The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Law enforcement and security cooperation forms a pillar of the enduring U.S.-Thai alliance, built on the foundation of 180 years of bilateral relations. While the Thai government has taken steps to address structural gaps that limit the effectiveness of the criminal justice sector and to promote participation in rule of law reform initiatives, challenges remain, including the need for skills development for law enforcement, prosecutors, and the judiciary; access to justice issues for citizens, particularly in the insurgency-affected Malay Muslim deep south; and combating a series of transnational organized crime issues, including trafficking in persons, narcotics, and wildlife.
Goals: INL’s assistance programs aim to increase the criminal justice system’s effectiveness through greater public trust in its institutions. Our bilateral program complements our regional programs, including through the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, which help build capacity throughout the region and promote greater regional cooperation. In addition to enhancing regional security and stability, strengthening Thailand’s criminal justice system also offers direct benefits to the United States by disrupting transnational criminal networks, combating narcotics, addressing human and wildlife trafficking, and thwarting terrorist networks.
Accomplishments: In the 2013 fiscal year, INL Thailand organized, funded, or otherwise supported a total of 63 separate capacity-building activities, involving nearly 4,000 participants. These activities included training courses related to cybercrime, money laundering, post-blast investigations, crime-scene management, combating terrorism, intellectual property crimes, trafficking in persons, border interdiction techniques, and forensic science. Our activities have had immediate concrete results as well as long-term institutional outcomes.
- Working with U.S. law enforcement agencies, Thai police have conducted numerous successful drug, human trafficking, wildlife trafficking, and child sexual exploitation investigations over the past several years.
- In August 2013, hours after a checkpoint search course, participants stopped a vehicle with nearly 1 million methamphetamine tablets, worth over $10 million, resulting in a seizure and arrest hailed as one of the most significant drug busts of the year.
- Following various INL-supported interventions to help Thailand improve its anti-money laundering (AML) regime, new AML legislation and regulations in 2012 resulted in Thailand complying with important international standards to safeguard its financial systems against the financing of terrorism and the laundering of illicit gains.
- In 2013, INL assisted the Thai Police Education Bureau revised its preparation of police with development of a basic training manual and a new, formalized, on-the-job training program for some 10,000 new police recruits.
- With support from INL, the Thai Department of National Parks has created a new, highly trained anti-poaching unit to help save endangered species from criminal wildlife traffickers.