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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

The Caribbean

International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
March 2004

The Bahamas

I. Summary

The Bahamas continues its role as a major transit country for cocaine and marijuana bound to the U.S. from South America and the Caribbean. The Government of The Bahamas (GCOB) cooperates with the United States Government (USG) to stop the flow of illegal drugs through its territory, to target Bahamian drug trafficking organizations and to reduce the domestic demand for drugs within the Bahamian population.

In the legislative arena, the Bahamian cabinet did not approve the National Anti-Drug Plan because it was unable to identify funding for the five year plan. There has been no legislation proposed to implement recommendations of an OAS/CICAD assessment of the Bahamas precursor chemical control system. The Bahamas is a party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The Bahamas is a country of an estimated 310,000 inhabitants and 700 islands and cays distributed over an area similar in size to that of the state of California. The Bahamas' strategic location on the maritime and aerial routes between Colombia and the U.S. makes it an attractive location for drug transshipments of Colombian cocaine and Jamaican marijuana. It is estimated that some 12 percent of the cocaine trafficked to the U.S. passes through the Jamaica-Cuba-Bahamas vector. Although small plots of marijuana plants have been found in Grand Bahamas, Abaco, Eleuthera, Andros and Cat Island, The Bahamas is considered neither a significant drug producer nor a producer or transit point for drug precursor chemicals.

The Bahamas participates actively in Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos (OPBAT)—a multi-agency international drug interdiction cooperative effort established in 1982. OPBAT is the largest and longest-established cooperative effort overseas by any government involved in drug enforcement. OPBAT brings together on the U.S. side, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Army (DOD), U.S. Coast Guard, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP), and the Department of State (DOS) and, on the Bahamian and Turks and Caicos side, counterparts from the Royal Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Police Forces. During 2003, OPBAT seized 6.8 metric tons of cocaine and 13 metric tons of marijuana.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2003

Policy Initiatives. In August 2003, the long-awaited Bahamas Integrated Justice Information System (BIJIS), a judicial case management software program was inaugurated in the Bahamian court system. The system will streamline and accelerate the administrative process in Bahamian courts by making it virtually paperless. The installation and training of the Attorney General Office's personnel will be completed in the first half of 2004.

However, the completion of important counternarcotics initiatives faced numerous delays and financial constraints throughout 2003. The completion of a National Anti-Drug Plan (NADP), a process that began in 2001 with the assistance of the OAS/CICAD, was again delayed. Although the Plan was drafted and reviewed by the Cabinet, it awaits the identification of resources to implement the ambitious five-year plan. Similarly, there was no legislative movement to implement the recommendations of an OAS/CICAD assessment of the Bahamas precursor chemical control legislation.

Accomplishments. The Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) cooperated closely with the U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies on drug investigations in 2003. DEU's enhanced investigative and interdicting capabilities resulted in 1,434 drug-related arrests. Several indictments have been issued and more than 15 requests for extradition on drug related charges are pending action from the courts. On November 2003, a Bahamian magistrate approved the U.S. extradition request for Austin Knowles, Jr. and four members of his criminal organization. Knowles led one of the most prolific drug trafficking network in the Caribbean prior to his arrest in December 2002. Knowles is appealing the extradition ruling.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The RBPF continued to participate actively in OPBAT, a tripartite drug interdiction effort aimed at eliminating the flow of cocaine and marijuana en route to the United States. Alerted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection surveillance aircraft, and in some occasions by members of the Cuban Coast Guard, U.S. Army and Coast Guard helicopters intercept maritime drug smugglers and seize airdrops of drugs into Bahamian territory. OPBAT assets are located in three bases strategically placed on Andros, Great Exuma, and Great Inagua. Officers of the DEU and the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police fly on all OPBAT missions and are responsible for making arrests and seizures. A DEA agent accompanies the crew to provide assistance and coordination. RBPF personnel use three USG-donated interceptor boats to interdict the drug smuggling go-fast vessels detected by OPBAT helicopters. Seizures of drugs and traffickers captured by OPBAT assets in international waters are taken to the U.S., while those taken in Bahamian or Turks and Caicos territory are turned over to those nations.

The DEU is an elite group of 94 officers that works closely with the USG on drug investigations and interdictions. The DEU staff includes a 21-member strike force which participates in OPBAT missions, a 14-member marine unit which crews and services the fast-response interceptor boats, a 23-member general investigation unit, a 9-member technical and surveillance unit, with a 5 member unit in Freeport and 3 commanders. The drug canine units in Nassau (4 officers) and Freeport (2 officers) are also attached to the DEU.

During 2003, the DEU seized 4 metric tons of cocaine and 6 metric tons of marijuana. (Note: DEU seizures are included in OPBAT's total). The DEU arrested 1,434 persons on drug related offenses and DEU seized drug-related assets valued at $2.9 million in addition to two aircraft and 10 boats.

The GCOB plans to have the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) take a greater role in interdicting maritime drug smugglers remained unfulfilled in 2003. RBDF's participation in drug interdiction events was minimal since their vessels were either out of service or not available to participate in OPBAT's requests for assistance in pursuits. The RBDF continues to assign three marines to the Caribbean Support Tender (the U.S. Coast Guard cutter "Gentian").

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, The Bahamas does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The GCOB is a party to the 1996 Inter American Convention Against Corruption. No senior official in the GCOB was convicted of drug-related offenses in 2003.

The RBPF proactive approach to educating the public and providing more supervision to newer officers seemed to bear fruit during this year. Police reported a 24 percent drop in the number of corruption allegations brought against police officers last year. There were 20 corruption related matters reported in 2003 compared to 31 in 2002. The RBPF created in August an internal committee to investigate allegations of corruption against police officers. In September 2003, the committee investigated the theft of 11 kilos of cocaine from the Drug Enforcement Unit office. Although the probe is ongoing, at least one officer was transferred out of his position.

Outside observers consider the RBDF lagging in its ability to conduct internal investigations into allegations of corruption amongst its members. High-level leadership in the force has declined USG suggestions for establishing an administrative mechanism or an internal affairs unit to deal with corrupt members of the RBDF since by statute, the only way to remove such officers is through a conviction in a civilian court of law. In addition, a long-promised investigation into the suspicious disappearance over eleven years ago of confiscated drugs in the custody of the RBDF has not yet begun.

Agreements and Treaties. The Bahamas is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1988 UN Drug Convention, and the 1990 U.S.-Bahamas-Turks and Caicos Island Memorandum of Understanding concerning Cooperation in the Fight Against Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs. As noted, the GCOB is also a party to the 1996 Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. The GCOB works with the USG to achieve the objectives of a continuing U.S.-Bahamas counternarcotics and law enforcement project designed to enhance the capability of the GCOB to suppress criminal activity and promote local demand reduction.

The US-Bahamas mutual legal assistance treaty facilitates the bilateral exchange of information and evidence for use in criminal proceedings. U.S. MLAT requests seek to secure financial information and evidence for use in criminal investigations and prosecutions in U.S. courts. A separate unit was created within the Attorney General's Office to process international requests for assistance, including MLAT requests. However, the Office for International Affairs of the Attorney General—charged with managing multilateral information exchange requests—faced growing criticism by its international partners for foot-dragging on requests for financial information on suspected money launders and drug traffickers. Such criticism was echoed in October 2003 by the Americas Review Group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The Government of the Bahamas has since re-doubled efforts to reduce the backlog of pending information requests.

A 1994 U.S.-Bahamas extradition treaty permits the extradition of Bahamian nationals to the U.S. GCOB prosecutors pursue USG extradition requests vigorously and, at times, at considerable expense in resources. However, in the Bahamian justice system, defendants can appeal a magistrate's decision, first on local court level, and subsequently to the Privy Council in London. This process often adds years to an extradition procedure. In the case against the notorious Bahamian drug trafficker Samuel "Ninety" Knowles and his co-defendants, detained in prison since 2001, a Supreme Court justice in February 2002 reversed an earlier magistrate's decision granting his extradition. Then in January 2003, the Court of Appeal reversed that decision and restored the order granting their extradition. Knowles and his co-defendants then appealed this ruling to the Privy Council which is expected to issue its decision in 2004.

In 1985, the USG and the GCOB informally established a shiprider and overflight program for joint operations. Formalized as the "Cooperative Shiprider and Overflight Drug Programme" in an exchange of diplomatic notes in 1986, the program was extended by another such exchange in 1996. The agreement permits The Bahamas to deploy law enforcement officers on USG vessels operating in Bahamians waters. A Bahamian shiprider may grant a USG vessel authority to board and search any suspicious drug-smuggling vessel in Bahamian waters (and Bahamian vessels in the high seas) and to assist the shiprider executing arrests, as well as drug or vessel seizures. The agreement also authorizes USG law enforcement aircraft to overfly Bahamian territory.

Drug Flow/Transit. The USG estimates that up to 12 percent of the cocaine heading to the United States from South America and the Caribbean travels through the Jamaica-Cuba-Bahamas vector. Most of the cocaine flow originates in Colombia and arrives in The Bahamas via "go-fast" boats from Jamaica. The "go-fast" boats are the vehicles of choice for traffickers as they are a more elusive means of transportation, and the reduced load size keeps the losses due to interdiction or otherwise to a minimum. During 2003, law enforcement officials identified on average, a suspicious "go-fast" type boat on Bahamian waters every 3.5 days. In addition, there were 61 drug smuggling aircraft detected over Bahamian territory. Small amounts of drugs were found on individuals transiting through the international airports in Nassau and Grand Bahama Island and the transatlantic cruise ship ports. In 2003 Bahamian law enforcement officials identified shipments of drugs in Haitian sloops, fishing boats and pleasure vessels. Also significant amounts of illegal drugs have been found in transiting cargo containers stationed at the Port Container facility in Freeport. DEA/OPBAT estimates that there are a dozen major Bahamian drug trafficking organizations.

Demand Reduction. The GCOB continues to make a modest monetary and "in kind" contribution to demand reduction initiatives, especially in prevention and education. The quasi-governmental National Drug Council, coordinates the demand reduction programs of the various governmental entities such as Sandilands Rehabilitation Center, and of NGO's such as the Drug Action Service and the Bahamas Association for Social Health. Its counternarcotics mascot "Saino" (pronounced "Say No!") has been particularly well received among the younger population. Other drug prevention programs and presentations have been organized by RBPF's Community Relations Section, Canine Unit and DEU in schools and churches in Nassau.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. The goals of USG assistance to The Bahamas are to dismantle drug trafficking organizations, stem the flow of illegal drugs through The Bahamas to the United States and strengthen Bahamian law enforcement and judicial institutions to make them more effective and self sufficient in combating drug trafficking and money laundering. In March, the USG and the GCOB initiated negotiations on a Comprehensive Maritime Agreement designed to consolidate and update a patchwork of cooperative arrangements—including the shiprider and overflight agreements—dating back to 1964. The negotiations will continue in 2004.

Bilateral Cooperation. During 2003, the U.S. State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs' Bahamas Country Program, administered by the U.S. Embassy's Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS), funded training, equipment, travel and technical assistance for a number of law enforcement and drug demand reduction officials. The NAS has continued to provide support to the Bahamian Customs Department's canine unit at the Freeport Container Port. The NAS procured computer and other equipment to improve Bahamian law enforcement capacity to target trafficking organizations through better intelligence collection and more efficient interdiction operations. In recent years, NAS donated three interceptor boats to the GCOB. These boats have been deployed around Bahamian waters and have participated in a number of significant seizures of "go-fast" drug smuggling vessels. This year, NAS assisted in providing them with vital maintenance and parts not available in the country. In addition, NAS funds continued to be used to cover important operational expenses, such as utilities, repairs and maintenance for three OPBAT bases in George Town, Great Exuma; Matthew Town, Great Inagua; and at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC), Andros Island. NAS also provided funding to The National Drug Council and the Drug Action Service to extend their demand reduction activities to the Family Islands.

Road Ahead. The Bahamas' location and the expanse of its territorial area, guarantees that it will continue to be targeted for drug transshipment and other criminal activity. The Bahamian Government is expected to continue its strong commitment to our joint counternarcotics efforts. The U.S. looks forward to the finalization of important legislation implementing the National Drug Plan, and a precursor chemical control system, as well as the signing of a Maritime Agreement that would further assist the counternarcotics efforts of The Bahamas. However, due to the growing drug trade and the nation's small population and its relatively limited budgetary base, the GCOB will continue to depend upon significant USG assistance to fight international narcotics trafficking and crime. Given the importance of maintaining an effective interceptor fleet, NAS will work closely with RBPF to study the feasibility of converting some of the seized boats into interdiction boats. NAS plans to assist the Bahamians in identifying innovative technologies to obtain important intelligence to thwart the flow of drugs.

The Bahamas Statistics






















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British Caribbean

The five British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean (Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and Turks & Caicos Islands) each have their own drug strategies focused on interdiction, prevention, health, and education. The interdiction effort is focused on preventing drugs from entering each territory and its territorial waters being used as a transit route to the United States and Europe. In support of the UK Drug Strategy, HMG Customs and Excise have two officers based in Miami who are the Drug Liaison Officers covering the United States and the Overseas Territories.

All the Overseas Territories cooperate regularly with the U.S. DEA and the U.S. Coast Guard on counternarcotics initiatives and operations, and on other drug-related crimes, such as money laundering. Since March 18, 1982, the Turks and Caicos Islands have been a signatory to a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding with the United States and The Bahamas to combat drug trafficking. Known as OPBAT, this permanent operation has seized over 75,000 kilograms of cocaine and 375,000 kilograms of marijuana, according to UK official statistics. In addition to providing police personnel to OPBAT, the Turks and Caicos Islands has a police fixed-wing aircraft and sea vessels to support the operation as required. The British Virgin Islands also has a fixed-wing aircraft and all the other Overseas Territories have police marine vessels to support combined operations. The British Virgin Islands works closely with the U.S. DEA in the U.S. Virgin Islands and with the Coast Guard based in Puerto Rico. The Cayman Islands works closely with Jamaica and the U.S. DEA on joint counternarcotics operations.

In addition to the individual territories' aircraft and vessels, the Royal Navy deploys a destroyer or frigate guard ship, with support vessel, in the Caribbean for most of the year. Much of the time is spent on counternarcotics operations coordinated by the U.KS. Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S).


I. Summary

The priority attention of the Cuban regime is on political control of the Cuban people. Regime security officials did take a much more aggressive posture with respect to all activities deemed "illegal," including narcotics trafficking, beginning in the first quarter of 2003. However, the primary focus of this stepped-up activity was the arrest of hundreds of civil society activists, 75 of whom were quickly given prison terms averaging 20 years. The regime appears to have taken advantage of its broad crackdown on drug trafficking to repress illegal economic activities permissible in most normal societies. Later, the regime extended the crackdown to political activities permissible in democratic societies. Cuban territorial waters and airspace continue to serve as an inviting corridor for smugglers transiting from South America and the Caribbean to the U.S., Mexico, Haiti, and the Bahamas. The country's geographic proximity to the U.S., 3,500 nautical miles of coastline and more than 4,000 sparsely populated islets and cays provide a favorable environment for both air and maritime smuggling.

Cuban authorities have chosen not to provide an effective use of force policy and adequate resources to counternarcotics authorities to give them more than a limited ability to interdict go-fast vessels or aircraft. As a consequence, a favorable corridor inside the Cuban territorial waters and airspace exists for smugglers transiting northbound from South America and the Caribbean. Absent an effective use of force policy and decisions to direct state resources to other security areas, the current GOC inventory of decaying patrol boats and aircraft do not constitute a credible interdiction force. Other security forces are given greater resources; the Cuban government in particular provides substantial budgets to other police authorities, especially the General Directorate of State Security, Cuba's political police. Given the limited resources devoted to counternarcotics activities, Cuba's drug interdiction efforts focus on recovering washed-up narcotics and providing information to the U.S. Coast Guard on suspect vessels and aircraft transiting their airspace and territorial waters.

The Government of Cuba (GOC) issued Decree 232 in January 2003, initiating a nationwide crack down on domestic narcotics trafficking and possession. The decree authorized arrests and confiscation of property of drug producers, traffickers, and users. Though over 2000 arrests were made, mainly for small-scale narcotics trafficking , the regime also arrested political opposition members and harassed hundreds more.. Therefore, the timing of the counternarcotics crackdown indicates that it was intended at least in part as a prelude to a wider repressive campaign. The GOC also implemented Operation Hatchet III, a multi-agency counternarcotics interdiction operation in March 2003. The GOC claims to have seized or recovered 5,673 kilos of illicit narcotics in 2003, mostly marijuana, of which 89 percent washed up on the Cuban shoreline.

Limited, case-by-case coordination between the GOC and the USG on international drug trafficking issues has taken place during the past year. After the establishment of the U.S. Coast Guard Drug Interdiction Specialist (DIS) position at the U.S. Interests Section (USINT) in Havana in September 2000, Cuban authorities rarely took advantage of the access provided, instead cutting out the DIS on most occasions. The officer was also subjected to diplomatically unacceptable harassment.. Following our insistence that the DIS be effectively used or he would be withdrawn, Cuban authorities have permitted some useful, albeit limited, interchanges. Cuban drug enforcement authorities have provided the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) information on specific investigative cases and actionable information on suspect northbound aircraft and go-fast vessels that has resulted in U.S. drug seizures and arrests. Both the U.S. Coast Guard and the DEA have been able to reciprocate information sharing on a limited number of cases. Cuba has not signed the Caribbean Maritime Counternarcotics Cooperation agreement, despite participating in the negotiations. Cuba is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The island does not appear to be a significant producer of drugs or precursor chemicals, although Cuban officials indicate that marijuana is being cultivated in small amounts for a growing domestic market. The GOC reported that Cuban law enforcement officials have seized 54 tons of illicit narcotics since 1997, of which 71 percent washed up from failed air drops and go-fasts that jettisoned their narcotics following detection by U.S. law enforcement aircraft and vessels. Cuban officials pointed to the growing quantity of drugs seized over the past few years as a sign that Cuba's attractiveness as a transit point is increasing and their interdiction efforts are improving. The GOC claims its improved recovery of washed-up narcotics stems from the increased presence of Cuban Border Guard troops and coastal watch stations along the Cuban coastline. Some upgrades to patrol boats and equipment are being made, including the addition of a newly refurbished 110-ft patrol boat and a newly built 52-ft fast coastal interceptor for the Border Guard, but not at a rate commensurate with the growing narcotics threat to Cuban territory.

According to Cuban Government statistics, the Border Guard interdicts ninety percent of the drugs that Cuban law enforcement authorities seize. The lead investigative law enforcement agency on drugs in Cuba is the Ministry of Interior's National Anti-Drug Directorate (DNA). The DNA is comprised of a variety of law enforcement, intelligence, and youth affairs and education organizations.

