Jason Vest's July 3 web-only article, "DynCorp's Drug Problem"--about a reportedly heroin-laced vial of oil that was linked to DynCorp, an antidrug contractor working in Colombia--has prompted the following response from the US embassy in Bogotá.
I hope that the following points will clarify information in the report titled "DynCorp's Drug Problem."
The author of this report communicated with the Embassy's Press Office via e-mail on June 19. The Embassy confirmed that in May 2000, Colombian airport police in Bogotá confiscated several aircraft motor oil samples in which routine testing detected the possible presence of a substance that could have been heroin in unspecified amounts/concentrations.
Colombian authorities at the Fiscalía (the office of the Federal Prosecutor General of the Colombian government) subsequently conducted a records check at the request of the Embassy on these allegations. Although field tests of engine oil samples from spray aircraft tested positive for the possible presence of an opiate derivative, a full laboratory test conducted by the Cuerpo Tecnico de Investigación (CTI) on May 13, 2000 was negative. The Fiscalía has advised the Embassy that it closed this case on July 9, 2000.
The Fiscalía provided this information to the Embassy on July 31, 2001. This additional information should serve to keep you and your readers fully and accurately informed about the true nature of this allegation against US personnel working under contract to the United States government in Colombia.
ANNE W. PATTERSON