Pubdate: Thu, 15 Aug 2002
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2002 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Paul Wolf


In response to skeptical questions asked by Rep. Bob Barr and other members 
of the House Drug Task Force about the background of Colombia's newly 
appointed intelligence chief, Juan Pedro Moreno, The Washington Times 
interviewed Mr. Moreno ("Directing the drug war," World, Aug. 6). The 
article quotes him saying, "I was the victim of an enormous screw-up by the 
Colombian police and the American DEA." The supposed "screw-up" involved 
potassium permanganate, a chemical used to manufacture cocaine.

To give some perspective to Mr. Moreno's self-appointed victimhood, former 
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Donnie Marshall had 
this to say about Mr. Moreno's company, GMP:

"GMP's practice of selling above-threshold amounts to individuals, 
presenting the identifications of others, and of making multiple sales to 
the same address on the same day to individuals without permits, greatly 
increases the possibility of diversion of the chemicals. These practices 
circumvent the requirement of a permit for sales under five kilograms or 
five liters. Also, the invoices containing fraudulent and/or incorrect 
information are further evidence that the chemicals may be diverted. As a 
result of these practices, it is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain 
the actual final destination of the chemicals sold by GMP."

According to the DEA, GMP was the largest importer of potassium 
permanganate in Colombia between 1994 and 1999. During a four-day period 
between June 3 and 6, 1997, inspectors found that GMP failed to enter 
required information into its control logs concerning the sale of 2,450 
kilograms of permanganate. The Miami Herald reported that the DEA had 
seized shipments of permanganate to Mr. Moreno's company on four occasions.

Mr. Moreno's business practices may not be illegal under Colombian laws, 
but the wisdom of appointing such a person as intelligence chief is 
certainly debatable. Though he may possess in-depth knowledge of Colombian 
drug-trafficking organizations, there is no indication he is prepared to 
help prosecute them.

PAUL WOLF, Washington
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