The non-enforcement governing body for prevention, rehabilitation, and policy issues is the National Drug Commission, formed in 1989 after the scandal involving the conviction and execution of an Army major general, a Ministry of Interior colonel, and several other officials for purported involvement in narcotics trafficking. This interagency coordinating body, headed by the Minister of Justice, is comprised of the Ministries of the Interior, Foreign Relations, Public Health, Higher Education, Education and Culture. Also represented on the commission are the Attorney General's Office, Customs and Border Guard Services and the National Sports Institute.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2003

Policy Initiatives. Fidel Castro signed Decree 232 on January 23, 2003, "On the Confiscation for Deeds Related with Drugs, Acts of Corruption and Other Illicit Behavior." As a result, the GOC launched a nationwide crackdown and a pledge to "battle against international drug trafficking and the incipient internal market." The decree authorizes arrests and confiscation of property of drug producers, traffickers or users, and those guilty of "corruption, pimping, pornography, corruption of minors, human trafficking and other similar crimes."

Law Enforcement Efforts. The GOC implemented "Operation Hatchet III", an ongoing counternarcotics interdiction operation focused on disrupting maritime and air trafficking routes, recovering washed-up narcotics, and a nation-wide public affairs campaign to encourage citizens to report any drug trafficking or drug wash-ups to Cuban law enforcement authorities, in 2003. Operation Hatchet III includes vessels, aircraft and radar surveillance from the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Navy and Air Force), coastal patrol vessels and radar surveillance from the Ministry of Interior Border Guard, and participants from the DNA, National Police, and the National Park Rangers.

The GOC reported an expansion of its coastal watch station program and reported the existence of 239 coastal watch stations with 7,344 personnel assigned around the island of Cuba. The GOC also claimed to establish counternarcotics units equipped with drug detection dogs and x-ray equipment at each international airport to prevent visiting foreigners from bringing drugs in for their personal use. The extent to which the coastal watch program and the airport teams are deployed cannot be verified and neither can their effectiveness when they are deployed.

The GOC implemented Operation "Coraza Popular" as a result of Decree 232 to detain, sanction, or confiscate any items linked to narcotics trafficking. Led by the Ministry of Interior, they increased investigations of suspected narcotics traffickers, and created a nationwide public awareness campaign to eliminate drug trafficking and its associated crimes. The ongoing operation focuses on investigation of internal drug trafficking and domestic marijuana production. Following the decree, Cuban police rounded up suspects, raided homes and seized 93 kilos of illicit narcotics and arrested over 2000 people, mostly small time dealers involved in drug trafficking.

Drug Seizures/Arrests. According to the GOC, 89 percent of all drugs "seized" were wash-ups, not from enforcement actions. Of this total, 89 percent was marijuana and 11 percent was cocaine. The GOC reported the seizure of 5,673 kilos of illicit narcotics in 2003, which included 5,160 kilos of marijuana, 506 kilos of cocaine, and 6.8 kilos of heroin and other synthetic drugs. Operation Hatchet III alone is reportedly responsible for the recovery of 5,119 4 kilos of illicit narcotics in Cuba in 2003.

The Cuban Border Guard seized one go-fast boat with 437 kilos of marijuana onboard, after the vessel had mechanical problems while navigating in Cuban territorial waters in May 2003. The Cuban Border Guard also provided flight information to the U.S. Coast Guard that led to the interdiction of an aircraft and the seizure of 400 kilos of cocaine by U.S. and Bahamian law enforcement authorities in September 2003. The DNA provided information to the DEA that resulted in the dismantlement of a New York-based heroin smuggling ring. Cuban law enforcement authorities also broke up a Cuba-Curacao cocaine smuggling ring that resulted in the sentencing of nine Cuban and five Curacao nationals to 13 years to life in prison for narcotics trafficking. The GOC reported that 18 foreigners were arrested for narcotics trafficking in six separate cases with a total seizure of 17 kilos of cocaine and 6.8 kilos of heroin at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. The GOC also reported more than 200 foreign tourists were detained for possession of narcotics for personal consumption at Cuban international airports in 2003.

Corruption. The United States does not have direct evidence of narcotics-related corruption among senior GOC officials, although regular anecdotal reports of corruption throughout all levels of Cuban society and government continue to circulate. No mention of GOC complicity in narcotics trafficking nor narcotics-related corruption was made in the media in 2003; the media in Cuba are completely controlled by the state. Cuba has not signed the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. Cuba is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Pyschotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. The GOC maintains bilateral narcotics agreements with 32 countries and less formal agreements with 16 others. The GOC signed a counternarcotics agreement on asset forfeiture sharing with Canada on July 09, 2003. Counternarcotics coordination between the U.S. and Cuba occurs only on a case-by-case basis. The Cuban government has not signed the regional Caribbean counternarcotics and cooperation agreement despite its participation in the agreement negotiations. Cuba has signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

Cultivation/Production. There is no evidence that Cuba is a significant drug-producing country. Cuban narcotics officials say that small quantities of marijuana are grown around Havana and Eastern Cuba for domestic use.

Drug Flow/Transit. Narcotics trafficking from Jamaica to Mexico, the Bahamas, Haiti, and to the U.S. normally occurs through Cuban territorial seas and airspace, with a majority of the narcotics trafficked via maritime routes inside the territorial waters of Cuba around the eastern and western tips and via air routes over the eastern side of the island. Cuban law enforcement authorities reported sightings of 69 suspect vessels (22 aircraft and 47 go-fast) in 2003 transiting their airspace or territorial waters, an increase from the 56 sightings in 2002. Small quantities of narcotics, carried by drug couriers or "mules", were trafficked via Cuba's international airports to and from Europe.

Chemical Control. Based on available information, Cuba is not a source of precursor chemicals, nor have there been any incidents involving precursor chemicals reported in 2003.

Domestic Programs. The National Commission on Drugs (CND), created in 1989, has taken the lead on drug prevention programs. British prevention and rehabilitation authorities have hosted seminars to assist the Cubans in establishing similar programs. The majority of municipalities on the island have counternarcotics organizations. Prevention programs focus on education and outreach to groups most at risk of being introduced to illegal drug use. There is a counternarcotics action plan that encompasses the Ministries of Health, Justice, Education and Interior among others in coordination with the United Nations, to implement their long-term prevention strategy that is included as part of the educational curriculum at all grade levels.

The GOC continues to blame the growing domestic drug consumption problem on increased foreign tourism and "washed-up" drugs that are jettisoned from go-fast vessels and not reported by their finders, who sell them for hard currency or consume them. The GOC has initiated a major public affairs campaign to encourage citizens to report drug "wash-ups" and suspect drug dealers as well as a public awareness campaign at all international airport terminals. The airport posters state the GOC does not allow the possession or importation of narcotics by tourists.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. Narcotics cooperation occurs only on a case-by-case basis, and Cuban interest in engaging with the DIS ebbs and flows based on the regime's political priorities. Since the arrival of the new DIS in June 2003, responding to U.S. commitment to withdraw the DIS unless properly used, the Cuban DNA and Border Guard have provided some increased exposure to Cuban counternarcotics efforts, including an Operations Hatchet III familiarization trip to the eastern provinces of Cuba, attendance to observe a CND narcotics burn, and a tour of two new Border Guard patrol boats at Base Havana. Whether this attitude will persist is a matter of speculation. In addition, the Cuban DNA provided useful investigative case information on narcotics trafficking and the Border Guard provided timely information on suspect vessels and aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard on over 35 events. As noted, the increased interaction is a result of the USG's insistence that the DIS be effectively used or he would be withdrawn from Cuba. The GOC allowed a DEA team to meet with the DNA in Havana to discuss two drug investigative cases of mutual interest that furthered their investigations on several international drug traffickers.

The Road Ahead Cuba's strategic geographic position and the regime's refusal to implement an effective use of force policy consistent with its interdiction and intelligence capabilities have created a favorable corridor inside the Cuban territorial waters and airspace for smugglers transiting northbound from South America and the Caribbean. Cuba's non-use of warning and disabling fire against suspected drug trafficking vessels and non-participation in the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counterdrug and Cooperation Agreement have added to the attractiveness of smuggling routes through Cuban waters and airspace. Cuba recently indicated that it had no interest in signing the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counterdrug and Cooperation Agreement, suggesting that it will not participate in the regional coordination necessary to combat narcotics trafficking in the regional context. The failure to assume that responsibility will increase the attractiveness of Cuban waters and airspace to narcotics traffickers.

Dominican Republic

I. Summary

The Dominican Republic (DR) is a major transit country for South American drugs, mostly cocaine and heroin, moving to the United States and Europe. The Government of the Dominican Republic (GODR) continued to cooperate closely with the U.S. in counternarcotics matters. Last year (2003) saw a decrease in heroin and MDMA (ecstasy) seizures, an increase in cocaine interceptions, and continued good results of the extradition process. Negligible cooperation between the GODR and the Haitian police, and attempts to apply a strong anti-money laundering law to a notorious bank fraud case presented challenges to U.S. law enforcement assistance to the GODR. Although the GODR continued its efforts to combat corruption in 2003, corruption and weak governmental institutions remained an impediment to controlling the flow of illegal narcotics through the DR. In 2003, an estimated eight percent of the cocaine directed toward the U.S. flowed through Hispaniola, and nearly half this amount reached the DR's shores directly from South American sources. The DR is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

There is no significant cultivation, refining, or manufacturing of major illicit drugs in the DR. Dominican criminal organizations are increasingly involved in command and control of international drug trafficking operations, but the country's primary role in regional drug trafficking is as a transshipment hub.

Seizures in 2003 continued to indicate that cocaine, heroin, and marijuana destined for the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, Europe were being transshipped through the DR and its territorial waters. Ecstasy seized in the DR was most often being transported from Europe to the U.S. Puerto Rican authorities noted a decrease in drug smuggling via the ferries operating between Puerto Rico and the DR, probably due to the presence of a newly established counternarcotics canine unit at the Santo Domingo ferry terminal. However, USG authorities noted a new trend toward use of illegal migrant boats (yolas) to smuggle drugs to Puerto Rico.

Dominican nationals play a major role in the transshipment of drugs. Many "go-fast" crews in the Caribbean include Dominican nationals, mostly fishermen recruited from the local docks. The crews speak Spanish, the language of the source country smugglers; move easily throughout the Caribbean; and are recruited for very small amounts of money.

The DR is not a producer of precursor chemicals, but there is continued concern about their importation.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2003

Policy Initiatives. The DR-initiated bilateral intelligence-sharing and interdiction efforts with Haiti, begun after Operation Hurricane in 2001, were not continued in 2003. The DR has continued to participate in annual Caribbean-wide counternarcotics operations.

The National Directorate for Drug Control (DNCD), the law enforcement arm responsible for counternarcotics measures, and the National Drug Council (CND), the GODR's policy and planning organ, have adopted a computerized tracking system and are able to track seizures of assets in connection with drug-related offenses.

Following the collapse of BANINTER, the third-largest Dominican bank, the Dominican Government struggled to implement anti-money laundering legislation passed in 2002. (See the Money Laundering section of this report.)

In 2003, the GODR instituted training, with U.S. and other international support, that will help with implementation of the criminal procedures code, revised in 2003. The training will continue into 2004. This code changed the Dominican criminal system from a Napoleonic system, with a dossier of evidence evaluated by a judge, to an adversarial system of verbal process before a judge or a jury.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Mejia Administration and law enforcement leaders place importance on security and counternarcotics efforts. The DNCD increased its canine program to 30 dogs and handlers. All canine teams were recertified, and unit commanders were certified as dog team trainers. Security at the ferry terminal between the DR and Puerto Rico was upgraded.

The DNCD led a multi-year, U.S. Government-supported effort to share data among Dominican law enforcement agencies and to make information available on demand by field officers. No multinational counternarcotics exercises were conducted during 2003.

Cultivation/Production. There is no known cultivation of coca or opium poppy in the DR. Cannabis is grown on a small scale for local consumption. The GODR's investigations into possible in-country manufacture of MDMA (Ecstasy) have produced no definitive evidence of such activity.

Drug Flow/Transit. The DNCD maintained its seizure rate, interdicting body-carried heroin and cocaine in the DR's international airports and larger quantities from vehicles and buildings. Through December 2003, with cooperation and assistance of the U.S. DEA, the DNCD seized 1,338 kilograms of cocaine, 59 kilograms of heroin, 51,965 units of MDMA (Ecstasy), and 1174 pounds of marijuana. Puerto Rican authorities seized 2,039 kilograms of cocaine as a direct result of intelligence supplied by the DNCD and the Santo Domingo DEA office. The DNCD continued to focus interdiction operations on the drug-transit routes in the DR's territorial waters along the northern border and on its land border crossings with Haiti, while attempting to prevent airdrops and sea delivery of illicit narcotics to remote areas. The DNCD and their DEA counterparts concentrated increasingly on investigations leading to takedown of large criminal organizations operating on an international level, and several rings were broken up as a result.

In 2003, drugs were easily accessible for local consumption in most metropolitan areas. Growing numbers of tourists from Europe, the United States, and Canada provided a customer base for local drug sales, especially at beachfront vacation resorts. Traffickers often used drugs to pay low-level couriers and distributors. Increased local consumption has strained treatment resources for drug-related addition and HIV.

The DNCD made 3929 drug-related arrests in 2003; of these, 3692 were Dominican nationals and 237 were foreigners. There were 227 fewer drug-related arrests in 2003 than in 2002 and 62 fewer foreigners were among those arrested on drug charges than in 2002.

Most significant seizures were made on land, in the big cities. There were some seizures made at the Haitian border in 2003, but quantities seized were limited. While the number of seizures made in Dominican airports was high, the actual amount of drugs seized was small. Only 9 percent of the total cocaine and 61 percent of the total heroin seized in the Dominican Republic was seized in the airports. Seizures of Ecstasy were more successful in airports, resulting in 77 percent of all Ecstasy pills seized in the DR. Maritime seizures remain a challenge for the DR, especially drugs hidden in commercial vessels for shipment to the U.S. and/or Europe.

Extradition. The U.S.-Dominican Extradition Treaty dates from 1909. Extradition of nationals is not mandated under the treaty, and for many years Dominican legislation barred the extradition of Dominican nationals. Former President Fernandez signed legislation in 1998 allowing the extradition of Dominican nationals. In March 2000, the U.S. Marshals Service assigned two marshals temporarily to the DR. They received excellent cooperation from the DNCD's special Section for Fugitive Surveillance and other relevant Dominican authorities in locating fugitives and returning them to the U.S. to face justice. The marshals were withdrawn in 2002, then returned permanently during 2003.

President Mejia's administration maintained its record of cooperation in 2003, and the GODR extradited 17 Dominicans to the U.S. during the year. The DNCD arrested 20 fugitives in 2003 in response to U.S. extradition requests. The National Police, working with the FBI, arrested and extradited two drug-related subjects. Eight individuals are now in custody pending extradition to the U.S.

In December 2003, with no fanfare, one of six persons arrested in the "" case and awaiting deportation to the U.S. was released on orders of the Dominican Attorney General. In response to Embassy protests, the Attorney General cited supposed inadequacies in the extradition request package. At year's end, President Mejia was aware of USG concerns, but no further action had been taken.

Mutual Legal Assistance. The GODR cooperates with USG agencies, including the DEA, FBI, U.S. Customs Service, and U.S. Marshals Service on counternarcotics and fugitive matters.

The DNCD housed and manned the DEA-sponsored Caribbean Center for Drug Information (CDI) at its facilities in Santo Domingo. An increasing number of Caribbean countries have found the CDI's intelligence analysis services useful and are now frequent contributors of new information.

The Dominican Navy received six renovated patrol craft and two newly constructed 115-foot patrol ships, supplied under a U.S. $25 million commercial contract with a U.S. company, and plans were made to incorporate these vessels into multilateral counternarcotics and antimigration patrol activities.

Corruption. The GODR does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, and other controlled substances, nor does it contribute to drug-related money laundering.

Dominican institutions remain vulnerable to influence by interest groups or individuals with money to spend, including narcotics traffickers. The GODR has not convicted any senior government official for engaging in, encouraging, or in any way facilitating the illicit production or distribution of illicit drugs or controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Legislation remains pending that would strengthen enforcement of a 1979 law that requires senior appointed civil service and elected officials to file financial disclosure statements. In what may be a regional model for transparency and an indication of the seriousness of the Dominican judiciary to uphold the ethical quality of employees, the sworn financial disclosure statements for all Dominican judges can be found online. Nonetheless, an effective system to verify these statements has not yet been implemented and there are no sanctions for false statements.

The GODR is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and in 2001 signed the consensus agreement on establishing a mechanism to evaluate compliance with the Convention.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The DNCD conducted 79 youth events in various cities and neighborhoods, from basketball tournaments to chess matches, reaching over 200,000 young people to encourage competitive and recreational activities as better choices than drug abuse. A non-governmental organization, Foundation for Life (FUNVIDA), published with USG assistance a book entitled "Schools Without Drugs" and distributed it gratis at several neighborhood meetings in the capital area.

Agreements and Treaties. The DR and the U.S. have a bilateral agreement on international narcotics control cooperation. In May 2003, the DR entered into three comprehensive bilateral agreements, on Cooperation in Maritime Migration Law Enforcement, Maritime Counter-Drug Operations, and Search and Rescue, granting permanent overflight provisions in all three agreements for the respective operations. The three agreements concluded a long bilateral effort to secure permanent overflight provisions; previous agreements provided only annual provisions. In addition, the Maritime Counter-Drug Agreement broadened the scope of operations agreed to by the parties. The DR was an active participant in the negotiations that resulted in a Caribbean regional maritime counternarcotics agreement.

In 2002, the DR became the first country in the Western Hemisphere to sign an Article 98 agreement exempting U.S. military personnel in the DR from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. In 2001, the U.S. and the DR exchanged instruments of ratification of the Treaty for the Return of Stolen or Embezzled Vehicles. Attempts to implement the treaty have been hampered by organizational weaknesses within the Dominican bureaucracy, and in 2003 no vehicles were repatriated under this treaty.

The DR has signed but not ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants, and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Cocaine and heroin trafficking, money laundering, institutional corruption, and reform of the judicial system remain the United States' primary counternarcotics concerns in the DR. The USG and the GODR cooperate to develop Dominican institutions that can interdict and seize narcotics shipments and conduct effective investigations leading to arrests, prosecutions, and convictions. The USG will continue to urge the GODR to improve its asset forfeiture procedures and its capacity to regulate financial institutions, develop and maintain strict controls on precursor chemicals, and improve its demand reduction programs.

