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Drug Abuse, Drug Trafficking, & Organized Crime

President's Commission on Organized Crime, 1986

Chapter IV

Part 2: Federal Drug Abuse Policy: 1981-Present

Early in his administration President Ronald Reagan acknowledged that drug abuse was "one of the gravest problems facing us" as a Nation. The Reagan Administration has taken many steps designed to improve the effectiveness of the U.S. overall drug abuse policy.


On January 21, 1982, in a major policy shift, the FBI was given concurrent jurisdiction with DEA for drug law enforcement and investigation. In addition, the Administrator of DEA was required to report to the Director of the FBI who was given the responsibility for supervising generally drug law enforcement efforts and policies.

In giving the FBI concurrent jurisdiction for enforcement of U.S. drug laws, the Attorney General followed the recommendation of a committee that he had established to study the need for increased coordination of DEA and the FBI in the drug field. This committee was headed by then Associate Attorney General Rudolph W. Giuliani. According to Giuliani, the Attorney General's committee recommended concurrent jurisdiction because:

[W]e believe we can more effectively deal with the large-scale trafficking groups by coordinating DEA's street-level, undercover expertise with the FBI's ability to combat large criminal enterprises. The FBI's 20-year experience in combatting organized crime will also prove critical to drug enforcement.

Although FBI expertise in organized crime and financial investigations would be available in drug enforcement work as a result of concurrent jurisdiction, DEA would continue to function as a "single-mission narcotics enforcement agency" that would "give the drug problem the kind of focus it needs."

In another action relating to the coordination of Federal drug abuse efforts, President Reagan issued an executive order on June 24, 1982, directing the office of Policy Development to assist the President in performing his duties under the Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act; designating the Director of the Drug Abuse Policy Office within the Office of Policy Development as primarily responsible for coordinating, overseeing, and policy-making for all Executive international and domestic drug abuse functions; and making the Director directly responsible for the activities of a drug policy staff within the office of Policy Development.

Despite President Reagan's stated commitment to the performance of the functions imposed upon him by the Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Act, Congress became increasingly dissatisfied with a perceived lack of coordination of such functions. This dissatisfaction became embodied in an Omnibus Crime Bill (H.R. 3963) which included a provision to establish an Office of Director of National and International Drug Operations and Policy, which was described as follows:

Similar in concept to SAODAP, the proposed agency would have been charged with the overall planning and coordination of Federal efforts to control the supply of dangerous drugs.

Unlike SAODAP, which had been directed by Congress to coordinate Federal drug abuse prevention efforts, and unlike ODAP, which was enjoined to oversee all Federal drug abuse programs, the proposed Office of Director of National and International Drug Operations and Policy was envisioned as a mechanism for coordinating and directing Federal law enforcement operations.

While the President was considering the merits of H.R. 3963, an Administration spokesman criticized that portion of the bill creating the Office of Director of National and International Drug Operations and Policy:

If the czar . . . is to have the power to direct the drug enforcement operations of other Cabinet officers, the very nature of our Cabinet system of government would be drastically altered. If he is not to have such power, he could do little more than interfere with the existing mechanisms, which have been working well.

Two days after this statement appeared, President Reagan pocket-vetoed H.R. 3963 and issued a memorandum of disapproval explaining his action:

The creation of another layer of bureaucracy within the Executive Branch would produce friction, disrupt effective law enforcement, and could threaten the integrity of criminal investigations and prosecutions . . . .

The seriousness of this threat is underscored by the overwhelming opposition to this provision by the Federal law enforcement community as well as by such groups as the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Association of Attorney's General.

* * *

The war on crime and drugs does not need more bureaucracy in Washington. It does need more action in the field, and that is where my Administration will focus its efforts.

Members of Congress were not easily dissuaded from their efforts to achieve a greater degree of coordination of the Federal drug abuse efforts. On February 7, 1984, the Senate passed a proposed National Narcotics Act of 1984 (S. 1787), which, among other things, would have established a cabinet-level office of National and International Drug Operation and Policy. Under the bill the Director of the Office was authorized to: develop, review, implement, and enforce U.S. policy concerning illegal drugs; coordinate all U.S. efforts to halt drug trafficking into and within the United States; develop, in concert with the Federal entities concerned with drug control, budgetary priorities and allocations; and coordinate the collection and disseminate of narcotics intelligence.

