DEA Deploys Commando-Style Squads Abroad in Drug War


The Drug Enforcement Administration has five commando-style squads it has deployed for the past several years to Western Hemisphere nations — including Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Belize — that are battling drug cartels, reports the New York Times. The program — called FAST, for Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team — was created during the George W. Bush administration to investigate Taliban-linked drug traffickers in Afghanistan

Beginning in 2008 and continuing under President Obama, it has expanded far beyond the war zone. “You have got to have special skills and equipment to be able to operate effectively and safely in environments like this,” said Michael Braun, a former head of operations for the drug agency. The evolution of the program into a global enforcement arm reflects the growing U.S. reach in combating drug cartels and how policy makers increasingly are blurring the line between law enforcement and military activities, fusing elements of the “war on drugs” with the “war on terrorism.”

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