Colombian has seen a degree of success in its drug war after it began employing its U.S.-trained and -equipped counter-narcotics agency, says the Los Angeles Times. The country's Sensitive Investigative Unit uses the "crown jewels" of American technology and training to make crucial connections in the drug gangs' spider-web chains of command. The Times says the force has racked up impressive successes in the drug wars, and at a fraction of the cost of the $8-billion U.S. initiative called Plan Colombia.
The SIU program in Colombia, first launched in 1997, increasingly is being used as a model for other countries fighting drug mafias: The Drug Enforcement Administration has set up SIUs in 11 other mostly Latin American countries, including Mexico, Afghanistan, Thailand and Ghana. Eight other countries are on the waiting list.