The International War on Drugs - Transit-zone Agreements
united american countries traffickers
Other countries are frequently reluctant to cooperate with the United States to stop drug traffickers. In the Caribbean Basin, while most of the islands have bilateral agreements with the United States, these agreements are limited to maritime matters that permit American ships to seize traffickers in the territorial waters of particular Caribbean islands. Other problems revolve around the transit zone, the area between the South American continent and the twelve-mile contiguous zone offshore the United States within which U.S. interdiction forces can operate. Very few transit-zone countries permit American planes to fly in their airspace to force suspected traffickers to land. Twelve transit-zone countries have no maritime agreements with the United States, including Ecuador and Mexico.
Bilateral agreements are not the same in each country, and some provide very limited rights to U.S. law enforcement authorities. For example, a U.S.–Belize agreement allows the U.S. Coast Guard to board suspected Belizean vessels on the high seas without prior notification. The agreement with Panama requires U.S. Coast Guard vessels in Panamanian waters to be escorted by a Panamanian government ship.