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No opium is grown in the United States; all of the heroin abused in the United States comes from opium poppies grown in other countries. Our Nation has been an advocate of self-determination and the safeguarding of the rights of sovereignty of other nations over their own internal affairs, but we do not consider it an internal affair if a nation grows opium poppies, the product of which finds its way into the bloodstream of American youth. We must realize that the knife which incises the poppy capsule is a knife stuck in the heart of our youth. The United States must rely upon the cooperation of other nations, particularly the producing nations, in preventing illicit drugs from entering the United States. This approach must be multi-faceted and must be adapted to the conditions which exist in the producing country and the region as a whole.
The most effective recognized method to combat heroin addiction, failing the elimination of illicit demand which must be constructively pursued as a goal, is to cut off the supply at its source. A very important point to keep in mind is that raw opium when it is refined into heroin loses 90 percent of its bulk. The difficulty in intercepting the narcotic, after refining, is compounded geometrically. Therefore, the most constructive point at which to interdict the flow of narcotics is at the source. Most law enforcement sources admit that once the opium is refined even partially, at best they will only be able to intercept 10 percent of the narcotic. The only time opium is stationary and highly visible in a concentrated area is in the field. It is at this point that we must destroy the chance of illicit entry into the U.S. market.
To be able to attain the critical goal of cutting off the supply or successfully interrupting the flow of narcotics, it is necessary to study international narcotics traffic in detail-pinpointing opium-producing nations, analyzing the degree of cooperation extended in efforts to inhibit the illegal international flow of drugs, determining the method of shipment and identifying the operators, routes, dealers, as well as political leaders and law enforcement officials who may be involved. For these reasons, we undertook this investigative mission, and we can conclude that narcotics trafficking has changed significantly. Previous measures have had some success but have also forced modifications in the producing and trafficking by many groups. This has brought about the need for new initiatives to meet these changing patterns.
Southeast Asian cooperation has improved significantly since last year, especially that of Thai and Hong Kong officialdom. Cooperation has increased but more active cooperation and vigorous law enforcement are required to effectively cut heroin traffic. Two years ago, Mr. Wolff recommended that in its work in international organizations, as well as in its bilateral dealings with friendly foreign countries, it is imperative that U.S. Government officials at all levels stress the need to control the source of the heroin supply. That must still be the prime concern of the United States, though it should be complemented with other programs which deal with the trafficking and consumption of narcotics. The U.S. Government must deal with a very sensitive dilemma; insuring adequate supplies of licit opium for our medical needs and at the same time shutting off the illicit flow into this country. This report will not deal with the question of a worldwide licit opium shortage but will focus on the illicit traffic and our heroin problems.
The seriousness of the heroin problem cries out for a massive effort. That plea must be heard and responded to with constructive programs. We must impress upon our authorities that the war on drug addiction and the invasion of our Nation by these drugs requires as massive an effort as this country extended when the security of the governments of Southeast Asis was in jeopardy. Now, it is our Nation and the health of our children which are threatened. The casualties in this war in physical, emotional and financial terms are greater than any military war has ever inflicted upon our country.
We would like to provide an overview of the changes in the international narcotics situation as a means for beginning a discussion of what conditions exist in Southeast Asia and what can be done to serve the best interest of the United States and our friends in that part of the world.
The Golden Triangle area of Burma, Thailand and Laos (see map, Appendix No. 1) produces 700 to 1,000 tons of opium for the illicit market and is, for the first time, considered a major direct source of heroin for the United States. When one realizes that the entire illicit demand of the United States can be refined from roughly 75 tons of raw opium, it is obvious that only a small part of the illicit crop from the Golden Triangle would be needed to supply a large portion of our addicts' demands. The constructive efforts of Thai narcotics officials, their excellent cooperation with the United States and other narcotics control forces, and the removal by the Thai government of several high-ranking government officials who were suspected of being involved with drug trafficking, have brought an end to the large opiumcarrying mule caravans which brought raw opium from the Golden Triangle through Thailand and which was then carried, largely by trawler, to Hong Kong for worldwide distribution.
At present, the raw opium is refined in secret laboratories near the Burmese border in the mountainous jungle areas of the Golden Triangle. These labs are hidden in inaccessible regions and are close enough to the Burmese border so that when Thai narcotics officials discover a lab, the operators are able to retreat into sanctuaries in Burma. It may not be that the government of Burma condones the activities of the traffickers, but they are not in control of any of this area except for small enclaves. Rather, armed factions of the numerous hill tribes who operate in the Golden Triangle are in control and are thought to dominate most of Northeastern Burma and Northwestern Thailand. The successful antinarcotics efforts have ended the mule transport of raw opium, but at the same time, they have brought about the new "human wave" method for transporting small quantities of refined and semirefined opium. This has changed the consumption patterns within Southeast Asia as raw opium for smoking is less available and heroin for smoking and injection is more available. Heroin smuggling is more profitable than opium smuggling and large scale illicit trafficking is now mostly in heroin.