In recommending that S. 1787 be passed, the Senate Judiciary Committee acknowledged that the Reagan Administration had undertaken a number of "promising initiatives" in drug law enforcement. However, the Committee concluded that an Office of National and International Drug Operations and Policy was necessary because:

[T]he Committee believes the Administration's anti-drug effort falls short in one crucial respect: the lack of central direction.

At least 15 Federal agencies play a role in the regulation of commerce in dangerous drugs or in the enforcement of other restrictions . . . . These agencies are located in six different departments. Under such circumstances, it is inevitable that divergences as to priorities will arise and that there will be conflicting interpretations of national policy. Indeed, national policy in such an area as drug law enforcement must be continually reevaluated and reformulated; a one-time annual review and the publication of a broadly-worded strategy does not suffice.

The Committee also described in some detail the role it envisioned for the proposed Office:

SOADAP was the same kind of "overlord" agency as the one contemplated by S. 1787. However, it was flawed from the beginning in that its effective jurisdiction was limited to activities aimed at the control of drug demand; it was not given authority of any substance in the law enforcement field.

* * *

The Committee bill draws from the SAODAP concept, but focuses on the aspects of drug control that were excluded from the former agency's purview, i.e., the government's efforts to control the supply of abused drugs. It is in the area of supply control, be it in foreign or domestic programs, that the Committee perceives the greatest current need for central direction.

In recommending the establishment of an office to which the Reagan Administration appeared to be implacably opposed, the Senate Judiciary Committee took pains to observe that the Director of the Drug Abuse Policy office was not capable of performing the necessary coordinative functions concerning Federal drug law enforcement efforts:

[U]nder questioning by several Congressmen [of the House Subcommittee on Crime at a February 17, 1983, hearing on the coordination of drug enforcement efforts] it became clear that the director does not have the authority or stature to oversee the implementation of the Federal strategy.

Anxious to reassure the Administration about the proposed cabinet-level Office, the Committee made it clear that, in implementing the legislation, the President would have a great deal of flexibility; for example, the Office would not have to be established in the Executive office of the President, and the Attorney General could be appointed the Director of the central drug agency. However, the Committee was insistent that the Director have something like a cabinet-level status because such status was deemed "necessary if the office is to have the influence needed to impose a truce on interagency feuding, to insure maximum participation, and to allocate budgetary resources for top efficiency and economy."

Despite the Administration's opposition, the Senate passed S. 1787. However, Congressional conferees compromised and substituted a National Drug Enforcement Policy Board for the Office of National and International Drug Operations and Policy as the means for achieving greater coordination of Federal drug law enforcement efforts. Both the House and Senate agreed to the Conference Report, and Public Law No. 98-473 was thereafter approved on October 12, 1984. Title II of this law was entitled the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, and Chapter XIII of that title was designated the National Narcotics Act of 1984.

Congress established the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board (Policy Board) because it found that drug trafficking was estimated to be an $80 billion a year industry; only 5 to 15 percent of the drugs imported into the country were interdicted; and controlling the supply of drugs was thought to be a key to reducing the drug-related crime epidemic. The Policy Board, chaired by the Attorney General, was and is charged with facilitating coordination of U.S. operations and policy concerning illegal law enforcement. As Chairman of the Policy Board, the Attorney General was given many duties, including advising the Policy Board concerning drug law enforcement and acting as primary advisor to the President and Congress on Board-developed programs. The Act, however, declares that nothing therein authorizes the Board or its Chairman to interfere with routine law enforcement or intelligence decisions of any agency. Finally, the National Narcotics Act of 1984 amended the Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Act to declare that one of the duties of the White House Office of Drug Abuse Policy Board was to insure coordination between the Policy Board and health issues associated with drug abuse.

The creation of the Policy Board in January 1985 represents only the latest compromise between the President and Congress in the ongoing search for more effective coordination of all facets of the Federal drug abuse effort. It remains to be seen whether an entity like the Policy Board can effectively oversee, police, and coordinate all Federal law enforcement efforts and whether some other mechanism is needed to impose coordination of Federal demand reduction and supply reduction strategies.

