Justice and Law Enforcement:

The Drug Enforcement Administration's CENTAC Program--An Effective Approach To Investigating Major Traffickers That Needs To Be Expanded

GGD-80-52: Published: Mar 27, 1980. Publicly Released: Mar 27, 1980.


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The Central Tactical Program was established by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to conduct investigations of major drug organizations. The Federal strategy for drug abuse and drug traffic prevention is aimed at immobilizing major drug organizations. The CENTAC program has proven to be an effective method of investigating and prosecuting large numbers of high level narcotics traffickers. Using few resources, Central Tactical investigations have accounted for a high number of arrests of major traffickers.

The CENTAC program has been successful, and program expansion is warranted. However, this is unlikely to occur given the DEA belief that the program is at its optimum level. Until DEA rigorously evaluates the benefits of its various programs, it will not be in a position to know whether to reallocate resources or to justify additional resources for CENTAC or CENTAC-type investigations. Illegally derived profits and assets must be taken if major drug trafficking organizations are to be immobilized. The CENTAC program investigations have left drug traffickers' drug-related assets virtually untouched. Some actions need to be taken by DEA to improve it efforts to take profits from drug organizations.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendation for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should direct the Administrator of DEA to evaluate the effectiveness of the various methods used to investigate major traffickers with the aim of determining whether redirecting enforcement resources from less productive approaches is feasible. The Attorney General should also direct Federal prosecutors to make greater use of statutes to obtain forfeiture of major narcotics traffickers' assets; and direct the Administrator of DEA to expand its program for the use of financial analysis and information in narcotic investigations.

    Agency Affected:

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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