I. SummaryThe Bahamas is a major transit country for cocaine and marijuana bound for the U.S. from South America and the Caribbean. The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas (GCOB) cooperates closely with the 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. The Bahamas is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of CountryThe Bahamas, a country of 700 islands and cays distributed over an area the size of California maritime and aerial routes between Colombia and the U.S., is an attractive location for drug transshipments of cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs. The Bahamas is not considered a significant drug producer nor a producer or transit point for drug precursor chemicals. The Bahamas participates actively as a partner in "Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos" (OPBAT)-a multi-agency international drug interdiction cooperative effort established in 1982. As of November 2005, OPBAT seized 840 kilograms of cocaine and 9.0 metric tons of marijuana.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005Policy Initiatives. The GCOB’s comprehensive National Anti-Drug Plan, published in 2004, calls for the establishment of a National Drug Secretariat with responsibility for its implementation. The GCOB announced its intention in late 2005 to headquarter the Secretariat in the Ministry of National Security. In 2005, 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 2005. Marijuana seizures doubled in 2005, while cocaine seizures decreased as a result of previous years’ break up of the largest drug trafficking organization in The Bahamas. The extradition of Samuel "Ninety" Knowles remains pending.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The RBPF participated actively in OPBAT. Alerted by U.S. Department of Homeland Security surveillance aircraft, and on some occasions by the Cuban Border Guard, U.S. Army and Coast Guard helicopters intercept maritime drug smugglers and seize airdrops of drugs into Bahamian territory. Law enforcement officers have noted that Haitian traffickers are concealing their drugs in hidden compartments in sailing vessels, commingling of drug trafficking networks with illegal migrant smuggling organizations.
During 2005, the DEU seized 1.01 metric tons of cocaine and 13 metric tons of marijuana. (Note: OPBAT seizures are included in DEU’s total). The DEU arrested 1,382 persons on drug-related offenses and seized drug-related assets, including five boats and five vehicles. Cocaine seizures decreased compared to 2004 levels. This decrease is the result of the continued vigilance and precise targeting actions by law enforcement agencies and the 2005 hurricane season.
To enhance the results of drug interdiction missions, the USG in collaboration with the GCOB established the Bahamas Rapid Response Team. The Bahamas Rapid Response Team gathers selected members of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF), as well as the Customs Department, and Immigration to assist the Police Force to conduct contraband searches on short notice. In 2005, the Rapid Response Team conducted more than ten operations. While these operations did not result in drug seizures or arrests, they point to the increased capabilities of the Rapid Response Team. During 2005, the RBDF assigned two marines to the Caribbean Support Tender (the U.S. Coast Guard cutter "Gentian") and three ship-riders each month to Coast Guard Cutters. The ship-riders extend the capability of the U.S. Coast Guard into the territorial seas of The Bahamas.
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, nor the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official in the GCOB was convicted of drug-related offenses in 2005. The RBPF anticorruption unit reported that during 2005 there were eight allegations of corruption brought against officers, three pending prosecutions and five ongoing investigations. The RBPF uses an internal committee to investigate allegations of corruption involving police officers instead of an independent entity.
Agreements and Treaties. The Bahamas is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and is party to 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. The GCOB is also a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.
The U.S. and the Bahamas cooperate in law enforcement matters under an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT). The MLAT facilitates the bilateral exchange of information and evidence for use in criminal proceedings. There are currently 31 U.S. extraditions pending in the Bahamas. GCOB prosecutors pursue USG extradition requests vigorously and, at times, at considerable expense. However, in the Bahamian justice system, defendants can appeal a magistrate’s decision, first domestically, and ultimately, to the Privy Council in London. This process often adds years to an extradition procedure.
Drug Flow/Transit. Most of the cocaine flow originates in Colombia and arrives in The Bahamas via go-fast boats or small aircraft from Jamaica and Haiti. During 2005, law enforcement officials identified 41 suspicious go-fast type boats on Bahamian waters. In addition, there were 16 drug smuggling aircraft detected over Bahamian territory. Small amounts of drugs were found on individuals transiting through the international airports in Nassau and Grand Bahamas Island and the transatlantic cruise ship ports.
In 2005 Bahamian law enforcement officials identified shipments of drugs in Haitian sloops, fishing boats, small aircraft and pleasure vessels. Sport fishing vessels and pleasure crafts transport the cocaine from The Bahamas to Florida, blending into the legitimate vessel traffic that moves daily between these locations. Larger go-fast and sport fishing vessels regularly transport between 1000 to 3000 pounds of marijuana shipments from Jamaica to The Bahamas. These shipments are moved to Florida in the same manner as cocaine. 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.
Domestic Programs. 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. Schools and youth organizations are the primary target of prevention/education program. A National Drug Council survey of drug use by students in The Bahamas was published in 2005, providing a baseline against which to measure the results of demand reduction programs. The study indicates that 14.4 percent of school-aged Bahamians have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime, while 8.3 percent smoked marijuana during the past year. The survey measured the use of the powdered form of cocaine and crack cocaine separately. 1.1 percent of school aged children have used each of these forms of cocaine at least once, while 0.4 percent admit to having used powdered cocaine during the past year and 0.3 percent have used crack cocaine in the past year.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and ProgramsPolicy 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.
Bilateral Cooperation. During 2005, INL in coordination with 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. In 2005, the U.S. and the CGOB began negotiations to include the Freeport Container Port as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Container Security Agreement (CSI). 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. NAS funds continued to be used to cover urgent 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 education campaign to the Family Islands.
Road Ahead. The Bahamas’ location, and the expanse of its territorial area, guarantees that it will continue to be a preferred route for drug transshipment and other criminal activity. New trafficking organizations will seek to fill the void left by the recent dismantling of long-standing major trafficking organizations. The Bahamian Government is expected to continue its strong commitment to joint counternarcotics efforts. The U.S. anticipates that the GCOB will continue to work closely with the U.S. to extradite drug traffickers to the U.S. We expect The Bahamas will become a party to the Container Security Initiative in 2006. The U.S. looks forward to the establishment of the National Drug Secretariat and the introduction to Parliament of precursor chemical control legislation. NAS will continue to support RBPF efforts to convert seized boats for use in interdiction operations. NAS plans to assist the Bahamians in identifying innovative technologies to obtain important intelligence to thwart the flow of drugs.
I. SummaryCuban territorial waters and airspace are an attractive transshipment corridor for narcotics trafficking in the Caribbean. The Government of Cuba (GOC) intercepts and destroys drug contraband, but Cuba’s geographical position and the GOC’s refusal to implement an effective use-of-force policy encourage drug traffickers to risk transiting through the island’s territorial water and airspace. The primary factor exposing Cuba to the dangers of narcotics trafficking is residual shipments of drugs that wash ashore. Other factors include: extensive foreign tourism, foreign investment, and increased commerce with Venezuela.
The GOC has a coordinated national strategy for maritime and aerial interdiction. However, the effectiveness of Cuba’s drug prevention and interdiction stems primarily from its tyrannical and coercive policing methods, which facilitate the regime’s ability to infiltrate drug production and trafficking networks, and to thwart them, whenever the regime decides it wants to crack down. The regime consistently seeks to engage the U.S., including in law enforcement areas, for reasons that are largely political, in order to garner a false sense of legitimacy and to project an aura of normalization with the United States. Cuba is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
The GOC pursues an aggressive internal enforcement, investigation and prevention program against its incipient drug market. Under the direction of the National Anti-Drug Commission, the GOC continues to pay special attention to international drug trafficking trends. The Cubans dedicate resources, adopt methods and techniques to improve detection, and work to obtain better results in the area of prevention. The GOC continued Operation Hatchet III, a multi-agency counternarcotics interdiction operation, and Operation Popular Shield, a multi-agency counternarcotics investigation combined with a nationwide drug awareness campaign. Enforcement activities during 2005 were limited. Although there was a slight increase in the total number of aerial and maritime sightings in Cuban territory in 2005 compared to 2004, drug seizures declined to the lowest level in 10 years.
II. Status of CountryCuba is not a major drug-producing country and its level of internal consumption is believed to be minimal, although Cuban officials indicate that low quality marijuana is cultivated for a growing tourist market. According to the Cuban Government, 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, youth affairs and education organizations. The governing body for prevention, rehabilitation, and policy issues is the National Drug Commission, formed in 1989 after the GOC contrived a 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 is headed by the Minister of Justice, and includes the Ministries of 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 2005Policy Initiatives. The Government of Cuba continued the enforcement of Decree 232 "On the Confiscation for Deeds Related with Drugs, Acts of Corruption and Other Illicit Behavior" which entered into effect in January 2003. This became the GOC’s "legal framework" for a nation-wide security crack down, cast as a "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." The Ministry of Interior continues to investigate suspected narcotics traffickers, and works with the rest of the drug commission to carry out a nation-wide public awareness campaign. In an effort to demonstrate international collaboration, the GOC hosted the Third Regional Conference on Drug Control in the Caribbean. Over 30 delegates from 20 Caribbean, European and Latin American countries attended.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Cuba is completing its fifth year of Operation Hatchet, which has as its goal the disruption of maritime and air trafficking routes, recovering washed-up narcotics, and denying drug smugglers shelter within the territory and waters of Cuba. In addition to using Cuba’s fleet of Cuban Border Guard regular patrols, Operation Hatchet uses a combination of shore-based patrols, visual and radar observation posts, and encourages its civilian fishing auxiliary force and civilians ashore to report all suspected contacts and contraband. Operation Hatchet includes vessel, aircraft and radar surveillance from the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Navy and Air Force), coastal patrol vessel and radar surveillance from the Ministry of Interior Border Guard, and participants from the DNA, National Police, and the National Park Rangers.
Cuba maintains a strict non-use-of-force policy when dealing with suspected narcotics trafficking vessels transiting its territorial seas and low flying planes violating its air space. Cuban law enforcement authorities reported to U.S. authorities sightings of 31 suspect targets (7 aircraft and 24 go-fasts) in 2005 transiting their airspace or territorial waters, a slight increase over the 28 total sightings (14 aircraft and 14 go-fast) in 2004. The Cuban Border Guard has reported suspect drug laden go-fast vessels transiting within their territorial waters to U.S. Coast Guard authorities. They have also provided, albeit with occasional impediments, investigative criminal information on drug trafficking cases. As a result of information passed by the Cuban Border Guard in March, the U.S. Coast Guard seized one go-fast vessel that was reported departing Cuban territorial waters after discarding over half a ton of marijuana.
Cuban Customs and DNA maintain an active counternarcotics inspection program at the island’s maritime ports and airports. In 2004, Cuba INTERPOL re-established its office in Havana and commenced operations with five Cuban officials. In 2005, the GOC established an integrated container examining facility in the port of Havana to house a large x-ray system it purchased from China. If the x-ray reveals that cargo being processed requires further investigation, the container is unloaded for detailed physical examination. Neither the extent nor the effectiveness of these programs can be verified. It is unclear whether the x-ray machines are exclusively devoted to counternarcotics activity; the regime maintains an active program to maintain a blockade on informational material.
