The Bahamas, a 700-mile-long archipelago off the eastern coast of the U.S., is a major transit point for cocaine from South America bound for both the U.S. and Europe, and for marijuana from Jamaica. Participating in Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Island (OPBAT), 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 Bahamian domestic demand for drugs. In 2007, the Bahamian Parliament passed into law precursor chemical control legislation. The GCOB has increased funding to strengthen its interdiction capabilities in vulnerable regions of the country and the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) seized $7.8 million in drug-related cash. The Bahamas is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
The Bahamas is an attractive country for transshipments of cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs because of its 700 islands and cays spread over an area the size of California astride maritime and aerial routes between South American drug producing countries and the United States. Cultivation of marijuana on remote islands and cays is of concern to Bahamian authorities, although there is no official estimate of the hectarage involved. The Bahamas is not a producer or transit point for drug precursor chemicals. In 2007, The Bahamas continued to participate in Operation Bahamas and Turks and Caicos (OPBAT)—a multi-agency international drug interdiction effort established in 1982 to stop the flow of cocaine and marijuana through The Bahamas to the U.S. In October 2007, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel and air assets took over responsibility for the OPBAT base in George Town, Exuma following the withdrawal of U.S. Army helicopter support.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
Policy Initiatives. In January 2007, the Bahamian Parliament passed into law precursor chemical control legislation and, in May, the GCOB approved funding for additional boats and one surveillance aircraft for the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) to support its counternarcotics efforts. The government has plans to upgrade the RBDF base in Great Inagua, where maritime drug smugglers enter Bahamian territorial waters and to establish a new base in the Northern Bahamas. The GCOB and the Government of Haiti continue negotiations concerning the placement of Haitian National Police officers on Great Inagua Island to improve the collection of intelligence from Haitian sail freighters passing through Bahamian territorial waters.
Accomplishments. In 2007, the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) cooperated closely with U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies on drug investigations. During 2007, including OPBAT seizures, Bahamian authorities seized 630 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 50.5 metric tons (MT) of marijuana. The DEU arrested 527 persons on drug-related offenses and seized $7.8 million in cash, five vessels and an airplane.
Law Enforcement Efforts. To enhance the results of drug interdiction missions, the RBDF provided vetted officers to the DEU in 2007. The RBDF also agreed to position a DOD funded fast-boat in Great Inagua to provide OPBAT endgame capabilities. The DEA, in conjunction with the DEU and Bahamian Customs, initiated a program in Great Inagua to enforce GCOB requirements that vessels entering Bahamian territorial waters report to Bahamian Customs. During 2007, the RBDF assigned three ship-riders each month to Coast Guard cutters. The ship-riders extend the law enforcement capability of the U.S. Coast Guard into the territorial waters of The Bahamas. In October, the U.S. Army terminated its participation in OBPAT. The DEA replaced the U.S. Army at the base and is now responsible for carrying out OPBAT interdiction operations. During the year, OPBAT assets intercepted maritime drug smugglers detected by USG surveillance aircraft and on occasion, the Cuban Border Guard. The USCG provides assets for OPBAT, including three helicopters and approximately 100 personnel. The RBPF participated actively in OPBAT, and officers of DEU and the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police also flew on OPBAT missions, making arrests and seizures.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GCOB 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 2007. 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; the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the 1988 UN Drug Convention; the 1990 U.S.-Bahamas-Turks and Caicos Island Memorandum of Understanding concerning Cooperation in the Fight Against Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs; and the Inter American Convention against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms. The GCOB is also a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and on January 10, 2008, GCOB acceded to the UN 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 30 U.S. extraditions pending in the Bahamas. GCOB prosecutors pursue USG extradition requests vigorously. 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. The USG also has a Comprehensive Maritime Agreement (CMA) with The Bahamas, which went into effect in 2004 replacing a patchwork of disparate safety, security and law enforcement agreements. Among its provisions, the CMA permits cooperation in counternarcotics and migrant interdiction operations in and around Bahamian territorial waters, including the use of ship riders and expedited boarding approval and procedures.
Cultivation and Production. Although there are no official estimates of marijuana hectarage in the islands, cultivation of marijuana by Jamaicans is a continuing trend. The majority of marijuana seized in 2007 was in plant form grown by Jamaican nationals on remote islands and cays of the Bahamas. OPBAT and the RBPF cooperated in identifying, seizing and destroying the marijuana.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine arrives in The Bahamas via go-fast boats, small commercial freighters, or small aircraft from Jamaica, Hispaniola and Venezuela. According to USG law enforcement, sport fishing vessels and pleasure crafts then transport 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 transport between 2 to 6 MT marijuana shipments from Jamaica to The Bahamas. These shipments are then moved to Florida in the same manner as cocaine.
During 2007, law enforcement officials identified 34 suspicious go-fast boats in Bahamian waters. In addition, there were 12 suspected 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 cruise ship ports. GCOB law enforcement officers have noted that Haitian traffickers are concealing their drugs in hidden compartments in wooden-hulled sailing freighters and Haitian criminal organizations are commingling drugs with illegal migrant smuggling. Bahamian law enforcement officials also identified shipments of drugs in Haitian sloops and coastal freighters. Intelligence sources suspect multi-ton cocaine shipments to the Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas from Venezuela and Colombia took place during the year. However, none of these shipments were successfully interdicted. Illegal drugs have also been found in transiting cargo containers stationed at the port container facility in Freeport. DEA/OPBAT estimates that there are a twelve to fifteen 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. The focus of the prevention/education program in 2007 was on schools and youth organizations, especially those located outside of New Providence Island.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The goals of USG assistance to The Bahamas are to dismantle drug trafficking organizations, stem the flow of illegal drugs through The Bahamas to the United States, and strengthen Bahamian law enforcement and judicial institutions to make them more effective and self-sufficient in combating drug trafficking and money laundering.
Bilateral Cooperation. During 2007, INL funded training, equipment, travel and technical assistance for GCOB law enforcement and drug demand reduction officials; procured computer and other equipment to improve Bahamian law enforcement capacity to target trafficking organizations through better intelligence collection and more efficient interdiction operations; provided funding to the National Drug Council (NDC) so its staff could participate in a University of the West Indies on-line course in prevention and treatment of drug addiction; and funded a survey of drug use among individuals admitted into hospital emergency rooms. In FY 2007, the USCG provided resident, mobile and on the job training in maritime law enforcement, engineering and logistics, professional development, medical and seamanship to the RBDF.
Road Ahead. We encourage the Bahamian Government to continue its strong commitment to joint counternarcotics efforts and its cooperative efforts to extradite drug traffickers to the U.S. Standing up, staffing and funding its National Drug Secretariat will greatly assist GCOB efforts to implement its 2004 National Anti-Drug Plan. The Embassy is working with the GCOB to implement regulations banning wooden-hulled sailing freighters from Bahamian waters, most of which originate from ports in Haiti. These freighters are believed to play a key role in drug and migrant smuggling through The Bahamas. The GCOB can further enhance its drug control efforts by integrating Creole speakers into the DEU and by working with HNP officers to be stationed in Great Inagua to develop information on Haitian drug traffickers transiting the Bahamas. The USG will urge the GCOB to further integrate the RBDF into OPBAT by placing some of its marine assets acquired under the United States Southern Command’s Enduring Friendship program in Freeport and Great Inagua to provide OPBAT end-game capabilities in these areas.
Cuba is strategically located in the Caribbean between the United States and the drug producing countries of South America. Although Cuba is neither a significant consumer nor a producer of illegal drugs, its ports, territorial waters and airspace are susceptible to narcotics trafficking from source and transit countries. In 2007, the GOC continued “Operation Hatchett III,” a multi-force counternarcotics interdiction operation, and “Operation Popular Shield,” a nationwide counternarcotics public awareness campaign. Cuba also carried out some operations in coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Drug Interdiction Specialist (DIS) at the U.S. Interests Section (USINT) in Havana. Cuba is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
The GOC regularly detects and monitors suspect vessels and aircraft in its territorial waters and airspace. In cases likely to involve narcotics trafficking, it regularly provides detection information to the USCG. In addition to dedicating social service resources to improve prevention, the GOC also has the legal framework within its criminal justice system to prosecute and assign stiff penalties to narcotic users and traffickers.
According to Cuban statistics, Cuba’s internal drug consumption levels are among the lowest in the region. Lack of discretionary income and an overwhelming state police presence limits access to drugs by the Cuban population and contributes to the low incidence of drug consumption. In order to elude capture near Cuban territorial waters, international drug traffickers throw contraband from speedboats, providing the main source of supply to the local market. The GOC is active in regional drug control advocacy, but its interdiction capability is limited by a lack of resources necessary to upgrade its counternarcotic assets and technical equipment.
The USG has not been assured by the GOC that effective rules of engagement are in place to prevent the inappropriate use of deadly force during counternarcotics trafficking operations. In May, the leading Communist Party newspaper, Granma, declared that Cuba’s territorial waters would never be a safe corridor for traffickers. This statement came after a Cuban Border Guard patrol boat shot and killed two Bahamian drug traffickers. The GOC claims the drug smugglers rammed their vessel and were killed in self-defense during an exchange of gunfire.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
Policy Initiatives. Prevention through education has become the key policy initiative to confront the drug problem in Cuba. In 2007, the GOC completed the third phase of its national study on drug abuse. The study was initiated in Havana Province and has expanded its scope to include two other provinces. Over 40,000 people between the ages of 12-45 were interviewed on past and recent drug use patterns. According to the GOC, the study concluded that less than one percent of the Cuban population had used drugs in their lifetime.
In 2007, Cuban authorities participated with regional partners in three counternarcotics courses offered by the United Kingdom and Canada. They included border security, financial fraud and synthetic drug use. They also coordinated, with the assistance of INTERPOL, a regional forensic narcotics program where instructors explained current practices in narcotics detection.