Legislative Responses to the Drug Problem

In addition to the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, other important legislative initiatives have been adopted in recent years. For example, the Department of Defense Authorization Act of 1982 contained a provision, "Military Cooperation With Civilian Law Enforcement Officials," which was intended to codify the practices of cooperation that had developed between military and civilian law enforcement authorities. The Act was also designed to improve the level of cooperation by delineating precisely that assistance which military commanders could provide and by permitting military personnel to operate military equipment that had been lent to civilian drug enforcement agencies. This legislation was deemed necessary for the following reasons:

The rising tide of drugs being smuggled into the United States by land, sea, and air presents a grave threat to all Americans.

* * *

Only through the dedicated work of all of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies can we begin to stem this tide. In fighting this battle, it is important to maximize the degree of cooperation between the military and civilian law enforcement. At the same time, we must recognize the need to maintain the traditional balance of authority between civilians and the military.

The most important and innovative part of the legislation was Section 374, which permits the Secretary of Defense to assign Department personnel to operate and maintain military equipment that had been made available to an agency with jurisdiction to enforce the Controlled Substances Act. This relatively simple change increased geometrically the potential interdiction capability of Federal drug law enforcement agencies.

The year 1984 was a prolific one for legislation dealing with discrete areas in drug law enforcement. The Controlled Substance Registrant Protection Act of 1984 made it illegal, among other things, to steal any quantity of a controlled substance from a registrant. Congress also directed the Attorney General, notwithstanding the scheduling provisions of the Controlled Substances Act, to transfer methaqualone, commonly known by the brand name Quaalude, from Schedule II to Schedule I, with the effect of making the prescription of methaqualone unlawful because it no longer had an approved medical use. While remaining committed to the proposition that scheduling of controlled substances ordinarily should be handled in accordance with the administrative procedures mandated by the Controlled Substances Act, Congress took this legislative action after determining that circumstances required it to do so and that the adverse effects of the diversion of methaqualone outweighed its therapeutic usefulness.

Congress also passed the Aviation Drug-Trafficking Control Act, which amended the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, to, among other things, require the Administrator of the FAA to revoke airman certificates and aircraft registrations of those convicted of violating any Federal or State law relating to controlled substances, except where the violations involved possession offenses. The Act also made it illegal for any person to serve as an airman without an airman's certificate in connection with a transportation that constitutes a Federal or State drug felony offense.

Although the Controlled Substance Registrant Protection Act of 1984, the Aviation Drug-Trafficking Control Act, and the Congressional rescheduling of methaqualone were necessary laws, by far the most important drug law enforcement measures passed in 1984 were contained in several provisions of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The Act included:

(i) Bail Reform Act of 1984: This Act comprises many sections, but the most important and most controversial was that codified in 18 U.S.C. Section 3142. Section 3142 provides that when a person charged with an offense appears before a judicial officer, the judicial officer must order that, pending trial, the accused be released on personal recognizance or upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond; released upon certain listed conditions; temporarily detained to permit exclusion or deportation if not a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; temporarily detained to permit revocation of a prior conditional release; or detained. The preventive detention provision states that the judicial officer must hold a hearing in any case involving a narcotics offense for which imprisonment for ten or more years is prescribed to determine whether any conditions will assure the accused's appearance and the safety of any other person and of the community. In any such hearing the accused must prove that there are conditions that will assure his appearance or the community's safety, if the judicial officer finds that there is probable cause to believe that the person committed the offense.

(ii) Comprehensive Forfeiture Act of 1984: This legislation made extensive revisions to Federal civil and criminal forfeiture laws and procedures, which had targeted the assets of racketeering and drug trafficking organizations:

Today few in the Congress or the law enforcement community fail to recognize that the traditional criminal sanctions of fine and imprisonment are inadequate to deter or punish the enormously profitable trade in dangerous drugs . . . . Clearly, if law enforcement efforts to combat racketeering and drug trafficking are to be successful, they must include an attack on the economic aspects of these crimes. Forfeiture is the mechanism through which such an attack may be made.

This 1984 legislation was designed to eliminate limitations and ambiguities that had "significantly impeded the full realization of forfeiture's potential as a powerful law enforcement weapon."

