HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html After Attacks, Drug Smuggling Tougher
Pubdate: Fri, 19 Oct 2001
Source: Ledger, The (FL)
Copyright: 2001 The Ledger
Author: Eric Pera


LAKELAND -- In tightening security to counter terrorism, Florida is putting 
the squeeze on drug smugglers.

The state's drug czar, Jim McDonough, on Thursday assured a gathering of 
Polk County business, civic and law enforcement leaders that the rising 
price of drugs like cocaine was evidence of a withering drug trade.

If there can be a silver lining to the dark clouds of the Sept. 11 attacks, 
McDonough said, it's that "there is some windfall profit for the 
counterdrug business.

"If you're a mule putting heroin in your shoe, you're thinking twice about it."

McDonough, director of the Florida Office of Drug Control Policy, was the 
guest speaker at a Lakeland Yacht & Country Club breakfast put on by the 
Drug Prevention Resource Center as part of its annual Red Ribbon Campaign, 
a monthlong, anti-drug initiative of school activities and foot races.

Scheduled to address issues relating to drug-free workplace laws, McDonough 
instead focused on recent advances in shrinking Florida's drug trade.

Beefed-up security at airports, seaports and border crossings has reduced 
the flow of hard drugs, such as cocaine, which now costs an average $26,000 
per kilo, up from $18,000 to $19,000 before Sept. 11, McDonough said.

There's more going on than a show of uniforms and guns, he said. Maritime 
trade laws that once were lax are now being enforced, and there is closer 
scrutiny of unidentified aircraft over Florida.

"It's getting tougher and tougher to get the drugs in," said McDonough, a 
retired Army colonel and former strategic planner at the Office of National 
Drug Control Policy in Washington.

He said a decline in drug use among students in grades 6-12 is expected to 
be further enhanced by the resurgence in police, fire and emergency medical 
personnel as role models.
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