Accomplishments. Maritime drug seizures by Cuban authorities increased slightly during 2007, with the GOC reporting the seizure of 1.7 metric tons (MT) of illicit narcotics. In February, a Cuban Border Guard telex notification to the USCG resulted in the joint multinational interception of a drug-laden aircraft destined for the Bahamas, the arrest of two traffickers and the seizure of 286 kilograms (kg) of marijuana. Cuban officials then deported Luis Hernando “Rasguno” Gomez-Bustamante a reputed Colombian drug kingpin, to Bogotá where he was later extradited to the United States to face trafficking charges. In April, Cuban Border Guard authorities intercepted a Bahamian drug smuggling vessel. The vessel carried 590 kg of marijuana and was Cuba’s largest single seizure of drugs in 2007. In June, Cuba investigated two suspect shipping containers at the port of Havana with the Assistance of USINT’s USCG DIS. The joint U.S.-Cuba container inspection was the first such operation of its kind and resulted in the seizure of 20 kg of cocaine.
An additional 811 kg (754 kg of marijuana and 57 kg of cocaine) were confiscated from washed-up contraband picked by the Cuban Border Guard troops and coastal watch stations. Special drug enforcement units of the Ministry of Interior and the General Customs Service detained 49 drug couriers (“mules”) representing 23 nationalities in a yearlong airport operation. Four cases of airport seizures netted 9 kg of cocaine. All four cases took place at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. In almost all cases involving foreign tourists detected with narcotics for personal consumption, the individual is fined, and then allowed to continue his/her visit. Operation Popular Shield resulted in the final 18 kg of narcotics (13 kg of marijuana and 5 kg of cocaine) seized from Cuba’s domestic market. Since Operation Popular Shield began in 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 national market.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to the Cuban Government, the Border Guard interdicts ninety percent of the drugs seized by Cuban law enforcement authorities. The GOC’s lead investigative law enforcement agency on drugs is the Ministry of Interior’s National Anti-Drug Directorate (DNA). The DNA is comprised of criminal law enforcement, intelligence and justice officials. Cuban Customs maintains an active counternarcotics inspection program in each of its international maritime shipping ports and airports.
Cuba’s “Operation Hatchet,” in it seventh year, is intended to disrupt maritime and air trafficking routes, recover washed-up narcotics, and deny drug smugglers shelter within the territory and waters of Cuba through vessel, aircraft and radar surveillance from the Ministry of Interior’s Border Guard and Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (Navy and Air Force). Operation Hatchet relies on shore-based patrols, visual and radar observation posts and the civilian fishing auxiliary force to report suspected contacts and contraband. In 2007, Cuban law enforcement authorities reported “real time” sighting of 39 suspect vessels (25 go-fast and 14 aircraft) transiting their airspace or territorial waters, an 18 percent increase over 33 suspect targets observed in 2006.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOC does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The U.S. Government does not have direct evidence of current narcotics-related corruption among senior GOC officials, although regular anecdotal reports of corruption throughout all levels of Cuban society and government continue to circulate. No mention of GOC complicity in narcotics trafficking or narcotics-related corruption was made in the media in 2007. It should be noted, however, that the media in Cuba is completely controlled by the state, which permits only laudatory press coverage of itself. Crime is almost never reported.
Agreements and Treaties. Cuba 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 GOC cooperates with the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention and maintains bilateral narcotics agreements with 32 countries and less formal memoranda of agreement with 2 others. Counternarcotics coordination between the U.S. and Cuba occurs only on a case-by-case basis. In an effort to demonstrate international collaboration, in 2003, Cuba inaugurated Havana’s Anti-Doping Lab to conduct test analysis for all international sporting events. The World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee have certified this lab. Cuba is also an active participant in the annual Latin America and the Caribbean meetings for Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA). Cuba is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Cultivation/Production. Cuba’s National Revolutionary Police and the National Association of Small Farmers acknowledge the smuggling of marijuana seeds into the country. In 2007, GOC seized 3,789 marijuana plants (up from 2,115 plants in 2006) and 5,330 marijuana seeds Cuba is not a source of precursor chemicals, nor have there been any incidents involving precursor chemicals reported in 2007.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cuba’s 4,000 small keys and the 3,500 nautical miles of shoreline provide drug traffickers with the abilitiy to conduct clandestine smuggling operations. Traffickers use high-speed boats to bring drugs northward from Jamaica to the Bahamas, Haiti, and to the U.S. around the Windward Passage or small aircraft from clandestine airfields in Jamaica. Commercial vessels and containerized cargo that are loaded with drugs pose an increasing risk to Cuban ports. Mules continued to traffick small quantities of narcotics to and from Europe through Cuba’s international airports.
Domestic Programs. The governing body for prevention, rehabilitation, and policy issues is the National Drug Commission (CND). This interagency coordinating body is headed by the Minister of Justice, and includes the Ministries of Interior, Foreign Relations, Public Health, and Public Education. Also represented on the commission are the Attorney General’s Office and the National Sports Institute. 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 CND aims to implement a long-term domestic prevention strategy that is included as part of the educational curriculum at all grade levels.
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. The GOC reports that there are 3 international drug dependency treatment centers and 198 community health facilities 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 Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. has no counternarcotics bilateral agreements with Cuba and does not fund any GOC counternarcotics law enforcement initiatives. In the absence of normal bilateral relations, the USCG DIS officer assigned at the USINT Havana acts as the main conduit of anti-narcotics cooperation with the host country on a case-by-case basis. Cuban authorities have provided DIS more exposure to Cuban counternarcotics efforts, including providing investigative criminal information, such as the names of suspects and vessels; debriefings on drug trafficking cases; visits to the Cuban national canine training center and anti-doping laboratory in Havana; and access to meet with the Chiefs of Havana’s INTERPOL and Customs office.
Road Ahead. U.S. counternarcotics efforts in Cuba face a number of obstacles. The current Cuban regime’s long history of anti-Americanism in rhetoric and action has limited the scope for joint activity and made bilateral dealings always subject to political imperatives. Cuba’s Drug Czar has raised the idea of greater counternarcotics cooperation with the USG. De facto Commander-in-Chief, Raul Castro has called for a bilateral agreement on narcotics, migration and terrorism during his de facto status as head of state. However, these approaches have not been offered with forthright or actionable proposals as to what the USG should expect from future Cuban cooperation. The USG continues to encourage Cuba’s full participation in regional interdiction efforts.
The Dominican Republic (DR) is a major transit country for cocaine and heroin from South America destined for U.S. and European markets. During 2007, the DR experienced an increase in air smuggling of cocaine out of Venezuela while maritime deliveries via go-fast boats and cargo containers continued. The Government of the DR (GODR) cooperated in extraditing fugitives and deporting criminals to the U.S. Seizures of heroin, cocaine and MDMA were consistent with 2006, while drug related arrests increased by over 60 percent in 2007. The DR made advances in its domestic law enforcement capacity, institution building and interagency networking; and continued modest progress in prosecuting major bank fraud and government corruption cases. In spite of these positive signs, corruption and weak governmental institutions remained a serious impediment to controlling the flow of illegal narcotics. The DR is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Dominican criminal organizations are involved in international drug trafficking operations and use the DR as a trans-shipment hub. According to the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S), the number of drug smuggling flights from Venezuela to Hispaniola increased by 38 percent from 2006 to 2007. Approximately two thirds of the flights went to the DR. MDMA (Ecstasy) was most often interdicted enroute from Europe to the United States. The DR does not import or export a significant amount of ephedrine or any other precursor chemicals utilized in the manufacture of amphetamines or methamphetamines.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
Policy Initiatives. The Financial Analysis Unit, which became operational in 2005, still lacks Egmont certification and the resources and institutional support to perform effectively. In 2007, despite assistance from the USG to train DR prosecutors and law enforcement officers in the conduct of money-laundering investigations, the GODR continued to struggle to implement anti-money laundering legislation passed in 2002. In 2006, the GODR signed the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System agreement which allows the DR to receive information on suspected aerial and maritime drug trafficking. In November, the GODR signed an agreement with Haiti to fight jointly against drug trafficking and to increase law enforcement cooperation.
Accomplishments. In 2007, Dominican authorities seized approximately four metric tons of cocaine, 102.5 kilograms (kgs) of heroin, 17,902 units of MDMA, and 511.7 kgs of marijuana. In November, the National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD), in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), interdicted an airdrop of drugs, seizing more than 220 kgs of cocaine. In December, the authorities seized 580 kg of cocaine inside a shipment of transmission fluid that originated in Maracaibo, Venezuela. The DNCD made 12,841 drug-related arrests in 2007. Of these, 12,510 were Dominican nationals and 331 were foreigners.
Law Enforcement Efforts. 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 Dominican Navy received four high-speed interceptor boats under the U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Friendship program to help counter the “go-fast” threat. However, they have not been put to effective use, in part due to fuel shortages. The DNCD and DEA counterparts cooperated on an investigation that led to the takedown in December of a trafficking organization linked to the FARC in Colombia that used small aircraft to deliver drugs to the DR and Suriname. The takedown resulted in the arrest of 15 Colombians and the seizure of 191 kgs of cocaine.
In 2007, 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 DEA executed a joint, interagency coordinated counternarcotics operation called “Rum Punch” with U.S. Mission agencies, the DNCD and other Dominican military branches focusing on the movement of drugs, money and chemicals between source zones and the United States. The operation included maritime and air assets from the U.S., British and Dominican militaries, integrated into one daily planning schedule. “Operation Rum Punch” improved coordination and understanding among and between the U.S. law enforcement community and Dominican counterparts. The operation also facilitated training and institution building, critical to the mission’s success.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GODR does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production, processing or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, and other controlled substances, nor does it contribute to drug-related money laundering. The GODR has made efforts to reduce the influence of narcotics traffickers in the judicial system. During the year, the Judiciary removed six judges for improper conduct, including the mishandling of drug trafficking cases. In October, former BANINTER bank president Ramon “Ramoncito” Baez Figueroa was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 2.5 million pesos (approximately $75,000) for violating the General Banking Law (Law 708-65) and sections of the Monetary and Financial Law (Law 183-02). Former bank vice-president Marcos Baez Cocco was found guilty of the same offenses. Dual-national Dominican-American entrepreneur and economist Luis Alvarez Renta received the maximum 10 year sentence allowed under the money-laundering statute and was ordered to pay the maximum fine under that law.
