Anti-Drug Chief Eyes Collaborators

Anti-Drug Chief Eyes Collaborators
Posted by FoM on August 31, 1999 at 08:27:24 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: New York Times
WASHINGTONContinuing cross-border drug flows are more the product of corrupt foreign companies and individuals than governments, says retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the White House counter-narcotics chief. 
And McCaffrey said Monday he favors Senate-approved legislation to impose sanctions against offending companies and individuals who collaborate with drug kingpins. ``It's about time for the United States to stop talking about our problems with the government of Mexico, Peru, et cetera, and start talking about our problems with individuals and businesses who are involved in drug-related crime and hold those people responsible for their actions,'' said McCaffrey, who recently visited Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Argentina. When Congress returns from its summer recess next month, a House-Senate conference committee will work out the final shape of the legislation, which would authorize the president to take a series of measures against foreign companies or individuals linked to the drug trade. The sanctions include barring U.S. citizens from doing business with such companies or individuals and freezing their U.S. assets. Among the bill's co-sponsors are Sens. Paul Coverdell, R-Ga., chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on Western Hemisphere affairs, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Mike DeWine, R-Ohio. The legislation expands a 4-year-old presidential order aimed at Colombian drug traffickers. The bill has generated concern in Mexico that innocent people could be misidentified as collaborators with drug chieftains. McCaffrey acknowledged this was a concern and said safeguards must be written into the law to prevent such abuses. Despite his reservations, McCaffrey said he finds the proposal to be ``enormously compelling.'' Under the legislation, the Treasury Department would develop a list foreign traffickers active in any of the 28 countries listed as major drug source or drug transit countries. The sanctions would carry penalties of up to $500,000 per violation for corporations or $250,000 for individuals, as well as 10 years in prison. August 31, 1999Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company 
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