During 2003, the U.S. provided essential equipment and training to expand the counternarcotics canine units, supported the DNCD's vetted special investigation unit and border intelligence units, provided radio equipment to facilitate communications along the DR's border with Haiti, and funded assessments of airport and port security against narcotics trafficking and terrorism. The U.S. delivered three harbor patrol craft and a fully refurbished go-fast boat, previously captured from drug smugglers, to the Dominican Navy. The U.S. also assisted the Dominican Navy in planning for a complete maintenance and training program for its maritime assets. The cornerstone of this effort is the reopening of the Navy's training and maintenance school, closed in 1997. The first step, establishment of a Navy maintenance command, was completed in 2003.

The U.S. has funded training to the DNCD Fugitive Surveillance Unit, helping it locate, apprehend, and extradite individuals wanted on criminal charges in the United States. Enhanced computer training, database expansion, and systems maintenance support were provided to the DNCD.

The Dominican Navy and Air Force have a direct communications agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard's regional operations center (GANTSEC) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dominican Navy vessels have participated in numerous maritime drug seizures.

USAID's "Strengthened Rule of Law and Respect for Human Rights" program continues to work with the Dominican court and prosecutorial system to improve the administration of justice, enhance access to justice, and support anticorruption programs. Improvements achieved to date include speedier, more transparent judicial processes managed by better-trained, technically competent, and ethical judges who insist upon stricter adherence to due process. The USAID program continued to provide training to prosecutors in basic criminal justice and prosecutorial skills. Several high-profile investigations are ongoing.

The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (DOJ/OPDAT) provided two weeks of training to prosecutors and investigators on basics of money laundering.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security worked closely with Dominican business associations to establish a Dominican chapter of the Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition (BASC). This voluntary alliance of manufacturers, transport companies, and related private sector entities has agreed to meet stringent security standards to prevent smuggling by means of their operations and to receive surprise inspections at any time. The BASC approach has proven successful in other Latin countries in minimizing contraband and promoting honest business activity.

A third privately owned airport, at La Romana, joined those at Punta Cana and Santiago in upgrading counternarcotics measures, including co-funding with the USG a DNCD canine unit.

The U.S. is planning to deploy a mobile training team for the DNCD's border units and provide increased support for Dominican naval patrols of the Mona Passage.

With U.S. Customs leadership and DEA support, the Port Authority improved security at the formerly chaotic Santo Domingo terminal of the ferry to Puerto Rico. An ongoing project has improved passenger processing and established controls to detect and prevent smuggling of drugs and other contraband. U.S. Customs also advised the owners of the new Caucedo container terminal, which began limited operations in December.

The DEA-funded CDI at DNCD headquarters now permits real-time sharing and analysis of narcotics-related intelligence among all the nations of the Caribbean Basin. Similar centers are established in Mexico, Colombia, and Bolivia.

USG training programs have also targeted the DR military's intelligence units in order to improve their capacity to analyze, detect and interdict narcotics shipments. Two military officers received counternarcotics training at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The Road Ahead. The immediate U.S. goal remains helping to institutionalize judicial reform and good governance. The DR and U.S. are working to build coherent counternarcotics programs that can resist the pressures of corruption and can address new challenges brought by innovative narcotics trafficking organizations.

The USG and the GODR will continue strengthening drug control cooperation through sharing of information and developing closer working relations among principal agencies. The United States will continue to provide training and equipment for the DNCD, focusing its attention on the information technology and intelligence exchange necessary to disrupt narcotics smuggling at Dominican land and sea borders and at airports. Support for the retraining and re-certification of the DNCD canine units will continue, as will establishment of new canine units in cooperation with DNCD. The DNCD's fugitive investigation teams will continue to receive hands-on U.S. support for their efforts pursuing Dominican fugitives from U.S. justice seeking refuge in the DR. The USG will continue to provide support to Dominican government and private sector counternarcotics efforts, including provision of specialized technical equipment and support of business and civil society demand reduction efforts.

USAID and the DOJ/OPDAT will provide further training to prosecutors and investigators, increasing their professionalism and ensuring that they are prepared to implement the new Criminal Procedures Code when it becomes effective in 2004. U.S. support for civil society's and the Mejia administration's efforts to curb corruption will continue, regardless of the outcome of 2004 presidential elections, through U.S.-funded programs to strengthen the Attorney General's Anticorruption Prosecution Department and through monitoring and reporting compliance with the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.

The USG will continue to work closely with the Anti-Money Laundering Commission to ensure full implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering Law.

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Dutch Caribbean

I. Summary

Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and the Netherlands together form Kingdom of the Netherlands. The two Caribbean parts of the Kingdom have autonomy over their internal affairs, with the right to exercise independent decision-making in a number of counternarcotics areas. The Government of the Netherlands (GON) is responsible for the defense and foreign affairs of all three parts of the Kingdom and assists the Government of Aruba (GOA) and the Government of the Netherlands Antilles (GONA) in their efforts to combat narcotics trafficking. Both Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are active members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF). The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and all three jurisdictions are subject to the Convention.

II. Status

Netherlands Antilles. The islands of the Netherlands Antilles (N.A.) (Curacao and Bonaire off Venezuela, and Saba, Saint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten east of the U.S. Virgin Islands) continue to serve as northbound transshipment points for cocaine and increasing amounts of heroin coming from South America; chiefly Colombia, Venezuela, and Suriname. These shipments typically are transported to U.S. territory in the Caribbean by "go-fast" boats although use of fishing boats, pleasure craft, freighters, and cruise ships is becoming more common. Direct transport to Europe, and at times to the U.S., is by "mules" (drug couriers) using commercial flights. Evidence in 2003 did not support a finding that drugs now entering the U. S. from the N.A. are in an amount sufficient to have a significant effect on the United States, but the entire eastern and southern Caribbean is an area of U.S. concern. The DEA and local law enforcement saw continued go-fast traffic this year, much of which moved to Sint Maarten en route to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally, there was a marked increase in sailing craft and larger vessels used to move multi-hundred kilogram shipments of cocaine clandestinely under the guise of recreational maritime traffic.

The 2002 crack-down on "mules"—those who ingest or conceal illegal drugs on their bodies—at Curacao's Hato International Airport continued during 2003 as part of the 'Zero Tolerance' anticrime campaign. Still, most of the traffic (estimated at 95 percent) is destined for Europe. Since the inception of the "Hato Team" concept of interagency cooperation in April 2002, at least 10,000 persons have been denied boarding based on suspicion of drug trafficking under the GONA's legal authority to prevent disruption on air carriers. The GONA estimates that by the end of the year, drug-related arrests at the airport will have doubled to 2,400 from 1200 in 2002. During 2003 there were at least seven assaults by gunfire on the airport "Hato Team."

In February 2003, a judge determined that the use of a body scanner at the airport was not a human rights violation when used as an instrument of administrative law and the GONA authorized its use. Suspected traffickers may decline to pass through the body scanner, but they will be denied boarding without refund. Between 5-20 passengers are denied boarding daily and it is not unusual to deny 80-100 during a weekend. Over the weekend of June 6-8, 157 suspects were denied boarding. Ringleaders increasingly seek to overwhelm the inspectors with volume, expecting that at least a few will get through. Smugglers are increasingly turning from ingesting or concealing drugs on their bodies to secreting smaller amounts of drugs in luggage. Air Holland has joined the transatlantic companies supporting 17 weekly flights to Amsterdam; all carriers cooperate in prescreening. Other trafficking routes are also of concern; in March N.A. Customs seized 76 kilos of cocaine at the Free Zone.

Consistent with the increased smuggling, arrests were frequent in 2003, filling Curacao's central prison to capacity. The detention facility nearest the airport will receive 20 refurbished cells and special facilities by late December to deal with ingestors. Curacao courts now typically handle 30-40 drug cases in a morning. To relieve overcrowding and the burden on the judicial system, authorities increasingly issue citations with fines calibrated to the amount and type of drug.

As Hato airport maintained tightened control, traffickers began to move to other Antillean airports, challenging law enforcement control at those locations. Bonaire, which now hosts 28 KLM flights per week and approximately 500,000 passengers per year, expected to process 250-300 drug cases in 2003; it processed 131 in 2002, and 30 in 2001. In January, an airport investigation resulted in the seizure of 50 kilos of cocaine and revealed the involvement of a security guard and a snack bar employee. The island has no detention space left.

Sint Maarten continued to detect increasing numbers of mules, mostly from Curacao, and improved its drug detection technology with Dutch assistance. There is almost a 100 percent check on arrivals from Curacao resulting in 106 arrests from January through September of 2003. In September plans were announced to move forward with an interagency 'Juliana Team' at the airport. On September 24, 29 mules carrying a total of 410 kilos of cocaine were arrested on a single flight for Europe; several were central Europeans.

Throughout the Antilles, ecstasy from the Netherlands is increasingly used to pay for cocaine. Sint Maarten seized 11,500 tablets on March 22; 11,500 tables on May 15; and in July, 70,600 tablets. In addition to go-fast activity and smuggling via commercial airlines, large quantities of narcotics moved through in shipping containers, as indicated by seizures from containers in 2003. Statistics on significant seizures in 2003 indicate that Dutch Sint Maarten poses a serious threat as a staging ground for moving cocaine and heroin into the U.S. market. There are no customs controls between the Dutch and French sides of the island and the international airport serving both is on the Dutch side.

The crime and homelessness stemming from drug abuse remained important concerns for the GONA and were major concerns for the voters in the May Curacao elections. Curacao continues to suffer an increase in homicides. As of November 30, 51 homicides had occurred, of which 33 are suspected of being drug-related. During 2002, 43 homicides were recorded with 33 suspected to be have been drug-related. While often third-country nationals, victims and perpetrators are increasingly Antillean. Beginning early in 2003, the GONA required visas of Colombians wishing to enter its territory as a response to increased Colombian involvement in homicides. The rise in drug abuse is attributed to payment for drug trafficking services in cocaine or ECSTACY rather than in cash, as well as to a weakened economy and un- or underemployment. The increasing availability of weapons is also cited; from January to April, 57 firearms were seized; 25 were seized during the equivalent period in 2002; 64 were seized in all of 01.

The N.A. Government that took office in July 2003 has yet to articulate a clear counternarcotics strategy, but cooperation continues unabated. The new government has announced its opposition to the continued use of the body scanner, citing it as discriminatory and demeaning, and it is in a heated dispute with the Kingdom regarding appropriate technology and the division of counternarcotics responsibility.

Elected officials and all elements of the law enforcement and judicial communities recognize that the N.A., chiefly due to geography, faces a serious threat from drug trafficking. The police, who are understaffed and need additional training, have received some additional resources, including support from the National Guard. Rigorous legal standards required to prosecute cases constrain the effectiveness of the police; nevertheless, local police made significant progress in 2003 in initiating complex, sensitive cases targeting upper-echelon traffickers. In November 2003, law enforcement made its largest seizure ever, involving 2,345 kilograms of cocaine, 15 kilograms of heroin, and 15 kilograms of amphetamine after a sophisticated, lengthy investigation. One month earlier, police working with the Joint Coast Guard of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (JCGNAA) seized 802 kilos of cocaine. These efforts, and other significant seizures, demonstrated the effectiveness of cooperation among law enforcement entities in the region. The local community supports the GONA's offensive against drugs.

The far-reaching restructuring of the N.A. police, started in 2000, continued to show limited results. During 2003, the police chief made improvement of the Criminal Investigative Service (CID) his top priority. His second priority continues to be improving the expertise of the financial investigation team. It is estimated that Curacao requires 900 police officers, but has a force of 420. Of the 26 additional officers now in training, 11 will go to the Windward Islands and Bonaire, and 15 to Curacao. From a previous class of seven, all went to Bonaire to stem the increasing problems there. As a result of a protocol signed in 2002 between the Justice Ministers of the Antilles and the Netherlands, the NA is now connected to the Dutch Police Information network to exchange information, particularly about international crime. The specialized Dutch police units (RSTs) that support law enforcement in the NA continued to be effective in 2003 and continued, as originally intended, to include local officers in the development of investigative strategies to ensure exchange of expertise and information.

In addition to these improvements in law enforcement, the GONA demonstrated its commitment to the counternarcotics effort by continued support for a U.S. Forward Operating Location (FOL) at Curacao's Hato International Airport. Under a ten-year use agreement signed in March 2000 and ratified in October 2001 by the Dutch Parliament, U.S. military and civilian aircraft conduct counternarcotics detection and monitoring flights over source and transit zones from commercial ramp space provided free of charge. A major airport expansion project, completed in September 2003, adds to the FOL's capacity.

The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Coast Guard (CGNAA) scored a number of impressive successes in 2003, although an intense debate is underway within the Kingdom regarding its composition, structure, and mission. The CGNAA was responsible for several significant seizures of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. The RST unit in Curacao also accounted for the initiation of an investigation of a substantial international conspiracy. The CGNAA's three cutters, outfitted with rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), designed especially for counternarcotics work in the Caribbean, demonstrated their utility against go-fast boats and other targets.

The CGNAA has developed a very effective counternarcotics intelligence service and is considered by the U.S. Coast Guard and DEA to be an invaluable international law enforcement partner. Authorities in both the NA and Aruba are intent on ensuring that there is a proper balance between the CGNAA's international obligation to stop narcotics trafficking through the islands, and its local responsibility to stop narcotics distribution on the islands. During July 2003 the CGNAA in Sint Maarten boarded a sailing vessel and found approximately 1,150 kilograms of cocaine destined for Europe. In August it seized 822 kilograms of cocaine. Under the leadership of the current Attorney General, the GONA continued to strengthen its cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities throughout 2003. This cooperation extended to Sint Maarten, where the United States and the GONA continued joint efforts against international organized crime and drug trafficking.

Aruba. Aruba is a transshipment point for cocaine and increasing quantities of heroin moving north, mainly from Colombia, to the U.S. and secondarily to Europe. Drugs move north via cruise ships and the multiple daily flights to the U.S. and Europe. While the transshipment of heroin through the eastern and southern Caribbean is a growing concern to the U.S., evidence in 2003 did not support a finding that drugs entering from Aruba were in an amount sufficient to have a significant effect on the U.S. The island attracts drug traffickers with its good infrastructure, excellent flight connections, and light sentences for drug-related crimes, served in prisons with relatively good living conditions. Of concern to the GOA is the involvement of Aruban students in transporting drugs, mostly ecstasy, from the Netherlands to the islands or the U.S. While Aruba is, by any standard, a relatively crime-free island, Arubans worry about the easy availability of inexpensive drugs.

Drug abuse in Aruba remains a cause for concern. As in the Antilles, the most visible evidence of a drug abuse problem is the homeless addicts, called "chollars", often publicly linked to the increase in crime. The expanding use of ecstasy in clubs by young people attracts increasing attention. With almost one million American citizen tourists alone, the market is considerably larger than the population. Private foundations on the island work on drug education and prevention and GOA's top counternarcotics official actively reaches out to U.S. sources for materials to use in his office's prevention programs. The police also work in demand reduction programs for the schools and visit them regularly. The GOA has established an interagency commission to develop plans and programs to discourage youth from trafficking between the Netherlands and the U.S. The GOA has stated clearly that it intends to pursue a dynamic counternarcotics strategy in close cooperation with its regional and international partners.

In 2003, Aruban law enforcement officials continued to investigate and prosecute mid-level drug traffickers who supply drugs to the endless parade of "mules", often third-country nationals. During 2003, the police cooperated closely with DEA in a complex investigation leading to the arrest of twelve defendants and the seizure of 14 kilograms of heroin, 9 kilograms of cocaine, $100,000, and two vessels.

The police were reorganized in 2002 into four autonomous districts, each with its own detective division and led by a District Commissioner. Officers rotate periodically through the police functions. The aim was to put more police on the streets to counter criticism that low-level street pushers enjoy virtually unimpeded freedom to sell cheap drugs to Aruban youth. Two new police stations were established. A new police unit was created for the tourist areas to provide focused coverage, including counternarcotics. The Attorney General remains committed to international cooperation. The GOA now employs a helicopter to provide approximately 30 hours monthly of coastal coverage. In 2003, the GOA acquired four additional trained dogs to double its canine team.

The GOA continues to demonstrate its commitment to the international effort to combat drug trafficking by hosting a USAF Forward Operating Location (FOL) at Reina Beatrix airport. The GOA continued to make valuable commercial ramp space available to USG aircraft conducting aerial counternarcotics detection and monitoring missions.

The GOA hosts the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Bureau of Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance personnel at Reina Beatrix airport. These officers occupy facilities financed and built by the GOA. DHS personnel, cooperating with their Aruban counterparts, continue to contribute to seizures of cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy in 2003. Arrested drug smugglers are either prosecuted in Aruba or returned to the U.S. for prosecution, as appropriate. Aruban jails remain critically overcrowded. While additional space is now available at the prison, the Director believes that at least 30 new guards will be needed. To cope with the volume, the Aruban authorities increasingly cite and fine, rather than arrest, low-level traffickers. The fine is linked to the amount and type of drug. Aruban officials actively and creatively explored ways to capitalize on the presence of the FOL and pre-clearance personnel, seeking to use resident U.S. law enforcement expertise to improve local law enforcement capabilities.

Aruba also continued to participate in the Coast Guard of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Aruban participation, however, was disrupted for much of the year due to disputes with the Kingdom regarding personnel policies and employment benefits.

III. Actions Against Drugs in 2003

Agreements and Treaties. The Netherlands extended the 1988 UN Drug Convention to the N.A. and Aruba in March 1999, with the reservation that its obligations under certain provisions would only be applicable in so far as they were in accordance with N.A. and Aruban criminal legislation and policy on criminal matters. The N.A. and Aruba subsequently enacted revised, uniform legislation to resolve a lack of uniformity between the asset forfeiture laws of the N.A. and Aruba. The obligations of the Netherlands as a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, apply to the NA and Aruba. The obligations of the Netherlands under the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances have applied to the NA since March 10, 1999. The Netherlands' mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and extradition treaty with the United States apply to the N.A. and Aruba. Both Aruba and the N.A. routinely honor requests made under the MLAT and cooperate extensively with the United States on law enforcement matters at less formal levels. In March, it was determined that subjects of extradition requests can now appeal to the Supreme Court in the Hague; previously, the appeals process ended with the intermediate Joint Court of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. In November 2003, the GOA signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the U.S. In the same month, it signed an MOU with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), an instrument of the Organization of American States. While the Kingdom holds observer status, Aruba elected to pursue membership in its own right. Aruba has limited legislation dating from May 1996 regulating the import and export of certain precursor and essential chemicals, consistent with the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In the Antilles, it is not clear whether bill 2381, pending in parliament, relating to precursors, will become law, but the NA does cooperate in efforts to identify and destroy chemicals.

