War on Drugs

Federal Assistance to State and Local Drug Enforcement Gao ID: GGD-93-86 April 29, 1993

This report reviews federal funding and oversight of multijurisdictional task forces, local entities created to integrate federal, state, and local drug enforcement efforts. The federal government funds these task forces through the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Program. The Justice Department, which runs the program, is required to work with state agencies to oversee the task forces and other drug enforcement projects funded by the program. This report (1) describes task force funding and its uses under the Byrne Program; (2) determines how the task forces coordinate investigations with the Drug Enforcement Administration; and (3) examines how task force activities and funding are monitored, evaluated, and reported. GAO notes that Justice staff were not making required annual visits to each state and did not always prepare required reports for visits that were made.

GAO found that: (1) states have consistently planned to allocate about one-third of the annual Byrne program appropriation to fund MJTF, making task forces the largest of the program's authorized spending purposes; (2) all drug law violators are targets of investigation by Byrne-funded MJTF; (3) MJTF participants include law enforcement and other criminal justice personnel representing agencies at the federal, state, and local levels; (4) 52 cities have MJTF and DEA state and local task forces, but there is no significant overlap or duplication of effort; (5) the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has not complied with its monitoring and reporting policies; (6) BJA did not visit each state annually or document all state visits as required; and (7) confusing BJA guidance has contributed to incomplete and inconsistent state reporting.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Team: Phone:

The Justia Government Accountability Office site republishes public reports retrieved from the U.S. GAO These reports should not be considered official, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Justia.