Drug Seizures/Arrests. Drug seizures declined during 2005 to their lowest level in ten years. The GOC reported the seizure of 2,477 kilograms of illicit narcotics, which included 2,194 kilograms of marijuana, 282 kilograms of cocaine, 2,579 plants of marijuana and 19,197 marijuana seeds. Operation Popular Shield has resulted in the seizure of 29 kilograms of narcotics: 24 kilograms of marijuana; 4 kilograms of cocaine; and 1 kilogram of hash or other psychedelic drugs. The majority of GOC confiscations came from the recovery of washed-up narcotics by Cuban Border Guard troops and coastal watch stations along the Cuban coastline. Since Operation Popular Shield began in January 2003, the GOC has reported the detention of over 3,000 people, of whom 65 percent were sentenced to six or more years of imprisonment for trafficking drugs in the internal market.
The GOC reported seven separate airport cases with a total seizure of 6 kilograms of cocaine and 1 kilogram of marijuana. All seven of the cases were at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. The GOC reported 2 cases of postal shipments of drugs in 2005. The GOC also reported a total of 283 foreign tourists detected with narcotics for personal consumption at Cuban international airports in 2005. In almost all cases, the GOC reported the narcotics were confiscated and destroyed, and the tourists were allowed to continue their visit.
Corruption. The U.S. government 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. Some anecdotal reports extend to the Cuban Border Guard. No mention of GOC complicity in narcotics trafficking or narcotics-related corruption was made in the media in 2005; however, the media in Cuba is completely controlled by the state, which permits only laudatory press coverage on itself. 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 Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single
Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. The GOC maintains bilateral narcotics agreements with 33 countries and less formal agreements with 16 others. Counternarcotics coordination between the U.S. and Cuba occurs only on a case-by-case basis. The Cuban government has not signed the Agreement Concerning Co-operation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Air Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Area (Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement) despite its participation in the agreement negotiations. Cuba has signed, but not ratified, 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. As a likely result of increased U.S. law enforcement presence in the Windward Passage, narcotics trafficking through Cuban territory decreased measurably in 2005. Narcotics trafficking from Jamaica to the Bahamas, Haiti and to the U.S. normally occurs through Cuban territorial seas and airspace, with a majority of the narcotics being trafficked via maritime routes around the eastern and western tips and via air routes over the eastern side of the island. Small quantities of narcotics were trafficked via Cuba’s international airports, in which drug couriers or "mules" carried narcotics to and from Europe. In the seven reported cases, the destination countries were England and Italy.
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 2005.
Domestic Programs. The National Commission on Drugs (CND), created in 1989, has taken the lead on drug prevention programs. With the support of law enforcement authorities from Canada, France and the United Kingdom, Cuba has participated in highly structured competent counternarcotics training. 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. The aim of the action plan is to implement a long-term prevention strategy that is included as part of the educational curriculum at all grade levels. The GOC reports that there are 195 mental health community centers in Cuba consisting of family doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and 150 social, educational and cultural programs dedicated to teaching drug prevention and offering rehabilitation programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and ProgramsBilateral Cooperation. Narcotics cooperation occurs only on a case-by-case basis, primarily through the U.S. Coast Guard Drug Interdiction Specialist (DIS) assigned to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. The Cuban DNA and Border Guard have provided the DIS increased exposure to Cuban counternarcotics efforts, including a visit to the Port of Havana to observe customs container inspection program, and a visit to the Cuban national canine training center in Havana. DIS was also taken for a site visit in December and given an operational synopsis of Cuba’s largest drug seizure of the year, a go-fast vessel with 1.3 tons of marijuana. GOC also allowed DIS to witness the chain of custody and process detailing the incineration of all contraband seized for the year 2005. In addition, the Cuban DNA provided investigative information on narcotics trafficking cases and the Border Guard provided information on suspect vessels and aircraft to the U.S. Coast Guard on 44 narcotics-related events. Given the nature of the Cuban regime, cooperation with the U.S. by the Cuban authorities is predicated on political motivations that serve the regime’s political interests.
The Road Ahead. Exchanges of information between the U.S. and Cuba help prevent drugs from entering the U.S. The Cuban government, perhaps out of genuine concern for stopping narcotics trafficking but undoubtedly because of a calculated desire to cultivate the perception that it is acting in an internationally responsible manner, understands that the best strategy to fight drugs involves multinational cooperation, even with the United States. For the GOC, managing narcotics corruption may serve the regime’s broader objective, of using the coercive nature of its counternarcotics efforts to obtain financial gain for the regime. The GOC also recognizes that success requires a strong and enforceable penal code that covers drug-related offenses, and adequate resources dedicated to fighting drug trafficking and all other drug related crimes. Cuba could do significantly more. Cuba’s geographic position and the regime’s refusal to implement an effective use-of-force policy consistent with its detection and intelligence capabilities continue to encourage narcotics smugglers to use Cuban territorial waters and airspace to transport their shipments from South America and the Caribbean. Cuba has not demonstrated any interest in signing the Caribbean Regional Agreement, hampering its ability to take more effective action against narcotics trafficking through its territory. The Cuban government has consistently sought to engage with U.S. counterparts for reasons that are largely political, including its desire to project a false sense of legitimacy and normalization with the United States. To that end, Cuban officials profess their interest in developing with the U.S. government bilateral agreements to combat drug trafficking, terrorism and the trafficking of migrants; however, such agreements are not possible until the Cuban regime abandons its totalitarian character and its role as a state sponsor of terrorism.
I. SummaryThe Dominican Republic (DR) is a major drug transit country from South America, with cocaine transiting to Europe, and both cocaine and heroin to the United States. During 2005, the DR increased seizures of large quantities of heroin, cocaine and MDMA; increased extraditions; advanced in domestic law enforcement capacity, institution building and interagency networking; and made progress in criminal proceedings in major bank fraud cases. Although the GODR strengthened its efforts to combat corruption in 2005, corruption and weak governmental institutions remained an impediment to controlling the flow of illegal narcotics. The Dominican Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of CountryThere is no significant cultivation, refining, or manufacturing of illicit drugs in the Dominican Republic. Dominican criminal organizations are involved in international drug trafficking operations, with the country’s primary role being a transshipment hub. Interdicted MDMA (ecstasy) was most often being transported from Europe to the United States. Fishing and "go-fast" crews involved in drug trafficking in the Caribbean include Dominican nationals.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005Policy Initiatives. Intelligence-sharing plays an important part in interdiction efforts. The DEA Center for Drug Information (CDI), housed in the DR National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD), served as a clearinghouse for intelligence within the Caribbean. The DNCD, the law enforcement arm responsible for counternarcotics measures, and the National Drug Council (CND), the GODR’s policy and planning unit, have adopted a computerized system that tracks seizures of drug-related assets. The GODR continues to struggle to implement anti-money laundering legislation passed in 2002. In support of this effort, the GODR created a Financial Analysis Unit under the CND which became operational during 2005.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2005, the DNCD increased its seizure rate and netted record single seizures of both heroin (39 kilograms) and MDMA (259,627 units) with the cooperation and assistance of the DEA. The October record seizure of heroin was based on intelligence concerning the Colombian owners’ search for buyers. The November record seizure of MDMA was discovered in three abandoned bags from Amsterdam at the Gregorio Luperon International Airport in Puerto Plata. The DNCD netted several other multi-hundred kilogram seizures including 128 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a container of denim jeans bound for New York and 442 kilograms of cocaine from a Colombian trafficking organization operating in the Dominican Republic. Through December, overall seizures totaled 2,230 kilograms of cocaine, 121.5 kilograms of heroin, 280,627 units of MDMA, and 551.9 kilograms of marijuana.
The DNCD made 3,330 drug-related arrests in 2005; of these, 3,206 were Dominican nationals and 124 were foreigners. Maritime seizures remain a challenge for the DR, especially drugs hidden in commercial vessels for shipment to the U.S. and/or Europe and drugs arriving by "go-fast" boats from South America. The DNCD and their DEA counterparts concentrated increasingly on investigations leading to the takedown of large criminal organizations.
In 2005, the GODR expanded its counternarcotics and explosive detection canine units with U.S., Dutch and international assistance, increasing coverage to all international airports and major sea ports. The DNCD continued to upgrade its equipment, train technicians, and develop new software in furtherance of a multi-year, USG-supported effort to share data among Dominican law enforcement agencies and to make information available on demand to field officers. The Dominican Navy and the DNCD participated in two combined operations with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), CBP and DEA in January-February (Op MANGU) and September (Op IGUANA) 2005 to combat the regional threat of narcotics trafficking in the approaches to Puerto Rico. Operation MANGU succeeded in interdicting 2,000 kilograms of cocaine. Both operations were conducted pursuant to existing bilateral agreements.
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. There is no definitive evidence of in-country manufacture of MDMA.
Drug Flow/Transit. In 2005, the DNCD focused interdiction operations on the drug-transit routes in Dominican territorial waters along the northern border and on its land border crossings with Haiti, while attempting to prevent air drops and maritime delivery of illicit narcotics to remote areas. The majority of air tracks in 2005 originated in Venezuela. During the year, drugs were easily accessible for local consumption in most metropolitan areas.
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 nationals. In 1998, President Fernandez signed legislation permitting such extraditions and subsequent administrations have been responsive to U.S. requests. During 2005, judicial review was added to the procedure for extradition, making extraditions more objective and transparent. The U.S. Marshals continued to receive excellent cooperation from the DNCD’s Fugitive Surveillance/Apprehension Unit and other relevant Dominican authorities in arresting fugitives and returning them to the United States to face justice. The GODR extradited 33 Dominicans and arrested and deported 22 U.S. and third-country national fugitives back to the U.S. for prosecution purposes. Of these 55 cases, 42 were narcotics-related.
Mutual Legal Assistance. The GODR cooperates with USG agencies, including the DEA, FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), ICE, Department of Defense and U.S. Marshals Service, on counternarcotics and fugitive matters.
The DNCD housed and manned the DEA-sponsored CDI at its facilities in Santo Domingo. Caribbean countries found the CDI’s intelligence analysis services useful and are now both frequent contributors and beneficiaries of new information. In 2005, the Dominican Navy focused efforts on shore patrol operations. Examination of captured smuggling vessels indicated a strong link between illegal migration and drug smuggling. On a typical voyage, several passengers carry backpacks containing one or two kilograms of cocaine.
Corruption. The GODR does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate 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 narcotics traffickers. The GODR has not convicted any senior government official for engaging in, encouraging, or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of illicit drugs or controlled substances, or for the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
The Attorney General pursued several anticorruption investigations and implemented competitive civil service recruitment of prosecutors (as opposed to political appointees). A financial disclosure law for senior appointed, civil service and elected officials has been implemented in the Dominican Republic, but lack of auditing controls and applicable sanctions have weakened the effectiveness of this measure. The GODR is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.
Precursor Chemical Control. The Secretariat of Health is responsible for the control of chemicals entering and departing the Dominican Republic. The CND has prohibited the re-exportation of certain chemicals.
Demand Reduction. The DNCD conducted over 135 youth events in various cities and neighborhoods reaching over 120,000 young people with the message that competitive and recreational activities are better choices than drug abuse.