Cultivation/Production. Cultivation and production of illicit drugs are not issues.

Seizures. Available drug seizure statistics for calendar year 2003 are as follows: TO BE SUPPLIED.

Corruption. In 2003, the GONA identified certain links from prominent traffickers in the region to law enforcement officials, which prompted additional investigations. The GONA has been quick to address these issues through criminal investigations and prosecutions, internal investigations, new hiring practices, and continued monitoring of law enforcement officials who hold sensitive positions. There is no evidence to indicate that ranking public officials are involved in the shipment of drugs, the laundering of illegal drug proceeds, or in discouraging the investigation or prosecution of drug shipment. To prevent such public corruption, there is an independent Public Prosecutors' Office and a judiciary that enjoys a well-deserved reputation for integrity. Both jurisdictions maintain close ties with the Dutch legal system, including extensive seconding of Dutch prosecutors and judges to fill positions for which there are insufficient qualified candidates among the small Antillean and Aruban populations.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Both the N.A. and Aruba have ongoing demand reduction programs, but need additional resources. For example, in February, the GOA formed an interagency task force to combat trafficking in schools. The Curacao police department is completing the training of a Demand Reduction staff to do more sophisticated school presentations.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

In 2002 the Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) departed from its prior policy of not funding the component governments of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and offered limited counternarcotics assistance to the GOA. The bilateral counternarcotics agreement was concluded this year to provide training for border and port inspectors. Through the DEA, the United States is able to provide limited assistance to enhance technical capabilities as well as some targeted training. The FBI has also been active in including Antillean and Aruban police in programs designed to enhance professional capacity at the multi-jurisdictional level, while the USCG has provided maritime law enforcement and boarding courses for CGNAA officials. The U.S. also exploits opportunities by which locally assigned U.S. law enforcement personnel can share their expertise with host country counterparts.

The Road Ahead. Appreciation of the importance of intelligence to effective law enforcement has grown in the Dutch Caribbean. The USG is expanding intelligence sharing with GOA and GONA officials as they realize the mutual benefits that result from such sharing. Because U.S.-provided intelligence must meet the strict requirements of local law, sharing of intelligence and law enforcement information requires ongoing, extensive liaison work to bridge the difference between U.S. and Dutch-based law.

Eastern Caribbean

I. Summary

The seven Eastern Caribbean countries—Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines—form the eastern edge of the Caribbean transit zone for drugs, mostly cocaine and marijuana products, traveling from South America to the U.S. and other global markets. Approximately 30-35 metric tons of cocaine originate from, are destined for, or transit through the Eastern Caribbean (from Puerto Rico east and south) annually to the United States. Eight to nine times that amount transit the Eastern Caribbean to Europe annually. Illicit narcotics transit the Eastern Caribbean mostly by sea, in small go-fast vessels, larger fishing vessels, yachts and freight carriers. South American traffickers deliver drug loads either over the beach or offload their illicit cargo to smaller local vessels for delivery ashore. Marijuana shipments from St. Vincent often come ashore via swimmer delivery. Smugglers also attempt to transport cocaine and marijuana by commercial air. In one 2003 incident, a UK national "cocaine swallower" died from cocaine poisoning onboard a commercial aircraft that had not yet departed St. Lucia. An Organization of American States (OAS) study on maritime trafficking in the Western Hemisphere indicated that cocaine trafficked to Europe primarily is transported in commercial containerized cargo. There is little narcotics airdrop activity in the region.

The level of cocaine and marijuana trafficked through any individual Eastern Caribbean country to the U.S. does not reach the level needed to designate any one of them a major drug transit country under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (the "FAA").

Drug trafficking and related crimes—such as money laundering, drug use, arms trafficking, official corruption, violent crime and intimidation—have the potential to threaten the stability of the small, democratic countries of the Eastern Caribbean and, to varying degrees, have damaged civil society in all of these countries. Regional and international drug trafficking organizations (DTO's) and various organized crime groups have infiltrated many of the Eastern Caribbean nations, corrupting officials and contracting the services of local criminal organizations, some of whom are now sufficiently trusted by major DTO's to be given narcotics on consignment. There are reports that Colombian nationals are residing in some Eastern Caribbean countries and organizing drug trafficking operations. Some of the Eastern Caribbean DTO's also have established contacts amongst themselves to facilitate drug distribution in the region. Local traffickers often pay for services with drugs and/or weapons to limit costs and to increase demand and markets. U.S. law enforcement officials assume that terrorist organizations could tap into the infrastructure built by DTO's operating in the region and otherwise take advantage of the vulnerabilities that exist in the region.

The seven Eastern Caribbean states are parties to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Other than St. Lucia, all of the Eastern Caribbean countries are parties to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. One has ratified and four have signed the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. Two of the Eastern Caribbean states have signed that Convention's protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling; one has signed the firearms protocol.

Three of the seven states have ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption; one has signed but not ratified. Two have ratified the Inter-American Convention on Extradition. Three Eastern Caribbean states have signed and three have ratified the Inter-American Firearms Convention. One has ratified the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. Several Eastern Caribbean states have mutual legal assistance statutes that permit the exchange of mutual legal assistance with Commonwealth countries and states-parties to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. All seven governments have in force bilateral mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties with the U.S.

The U.S. Government has maritime drug law enforcement agreements with all seven of the Eastern Caribbean states. A Protocol to amend and update the maritime agreements was submitted to each country in April 2003. The Protocol would permit hot pursuit of maritime drug traffickers into the territorial waters of an Eastern Caribbean state by U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) law enforcement detachments aboard third country ships (e.g., UK). The Protocol also would permit a law enforcement shiprider from any Regional Security System (RSS) member state (The seven Eastern Caribbean states comprise the RSS.) aboard a USCG or third country vessel to authorize drug law enforcement operations in the territorial waters of any RSS member state. Only Antigua and Barbuda has signed the Protocol. To date, none of these countries has signed the Caribbean Maritime Counterdrug Agreement, which would facilitate cooperation among themselves.

Marijuana crops are grown in the greatest amounts in Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, primarily for local use or for export to other islands in the region and Europe. Marijuana is grown to a lesser extent in Antigua and Barbuda and in Grenada. The overall level of production is below the threshold for designating any of these countries as major drug producers under the FAA, yet the extent of marijuana production within St. Vincent and the Grenadines appears to make it a significant element of the Vincentian economy. Most Eastern Caribbean officials regard marijuana production and trafficking as serious offenses, although the question of legalization or decriminalization is being discussed in some quarters. The U.S. supports and encourages eradication campaigns as a means to combat marijuana use in the Eastern Caribbean.

In general, Eastern Caribbean law enforcement agencies are committed to controlling drug trafficking. They work closely with U.S. and UK law enforcement counterparts, who also collaborate closely with each other in the region. Eastern Caribbean maritime units also participated in joint operations during 2003 with French, Dutch and Belgian naval and coast guard vessels. Maritime interdiction in some of the islands has improved significantly as a result of two U.S.-provided and supported C-26 airborne maritime surveillance aircraft.

This interdiction program, which is operated entirely by Eastern Caribbean RSS personnel, coupled with a recent significant interagency U.S. investment in maritime equipment and operational support, and a similar USCG-UK investment in maritime training, intelligence support, and joint operations command and control training, are beginning to reap increasing dividends. By the end of 2003, each of the Eastern Caribbean countries had received from the U.S. and was operating a high-speed pursuit boat as its principal maritime counternarcotics interceptor. Eastern Caribbean coast guards endorsed standard operating procedures for the boats. All but one of the Eastern Caribbean states have functioning interagency operations centers, called National Joint Coordination Centers (NJCCs). The NJCCs also have access to the Regional Clearance System, administered by the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council in St. Lucia, which registers small craft and crew movements in the Caribbean. Both the U.S. and the UK are encouraging and assisting efforts to improve NJCC effectiveness.

Aircraft, maritime interceptor, and operations center personnel in the region all have been vetted for security reliability. With the aircraft providing over-the-horizon detection and surveillance, and the pursuit boats engaged in interdiction, the traffickers' ability to outrun and outmaneuver Eastern Caribbean maritime law enforcement is diminishing.

Interdiction challenges remain, however. Few Eastern Caribbean maritime law enforcement entities venture beyond territorial waters. Interdiction of ocean-going drug loads generally is left to any UK, French, Dutch or U.S. law enforcement units that may be in the region at the time. Eastern Caribbean maritime states often are under-resourced, routine drug law enforcement patrolling, particularly at night, is intermittent and the drug enforcement agencies as a whole do not have a reputation for aggressiveness or effectiveness. After-action reviews for the purpose of improving operations are infrequent. However, there have been several operations during the past year when maritime units were required to defend themselves against ramming by traffickers' vessels, and successfully effected arrests and seizures. (Most maritime traffickers jettison their drug loads and weapons when approached by law enforcement vessels.)

Coordination between air and maritime units during operations, although inconsistent, has improved steadily and the C-26 aircraft have been able to guide maritime and land force units to successful interdictions. Barbados has developed standard operating procedures for joint maritime interdiction operations that resulted in several significant interdictions in 2003. The U.S. and UK will continue to partner closely with the airborne, maritime and land drug law enforcement units with the aim of improving interdiction coordination and effectiveness.

The U.S. continues to provide equipment, vehicles and operational support to regional drug law enforcement personnel. With the support of police commissioners, these personnel cooperate with U.S. and UK counterparts to develop drug intelligence and build cases against trafficking organizations. With assistance from the UK, several Eastern Caribbean countries have installed ion scan equipment at airports, thus strengthening their ability to seize narcotics entering or leaving the country.

Where the Eastern Caribbean states have had the least success is in the prosecution of organized drug crime. Conspiracy cases against DTO ringleaders, prosecutions for complex finance crimes and money laundering cases and significant asset forfeitures connected to cases developed within Eastern Caribbean jurisdictions remain almost non-existent. Statutory authority to bring such cases exist in all Eastern Caribbean countries, such as conspiracy, criminal asset forfeiture and money laundering laws, but they are used infrequently. Other laws and practices that would allow law enforcement agencies to effectively penetrate or disrupt organized criminal groups, such as civil forfeiture, wiretapping, undercover buys, paying informants, controlled deliveries, witness protection, and plea agreements have not been enacted or implemented. Moreover, light sentences for drug possession or trafficking do not appear to act as a deterrent.

The U.S. and UK, and organizations such as the Caribbean Office of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police (ACCP), and the Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering Program (CALP) all are providing encouragement and assistance to Eastern Caribbean states to improve the prosecutorial environment. The U.S. sponsored in 2003 a conference for prosecutors and police to discuss these issues and initiated a peer-to-peer judicial exchange between a U.S. District Judge and the Barbados Supreme Court. Both the U.S. and UK have encouraged the adoption of wiretapping legislation. CALP has circulated model civil forfeiture legislation and the ACCP President called in 2003 for civil forfeiture, plea bargaining, electronic surveillance and rackets legislation. The 1996 Barbados Plan of Action for Drug Control Coordination and Cooperation in the Caribbean, the 1997 U.S.-Caribbean Summit Justice and Security Action Plan, and the CARICOM Regional Task Force on Crime and Security, as well as Caribbean police authorities on a regular basis, all call for modern laws covering many of these areas.

There have been some advances. Antigua and Barbuda has adopted civil forfeiture legislation. Several Eastern Caribbean states are considering wiretap legislation. There appears to be a growing recognition in the region among police and prosecutors that without such tools, trafficking organization leaders will remain immune from arrest and prosecution.

In most Eastern Caribbean states, an apparent lack of political will or leadership, and in others, resource shortages (e.g., of funds for informants or witness relocation, etc.), have effectively weakened such legal initiatives. Some prosecutors do not have sufficient experience with complex conspiracy or financial crime cases. Other prosecutors believe that the judiciary is ill prepared to handle such cases. Without a serious, broad-based prosecution and law enforcement modernization effort, and a greater share of national resources allocated to drug law enforcement and prosecution, it is unlikely that the region will develop significant defenses against DTO's, money launderers and other international and regional criminals and criminal groups.

In 2003, the seven Eastern Caribbean countries continued to support the treaty-based RSS. Barbados pays 40 per cent of the RSS's budget. The RSS includes marijuana eradication exercises in its twice-yearly basic training course for police special services units. The RSS continued to operate a maritime training facility in Antigua for member-nation forces. Local instructors, assisted primarily by resident British Royal Navy trainers, with some supplementary training provided by U.S. Coast Guard trainers, have provided various law enforcement and seamanship courses for several years. The C-26 program operates under the aegis of the RSS.

With high volumes of narcotics transiting the region and the presence in each of the Eastern Caribbean states of offshore financial institutions, the Eastern Caribbean has been vulnerable to money laundering for some time. By the end of 2003, the Eastern Caribbean states had met international standards for anti-money laundering legislation, regulations and law enforcement infrastructure (in the form of financial intelligence units). The need for effective and consistent implementation of anti-money laundering efforts remains. (See the money laundering section of this report).

Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis have economic citizenship programs that are susceptible to abuse through inadequate due diligence checks. Unscrupulous individuals, including suspected members of criminal organizations, can take advantage of economic citizenship programs to ease border police checks and to modify and/or create multiple identities. Such individuals have also used these false identities to help create offshore entities used in money laundering, financial fraud, migrant smuggling and other illicit activities, as well as to facilitate the travel of the perpetrators of these crimes. Immigration and passport agencies in the Eastern Caribbean countries also are susceptible to corruption that, combined with the lack of automated immigration records in the region, facilitates the cross border movement for criminals. In 2003, a number of Eastern Caribbean states decided to undertake immigration automation efforts. Grenada is the first Eastern Caribbean state to have automated its immigration system.

In 2003, the Eastern Caribbean countries' continued their participation in the work of the Caribbean Community's (CARICOM) Regional Task Force on Crime and Security. In some respects, the Regional Task Force is a successor to the efforts undertaken in the region in connection with the 1996 Barbados Plan of Action and its follow-up 2001 high-level meeting on drugs and crime, and with the 1997 Caribbean-U.S. Summit Action Plan. The 1997 U.S.-Caribbean Action Plan had set out a comprehensive set of measures to combat transnational crime, particularly drug trafficking and money laundering. It called for collaboration also in strengthening criminal justice systems and interdiction efforts, combating small arms smuggling and corruption, developing a criminal justice protection program and reducing drug demand through education, rehabilitation and eradication. The CARICOM Task Force's recommendations, similar in many respects to previous recommendations, take into account also the need for counterterrorism efforts as a result of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. The recommendations would have the effect of improving drug law enforcement and prosecution efforts, if implemented. Eastern Caribbean countries are now considering the recommendations prioritized for implementation by the CARICOM Heads of Government in 2003, including establishing a regional fingerprint and criminal record database, development of a regional anticrime plan, and conducting a drug policy review.

II. Status of Countries and Actions Against Drugs

Antigua and Barbuda. The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are transit sites for cocaine moving from South America to the U.S. and global markets. Some law enforcement officials believe that improved airport enforcement in Jamaica has prompted traffickers to seek other outbound locations in the Caribbean for transit by commercial air carrier. An increase in airport arrests in Antigua following installment of ion-scan equipment and implementation of modern profiling techniques indicates that this may be so. Reportedly, there are Colombian nationals in Antigua participating in trafficking operations. Narcotics entering Antigua and Barbuda are transferred mostly from go-fast boats, fishing vessels or yachts to other go-fasts, powerboats or local fishing vessels for delivery into Antigua and Barbuda. Secluded beaches and uncontrolled marinas provide excellent areas to conduct drug transfer operations. Marijuana cultivation on the islands is not significant. Marijuana imported for domestic consumption primarily comes from St. Vincent.

Antigua and Barbuda is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB) has signed and ratified (January 2004) the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. It has not signed the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. The GOAB ratified in 2003 the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (Inter-American Firearms Convention) and the Inter-American Convention on Extradition. The GOAB ratified in 2002 the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, but has not signed any of its three protocols.

The USG and the GOAB signed a maritime drug law enforcement cooperation agreement in 1995 and an overflight agreement in 1996. This agreement was amended in 2003 to facilitate broadened maritime law enforcement efforts. In 1999, the GOAB was the first Eastern Caribbean government to bring into force extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties with the U.S. In most cases, the GOAB is responsive to USG-initiated mutual legal assistance requests. The U.S. has made two extradition requests to Antigua and Barbuda since the treaty entered into force. One individual was extradited in 2003. The USG is particularly disappointed, however, about an Antigua appellate court decision denying the extradition of William Cooper, an indicted money launderer. The GOAB has indicated it would seek USG assistance in building arguments to overturn the decision by the appellate court, but has not yet done so.

GOAB drug law enforcement efforts are shared by the police drug squad and the Office of National Drug Control and Money Laundering Policy (ONDCP), which received police powers in 2003. The ONDCP comprises the National Joint Coordination Center, the Financial Intelligence Unit, the Financial Investigations Unit, the Drug Intelligence Unit, the Drug Control Policy Unit coordinator and two attorneys. In 2003, a national drug kingpin task force began operating out of the ONDCP under the leadership of a UK Customs and Excise drug liaison officer. In 2003, GOAB forces seized 62 kilograms of cocaine and 339 kilograms of marijuana, arrested 102 persons on drug-related charges and eradicated 1,316 marijuana plants. Antigua and Barbuda has both conviction-based forfeiture and civil forfeiture legislation; it is the only Caribbean country with the latter. It has received funds via asset seizure/sharing agreements with Canada and received asset seizure shared funds from the U.S. in 2003. With assistance from the OAS, the GOAB drafted a master drug control plan that was approved in 2002.

The rehabilitation center in Antigua and Barbuda is Crossroads, a 36-bed private drug treatment facility that offers treatment to international and a limited number of local clients who can take advantage of special payment and after-treatment work programs to cover the cost of treatment. In 2001, Crossroads and the GOAB established a halfway house for recovering substance abusers in the capital, St. John's. There are no public drug rehabilitation facilities in Antigua and Barbuda. Drug addicts are referred to the country's mental hospital. The ONDCP, in association with international donors, local organizations and the Ministry of Education, is initiating a "life skills" education program in schools. The police also conduct Drug Awareness (DARE) Programs in the schools.

Barbados. Barbados is a transit country for cocaine and marijuana products entering by sea and by air from South America and elsewhere in the region. Smaller vessels or go-fasts transport marijuana from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and cocaine from South America. There have been several instances in which passengers on flights originating in Jamaica were found with marijuana on arrival in Barbados.

Barbados is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Barbados has signed, but not ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the Inter-American Firearms Convention. Barbados has not signed the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act allows Barbados to provide mutual legal assistance to countries with which it has a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty, Commonwealth countries, and states-parties to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Barbados has signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.

