Customs Service's Participation in Followup Investigations of Drug Smuggling Interdictions in South Florida

GGD-84-37: Published: Jul 18, 1984. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO investigated federal followup investigations of drug smuggling interdictions in South Florida to determine whether: (1) the followup investigations provided valuable information for use in future interdictions; and (2) the authority to conduct followup narcotics investigations in South Florida should be considered for expansion to other areas of the country where drug smuggling is a problem.

GAO found that followup investigations of drug interdictions in South Florida provided useful information but were not a major source of intelligence leading to future interdictions. GAO found that only 3 of the 50 cases it reviewed were initiated as a result of information produced by followup investigations. Supervisors of drug investigation teams provided GAO with 17 examples of cases where valuable information for future drug investigations resulted from followup investigations, but they did not believe that many other such cases existed. GAO determined that using the U.S. Customs Service to conduct followup investigations in other areas of the country may be desirable to augment the Drug Enforcement Administration staff but does not appear justified based solely on the amount of intelligence generated for future interdictions in South Florida. The effectiveness of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System will be a key consideration in any decision to expand Customs' authority to conduct followup investigations in other parts of the country. If it is effective, Customs will have access to the intelligence it needs for drug interdictions.

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