With respect to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the 1984 Comprehensive Forfeiture Act did several things, including confirming the Supreme Court's decision in Russello v. United States, 464 U.S. 16(1983) that a defendant's ill-gotten profits from racketeering were forfeitable; defining the property subject to forfeiture to include real property; making the relation back doctrine, i.e., U.S. interest in forfeitable property arises at the time of the commission of the act that gives rise to the forfeiture, applicable in criminal forfeiture proceedings; and expanding post-indictment prior restraining order authority to preserve the availability of forfeiture assets by making an indictment sufficient to establish conclusively probable cause that the property will be forfeited.

The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act also amended the 1970 Comprehensive Act. With respect to criminal forfeiture, the 1984 Act added a new provision to the 1970 act that is applicable to all felony drug offenses, including the Continuing Criminal Enterprise offense. In virtually all respects, the drug criminal forfeiture provisions are now identical to those of the amended RICO statute. The new drug criminal forfeiture provision also creates a rebuttable presumption that any property of a person convicted of a drug felony is subject to forfeiture if the government establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant acquired the property during the period of violation, or within a reasonably short period thereafter, and there was no likely source for the property other than the violation.

(iii) Controlled Substances Penalties Amendments Act of 1984. This legislation generally enhanced the penalties for violations of the Controlled Substances Act. Specifically, it provided a 20-year prison term and a $250,000 fine for violations involving specified large amounts of Schedule I and II narcotic drugs, PCP and LSD; raised the fine for violations involving all Schedule I or II substances and enhanced the fines for violations involving Schedule III, IV, and V substances. With respect to all doubling provisions for recidivists in the Controlled Substances Act, the 1984 legislation removed an ambiguity in the existing law by providing that a State drug felony conviction would trigger the provisions; it went further by providing that a Foreign drug felony conviction would have the same effect. Finally, the 1984 legislation provided that anyone who distributed controlled substances on or within 1,000 feet of school property could be subjected to a prison term or fine or both up to twice what is otherwise provided.

(iv) Dangerous Drug Diversion Control Act of 1984. This legislation "represent[ed] the first major updating of the regulatory provisions of the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act since their enactment in 1970." In doing so, the 1984 amendments focused principally on diversion of drugs of legitimate origin into the illicit market and the manufacture and abuse of new drugs, such as controlled substance analogs. With respect to the problem of diversion, which Congress had attempted to address in the 1970 Comprehensive Act by creating a closed system, the legislative history states:

Diversion of legally produced drugs into illicit channels is a major part of the drug abuse problem in the United States. It is estimated that between 60 and 70 percent of all drug-related deaths and injuries involve drugs that were originally part of the legitimate drug production and distribution chain. Also, diversion of legally produced drugs often evidences the same sort of large-scale trafficking more commonly associated with the trade in wholly illicit drugs.

* * *

Unfortunately, experience under the [CSA] over the past decade has demonstrated that the strong regulatory authority to maintain a "closed" distribution chain does not exist at the practitioner level. Yet, it is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of all current diversion occurs at this level.

In response to this diversion problem, Congress amended the Controlled Substances Act to, among other things, permit the Attorney General to deny registration to practitioners if such registration would be inconsistent with the public interest, authorize the Attorney General to suspend or revoke a registration upon the recommendation of a competent state authority or if the public interest requires it; and authorize the Attorney General to make grants to State and local governments in connection with those governments' anti-diversion programs.

With respect to the problem of the manufacture and abuse of new drugs, Congress found that:

[T]he procedural requirements for controlling a drug under 21 U.S.C. 811 have proven sufficiently time consuming that they preclude a swift response when an as yet uncontrolled drug rapidly enters the illicit market and creates a significant health problem.

As a result of the Dangerous Drug Diversion Control Act of 1984, Congress gave the Attorney General emergency scheduling authority. Under that authority, the Attorney General is permitted to schedule a drug in Schedule I on a temporary basis, for up to one year, if he determines that such action is "necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety." In making this determination, the Attorney General need only consider the history and current pattern of abuse, the scope, duration, and significance of abuse, and the nature of the risk, if any, to the public health. The temporary scheduling may be extended for up to six months while a rule-making proceeding is conducted for the purpose of permanently scheduling the drug. Such a temporary scheduling order is not subject to judicial review.