Agreements and Treaties. The DR is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In 1984, the USG and the GODR entered into an agreement on international narcotics control cooperation. In May 2003 the Dominican Republic entered into three comprehensive bilateral agreements on Cooperation in Maritime Migration Law Enforcement, Maritime Counter-Drug Operations, and Search and Rescue, granting permanent over-flight provisions in all three agreements for the respective operations. The three agreements secured permanent over-flight provisions. In addition, the Maritime Counter-Drug Agreement broadened the scope of operations. The GODR signed, but has not yet ratified, the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and ProgramsBilateral Cooperation. During 2005, the USG provided equipment and training to expand the counternarcotics canine units, support the DNCD’s vetted special investigation unit, assess border security, and enhance DNCD computer training, database expansion and systems maintenance support. The USG assisted the Dominican Navy with its equipment maintenance and training programs and participated in joint counternarcotics and illegal migration operations as noted above. In addition, the Dominican Navy benefited from numerous USCG courses in Maritime Law Enforcement (MLE) and is working towards a self sustaining law enforcement program. The USG also provided training and equipment to enhance the capabilities of specialized airport and port security forces. The Dominican Navy and Air Force have a direct communications agreement with the USCG regional operations center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dominican Navy vessels have participated in a few maritime drug seizures and joint exercises.
The USAID criminal justice and transparency program emphasizes training for judicial personnel in new criminal procedures and the investigation and prosecution of complex crimes. The result has been faster case processing, decreased pre-trial detention, availability of public defenders and prosecutors 24 hours per day, and positive change in the justice sector’s attitudes toward presumption of innocence of the accused.
In 2005, USAID assisted the Public Prosecutor’s office in developing and implementing policies and procedures for evidence preservation and asset seizure and maintenance, given recent policy changes transferring these authorities from judges to prosecutors. A law enforcement development program targeting the National Police, including training in the code of criminal procedure, reforming the basic and in-service training, planning capacity-building and internal affairs office restructuring and reform has been implemented by the Embassy Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS).
The Dominican chapter of the Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC), a voluntary alliance of manufacturers, transport companies, and related private sector entities, expanded its training program and was cited by CBP officials as one of the most effective BASC chapters worldwide. In 2005, the BASC DR chapter expanded to 20 the number of companies who met the strict criteria for certification. The DNCD counternarcotics canine program expanded to 31 canine units, and the airport security explosives detection canine unit, started in 2004, expanded to 15 canine units, with U.S., Dutch and international assistance. A 2004-2005 security upgrade project to bring the terminal into compliance with International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) standards and to ensure consistent use of a USG X-ray machine has improved departure processing and established controls to detect and prevent smuggling of drugs and other contraband to Puerto Rico.
The Road Ahead. The immediate goal remains helping to institutionalize judicial reform and good governance. The GODR and USG are working to build coherent counternarcotics programs that can resist the pressures of corruption and can address new challenges presented 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 USG will continue providing 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 training, equipping and re-certification of the counternarcotics and explosives detection canine units will continue. The USG will provide further training to prosecutors, investigators, and national police, increasing their professionalism and ensuring that they are prepared to continue to implement the new Criminal Procedure Code.
I. SummaryAruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and the Netherlands form the 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 the entire Kingdom and assists the Government of Aruba (GOA) and the Government of the Netherlands Antilles (GONA) in their efforts to combat narcotics trafficking. The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and all three parts are subject to the Convention. Both Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are active members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).
II. StatusNetherlands Antilles. The islands of the Netherlands Antilles (NA), which include Curacao and Bonaire off the coast of Venezuela and Saba, Saint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten east of the U.S. Virgin Islands, serve as transshipment points for cocaine and heroin coming from South America; chiefly Colombia, Venezuela, and to a much lesser extent, Suriname. These shipments typically are transported to U.S. territory in the Caribbean by "go-fast" boats, although use of fishing boats, 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. Drugs entering the United States from the Netherlands Antilles are not in sufficient an amount to have a significant effect on the United States.
Traffickers reduced loads on go-fast boats in 2005, because of potential exposure to law enforcement. This shift was attributed to successful investigations along with investments by the Antilles in border security such as the new ground based radar system capable of identifying inbound vessels. With lower Antilles investments and hardening of their borders, drug traffic increased to Sint Maarten. These shipments were generally en route to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition to go-fast boat activity and smuggling via commercial airlines, large quantities of narcotics continued to be moved in containers. Officials at Sint Maarten initiated joint investigations with U.S. law enforcement and adopted new law enforcement strategies. Sailing vessels and larger vessels moved multi-hundred kilogram shipments of cocaine under the guise of recreational maritime traffic.
The crackdown at Curacao’s Hato International Airport on "mules,"—travelers who either ingest or conceal on their bodies illegal drugs—which began in 2002 continued during 2005. Historically, most of the courier traffic (current estimate is 95 percent) has been destined for Europe. During October 2005, the Antillean authorities reported a significant reduction in courier traffic, from between eighty and one hundred couriers a day to approximately ten couriers per month according to local court statistics as of October 2005. These results were directly attributed to aggressive law enforcement tactics employed by Antillean authorities, in conjunction with their Dutch partners, that led to significant seizures and the dismantling of responsible organizations coupled with innovative legislative tactics like passport removal which ultimately amounted to the removal of more than 850 passports from would-be couriers. As Hato airport maintained tightened control during the year, traffickers turned their attention to other regional airports, challenging law enforcement control at those locations as well. Sint Maarten, to a lesser extent, continued to detect increasing numbers of "mules." Consistent with the continued smuggling ventures, arrests were frequent in 2005.
The crime and homelessness stemming from drug abuse remained important concerns for the GONA. During 2005, reporting continued to indicate reductions in drug related homicides to below levels prior to a 2002 spike. This was attributed to successful regional enforcement operations and legislative action. The GONA continued its policy of requiring visas of Colombians and several other countries. Peru, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other European markets topped the noteworthy list. The GONA’s "Zero Tolerance" teams whose primary mission is to identify illegal immigrants to the islands and deport them remained active during 2005.
During 2005, the joint Antillean/Dutch Hit and Run Money Laundering Team (HARM) conducted successful investigations. In September, the HARM team announced the arrest of an individual responsible for laundering drug proceeds which amounted to millions of U.S. dollars from the United States back to Venezuela via the Netherlands Antilles. The investigation was the culmination of a multi-jurisdictional money laundering investigation of a drug-trafficking organization operating between the United States and South America highlights the abilities of the HARM to operate in the region with its partners.
The specialized Dutch police units (RSTs) that support law enforcement in the NA included local officers in the development of investigative strategies to ensure exchange of expertise and information. During the year, the RST improved their place in the regional scheme of enforcement as a viable international partner for law enforcement matters. In January 2005, the RST participated in a joint international operation which netted the seizure of 385 kilograms of cocaine and 21 arrests as a result of a multi-jurisdictional investigation in a conglomerate of seven countries. In March 2005, RST seized 21 kilograms of MDMA, the largest seizure of ecstasy in the Caribbean region to date, during a controlled delivery operation between The Netherlands, Sint Maarten, and the United States. The RST also seized an operating LSD laboratory, the first of its type, in Sint Maarten. These successes highlight the RST’s ability to perform and its viability as a regional partner in sensitive and highly technical investigations.
The Coast Guard of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (CGNAA) scored a number of impressive successes in 2005. The CGNAA was responsible for several seizures of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. In July, the CGNAA, for the first time, detained a vessel in international waters and escorted it back to territorial waters where a search resulted in the seizure of approximately 800 kilograms of cocaine. In August, the CGNAA supported a controlled delivery in international waters where approximately 300 kilograms of cocaine were seized. The CGNAA’s three cutters, outfitted with rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) and new ‘super’ RHIBs designed especially for counternarcotics work in the Caribbean, demonstrated their utility against "go-fast" boats and other targets.
The CGNAA has developed an 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. Under the continued leadership of the Attorney General, the GONA continued to strengthen its cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities throughout 2005.
The Dutch Navy also operates in the Netherlands Antilles under the auspices of Component Task Group 4.4 (CTG 4.4) which operates in international waters under the oversight of the Joint Inter Agency Task Force (JIATF) South. The U.S. Coast Guard deploys Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETS) on all Dutch naval vessels conducting counternarcotics patrols in the Caribbean. Over the past two years, particularly during 2005, the CTG 4.4 has become a close and essential ally of the DEA and other U.S. agencies. The most impressive seizure during 2005 was a three-week surveillance operation on a shipping vessel which ultimately netted 2040 kilograms of cocaine. The operation was conducted as a joint effort between three countries including the United States.
Aruba. Aruba is a transshipment point for heroin, and to a lesser extent cocaine, 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. U.S. agencies reported more than 100 kilograms of heroin seized in the U.S. that had originated in Aruba. Drugs entering the U.S. from Aruba were not in sufficient an amount to have a significant effect on the U.S. As a result of the successes in Curacao during 2005, traffickers looked for other transit points in the region which included Aruba.
While Aruba enjoys a low crime rate, reporting during 2005 indicates that some prominent drug traffickers are established on the island. Additionally, Arubans worry about the easy availability of inexpensive drugs. The most visible evidence of a drug abuse problem may be the homeless addicts, called "chollars" who number about 300 and whose photographs routinely appear in publications to increase public awareness to drug abuse and to stem an increase in crime. Drug abuse in Aruba remains a cause for concern.
Private foundations on the island work on drug education and prevention and the Aruban government’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 government has established an interagency commission to develop plans and programs to discourage youth from trafficking between the Netherlands and the U.S. In 2005, Aruban law enforcement officials investigated and prosecuted mid-level drug traffickers. During the year, there were several instances where Aruban authorities cooperated with U.S. authorities to realize U.S. prosecutions of American citizens arrested in Aruba while attempting to return to the United States with drugs in multi-kilogram quantities.
The GOA continued to permit both U.S. military and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) aircraft to use the Forward Operating Location (FOL) at Reina Beatrix International Airport to conduct aerial counternarcotics detection and monitoring missions. Further development of the FOL facilities on Aruba is underway. The GOA hosts the DHS Bureau of Customs and Border Protection pre-inspection and pre-clearance personnel at Reina Beatrix airport. These officers occupy facilities financed and built by the GOA. DHS seizures of cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy were frequent in 2005.
III. Actions Against Drugs in 2005Agreements and Treaties. The Netherlands extended the 1988 UN Drug Convention to the Netherlands Antilles 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 NA and Aruban criminal legislation and policy on criminal matters. The NA and Aruba subsequently enacted revised, uniform legislation to resolve a lack of uniformity between the asset forfeiture laws of the NA 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’s Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with the United States applies to the NA and Aruba. Both Aruba and the NA routinely honor requests made under the MLAT and cooperate extensively with the United States on law enforcement matters at less formal levels. In 2003 the NA and Aruba each signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreements with the U.S. Following passage of enabling legislation in Aruba, its TIEA went into effect in 2004; enabling legislation remains pending in the Netherlands Antilles. 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, and cooperates in efforts to identify and destroy chemicals.
Cultivation/Production. There is no cultivation and production of illicit drugs.
Seizures. Available drug seizure statistics for calendar year 2005 as of 12/12/2005 are as follows: Aruba seized 2752.265 kilograms of cocaine (this includes a single maritime seizure event involving 2040 kilograms from the MV Sea Atlantic during October 2005); 68.645 kilograms of heroin; 526.605 kilograms of marijuana; and 38 tablets of MDMA (ecstasy). Arrests: 123. The NA seized 2595.803 kilograms of cocaine; 51.610 kilograms of heroin; 682.438 kilograms of marijuana; and 270 tablets of MDMA (ecstasy). Arrests: 509.
