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L.A. Agencies Target Trafficking in Ports


November 1994

Eight local and federal law enforcement agencies are teaming up to target drug trafficking in the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports (Bill Mongelluzzo, "Customs, Law Agencies, Calif. Ports Join Forces in Battle Against Drugs," Journal of Commerce, Oct. 24, 1994, p. 1B).

The U.S. Customs Service, the Coast Guard, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the California State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement will contribute staff and resources to the new Marine Anti-Smuggling Team.

Officials say that the task force did not come about because of an increase in drug smuggling, but because the agencies recognized that they work more effectively when working together. "We have found that, if we can pool our resources and share intelligence, investigative experience and expertise with other agencies, it is an effective way to address the problem," said Mike Fleming of the Los Angeles Customs district. In fact, according to Mr. Fleming, drug seizures have fallen since the Super Carrier Agreement was signed in the 1980s. In the agreement, officials agreed to lessen restrictions for shipping companies that increased their own security.

The task force will develop a profile of drug-smuggling vessels, which will aid the force in concentrating its enforcement resources.