(v) Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act Amendments: "Without the means to launder money, thereby making cash generated by a criminal enterprise appear to come from a legitimate source, organized crime could not flourish as it now does." The 1984 amendments of the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act were designed to "fine tune the [then] current currency reporting law." One of the changes adopted increased the civil penalty for violating the records and reporting requirements of the Act from $1,000 to $10,000 for each violation and the criminal penalty from $1,000 and 1 year in prison to $250,000 and 5 years imprisonment. These changes were deemed necessary because:

[I]t is important to recognize that [the requirements] are primarily directed at persons who make a lucrative career in the illicit drug trade and organized crime. As such, the penalties are far too low to deter and punish such activity. Indeed, the modest penalties now applicable may simply be written off as a cost of doing business.

The Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 was intended to, and did in fact, provide Federal law enforcement agents with better tools for combatting drug traffickers. However, it is still too early to evaluate how these tools have been used.

Important legislation in the field of drug abuse since 1981 has not been restricted only to matters relating to improving drug law enforcement. As noted previously, Congress in 1979 rejected President Carter's proposal that NIDA's State formula grants for drug abuse programs be consolidated with those for alcoholism and mental health. Instead it reauthorized the drug formula grants through September 30, 1981. In passing the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Congress reversed itself and fundamentally changed the role that the Federal Government plays in overseeing and funding of drug abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs by creating an Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Mental Health Service Block Grant (ADMS Block Grant). The new program was designed to distribute the Federal money that had previously been provided to the States through formula and project grants and contracts.

One of the principal motivations for adopting the block grant approach was the belief that the States were in the best position to determine the most efficacious use of Federal funds:

The ADMS Block . . . [was] established in 1981 to provide State and local governments greater flexibility and decision-making authority in focusing Federal, State, and local resources on needs and priorities they know best and in ways they believe are best suited to local conditions. Block grants were also intended to eliminate duplication and overlapping of services and allow States to better integrate and coordinate services funded by several levels of government.

In addition to establishing the ADMS Block Grant, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act specified how the States were to spend their allotment. Although requiring the States to file reports with information permitting the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine whether the Federal funds provided were expended in conformity with the objectives of the block grant, the Act also directed the Secretary not to impose burdensome reporting requirements. The reporting requirements concerning the block grant imposed by the Secretary were much less extensive than those existing under the categorical programs that existed prior to the adoption of the block grant approach.

The impact of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act has been estimated: Since the establishment of the ADMS Block Grant, the amount of Federal money going to State drug abuse prevention and treatment programs has declined by approximately 40 percent. It is not possible, however, to determine what the impact of this reduction has been because a portion, perhaps significant, of the reduction represents savings due to the elimination of overhead administrative costs.

Law Enforcement and Executive Responses to the Drug Problem.

Recognizing that drug abuse and drug trafficking are serious national problems, which also pose a threat to national security, the Reagan Administration has taken steps since 1981 that have been designed to improve Federal law enforcement efforts against drug traffickers.

Narcotics intelligence is essential to any drug law enforcement program. In that regard, on December 4, 1981, President Reagan issued an executive order, entitled "United States Intelligence Activities," which was intended to "control and provide direction and guidance to the Intelligence Community." Among the executive order's provisions relating to drugs, one authorizes agencies within the U.S. Intelligence Community to participate in law enforcement activities to investigate or prevent international narcotics activities and to render assistance and cooperation to law enforcement authorities not otherwise precluded by law. In addition, agencies within the Intelligence Community are authorized to collect, retain, or disseminate information concerning U.S. persons obtained during the course of a lawful international narcotics investigation or incidentally obtained information indicating involvement in activities that may violate federal, state, local or foreign laws. Finally, the Executive Order directs that all departments and agencies involved in the U.S. intelligence effort shall cooperate to provide the President and the National Security Council with information on which to base decisions concerning the conduct and development of foreign, defense, and economic policy and the protection of U.S. national interests.