Corruption. During 2005, the NA identified links from prominent traffickers in the region to law enforcement officials, which prompted additional investigations. The NA has been quick to address these issues through criminal investigations, internal investigations, new hiring practices, and continued monitoring of law enforcement officials that hold sensitive positions. The judiciary system has close ties with the Dutch legal system including extensive seconding of Dutch prosecutors and judges to fill positions for which there are no qualified candidates among the small Antillean and Aruban populations.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Both the NA and Aruba have demand reduction programs. The Korps Politie of Curacao completed final training during February 2004 of its well-trained Demand Reduction staff to do presentations at local schools. Sint Maarten has followed suit with plans to complete a formal program during the coming months.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and ProgramsThe United States encourages Aruban and NA law enforcement officials to participate in USG-funded regional training courses provided by U.S. agencies at the GOA and GONA’s expense. Chiefly through the DEA and DHS/Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States is able to provide assistance to enhance technical capabilities as well as some targeted training. During 2005, the DEA directly sponsored law enforcement initiatives worth more than $500,000 in the NA and Aruba. The U.S. continues to search for ways in which locally assigned U.S. law enforcement personnel can share their expertise with host country counterparts.
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.
I. SummaryThe 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, going from South America to U.S., Europe and other markets. 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 on the beach or offload their illicit cargo to smaller local vessels at sea. Marijuana shipments from St. Vincent often come ashore via swimmer delivery. Smugglers also attempt to transport cocaine and marijuana by commercial air. An OAS study on maritime trafficking in the Western Hemisphere indicated that cocaine trafficked to Europe is transported primarily in commercial containerized cargo. There is little narcotics airdrop activity in the region.
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 some 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. According to U.S. law enforcement officials, the infrastructure built by DTO’s operating in the region and other vulnerabilities that exist in the region make it ripe for exploitation by terrorist organizations.
The seven Eastern Caribbean states are parties to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
In 2005, the seven Eastern Caribbean countries continued to support the treaty-based Regional Security System (RSS). Barbados pays 40 percent of the RSS’s budget. The U.S. provided partial assistance to the RSS for its twice-yearly basic training course for marijuana eradication exercises for police special services units. The RSS continued to operate a maritime training facility in Antigua for member-nation forces.
II. Status of Countries and Actions Against DrugsAntigua 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.
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. Secluded beaches and uncontrolled marinas provide excellent areas to conduct drug transfer operations. Marijuana cultivation in Antigua and Barbuda is not significant. Marijuana imported for domestic consumption primarily comes from St. Vincent. According to GOAB agencies, approximately 60 percent of the cocaine that transits Antigua and Barbuda is destined for the UK, 25 percent to the U.S, and 10 percent to the island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten.
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) is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, 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 has signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, but has not signed any of its three protocols. Through November 2005, GOAB forces seized 12.12 kilograms of cocaine and 2.7 metric tons of marijuana, arrested 119 persons on drug-related charges and eradicated 500 marijuana plants. Antigua and Barbuda have both conviction-based and civil forfeiture legislation; it is the only Caribbean country with the latter.
The police operate a D.A.R.E. program, and lecture church groups and other civic organizations on the dangers of drugs. Local organizations such as the Optimist Club and Project Hope conduct their own school programs or assist groups that work with drug addicts.
Barbados. Barbados is a transit country for cocaine and marijuana products entering by sea and by air. Smaller vessels or go-fast boats 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 is a party to the Inter-American Firearms Convention. Barbados has not signed the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters or the Inter-American Convention on Extradition. 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 but has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Barbados has an asset-sharing agreement with Canada.
In 2005, GOB agencies reported seizing 57 kilograms of cocaine, 750 milliliters of liquid cocaine, 3,400 kilograms of marijuana, and for the first time confiscated 2,445 ecstasy tablets through November 30, 2005. The GOB brought drug charges against 2551 persons during that same period and eliminated 841 cannabis plants. There has been a general increase in drugs transiting Barbados since 2004. The Barbados Police Force estimates 59 percent of the cocaine that transits Barbados is destined for the UK, 20 percent to Canada, and 20 percent to the U.S. The majority of cannabis that enters Barbados is consumed locally. Currently, there is no legislation that imposes record keeping on precursor chemicals.
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 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 PRIDE programs remained active in the school system.
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 round-based marijuana eradication missions in rugged, mountainous areas.
From January through November 2005, Dominican law enforcement agencies reported seizing 23 grams of cocaine, and 411 kilograms of marijuana. They eradicated 230,485 marijuana plants (trees and seedlings), a 38 percent increase from 2004.
Dominica police arrested 160 persons on drug-related charges and prosecuted three major drug traffickers. According to the GCOD Police, most of the drugs that transit through Dominica are intended for foreign markets and not the U.S.
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. The GCOD initiated a National Drug Prevention Program with a national master plan starting in 2005 through 2009. There are no public sector drug rehabilitation facilities in Dominica; the psychiatric hospital provides limited detoxification services.
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 a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Firearms Convention and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. Dominica has not signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Grenada. South American cocaine traffickers pass through or stop in Grenada’s coastal waters and its often un-policed 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.
The police drug squad continues to collaborate closely with DEA officials in the targeting and investigation of a local cocaine trafficking organization associated with South American and other Caribbean traffickers. Relatively small amounts of marijuana are grown in Grenada. Marijuana is imported from St. Vincent for domestic use. The GOG estimates that 70 percent of the cocaine that transits Grenada is destined for European markets, 20 percent is headed to the U.S., and 10 percent is consumed locally.
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. Grenada 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. Grenada is a party to the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.
An extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) are in force between the U.S. and Grenada.
The Drug Control Secretariat of the National Council on Drug Control is active and effective. 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. Living Drug Free, a one-hour television program aired on the public access channel, sensitizes the public about the dangers of drugs. Guest speakers include police, doctors, and lawyers to cover the range of issues. Through November 2005, Grenadian authorities reported seizing approximately 16.17 kilograms of cocaine; 513 cocaine balls; 5,090 marijuana plants; and 76.07 kilograms of marijuana. During that period, they arrested 285 persons on drug-related charges and two major drug traffickers. Approximately two acres of cannabis was eradicated. Grenadian law enforcement authorities seized nearly ECD 417,312 (U.S.$153,648) in connection with drug-related cases.
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.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis (GOSKN) 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. St. Kitts and Nevis is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the Inter-American Firearms Convention, but has not signed the Inter-American Convention on Extradition or the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters. St. Kitts and Nevis is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.
The police drug unit on St. Kitts has been largely ineffective. Insufficient political will and the lack of complete independence for police to operate are contributing factors. The GOSKN Defense Force augments police counternarcotics efforts, particularly in marijuana eradication operations. GOSKN officials reported seizing 5368 kilograms of cocaine, and approximately 61 kilograms of marijuana from January through November 2005. They arrested 37 people on drug charges and eradicated approximately 6,243 marijuana plants.
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 imported 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 99 kilograms of cocaine and 875 kilograms of marijuana from January through November 2005. They arrested 361 persons on drug charges and eradicated approximately 71,393 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 2005, the GOSL adopted wiretap legislation and is working on 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, the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The GOSL signed a maritime agreement with the USG in 1995 and an over-flight amendment to the maritime agreement in 1996. An MLAT and an extradition treaty are in force between St. Lucia and the United States. St. Lucia is a party to the Inter-American Firearms Convention, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and the Inter-American Convention on Extradition. St. Lucia has signed but has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
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 level to be designated as a major drug-producer, nor does it significantly affect the U.S. 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. Boats off-loading cocaine and weapons in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will return to their point of origin carrying back marijuana.
From January through November 2005, Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) officials reported seizing 57 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 1,260,207 grams of marijuana. They arrested 272 persons on drug-related charges and prosecuted two major drug traffickers. Approximately 15,366 marijuana plants were eradicated. 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.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The GOSVG is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and has signed but not ratified the Inter-American Convention against Firearms. The GOSVG has signed but not yet ratified 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 an over-flight 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 2005. In the past, St. Vincent police have been cooperative in executing search warrants pursuant to U.S. MLATs.
An advisory council on drug abuse and prevention, mandated by statute, has been largely inactive for several years. A draft national counternarcotics plan remains pending. 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. The OAS is assisting the GOSVG develop a drug demand reduction program for St. Vincent’s prison.
I. SummaryFrench Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the French side of St. Martin, and St. Barthelemy are all overseas departments of France and therefore 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 French Judiciary Police, Gendarmerie, and Customs Service play a major role in narcotics law enforcement in France’s overseas departments, just as they do in the rest of France. Cocaine moves through the French Caribbean and from French Guiana to Europe, and to a lesser extent, to the United States.
II. StatusThe United States considers the broad geographical area of the eastern and southern Caribbean, of which the French Caribbean is a part, as an area of concern. A small amount of cannabis is cultivated in French Guiana. However, officials are seeing an increase in cocaine coming directly to France from the French Caribbean, and have therefore created the Martinique Task Force in response.
III. Actions Against Drugs in 2005On January 17, 2005, French authorities at Orly arrested two Dutch nationals arriving in Paris from Cayenne, French Guiana, en route to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They were found in possession of 4,424 grams of cocaine concealed in their luggage. On March 8, 2005, nearly 9 kilograms of cocaine were seized by Charles de Gaulle airport customs from pieces of dry-clay pottery specially designed for that purpose. The drugs, the value of which has been estimated at 719,680 euros, were found in two parcels, each containing two pieces of pottery, which were sent by postal freight from French Guiana to an individual in the Netherlands. On September 28, 2005, French authorities at Orly arrested a French national arriving in Paris from Cayenne, French Guiana, enroute to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He was found in possession of a total of 1,083 grams of cocaine packaged in pellets that he had ingested.
On October 21, 2005, eight people suspected of trafficking of cocaine originating in Martinique were arrested and 23 kilograms of cocaine was seized at Saint-Ouen (Paris region). During the arrests, which came after several weeks of surveillance, the drug squad seized 23 kilograms of cocaine and 264,000 euros. On November 4, 2005, French authorities at Orly arrested a French national arriving in Paris from Cayenne, French Guiana, who had swallowed 600 grams of cocaine packaged in 48 pellets. On November 21, 2005, French authorities at Orly arrested two French nationals arriving in Paris from Saint Martin, French West Indies. One was found in possession of a total of 4,797 grams of cocaine in three rum bottles in her luggage. On July 15, 2005, 1.5 tons of cocaine were seized from a sailing ship flying the Canadian flag by a French naval sloop. The drugs were seized around 600 nautical miles to the northeast of Porto Rico, on the authority of the prefect of the Martinique region. The seizure and subsequent arrest of three people aboard the ship were conducted "in coordination with the Canadian and American services who suspected that the ship was involved in drug trafficking," according to a statement issued by the prefecture.
Agreements and Treaties. In addition to the agreements and treaties discussed in the report on France, USG and Government of France (GOF) counternarcotics cooperation in the Caribbean is enhanced by a multilateral Caribbean customs mutual assistance agreement that provides for information sharing to enforce customs laws, including those relating 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 explored a possible counternarcotics maritime agreement for the Caribbean for several years and one was drafted in November 2001 on Cooperation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Aeronautical Trafficking in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Area.