The Attorney General conducted numerous corruption investigations in 2007 against Dominican officials, many of which resulted in arrests and/or dismissals. A financial disclosure law for senior appointed, civil service and elected officials has been implemented in the DR, but lack of auditing controls and sanctions weakened the effectiveness of this measure. With USG assistance, the Directorate for Prosecution of Corruption is establishing a reporting and tracking system for disclosed assets. The DR has enacted a Freedom of Information Act, but requests for information are not uniformly granted.
Agreements and Treaties. The DR is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention; the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; the UN Convention against Corruption; and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. In 1985), the USG and the DR signed 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 DR has signed, but not ratified, the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement. . The DR is not party to the OAS Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty and no bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty is in effect. Direct requests for judicial cooperation continue to be made through letters rogatory, but noticeable delays in compliance are routine. The DR is not party to a bilateral asset forfeiture agreement, nor is it party to any multilateral agreement that would permit the forfeiture of criminally obtained assets. The DR signed the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System agreement in 2006.
Extradition. The U.S.-Dominican Extradition Treaty dates from 1909. Extradition of nationals is not mandated under the treaty, but, in 1998, President Leonel Fernandez signed legislation permitting such extraditions. In 2005, judicial review was added to the procedure for extradition, making extraditions more transparent. During the year, the U.S. Marshals Service continued to receive excellent cooperation from the DNCD Fugitive Surveillance/Apprehension Unit and other relevant Dominican authorities in arresting fugitives and returning them to the United States to face justice. The DR extradited 20 Dominicans in 2007, and deported 12 U.S. and third-country national fugitives to the U.S. to face prosecution. Of these 32 cases, 14 were narcotics-related.
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.
Drug Flow/Transit. In 2007, the DNCD focused interdiction operations on the drug-transit routes in Dominican territorial waters along the southern border and on its land border crossings with Haiti, while attempting to prevent air drops and maritime delivery of illicit narcotics to remote areas. According to JIATF-S, there were 89 suspect drug flights from Venezuela in 2007 as compared to 75 flights in 2006. During the year, drugs were easily accessible for local consumption in most metropolitan areas. In October, U.S. Federal agents in New York arrested 18 people including 10 airline workers who were transporting cocaine, heroin and MDMA from suppliers in the Dominican Republic to the U.S. The drugs were hidden in luggage on international commercial flights from the DR.
Domestic Programs. In 2007, the DNCD conducted 267 sporting events and seminars that served as a platform to publicize the negative effects related to the use of narcotics and drugs. Approximately 300,000 Dominican youths participated in these events. The USG believes that the demand for narcotics in the Dominican Republic is increasing because narcotics are often used as a method of payment for transit. No official surveys regarding domestic drug use have ever been undertaken due to a lack of resources. A community-policing project initiated in 2006/7 with support from the U.S. Mission is targeting high-risk neighborhoods in Santo Domingo, in part to reduce drug demand and drug related crimes. The project has received great praise from community leaders and law enforcement officials who are seeking to expand it to other cities in the Dominican Republic.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. During 2007, the USG continued to provide equipment and training to maintain the drug and explosive detection canine units, support the DNCD’s vetted special investigation unit, expand DNCD computer training, database expansion and systems maintenance support, improve the DNCD’s capability to detect drugs smuggled through airports, and to enhance the DR’s anti-money laundering capacity. The DEA Center for Drug Information (CDI), housed in the DNCD, hosted a two-day training session attended by fifty participants from twenty-seven countries.
The multi-agency International Drug Flow Prevention Strategy proposed by DEA was implemented by the Dominican Government in 2007. This strategy is designed to significantly disrupt the movement of drugs, money and chemicals between source zones and the U.S. In addition, DEA sponsored a basic drug enforcement seminar as well as training focused on interviewing and interrogation, vehicle and hidden compartment inspection, and undercover operations.
In 2007, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) participated in joint counternarcotics and illegal migrant operations, including a proof of concept operation using biometrics to identify and prosecute criminals transiting via maritime means between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In addition, the USCG held three subject-matter expert exchange conferences for the benefit of the Dominican Navy: the Annual Interoperability Conference aimed at improving coordination in maritime interdictions; the Caribbean Search and Rescue Conference focused to improve and coordinate collaborative efforts of mutual search and rescue resources; and the International Shipping and Port Security Conference geared toward enhancing port security in the DR. The USCG also provided maritime law enforcement, leadership, engineering and maintenance, port security, and command and control training to the Dominican Navy.
The Law Enforcement Development Program, implemented by the Embassy’s Narcotics Affairs Section, continued assisting the Dominican National Police (DNP) with reforms aimed at transforming it into a professional, civilian-oriented organization. Since the program was initiated in 2006, 6,300 police investigators and prosecutors have undergone training in basic crime scene investigation. Internal Affairs (IA) was also restructured and is operating efficiently. During 2006 and 2007, approximately 300 police officers were terminated for testing positive for drug use. IA investigators are conducting approximately 60-70 internal investigations monthly against police personnel engaged in improper conduct, which are then referred to the Chief of Police and/or Prosecutor General’s office for disciplinary action. A community based policing project established in 13 high risk barrios in Santo Domingo has demonstrated positive trends in crime reduction in these neighborhoods. This project will be expanded to other cities in the Dominican Republic in 2008. National Police and Prosecutors continue to receive combined training, which promises to further enhance institutional cohesion. During the year, 364 prosecutors were trained in Basic Principles of Criminal Investigation, and Interviewing & Interrogation Techniques. In addition, 30 Prosecutors were trained in Basic Money Laundering Investigation Techniques.
In 2007, the Dominican chapter of the Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC), a voluntary alliance of manufacturers, transport companies, and related private sector entities, continued to expand its training program and was cited by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officials as one of the most effective BASC chapters worldwide. BASC is a cooperative program between the private sector and national and international organizations to facilitate and promote world trade by establishing and administrating global supply chain security standards and procedures. BASC Dominicana consists of 50 members representing over 40 businesses and 10 business associations. Currently 38 local businesses have been certified with projections of reaching 44 by the end of 2007. Their goal is to certify all the commercial service industry businesses connected with foreign trade.
USAID continued to provide assistance with strengthening the overall justice system, with a particular focus on effective implementation of the Criminal Procedures Code to ensure proper acquisition, storage and handling of evidence and adherence to time limits for prosecuting cases. USAID also assisted the National Institute for Forensic Sciences with improving procedures to secure and preserve evidence.
The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to help the DR to institutionalize judicial reform and good governance in furtherance of U.S. narcotics control strategy. The DR is working to build coherent counternarcotics programs that can resist the pressures of corruption and can address new challenges presented by innovative narcotics trafficking organizations. Money laundering will continue to be a priority, and the USG will provide prosecutors and police investigators the training necessary to help the DR conduct complex financial investigations. Anti-corruption efforts within the Law Enforcement Development Program will continue with a focus on special training for IA investigators. The DR will expand its community-policing program to additional neighborhoods in Santo Domingo and other cities in the Dominican Republic through the training of in-house National Police instructors in the concepts of community-based policing.
Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and the Netherlands together 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 counter narcotics areas. The Government of the Netherlands (GON) is responsible for the defense and foreign affairs of all three of the Kingdom and assists the Government of Aruba (GOA) and the Government of the Netherlands Antilles (GONA) in their efforts to combat narcotics trafficking. Negotiations are underway that are expected to result in the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2008, with Curacao and Sint Maarten to attain autonomous status similar to Aruba’s, while the islands of Bonaire and Saint Eustatius would become municipalities within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Both Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles are active members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) and are subject to the 1988 UN Drug Convention as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Netherlands Antilles. The islands of the Netherlands Antilles (NA) (Curacao and Bonaire off Venezuela and Saba, Saint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten east of the U.S. Virgin Islands) continue to serve as northbound transshipment points for cocaine and increasing amounts of heroin coming from South America; chiefly Colombia, Venezuela, and to a much lesser extent, Suriname. Go-fast boats are typically used to transport drugs to U.S. territory in the Caribbean, although the use of fishing boats, freighters, and cruise ships is becoming more common. Direct transport to Europe, and at times to the U.S., is sometimes carried-out by “mules” (drug couriers) using commercial flights. The DEA and local law enforcement saw continued go-fast boat traffic this year with some load sizes reduced because of a potential exposure to law enforcement. This shift was attributed to successful investigations along with investments by the Antilles in border security like the new ground-based radar system capable of identifying inbound vessels. These shipments were generally en route to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, but Sint Maarten continued to hold some measurable popularity among couriers as a gateway to Europe. In addition to go-fast boat activity and smuggling via commercial airlines, large quantities of narcotics continued to be moved through in cargo containers.
Sint Maarten’s geographic location and its multi-national population make it an ideal transshipment point between South America and the United States, for drugs and human smuggling. Dutch Sint Maarten is considered a “Free Zone”, which means there are limited controls placed on import and export of goods. This situation also applies to financial crimes. The absence of rigorous checks into monetary flows means that money laundering and proceeds from illegal activities are relatively easy to conceal. Sint Maarten announced draft legislation to be presented to Parliament in 2008 that would extend the requirement to report suspicious financial transactions to include not only banks and casinos but car dealers, jewelers, insurance companies, lawyers and accountants as well. In preparation for its expected autonomous status, Sint Maarten established a Crime Action Task Force to enhance law enforcement efforts against drug trafficking, human smuggling and money laundering.
In Curacao, the crackdown at Curacao’s Hato International Airport on “mules”—who either ingest or conceal on their bodies illegal drugs — continued during 2007. Detentions of mules declined from a high of 80 to 100 per day, to approximately 10 per month in 2007, according to local court statistics. The decline can be directly attributed to aggressive law enforcement tactics employed by Antillean authorities, in conjunction with their Dutch partners, coupled with innovative legislative tactics like the confiscation of the passports of Antillean couriers.
