Drugs Transportation On July 30, Federal agents charged twelve Delta Air Lines employees of smuggling drugs into the United States. Nine Delta Airlines workers were arrested and three others are sought as suspects in a scheme that brought 10 tons of Colombian cocaine into the U.S. via Delta flights from Puerto Rico. Over a three to four year period, employees stashed cocaine in suitcases and packed the drug into cargo containers which were then transported primarily to New York from San Juan’s Munz Marin International Airport, agents said (Christopher Wren, Nine at Delta Are Seized in Smuggling of Cocaine, New York Times, July 31, 1997, p. A23; Delta workers indicted on cocaine smuggling charges, USA Today, July 31, 1997, p.
3A; Airline Workers Held in Drug Ring, Washington Post, July 31, 1997, p. A16). In a separate investigation, agents in Miami arrested six American Airlines employees on July 31 who allegedly imported heroin and cocaine from Bogota, Colombia. The drugs were stashed behind walls in the airplane galleys. Since November the employees allegedly smuggled 1,100 pounds of cocaine and up to 22 pounds of heroin. The drugs were placed on the plane in Bogota, but not unloaded until after the plane had landed in Miami and then made one domestic round trip flight to avoid surveillance at Miami International.
The scheme required not only a mechanic’s or a cargo handler’s knowledge but an operations man’s knowledge of where a flight is coming from, whether it’s going to go and where it’s going to go if it is, said Art Kosatka, security specialist for Counter Technology Inc. (Richard Willing, Airline drug smugglers getting ever more sophisticated, USA Today, August 1, 1997, p. 4A). The Gangster Disciples operate a sophisticated retail drug network worth $100 million a year that stretches into 35 states according to a special report on the Gangster Disciples (GD) in the Christian Science Monitor (Ann Scott Tyson, How Nation’s Largest Gang Runs its Drug Enterprise, Christian Science Monitor, July 15, 1996, p. 1). The Gangster Disciples are one of if not the largest and most successful gang in the history of the United States, claims James Morgan, special agent in charge of the DEA in Chicago (emphasis in the original).
The 30,000-strong gang is incredibly well-disciplined and trained, he said. US Attorney James Burns told President Clinton during a May briefing that the GD have a very sophisticated battle plan and a very sophisticated organization. According to this report, the organization and battle plan were created by GD chief, Larry King Hoover. Modeled after Chicago’s Italian Mafia, the top-down organization has always emphasized discipline, respect and hierarchy. At the top is the chairman (Hoover) and two boards of directors, one controls street operations and the other controls 5,000 to 10,000 imprisoned gang members.
Under the directors are about 15 governors who oversee up to 1,500 members each in specific territories. These territories are subdivided between regents and coordinators who distribute drugs, oversee operations, manage security forces and collect profits and dues called street taxes. At the bottom of the organization are enforcers and shorties. Enforcers mete out fines and violations- punishments ranging from beatings to death for members who break gang rules. Shorties execute drug deals and guard gang territory.
The gang lures young recruits from poor and jobless communities with the promise of easy cash ($50 to $200 a day) and bigger reponsibilities like working security shifts with powerful handguns. Hoover has drafted rules for the members. They include prohibition from using addictive drugs, stealing from or showing disrespect to other members, engaging in homosexual rape and being a bad sport. Exercise and cleanliness are also required. It was very strict. You had to have total respect, says Tommy, a veteran GD member.
As crack cocaine gained popularity in Chicago in the late 1980’s, the GD organized the lucrative drug trade, augmenting its earlier goals of guarding and expanding gang turf against rival gangs. The gang now buys cocaine in 100- to 200-kilogram shipments of drugs from Colombian cartels. Sales in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago have reached $1 million a week. The business is so lucrative that when one crew is arrested, replacements appear within hours or even minutes. You’ve got folks literally waiting in the wings to sell drugs, says police Commander Ronald Evans about Englewood. A joint US and local law-enforcement investigation is trying to dismantle the GD.
In March, 10 members were convicted on drug-conspiracy charges and 26 others, including Hoover, await trial in October. The crackdown on GD leadership has fueled internal strife as members struggle for power. More than a dozen murders and scores of shootings have plagued the gang since January. President Clinton approved $690 million in additional funds for anti-drug efforts in Latin America when he signed the omnibus spending bill (P.L. 105-277), which included the Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act (S. 2341).
The act calls for an 80% reduction in the amount of illicit drugs smuggled into the U.S. by the end of 2001. S. 2341 was sponsored by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH), and a house companion bill (H.R.
4300) was sponsored by Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL) (Douglas Farah, US Drug Interdiction Effort Receives $690 Million Boost, Washington Post, October 24, 1998). Congress appropriated an additional $690 million to a projected three-year authorization of $5 billion, for drug interdiction along the Pacific coast from Colombia to Southern California. Two million dollars in addition were authorized but not appropriated. Congress authorized $2.7 billion when it passed S.
2341. The funds would largely be spent on the purchase and maintenance of aircraft, including six UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for the Colombian police, eight helicopters for Mexico, and six surveillance airplanes for the U.S. Customs Service. The measure also includes $100 million for alternative crop development (Anthony Boadle, U.S. Congress Approves $2.7 Billion for Drug War, Los Angeles Times, October 21, 1998). Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who has set a goal of a 10% reduction in drug smuggling over three years in the National Drug Control Strategy, called the target of 80% completely unrealistic.
On the day the House measure passed, McCaffrey testified that S. 2341 would be too expensive and would represent micro-management of drug tactics based on a shallow analysis of the problem and our available tools. (War on Drugs, USA Today, September 17, 1998, p. 9A; Cassandra Burrell, Drug-policy chief faults $2.6 billion interdiction bill passed by House, Philadelphia Inquirer, September 17, 1998, p. A7; Drug-Fighting Funds Added Over Policy Chief’s Objections, Washington Post, September 17, 1998, p.
A5). The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) said that the Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act would dramatically increase the flow of dollars and equipment to Latin American militaries, ostensibly for fighting drugs and authorizes an enormous sum of money to continue to be spent on a policy that has had absolutely no successes heretofore. . .By offering military equipment and training to Latin American police, and to militaries with questionable human rights records, the bill undermines the fundamental U.S. foreign policy goals of supporting democracy and human rights (WOLA, `Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act’ Would Further Militarize Andean Region Drug War, Legislative Alert, September 14, 1998).
According to WOLA, U.S. funding for anti-drug efforts in Latin America has increased more than 150% over the last ten years. Yet, by U.S. State Department estimates, coca cultivation is 11.7% higher, and opium production has doubled. Over the last decade, total drug production in Colombia has risen an estimated 260%.
Coca production in Colombia has more than tripled, making Colombia the world’s leading coca producer. Twenty years ago almost no coca was grown in Colombia. Only four years ago, no heroin was produced in Colombia; it now ranks third in the world in poppy cultivation and fourth in heroin production. Bibliography None Government Essays.