Prepared Remarks of
DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy
May 9, 2006
Administrator Tandy often departs from prepared remarks
Distinguished guests and delegates. Good morning, and let me add my own hearty welcome to the 24th International Drug Enforcement Conference.
We have come a long way in 24 years. It is staggering to think that back then, we all fit around a single conference table. And look at us now.
Commissioner Zaccardelli, your leadership and strong support of cooperative drug law enforcement is evident. We greatly appreciate your friendship.
I would like to thank Ambassador Wilkins who has been very supportive of the efforts of both our countries’ fight against drug trafficking. We are grateful to you, Mr. Ambassador.
To the President of IDEC, Deputy Commissioner Bourduas, thank you for your warm hospitality and the tremendous job you have done organizing this meeting—the first ever IDEC held in Canada.
Director General Miles and Assistant Deputy Minister MacLaren, the DEA appreciates your leadership in law enforcement and fighting drugs here in Canada. I greatly appreciate Minister Day’s great partnership in fighting drugs.
And of course we all owe a special thanks to the Montreal City Police Chief and the Director General of the Quebec Provincial Police for providing security and escorts for us this week.
We have amassed the largest IDEC contingent ever with 76 countries. Stretching from the southern tip of Africa to northern Europe to the Far East, 7 new countries became members this year, (Afghanistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa and United Kingdom) and 6 are joining us for the first time ever (Denmark, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Sweden, UAE and Vietnam).
This year we are especially honored to have His Excellency Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi from the United Arab Emirates. There was a unanimous decision last year to urge the UAE to participate in IDEC, so that we could learn how they confront the challenges of money laundering. I personally traveled to the UAE last summer to meet with Sultan Al Suwaidi and carried your message that we wanted him to join us at this year’s IDEC. I am most grateful for the UAE’s enthusiastic response and participation.
We span the world because unfortunately so does the drug trade. The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime estimates the retail global illicit drug market is valued at $322 billion. That’s higher than the gross domestic product of 88% of the countries in the world.
I am delighted we are in Canada. The Drug Enforcement Administration has maintained an office in Canada since 1973—the very year DEA was created, and in the 3 decades since, we’ve developed a tremendous and productive partnership. I applaud the newly elected Canadian government’s commitment to the issues we are collectively fighting and talking about this week. I know our partnership will grow even stronger.
Every year for almost a quarter of a century we come to IDEC to tackle our most difficult challenges. I just want to highlight some of those that each of us in this room are facing.
In the past 1 to 2 years, Ecstasy production has shifted from Europe to the Western Hemisphere. The smuggling of Ecstasy precursors, specifically MDP2P, is on the rise from China. Just one seizure late last year of MDP2P and Ecstasy powder, would have made more than 16 million Ecstasy tablets valued at $164 million.
Methamphetamine trafficking and the movement of its precursor chemicals are an increasing global threat. More than 26 million people worldwide use amphetamines—largely methamphetamine—which is more than the worldwide users of heroin and cocaine combined.
Last November, one of three meth labs with the largest potential production capacity in the world was seized in Indonesia through the joint efforts of DEA and law enforcement in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. More recently, we learned that methamphetamine trafficking organizations in the U.S and Canada have begun exporting meth to Japan.
Last week, I met with various ministers in Mexico about our bi-national efforts to develop a comprehensive methamphetamine strategy. Our friends in Mexico have developed aggressive strategies to attack methamphetamine production and trafficking and have set new limits on its importation of these chemicals, reducing their supply by 53%, from 150 tons to 70 tons.
Because of law enforcement pressure and successes attacking the illegal chemical trade, traffickers have had to adapt and change their trade patterns, re-routing precursor chemicals to new countries. We’re seeing ephedrine shipped from India and China to South Africa and then from there to South and Central America. Chinese ephedrine is being diverted through Cairo on its way to Mexico. And ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are being diverted in other African countries including Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and Mozambique.
Cocaine trafficking has been the bane of our existence and remains a persistent global challenge. From the tri-border region of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, we learn that the area has become home to Middle Eastern traffickers that are moving cocaine to Europe and the Middle East. Even more disturbing is that some of their profits are reportedly ending up with terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
Our countries may face global challenges but our international drug enforcement community is seizing unprecedented opportunities—and building upon important partnerships—to succeed.
Intelligence, intelligence, intelligence. It is all about that if we are to have the greatest impact on the evil organizations that we are here to face.
I could go on, but the list of our accomplishments is simply too long to repeat here. At the heart of each success though, is a strong multi-lateral partnership. Through this week at IDEC, we will cement old ties, forge new bonds, and, together, develop successful strategies to dismantle our shared global targets.