During 2007, the newly appointed Police Chief in conjunction with the Minister of Justice made a concentrated effort to improve Criminal Intelligence by creating a new Operational Intelligence Unit within the Curacao Police Corps. This specialized Intel Unit improved the investigative effectiveness of the police and successful joint Antillean/Dutch investigations conducted by the Hit and Run Money Laundering Team (HARM) have become commonplace during 2007.
The specialized Dutch police units (RSTs) that support law enforcement in the NA continued to be effective in 2007. RST Curacao had its biggest success in a joint international money laundering operation named Operation Kings Cross, which focused on illegal activities within the Curacao Free Zone. This operation resulted in the seizure of $120,000 in Euros and $130,000 in U.S. Currency and the arrest of the principal target in the investigation. In another joint RST investigation named Operation Pick Pocket results included the seizure of 542 kilograms of cocaine, 10 kilograms of heroin, and the arrest of 61 individuals.
The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba Coast Guard (CGNAA) was responsible for several seizures of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana during 2007. In October, the CGNAA, in coordination with the RST Curacao seized approximately 35 kilograms and a go-fast vessel. The CGNAA’s three cutters, outfitted with rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) and new ‘super’ RHIBs designed especially for counter narcotics 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. Under the continued leadership of the Attorney General, the GONA continued to strengthen its cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities throughout 2007. This cooperation extended to Sint Maarten, where the United States and the GONA continued joint efforts against international organized crime and drug trafficking.
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 South (JIATF-S). Over the past two years, CTG 4.4 has become a close and essential ally of the DEA and other U.S. agencies. Their continual efforts to thwart drugs trafficking from the region have been noted at the highest levels of the DEA and U.S. government. Several notable seizures occurred during 2007. The most impressive effort was the tracking of a maritime vessel from Colombia, which culminated with the seizure of approximately 153 kilograms of heroin.
The GONA demonstrated its commitment to the counternarcotics effort by continued support for a U.S. Forward Operating Location (FOL) at the Curacao Hato International Airport. Under a ten-year use agreement, signed in March 2000 and ratified in October 2001 by the Dutch Parliament, U.S. military aircraft conduct counternarcotics detection and monitoring flights over both the source and transit zones from commercial ramp space provided free of charge.
Aruba. Aruba is a transshipment point for increasing quantities of heroin, and to a lesser extent cocaine that move north via cruise ships and the multiple daily flights to the U.S. and Europe. The island attracts drug traffickers because of its good infrastructure, excellent flight connections, and relatively light sentences for drug-related crimes served in prisons with relatively good living conditions.
While Aruba enjoys a low crime rate, crime reporting during 2007 indicates that prominent drug traffickers are established on the island. Drug abuse in Aruba, including among tourists, remains a cause for concern. Cruise lines that visit Aruba have strict boarding/search policies for employees in order to thwart efforts of the traffickers to establish regular courier routes back to the United States. The expanding use of MDMA in clubs by young people attracts increasing attention. Private foundations on the island work on drug education and prevention and the Aruba government’s top counter narcotics official actively reaches out to U.S. sources for materials to use in prevention programs. The police also work in demand reduction programs among local schools and visit them regularly. The GOA has established an interagency commission to develop plans and programs to discourage youth from trafficking between the Netherlands and the U.S. The GOA has been very clear that it intends to pursue a dynamic counternarcotics strategy in close cooperation with its regional and international partners.
In 2007, Aruba law enforcement officials continued to investigate and prosecute mid-level drug traffickers who supply drugs to “mules.” During 2007, there were several instances where Aruban authorities cooperated with U.S. authorities to carry out U.S. prosecutions of American citizens arrested in Aruba who were attempting to carry multi-kilogram quantities of drugs to the United States. Aruba also devotes substantial time and effort to the identification of the person’s responsible for the importation of drugs to Aruba.
The GOA hosts the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) pre-inspection and pre-clearance personnel at Reina Beatrix airport. These officers occupy facilities financed and built by the GOA. DHS seizures of cocaine and heroin were frequent in 2007. Aruba officials regularly explore ways to capitalize on the presence of the FOL and pre-clearance personnel, seeking to use resident U.S. law enforcement expertise to improve local law enforcement capabilities. In September, CBP’s Office of International Affairs and Trade Relations provided training on the implementation of border enforcement best practices and the proper use of inspection tool kits in the examination of aircraft, containers, vehicles and cargo.
III. Actions Against Drugs in 2007
Accomplishments. Available drug seizure statistics for calendar year 2007, as of October 31, 2007, were: Aruba seized 390 kilograms of cocaine and 13 kilograms of heroin. The Netherlands Antilles seized 638 kilograms of cocaine and 10 kilograms of heroin.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the NA does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. During 2007, the NA continued an aggressive and successful program to identify certain links from prominent traffickers in the region to law enforcement officials, which prompted additional investigation in the region. 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. Aruba’s judiciary enjoys a well-deserved reputation for integrity. It 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.
Agreements and Treaties. The Netherlands extended the 1988 UN Drug Convention to the NA 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 Aruba 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, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols 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.
Cultivation/Production. Cultivation and production of illicit drugs are not issues.
Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Both the NA and Aruba have ongoing demand reduction programs, but need additional resources. In 2007, the Curacao Police Corps, in conjunction with Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.), opened a new D.A.R.E. facility in Willemstad, Curacao to aid in youth Demand Reduction activities.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
The United States encourages Aruba and NA law enforcement officials to participate in INL-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. 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. As 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.
Road Ahead. Drug trafficking and related money laundering and criminal violence continue to threaten the Dutch Caribbean. The expansion of law enforcement cooperation between the U.S., Dutch, and Aruba and Netherlands Antilles will serve to protect the Dutch Caribbean from these threats and contribute to broader counternarcotics efforts in the Caribbean as well.
The seven Eastern Caribbean countries—Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines—are vulnerable to drug trafficking from South America to markets in the U.S. and Europe. Illicit narcotics transit the Eastern Caribbean mostly by sea, in small “go-fast” vessels, larger fishing vessels, yachts and freight carriers. There is little narcotics airdrop activity in the region. Recently there has been the increased trend of using sailing yachts to transport drugs from the Caribbean to Europe. Each of the countries has a bilateral maritime counternarcotics agreement with the U.S. The USG has provided a number of leadership, marine engineering and maintenance, and seamanship training courses to the Eastern Caribbean nations in FY2007. Additionally, the USCG continues to maintain a three-person Technical Assistance Field Team (TAFT) to provide technical/logistic support and coordinate all depot-level maintenance for over 40 maritime security vessels in the Eastern Caribbean. The seven Eastern Caribbean states are parties 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.
II. Status of Countries and Actions Against Drugs in 2007
Antigua and Barbuda. The islands of Antigua and Barbuda are transit points for cocaine moving from South America to the U.S. and European markets. Narcotics entering Antigua and Barbuda are transferred from go-fast boats, fishing vessels, or yachts to other go-fasts, powerboats or local fishing vessels for further movement. Secluded beaches and uncontrolled marinas provide opportunities to conduct these drug transfer operations. Marijuana cultivation in Antigua and Barbuda is not significant. Marijuana imported for domestic consumption primarily comes from St. Vincent.
According to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda (GOAB), approximately 60 percent of the cocaine that transits Antigua and Barbuda is destined for the United Kingdom, representing a 15 percent decrease from the previous year, while the amount transited to the United States increased from 15 to 25 percent between 2006 and 2007. Approximately 10 percent of the cocaine transiting Antigua and Barbuda is destined for St. Martin/Sint Maarten. There were no reports of production, transit or consumption of methamphetamines in Antigua and Barbuda. There is also no legislation that imposes specific recordkeeping on precursor chemicals.
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 GOAB is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition, and 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 is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. There was no new narcotics-related legislation in 2007.
Through October 2007, GOAB forces seized 5.7 kilograms (kg) of cocaine and 464 kg of marijuana, arrested 134 persons on drug-related charges, and prosecuted six traffickers. There were five cannabis fields discovered in 2007 and the GOAB eradicated 9,394 plants. Antigua and Barbuda has both conviction-based and civil forfeiture legislation.
The police operate a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, targeting youth between ages 10 and 12, 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. There is one drug rehab center named Cross Roads Centre which offers treatment from two separate locations.
Barbados. Barbados is a transit country for cocaine and marijuana. There has been a general increase in drugs transiting Barbados since 2004. A notable trend encountered in 2007 was the use of employees working in key commercial transportation positions, e.g. baggage handlers, FedEx, DHL to assist with drug trafficking, and the emerging trend of having cocaine soaked into clothing to avoid detection. Most of the cannabis entering Barbados is consumed locally, while local consumption of cocaine represents only five percent of the amount thought to transit the island. There is legislation that imposes recordkeeping on precursor chemicals. There were no reports of production, transit or consumption of methamphetamines in Barbados. In 2007, Government of Barbados (GOB) agencies reported seizing 228.6 kg of cocaine and 4,194 kg of marijuana. There have not been any seizures of Ecstasy since 2005, when Barbados, for the first time, confiscated 2,445 Ecstasy tablets. The GOB brought drug charges against 242 persons during 2007 – a two thirds decrease from the number of arrests made in 2006. Four major drug traffickers were arrested during this period. Total reported drug charges in 2007 were significantly lower than the previous year. In 2007, the GOB eliminated 7,194 cannabis plants, almost triple the amount eliminated in 2006.
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 an asset-sharing agreement with Canada. Barbados has signed but has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols and the UN Convention against Corruption.
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 on prevention and education efforts and supports skills-training centers. NCSA sponsored a “Drugs Decisions” program in 45 primary schools and continued sponsoring prison drug and rehabilitation counseling initiatives. Barbados’s excellent D.A.R.E. and Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education (P.R.I.D.E.) programs remained active throughout the school system. There is also a drug rehabilitation clinic now in operation.
