The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency should look to improve how it has been categorizing drug seizure data and evaluating training, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) wrote in a new report.
According to the report, CBP follows a detailed process for seizing illicit drugs, which involves collecting and recording data on drug types and concealment. However, CBP data systems have various fields for recording data, and CBP hasn’t assessed if drug categories in its systems accurately reflect instances of drug trafficking, GAO said.
“CBP intelligence officials GAO spoke with who use and analyze drug seizure data stated that they have some concerns with the drug type categories available – particularly this catchall category – because the lack of specificity requires additional research, such as text searches,” wrote GAO. “Assessing the drug type categories available in its data systems could strengthen the quality of CBP’s drug seizure data and reduce the work for CBP intelligence officials who analyze the data.”
Additionally, GAO noted that CBP hasn’t evaluated its post-academy drug seizure training. Implementing a plan to regularly evaluate the training would give its Office of Field Operations (OFO) and CBP the data and information needed to determine if the training is useful.
GAO made three recommendations for the Department of Homeland Security’s CBP, all of which were agreed to:
- Assess the drug type categories available in its data systems to determine if they reflect the drug smuggling scenarios adequately;
- Finalize and implement a plan to regularly evaluate the drug seizures portion of the Post-Academy program; and
Finalize and implement a plan to regularly evaluate the drug seizures portion of the National Field Training Program.