Pubdate: Wed, 10 Aug 2005
Source: Stars and Stripes - European Edition (Europe)
Copyright: 2005 Stars and Stripes
Note: LTEs require name, APO address and phone number
Author: Russ Rizzo


A year ago, Tom Lohman was part of a two-man team in Stuttgart tasked with 
fighting drug-related terrorism throughout Europe.

Now, he is one of a dozen members of U.S. European Command's 
counternarco-terrorism office that has found itself much busier this year.

As the Department of Defense takes a larger interest in drug trafficking 
around the world because of links between the illegal drug market and 
terrorism, people such as Lohman are finding more work, funding and areas 
of control at their fingertips.

Lohman, manager of EUCOM's counternarco-terrorism program since 1997, said 
he recently has been freed to help investigate drug activity in areas 
around Europe.

A change in policy after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks freed 
Department of Defense money for operations to crack down on drug networks 
around the world, even if the drugs were not coming into the United States, 
Lohman said. The reasoning was simple: terrorists were using money from 
drug trafficking to fund operations, and they were using traditional drug 
smuggling routes to transport weapons.

Lohman's office is paying to send EUCOM Special Forces and contract workers 
to Azerbaijan to train the Azeri Navy in maritime security for the Caspian 
Guard Initiative, a new program aimed to increasing security in the Caspian 
Sea and countries that border it, he said.

In the process, Lohman said, U.S. officials are gaining a foothold into a 
drug route that has been the target of much speculation by U.S. officials 
but not much investigation.

"There is very little actual intelligence information that can be sighted 
as far as drugs transiting either in the sea or in the area near the sea," 
Lohman said. "The more we look, the more we think we'll find."

Money devoted to countering narco-terrorism could eventually pay for new 
boats and surveillance gear the Azeri government would use to stop drug 
smugglers, Lohman said.

Lohman said his office will participate in a similar way with the 
Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative, which aims to train soldiers in 
northern Africa.

He said he was also working with countries along the Adriatic Sea and 
Balkan states, although he declined to give specifics.

"We're really trying to link terrorism with the drug threat," Lohman said 
"Sometimes it's very obvious, sometimes it's subtle, and sometimes it's not 
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