KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley have called on Washington to be prepared to counter an uptick in drug trafficking in the Caribbean when, not if, the pendulum swings back a bit from Central American countries and Mexico.
In the report released Sept. 13 by the U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, the senators argue that the U.S. should have a “more integrated approach to security assistance in the Americas that does not overly support one sub-region at the expense of others.”
The report also acknowledges that the U.S. must do “significantly more” to reduce demand for drugs within its borders.
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime has reported that Caribbean drug seizures diminished 71 percent between 1997 and 2009 as more contraband shifted to Central American routes. But homicide rates have nearly doubled in a number of Caribbean nations since 1995, partly due to frenzied competition between underworld groups fighting for turf.
The report also says he U.S. must strengthen anti-money laundering laws while continuing extraditions of Caribbean drug barons, such as Christopher “Dudus” Coke, a powerful gang boss who was sentenced in June to 23 years behind bars in a U.S. drug trafficking case after a nine-month extradition battle with Jamaica.
The report also recommends that the U.S. should send detailed histories of all criminal deportees back to their native lands in the Caribbean.
As it stands now, the countries are told only why the offender was deported due to rules preventing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency from sharing more details without permission from federal or state entities that have the records.
The deportee issue has topped the Caribbean's diplomatic agenda for more than a decade.