It could be the lead-in to a prime time crime show. With the rat-a-tat of a machine gun and a wailing siren in the background, a deep-voiced announcer delivers his lines. Pictures of assassination victims flash on the screen.

In fact, it's an ad for the government of Colombia.For the past week or so, stations in New York and Washington have been showing 15-second spots purchased by Colombia to dramatize its position on the front lines of the global drug war and dispel the notion Colombians aren't fighting the drug lords.

"All we ask, when you think of Colombia, don't just think of the drug dealers; remember the Colombian heroes who are dying every day," the announcer says.

Half-page ads displaying the names of "fallen heroes in the war against drugs" - policemen, judges, government ministers, journalists and prosecutors killed in Colombia - have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Rodrigo Pardo, counselor to Colombian President Virgilio Barco, said Wednesday that the $350,000 campaign is an effort to counter an impression Americans might have that Colombia is complacent about its reputation as a drug barony.