Coordination of Federal Drug Interdiction Efforts

Gao ID: GGD-85-67 July 15, 1985

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the operations of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System (NNBIS).

NNBIS is an informal coordinating body that recommends, but does not direct, actions by agencies involved in drug interdiction. Each NNBIS center is designed to: (1) gather and collate drug trafficking intelligence and pass information on to law enforcement agencies; (2) assist law enforcement agencies in the detection and tracking of suspected smugglers; (3) review civilian and military interdiction resources; (4) recommend actions to appropriate agencies for surveillance, interception, and seizure of illegal drug shipments; and (5) coordinate joint operations involving civilian and military agencies. GAO found that: (1) while NNBIS has had difficulty acquiring tactical intelligence, its ability to do so has been increased by improved accessibility to the national intelligence community; (2) NNBIS has not played a coordinating role in most drug interdictions; (3) the extent of NNBIS participation in drug interdiction has varied widely among regional centers; and (4) the reactions of local law enforcement officials to NNBIS were mixed, but many credited NNBIS with facilitating access to previously unavailable military resources. In addition, GAO found that: (1) recent legislation establishing the National Drug Enforcement Policy Board left the status of NNBIS unclear; and (2) the organizational placement of NNBIS could limit the Board's ability to facilitate the coordination of drug interdiction.

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