Operation Autumn Harvest: A National Guard-Customs Antismuggling Effort
GGD-88-86: Published: Jun 2, 1988. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 1988.
Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO assessed the National Guard Bureau's and the Customs Service's joint drug interdiction operation along the Arizona-Mexico border.
GAO found that: (1) Operation Autumn Harvest did not meet its primary objective of interdicting drug smugglers; (2) of the six suspected drug smugglers Customs intercepted, none carried drugs; and (3) although the operation failed to turn up drug smugglers, officials believed that it provided valuable wartime readiness training for the National Guard, and may have temporarily deterred drug smuggling across the Arizona-Mexico border. GAO noted that premature newspaper publicity, poor agency coordination, inadequate radar capability, and the absence of full-time interceptor aircraft limited the operation's potential for interdicting drug smugglers.