Review of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Heroin Signature and Domestic Monitor Programs

GAO-01-237R: Published: Jan 12, 2001. Publicly Released: Feb 12, 2001.

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GAO examined the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Heroin Signature Program and Domestic Monitor Program to determine why there were apparent discrepancies in the 1999 statistical data generated by these two programs, particularly in the data on Southwest Asia heroin. GAO focused on why the program data showed heroin seizure information for only one U.S. Pacific Coast international airport. In addition, GAO examined whether enough samples from heroin seizures were being furnished for analysis under the Heroin Signature Program and the extent to which DEA was committed to the Domestic Monitor Program. GAO concluded that the discrepancies in the 1999 statistical data generated by the programs were the result of the two programs' data not being comparable. The reason Heroin Signature Program data showed heroin seizure information for only one U.S. Pacific Coast international airport was because seizures at other Pacific Coast airports during 1999 did not meet federal prosecution guidelines. GAO further found that DEA officials responsible for administering the Heroin Signature Program received enough samples of the heroin seized by federal law enforcement agencies, but did not receive enough samples from state and local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, DEA was committed to the Domestic Monitor Program and did annual field division inspections, which included verification of compliance with Domestic Monitor Program requirements.

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