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, precursor chemicals, mutual legal assistance, 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 United States, and other individual and multinational donors are coordinating their assistance programs closely in the region 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. SummaryGuyana is a transshipment point for cocaine destined for North America, Europe, and the Caribbean. Interdictions and seizures of drugs in Guyana decreased from 2004 to 2005. Poor economic, social, and political conditions make Guyana a prime target for narcotics traffickers to exploit as a transit point. The Government of Guyana (GoG) launched its National Drug Strategy Master Plan (NDSMP) for 2005-2009 in June 2005. However, the GoG has yet to implement any of the NDSMP’s substantive initiatives. Guyana is a party to the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (the 1988 UN Drug Convention) but still needs to pass and implement additional legislation to meet its obligations under the convention.
II. Status of CountryThe United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime last estimated the quantity of cocaine transiting Guyana in 2000-2001 at 20-25 metric tons annually. Using those figures, the U.S. Embassy in Guyana estimates that narcotics traffickers earn US$150 million annually, and possibly much more, by trafficking cocaine through Guyana. This amount is equivalent to twenty percent or more of Guyana’s reported gross domestic product. Accurately determining the trend in drug transit is difficult given the wide yearly swings in seizures. There have not been any large domestic seizures since a 1998 joint Guyanese/U.S. operation seized 3,154 kilograms of cocaine from a ship docked in Georgetown. Publicly reported seizures for 2005 totaled approximately 43kgs.
Drug traffickers appear to be gaining a significant foothold in Guyana’s timber industry. In 2005, The Guyana Forestry Commission granted a State Forest Exploratory Permit for a large tract of land in Guyana’s interior to Aurelius Inc., a company controlled by known drug trafficker Shaheed ‘Roger’ Khan. Such concessions in the remote interior may allow drug traffickers to establish autonomous outposts beyond the reach of Guyanese law enforcement.
Government counternarcotics efforts are undermined by the lack of adequate resources for law enforcement, poor coordination among law enforcement agencies, and a weak judicial system. The Guyanese media regularly report murders, kidnappings, and other violent crimes commonly believed to be linked with narcotics trafficking. Guyana produces cannabis but not coca leaf or cocaine. Guyana is not known to produce, trade, or transit precursor chemicals on a large scale.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005Policy Initiatives. Guyana launched its ambitious 2005-2009 NDSMP in June. The NDSMP’s programs are divided into Supply Reduction and Demand Reduction. The Supply Reduction agenda calls for improving the justice system’s ability to handle drug cases, making the Joint Intelligence Coordination Center (JICC) operational, closer cooperation between and better technology for law enforcement agencies, and tighter control of border posts and airstrips. The Demand Reduction agenda includes developing rehabilitation capabilities as well as media and education programs. The government estimates that implementing the 2005-2009 NDSMP will cost approximately US$3.3 million. The FIU, established in 2003 with material support from the U.S., is handicapped by the lack of effective legislation to deal with money laundering, such as the lack of an amendment to allow for seizing assets.
Accomplishments. The launch of the 2005-2009 NDSMP after a five-year gap was significant. However, the government has not completed any of the short-term milestones mentioned in the plan. Guyana made no other significant progress in achieving or maintaining compliance with the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In 2005, Guyanese law enforcement agencies did not make a single publicly reported cocaine seizure in excess of 10 kilograms. Nor have Guyanese authorities brought to justice a single important member of a drug trafficking organization.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The GoG’s counternarcotics efforts suffer from a lack of adequate law enforcement resources, poor inter-agency coordination, and endemic corruption. Several agencies share responsibility for counternarcotics activities: the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) is tasked with conducting enforcement activities mainly at ports of entry; the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Narcotics Branch is the principal element in the police responsible for enforcement of drug laws domestically; the Guyana Defense Force Coast Guard (GDFCG) has the lead for maritime counternarcotics operations. There is little productive interaction or intelligence sharing among these organizations. For example, according to the 2005-2009 NDSMP, the JICC is supposed "to bring together various counternarcotics agencies in a single work environment, encourage the sharing of information and intelligence", but "has not met for some time."
In 2005, the GPF Narcotics Branch and CANU arrested drug couriers at Guyana’s international airport en route to the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. However, the arrests were limited to individuals with small amounts of marijuana, crack cocaine or powder cocaine, usually on charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking. For example, a 16 year-old-girl was arrested in February with 1.3 kilograms of cocaine in her suitcase. In October, a player on the Guyanese national soccer team died when one of the cocaine-filled bags he had swallowed burst in his stomach after he had smuggled the drugs to Barbados. Authorities have not successfully acted against major traffickers and their organizations. According to publicly reported arrests, authorities recovered only 43 kilograms of cocaine in 2005. This represents a significant decrease from 2004 and 2003, when authorities recovered 269 kilograms and 277 kilograms of cocaine, respectively. Government and DEA officials believe that counternarcotics agencies interdict only a small percentage of the cocaine that transits Guyana. The U.S. donated a fast interceptor boat to the GDFCG in May 2005. The GDFCG conducts patrols with the interceptor boat, but has not yet interdicted any narcotics shipments. The discovery in March at a remote airstrip of an abandoned Cessna aircraft, which had probably been used to smuggle drugs into Guyana, underscored the GoG’s inability to monitor such locations.
Corruption. The GOG does not facilitate the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, and does not discourage the investigation or prosecution of such acts. The GOG takes legal and law enforcement measure to prevent and punish public corruption. Guyana is party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC) but has yet to fully implement its provisions, such as seizure of property obtained through corruption. News media routinely report on instances of corruption reaching to high levels of government that go uninvestigated and unpunished. The former Minister of Home Affairs, who had been implicated with an extra-judicial killing squad and who had improperly issued firearm licenses to known criminals, resigned in 2005. The new Minister of Home Affairs has shown greater commitment to fighting drug trafficking and corruption. The Police Commissioner is making strong efforts to reduce corruption within the GPF. Guyana is not a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption.
Agreements and Treaties. Guyana is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Guyana also is a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on trafficking in persons. The 1931 Extradition Treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom is applicable to the U.S. and Guyana. Guyana signed a bilateral agreement with the U.S. on maritime counternarcotics cooperation in 2001, but has not yet taken the necessary internal steps to bring the agreement into force. Guyana has bilateral agreements to cooperate on drug trafficking issues with its neighbors and with the United Kingdom. Guyana is also a member of the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (OAS/CICAD).
Cultivation and Production. Cannabis cultivation occurs in Guyana on a limited scale, primarily in the intermediate savannahs. Police regularly discover and eradicate cannabis cultivation sites when conducting area sweeps. The 2005-2009 NDSMP reported that authorities destroyed a total of 68.5 hectares and over 63,000 kilograms of cannabis plants during the 1999-2003 period.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine flows through Guyana’s remote, uncontrolled borders and coastline. Light aircraft land at numerous isolated airstrips or make airdrops into rivers where operatives on the ground retrieve the drugs. Smugglers use small boats and freighters to enter Guyana’s many remote but navigable rivers. Smugglers also take direct routes, such as driving or boating across the uncontrolled borders with Brazil, Suriname, and Venezuela. Inside the country, narcotics are normally transported to Georgetown by road, water, or air and then sent on to the Caribbean, North America, or Europe via commercial air carriers or cargo ships. "Go-fast" speed boats may also carry cocaine from Guyana’s rivers to mother-ships in the Atlantic. Authorities have arrested drug mules attempting to smuggle cocaine on virtually every northbound route out of the international airport.
In April 2005, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation led to arrests of 27 members of a Guyana-based drug importation and distribution ring responsible for bringing in hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from Guyana on board flights arriving in New York. They concealed the drugs inside frozen fish and chowmein containers.
Drug traffickers also use cargo ships to export narcotics from Guyana either directly to North America and Europe or through intermediate Caribbean ports. In March 2005, British authorities arrested a man who attempted to smuggle 572 kilograms of cocaine into the UK in bags of coconuts from Guyana. In November, Barbadian authorities discovered 120 kilograms of cocaine in a shipment of lumber from Guyana. Drug traffickers have used virtually every commodity that Guyana exports as a cover for shipping cocaine out of the country.
Demand Reduction (Domestic Programs). Marijuana is sold and consumed openly in Guyana, despite frequent arrests for possessing small amounts of cannabis. CANU and the 2005-2009 NDSMP both note that consumption of cocaine powder, crack cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin has risen—and the latter two have appeared on Guyana’s streets in the past year. This increase in domestic drug use is occurring despite the high cost of the drugs relative to local incomes. A survey cited in the 2005-2009 NDSMP reported that 27 percent of the 11-19 year-old children interviewed nationwide had seen cocaine. The same survey reported that 60 percent of children in Region 1 (on the border with Venezuela) said they had seen cocaine. The 2005-2009 NDSMP includes several measures to reduce demand for narcotics. The strategy includes safe lifestyle programs, stronger health and family life education, targeted surveys and compilation of social statistics, and a media strategy to promote drug awareness. The Ministry of Health and the Office of the President will administer most of these plans. As with the 2005-2009 NDSMP’s other components, the government has yet to take concrete action to reduce demand for illegal drugs. Guyana’s ability to deal with drug abusers is severely limited by a lack of financial resources to support rehabilitation programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and ProgramsU.S. Policy Initiatives. U.S. policy focuses on strengthening Guyana’s law enforcement agencies and promoting good governance. U.S. funded training and technical support are key components of this strategy. U.S. officials continued to encourage Guyanese participation in bilateral and multilateral counternarcotics initiatives. USAID is funding projects to improve governance in Guyana, which includes much needed parliamentary and judicial reform.
Bilateral Cooperation. The DEA works closely with Guyana’s government and law enforcement agencies to develop initiatives that will significantly enhance their counternarcotics activities. High-ranking representatives from the GPF and the GDF attended the International Drug Enforcement Conference in 2005. The U.S. government also funded the vetting of selected officers in counternarcotics agencies. U.S. officials continue to work closely with the FIU in its fledgling efforts to curb money laundering.
The Road Ahead. Guyana’s contentious and inefficient political system and lack of resources significantly hamper its ability to mount an effective counternarcotics campaign. Legitimate businesses are suffering because money launderers associated with narcotics traffickers distort the domestic economy by pricing their goods and services below sustainable market rates. The drug trade generates violent armed groups who act as if they are above the law and who threaten Guyana’s fragile democracy, and drug traffickers may use their ill-gotten gains to acquire political influence. Lastly, the drug trade is corrupting Guyanese society on a dangerous scale. The U.S. will channel future assistance to initiatives that demonstrate success in interdicting drug flows and prosecuting drug traffickers. Efforts in this area include strengthening Guyana’s judicial system, law enforcement infrastructure, and counternarcotics legislation. The U.S., along with other international stakeholders, must continue to press for thorough reform. The U.S. will continue to encourage participation in bilateral and multilateral initiatives, as well as implementation of current international conventions and agreements.