The Government of Barbados (GOB) and the USG have brought into force three important agreements that facilitate counternarcotics cooperation: a maritime agreement with overflight authority, an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty. GOB agencies reported seizing 97 kilograms of cocaine and 3,000 kilograms of marijuana through early December 2003. The GOB brought drug charges against 148 persons during that same period. The GOB tried twice in 2003 to convict two brothers accused of cocaine trafficking. Two trials resulted in a hung jury and an acquittal, respectively. One of the brothers was arrested again in 2003 on marijuana trafficking charges.

The GOB's penal system provides alternative sentencing options beyond prison and fines. The initiative allows community service orders, curfew orders, and other sentencing alternatives. The law was designed to reduce prison overcrowding and provide options for dealing with youthful offenders and drug-addicted criminals. The GOB plans to develop a drug court that will specialize in providing non-custodial sentences for drug offenders, where appropriate.

The Proceeds of Crime Act of 1990 provides for the confiscation of property shown to have been derived or obtained by a person, directly or indirectly, from the commission of certain offenses, including drug trafficking and money laundering, and enables law enforcement authorities to trace such proceeds, benefits or property. The GOB confiscated approximately $170,000 under its asset forfeiture laws in 2003 and froze or restrained an additional $122,000 cash and property. The GOB has shared in assets forfeited in U.S. legal proceedings and has seized property belonging to convicted drug traffickers. In November 2001, the GOB amended its law to shift the burden of proof to the accused to demonstrate that property in his/her possession or control is derived from a legitimate source. Absent such proof, the presumption is that the property was derived from the proceeds of crime.

Barbados law also provides for freezing bank accounts and prohibiting transactions from suspected accounts for up to 72 hours. Under Barbados law anyone convicted of money laundering by the High Court is subject to a fine of $1 million or 25 years in prison or both. (See Money Laundering section.) Following up on the recommendations of the CARICOM Regional Task Force on Crime and Security, the GOB formed a National Commission on Law and Order, which is an advisory body to the Attorney General's office. In the process of developing a National Plan of Action Against Crime drafted by the Attorney General's Office, the Commission held public hearings on the plan in 2003. Among the legislative reforms discussed in the plan are a wiretapping bill and an organized crime prevention bill. The plan also discusses plans to improve police technical capabilities and automation.

The GOB is taking a number of steps to improve its ability to fight crime, including transnational crime such as drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism. In 2003, it installed ion-scan equipment at the international airport and opened a forensics center. It embarked on an ambitious program to upgrade police communications. The ruling party announced plans to develop a National Prosecution Service and a port police unit. Ground was broken in 2003 for the construction of a $35 million judicial center. The Barbados Port Authority stated that it would meet the July 2004 IMO deadline to implement the International Shipping and Port Facilities Security Code.

Barbados is executing a national plan concerning supply and demand reduction for the period 2002-2006. The GOB's National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) and various concerned NGOs, such as the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, are very active and effective. NCSA works closely with NGOs in prevention and education efforts and skills-training centers. NCSA in 2003 sponsored a "Drugs Decisions" program in 45 primary schools and continued its sponsorship of prison drug and rehabilitation counseling. Barbados's excellent D.A.R.E. and Parents' Resource for Drug Education (PRIDE) programs remained active in the school system. The mental health hospital provides drug detoxification, while the Coalition Against Substance Abuse (CASA) opened a no-cost drop-in center in 2001. Staffed by volunteer counselors, the CASA center serves addicts and their families. The largest drug rehabilitation facility in Barbados, Verdun House, has 40 beds for in-patient treatment and 35 spaces for halfway care. Eighty-five percent of the facility's clients are there because of cocaine addiction. In 2003, the Ministry of Health announced that it had drafted revised regulations designed to enhance drug treatment options.

Commonwealth of Dominica. The Commonwealth of Dominica serves as a transshipment and temporary storage area for drugs, principally cocaine products, headed to the U.S. and to Europe, mostly via the French Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Go-fast boats bring shipments from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and elsewhere. In addition, marijuana is cultivated in Dominica. The Dominica police regularly conduct ground-based marijuana eradication missions in rugged, mountainous areas.

In 2003, Dominican law enforcement agencies reported seizing 2.1 kilograms of cocaine and 44 kilograms of marijuana. They eradicated 160,000 marijuana plants (trees and seedlings), of which 32,000 were destroyed by the RSS in March 2003 as part of its basic training course. Dominica police arrested 284 person on drug-related charges. Dominican law permits the forfeiture of drug traffickers' assets. Police resource shortages and Dominica's difficult terrain make drug law enforcement investigations difficult. Based on the recommendation of the CARICOM Regional Task Force on Crime and Security, the Government of Dominica (GCOD) announced plans in 2003 to form a National Commission on Crime and Security.

The Ministry of Health oversees drug demand reduction efforts. The Ministry and its National Drug Abuse Prevention Unit have been successful in establishing a series of community-based drug use prevention programs. Starting at age three and proceeding through age 15, school children receive drug use prevention education. The D.A.R.E. Program, a cooperative effort of the police force and the Ministry of Education, complements this effort in schools. There are no public sector drug rehabilitation facilities in Dominica; the psychiatric hospital provides limited detoxification services. The GCOD is seeking funding to revive a youth cadet corps, one of whose objectives will be drug demand reduction.

Dominica is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Dominica is not a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Firearms Convention or the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Dominica and the U.S. have signed and brought into force a maritime agreement. However, Dominica has not yet agreed to expand the maritime agreement to include overflight or order-to-land authority.

An extradition treaty and an MLAT are currently in force between the U.S. and Dominica. Numerous MLAT requests and informal queries have been honored, particularly those submitted in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the U.S. However, since 2000, Dominica has taken no action on an extradition request for a Dominican national, Randy Isidore, who was caught in New Mexico transporting over one ton of marijuana. Isidore was released from jail in Dominica in August 2001 pending a decision on the extradition.

Grenada. South American cocaine traffickers pass through or stop in Grenada's coastal waters and its often unpoliced islands and beaches to transship cocaine en route to U.S. and other markets, including by drug couriers on commercial aircraft and via yachts. The traffickers often transfer cocaine to Grenadian vessels to execute deliveries ashore, as the Grenadian police have had some success in disrupting over-the-beach deliveries. Grenada's police drug squad dismantled a Trinidadian cocaine trafficking operation that used Grenada as a transshipment point in 2003. Relatively small amounts of marijuana are grown in Grenada. Marijuana is smuggled from St. Vincent for domestic use.

Grenada is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The Government of Grenada (GOG) also is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, Inter-American Firearms Convention and the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

The GOG has not signed the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime. The GOG and the USG signed a maritime law enforcement cooperation agreement in 1995 and an overflight and order-to-land amendment to the maritime agreement in 1996. The GOG and the USG have also brought into force an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT). Grenada's police and its financial intelligence unit have been extremely responsive to MLAT requests, particularly in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in the U.S.

The GOG's Drug Control Secretariat of the National Council on Drug Control is very active and effective. Under a 2002 statutory mandate, and with the participation of many government agencies, including the police service, the National Council on Drug Control, headed by the Attorney General, guides and integrates national interdiction and demand reduction policy. Grenada, with OAS assistance, is working on a new national master plan for drug control to cover the period 2004-2009. The Council effectively keeps drug prevention themes before the public. Drug use prevention education is incorporated into all levels of the educational curriculum.

In 2002, the GOG issued a National Schools' Policy on Drugs.

The D.A.R.E. program continues to function well. The Department of State and the Florida Association of Volunteer Agencies/Caribbean Action (FAVA/CA) have contributed to the development of self-sustaining, peer-to-peer drug prevention and "Safe Summer" programs for youth in Grenada since 2001.

Grenada's sole drug and alcohol treatment center continues to receive about 50 patients per year. Most patients are admitted for alcohol abuse; all treatment costs are borne by the government. The psychiatric hospital also provides drug detoxification.

Law enforcement agencies in Grenada cooperate well on drug control. They meet regularly to plan joint operations, thereby maximizing available assets. The government opened its National Coordination Center for law enforcement in 2001. Through August 2003, Grenadian authorities reported seizing approximately 40 kilograms of cocaine and 155 kilograms of marijuana. During that period, they arrested 456 persons (21 non-nationals) on drug-related charges and eradicated 3,434 marijuana plants. Grenadian law enforcement authorities seized nearly ECD 300,000 ($115,000) in connection with drug-related cases. The police drug squad has collaborated closely with DEA officials in the targeting and investigation of a local cocaine trafficking organization, which has associations with South American and other Caribbean traffickers.

St. Kitts and Nevis. St. Kitts and Nevis is a transshipment site for cocaine from South America to the U.S. Drugs are transferred out of St.

Kitts and Nevis primarily via small sailboats, fishing boats and go-fast boats bound for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Trafficking organizations operating in St. Kitts are linked directly to South American traffickers, some of whom reportedly are residing in St. Kitts, and to other organized crime groups. Marijuana is grown locally.

Since 1996, the USG has sought the extradition of two members of the Charles Miller trafficking organization. Miller surrendered to U.S. authorities in February 2000, and was convicted on felony trafficking charges in Florida in December 2000 and sentenced to life in prison. The UK Privy Council dismissed in June 2002 the appeal of Miller's associates against the upholding of their extradition by the St. Kitts High Court and remanded the case to the High Court for expeditious action. In 2003, both the High Court and subsequently the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court upheld the extradition. The defendants are appealing once again to the UK Privy Council. In the meantime, the two individuals—Noel Heath and Glenroy Matthew—who have been named Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, remain free on bail.

St. Kitts and Nevis is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis (GOSKN) is not a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, or the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. It has signed, but not ratified, the Inter-American Firearms Convention. The GOSKN signed a maritime law enforcement cooperation agreement with the U.S. in 1995 and an overflight amendment to the maritime agreement in 1996. In 2000, the USG and the GOSKN brought into force extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. The GOSKN is extremely responsive to U.S. MLAT requests.

St. Kitts and Nevis developed a five-year master plan for drug control in 1996, which was refined and its implementation initiated in November 2000. The National Council on Drug Abuse Prevention coordinates implementation. The police operate a very successful D.A.R.E. program in the federation, positively affecting the lives of thousands of students and their families. Supported by the State Departments Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), the Florida Association of Volunteer Agencies/Caribbean Action (FAVA/CA) carried out in 2002-2003 a successful demand reduction and prevention sustainability program in St. Kitts.

The police drug unit on St. Kitts has been largely ineffective. The GOSKN Defence Force augments police counternarcotics efforts, particularly in marijuana eradication operations. The government opened a National Joint Coordination Center in 2000. GOSKN officials reported seizing 36 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 17,000 kilograms of marijuana through November 2003. They arrested 56 people on drug charges and eradicated approximately 22,000 marijuana plants. In 2003, the SKN Coast Guard exercised with a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutter and has operated its new Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat counternarcotics interceptor effectively.

The high degree of drug trafficking activity through and around St. Kitts and Nevis and the presence of known, active traffickers in St. Kitts place this small country at great risk for corruption and money laundering activity.

St. Lucia. St. Lucia is a well-used transshipment site for cocaine from South America to the U.S. and Europe. Cocaine arrives in St. Lucia in go-fast boats, primarily from Venezuela, and is delivered over the beach or offloaded to smaller local vessels for delivery along the island's south or southwest coasts. Marijuana is smuggled from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and grown locally. Foreign and local narcotics traffickers are active in St. Lucia and have been known to stockpile cocaine and marijuana for onward shipment.

The Government of St. Lucia (GOSL) police reported seizing 433 kilograms of cocaine and 583 kilograms of marijuana through November 2003. They arrested 495 persons on drug charges and eradicated approximately 46,000 marijuana plants. The USG and the GOSL cooperate extensively on law enforcement matters. St. Lucia law permits asset forfeiture after conviction. The law directs the forfeited proceeds to be applied to treatment, rehabilitation, education and preventive measures related to drug abuse.

In 2003, St. Lucia revised its criminal code. This revision modernized existing legislation to deal with wire-fraud and other modern financial crimes. In 2003, the GOSL announced plans to adopt wiretap legislation and civil forfeiture. It has also taken steps to strengthen its border controls and plans to automate its immigration control systems. St. Lucia does not have an operational National Joint Coordination Center.

St. Lucia is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The GOSL signed a maritime agreement with the USG in 1995 and an overflight amendment to the maritime agreement in 1996. An MLAT and an extradition treaty are in force between St. Lucia and the United States. In 2003, St. Lucia ratified the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Materials, and acceded to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and to the Inter-American Convention on Extradition.

St. Lucia has instituted a centralized authority, the Substance Abuse Council Secretariat, to coordinate the government's national counternarcotics and substance abuse strategy. Various community groups, particularly the police public relations office, continue to be active in drug use prevention efforts, with a particular focus on youth. St. Lucia offers drug treatment and rehabilitation at an in-patient facility known as Turning Point, run by the Ministry of Health. The St. Lucian police report that the D.A.R.E. Program has been extremely successful.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is the largest producer of marijuana in the Eastern Caribbean and the source for much of the marijuana used in the region. Extensive tracts are under intensive marijuana cultivation in the inaccessible northern half of St. Vincent. The illegal drug trade has infiltrated the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and made some segments of the population dependent on marijuana production, trafficking and money laundering.

However, cultivation does not reach the minimum of 5,000 hectares that the FAA requires for a country to be designated as a major drug-producer, nor does it significantly affect the U.S. As such, despite the pervasive influence of the drug trade, the President has not designated St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a major illicit drug producing or a major drug transit country under the FAA. Compressed marijuana is sent from St. Vincent and the Grenadines to neighboring islands via private vessels. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has also become a storage and transshipment point for narcotics, mostly cocaine, transferred from Trinidad and Tobago and South America on go-fast and inter-island cargo boats.

Through November 2003, Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) officials reported seizing 1.5 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 1700 kilograms of marijuana. They arrested 340 persons on drug-related charges and eradicated approximately 36,000 marijuana plants. The police, Customs and Coast Guard try to control the rugged terrain and adjacent sea of St. Vincent and the chain of islands making up the Grenadines. Their reaction capability is limited, but the SVG Coast Guard performance should improve as a result of receiving from INL two new go-fast interceptors.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In 2001, it became a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The GOSVG has acceded to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

The GOSVG has signed, but not ratified, the Inter-American Convention against Firearms as well as the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. The GOSVG signed a maritime agreement with the USG in 1995, but it has not yet signed a proposed overflight amendment to the maritime agreement. An extradition treaty and an MLAT are currently in force between the U.S. and the GOSVG. USG law enforcement officials received good cooperation from the GOSVG in 2003.

An advisory council on drug abuse and prevention, mandated by statute, has been largely inactive for several years. A draft national counternarcotics plan remains unadopted. The government mental hospital provides drug detoxification services. The family life curriculum in the schools includes drug prevention education and selected schools continue to receive the excellent police-run D.A.R.E. Program. Marion House, an enthusiastic and effective NGO, offers drug counseling in St. Vincent. Marion House also has developed and implemented an ambulatory outreach program and initiatives in prison officer training and prisoner rehabilitation. The OAS is assisting the GOSVG develop a drug demand reduction program for St. Vincent's prison.

French Caribbean/French Guiana

French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the French side of St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy, are all part of France, and subject to French law, including all international conventions signed by France. With the resources of France behind them, the French Caribbean Departments and French Guiana are meeting the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The Police Judiciaire, Gendarmerie, and French Customs Service together play a major role in narcotics law enforcement in France's overseas departments, just as they do in the other parts of France. South American cocaine may move through the French Caribbean and from French Guiana to Europe and, to a lesser extent, to the U.S.

Although evidence in 2003 did not support a finding that drugs entering the U.S. from the French Caribbean had a significant effect on the U.S., the U.S. considers the broad geographical area of the eastern and southern Caribbean, of which the French Caribbean is a part, as an area of concern to be kept under observation. A small amount of cannabis is cultivated in French Guiana.

In February, a Canadian sailboat was detained by French customs authorities in St Martin (Guadeloupe). Cocaine (204 kilograms) and heroin (15 kilograms) were hidden in coolers and suitcases scattered throughout the boat. In addition to the drugs, police also found cash and weapons onboard. The four Dominican nationals (three men and one woman) on board were arrested.

In March, customs officials at Orly Airport, Paris seized 60 kilograms of cocaine from unaccompanied luggage arriving from Martinique. The cocaine was placed in luggage allegedly containing fruit, books and alcohol and was estimated to have a street value of 6 million euros. This was the largest cocaine seizure on record for Orly Airport.

In April, authorities seized more than a metric ton of cocaine from a Belgian sailboat in Martinique waters. The suspicious boat was first spotted by a French customs plane, and was later boarded by a customs boat as it was heading for open waters. This represents the third largest "at sea" drug seizure for French customs.

In addition to the agreements and treaties discussed in the report on France, USG and GOF counternarcotics cooperation in the Caribbean is enhanced by a multilateral Caribbean customs mutual assistance agreement which provides for information sharing to enforce customs laws, including those related to drug trafficking. The assignment of a French Navy liaison officer to the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) at Key West, Florida has also enhanced law enforcement cooperation in the Caribbean. The USG and the GOF have been exploring a possible counternarcotics maritime agreement for the Caribbean for several years and an agreement was drafted in November, 2001 on Cooperation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Aeronautical Trafficking in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Area. Pending a final agreement, U.S. and French authorities have maintained good operational relations in the Caribbean and have participated in joint interdiction operations in the area.

In July, Minister of Interior Sarkozy signed a quadrilateral agreement aimed at curbing the back-haul shipments of cocaine from South America via the French Antilles into Europe. This agreement includes the participation of France, Colombia, Spain and the UK. Among a variety of cooperative tools and measures put in place, France has decided to establish a liaison platform and drugs task force of the OCTRIS (French counternarcotics department within the Ministry of Interior). This initiative will bring together French National Police, Gendarmerie and customs officers alongside colleagues from Spain, the UK and Colombia. The French have asked the United States to take part in this program; the USG is studying the proposal. The four main objectives of this task force are to re-enforce operational capabilities, ensure real coordination between all parties, improve understanding of the project to foreign counterparts and put to use the new law enforcement mandates provided to the French Navy. This task force will direct investigations from Martinique rather than require French police officers to travel from Paris each time a matter requires their attention.

In Martinique, the French Inter-Ministerial Drug Control Training Center (CIFAD) offers training in French, Spanish and English to officials in the Caribbean and central and South America, covering such subjects as money laundering and precursor chemicals, mutual legal assistance and international legal cooperation, coast guard training, customs valuation, and drug control in airports. CIFAD coordinates its training activities with the UNDCP, the Organization of American States/CICAD and individual donor nations. U.S. Customs officers periodically teach at CIFAD.