Where previously much of the refining of heroin for world distribution was done in Hong Kong and Thailand, the enforcement efforts and the constructive actions of the Hong Kong and Thai governments have led to much of the refining being performed near the growing areas. In several cases, chemists who used to operate in Hong Kong have moved down to the growing areas and work there. Hong Kong, however, is still a major center for refining and distribution. Much
of the heroin which moves through Hong Kong makes its way to Holland and Mexico as well as directly into the United States. The availability of high-grade, low-cost heroin in Amsterdam is causing a drug problem for our troops stationed in Western Europe, just as the cheap supply in Southeast Asia funneled down to our troops in Vietnam, impaired their efficiency and decreased their fighting capabilities.
Concerning Mexico, it can be established for the first time that some of the "brown heroin" which comes into this country from Mexico is actually heroin refined from Asian poppies. The DEA now estimates that 60-70 percent of all heroin consumed in the United States comes in over the Mexican border. All in all, the new distribution routes from the Golden Triangle are making the old Turkey to Marseilles routé seem like a cowpath. Once again, we want to assert that we have been able to enlist the excellent cooperation and support of British, Thai and Hong Kong authorities in our effort to combat the narcotics traffic. What is disappointing is the lack of support from our own State Department and the Burmese government. We are asking the State Department to press the Burmese for full cooperation and also to work out some way or means of reaching the Shans and the other ethnic groups who control the poppy fields. However, we are not relying on State Department initiatives as our sole option.
The central problem with our State Department in this respect is, that our representatives in the respective countries are more concerned with not interfering in the internal affairs of another country than they are in combating the heroin trade which interferes with the lives of our young people. We, too, support the right of nations to control their internal affairs; however, opium growing and refining for external distribution is not an internal affair. The State Department must realize that the real threat to the United States does not come from the insurgents maintaining control of the highlands or their actions against the Burmese government, but from the opium which they produce that finds its way to the young of our own Nation. The State Department has intentionally, we believe, downplayed the importance of narcotics trafficking and has looked the other way while the problem screams for attention. Instead, State has focused its resources on combating insurgencies when the real war is the war on drugs a war which involves our children. We must set in order our priorities to meet our national needs and national goals-one of which is the control of crime on the streets of America. Almost 80 percent of this crime is nurtured by drugs. And secondly, the eradication of this dreadful scourge that is destroying American youth, the future of our great land is a goal that must be met.
We think our major efforts should be focused on the control of the growing fields, and we believe there is room for major new initiatives. Congressman Wolff received in 1973 and again in 1975 proposals from individuals who control a majority of the illicit Golden Triangle crop which would allow a consortium to purchase their crop at a price similar to the current Thai border price. We have communicated these proposals to the State Department and are awaiting their analysis of the most recent proposal. We cannot emphasize in too strong a fashion how important it is that the State Department focus its energies on the problems in foreign lands which have the most direct and immediate consequence to the United States.
OPIUM PRODUCTION AND THE SHAN PROPOSAL
About 1,500 tons of opium are produced legally each year, under fairly strict controls, to meet the world's pharmaceutical requirements. India is by far the largest licit supplier for the Western market. India produced 866 tons in 1973 and 894 tons in 1974. Turkey on the other hand produced an average of only 7 percent of the world's licit opium in its last 3 years of production, and averaged exactly 15 percent over the prior 7 years.
The Indians have been able to maintain a relatively effective control system and the 10 percent of their production which is believed to leak out of the legal channels is almost totally absorbed or consumed by the surrounding local population. Other than Turkey, where a large portion of the licit production ended up in illicit channels, the licit suppliers of opium have not doubled as major suppliers for the illicit market. It is believed that roughly 1,400 tons of illicit opium are produced annually in the world. Perhaps half of this is grown in the Kachin hills and Shan states in Burma, in Northwest Laos and in Northeastern Thailand, in a contiguous area known as the "Golden Triangle."
The major concern for our increased attention to the Golden Triangle area, aside from the size of its production, is that with the decline of U.S. troops in Southeast Asia, which was a large market for the traffickers, the lucrative market for heroin in the continental United States has become a growing attraction. The distribution network is already transferring its routes to deal with U.S. demand. U.S. enforcement authorities have already broken one syndicate which was importing heroin directly from Southeast Asia to the Northeastern United States. This syndicate was using former military personnel as couriers.
It is the general belief of law enforcement authorities that the most effective way of combating narcotics trafficking is to cut off the supply at its source. This is more effective than trying to intercept the illicit drugs once they are in the traffickers' pipeline. Mr. Wolff has supported this principle for the entire period of his chairmanship of the ad hoc subcommittee on International Narcotics Control. We want to begin this section of the report by referring to the statement made by a law enforcement official, a top level DEA agent in Southeast Asia, who explained to Mr. Wolff in a letter: "I am certainly in full agreement with you. As we have discussed before, I can see no success in stopping the flow of narcotics through and from Southeast Asia until something can be done to stop the growing of opium in the 'Golden Triangle' or to divert its flow out of the illicit narcotic pipeline." We must understand that narcotics trafficking is an international problem which must be combated through international cooperation. Although drug treatment and rehabilitation is suitable for country by country programs, combating the production and trafficking must be done through combined efforts on an international basis primarily because traffickers do not respect national borders and cross over them in pursuing their