Justice Department Enforcement of the Neutrality Statutes in the South Florida Area

GGD-84-58: Published: Apr 16, 1984. Publicly Released: May 1, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed enforcement activities at the Department of Justice related to various neutrality laws and focused on information concerning paramilitary camps in the south Florida area.

GAO found that statutes other than the Neutrality Act have been used as prosecutive bases and that Justice's Criminal Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Customs Service are responsible for investigating potential violations of neutrality laws. GAO found that none of the prosecutions in south Florida were initiated as a result of the paramilitary camp activities and only one closed investigative matter involved a paramilitary camp. Furthermore, GAO found that, in August 1983, only one training camp existed. GAO was informed by Federal attorneys and investigators that prosecutions against paramilitary training camp activities are difficult and have little likelihood of success and, consequently, have a low priority in comparison with serious and violent crimes which are prosecuted in the U.S. district court in south Florida. GAO concluded that concerns about prosecutive success and law enforcement priorities are consistent with Justice's principles and U.S. attorneys' offices practices.

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