Remarks of DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy
Ceremony Montreal, Canada
May 9, 2006
DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy welcomes attendees
to the conference.
Distinguished guests and delegates. Good morning, and let
me add my own hearty welcome to the 24th International
Drug Enforcement Conference.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
--To feed the demand for cocaine in Europe, Colombian
traffickers are sending cocaine base to West African
countries such as Ghana where it is processed and then
smuggled into Europe, particularly Spain and Italy,
where a kilo retails at double the price as in New York.
countries may face global challenges but our international
drug enforcement community is seizing unprecedented
opportunities—and building upon important partnerships—to
--Not even 2 months ago, the 53 member nations of the
United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs passed a
resolution to encourage better information-sharing about
the movement of amphetamine type precursor chemicals. If
we are to keep these chemicals out of the hands of
traffickers, each of our countries must support this
resolution and provide the International Narcotics
Control Board with the annual estimates of our
legitimate market for chemicals such as ephedrine,
pseudoephedrine, and related pharmaceutical preparations
as well as shipping information to track where these
chemical exports are going.
-- This past year, Israel extradited its first major
Israeli national trafficker – one of history’s most
prolific ecstasy traffickers.
--This past year also marks the first-ever extradition
from Afghanistan as well as the first successful drug
prosecutions in Afghanistan.
--With terrorism in its many forms looming as a great
threat, cooperation and information-sharing are more
important now than ever. For example, after the July 7th
London subway bombings, British law enforcement
contacted the DEA El Paso Intelligence center, for
information about one of the bombing suspects – this
drug information data base revealed a previously unknown
US cell connected to the subway bomber. Drug
intelligence developed by DEA in conjunction with other
agencies also has helped thwart rocket and Improvised
Explosive Device attacks on Afghan and coalition forces
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.
--On the intelligence sharing front, this past year,
Russia and the US signed a historic Memorandum of Mutual
Understanding to broadly share information. Earlier last
year, we signed a similar agreement with China. Soon
after 9/11, the US established an agreement with New
Zealand, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and the
United Kingdom to jointly target those organized crime
groups presenting the greatest transnational threat to
the participating countries. With these information
sharing agreements, we entered into new partnerships
that will allow us to better target and investigate
international drug trafficking organizations.
--Last fall, 20 countries in West Africa attended the
first of its kind joint operation conference to
formulate a comprehensive regional strategy targeting
West African-based major trafficking organizations that
are moving cocaine coming from South America through
Africa to Europe, and heroin from Afghanistan and
Pakistan through Africa to Europe and the U.S.
--Law enforcement from Australia, India, Canada, and the
United States joined together last year to target
Internet traffickers who were using more than 200
websites to illegally traffic narcotics, amphetamines,
and anabolic steroids across the globe. We dismantled
the organization and arrested 20 key members in the
U.S., India, and Costa Rica.
--For 3 months last year, DEA joined with Mexico,
Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua,
Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia to attack the main
arteries of the Western Hemisphere drug trade in
Operation All Inclusive. You’ll hear more about this
successful joint operation later, but together, we
seized a record 46 metric tons of cocaine and disrupted
traffickers, forcing them to suspend drug operations,
change modes and routes of drug transports, and even
jettison loads of drugs.
--Last year, law enforcement from Thailand, Myanmar,
Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Laos, and the U.S.
continued to target the United Wa State Army—the major
producer and source of illicit drugs in the Golden
Triangle. Several key members were arrested, and the
Burmese Police seized $111 million and closed 3 banks
that had been used to launder the organization’s drug
--6 months ago, DEA joined with our partners here in
Canada and Vietnam to dismantle 2 major international
drug trafficking networks responsible for distributing
1.5 million Ecstasy tablets per month in the United
States. That’s equivalent to more than 20% of the U.S.
Ecstasy market. The financial aspect of the
investigation revealed the traffickers laundered
millions of dollars in drug proceeds through the use of
bulk courier transport, money remitters, and the
Vietnamese underground banking system.
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.