A 36-nation anti-drug operation coordinated by the DEA in late 2000 claimed far more success than it actually had, according to a report published in the Miami Herald.
The DEA initially told the media that $30.2 million in criminal assets were seized during the month-long “Operation Libertador.” But actually $30 million of that was taken four weeks before the operation started, in the arrest of a single accused cocaine dealer.
The exercise reported 2,876 arrests within nearly every nation of the Caribbean, but didn’t mention that 996 of those were in Jamaica, for simple possession of marijuana. The DEA could not account for 375 of the other supposedly major arrests.
The report also states that some of the marijuana plants claimed destroyed were actually recounts of plants killed during a 20-year State Department program.
“The key here is that we have 36 countries that put aside cultural, political and economic differences to come together,” said Michael Vigil, the DEA’s head of international enforcement.
Last year, Vigil directed “Operation Columbus,” a 15-nation predecessor of Libertador that claimed nearly 1,300 arrests in 12 days.
– DEA website: www.usdoj.gov/dea