|For Immediate Release
January 18, 2011
Contact: Kimberly Smith Hicks
Smith and Schiff Introduce Drug Safe Harbor Elimination Act
Washington, D.C. — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) today introduced a bill to close a dangerous loophole in America's federal drug laws. The loophole allows drug trafficking organizations in the U.S. to plot their international drug shipments without fear of domestic prosecution.
The Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act amends the Controlled Substances Act to prohibit plotting to traffic drugs internationally when the plot takes place in the U.S., even when the drugs never come to this country.
Because it is not a federal crime in the U.S. to traffic drugs from one international country to another, a recent court decision found that a conspiracy to traffic drugs internationally is also not covered under federal law, even if the conspiracy takes place inside the U.S. This bill enables law enforcement officials to disrupt international drug shipments and apprehend dangerous drug traffickers. It provides a way to dry up drug profits that fund the violence of terrorist organizations around the world, including the Taliban in Afghanistan and the FARC in Colombia.
Chairman Smith: Criminals who plot from within our borders to traffic drugs internationally should not be given a free pass just because the drugs they transport never enter the U.S. In order to protect Americans and combat the illegal drug trade, we must ensure that conspirators in the U.S. are brought to justice.
We know that the illegal profits from these organizations fuel violence and fund terrorism around the world. And it is increasingly important to combat international drug cartels as the drug war in Mexico brings violence closer to home. This bill will close the dangerous loophole that allows international drug traffickers to avoid prosecution in the U.S.
Rep. Schiff: In light of the destructive trade in drugs and guns between the U.S. and Mexico, it is more important than ever to eliminate any safe harbor for drug traffickers. This bipartisan bill closes a loophole in current law, giving law enforcement officials the ability to prosecute drug trafficking conspiracies conducted in the U.S., even if many of the illegal acts occur outside our borders.