DEA’s Latin ‘takedown’ boosted by dubious figures
BY LENNY SAVINO, The Miami Herald, February 1, 2001
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Drug Enforcement Administration used suspect figures to tout the success of a 36-nation “major takedown” of drug traffickers in the Caribbean and Latin America last fall, according to an examination of the operation.
The DEA’s scorecard on “Operation Libertador” reported 2,876 arrests, but agency officials could not provide evidence to support hundreds of them. Hundreds more were routine busts for marijuana possession, and some drug eradication figures were double-counts of a State Department program to burn marijuana plants. And while the DEA said $30.2 million in criminal assets were seized during Libertador, $30 million of that was confiscated four weeks before the operation began. Continue reading