Latin America and the Caribbean: Illicit Drug Trafficking and U.S. Counterdrug Programs [April 30, 2010] [open pdf - 564KB]
"Drug trafficking is viewed as a primary threat to citizen security and U.S. interests in Latin America and the Caribbean despite decades of anti-drug efforts by the United States and partner governments. The production and trafficking of popular illicit drugs--cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and methamphetamine--generates a multi-billion dollar black market in which Latin American criminal and terrorist organizations thrive. These groups challenge state authority in source and transit countries where governments are often fragile and easily corrupted. Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) largely control the U.S. illicit drug market and have been identified by the U.S. Department of Justice as the 'greatest organized crime threat to the United States.' […]. Congress has also conditioned the provision of antidrug funding on the basis of human rights and other reporting requirements. It has sought to ensure that counterdrug programs are implemented in tandem with judicial reform, anti-corruption, and human rights programs. Several bills address counternarcotics issues in the region, including House-passed H.R. 2410 (Berman), House-passed H.R. 2134 (Engel) and S. 3172 (Menendez). Congress has been active in evaluating drug assistance programs through multiple oversight hearings. This report provides an overview of the drug flows in the Americas and U.S. antidrug assistance programs in the region. It also raises some policy issues for Congress to consider as it exercises oversight of U.S. antidrug programs and policies in the Western Hemisphere."
CRS Report for Congress, R41215