France supports European Union initiatives to increase counternarcotics assistance to the Caribbean. The EU and its member states, the U.S. and other individual and multinational donors are coordinating their assistance programs closely in the region and through regular bilateral and multilateral discussions. The GOF participates actively in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) as a cooperating and support nation (COSUN).


I. Summary

Guyana is a transshipment point for South American cocaine destined for North America and Europe. There is insufficient evidence, however, that the cocaine entering the U.S. from Guyana is in an amount sufficient to have a significant effect on the U.S. The economic, political, and social conditions in Guyana make it a prime target, however, for narcotics traffickers to expand their illicit activities. The transit of narcotics through Guyana has led to increasing domestic use. Although nominally committed to counternarcotics enforcement, the Government of Guyana (GOG) was distracted in the first half of 2003 by a political stalemate and a critical crime threat, some of which was reportedly linked to drug-trafficking activities. In 2003, the GOG established a Financial Intelligence Unit and requested assistance from the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS/CICAD) to revise its national drug strategy. The GOG cooperated with DEA investigations, and GOG law enforcement officers participated in U.S.-funded training. Guyana is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but needs to pass and implement additional legislation to meet its obligations under the Convention.

II. Status of Country

Guyana's ineffective drug interdiction capability makes the country a relatively safe route for cocaine trafficking from South America to the U.S. and Europe. The volume of traffic passing through Guyana appears to be significant in local terms, but evidence available in 2003 did not support a finding that drugs entering the U.S. from Guyana were in an amount to have a significant effect on the U.S. The country's remote geographic location and limited transportation infrastructure have thus far limited exploitation of its territory by drug traffickers on a large scale. Guyana is not a producer of cocaine or precursor chemicals. The GOG's counternarcotics efforts are undermined by the lack of adequate resources for law enforcement, poor coordination among law enforcement agencies, corruption, and a weak legal and judicial infrastructure. Continued high levels of violent crime in the first half of 2003 preoccupied Guyana's government and law enforcement agencies. Lack of political cooperation prevented the implementation of needed reforms to the Guyana Police Force (GPF), including the appointment of a permanent commissioner.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2003

Policy Initiatives. The GOG continues to express commitment to counternarcotics efforts, domestically and internationally. Guyana supported the work of the CARICOM Regional Task Force on Crime and Security. In the spring, at the invitation of the GOG, OAS/CICAD personnel visited Guyana to assist the GOG in the preparation of an updated national drug strategy. By the end of 2003, however, work on the project was still pending GOG action. With material support from the USG, Guyana established a Financial Intelligence Unit in late 2003.

Law Enforcement Efforts. GOG counternarcotics efforts are hindered by the lack of adequate resources for law enforcement. The Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) is supposed to be one of the main agencies responsible for drug-related law enforcement, but it has no real authority under the law. Officially, the CANU is still a department of Customs, although it operates with considerable autonomy. It is unclear who holds ultimate control over the unit. The scope of the CANU's operation is largely believed to be politically regulated and directed. Many CANU officers are afraid to take independent action for fear of losing their jobs, with the result that little effective investigation is done. There is also a great deal of mistrust between CANU officers and the GPF, resulting in unsatisfactory intelligence/information sharing. Guyana's inefficient and antiquated legal system continues to hinder prosecution of drug offenses.

In 2003, law enforcement activity was limited to numerous arrests of individuals with small amounts of marijuana, crack cocaine or powder cocaine on charges of possession of drugs or possession with intent to distribute drugs. The GPF Narcotics Branch and CANU continued to arrest drug couriers at Guyana's international airport en route to the U.S. or Europe. It is noteworthy that the great majority of such arrests have been of foreigners, although most travelers are Guyanese. GOG officials believe that GOG counternarcotics agencies interdict only a small percentage of the cocaine and coca paste that transits Guyana. The Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard (GDFCG) continued to conduct patrols with the 44-foot Motor Life Boats acquired from the U.S. and seized several boats for engaging in illegal activities. There have not yet been any narcotics interdictions at sea.

Corruption. Guyana is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, but has yet to implement fully its provisions. Allegations of corruption are widespread, and reach to high levels of government, but continue to go uninvestigated. The swearing-in by the GPF of a reputed drug lord and several of his cohorts as special constables raises serious questions about the integrity of the force. In May, 120 kilograms of marijuana were seized aboard the GDFCG flagship "Essequibo" which was in Barbados for the international "Tradewinds" exercise. The drugs had been smuggled aboard by an off-duty GDFCG crewman, who is in custody pending completion of a Preliminary Inquiry. Available evidence suggests that the case may go to trial in the High Court. There were no other arrests or prosecutions for drug-related corruption in 2003.

Agreements and Treaties. Guyana is a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Guyana acceded to the 1931 U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty upon independence from Britain, and it is still in force between Guyana and the U.S. Guyana has an agreement to share narcotics intelligence with the U.K. Guyana is a member of OAS/CICAD. In 2003, Guyana passed the necessary implementing legislation for the bilateral maritime counternarcotics cooperation agreement signed by Guyana and the U.S. in 2000. The agreement is not yet in force pending the exchange of instruments.

Cultivation/Production. Cannabis cultivation takes place in Guyana's interior, but the volume is believed to be small. There are no reports of cocaine or precursor chemical production in Guyana.

Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine flows into and out of Guyana through its porous borders and along its coast. Numerous airstrips in the mostly inaccessible interior are likely used to facilitate trafficking from Venezuela and Colombia. Once inside the country, narcotics are carried to Georgetown by road, waterway, or air, and then on to the U.S. or Europe via commercial carriers, either directly or through intermediate Caribbean ports. In 2003, high-profile seizures in the UK, Canada, Ghana, Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.S. involved drugs originating in Guyana.

Domestic Programs. Some marijuana is consumed domestically. The consumption of cocaine powder, crack cocaine, ecstasy and heroin is increasing, with cocaine use, in particular, becoming widespread. Social workers report that marijuana and cocaine are being sold almost openly.

Guyana has a national demand reduction strategy, developed in cooperation with the Pan-American Health Organization, the World Health Organization, and the UNDCP, but implementation has been minimal. As noted earlier, OAS/CICAD is assisting the GOG to revise its national drug strategy, which also covers demand reduction efforts. Prevention programs operated in the prisons and a few urban areas, but lack of resources limited the scope of these efforts. Guyana has no national drug rehabilitation program.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

U.S. Policy Initiatives. U.S. efforts continued to focus on strengthening the capacity of Guyana's law enforcement agencies through U.S.-funded training and the procurement of equipment. In 2003, the U.S. sought to strengthen the capability of Guyanese customs inspectors through the provision of an anticorruption course and training in regional drug trafficking patterns, risk assessment, and targeting and search techniques conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The U.S. supported the establishment of a Financial Investigations Unit to counter money laundering through the provision of office equipment and computers and technical assistance from the U.S./EU/UK-funded Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering Programme. The USCG provided training for the GDFCG in maritime law enforcement, joint counternarcotics operations and boarding officer procedures. U.S. officials continued to encourage Guyanese participation in bilateral and multilateral counternarcotics initiatives.

Bilateral Cooperation. Both the CANU and GPF continued to work closely with the DEA, and representatives from Guyana's counternarcotics agencies participated in numerous DEA-sponsored training seminars during the year. Since the assassination of the CANU Deputy in August 2002, and the lack of any arrests in the case, DEA efforts in Guyana have been significantly slowed. Personnel from the GDFCG, GPF, and CANU participated in three U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) courses during the year. In July, 20 members of the GDF participated in an intelligence subject matter exchange. The GOG provided two GDFCG crew members for the Caribbean Support Tender, a USCG vessel with a multinational crew that provides training and assistance in ship maintenance and repairs to Caribbean coast guards.

The Road Ahead. Guyana's contentious and inefficient political environment and lack of resources significantly hamper its ability to effectively pursue a counternarcotics campaign. U.S. democracy-building programs serve as a foundation for all aspects of effective governance in Guyana, including counternarcotics efforts. Assistance to strengthen the GPF's and CANU's counternarcotics capabilities through U.S.-funded training and equipment will continue to be important. So too will be U.S. efforts to strengthen Guyana's weak legal structure through law reform, training for prosecutors and increased court efficiencies. Serious doubts remain concerning the integrity of Guyana's law enforcement structures. The U.S. must continue to press for thorough reform, in cooperation with other international stakeholders. The U.S. will continue to encourage participation in bilateral and multilateral initiatives, to include taking the necessary legislative and administrative actions to fully implement international conventions and agreements.


I. Summary

Haiti's geographical position, weak institutions, and subsistence economy have made it a key conduit for drug traffickers transporting cocaine from South America to the United States and, to a lesser degree, Canada and Europe. The Haitian National Police (HNP) lacks discipline and is riddled with corruption. The judicial system is equally weak, its prosecutors and judges susceptible to bribes and intimidation.

The Government of Haiti (GOH) made slow progress toward implementation of the May 2002 counternarcotics Letter of Agreement with the United States. A new facility for the Haitian Coast Guard (HCG) in Cap Haitien was completed and staffed. However, operational funding remained inadequate. The Bureau de Lutte contre le Trafic Illicite de Stupefiants (BLTS), the counternarcotics unit of the HNP, restricted to the capital by lack of transport resources, did little without DEA leadership and involvement.

Corruption, weak law enforcement capability, and lack of GOH commitment combined to limit cooperation in general, although Haitian officials have cooperated in some specific cases. The GOH's major achievement was its expulsion of four drug traffickers, including the notorious Jacques Beaudoin Ketant, to the U.S. for prosecution. Haiti's ongoing political and economic crises continued to grip the country in 2003, eclipsing the fight against drug trafficking. Serious allegations persisted that high-level government and police officials are involved in drug trafficking.

Haiti remains highly susceptible to money laundering due to its weak legal system and pervasive corruption. The money laundering law passed in 2002 has not been implemented. The anti-money laundering commission finally submitted candidate lists for Director General and deputy DG to the President and the Minister of Justice. On December 11, 2003, the GOH inaugurated the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to serve as a clearinghouse for information relating to money laundering and other misuses of the financial system. The FIU will simultaneously serve as a conduit for the transfer of seized assets to the Ministry of Finance. Haiti is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The political disconnect between supporters and opponents of President Aristide deepened in 2003 and took on violent overtones. The economy remained stalled and attracted little foreign investment, and trafficking in drugs and aliens remained one of the few reliable avenues to wealth. The currency fluctuated around 40 to one against the dollar. Fuel price controls were lifted just before January 2003, doubling prices overnight and affecting law enforcement's ability to conduct operations. In December 2003, months of unrest erupted in demonstrations by the political opposition and by Lavalas supporters, the latter strengthened by roving gangs of "chimeres" (thugs).

The HNP continued to lose mid-level and senior officers but retained overall membership levels with the graduation of about 850 new agents in 2003. Under Lavalas pressure, unqualified Aristide loyalists were placed in key HNP positions, which relegated U.S.-trained officers to secondary positions. For instance, the 14th police academy class is almost entirely composed of Aristide loyalists, including many who are totally illiterate. The government does not provide adequate resources to the police. The GOH routinely pays HNP officials late or not at all, and new recruits are often assigned without uniforms, firearms, training, or supervision. Severely limited international assistance has damaged both the HNP and the judiciary and contributed to their erosion in numbers and effectiveness. The Organization of American States assigned 24 foreign police advisors mid-year, but a lack of GOH support for their mission limited its impact.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2003

During the year, the GOH moved cautiously toward fulfillment of its commitments made in the Letter of Agreement of May 15, 2002. A National Drug Control Strategy Bill, developed with OAS support, is still being debated in Congress. The GOH has not yet ratified the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The GOH occasionally permitted U.S. hot pursuit into territorial waters and assisted in one pursuit in January 2003. A few investigations of official drug-related corruption were started, but none were carried through. Seizures remained low. No major drug trafficker was prosecuted or extradited, but four well-known traffickers were expelled to the U.S. Haitian law enforcement remained starved for resources. The GOH did increase the number of HNP agents assigned to the BLTS and the HCG, and the new Coast Guard station at Cap-Haitien is staffed and operating.

DEA provided a basic drug enforcement seminar for 32 BLTS agents in March 2003. DEA polygraphed 26 BLTS agents in August 2003, and the four who failed were reassigned. The Embassy proposed establishment of a special drug court to the Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, but GOH officials took no action.

On February 3, leading daily Le Nouvelliste published a list of ten officials who allegedly had their U.S. visas canceled. On the list were two highly placed HNP officials, National Police Superior Council member Carel Alexandre and BLTS commander Evintz Brillant. Both were soon relieved of their posts. Brillant's supervisor, Jeannot Jean-Francois, sought asylum in the French embassy and eventually fled to Miami. In March, Jean-Claude Jean Baptiste, unofficial liaison between the Palace and violent gangs, was named head of the HNP, and soon was linked to a previous political murder and criminal activity. International protests led to his replacement in June by Jean-Robert Faveur, an uncorrupted, professional officer who fled the country within ten days of his appointment following political pressure that undermined his authority. The current head of the HNP is Jocelyn Pierre, a senior judge with no prior law enforcement experience, known for having bowed to political pressure in a high profile case.

Corruption. There was no effort to curb drug-related corruption, and no prosecutions or convictions of major traffickers took place in Haiti. Involvement of government and HNP officials in drug trafficking continued to hamper cooperation and erode trust between Haitian and foreign law enforcement agencies. There is strong evidence of interference by Haitian law enforcement officials, particularly leaking information on planned operations, as well as considerable involvement in trafficking.

On October 5, 2003, a twin-engine Aztec aircraft landed near Cap-Haitien and offloaded 500 kilograms of cocaine. The Secretary of Public Security refused to take action to apprehend three traffickers lodged at the Continental Hotel until DEA pressure forced their arrest. Witnesses have often observed light aircraft landing with drug cargoes on Route 9 in Port-au-Prince. Typically, HNP officers will block traffic and help with off-loading and ground transport.

Law Enforcement Efforts. On June 18, Jacques Ketant, one of Haiti's most notorious drug traffickers, was expelled by the GOH. The GOH subsequently expelled three other traffickers in similar fashion. With Haitian cooperation, DEA has seized several large houses belonging to Ketant. Haitian citizen Salim Jean Batrony, arrested in 2002 with 58 kilograms of cocaine, was released, causing a scandal in which the judge was dismissed, but Mr. Batrony was not re-arrested.

There were no joint large-scale U.S.-Haiti law enforcement counternarcotics operations in 2003 in part because of the disappointing results of Operation Hurricane in 2002.

The HCG was involved in three significant law enforcement cases during the year. On September 18, Cap-Haitien officers seized $400,000 from the M/V NIKLAS II. On October 13, the Cap-Haitien detachment stopped a boatload of migrants who reportedly intended to smuggle drugs to Miami. In November, the Coast Guard intercepted a boat carrying 40 pounds of marijuana.

During 2003, the U.S. invoked the 2002 Bilateral Agreement to Suppress Illicit Maritime Drug Traffic eight times, pursuing suspect vessels into territorial waters and sometimes boarding them. In all cases, Haitian authorities have permitted search of Haitian-flag vessels, sometimes without the presence of a Haitian law enforcement official.

Haitian drug trafficking organizations continue to operate with relative impunity. The arrival of cocaine from South America is generally unimpeded, due to the HNP's lack of human and material resources. Haiti's roads are very poor, and the HNP has no air assets. The HCG has no presence on the south coast and, even with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard, its ability to patrol in other areas is limited by frequent vessel breakdowns. The BLTS has no permanent presence outside Port-au-Prince and no effective means of transport. The GOH does not provide the HCG or BLTS with necessary equipment, maintenance, or logistical support.

Agreements and Treaties. Haiti is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Haiti's law on the control and suppression of illicit drug trafficking reflects most of the Convention's provisions; however, there has been no serious effort to implement it. Extradition is carried out under the 1905 U.S.-Haiti extradition treaty. Haitian law prohibits the extradition of its nationals. The GOH has cooperated with specific requests for expulsion of non-Haitians, and this year for the first time expelled Haitian drug traffickers. The GOH has not yet ratified the OAS mutual legal assistance treaty. Haiti has signed, but not yet ratified, the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.

Cultivation/Production. Illicit cultivation in Haiti is limited to minor amounts of marijuana. There is no information on drug production or use of precursors.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). There are no viable demand reduction or rehabilitation programs. Polling data indicate that domestic marijuana and cocaine use, while low, continues to rise.

Drug Flow/Transit. Embassy Port-au-Prince estimates that the flow of cocaine through Haiti has continued to increase, with some cocaine going to the U.S. through the Dominican Republic, whose 225-mile (360 km) border with Haiti is largely uncontrolled. Approximately 8 percent of the cocaine destined for the U.S. transited Haiti and/or the Dominican Republic. Cocaine arrives in the country by maritime or air conveyances. Traffickers forward these shipments onward using maritime vessels or over land to the Dominican Republic. During 2003, United States authorities seized drugs concealed on five different commercial vessels arriving in Miami from Haitian ports, totaling 1,214 pounds of cocaine.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

The U.S. plan for combating illegal drug trafficking via Haiti remains one of interdiction along with police and judicial institution-building. However, several factors work against successful implementation of that plan—forewarned smugglers elude the HNP, and low or no response by the HNP to DEA intelligence allows suspected air and sea deliveries to be completed without challenge. The GOH's slow implementation of the bilateral counternarcotics assistance agreement also hinders significant achievement, and lack of resources and lack of political will are equally to blame.

The Road Ahead. Stemming the flow of illegal narcotics through Haiti remains a cornerstone of U.S. counternarcotics policy. Key preconditions to stemming the illegal flow remain improving the effectiveness of GOH law enforcement and judicial institutions and strengthening the GOH's ability to fund these institutions by encouraging development of an effective system of liquidating assets seized from arrested smugglers. The new HCG base at Cap-Haitien must be supplemented with a small BLTS detachment and eventually replicated on the south coast. The road ahead is obstructed by the politicization and corruption of the police and judiciary, and further obscured at this time by social disorder and political violence.


I. Summary

Jamaica is the preferred Caribbean transshipment point for South American cocaine en route to the United States and the largest Caribbean producer and exporter of cannabis. The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) continues to implement its National Drug Control Abuse Prevention and Control Master Plan and, during 2003, prepared an updated Plan for 2003-2008.