I. SummaryHaiti is a key conduit for drug traffickers transporting cocaine from South America to the United States and, to a smaller degree, Europe. The Haitian National Police (HNP), which is undergoing extensive USG-supported reform, is tarnished by a long-history of corruption. The judicial system is dysfunctional, its prosecutors and judges susceptible to bribes and intimidation. Corruption, lack of judicial infrastructure and the ongoing political and economic crises have caused the Interim Government of Haiti (IGOH) to focus its limited resources on maintaining civil order and organizing fair, democratic elections, rather than on counternarcotics. Haiti did not pursue any drug-related prosecutions in 2005. Haitian officials cooperated with requests from the Haiti South Florida Task Force (DEA, IRS, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and DOJ Criminal Division Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section), which is charged with drug-related investigations, as well as requests for removal of suspects and fugitives.
The IGOH appointed a reform-minded Haitian National Police Director General in 2005 who has taken a proactive stance in countering drug-related crime and police corruption. In a public demonstration of this policy, 15 officers implicated in the August killings of civilians at a soccer stadium in Martissant, were arrested. Though Haiti remains highly susceptible to money laundering due to its weak legal system and pervasive corruption, the IGOH has made progress in investigating and preparing for prosecution several money laundering cases involving official corruption. Haiti is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of CountryHaiti has approximately 1,125 miles of unprotected shoreline, numerous uncontrolled seaports and clandestine airstrips, a thriving contraband trade, weak democratic institutions, a renascent police force that has a history of cooperating with drug traffickers, a dysfunctional judiciary system and official corruption. These factors contribute to the frequent use of Haiti by drug traffickers as a strategic transshipment area.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005By the end of 2005, the HNP had trained 1256 new recruits (among them former members of the disbanded military) and retrained 240 existing uniformed officers. Academy training consisted of 16 weeks basic police tactics, traffic management, less-than-lethal tactics and weapons training. In-service training consisted of a week-long course in basic police tactics, crime scene management, and traffic management. On December 18, 33,192 Haitians took the police entrance exam. Thirteen thousand are expected to pass, at which point they will receive further screening and rigorous UN vetting before being admitted to the police academy in 2006. The HNP, the UN troops and the UN Civilian Police (UNPol) currently in Haiti have made limited progress toward disarming gangs that support and provide security to established drug trafficking organizations.
Supported by DEA and Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS), the HNP expanded the Counter-Narcotics Trafficking Office (French acronym BLTS) of the HNP to over 50 agents by the end of 2005. The HNP permitted the DEA to establish a Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) within BLTS, which has facilitated closer collaboration on counternarcotics matters. The Haitian Coast Guard (HCG) re-established operations in Cap Haitien in 2005, an important milestone in the HCG’s effort to patrol Haiti’s territorial waters and to interdict narcotics, illegal migrants and other illegal activities.
The IGOH reorganized the Central Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU, French acronym UCREF) and the Financial Crimes Task Force, two units involved in prosecuting financial crimes. Although the UCREF had launched approximately 400 investigations since 2004, it had achieved little success in bringing cases to trial. Data provided by the UCREF and to a lesser extent the task force in 2005 resulted in the freezing of $17.6 million in assets of convicted drug trafficker Serge Edouard.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Drug trafficking organizations operate with impunity, exploiting the instability and the weak institutions in the country. The lack of country infrastructure and governmental support leaves the BLTS and the HCG without the necessary equipment, maintenance, logistical support or incentive to effectively combat drug trafficking in Haiti.
In spite of these limitations, the BLTS continued daily patrols including inspection of inbound and outbound passenger baggage and airfreight. The BLTS also apprehended three fugitives wanted in the United States for drug-related crimes. The BLTS Maritime Interdiction Task Force (MITF) also conducted random daily searches and assisted in identifying vessels and individuals associated with drug trafficking at the local seaports. The Joint Information Coordination Center (JICC) continued to provide useful intelligence and to coordinate with the BLTS at the airport and the MITF.
The HCG conducted limited operations during 2005, supporting a UN security intervention in the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port au Prince and participating in a joint counternarcotics operation with DEA and the BLTS.
Corruption. In October 2005, Transparency International designated Haiti as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption is endemic in almost all public institutions. The HNP Director General estimated that 25 percent of active duty HNP were involved in serious illegal activities. Intelligence confirms that the HNP continue to support drug traffickers by providing security and offloading drug-laden aircraft and vessels in Haiti. The IGOH responded by re-establishing a HNP Inspector General’s office.
Cultivation/Production. There is no known cultivation or production of illicit drugs in Haiti, with the exception of cannabis, which is grown on a small scale for local consumption.
Drug Flow/Transit. The southern coast of Haiti is one of the preferred destinations for go-fast boats laden with cocaine traveling directly from the north coast of Colombia. The go-fasts typically meet Haitian fishing vessels that remain offshore at coastal towns. Near the end of 2005, the DEA noted a significant spike in suspected drug-laden airplanes landing in the border region with the Dominican Republic at Malpasse. Cocaine airdrops and sea cargo shipments from Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama were also reportedly on the rise.
Sea cargo cocaine shipments are concealed in legitimate cargo or inside the vessel structure itself. Smuggled drug shipments arriving at seaports are often transported overland to Port-au-Prince where they are broken down into smaller loads and concealed on cargo and coastal freighters. Smaller vessels carry loads of cocaine from Haiti’s northern coast to the Bahamas for onward transport to Florida via fishing or pleasure boats. Multi-kilogram loads of cocaine are transported by commercial aircraft in checked luggage, strapped to bodies or hidden in food service or air cargo luggage carts. Large quantities of cocaine are also driven over the land to the Dominican Republic for eventual shipment to Puerto Rico or other destinations. Some drug planes arriving in Haiti with cocaine cargo also carry smaller amounts of heroin.
Marijuana is transported from Jamaica via go-fast boats to waiting fishing vessels and via cargo freighters to Haitian seaports along Haiti’s southern claw. It is then shipped directly to the United States or transshipped through the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. Cocaine, crack, and marijuana are readily available and consumed in Haiti. Heroin usage for personal consumption is virtually nonexistent in Haiti.
Asset Seizure. Under the 2001 Anti-Money Laundering Law, forfeiture and seizure of assets are contingent upon convictions. Though the IGOH is supportive of a stronger, more proactive asset seizure law, its temporary governmental mandate does not allow for the passage of new laws. The inability to seize or freeze assets early in the judicial process limits the government’s authority and resources to pursue cases.
Extradition. There is a U.S. and Haiti extradition treaty, signed in 1905; however, Haitian law prohibits the extradition of its nationals. The IGOH has, however, continued to cooperate with specific requests for expulsion. In 2005, three drug fugitives and six fugitives involved in other international crimes were returned to the U.S. by nonextradition means.
Demand Reduction. Widespread media coverage of high-profile suspects expelled from Haiti to face charges on drug-related crimes in the United States has helped to temper domestic demand. In addition, a public awareness campaign to discourage drug use was launched in 2005. Two radio jingles jointly sponsored by the IGOH and the USG, were broadcast free by all major radio stations in Haiti, and a public launching of the jingles attracted over 200 participants from the government, international and nongovernmental organizations, media and the general public.
Agreements and Treaties. Haiti is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. A U.S.-Haiti maritime counternarcotics agreement and a bilateral maritime agreement entered into force in 2002. Haiti has signed but not ratified the OAS mutual legal assistance treaty, the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement, the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention Against Corruption.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and ProgramsReform of the HNP is a major cornerstone of USG support for combating illegal drug trafficking in Haiti. The USG provided 8.2 million USD in FY 2005 to this effort through INL. Forty-five vans and trucks, 75 motorcycles, one wrecker and two armored SWAT trucks were deployed to increase the HNP’s operational effectiveness and visibility. A wide array of essential police equipment was also provided in conjunction with training from INL police advisors and UNPOL. Five high-profile model police stations were rehabilitated and inaugurated in 2005 in Bicentenaire, Fort National, Delmas 33, Cap Haitian and Gonaives. The model police station project provided professional facilities with essential equipment to enable the UNPOL and HNP officers to collocate and operate jointly. INL augmented communications by installing permanent, solar-powered base radio stations and portable radios at 80 commissariats throughout Haiti.
In addition, the USG provided the Haitian Coast Guard with maritime interdiction capability, including interceptor craft, infrastructure improvements, operational support, and training and equipment. A major accomplishment in this area included a joint U.S.-UN effort to renovate the HCG station in Cap Haitien, which permitted the HCG to re-establish operations there in December 2005. Significant Military Liaison Office projects included the overhaul of four boats, USCG boat maintenance and boat operations courses funded by Federal Military Funding (FMF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET). The USCG Caribbean Support Tender (CST) cutter GENTIAN made four visits to the HCG Admiral Killick Base in Carrefour to provide supplies, conduct training, repair boats and generators, install a communications battery backup system, and inspect weapons. The USCG also supported the HCG with numerous Mobile Training Team missions. Under a SOUTHCOM humanitarian project, the medical clinic at Killick was renovated for the HCG and the community.
The DEA and NAS also worked closely with the BLTS to establish a Sensitive Investigative Unit. A site was identified, and a working plan for procurement and operations was established in 2005. The U.S. Treasury Office of Technical Assistance (OTA), in cooperation with NAS, provided on-the-job investigative training to the Financial Crimes Task Force and to a lesser extent UCREF. In addition, NAS provided 25 computers to UCREF and four laptops and office equipment to the Task Force to support their work on prosecuting financial crimes.
The Road Ahead. Stemming the flow of illegal narcotics through Haiti remains a cornerstone of U.S. counternarcotics policy. Key preconditions to accomplishing of this goal are more effective law enforcement and judicial institutions, a government commitment to providing resources for these institutions through budgetary means and an effective asset seizure mechanism. Continued social disorder and political violence will only obstruct the road ahead. Following democratic elections, the new government should continue the IGOH’s focus on fighting corruption and reforming the police and the judicial system.
I. SummaryJamaica is a major transit point for cocaine enroute to the United States and also the largest Caribbean producer and exporter of marijuana. Cooperation between U.S. and the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) law enforcement agencies is considered excellent in most areas. During 2005, the GOJ sustained its counternarcotics law enforcement programs, including Operation Kingfish, which has led to the arrest of key traffickers and criminal gang leaders and the dismantling of their organizations.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) made concerted efforts in 2005 to modernize its force. The JCF employed the services of two British law enforcement officers who are responsible for crime and operational matters and also acquired an integrated ballistic information system. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and during 2005 made progress towards meeting the goals and objectives of the Convention.
II. Status of CountryJamaica’s 638 miles of coastline and over 110 unmonitored airstrips make it a major transit country for cocaine destined for the U.S. and European (primarily UK) markets as well as the largest producer and exporter of marijuana in the Caribbean. Although Jamaica is not a significant regional financial center, tax haven or offshore banking center, money laundering does occur, primarily through the purchase of real assets, such as houses and cars. The U.S. Customs Enforcement Team (CET) has reported that in 2005, cash couriers have become a significant concern with regards to money laundering. The GOJ made slow progress against money laundering as it remains hampered by the lack of effective legislation. The Financial Investigation Division was able to seize over $500,000 cash, from drug related proceeds.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005Policy Initiatives. The GOJ expanded and modernized Jamaica’s ports including improvements in security. During 2005, systematic scanning of high-density cargo resulted in the seizure of over two thousand pounds of marijuana, a large quantity of weapons and other contraband. However, plans to expand and modernize CET stalled due to high staff attrition. In 2005, the GOJ began the renovation of an existing building at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston to house the Airport Interdiction Task Force, which will be comprised of Jamaican, U.S., UK and Canadian law enforcement personnel. The task force will focus on combating the trafficking of narcotics and illegal migrants and will become operational in early 2006. The GOJ continued to fund the operating expenses for the Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Center.
