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress, by Alison Siskin and Liana Sun Wyler.

U.S. Postal Inspection Service Annual Report FY 2010

September 30, 2011 Comments off

U.S. Postal Inspection Service Annual Report FY 2010 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Postal Inspection Service

U .S . Postal Inspectors across the country safeguard every element of the postal system— including the hundreds of thousands of postal employees who process and deliver the mail and the millions of customers who use it . Postal Inspectors protect thousands of postal facilities and millions of dollars in postal assets—including vehicles, equipment, products, and revenue streams. In the past fiscal year, Postal Inspectors initiated more than 6,000 investigations and arrested over 6,000 suspects for crimes involving the mail or against the Postal Service.

The Postal Inspection Service continues to meet its overall goal of assuring the security of the Postal Service . About 46 percent of Inspectors’ arrests in FY 2010 related to mail theft—a total of 2,775 suspects . Postal Inspectors arrested approximately 1,000 suspects on mail fraud charges, and analysts prepared 76,955 responses to mail fraud complaints . Revenue-protection efforts by Postal Inspectors over the past year identified in excess of $110 million in postal revenue losses. I was proud to attend a DOJ press conference this past year with Attorney General Eric Holder and representatives from other law enforcement agencies to announce the results of Operation Broken Trust.

Our contribution to this 3½-month sweep targeting fraudulent investment schemes covered 37 mail fraud cases, including 11 Ponzi schemes, affecting more than 36,000 postal customers who suffered $600 million in losses . Results like this demonstrate the viability of our work in increasing the trust and confidence of postal customers through our investigations of fraudulent activity involving the mail

Drug Misuse Declared: Findings From the 2010/11 British Crime Survey, England and Wales

September 28, 2011 Comments off

Drug Misuse Declared: Findings From the 2010/11 British Crime Survey, England and Wales (PDF)
Source: Home Office

The 2010/11 BCS estimates that 8.8 per cent of adults aged 16 to 59 had used illicit drugs (almost three million people) and that 3.0 per cent had used a Class A drug in the last year (around a million people). Neither estimates were statistically significantly different from the 2009/10 survey.

Of the individual types of drug asked about in the survey, there were decreases in the use of powder cocaine between the 2009/10 (2.4%) and 2010/11 BCS (2.1%) and an increase in methadone (from 0.1% to 0.2%); for other types of drugs levels of last year usage remained similar to the previous year.

As in previous years, among adults aged 16 to 59, cannabis was the most commonly used type of drug (6.8%, around 2.2 million people), followed by powder cocaine (2.1%, 0.7 million people) and ecstasy (1.4%, 0.5 million people). The 2010/11 BCS shows that levels of ketamine use (at 0.6%) were around double those when questions on the use of this drug were first asked in the 2006/07 BCS (0.3%)


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