NJ: With Mexico on the agenda lately, how would you describe the regional problem in border states such as New Mexico, Arizona and Texas?
Kerlikowske: Well, along the border it's certainly the smuggling across the border.
NJ: Is it meth or cocaine?
Kerlikowske: Well, it's cocaine from Colombia through Mexico, but that's far less of a problem than it has been. I mean, for a variety of reasons... our consumption of cocaine in this country is down; Americans' appetite for cocaine has continued to decrease.
NJ: But the price has decreased?
Kerlikowske: Well, I don't think anyone is exactly sure. We know that seizures and interdictions of cocaine have been up. Production levels within Colombia have been down. That's part of it. The other part is that there's been some very, very good educational efforts, particularly in the African-American community, about crack cocaine.... So we can see that when we use multiple methods -- not just enforcement, not just interdiction, but also education and prevention programs -- that we can make a difference.
NJ: But the cartels are supposedly all over the country. A lot of Democratic members say security concerns about drug violence should be a factor in the immigration debate, but do you think this issue is being sensationalized?
Kerlikowske: Well, it's very clear that the cartels have tentacles in almost every major city in the United States.... But I don't think that's anything new. The other part is that I would tell you that when I was the police chief in Buffalo, Russian organized crime was an issue for us; there is Ukrainian. Right now, because we're next to Mexico, because we share a border, because we're so closely aligned, that gets a huge amount of attention. But organized crime -- Asian organized crime, whether it's in Canada or in areas of the United States, on and on -- so I think it gets to be maybe a little bit too focused on Mexican cartel organized crime here in the United States.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Interesting Stuff from the Drug Czar
This is from an interview with National Journal (H/T):