The Drug War:

Extent of Problems in Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela

NSIAD-92-226: Published: Jun 5, 1992. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed drug trafficking problems spilling over from Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru into Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela, focusing on: (1) the extent of narcotics activities in the latter three countries; and (2) federal and international efforts to combat those activities.

GAO found that: (1) a lack of information makes it difficult to determine the full extent of narcotics activities and to conduct successful law enforcement activities; (2) the United States believes that Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela do not grow or process a significant amount of coca and cocaine, compared to Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru; (3) rapidly shifting and numerous cocaine smuggling patterns have made it difficult to stop drug trafficking activities in Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela, and drug trafficking is increasing in those three countries; (4) it is difficult to track those countries' use and shipment of precursor chemicals for processing coca into cocaine, since the chemicals also have legitimate uses and the countries' controls over the chemicals are weak; (5) money laundering occurs to some extent in each of the countries, although more specific amounts and laundering methods are largely unknown; (6) severe economic problems and a lack of resources limit counternarcotics programs in Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela; and (7) host country and U.S. programs to address drug problems are hindered by a lack of effective coordination and cooperation, host country corruption, host country priorities, and a lack of bilateral and regional cooperation.

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