Whether the U.S. Intelligence Community has played or will play the important role in the Nation's anti-drug effort envisioned for it by Executive Order 12333 depends upon the commitment of its constituent departments and agencies to eliminating this threat to national security. The Executive Order was an important event because it represented recognition at the highest level of the Executive Branch that, without accurate and adequate strategic, operational, and tactical narcotics intelligence, the Federal drug trafficking prevention effort would be seriously crippled.

During 1981 the deleterious effect of drug trafficking on the quality of life in Florida, and especially in South Florida, had become so great that the State's citizens demanded prompt and effective responses by government at all levels. At the Federal level, President Reagan established on January 28, 1982, a cabinet-level South Florida Task Force, also known as Operation Florida, which was chaired by Vice President Bush, to "assist and coordinate Federal efforts with those of State and local authorities in order to reduce crime" and which was patterned after previous multi-agency efforts, such as the CENTAC program. The South Florida Task Force was intended to be a "broad, multifaceted anti-crime program," but its focus was on interdiction and the arrest and prosecution of drug smugglers. Assistance to the South Florida Task Force, which became operational on March 15, 1982, was provided by DEA, Customs, FBI, BATF, the Marshals Service, the Coast Guard, and the Department of Defense.

One of the more significant features of the South Florida Task Force was the creation of the South Florida Joint Task Group, which consisted of DEA and Customs personnel and which was charged with conducting follow-up investigations of drug interdictions. In authorizing Customs agents to conduct such investigations under the supervision of DEA on March 20, 1982, the Attorney General modified, albeit slightly, the structure of Federal drug enforcement that had been established by President Nixon's 1973 reorganization plan. That plan had prohibited Customs agents from exercising investigative, intelligence, and law enforcement functions at locations away from ports of entry or borders. This action was in effect a recognition, long overdue, that it was necessary, if law enforcement efforts against drug trafficking were to be improved, for Customs' intelligence and investigative functions to be expanded.

Operations Greenback and Florida were successful in that they forced traffickers to reduce their activities in Florida. However, the increased law enforcement pressure, as had happened so many times in the past, resulted in the traffickers diverting drug smuggling to Gulf and Eastern ports of entry and their money laundering activities to New York and the California-Mexico area. The successes achieved by the Florida multiagency operations thus exacerbated an already serious nationwide drug problem, but they also provided a model for responding to that problem. In 1982 the Attorney General appointed a committee to develop new approaches to the drug trafficking problem. The Committee concluded that "no single agency could cope with the problem" and that "many previous cooperative ventures, although limited in scope by comparison, provided the promise that agencies can cooperate and . . . only full-scale teamwork could meet the crisis . . . ." The Committee's conclusions led to President Reagan's announcement on October 14, 1982, of the formation of 12 regional Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, which were authorized in January 1983 and became operational during the spring of that year.

The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program (OCDETF Program) is modeled after the South Florida Task Force, but its objectives are quite different. While the primary objective of the South Florida Task Force is the interdiction of drugs, the focus of the OCDETF Program is the leaders of large organizations, which control drug importation and distribution networks, and the disruption of those networks. The participating Federal agencies are the U.S. Attorney's offices, DEA, FBI, Customs, BATF, IRS, the Coast Guard, and the U.S. Marshals Service. The OCDETF Program differs from previous multi-agency law enforcement efforts in several respects: the task forces are directly controlled by the Attorney General; the initial funding was under the control of the Attorney General; and the task forces are to focus on only one major segment of organized criminal activity, drug trafficking. Because the OCDE Task Forces are not intended to replace existing Federal enforcement efforts against drugs and organized crime, the work of the organized Crime Strike Forces and the South Florida Task Force continue, as do the efforts of the FBI, DEA, Customs, and U.S. Attorneys directed against organized crime groups involved in drug trafficking.

Shortly after the establishment of the OCDETF Program, the Reagan Administration adopted another multi-agency approach to one facet of the Nation's supply reduction efforts, interdiction, by creating the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System (NNBIS) which was to be headed by Vice President Bush. NNBIS was given the responsibility for informally coordinating the interdiction efforts of other organizations; it could recommend, but not require, that the organizations take certain actions, and it itself was not authorized to interdict drugs. When it became operational, NNBIS took over the interdiction coordination responsibilities of the South Florida Task Force. Despite the establishment of the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board in 1984, NNBIS continues to operate as an interdiction coordinating body.

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