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 interdiction efforts. The JCF Narcotics Division works closely with DEA in investigating significant narcotics trafficking and money laundering organizations in Jamaica.
In 2005, the GOJ seized 142.38 kilograms of cocaine, 17,654 kilograms of cannabis, 13,070 ecstasy tablets and destroyed 391 hectares of cannabis. The appearance of ecstasy on the local illicit narcotics scene is a new phenomenon. Cocaine seizures were significantly lower in 2005 when compared to 2004. Local law enforcement officers together with international law enforcement officers continued to aggressively target major drug trafficking organizations. The JDF continued to work with USG’s Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) to successfully disrupt a number of planned go-fast deliveries. The JCF arrested a total of 6,215 persons on drug related charges including 220 foreigners in 2005.
The ion scan machine located at the Norman Manley International airport in Kingston and operated by the British played a major role in identifying passengers transporting drugs. During 2005, Operation Kingfish resulted in the successful seizure of 56 vehicles, seven boats, one aircraft, 131 firearms, and two containers conveying drugs. Operation Kingfish alone was also responsible for the seizure of over nine metric tons of cocaine, four pounds of hash oil, and over 5,117 pounds of compressed marijuana.
The employment of British law enforcement officers and the acquisition of the integrated ballistic information system have led to a more concerted effort by the JCF to identify and dismantle high profile drug traffickers. Highlights of these efforts include the capture, conviction and sentencing of one of Jamaica’s Most Wanted fugitives, the arrest of two other prominent criminals. Collaborative efforts between the JDF and the JCF intensified and the JDF played a significant role in developing intelligence, security and the apprehension of major drug dealers. Despite these changes, Jamaica’s homicide rate was 1,669 for 2005 compared to 1,471 in 2004.
Corruption. Corruption continues to undermine law enforcement and judicial efforts against drug-related and other types of crime in Jamaica, and is a major barrier to more effective counternarcotics actions. The GOJ has a policy of investigating credible reports of public corruption; however, there were no prosecutions of high profile individuals for corruption or who are linked by reliable evidence to drug-related activity. The JDF has a "zero tolerance" policy on involvement in drug-related activity by its members.
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. The U.S. and Jamaica also have a bilateral law enforcement agreement governing cooperation on stopping the flow of illegal drugs by maritime means. Jamaica is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. In 2005, the GOJ agreed to the Cooperating Nation Information Exchange System. The GOJ signed the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counterdrug Agreement.
Cultivation/Production. Jamaica is the largest Caribbean producer and exporter of marijuana. There is no accurate estimate of the amount of cannabis cultivated. A lack of crop survey data and baseline figures makes it impossible to quantify the effect of GOJ eradication efforts on the total crop. The level of marijuana production has changed from large hectares to smaller plots nested in hilly and rocky terrain inaccessible to vehicular traffic. Highly sophisticated cultivation methods, including portable irrigation systems, generators, floodlights, etc., speeds up the cultivation process. Jamaica does not use herbicides to eradicate marijuana. Manual cutting is the primary eradication method.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine is smuggled/transshipped from Colombia’s north coast by major Colombian and Jamaican trafficking groups into and out of Jamaica primarily via go-fast vessels and to a lesser extent via private aircraft. Narcotics trafficking groups continue to utilize private aircraft to transport drugs from Jamaica to the Bahamas and then on to the United States. With one hundred and fourteen (114) identified landing strips/fields in Jamaica, these clandestine activities frequently occur undetected. Smugglers also use concealment in commercial shipments, and couriers who board airlines or cruise ships with ingested or concealed drugs.
Domestic Programs. Consumption of cocaine, heroin and marijuana is illegal in Jamaica. Marijuana is the drug most frequently abused, and consumption of both powder cocaine and crack cocaine are on the rise, despite limited availability. The possession and use of ecstasy (MDMA) is currently controlled under the Food and Drug Act and is subject to relatively light penalties. There is an effort underway to have ecstasy included under the Dangerous Drug Act. Jamaica has several active demand reduction programs including visible projects of the Ministry of Health/National Council on Drug Abuse and the NGO, RISE, Life Management Services that receive modest U.S. funding support. The UNODC works directly with the GOJ and NGOs to improve demand reduction efforts.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and ProgramsBilateral Cooperation. The JDF Coast Guard (JDFCG) engages in cooperative operational planning with the U.S. Coast Guard for joint operations on an intermittent basis. During 2005, Jamaica participated in six 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 2005. In February, the U.S. and Jamaica signed an additional protocol to the Shiprider Agreement to allow U.S. and JDFCG personnel to enforce Jamaican law from third party vessels (British, French, Dutch, Canadian, and Belgian).
Between 2004 and 2005 the JFDCG assigned two crewmembers to the Coast Guard Caribbean Support Tender and in addition, embarked the first officer for training. In 2005, two new CG ratings were attached for a yearlong tour aboard the USCGC Gentian.
In 2005, the U.S. continued to fund an advisor to the National Intelligence Bureau and a Law Enforcement Development Advisor to assist the JCF’s strategic planning and reform efforts. Members of the highly effective Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT), with guidance from the U.S. Marshals, received specialized training, equipment and operational support. The JFAT is actively working on over 213 fugitive cases. Since January 2005, twelve arrests have been made. There have been 5 cases of extradition and 3 persons have been deported to the United States. There are 18 defendants in custody awaiting extradition to the U.S.
The U.S.-funded International Organization for Migration (IOM) Border Control Project, designed to strengthen the GOJ’s ability to monitor the flow of persons into and through Jamaica, was officially launched in November 2004 and became fully functional in 2005. Use of the system resulted in the detection of over 30 fraudulent Jamaican passports, and enabled Jamaican authorities to identify a number of individuals of various nationalities involved in immigration violations and other illicit activities. USAID is continuing with 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 combat drug trafficking and other types of organized crime. However, the GOJ needs to further intensify its law enforcement efforts and enhance international cooperation. In 2006, the U.S. will concentrate its efforts on assisting the GOJ with tackling corruption; modernize its judicial system; lobby the GOJ to expedite crime fighting legislation; and continue to provide assistance and training to the JDFCG to strengthen Jamaica’s maritime interdiction efforts. The USG is committed to on-going support for the JCF Narcotics vetted unit, the JFAT and the CET through the provision of specialized training and equipment.
The GOJ needs to implement legislation similar to the U.S. RICO statute and add amendments to enhance the effectiveness of the Interception of its Communications (wiretap) Act.
I. SummarySuriname is a transit point for South American cocaine enroute to Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United States, and has been a transit country for MDMA (ecstasy) from Europe to the U.S. market in the past. The Government of Suriname’s (GOS) inability to control its borders, lack of a law enforcement presence in the interior, and lack of aircraft or patrol boats allow traffickers to move drug shipments via sea, river, and air with little resistance. Nevertheless, in 2005, GOS law enforcement improved on its past counternarcotics performance, demonstrating the capacity to arrest and convict high-profile narcotics traffickers. The principal obstacles to effective counternarcotics law enforcement efforts are inadequate resources and limited training 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 CountrySuriname is a transshipment point for cocaine destined primarily for Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Evidence available in 2005 did not indicate that a significant amount of drugs entered the U.S. from Suriname. 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’ ability to identify, apprehend, and prosecute narcotics traffickers. In addition, sparsely populated parts of its coastal region and the country’s isolated jungle interior together with weak border controls and infrastructure make narcotics detection and interdiction efforts difficult.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005Policy 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. Suriname’s National Drugs Master Plan (2006-2010) is pending final approval. The plan covers both supply and demand reduction and includes calls for new legislation to control precursor chemicals. The development of the plan through multisectoral consultation was a significant step in fostering national coordination to address Suriname’s drug problem.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2005, Surinamese law enforcement focused more attention on dismantling large criminal organizations than in the past and showed an increased capacity to arrest and secure convictions of high-profile, well-connected narcotics traffickers. In 2005, GOS law enforcement arrested numerous people carrying drugs on their bodies or in luggage at the international airport, primarily passengers on the three to six weekly flights (varying seasonally) to Amsterdam; 125 of these people had ingested cocaine. Many who evade detection in Suriname are arrested at the airport in Amsterdam, which since 2004 has implemented a 100 percent inspection of all passengers and baggage arriving on inbound flights from Suriname.
In 2005, a special police unit cooperated closely with Dutch law enforcement to investigate criminal organizations smuggling drugs and laundering money between Suriname and the Netherlands. The cooperation culminated in the investigation and arrest of two long-suspected major drug traffickers and several of their associates during an operation named "Ficus." One suspect, who heads a Suriname-based holding company with stakes in casinos, car dealerships, and money transfer/exchange offices, is now on trial in the Netherlands for narcotics trafficking and money laundering. The other suspect, who owns a prominent rice export business, is on trial in Suriname; he was arrested in connection with the December 2003 confiscation of 296 kilograms of cocaine from one of his vessels that was en route to Portugal and for being a suspected member of a criminal organization. Over the first nine months of 2005, the Narcotics Brigade of the Surinamese police force (KPS) seized 1,436 kilograms of cocaine and 78 kilograms of cannabis and arrested 540 people for drug-related offenses.
In April 2005, a joint operation of the police SWAT team (A-Team) and the Narcotics Brigade, led to the arrest of two men and the confiscation of 334 kilograms of cocaine, 274 cartridges and four hand grenades from a residence in Paramaribo. In July, police seized 289 kilograms of cocaine found packed in 700 one-kg bags of frozen root vegetable awaiting export to the Netherlands. The suspects arrested in these cases are on trial. In May, police seized 438 kilograms of cocaine from a Cessna airplane that made an emergency landing approximately 60 miles west of Paramaribo. Two Colombian men on board, whose final destination was apparently a clandestine airstrip located on an unpopulated band of the Surinamese coast, were subsequently arrested and, in November, sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for importing cocaine. There are criminal organizations operating arms-for-drugs activities in Suriname that may have connections to the Colombian terrorist group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
In 2005, the judiciary handed down several stiff sentences in three other high-profile drug cases. In August, Dino Bouterse, son of former military strongman and convicted narcotics trafficker Desi Bouterse, was sentenced to eight years in prison for participating in a criminal organization. Bouterse was the leader of a criminal ring involved in the trafficking of cocaine, weapons and vehicles. In September, 23 suspects, including three Colombians, were sentenced for trafficking cocaine from Colombia into Suriname based on the February 2004 police seizure of 379 kilograms of cocaine and 800 liters of airplane fuel. In October 2005, a major narcotics trafficker received a 15-year sentence for masterminding the Maratakka drugs case, in which 341 kilograms of cocaine, aircrafts, airplane fuel, weapons and ammunition were seized in November 2003.
In 2005, the GOS seized 1507 kilograms of cocaine and 169 kilograms of cannabis. A total of 734 people were arrested for drug-related offenses; 178 of these were arrested at the international airport, after having ingested cocaine.
