WASHINGTON (CN) – President Obama has identified 20 nations as major producers or transporters of illicit drugs, including 14 in Central and South America.
The list is compiled annually as part of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act and is used by the Federal Government to target money to fight production and transport of illegal drugs in those countries.
U.S. ally Afghanistan tops the list as the largest producer of opium poppies and major source of heroin, though Obama was quick to point out in the memorandum identifying the “Majors List” the progress made by Afghanistan in reducing by 17 percent the number of hectares under illicit opium production.
In both Afghanistan and Pakistan, illicit drug production is concentrated in areas of heavy insurgent activity, in which production and distribution of narcotics for export is protected and encouraged by insurgent groups who tax the revenue on the drug trade.
President Obama singled out Burma, Venezuela and Bolivia as nations that have failed to adhere to international counternarcotics agreements to which they are parties. Obama will require those countries to boost reporting of their efforts to fight the illicit drug trade to continue to receive counternarcotics program funding from the United States.
Joining Venezuela and Bolivia on the Majors List from the Americas are The Bahamas, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru.
India and Laos round out the list. No African or European nations are shown, though Nigeria remains a major center of drug trafficking, particularly as a conduit between producers in South America and consumers in Europe, according to Obama’s memorandum.
While Canada did not make the Majors List, the U.S. Justice Department’s Drug Enforcement Administration believes that a considerable portion of the marijuana, MMDA and methamphetamine smuggled into the U.S. enters from Canada, with nearly half of all MMDA coming from there. MMDA essentially is a psychedelic.