During 2003, the GOJ maintained existing counternarcotics law enforcement programs and took several steps to strengthen its counternarcotics capability. The GOJ established a new National Intelligence Bureau to coordinate and control the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) intelligence function. The JCF vetted unit continued to work with DEA on investigations targeting major traffickers. Although no major trafficker was arrested in 2003, vetted unit operations led to the arrest of several mid-level traffickers. The GOJ introduced a new Customs arrival form that requires the declaration of currency or monetary instruments over $10,000. To strengthen security at Jamaica's seaports, the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) purchased closed-circuit television systems and non-intrusive inspection equipment. The GOJ established the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, as called for in its Corruption (Prevention) Act. The GOJ continued its cannabis eradication program during the year, although the amount eradicated fell far short of the amount agreed to by the U.S. and GOJ. Cooperation between the JCF, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and Customs Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) resulted in several large seizures of drugs, but the amount of cocaine seized was less than that seized in the previous two years. U.S. law enforcement agencies note that cooperation with the GOJ is generally good and is steadily improving.

The GOJ has taken steps to protect Jamaica against drug trafficking and other organized crime but needs to intensify and focus its law enforcement efforts and enhance international cooperation in order to disrupt the trafficking of large amounts of cocaine through Jamaica and its territorial waters. Needed actions include arresting and prosecuting major drug traffickers operating in Jamaica, dismantling drug-trafficking organizations, and increasing drug seizures and eradication. The U.S. will continue to provide equipment, technical assistance, and training to assist the GOJ to strengthen its counternarcotics capabilities. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and during 2003 made progress towards meeting the goals and objectives of the Convention.

II. Status of Country

Jamaica is the leading transit country for cocaine destined for the U.S. and European (primarily UK) markets and the largest producer and exporter of cannabis in the Caribbean. Jamaica is not a significant regional financial center, tax haven or offshore banking center, but some money laundering does occur, primarily through the purchase of real assets, such as houses and cars. Cash couriers are also a significant concern. (See money laundering section of this report.) Jamaica is neither a source of precursor or essential chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics nor a significant conduit for the transit of precursor chemicals. The GOJ lacks a control program that would enable it to detect the illegal diversion of such chemicals, as it has not yet drafted implementing regulations for the 2000 Precursor Chemicals Act.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2003

Jamaica's economy shows only limited signs of recovering from the 1996 banking/financial crisis followed by several years of negative economic growth. Without continued international assistance, the GOJ is unlikely to fund adequately initiatives to disrupt and dismantle major cocaine trafficking organizations operating in Jamaica.

Policy Initiatives. GOJ officials publicly state the government's commitment to combating illegal drugs and drug-related crimes. To stem Jamaica's rising tide of crime and violence, in late 2002, the GOJ unveiled a broad-based anticrime program that explicitly identified drug trafficking as the primary revenue source and the basis of organized crime in Jamaica. One component of the program is a package of legislative reforms to enhance law enforcement and judicial powers. The first part of this package to be enacted was the requirement, effective August 2003, to declare cross-border movements of currency or monetary instruments in excess of $10,000. The Fingerprint Act and a comprehensive counterterrorism package were presented to Parliament in October 2003. A new Port Security Act has reportedly been drafted, but has not yet been presented to Parliament. Reforms in the areas of firearms, forfeiture of the proceeds of crime (including civil asset forfeiture) and plea-bargaining have yet to be drafted. Technical amendments to the 2002 Interception of Communications (Wiretap) Act are also needed to make it more effective. In October, the JCF established a National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) that is charged with the collection, analysis and dissemination of police intelligence. The NIB, which replaces the National Firearms and Drugs Intelligence Unit, will include liaison personnel from the JDF, Customs, Immigration and Correction Services. The NIB, however, has not yet been fully funded. The GOJ continues to work with international partners to modernize its law enforcement agencies, in particular the JCF. In addition to U.S. assistance, the UK is assisting the JCF in a five-year modernization program.

Accomplishments. During 2003, the GOJ continued to take steps to strengthen its capability to identify, apprehend and prosecute drug traffickers and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. The GOJ operates under severe resource constraints, however, as well over 60 percent of the country's annual budget is expended for debt service. Nonetheless, the GOJ spent substantial amounts in 2003 to maintain an interdiction capability consisting of helicopters and patrol vessels. In a major effort to overhaul security at the nation's seaports, the PAJ signed a $21 million contract for non-intrusive inspection equipment, procured closed-circuit television surveillance systems for the Kingston and Montego Bay ports and hired an expert to provide technical assistance and oversight. The PAJ has also hired additional personnel to operate the security equipment. Customs continued to implement its modernization plan, which, among other things, calls for the vetting of Customs officers and expansion of the CET. In December, the GOJ hired 24 additional Customs officers for the CET, bringing staffing to 45 Customs officers and four narcotics police. In February 2003, Jamaica's Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition chapter was launched. The GOJ continued to fund the operating expenses for the Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Center. The GOJ in 2003 finalized its third National Drug Control Abuse Prevention and Control Master Plan (2003-2008), which at year's end was with the Cabinet for review.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Both the JCF and JDF assign a high priority to counternarcotics missions. The JDF Air Wing and Coast Guard are actively involved in maritime drug interdiction efforts. The JDF worked with the USG's Joint Inter-Agency Task Force/South throughout the year to successfully disrupt a number of planned go-fast drug deliveries. The JCF Narcotics Division, a competent and respected unit, is undergoing a multi-year restructuring and expansion program that will increase its staffing to 250 officers over the medium term. Intelligence-driven operations coordinated by DEA and the JCF vetted unit continue to target major drug trafficking organizations and led to the arrest of several mid-level traffickers.

Cooperation between the JCF, JDF and CET resulted in several large seizures of drugs, including multi-ton shipments of cannabis in containers at the ports. Cocaine seizures, however, were lower than in 2001 and 2002. In April, the JCF located a clandestine laboratory, seizing approximately 44 kilograms of cocaine along with chemicals used in its production, the first such discovery by Jamaican law enforcement. The JCF also made the largest hashish oil seizure in Jamaica's history, seizing a record 1.620 metric tons secreted in a concrete bunker. In 2003, the GOJ seized 1.586 metric tons of cocaine, 36.6 metric tons of cannabis and 1.897 metric tons of hashish oil. The GOJ eradicated 444.6 hectares of cannabis, far short of the eradication goal of 1,200 hectares agreed to in the Letter of Agreement between Jamaica and the U.S. under which the U.S. is providing counternarcotics assistance to Jamaica. Nonetheless, the JCF Narcotics Division destroyed 3.7 million cannabis seedlings at 279 nurseries. The JCF arrested 6,042 persons on drug charges, including 303 foreigners, in 2003. Almost 400 of these arrests resulted from enhanced scrutiny, aided by the use of U.S.- and UK-provided drug detection equipment, of departing passengers at the two international airports.

Corruption. Corruption continues to undermine law enforcement and judicial efforts against drug-related crime and is a major barrier to more effective counternarcotics actions.

The GOJ does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The GOJ has a policy of investigating credible reports of public corruption and prosecutes individuals who are linked by reliable evidence to drug-related activity. The GOJ has not prosecuted any senior GOJ officials for drug-related activities. In December 2002, Parliament approved the implementing regulations for the Corruption (Prevention) Act, and, in March 2003, the Commission for the Prevention of Corruption was established. The Commission is responsible for reviewing declarations of income, assets and liabilities from all public servants earning $40,000 and above, all members of the JCF and JDF and those working in immigration, Customs, and revenue collection. Review of the declarations, which were due April 30, is ongoing. Jamaica is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and signed the consensus agreement on establishing a mechanism to evaluate compliance with the Convention.

The JDF has a "zero tolerance" policy on involvement in drug-related activity by its members. The JCF conducts drug testing of recruits at their initial physical exam but does not have a random drug testing policy. Police officers are often transferred if there is suspicion, but no proof, of involvement in drug-related activity. There are a number of on-going investigations into alleged drug-related corruption involving police personnel.

Agreements and Treaties. Jamaica has a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and an extradition treaty with the U.S. Both countries utilize the MLAT to combat illegal narcotics trafficking and other crimes. The U.S. and Jamaica have a reciprocal asset sharing agreement that provides for the sharing of forfeited assets where law enforcement cooperation has made possible the forfeiture of proceeds from criminal activity. Jamaica is a party to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty among the Commonwealth States. A U.S.-Jamaica maritime counternarcotics cooperation agreement came into force in 1998. On October 15, Jamaica signed the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement. In September, Jamaica ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling and firearms. Jamaica is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Cultivation/Production. Jamaica is the largest Caribbean producer and exporter of cannabis. There is no accurate estimate of the amount of cannabis under cultivation or the number of harvests per year. The lack of crop survey data and baseline figures makes it impossible to quantify the effect of GOJ eradication efforts on the total crop. JCF Narcotics Division staff state, however, that the absence of a sustained eradication effort for several years, owing to a lack of manpower and equipment, has resulted in an increase in cannabis cultivation. As a matter of policy, Jamaica does not use herbicides to eradicate cannabis. Manual cutting is the primary eradication method.

Drug Flow/Transit. Jamaica continues to be the leading transshipment point in the Caribbean for South American cocaine en route to the U.S. The GOJ estimates that over 110 metric tons of cocaine are transshipped through Jamaica each year, with approximately 70 percent of this amount destined for the U.S. and the remainder for the UK. Cocaine arrives in Jamaica from Colombia's north coast primarily via go-fast boats. Smugglers use a variety of means to transport cocaine from Jamaica to the U.S. and other markets, including light aircraft, go-fast boats, commercial shipping containers, and couriers who board airlines or cruise ships with ingested or concealed drugs. Smugglers are increasingly using the area surrounding the Pedro Cays as a staging/re-supply point for go-fast vessels traveling from Colombia to Mexico. Colombian drug cartels are known to have established command and control centers in Jamaica to direct their illicit operations. The "Colombianization" of the Jamaican drug trade is of great concern to the GOJ.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Cannabis is the drug most frequently abused in Jamaica. The use of both powder cocaine and crack cocaine is increasing, in part due to the increasing availability of both forms of the drug on the island. Consumption of cocaine, heroin and cannabis is illegal. The possession and use of ecstasy (MDMA) is controlled under the Food and Drug Act, not the Dangerous Drug Act, and is subject to relatively light penalties. Jamaica has several active demand reduction programs. The U.S. continued to provide assistance for a Ministry of Health/National Council on Drug Abuse program that uses printed materials to discourage drug use among Jamaica's youth and to support the NGO Addiction Alert's activities. The UNODC works directly with the GOJ and NGOs to improve demand reduction efforts.

In November 2003, a joint select committee of Parliament voted to accept the recommendations of the National Commission on Ganja's 2001 report that call for the decriminalization of cannabis for adults who use small quantities for private, personal use and for religious purposes; an intensive demand reduction program aimed at youth; intensified interdiction of large-scale cannabis cultivation and all illegal drugs; and diplomatic efforts to urge a re-examination of the status of cannabis. The recommendations have been sent to the full Parliament for consideration.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. and Jamaica cooperate in a variety of areas, including maritime drug interdiction, the apprehension of fugitives, and community-police relations. U.S. law enforcement agencies note that cooperation with the GOJ is generally good and is steadily improving. The JDF Coast Guard (JDFCG) engages in cooperative operational planning with the U.S. Coast Guard on an intermittent basis associated with joint military operations in or near Jamaica's territorial waters. During 2003, Jamaica participated in three deployments of Operation Rip Tide, a continuing U.S./Jamaica/Cayman Islands (UK) effort to deny smugglers the use of maritime smuggling routes into Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. The bilateral maritime counternarcotics agreement was successfully exercised on several occasions during 2003. In July, the U.S. and Jamaica negotiated a protocol to the bilateral agreement that adds provisions for shiprider operations from third party platforms, enhancement of safety for civil aircraft in flight, contiguous zone jurisdiction, and expedited delivery of technical assistance. The Protocol entered into force on February 6, 2004.

The JDF currently lacks the force projection capabilities (fixed-wing aircraft and off-shore patrol boats) required to make continuous joint operations with the U.S. a practical activity. To augment JDFCG assets, the U.S. in March 2003 donated to the JDFCG three 42-foot fast patrol boats capable of intercepting go-fast boats. The boats have had only limited operational effect due to a combination of design and maintenance issues. In 2002, the GOJ assigned for two years two JDFCG crew members to the Caribbean Support Tender, a U.S. Coast Guard vessel with a multi-national crew that provides training and assistance in ship maintenance and repairs to Caribbean maritime forces.

In 2003, the U.S. funded participation by Jamaican police, immigration, customs, defense force and other personnel in several in-country and regional training courses. The U.S. is funding an advisor to the NIB and a Law Enforcement Development Advisor to assist the JCF's strategic planning efforts. The USG supports the highly effective Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT) with guidance from U.S. Marshals, specialized training, equipment and operational support. The JFAT is actively working on over 200 cases, the majority involving drug or homicide charges. Ten fugitives were extradited to the U.S. in 2003. Jamaican authorities are receptive to and cooperative with U.S. requests for extradition, and are working with U.S. authorities to accelerate the extradition process. An overburdened court system combined with the appeals process available to criminal defendants means that contested extradition requests can take two to five years to litigate fully.

In November 2002, the U.S. and GOJ signed an agreement under which the U.S. provided $2.2 million for a border control project to strengthen the GOJ's ability to monitor the flow of persons into and through Jamaica. The project, which will modernize the computer infrastructure at the ports of entry and provide training and technical assistance, is currently being implemented. USAID has undertaken a program of assistance to the JCF in community-police relations that will focus on strategies to reduce crime and violence.

The Road Ahead. The GOJ has taken steps to protect itself against drug trafficking and other types of organized crime. However, the GOJ needs to intensify its law enforcement efforts and enhance international cooperation. The U.S. will continue to provide equipment, technical assistance and training to assist the GOJ to improve its drug interdiction, cannabis eradication, and demand reduction efforts. Through the provision of vessels, equipment and training for the JDFCG, the U.S. will work to strengthen Jamaica's maritime interdiction efforts. The U.S. is also committed to continued support for the JCF's Narcotics Division, vetted unit, NIB, and JFAT as well as the CET with specialized training and equipment. In addition, the U.S. will work closely with the police and public prosecutors to enhance the GOJ's ability to identify, investigate, and successfully prosecute significant drug traffickers.

Modern anticrime legislation, including passage of all of the proposed legislation contained in the 2002 reform package and amendments to strengthen the Interception of Communications Act, is necessary in order to investigate, arrest and successfully prosecute drug traffickers and other criminals. The passage of a civil asset forfeiture law could materially assist GOJ counternarcotics operations by providing an alternate source of vehicles, small boats and aircraft for Jamaican law enforcement agencies and the military. The GOJ should also revise its drug legislation to provide adequate penalties for the trafficking and use of internationally controlled psychotropic substances and substances whose molecules have similar chemical properties. The USG is willing to provide technical assistance to the GOJ as it works to strengthen existing laws and draft new legislation.

Jamaica Statistics






















Potential Harvest (ha)





Eradication (ha)











Cultivation (ha)





Potential Yield1 (mt)
















Cocaine (mt)











Cannabis (mt)











Hashish Oil (kg)











Heroin (mt)







































Total Arrests











1Yield is based on an estimate of 675 kilograms per hectare.
2Data derived from official information supplied by the Narcotics Division, Jamaica Constabulary Force, except for hectares of marijuana cultivation, which is based on joint estimates from the JCF, JDF, and DEA.


I. Summary

Suriname is a transit point for South American cocaine en route to Europe and the United States, and for MDMA (ecstasy) from Europe destined for the U.S. market. MDMA is also produced in Suriname, as evidenced by the discovery in 2003 of a drug laboratory, along with chemicals used to produce MDMA. Evidence is insufficient, however, to establish that the quantity of drugs transiting Suriname has a significant effect on the U.S. The Government of Suriname's (GOS) inability to control its borders and the lack of a law enforcement presence in the largely unmonitored interior allow traffickers to move drug shipments via sea, river, and air with little, if any, resistance. Nevertheless, GOS law enforcement had some success in interdicting cocaine shipments. In 2003, GOS law enforcement also took steps to expand cooperation with international partners, and a high level of cooperation exists between U.S. and GOS law enforcement officials. Domestic drug abuse reportedly continued to increase. The principal obstacles to effective counternarcotics law enforcement efforts are inadequate resources and limited training for law enforcement. These problems are compounded by inadequate legislation, with complicated and often time-consuming bureaucratic requirements; drug-related corruption; relative geographic isolation; lack of government control of the interior and borders; and lack of resources for law enforcement. Suriname is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention but has not implemented legislation bringing it into full conformity with the Convention.

II. Status of Country

Suriname is a transshipment point for cocaine originating in South America destined primarily for Europe and, to a lesser extent, the U.S. Suriname is also used to transship MDMA (ecstasy) from Europe to the U.S. In May 2003, Surinamese law enforcement for the first time seized an MDMA lab, along with considerable amounts of precursor chemicals, indicating that MDMA is also being produced in Suriname. However, evidence available in 2003 did not support a finding that drugs entering the U.S. from Suriname were in an amount sufficient to have a significant effect on the U.S. The GOS is unable to detect the diversion of precursor chemicals for drug production, as it has no legislation controlling precursor chemicals. The lack of resources, limited law enforcement capabilities, along with inadequate legislation, drug-related corruption, and a complicated and time-consuming bureaucracy, inhibit the GOS's ability to identify, apprehend, and prosecute narcotics traffickers. In addition, Suriname's sparsely populated jungle interior together with weak border controls and infrastructure make narcotics detection and interdiction efforts difficult.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2003

Policy Initiatives. Suriname's current administration and GOS law enforcement officials consistently express concern regarding the extent of drugs transiting Suriname and point to the lack of resources as the primary obstacle to Suriname's counternarcotics efforts. In August 2002, the National Assembly passed a package of legislation aimed at criminalizing money laundering (see money laundering chapter) and amended Suriname's criminal code, code of criminal proceedings, and law on economic crimes. While certain amendments address the confiscation of illegally obtained assets, filing of criminal offenses against corporate entities, conspiracy, witness intimidation, and international requests for legal assistance, the GOS has not taken advantage of these provisions to assist law enforcement. Suriname has a Strategic Drugs Master Plan (2000-2005) that covers both supply and demand reduction but needs to update the plan and take steps to fully implement its provisions. The National Anti-Drug Council is the national coordinating authority.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Narcotics Brigade of Suriname's police force (KPS) benefits from high visibility within the police department, primarily due to the high-profile nature of counternarcotics issues both within the region and internationally. The Customs Service, despite its active and successful role in drug interdiction, does not consider itself a law enforcement body and receives fewer resources and less formal training. The Military Police, which is responsible for border control and immigration, has the primary role in drug interdiction efforts at ports of entry, particularly at the international airport. In 2003, GOS law enforcement made numerous arrests at the international airport of passengers, primarily on the five weekly flights to Amsterdam, who had either ingested or were carrying drugs on their bodies or in luggage. Many who evade detection in Suriname are arrested at the airport in Amsterdam.