Commonwealth of Dominica. Marijuana is cultivated in Dominica and the island serves as transshipment point for drugs headed to the U.S. and Europe. The Dominica Police regularly conduct eradication missions in rugged, mountainous areas. During the year, Dominican law enforcement agencies reported seizing 353 kg of cocaine and 181 kg of marijuana – down substantially from 2006. Dominica Police arrested 217 persons on drug-related charges, and prosecuted eight major drug traffickers. According to the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica (GCOD) Police, most of the drugs that transit through Dominica are intended for foreign markets. Marijuana accounts for approximately 90 percent of all drug consumption on the island. There were no reports of production, transit or consumption of methamphetamines in Dominica.
The Ministry of Health and its National Drug Abuse Prevention Unit have been successful in establishing a series of community-based drug use prevention programs, including the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (D.A.R.E.).
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 against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms Convention, the Inter-American Convention against Firearms, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and Inter-American Convention against Terrorism.
Grenada. South American and Caribbean drug trafficker’s transit through or stop in Grenada’s coastal waters to transship cocaine and marijuana en route to U.S. and other markets. Marijuana remains the most widely used drug among Grenadian users. Marijuana is smuggled through Grenada from both St. Vincent and Jamaica. Local officials estimate about 75 percent remains on the island. The remaining 25 percent is destined for other markets, primarily Barbados and Trinidad. There is a small amount of marijuana cultivation in Grenada, primarily for local consumption. There are no drug processing labs in Grenada. According to the police, there were no signs of other drugs, such as methamphetamines transiting Grenada in 2007. However, the increase in violence and gang activity associated with the drug trade, including armed robbery and kidnapping reported in 2006 continues to cause concern. Petty crimes, including theft and break-ins for cash to pay for drugs, remain a problem.
The police drug squad continues to collaborate closely with Drug Enforcement Administration officials in the targeting and investigation of a local drug trafficking organization associated with South American and other Caribbean traffickers. From January through October 15, 2007, the police arrested 382 people on drug-related charges, 356 men and 26 women. Of those arrested, 375 were Grenadian, 2 were from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 1 was from Trinidad & Tobago, 1 was from St. Kitts and Nevis, 1 was from Guyana, and 2 were from the United Kingdom. Two major drug traffickers were arrested during this period: Micheal (sic) “Sands” Levine, presently serving a three year sentence, and Garvin Patrice, out on bail.
For the year, Grenadian authorities reported seizing approximately 935.8 kg of cocaine, 9,824 marijuana plants, 260 kg of marijuana, and 1,686 marijuana cigarettes. Regular rural patrols contribute significantly to deterring cultivation of marijuana on the island on a major scale. Cultivation usually consists of around 50 or fewer plants in any one plot and is not measured in acreage. Approximately seven acres of marijuana were eradicated during the period.
Legislation was proposed in 2007 to amend the Drug Abuse (Prevention and Control) Act, to prevent the misuse of a controlled drug, to include pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. Still pending action since 2005, is a draft Precursor Chemical Bill to develop an institutional infrastructure to implement controls preventing the diversion of controlled chemical substances.
The Prevention of Corruption Act was passed by both houses of Parliament in March, but has not yet been published in the official gazette. There were no prosecutions of high-level government officials for corruption in 2007.
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 Convention against trafficking in Illegal Firearms, the Inter-American Convention against Firearms, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, and Inter-American Convention against Terrorism. 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.
There are a number of drug demand reduction programs available to the public through the National Drug Avoidance Committee. There are specific programs for students from the pre-primary level up to the college level, teachers, and adults (community outreach program). There is also a specific program targeting women. The sole drug-rehabilitation clinic in Grenada was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Some repairs were done on the building, but it suffered further structural damage in a major fire in 2006. Presently, the Rathdune Psychiatric Wing of the Mental Hospital provides limited rehabilitation services for “extreme cases”. The need for rehabilitation services outstrips capacity.
St. Kitts and Nevis. St. Kitts and Nevis is a transshipment point for cocaine from South America to the United States and the United Kingdom as well as to regional markets.
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 criminal organizations. Marijuana is grown for local consumption.
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.
St. Kitts’ Police Drug Unit has been largely ineffective. Insufficient political will and the lack of complete independence for the police to operate are contributing factors. The GOSKN Defence Force augments police counternarcotics efforts, particularly in marijuana eradication operations. GOSKN officials reported seizing 29 grams of cocaine, and approximately 7.5 kg of marijuana from January through October 2007. There were no reports of production, transit or consumption of methamphetamines in St. Kitts or Nevis.
From January to October 2007, 105 arrests were made—almost double that of 2006. Most significant, however, was the increased eradication of marijuana plants from approximately 6,243 in 2005 and 31,000 in 2006 to 161,500 plants in 2007. According to the GOSKN, this figure does not represent an increase in cultivation, but rather an increase in eradication efforts.
Drug demand reduction programs are available to schools and the public. D.A.R.E., Operation Future and the National Drug Council also have programs to prevent drug abuse in SKN. There are no drug rehabilitation clinics in SKN and persons seeking such treatment are sent to St. Lucia.
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 off-loaded 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 as well. 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 792.5 kg of cocaine in 2007, up from 50.7 kg in 2006. The GOSL also seized 793 kg of marijuana in 2007, up from 515.8 kg in 2006. The majority of arrests made island-wide are linked to the drug trade. In 2007, there were 376 arrests made for actual drug offences such as possession or trafficking of cannabis, cocaine and other drugs. However, no major drug traffickers were arrested in 2007. The GOSL eradicated approximately 44,588 marijuana plants and 11,751 seedlings in 2007, which more than doubles the 2006 amount.
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 considering civil forfeiture legislation. It has also taken steps to strengthen its border controls and plans to automate its immigration control systems
St. Lucia 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 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 Convention against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms, the Inter-American Convention against Firearms, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition, and Inter–American Convention against Terrorism. 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 special 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, but it is currently under renovation. The St. Lucian Police reports that the D.A.R.E. Program has been tremendously 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 that 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, making some segments of the population dependent on marijuana production, trafficking and money laundering. However, total cultivation is not at the level which would designate St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a major drug-producer because it does not significantly affect the United States. 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 marijuana.
For the year, Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) officials reported seizing 524.4 kg of cocaine, which doubled last year’s figures, 397 cocaine rocks and 1,559.7 kgs of marijuana. GOSVG authorities arrested 335 persons on drug-related charges and convicted 257. There are 53 cases still pending, 3 cases dismissed and 19cases under investigation. In 2007, one major drug (cocaine) trafficker –Charles Constance—was prosecuted and sentenced to prison on money laundering charges. During the year, approximately 614,135 (up from 34,831) marijuana plants on 90 acres were eradicated. More than 11 times the amount reported in 2006. The police, customs, and coast guard try to control the rugged terrain and territorial waters of St. Vincent and the chain of islands making up the Grenadines. There has been an increase in drugs transiting St. Vincent, mainly cocaine from Venezuela, and a prevalence of crack cocaine use in some communities.
The Caribbean market makes up approximately 45 percent of marijuana consumption from SVG, the U.S. 25 percent, UK 20 percent and Canada 10 percent. There is currently legislation on precursor chemicals from various pharmaceuticals. There were no reports of production, transit or consumption of methamphetamines in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 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 GOSVG is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and has signed but not ratified the Inter-American against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms, the Inter-American Convention against Firearms, and Inter-American Convention against Terrorism. 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 effect between the U.S. and the GOSVG. USG law enforcement officials received good cooperation from the GOSVG in 2006. In the past, St. Vincent Police has been cooperative in executing search warrants pursuant to U.S. MLATs.
A statute-mandated advisory council on drug abuse and prevention 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.
Road Ahead. U.S. assistance will continue to focus on enhancing the capacity of Eastern Caribbean law enforcement to counter drug trafficking and related crimes such as money laundering, arms trafficking and corruption.
French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the French side of Saint Martin, and St. Barthelemy are all overseas departments of France and therefore subject to French law, and all international conventions signed by France, including the 1988 United Nations 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. France is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
The Martinique Task Force, created in 2006, in response to an increase in the trafficking of cocaine coming directly to France from the French Caribbean, intercepted over ten metric tons of cocaine headed for France in 2007. The task force is a multilateral cooperative effort that brings together French, Spanish, Colombian, U.S. and British law enforcement officials to promote coordinated operations against trafficking. French Customs also takes an active part in the undertakings of the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (C.C.L.E.C), which was established in the early 1970s to improve the level of cooperation and exchange of information between its members in the Caribbean.
In 2007, C.C.L.E.C. broadened its scope to include training programs, technical assistance and other projects. A three-day Enforcement Liaison Workshop, organized jointly by CCLEC and French Customs in Martinique February 12-15, was geared towards preparing for the increased flow of persons and goods during the period of the Cricket World Cup 2007. All of the French Islands now use or have access to the CCLEC Regional Clearance System, an automated system for the reporting of private vessel clearances within the region.
III. Actions Against Drugs in 2007
During the year important drug seizures included the April 20 operation led by the Gendarmerie and police officials in Saint Martin, which led to the discovery of 574 cannabis plants. Four people were arrested and the plants were destroyed shortly after by the Gendarmerie. On August 8, French customs officials seized close to 900 kg of cocaine on board a sailboat in the south of Martinique estimated to be worth approximately 35 million euros (approximately $48.2 million). After intercepting the sailboat, French coastal authorities escorted it to port in southern Martinique where customs officials found the cocaine concealed in sports bags. The two occupants on board the boat were arrested.
Agreements and Treaties. In addition to the agreements and treaties discussed in the report on France, United States and French counternarcotics cooperation in the Caribbean is enhanced by a 1997 multilateral Caribbean Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement that provides for information sharing to enforce customs laws and prevent smuggling, including those relating to drug trafficking. The assignment of a French Navy liaison officer to the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force-South at Key West, Florida, continued to enhance law enforcement cooperation in the Caribbean. In 2007, France joined the U.S., Jamaica and Belize in signing and ratifying the Dutch-sponsored Caribbean Maritime Agreement (formally the “Accord Concerning the Cooperation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Aeronautical Trafficking in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Region”) originally negotiated in 2003. However, the agreement has yet to enter into force because it lacks the requisite number of ratifications. In 2006, France, along with 11 other nations became a signatory to the “Paramaribo Declaration” at a conference in Suriname. This agreement established an intelligence sharing network, to coordinate and execute drug sting operations among countries and to address money laundering.
Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation. The French Inter-ministerial Drug Control Training Center (CIFAD) in Fort-de-France, Martinique offers training in French, Spanish and English to law enforcement officials in the Caribbean and Central and South America, covering 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 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Organization of American States/CICAD, and individual donor nations. U.S. Customs officials periodically provide training at the CIFAD. French Customs is also co-funding with the Organization of American States (OAS), on a regular basis, training seminars aimed at Customs and Coast Guard Officers from OAS member states. The French Navy also now hosts “Operation Carib Royale” – a French Eastern Caribbean counternarcotics operation, which Joint Interagency Task Force South supports with available air and marine assets.
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 multilateral donors are coordinating their assistance programs closely in the region through bilateral and multilateral discussions. The GOF participates actively in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) as a cooperating and support nation (COSUN).
Guyana is a transit point for cocaine destined for North America, Europe, and the Caribbean, but not in quantities sufficient to impact the U.S. market. In 2007, domestic seizures of cocaine were three times higher than the previous year due to improved counternarcotics measures at the working level, although all but one of these seizures were minor in scale. The Government of Guyana (GOG) laid the groundwork for an enhanced security sector by agreeing to a reform program sponsored by the British government; it also arrested Terrence Sugrim, an accused drug trafficker wanted by the U.S., and initiated the extradition process.
More than two years after launching its National Drug Strategy Master Plan (NDSMP) for 2005-2009, the GOG has not effectively implemented it. Cooperation among law enforcement bodies is fragmented and minimally productive; weak border controls and limited resources for law enforcement allow drug traffickers to move shipments via river, air, and land without meaningful resistance. Guyana is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Guyana is a transit country for cocaine, and to a lesser degree marijuana. Guyana’s vast expanse of unpopulated forest and savannahs offers ample cover for drug traffickers and smugglers. Government counternarcotics efforts are undermined by inadequate resources for law enforcement, poor coordination among law enforcement agencies, an inefficient judiciary, and a colonial-era legal system badly in need of modernization. Murders, kidnappings, and other violent crimes commonly believed to be linked with narcotics trafficking are regularly reported in the Guyanese media. Guyana produces high-grade cannabis and is not known to produce, trade, or transit precursor chemicals on a large scale.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
Policy Initiatives. In 2007, the GOG signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Great Britain to implement a $5 million, multi-year program for reform of the security sector, which includes enhancing the investigative capacity of law enforcement agencies. The GOG requested and received $500,000 in U.S. Department of Defense funds to refurbish its only seaworthy Coast Guard vessel, to patrol its 285-mile coastline. Guyana commenced issuance of machine-readable passports, in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) standards, which will help thwart the use of identity fraud and cross-border criminal activities. The government has tabled legislation that would augment the tools currently available to it in fighting money laundering, including regulations to allow for the seizure of assets; the chances for its passage are unclear.
The positive steps of 2007, notwithstanding, the GOG has accomplished few of the principal goals laid out in its ambitious 2005 NDSMP. The Joint Intelligence Coordination Center (JICC), the formation of which was a central element of the 2005 NDSMP, is defunct. In its place, a task force covering narcotics and illegal weapons has been assembled by the Minister for Home Affairs and meets monthly, but there remains limited productive interaction or intelligence sharing among the organizations involved.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Despite the lack of adequate resources, poor inter-agency coordination, and allegations of corruption, 2007 saw modest improvements in enforcement at the working level. In 2007, Guyanese law enforcement agencies seized 167 kilograms (kgs) of cocaine, a nearly threefold increase over the amount seized in 2006, but mostly due to one large seizure. In May, the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) seized 106 kgs of cocaine hidden in dried fish glue at a home near Georgetown, and arrested four men in connection with the operation; one of these individuals was sentenced in November to ten years in prison and fined $1.2 million. In July, police arrested Terrence Sugrim, an accused drug trafficker who had been indicted in New York federal court a few weeks earlier; he is appealing his possible extradition to the U.S.
Guyana’s counternarcotics activities are encumbered by the peculiarities of a British colonial-era legal system that has not been updated to reflect the needs of modern-day law enforcement. There are no laws that support plea bargaining, wiretapping, or the use of DNA evidence. Nor are there laws against racketeering or conspiracy. Even when more contemporary crime fighting tools are available to one law enforcement body, they are not necessarily available to others. At Guyana’s international airport, for example, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) operates surveillance cameras to help thwart tax fraud. But the cameras are not well-placed to aid counternarcotics operations, video footage is not shared with narcotics authorities and it is not clear that it would be admissible in drug-related court proceedings. In all cases, law enforcement agencies are hamstrung by meager personnel budgets. There are no routine patrols of the numerous land entry points on the 1,800 miles of border with Venezuela, Brazil, and Suriname.
The GOG has not identified or confronted major drug traffickers and their organizations. While the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Narcotics Branch and CANU arrested dozens of drug couriers at Guyana’s international airport en route to the Caribbean, North America, and Europe, 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.
Corruption. There is no evidence that the GOG or senior GOG officials encourage or facilitate the illicit production, processing, shipment or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. News media routinely report on instances of corruption reaching to high levels of government that are not investigated and thus go unpunished, but no conclusive evidence is available to back up these claims. USG analysts believe drug trafficking organizations in Guyana continue to elude law enforcement agencies through bribes and coercion, but substantiating information is anecdotal at best. 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. Guyana is not a party to the UN Convention against Corruption.
Agreements and Treaties. Guyana 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. Guyana also is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on trafficking in persons and the Inter American Convention against Corruption. The 1931 Extradition Treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom is applicable to the U.S. and Guyana, but there is no bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty between the U.S. and Guyana. In March 2006, Guyana signed the OAS Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, to which the U.S. is a party; assistance has also been regularly provided on an informal basis. Guyana signed a bilateral agreement with the U.S. on maritime counternarcotics cooperation in 2001; however, it has not yet taken the necessary domestic actions 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. A very high-grade form of cannabis is grown in Guyana, primarily in the intermediate savannahs, and its cultivation is reportedly increasing. In 2007, Guyanese authorities eradicated 15,280 kilograms of cannabis.
Drug Flow/Transit. There are no reliable estimates regarding the amount of cocaine or cannabis that transits Guyana. According to USG law enforcement authorities, Guyanese narcotics traffickers regularly move shipments of cocaine through the country. Some cannabis cultivated in Guyana is also smuggled out of the country, although in more modest quantities. Drugs flow easily through Guyana’s uncontrolled borders and coastline. Light aircraft land at numerous isolated airstrips or make airdrops 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 borders with Brazil, Suriname, and Venezuela.
Inside the country, narcotics are 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. Authorities have arrested drug mules attempting to smuggle small amounts of cocaine on virtually every northbound route out of the international airport. In 2007 there was a surge in law enforcement seizures at the airport of suitcases carrying drugs that had been added to the baggage queue after check-in, and tagged in the names of unsuspecting passengers. Police officials also witnessed a notable upward trend in the use of the Guyana Post Office as an avenue for the trafficking of cocaine in small quantities, further demonstrating the malleable tactics of trafficking organizations.
Demand Reduction (Domestic Programs). Marijuana is sold and consumed openly in Guyana, despite frequent arrests for possessing small amounts of cannabis. Sources within the GOG and a local NGO note that consumption of all psychotropic substances in Guyana is increasing, with a particularly dramatic rise in the use of Ecstasy (MDMA). Marijuana use has been seen among children as young as eleven years old. Guyana’s ability to deal with drug abusers is hampered by the modest financial resources to support rehabilitation programs. Guyana only has two facilities that treat substance abuse—the Salvation Army and the Phoenix Recovery Center. There are no programs to deal with substance abuse in the prisons.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. U.S. policy focuses on cooperating with Guyana’s law enforcement agencies, promoting good governance, and facilitating demand reduction programs. In 2007, the USG continued to encourage Guyanese participation in bilateral and multilateral counternarcotics initiatives, and funded a substance abuse treatment program for women (the two previously existing programs in Guyana only funded treatment for men). The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding projects to improve governance in Guyana, which includes parliamentary and judicial reform.
Bilateral Cooperation. The DEA works with Guyana’s government and law enforcement agencies to provide training and develop initiatives that will enhance their counternarcotics activities. The GOG routinely grants diplomatic credentials to DEA officers who cover Guyana from the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad, and working level collaboration is generally positive. In 2007, the USCG provided maritime law enforcement training to the Guyana Defense Force.
The Road Ahead. Neither the GOG nor the various drug enforcement bodies of the U.S. have dedicated the resources to determine the quantity of illegal drugs flowing through Guyana. All projections are speculative based on the few seizures made. In the absence of both sound data and more robust DEA/INL involvement, the U.S. will not augment resources for investigation and interdiction in Guyana. Instead, it will continue to channel any future assistance to initiatives that demonstrate success in treating substance abusers. The U.S. will also continue to use its diplomatic tools to encourage the GOG to organize an effective counternarcotics program, especially within the context of the British-funded overhaul of the security sector. The GOG also needs to pass effective legislation to deal with money laundering, including provisions allowing forfeiture of seized assets.
