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Law Enforcement Corruption

  1. A 1998 report by the General Accounting Office notes, "...several studies and investigations of drug-related police corruption found on-duty police officers engaged in serious criminal activities, such as (1) conducting unconstitutional searches and seizures; (2) stealing money and/or drugs from drug dealers; (3) selling stolen drugs; (4) protecting drug operations; (5) providing false testimony; and (6) submitting false crime reports."

    Source:  General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 8.

  2. A 1998 report by the General Accounting Office cites examples of publicly disclosed drug-related police corruption in the following cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Savannah, and Washington, DC.

    Source:  General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 36-37.

  3. Corruption caused by the illicit trade in narcotics is especially prevalent in some foreign countries. "In 1998, DEA reported that drug-related corruption existed in all branches of the [Colombian] government, within the prison system, and in the military... In November 1998, U.S. Customs and DEA personnel searched a Colombian Air Force aircraft in Florida and found 415 kilograms of cocaine and 6 kilograms of heroin."

    Source:  US General Accounting Office, Drug Control: Narcotics Threat from Colombia Continues to Grow (Washington, DC: USGPO, 1999), p. 15.

  4. On average, half of all police officers convicted as a result of FBI-led corruption cases between 1993 and 1997 were convicted for drug-related offenses.

    Source:  General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 35.

  5. As an example of police corruption, the GAO cites Philadelphia, where "Since 1995, 10 police officers from Philadelphia's 39th District have been charged with planting drugs on suspects, shaking down drug dealers for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and breaking into homes to steal drugs and cash."

    Source:  General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 37.

  6. A 1998 report by the General Accounting Office notes, "Although profit was found to be a motive common to traditional and drug-related police corruption, New York City's Mollen Commission identified power and vigilante justice as two additional motives for drug-related police corruption."

    Source:  General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 3.

  7. In New Orleans, 11 police officers were convicted of accepting nearly $100,000 from undercover agents to protect a cocaine supply warehouse containing 286 pounds of cocaine. The undercover portion of the investigation was terminated when a witness was killed under orders from a New Orleans police officer.

    Source:  General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 36.

  8. A 1998 report by the General Accounting Office states, "The most commonly identified pattern of drug-related police corruption involved small groups of officers who protected and assisted each other in criminal activities, rather than the traditional patterns of non-drug-related police corruption that involved just a few isolated individuals or systemic corruption pervading an entire police department or precinct."

    Source:  General Accounting Office, Report to the Honorable Charles B. Rangel, House of Representatives, Law Enforcement: Information on Drug-Related Police Corruption (Washington, DC: USGPO, May 1998), p. 3.

  9. The difficulty of maintaining an honest government while fighting a drug war was noted by the UN Drug Control Program in 1998: "In systems where a member of the legislature or judiciary, earning only a modest income, can easily gain the equivalent of some 20 months' salary from a trafficker by making one "favourable" decision, the dangers of corruption are obvious."

    Source:  United Nations International Drug Control Program, Technical Series Report #6: Economic and Social Consequences of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (New York, NY: UNDCP, 1998), p. 39.

  10. According to the international monitoring group Transparency International, "Colombia has suffered the tragic consequences of endemic theft by politicians and public officials for decades. Entwined with the production and trafficking of illegal drugs, this behaviour exacerbated underdevelopment and lawlessness in the countryside, where a brutal war continues to claim the lives of some 3,500 civilians a year. A World Bank survey released in February 2002 found that bribes are paid in 50 per cent of all state contracts.27 Another World Bank report estimates the cost of corruption in Colombia at US $2.6 billion annually, the equivalent of 60 per cent of the countrys debt."

    Source:  Hodess, Robin (ed.), Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2003 (Berlin, Germany: Transparency International, 2003), p. 108.

  11. According to the international monitoring group Transparency International, "The Presidential Programme Against Corruption in Colombia specifically addresses 'narco-corruption'. Colombia, with a capacity to produce 580 tonnes of pure cocaine in 2000, is particularly poisoned by the interplay of narcotics and violence, with an estimated one million people internally displaced as a result of battles for territorial control by rebel groups and paramilitary forces. 'The corruptive effect of this kind of profit is devastating, since it has penetrated to perverse levels in the judiciary and the political system,' the official report of the Presidential Programme concluded, adding that the rapid accumulation of wealth from illegal drugs 'has fostered codes and behaviours which promote corruption, fast money and the predominance of private welfare over general interest'."

    Source:  Hodess, Robin (ed.), Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2001 (Berlin, Germany: Transparency International, 2001), p. 176.

  12. According to the international monitoring group Transparency International, "Mexico's police and armed services are known to be contaminated by multimillion dollar bribes from the transnational narco-trafficking business. Though the problem is not as pervasive in the military as it is in the police, it is widely considered to have attained the status of a national security threat."

    Source:  Hodess, Robin (ed.), Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2001 (Berlin, Germany: Transparency International, 2001), p. 158.

  13. According to the international monitoring group Transparency International, "Another problem occurs when officials turn a blind eye to a narcotics trade that looms large in the region. 'Central America has become the meat in the sandwich' - as a trans-shipment point, storehouse and money laundering centre - in the drug traffic from Colombia to the US, said Costa Rican parliamentarian Belisario Solano. The Costa Rican Defence Ministry estimates that between 50 and 70 tonnes of cocaine travel through Costa Rica to the US every year."

    Source:  Hodess, Robin (ed.), Transparency International, Global Corruption Report 2001 (Berlin, Germany: Transparency International, 2001), p. 160.

  14. The United Nations Drug Control Program noted the inevitable risk of drug-related police corruption in 1998, when it reported that "wherever there is a well-organized, illicit drug industry, there is also the danger of police corruption."

    Source:  United Nations International Drug Control Program, Technical Series Report #6: Economic and Social Consequences of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (New York, NY: UNDCP, 1998), p. 38.

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