DEA Press Release

September 11, 1995

DEA to Host the Franco-American-Canadian-Italian Conference in Washington, D.C., September 12-14, 1995

High-level law enforcement officials from Canada, France, Italy and the United States will meet to discuss strategies designed to combat worldwide drug trafficking and global organized crime, September 12-14 at the Hay-Adams Hotel in downtown Washington. DEA Administrator Thomas Constantine, host of the Franco-American-Canadian-Italian Conference welcomes the opportunity to exchange ideas and coordinate efforts, "This conference is an outgrowth of the international law enforcement cooperation which led to the breakup of the `French Connection' in the early 1970's. It's in that spirit that we gather to face the successor generation of drug traffickers, better organized, richer, more sophisticated, technologically adept and determined to profit at the expense of worldwide social and political well being. We'll be discussing cooperation and developing strategies to insure that there is no safe haven for international criminals anywhere in the world."

"Great inroads against drug trafficking have been made through Canadian, French, Italian and American cooperation since the days when we were concentrating on reducing the flow of opiates from Turkey through France to the U.S. including the recent arrests of 6 of the 7 top Cali Mafia kingpins in Colombia. Even greater inroads can be made if we implement better controls on the chemicals used to produce drugs and if we share successful strategies that can be adapted locally around the world. We must continue to seize the traffickers' assets and use those assets against the criminal organizations themselves. Most importantly, our cooperative law enforcement efforts will help forge a world where traffickers are severely and consistently punished and our citizens are no longer drawn into the drug trade." Administrator Constantine added.

The conference will include briefings from each delegation on the drug situation in their countries, reports on the worldwide cocaine and heroin situations, sessions on Nigerian trafficking groups and Russian organized crime, reports on the precursor situation and money laundering, and a look at new automated booking stations and computer forensics.

In addition, as part of the exchange of information and ideas the foreign attendees have requested a presentation on DEA's recently initiated Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) program. The METs are mobile and strategically located teams of Special Agents that can be deployed to communities across the country which are faced with escalating drug violence. The specially trained teams work with local authorities to dismantle violent drug gangs and remove them from the community. "We've been really pleased with METs successes. Since the METs concept became operational in April, we've deployed 19 active teams and made a real difference in the communities we've assisted. The METs concept is effective and can easily be adapted to other countries. I'm looking forward to these discussions and to hearing about initiatives that we might be able to adopt here," Constantine stated.

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