Latin America and the Caribbean: Illicit Drug Trafficking and U.S. Counterdrug Programs [March 19, 2012] [open pdf - 573KB]
"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-generate 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. According to the Department of Justice, Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and their affiliates 'dominate the supply and wholesale distribution of most illicit drugs in the United States' and are solidifying that dominance. Drug trafficking-related crime and violence in the region has escalated in recent years, raising the drug issue to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy concerns. [...] 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