Haiti is a major transit country for cocaine and marijuana from South America and the Caribbean respectively. In 2007, air smuggling of narcotics to Haiti from Venezuela increased by 38 percent. The Preval Administration continued the struggle to overcome pervasive corruption, weak governance and mismanagement. Haiti’s law enforcement institutions are weak and its judicial system dysfunctional. With the support of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), the Haitian National Police (HNP) conducted a successful campaign in the Port-au-Prince area to disrupt gang elements involved in kidnapping, drug trafficking, and intimidation. Although the campaign decreased criminal activity in those areas, the Government of Haiti (GOH) has yet to deliver the sustained police presence needed to curb the gangs’ criminal activity. The GOH with assistance from international donors – principally MINUSTAH, the United States and Canada – continues to promote the restoration of the rule of law. The HNP, with the support of MINUSTAH, completed the first year of its reform plan, which includes a vetting and certification process for all officers, and reform of institutional elements including the General Administration Department and Logistics Bureau. The HNP’s counternarcotics unit carried out operations during the year that resulted in limited seizures of drugs. Haiti is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Haiti is a major drug transit country. Haiti’s 1,125 miles of unprotected shoreline, uncontrolled seaports, numerous clandestine airstrips, along with a struggling police force, dysfunctional judiciary system, corruption, and weak democracy make it an attractive strategic point for drug traffickers. Cocaine and, to a lesser extent, marijuana are trafficked through Haiti to the United States and, in smaller quantities, to Canada and Europe. In addition to being shipped directly to the United States, drugs brought into Haiti also are moved overland into the Dominican Republic for onward delivery to the U.S. and Europe. Following a 167 percent spike in suspected drug smuggling flights from Venezuela to Hispaniola in 2006, flights decreased temporarily, primarily as a result of the joint DEA-HNP Operation Rum Punch. Launched in March, Rum Punch involved the deployment of USG air assets to Haiti teamed with maritime assets operating south of Hispaniola for three months. However, following that operation, the flights resumed and Haiti experienced a 38 percent increase in drug smuggling flights in 2007, as reported by the U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force–South (JIATF-S).
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
During 2007, the HNP trained 901 new recruits (782 men and 119 women), and 243 existing officers. In November, the HNP graduated a class of 646 new officers, including 86 women. The new officers are assigned to the Motorized Intervention Brigade (BIM) with primary duties to introduce community policing and to patrol the slum areas of the capital. The Academy training now consists of 24 weeks of basic police tactics, less-than-lethal tactics, community policing, weapons training, search and evidence gathering techniques, ethics, human rights, and gender and children’s issues. In 2006, the HNP and MINUSTAH agreed upon a reform plan to create a police force of 14,000 trained and vetted officers within five years. The report on the first year of the plan’s implementation released in September revealed progress on training of both new and experienced officers, development of standard operating procedures, continued emphasis of vetting, and improved capacity in criminal investigative techniques among specialized units. Since January, MINUSTAH military troops, United Nations Police (UNPOL), MINUSTAH Formed Police Units, and HNP officers have made progress in dismantling gangs that support drug trafficking and kidnapping.
In November, the GOH formally approved the terms of reference and work plan for a USG-funded project to enhance the effectiveness of GOH anti-money laundering and anti-corruption efforts. The project will provide mentoring on the investigation and prosecution of financial crimes by U.S. Treasury advisers and will involve the restructuring the GOH Central Financial Intelligence Unit (French acronym UCREF) by separating its investigative and intelligence gathering functions.
In April 2007, the Center for Information and Joint Coordination (French acronym CICC), under the Ministry of Interior, became fully operational. The Center is tasked with conducting investigations, research, data collection, information sharing and international and regional coordination related to drug trafficking in/through Haiti. It has 26 staff personnel assigned, including 16 investigators. It has established the Anti-Drug Task Force consisting of all the agencies within the GOH that deal with aspects of drug trafficking, money laundering, border control and law enforcement. It is also working to establish greater bilateral cooperation with the Dominican Republic, signing a joint agreement in November to fight drug trafficking and other crimes.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The HNP counternarcotics unit (French acronym BLTS) with support from the USG, continued canine detection operations at the airport inspection baggage and cargo areas in 2007. DEA-provided air assets working with JIATF-S air and maritime assets assisted the GOH in stopping air deliveries to Haiti. Through October 10, 2007, 914 kilos of cocaine and marijuana were seized.
The Special Investigative Unit (SIU), a partnership between DEA and the GOH, became operational in 2007. Selected HNP officers, graduates of a five-week course at the Drug Enforcement Academy in Quantico, Virginia, formed the nucleus of the SIU and are charged with investigating Haitian drug organizations that have a nexus to the United States. The unit has conducted several joint interdiction operations with DEA/FBI/JIATF-S and Customs Border Protection (CBP). The SIU is currently the only fully vetted unit in the HNP.
The HCG conducted drug and migrant interdiction operations from its bases in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien during the year. The HCG has one 40-foot vessel and one 35-foot go-fast boat in Cap Haitien for patrol and port security operations. In FY07, the HCG successfully interdicted more than one thousand Haitian migrants aboard vessels that departed the north coast. The HCG in Cap Haitien provided information on three vessels that contained illegal drugs or tested positive in ion-scanning by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Additionally, the HCG in Port-au-Prince partnered with the HNP BLTS to board a Colombian-flagged freighter aground near Miragoane on Haiti’s South Claw. However, the HCG struggles maintain an operational fleet. The lack of funding and fuel shortages remain significant barriers to the ability of the HCG to conduct maritime operations.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOH does not encourage or facilitate the shipment of narcotics through Haiti, and does not discourage the investigation or prosecution of such acts. Moreover, the GOH has demonstrated willingness to undertake law enforcement and legal measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish public corruption. President Preval has publicly identified the fights against corruption and drug trafficking as major priorities for his administration. Vetting has taken place in some of the northern and southern areas and among certain ranks in Port-au-Prince and will be further expanded in the capital area, where the majority of police officers are assigned. In 2007, the HNP Director General dismissed 600 officers for misconduct or being absent without leave, although many remain on the payroll. The HNP Director of Administration and Director of Logistics were both removed from their positions in 2007 for suspected corruption. The Prosecutor of Port-au-Prince has made several high-profile arrests of private citizens on corruption charges, but has not yet extended that campaign to the public sector.
Agreements and Treaties. Haiti is a party to the 1961 Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1988 UN Drug Convention; the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption; and the Inter American Convention against Trafficking in illegal firearms. A U.S.-Haiti maritime counternarcotics agreement entered into force in 2002. Haiti has signed but not ratified the UN Convention against Corruption, the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime). There is no bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty between the U.S. and Haiti. Requests for assistance historically have been made through letters rogatory but there have been no formal requests for assistance in years.
Extradition. Haiti and the U.S. are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force in 1905. Although the Haitian Constitution prohibits the extradition of its nationals, in the past Haitians under indictment in the U.S. have been returned to the U.S. by non-extradition means. The SIU has spearheaded efforts to transfer both Haitian and non-Haitian nationals wanted in the United States for drug trafficking to the U.S., in keeping with President Preval’s desire to stem drug trafficking through Haiti. During 2007, nine Haitian fugitives were sent to the U.S., including ex-HNP officer Raynald Saint-Pierre, wanted out of the Southern District of Florida on drugs and money laundering charges
Cultivation/Production. There is evidence that cultivation of marijuana has increased, although it is low quality cannabis grown on a small scale and sold locally. The BLTS destroyed five hectares of marijuana but, due to lack of resources, is often unable to respond to tips about marijuana growing fields.
Drug flow/transit. In 2007, traffickers continued to use small aircraft to make offshore air drops of illegal drugs as well as land deliveries using clandestine airstrips. At least 29 such landing strips were identified in 2007. Suspect drug flights from Venezuela increased by 38 percent compared to 2006. Fast boats transporting cocaine from South America arrive at a number of locations on the southern coast of Haiti. The cocaine is then transported overland to Port-au-Prince where it is frequently concealed on cargo and coastal freighters destined for the United States and Europe. Marijuana is shipped via fast boats from Jamaica to waiting Haitian fishing vessels and cargo freighters to seaports along Haiti’s southern claw. It is then shipped directly to the continental United States or transshipped through the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. Seizures of very small quantities of crack for personal use also occurred in 2007. The BLTS also experienced an increase in amphetamine trafficking near the end of 2007, due to a crackdown in the Dominican Republic that has disrupted the distribution routes to Europe. The appearance of crack and the smuggling of amphetamines are new phenomena in Haiti for which the authorities have little training or experience. Pharmacies in Haiti are essentially unregulated, and some controlled medications are sold in quantities through those businesses as well.
Demand Reduction. Drug abuse is a growing but largely unrecognized problem in Haiti. Increased use of marijuana in schools has been reported, leading to increased levels of local production.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The cornerstone of USG efforts to combat drug trafficking in Haiti continues to focus on reform of the HNP. In cooperation with MINUSTAH, the USG provided substantial equipment and technical assistance in 2007, aimed at transforming the HNP into an effective law enforcement institution. The NAS coordinated the procurement of vehicles, radios, forensic lab and other technical equipment for the HNP, police academy and in-service training, support for specialized HNP units and material support to the HCG. The USG contributed 50 officers to MINUSTAH’s UNPOL contingent, many of whom are involved in training recruits at the HNP academy. The police advisers also oversaw the construction of two model police stations in Croix des Bouquets and Thiotte and the continued installation of solar-powered radio base stations for the HNP throughout the country. The USG also is contributing three corrections experts to form the nucleus of a sixteen-member UN team that works on improving the infrastructure and management of Haiti’s prison system. A U.S. senior corrections advisor will also oversee the refurbishment and equipping of certain prison facilities as well as the training of correction personnel to improve the detainees living conditions. In addition, the USG has provided an adviser to help the HNP Director General implement anti-corruption and strategic planning measures. Advisers from U.S. Treasury’s Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) visited Haiti three times in 2007, in order to review cases of financial crimes with prosecutors and judges and to discuss the investigative process and training requirements for financial investigators. USCG Mobile Training Teams supported HCG operations with maritime law enforcement, port security, engineering, logistics and maintenance training in 2007. The USCG is currently retrofitting three vessels, a 47-foot patrol boat and two “Eduardono” fast boats at USCG Integrated Support Command Miami. It is USCG’s hope that HCG will place the 47-foot patrol boat in Cap Haitien for future drug and migrant operations on the northern coast of Haiti.