As GOS Customs agents and Military Police have no investigative function, they tend to focus on individual smugglers and couriers rather than the organized trafficking kingpins and their networks, relying primarily on profiling and tips from informants. In March, however, the KPS established a special unit within the police force to investigate, in cooperation with Dutch law enforcement, drug organizations that actively smuggle drugs between Suriname and Holland.

In May, the KPS Narcotics Brigade discovered the first-ever MDMA-producing lab in Suriname, along with 80 kilograms of MDMA and considerable amounts of precursor chemicals. The seizure resulted from a one-year joint investigation conducted by the KPS and Dutch authorities. The lab reportedly was capable of producing 500,000 tablets per day, which preliminary evidence suggests were destined for the U.S. Five Surinamese and two Dutch nationals were arrested in connection with the seizure. In November, the KPS vetted unit seized 341 kilograms of cocaine from a clandestine airstrip in western Suriname. Six of the twelve suspects arrested in connection with the seizure were subsequently released, however, due to insufficient evidence. In December, the KPS developed and passed to European authorities information regarding a cocaine shipment concealed in a container freighter that had departed Suriname for Europe, which resulted in the seizure of the drugs by Portuguese law enforcement. In 2003, the GOS seized 814.25 kilograms of cocaine and 119.345 kilograms of cannabis, and arrested 479 people for drug-related offenses.

According to a GOS official, members of the Colombian terrorist group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), are present in Suriname to coordinate arms-for-drugs activities. KPS officials confirmed that weapons that had been stolen from a Surinamese police training center in 1998 were retrieved by Colombian police during a 2003 raid on FARC operatives. In October, the KPS seized approximately 40,000 rounds of AK-47 ammunition suspected to be connected to an arms-for-drugs deal. Seven people were arrested, including three Colombians who were in Suriname illegally.

Corruption. Public corruption, while not universal, is considered a serious problem in Suriname. Reports of money laundering, drug trafficking and associated criminal activity involving current and former government and military officials continue to circulate. In 2003, members of the Military Police and Armed Forces were arrested for drug-related corruption, and in August, a Customs officer was convicted for helping a drug courier evade detection at the international airport. Former military strongman Desi Bouterse continued to serve in the National Assembly despite his 1999 conviction in the Netherlands for narcotics trafficking. Bouterse's son, Dino, was arrested in June for his alleged involvement in the theft of weapons from a police armory, but was subsequently released when several witnesses either recanted previous testimony implicating him or refused to testify. In November, a former Minister of Finance and Natural Resources was convicted of corruption and sentenced to one year in prison for forging minutes of a meeting in which the Council of Ministers purportedly granted approval for the purchase of a building for $300,000 more than its appraised value. Suriname ratified the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption in 2002 but has not developed a comprehensive national anticorruption plan.

Agreements and Treaties. Suriname is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. It is also a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but has not yet implemented legislation bringing it into compliance with the Convention. Suriname has passed legislation that conforms to the drug interdiction portion of the Convention. The GOS ratified the OAS Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. Since 1976, the GOS has been sharing narcotics information with the Netherlands pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement. In August 1999, a comprehensive six-part bilateral maritime counternarcotics enforcement agreement with the U.S. entered into force. The U.S.-Netherlands Extradition Treaty of 1904 is applicable to Suriname, but Suriname prohibits the extradition of its nationals. Suriname is a member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS/CICAD).

Cultivation and Production. Suriname is not a producer of cocaine or opium poppy. While cannabis is cultivated in Suriname, there is no specific data on the number of hectares under cultivation or evidence that it is exported in significant quantities. As noted above, the discovery of an MDMA lab indicates that MDMA production is taking place in Suriname.

Drug Flow/Transit. Much of the cocaine entering Suriname is dropped by small aircraft on clandestine airstrips or "drop zones" located throughout the dense jungle interior where the lack of resources, infrastructure, law enforcement personnel and equipment makes detection and interdiction difficult. Following drug drops along interior roads and clandestine airstrips, the drugs are shipped to the ports from the interior via numerous river routes to the sea and overland for onward shipment to Caribbean islands, Europe and the U.S. Drugs exit Suriname via commercial air flights (by drug couriers or secreted in planes) and by commercial sea cargo. European-produced MDMA is transported via four weekly flights from the Netherlands to Suriname; drug couriers then transport the drugs to the U.S. on flights to Miami, via Curacao.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). In April, Suriname's National Anti-Drug Council (NAR) completed its study of drug use among the youth in Suriname, which found that there was a significant increase in drug use. The study, for which the U.S. provided limited funding, is a part of a larger Caribbean-wide research study of youth drug use that was undertaken by OAS/CICAD. Suriname has a Drug Demand Reduction Strategy, incorporated in the Strategic Master Plan, but has done little to implement it. The Bureau of Alcohol and Drugs, a department of the State Mental Health Institution, along with the NAR, police, and NGOs, emphasize drug education and rehabilitation in response to growing domestic drug consumption. The National Drugs Information System, created in 2001 to collect and distribute data to positively influence policy formation, has been largely ineffective.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. A high level of cooperation exists between U.S. and GOS law enforcement officials. Following the discovery of the MDMA lab, the DEA assisted local law enforcement officials in analyzing the product and in discerning trafficking patterns. In 2003, the U.S. provided both training and material support to several elements of the KPS and the military to strengthen their counternarcotics capabilities and promote greater bilateral cooperation. The Department of State, in cooperation with the DEA, continues to build on previous years' work by providing assistance to dedicated Surinamese law enforcement officials to increase their technical skills. Through temporary duty assignments, the DEA provided continuous training and logistical support to the Narcotics Unit of the KPS. The DEA and the KPS have also been active in Caribbean-wide counternarcotics law enforcement operations. The USG and GOS continued to cooperate on counternarcotics matters, using USG funding provided in 2003 under an amended Letter of Agreement (LOA). In 2003, the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection conducted integrity/anti-corruption training in Suriname as well as a course for Surinamese and Guyanese front-line Customs officers in regional drug trafficking patterns, risk assessment, and targeting and search techniques. Suriname currently has one crewman serving aboard the Caribbean Support Tender, a U.S. Coast Guard vessel with a multi-national crew that provides training and assistance in ship maintenance and repairs to Caribbean countries' Coast Guards.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to encourage the GOS to pursue large narcotics traffickers rather than focusing primarily upon swallowers and body carriers. The U.S. will also encourage the GOS to focus on port security, specifically seaports, which are seen as the primary conduits for large shipments of narcotics exiting Suriname. The U.S. intends to build on the training provided to GOS Customs in 2003 to strengthen its capabilities to detect drug shipments. In 2004, DEA plans to provide the KPS and other law enforcement agencies with basic drug enforcement training. The U.S. will continue to provide equipment, training, and technical support to the GOS to strengthen its counternarcotics efforts

Trinidad and Tobago

I. Summary

Trinidad and Tobago is a transit country for narcotics from South America to the U.S. and Europe. Evidence is insufficient, however, to establish that the quantity of drugs transiting Trinidad and Tobago has a significant effect on the U.S. Cannabis is grown in Trinidad and Tobago, but production falls below the threshold for designating the country as a major drug- producing country under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. Trinidad and Tobago has a vibrant petrochemical economy with the potential for the diversion of precursor chemicals for drug production. Trinidad and Tobago's growing economy, with a well-developed banking sector, communications and transportation systems, facilitates a significant number of sizeable financial transactions that can obscure money laundering (for details, see the money laundering section of this report).

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) continued to cooperate with the U.S. on counternarcotics issues. The GOTT provided significant resources in support of counternarcotics/crime law enforcement efforts. GOTT counternarcotics units, including the Police Service's Organized Crime and Narcotics Unit (OCNU), the Counter-Drug/Crime Task Force (CDCTF), the Defence Force Coast Guard and Customs Marine Interdiction Unit, carried out numerous drug interdiction and cannabis eradication operations during 2003. These units remained very cooperative with their U.S. counterparts throughout the year. Through the provision of technical assistance, training, and materiel, the U.S. in 2003 sought to help the GOTT strengthen all facets of its counternarcotics efforts. As a result of U.S. assistance, at year's end, the GOTT had an operational maritime surveillance/interdiction capability. Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and continues to work diligently toward meeting the Convention's objectives.

II. Status of Country

Trinidad and Tobago is situated seven miles off the coast of Venezuela, making it a convenient transshipment point for illicit drugs, primarily cocaine but also heroin, from South America destined for U.S. and European markets. There is no evidence, however, that the drugs entering the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago are in an amount sufficient to have a significant effect on the U.S. Trinidad and Tobago does not produce coca or opium poppy. While cannabis is grown in the country, primarily for domestic use, the amount of cultivation is not on a scale to make Trinidad and Tobago a major drug-producing country. Trinidad and Tobago has an advanced petrochemical sector, which requires the import/export of precursor chemicals that can be diverted for use in the manufacturing of cocaine hydrochloride. Precursor chemicals originating from Trinidad and Tobago have been found in illegal drug labs in Colombia. Computers provided by the U.S. to the Ministry of Health will enable the GOTT to track chemical shipments.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2003

Policy Initiatives. The GOTT continued to support counternarcotics efforts through public statements by senior GOTT officials and the provision of resources for ongoing programs. GOTT law enforcement units were successful throughout the year in disrupting shipments of drugs transiting Trinidad and Tobago and eradicating cannabis cultivation. The GOTT continued to fund a three-person U.S. Customs Advisory Team that provides technical assistance to the Customs and Excise Division to improve the effectiveness of its passenger and cargo processing and enforcement capabilities. The GOTT also continued to fund an Internal Revenue Service Tax Assistance and Advisory Team that is working with the Bureau of Inland Revenue (BIR) to strengthen penalties for financial crimes and to establish a criminal tax investigations unit, which was formally launched in November 2003.

The GOTT maintained its support for the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) Coast Guard Air Wing and, in 2003, contracted for additional pilots for the two U.S.-donated C-26 aircraft. These aircraft, upgraded with sensor packages in 2002 at GOTT expense, provide the GOTT with a counternarcotics maritime surveillance/interdiction capability. To enhance its coastal radar net, the GOTT is also taking steps to procure replacements for the USG-donated radars that, because of their age, have been increasingly difficult to maintain. The GOTT provided support for the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, which has its secretariat in Port of Spain. The GOTT continued to comply with U.S. requests under the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. The GOTT has a counternarcotics master plan that covers both supply and demand reduction. The National Drug Council oversees the plan's implementation.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The TTDF Coast Guard, OCNU, CDCTF, and specialized policy/army task forces continued to carry out drug interdiction and eradication operations throughout the year, sometimes in cooperation with DEA and U.S. Customs. Numerous GOTT eradication operations resulted in the eradication of 2.1 million cannabis plants and seedlings. In 2003, the GOTT seized 149 kilograms of cocaine, 31 kilograms of heroin, and 560 kilograms of cannabis. The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), with DEA assistance, was able to interdict several shipments of cocaine being transported via commercial flights, either in transit from Guyana or originating in Trinidad and Tobago. In mid-summer, Canadian and GOTT law enforcement interdicted two cocaine shipments, reportedly facilitated by airport workers, destined for Canada. One shipment of 42 kilograms was secreted in a container that arrived at the Toronto airport from Port of Spain; another shipment of 60 kilograms was seized by GOTT law enforcement in a similar container. In an October operation, 25 kilograms of cocaine were seized by the OCNU at Piarco International Airport in a mailbag bound for New York, and two airport employees were arrested. In addition, U.S.-funded drug detection dogs were used to search passenger luggage and cargo at the airport and on one occasion detected cocaine concealed in two FedEx boxes. In August, the GOTT recovered an additional 200 kilograms of cocaine that washed ashore, along with two corpses, in what was suspected to be part of a larger shipment from Venezuela that may have been disrupted. The TTDF Coast Guard and Customs Marine Interdiction Unit continued to undertake maritime drug interdiction operations, although on a limited scale in the absence of vessels fast enough to interdict high-speed boats.

Corruption. During 2003, there were no charges of drug-related corruption filed against senior officials. The GOTT does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics or the laundering of drug money. The 1987 Prevention of Corruption Act and the 2000 Integrity in Public Life Act address the responsibility and ethical rules for government personnel. The Integrity in Public Life Act requires public officials to declare and explain the source of their assets. An integrity commission is authorized to initiate investigations.

Countering public corruption is a high priority for the GOTT. In early 2003, with funding assistance from the UN Development Program, the GOTT hired an independent consultant to conduct a study of ways the GOTT can strengthen its anticorruption legislation and mechanisms. The consultant's report was delivered to the Attorney General in November. At GOTT request, the USG has polygraphed police, and mid- and high-level officials going for training or entering elite units to ensure that reputable and reliable personnel were chosen. Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and signed the UN Convention Against Corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. Trinidad and Tobago is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties with the U.S. entered into force in November 1999. A bilateral U.S.-GOTT maritime agreement is in force. The GOTT signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants in 2001, but it has not yet ratified those instruments. Trinidad and Tobago is a member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS/CICAD).

Cultivation and Production. Trinidad and Tobago is not a producer of cocaine or opium poppy. Cannabis is cultivated year-round in the forest and jungle areas of northern, eastern, and southern Trinidad and, to a minor extent, in Tobago. The total amount of cultivation cannot accurately be determined because cultivation is done in small quarter-acre lots in remote areas. There have also been reports of cannabis being grown in plots with legal cash crops. Cannabis is eradicated by cutting and burning plants manually; crops are not sprayed with aerially applied herbicides.

Drug Flow/Transit. Illicit drugs arrive from the South American mainland, particularly Venezuela because of its proximity, primarily on small, fast fishing boats. Drugs also arrive on pleasure craft and commercial aircraft. The drugs are then smuggled out on yachts, in air cargo, and by couriers. Cocaine has been found on airline flights from Guyana transiting Trinidad and Tobago en route to North America. Narcotics seizures reported by U.S. law enforcement officials at JFK International Airport and intelligence indicate that Guyanese-based smuggling organizations are increasingly using Trinidad and Tobago as a transshipment point for cocaine. DEA believes there has been a slight increase in the amount of heroin transiting Trinidad and Tobago. Some shipments are bypassing Trinidad and Tobago, however, in favor of other islands, due in large part to the counternarcotics efforts of GOTT security forces.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The GOTT does not maintain statistics on domestic consumption or numbers of drug users. Programs to reduce the demand for illicit drugs are managed by the Ministry of Community Development and Gender Affairs, the National Drug Council in the Ministry of National Security, and the Ministry of Education, with assistance from NGOs. The GOTT funds the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program, which coordinates the activities of NGOs to promote demand reduction. In 2002, the GOTT initiated the Civilian Conservation Corps to teach job skills and foster self-esteem in high-risk youth. The GOTT police service has established several police youth clubs under its community-policing branch, which the U.S. in the past supported with computers and equipment. In addition, the U.S. has provided funding to enable the NGO Servol to expand its program of early childhood education. The GOTT has a D.A.R.E. program.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. The key U.S. policy objective is to assist the GOTT to eliminate the flow of narcotics through Trinidad and Tobago to the U.S. by strengthening the GOTT's ability to detect and interdict drug shipments, bring traffickers and other criminals to trial, attack money laundering, and counter drug-related corruption. The U.S. also seeks to strengthen the administration of justice through the provision of assistance to streamline Trinidad and Tobago's judicial process, reduce court backlogs, and protect witnesses from intimidation and murder.

Bilateral Cooperation. The USG has a cooperative relationship with the GOTT, which has been responsive to mutually beneficial counternarcotics efforts. U.S. law enforcement enjoys excellent cooperation from GOTT law enforcement agencies. The U.S. provides training, technical assistance, equipment and vehicles in support of GOTT counternarcotics/crime efforts. The U.S. provided equipment to the OCNU, and is procuring several vehicles for the Unit. At a March ceremony, kennels for drug-detection dogs, constructed/refurbished with USG funding, were officially turned over to the TTPS Canine and Mounted Branch. The U.S. also provided an antikidnapping course to strengthen the GOTT's ability to deal with the increasing incidence of kidnappings in the country. To augment the GOTT's counternarcotics maritime surveillance capability, the U.S. in 2003 provided substantial support for the TTDF Coast Guard Air Wing's two C-26 aircraft. As a result of USG-funded training, the Air Wing at year's end had three crews (pilots/sensor operators) capable of conducting maritime surveillance/interdiction missions using the sensor equipment on the C-26 aircraft. The U.S. is in the process of procuring two fast interceptor vessels for the Coast Guard to provide an effective response capability to maritime drug trafficking activities detected by the aircraft.

The GOTT-funded U.S. Customs Advisory Team provides technical assistance to Customs and Excise in tracking and intercepting marine vessels, including cargo container ships, and improving narcotics detection. The team continued to work with the Customs Marine Interdiction Unit and Canine Unit to strengthen their counternarcotics capabilities. In 2003, the U.S. provided the Canine Unit with vehicles to transport drug detection dogs. Technical assistance provided by the GOTT-funded Internal Revenue Service Tax Assistance and Advisory Team, along with U.S.-funded equipment and training, enabled the GOTT to establish, in November 2003, a Criminal Investigation Division within the BIR. The U.S. is also procuring audio-recording equipment for five courtrooms in order to reduce court backlogs and providing training and computers to the Ministry of Health in support of the GOTT's precursor chemical program.

The GOTT, as a founding subscriber to the International Criminal Court, has not signed an Article 98 agreement. This has caused a suspension of International Military Education grant funds and all Foreign Military Financing effective July 1, 2003. Nonetheless, the GOTT continues to exhibit political and operational will to stem the flow of drugs through existing agreements.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to work closely with the GOTT's law enforcement agencies to strengthen their counternarcotics/crime capabilities. The U.S. will continue to provide training and operational support to the TTDF Coast Guard to enhance the GOTT's air surveillance and maritime interdiction capabilities. The GOTT and U.S. envision that the intelligence collection and analysis capability of the TTDF Coast Guard Air Wing will increase as training proceeds through 2004, and that the inter-agency Joint Operations Command Center will be capable of disseminating the data collected by the C-26 aircraft to the appropriate counternarcotics units for an effective end-game. The U.S. will continue efforts to improve the rule of law by encouraging legal reforms, including improving evidentiary laws, and providing assistance aimed at reducing judicial delays. In addition, the U.S. will seek to engage GOTT officials, the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, and Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering Programme in the enactment and implementation of effective asset forfeiture and anti-money laundering laws.

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