Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

English Confident City Will Get Drug Smuggling Control Center

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

English Confident City Will Get Drug Smuggling Control Center

Article excerpt

Though a cloudhangs over the possibility of Oklahoma City becoming the site for the $20 million headquarters of the Command and Control Center network in the fight against international drug smuggling, Rep. Glenn English, D-Cordell, is confident a decision will be made in the near future to establish the network headquarters here.

English discussed the status of the Command and Control Center Friday when he was in Oklahoma City to announce that the U.S. Customs will open an investigative office here in the next 90 days. A six-man staff will make investigations of routine customs violations such as customs fraud and drug smuggling.

According to English a "turf war" is underway between the Customs Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. The coast guard, which has been involved primarily in the intervention of drug smuggling on the high seas, now wants to get more involved in the intervention of inland drug trafficking - which could effect where the network center would be located.

The matter was further complicated by accusations made by the Customs Service last year that Mexican customs officials have not been doing all they can to prevent drug smuggling across the U.S.-Mexican border. The accusations, English said, came at a time when U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meece was in the midst of discussions with Mexican officials.

The command and control center headquarters will house agents from several drug enforcement agencies such as the Customs Service, the Coast Guard and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"The turf war could very well have an effect on Oklahoma City getting the command and control network headquarters," said English. …

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