Colombia’s scandal-hit drugs enforcement agency will use a U.S. system to digitally monitor assets seized from narco-traffickers, reports Caracol.
National Narcotics Office (DNE) head Juan Carlos Restrepo said that the system from the U.S. Department of Justice will be implemented in January 2011.
Restrepo, who was in Washington D.C. for a meeting of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) from December 6 to 8, said “We have requested the help of the U.S. government and they answered in the affirmative.”
“We want to design with them a system for the administration of the seized goods … to avoid them getting lost, vanishing, or that whatever is within them is lost,” said Restrepo.
Restrepo compared the system to that which allows people to track the progress of certified packages sent through the mail.
The Colombian government took control of the DNE in November due to corruption within the organization, which handles good seized from traffickers. Restrepo, the newly appointed head, said that all employees and many old employees had codes that gave them access to the assets, much of which is thought to have been stolen.
During the regional anti-drug meeting Restrepo asked that specific rules be imposed to combat the growing problem of so-called narco-submarines being used to transport drugs.
In 2009 Colombia seized 17 submarines which were being used to smuggle drugs.
Restrepo also highlighted Colombia’s recent success in fighting drug cultivation. Illicit crops in the Andean nation dropped from 119,000 hectares in 2008 to 116,000 hectares in 2009, which meant production was reduced by ten tons, according to Restrepo.