Global Trends

Narcotics trafficking, specifically cocaine, is a growing “global problem,” said Rear Adm. Charles Michel, Joint Interagency Task Force South director. While the Colombian military and law enforcement have grown stronger in combating the narcotics trade over the past decade, the trade is still proliferating in other places, such as Peru and Bolivia, said Michel during a meeting with reporters in Washington, D.C., on May 22. While Michel said there are no official US government figures, he believed that more cocaine has been going to non-US markets than to the United States in the last few years. “We need to be concerned about flows not only going to the US, but also going in these other directions,” he said. These routes are “by magnitudes far less patrolled and controlled” than those to the United States, said Michel. Furthermore, the drug problem destabilizes US allies and neighbors, feeds terrorist organizations, and generates more money for the drug traffickers, allowing them to buy better equipment, bribe officials, and create more problems, he said. His task force, which combat the illegal drug trade in Latin America, has detected evidence of the drugs moving across Africa and into Europe and China, said Michel. (For more Michel coverage, see In Need of More Resources and Low Digits.)