Schumer Demands Release of Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy

July 12, 2011 Updated Jul 12, 2011 at 11:57 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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Schumer Demands Release of Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy

July 12, 2011 Updated Jul 12, 2011 at 11:57 AM EDT

(WKBW release) On Tuesday, New York Senator Charles E. Schumer demanded that the Office of National Drug Control Policy release its Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy, which was due on July 5, 2011.

The Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy Act, passed on January 4, required the ONDCP to set forth a northern border strategy for preventing the illegal trafficking of drugs across the international border between the United States and Canada, within 180 days of passage.

In a personal letter to Director of ONDCP R. Gil Kerlikowske, Schumer asks the director to quickly release the Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy within seven days of receiving his letter, or provide a written explanation as to the cause of the delay, and an adjusted timetable for releasing the Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy.

In light of a late 2010 GAO report which found that a wide swath of the northern border needs additional attention to prevent illegal cross border activity, Schumer states that a delay in Strategy is unacceptable, and must be corrected as quickly as possible.

“When it comes to shutting down drug smugglers, people living near the northern border don’t want to hear ‘the dog ate our homework’ – this report needs to be presented now. Law enforcement in communities along the northern border must be assured that an efficient strategy and appropriate resources are on the way to stop the flow of drugs across the northern border,” Schumer said. “I urge the Office of National Drug Control Policy to promptly release the Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy, due on July 5th, because each day of delay means dangerous gaps in security and communities left exposed to illegal drug trafficking coming across the northern border.”

In December 2010, the Senate passed the Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy Act of 2010 which aimed to help law enforcement officials along the northern border stem the flow of illegal drugs coming into their communities.The bill required federal law enforcement to develop a comprehensive and coordinated plan to blunt the illegal drug trade in a Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy.

Schumer’s push to secure a prompt presentation of the northern border anti-trafficking strategy is just the latest in a series of initiatives to secure the northern border.

In February, Schumer joined colleagues from other states along the northern border in a letter to Secretary Napolitano, asking that DHS begin utilizing military-grade radar technology along the border in order to detect low-flying planes that are commonly used to smuggle drugs. Schumer cited a report detailing the 24,000 drug-related arrests of adults in 2010 as well as an increase in the number of drugs being seized at border checkpoints as clear evidence that more must be done to combat this alarming problem.

Last month, Napolitano said she intended to improve our ability to catch low-flying aircraft by integrating military radar feeds used by Canada with our Air and Marine Operations Command Center. At a May hearing on border security chaired by Schumer, Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Alan Bersin stated that the radar feed should be operational by November 2011, greatly enhancing our ability to detect and stop low-flying planes that might be loaded down with drugs.