Corruption. The GPS does not facilitate the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, and does not discourage the investigation or prosecution of such acts. The GOS takes legal and law enforcement measures to prevent and punish public corruption. Public corruption is considered a problem in Suriname. Reports of money laundering, drug trafficking and associated criminal activity involving current and former government and military officials continue to circulate, but the government has a record of action in prosecuting or terminating corrupt officials. According to Customs reports, the GOS loses roughly $45 million annually in uncollected Customs revenues due to corruption and false invoicing. Investigations show that false invoicing occurs daily, despite heavy fines. Former military strongman Desi Bouterse and former rebel leader Ronnie Brunswijk served in the National Assembly in 2005, despite having convictions in absentia in the Netherlands for narcotics trafficking. Brunswijk was also convicted in a French court in absentia for the same crime.
Agreements and Treaties. Suriname is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Suriname is also a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and has accordingly passed legislation that conforms to a majority of the convention’s articles, but has failed to pass legislation complying with precursor chemical control provisions. The GOS ratified the Inter-American Convention on Mutual 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’s Constitution prohibits the extradition of its nationals. The extradition relationship between the United States and Suriname is inactive. In November 2005, Suriname signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement with the Netherlands Antilles allowing for direct law enforcement cooperation between the two, no longer requiring the process to be first routed through The Hague. Suriname has also signed bilateral agreements to combat drug trafficking with neighboring countries Brazil and Guyana, as well as with Venezuela. Suriname is an active member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS/CICAD), to which it reports regularly. Suriname is not a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.
Cultivation and Production. Suriname is not a producer of cocaine or opium poppy. While cannabis is cultivated in Suriname, there is little specific data on the number of hectares under cultivation or evidence that it is exported in significant quantities.
Drug Flow/Transit. Much of the cocaine entering Suriname is delivered by small aircraft, which land on clandestine airstrips in the dense jungle interior and in sparsely populated coastal districts where the lack of resources, infrastructure, law enforcement personnel and equipment makes detection and interdiction difficult. Following drug deliveries along interior roads, to clandestine airstrips, or by sea drops the drugs are shipped to seaports via numerous river routes to the sea or overland for onward shipment to Caribbean islands, Europe and the United States. Drugs exit Suriname via commercial air flights (by drug couriers or concealed in planes) and by commercial sea cargo. European-produced MDMA is transported via three to six weekly flights (varying seasonally) from the Netherlands to Suriname; in the past drug couriers have transported the drugs to the United States.
Domestic Programs. During 2005, the National Drug Demand Reduction Office (DDR) conducted training sessions for specialists on primary prevention strategies and minimum standards for drug treatment centers. In August, the Bureau for Alcohol and Drugs (BAD) and the police conducted DDR-sponsored drug prevention training for ten youth organizations in Suriname. The National Drugs Information System, created to collect and distribute data to support policy formation, has been largely ineffective.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and ProgramsU.S. Policy Initiatives. The principle obstacles in Suriname to effective counternarcotics law enforcement efforts are inadequate resources and limited training for law enforcement. Therefore, the U.S. aims to reduce the trafficking of narcotics through Suriname through a mix of training and material to strengthen the GOS law enforcement institutions and their capabilities to detect and interdict narcotics trafficking activities.
Bilateral Cooperation. A high level of cooperation exists between U.S. and GOS law enforcement officials. In 2005, 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. USG funding went towards the purchase of hardware and software for a criminal records database, radio equipment, vehicles, renovation of police academy classrooms, and computer systems, and training.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to encourage the GOS to pursue large narcotics traffickers and to dismantle their organizations rather than focusing upon swallowers and body carriers. The U.S. will encourage the GOS to sign and ratify the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement. The U.S. will also urge the GOS to focus on port security, specifically seaports, which are seen as the primary conduits for large shipments of narcotics exiting Suriname. The DEA intends to intensify its cooperation with Surinamese law enforcement in 2006 by establishing an office in Suriname. The U.S. will continue to provide equipment, training, and technical support to the GOS to strengthen its counternarcotics efforts.
I. SummaryTrinidad and Tobago is a transit country for drugs from South America to the U.S. and Europe. Marijuana is grown in Trinidad and Tobago, but it is not a major drug-producing country. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) continued to cooperate with the U.S. on counternarcotics issues and allocated significant resources to the fight against illegal drugs. U.S. bilateral efforts in 2005 focused on the provision of technical assistance, training, and materiel to help the GOTT strengthen all facets of its counternarcotics efforts. The GOTT is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of CountryTrinidad and Tobago is situated seven miles off the coast of Venezuela, directly between the major cocaine producing countries of South America and the major consumers of North America and Western Europe. It is a transshipment point for illicit drugs, primarily cocaine and marijuana but also heroin.
Trinidad and Tobago does not produce coca or opium poppy. Marijuana is grown, but not on a scale to make Trinidad and Tobago a major drug-producing country as defined in the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act. Trinidad and Tobago has an advanced petrochemical sector, which requires the import and export of chemicals that can be diverted for the manufacturing of cocaine hydrochloride. Precursor chemicals originating from Trinidad and Tobago have been found in illegal drug labs in Colombia. U.S.-donated computers now give the GOTT Ministry of Health the capability to track chemical shipments through the country, with the aim of preventing future diversion to narcotics producers.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005Policy Initiatives. In 2005, the GOTT National Drug Council implemented elements of the country’s counternarcotics master plan. This plan addresses both supply and demand reduction. In addition, the GOTT supported the Special Anti-Crime Unit (SAUTT), commissioned in 2004, and enhanced its capabilities. The SAUTT has responsibility for both counternarcotics and antikidnapping operations. During 2005, the GOTT hired an American criminal justice specialist to evaluate Trinidad and Tobago’s law enforcement structures. His report recommended changes in the structure, training regime and culture of the police service. To implement the recommendations, the GOTT sent its elite officers to numerous drug and crime training courses in the U.S and the UK.
In 2005, the GOTT upgraded its coastal radar assets, and acquired two armed helicopters, an aerial surveillance system outfitted with radar and imaging systems, a forward-looking infrared camera, twenty-four mobile police units, and several sky watch units. Anticrime legislation under discussion as a result of negotiations between the two major parties at the end of November 2005 aims at enhancing counternarcotics enforcement.
Accomplishments. The GOTT funds a three-person U.S. Customs Advisory Team that provides technical assistance to the Customs and Excise Division. This unit focuses on improving the effectiveness of the GOTT’s passenger and cargo processing and enhancing enforcement of the customs law. The GOTT also funds an IRS Tax Assistance and Advisory Team that is working with the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) to detect and prosecute financial crimes. The GOTT provided support for the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which has its secretariat in Port of Spain, and began to implement several of its recommendations to combat money laundering.
The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard’s (TTCG) Air Guard (formerly the TTCG Air Wing) conducts drug interdiction operations using two C-26 sensor aircraft it purchased from the U.S. These aircraft have maritime surveillance and drug interdiction capabilities. The GOTT has financially supported the maintenance of these aircraft since May 2005.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2005, the GOTT seized 3,000 kilograms of cocaine, including liquid cocaine, 15.58 kilograms of heroin, and over 100,000 kilograms of cannabis in various forms. The GOTT also eradicated 1,116,500 cannabis plants and seedlings during the year. One particularly noteworthy seizure occurred on Monos Island, located off the northwest coast of Trinidad. This joint exercise by the SAUTT, the police and the TTCG netted 1,750 kilograms of cocaine. Reports speculate that the drugs originated in Colombia and transited Venezuela, indicating involvement by a major organized crime operation. Eight persons were charged: five Venezuelans, one Antiguan and two Trinidadians.
The GOTT purchased an additional five drug detection dogs for use by the TTPS. The U.S. and UK are assisting the GOTT with the purchase of a "drugloo," a device that facilitates recovery of contraband items concealed in a smuggler’s gastro-intestinal tract. In CY 2005, four people were extradited to the U.S.; three were extradited on drug-related charges.
Corruption. Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and has signed the UN Convention Against Corruption. During 2005, there were no charges of drug-related corruption filed against GOTT senior officials, and the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago has no information indicating that any senior government officials encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of drug money. 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 are chosen.
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. The GOTT continued to comply with U.S. requests under the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties and updated its extradition treaty with the USG in April 2004. A bilateral U.S.-GOTT maritime agreement is also 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 also a member of the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission (OAS/CICAD).
Cultivation and Production. Trinidad and Tobago is not a producer of cocaine or opium poppy. Marijuana, however, 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. Eradication takes place by cutting and burning plants manually as opposed to aerial herbicide application.
Drug Flow/Transit. Illicit drugs arrive from the South American mainland, particularly Venezuela, on fishing boats, pleasure craft and commercial aircraft. Sizeable quantities of drugs also transit the country through commodities shipments from South America. Drugs are then smuggled out on yachts, in air cargo, and by couriers. Smuggling through the use of drug swallowers is also on the rise. Cocaine has been found on airline flights from Guyana transiting Trinidad and Tobago en route to North America.
Drug seizures reported by U.S. law enforcement officials at JFK International Airport in New York and other intelligence indicate that Guyanese-based smuggling organizations and other South American operations, are increasingly using Trinidad and Tobago as a transshipment point for cocaine. In addition, the DEA believes there has been an increase in the amount of heroin transiting the country. Reportedly, some shipments are bypassing Trinidad and Tobago in favor of other islands because of the counternarcotics efforts of GOTT security forces. There is little or no manufacturing or distribution of synthetic drugs in Trinidad and Tobago.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The GOTT does not maintain statistics on domestic consumption or numbers of drug users. Trinidad’s demand reduction programs are managed by government agencies such as the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, the National Drug Council in the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Education, and the Office of Social Services Delivery, often with assistance from NGOs. The GOTT also funds the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program, which coordinates the activities of NGOs to promote demand reduction.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and ProgramsPolicy Initiatives. Joint U.S./GOTT efforts focus on strengthening the GOTT’s ability to detect and interdict drug shipments, bring traffickers and other criminals to trial, attack money laundering, and counternarcotics-related corruption. The U.S. also seeks to strengthen the administration of justice by helping to streamline Trinidad and Tobago’s judicial process, reduce court backlogs, and protect witnesses from intimidation and murder.
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. has a cooperative relationship with the GOTT and continues to provide Trinidadian law enforcement organizations with training, technical assistance, equipment and vehicles in support of their counternarcotics/crime efforts. The U.S. provided equipment and vehicles to the OCNU, drug and bomb detection dogs to the TTPS and the Customs and Excise Division, and fast interceptor boats and shallow draft interdiction boats for the TTCG and Customs and Excise Division. The U.S. continues to cooperate with the British to increase the GOTT’s ability to detect drug swallowers transiting its airports. 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 drug detection. The team continued to work with the Customs Marine Interdiction Unit and Canine Unit to strengthen their counternarcotics capabilities. The team provided technical assistance, along with U.S.-funded computers and training, to help the GOTT establish a Passenger Analytical Unit (PAU) at Piarco International Airport to target passengers for interview and secondary inspection. A GOTT-funded IRS Tax Assistance and Advisory Team is helping the Board of Inland Revenue detect and prosecute financial crimes.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will work closely with the GOTT’s law enforcement agencies to strengthen their counternarcotics/crime capabilities. The U.S. will provide training and operational support to the TTCG to enhance the GOTT’s maritime interdiction capabilities. The U.S. will support and assist the Criminal Investigation Unit in fulfilling its five-year plan of integrating with other law enforcement agencies and conducting money laundering and illegal source of income investigations. 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.