Drug Trafficking:

Responsibilities for Developing Narcotics Detection Technologies

T-NSIAD-97-192: Published: Jun 25, 1997. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1997.

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GAO discussed federal agencies' efforts to develop technologies for detecting narcotics, focusing on: (1) responsibilities of those agencies primarily involved in developing narcotics detection technologies; (2) differences in views between the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the U.S. Customs Service in developing and deploying these technologies; and (3) opportunities to strengthen federal detection technology development efforts.

GAO noted that: (1) ONDCP, Customs, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Office of Management Budget (OMB) are primarily responsible for coordinating or developing narcotics detection technologies; (2) however, ONDCP and Customs have differing views on the need for various detection technologies; (3) for example, ONDCP and Customs have differing views regarding the types of technologies needed along the southwest border; (4) these differing views should be resolved as they work with other agencies in preparing a long-term technology development plan; and (5) at a minimum, the technology plan should address: (a) a methodology for transitioning technologies from development to deployment; (b) the status of the automated targeting system's development as the first line of defense against drug trafficking; (c) the best technologies for detecting drugs in empty trucks; (d) the capabilities of the high-energy X-ray system for its ability to detect narcotics concealed in fully loaded cargo containers; and (e) the possible use of explosive detection technologies for detecting drugs in a seaport environment.

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