Road Ahead. Haiti needs to continue the reform and expansion of the HNP and its judicial system as prerequisites for effective counternarcotics operations throughout the country. The GOH must demonstrate the political will to fight corruption within state institutions and to overcome the under-resourcing and under-staffing of the HNP, problems which remain major impediments to sustained progress. More importantly, the restoration of the rule of law, including reform of the judicial system, must continue in order to provide the security and stability Haiti needs to meet the economic, social and political development needs of the Haitian people.
Jamaica is a major drug transit country and the Caribbean’s largest producer of marijuana and marijuana derivative products. In 2007, cooperation between Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and U.S. Government (USG) law enforcement agencies remained strong resulting in drug seizures, arrest of drug-traffickers, and disruption of their organizations in Jamaica. The ambitious legislative agenda initiated in 2007 only resulted in the passage and implementation of the Proceeds of Crime Act and the new Anti-trafficking law. Despite numerous well-documented corruption scandals, there were no prosecutions of high level officials. New Prime Minister Bruce Golding has promised various security initiatives, such as a consolidated anti-corruption National Investigative and Intelligence Agency (NIIA) to tackle Jamaica’s pervasive public corruption. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Jamaica is a major drug transit country, due to its difficult to patrol coastline, over 100 unmonitored airstrips, busy commercial and cruise ports, and convenient air connections. Jamaica remains the Caribbean’s largest producer and exporter of marijuana and marijuana derivative products. Consumption of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana is illegal in Jamaica, with marijuana most frequently abused, and consumption of cocaine rising. Ironically, the possession and use of Ecstasy (MDMA) is controlled by Jamaica’s Food and Drug Act and is currently subject to light non-criminal penalties. In 2007, an increase in murder and other violent crime coupled with a thriving “guns for ganja” trade between Jamaica and its neighbors, that was abetted by systemic corruption within the police, customs service, and judicial system, continued to tax an already over burdened law enforcement and judicial system.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
Policy Initiatives/Accomplishments. In 2007, the GOJ continued to pursue, but did not pass key security and counternarcotics legislative and policy initiatives introduced in 2006. These included the use and collection of DNA evidence, port security and establishment of a new anti-corruption agency. In May, the GOJ passed and began implementation of the Proceeds of Crime Act, an anti-money laundering law, which provides the GOJ a more expeditious seizure and forfeiture process.
The GOJ did not implement initiatives to criminalize the manufacture, sale, transport, and possession of Ecstasy (MDMA), methamphetamine, or the precursor chemicals used to produce them. The GOJ also did not enact the initiative to permit extended data-sharing between U.S. and Jamaican law enforcement on money laundering cases through the Financial Investigative Division (FID) Act. Additionally, the GOJ’s national forensics laboratory has a backlog of cases due to understaffing and lack of resources. Jamaica is not in full compliance with the Egmont Group requirements.
The USG Container Security and MegaPorts (CSI) initiative began in late 2006. However, the GOJ has not yet provided a permanent facility for U.S. officers and their Jamaican counterparts, thus inhibiting their ability to jointly combat contraband cargo and drug-trafficking through Kingston’s commercial port. Additionally, pervasive corruption at this port continues to undermine the CSI team’s efficacy.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2007, the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF), Air Wing and Coast Guard (JDFCG) were involved in maritime interdiction efforts, and participated in the DEA-led regional operation “All Inclusive.” Also, the JDF, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and Financial Investigations Division (FID) worked closely with the USG to investigate drug and money laundering organizations that move transit payments through Jamaica back to source countries and launder local profits from the sale of marijuana and weapons. While hampered by internal corruption and a lack of sufficient resources, the JCF and JDF continued to give priority to counternarcotics missions in 2007. Nonetheless cannabis seizures decreased by 8 percent, to 41.4 metric tons (MT), compared to 2006, and cocaine seizures went from 109 kilograms (kg) in 2006 to 98 kg in 2007. The GOJ seized 98.21 kg of cocaine in 2007, as compared to 109 kg seized in 2006.
In 2007, little progress was made on many of the important reforms outlined in the 2005-2008 Corporate Strategy for Reform. Nearly all the gains made in 2006 to control crime and improve community policing were lost in 2007, as the police struggled to contain violent crime. In December 2007, the JCF’s new Commissioner of Police Hardley Lewin took office. Commissioner Lewin has a mandate for reform, and if the GOJ supports his efforts, 2008 should see an improvement in JCF operations.
In early 2007, the GOJ extradited drug kingpin Leebert Ramcharam to the U.S. Extradition is pending appeal on six other major drug traffickers.
Operation Kingfish, a multinational task force (GOJ, U.S., United Kingdom and Canada) celebrated its third anniversary in 2007. The GOJ has pledged to continue participating in “Operation Kingfish,” and reinvigorate its activities particularly against the “guns for ganja” trade and extortion. In 2007, Operation Kingfish mounted 864 operations, compared to 870 in 2006.
In 2007, the Jamaican Custom’s Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) seized 6.54 kg of cocaine and 1103 kgs of cannabis at Jamaican air and seaports. However, the CET remains understaffed and ill equipped to combat effectively the ever-complex methods of smuggling illicit drugs in commercial goods. The GOJ has failed to focus sufficient resources on the CET, even though container traffic through the seaports is believed the primary method of transshipment of cocaine and cannabis.
Corruption. No senior GOJ officials, nor the GOJ as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, pervasive public corruption continues to undermine efforts against drug-related and other crimes, and plays a major role in the safe passage of drugs and drug proceeds through Jamaica. Corruption remains a major barrier to improving counternarcotics efforts. High profile corruption scandals plagued the GOJ throughout 2007, but there were no prosecutions of high-level officials for corruption, or of officials linked by reliable evidence to drug-related activity.
The JDF investigates any reports of corruption, and takes disciplinary action when warranted in furtherance of its zero tolerance policy. There was no action in 2007 on proposed revisions to the Corruption Prevention Act, granting Jamaica’s Commission for the Prevention of Corruption greater authority and making Jamaica’s legislation consistent with its commitments under the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. However, the new government has announced plans to revive and redraft the legislation to create a national anti-corruption agency (NIIA), an initiative of its predecessor, which could satisfy the Convention’s requirements. Draft legislation for the creation of an Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor should be presented to Parliament by January 2008.
In mid-2007, the JCF established a new Anti-Corruption Division headed by an internationally recruited police officer. This new Division should be operational with a fully vetted team of investigators early in 2008. Once active, it will continue working on pending cases, and launch investigations against known, corrupt high-ranking police officers.
Agreements and Treaties. The extradition treaty between the USG and the GOJ has been actively used, with the vast majority of cases involving requests to Jamaica. Jamaica and the U.S. have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in place, which assisted in evidence sharing. The U.S. and Jamaica have a reciprocal asset sharing agreement, and 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. The GOJ signed, but has not ratified, the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counterdrug Agreement. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1972 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Jamaica is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation/Production. According to the UN World Drug Report, Jamaica is the Caribbean’s largest producer and exporter of marijuana but exact cultivation levels are unknown due to a lack of crop surveys. Marijuana is grown mostly in smaller plots in hilly and rocky terrain and along the tributaries of the Black River in Saint Elizabeth which for most parts is inaccessible to vehicular traffic. Eradication of marijuana continued an upward trend in 2007 with 701 hectares eliminated, compared to 524 in 2006. Jamaica uses manual eradication without the use of herbicides. The GOJ does not have any alternative development or crop substitution programs. In August, Hurricane Dean struck Jamaica, damaging much of its legitimate agricultural crop. Many farmers, left with little or no assistance to replant, resorted to cultivating marijuana instead.
Drug Flow/Transit. In 2007, cocaine smugglers continued the trend first observed in 2006 to use container cargo transshipments or sea drops that are then brought on shore for smuggling via checked luggage, couriers, and in commercial shipments to move cocaine through Jamaica to the United States. In addition, as interdiction efforts intensified at the airports in 2007, smugglers began welding to the hulls of commercial ships sealed metal containers packed with compressed marijuana. With 113 unmonitored landing strips/fields, the potential to also use land drops remains high. A trend that began in late 2006, whereby marijuana-traffickers bartered cocaine for illegal weapons, continued in 2007. To combat this trade, the GOJ created a special cell within Operation Kingfish called “Musketeer.”
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Jamaica has several demand reduction programs, including the Ministry of Health’s National Council on Drug Abuse, which receives U.S. funding. The GOJ operates five treatment centers through the Ministry of Health. In 2007, a university-level certificate program in drug addiction and drug prevention was launched. The program was developed by GOJ in conjunction with the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). The United Nations Office Drug Control (UNODC) works directly with the GOJ and NGOs on demand reduction; however, due to limited resources these programs have little impact.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. There is robust cooperation between U.S. and GOJ officials. In 2007, the U.S provided training and material support to elements of the JCF and JDF to strengthen their counternarcotics capabilities and promote greater bilateral cooperation. The Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT) received specialized training, equipment, guidance and operational support from the U.S. Marshals permanently stationed in Kingston. The U.S. Marshals report that, in 2007, there were 48 open cases and they closed 63 cases regarding U.S. fugitives. In 2007, there were 8 arrests, 10 extraditions and 2 deportations.
The GOJ participated in joint deployments with the USG in Jamaican waters during 2007 under the auspices of “Operation Riptide,” which allow both nations to conduct law enforcement operations within each other’s maritime zones and is authorized under the Joint Jamaica-United States Maritime Cooperation Agreement. The JDF also continued to work with the USG’s Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) in 2007 to disrupt maritime trafficking. JDF and JCF elements participated in the DEA-led regional exercise “All-Inclusive”. JDF Coast Guard personnel participated in a number of maritime law enforcement, seamanship and specialized technical resident courses in the U.S. in 2007.
Multi-lateral Cooperation. In mid-2007, the USG-funded, Kingston-based Airport Interdiction Task Force began operations. This multi-nation (GOJ, U.S., United Kingdom and Canada) Task Force combats narcotics and arms smuggling, human trafficking, and immigration fraud. The U.S. continues to support the Mini-Dublin Group, and reinvigorated cooperation with the UK and Canada to prevent duplication of efforts and ensure the most effective use of our combined counternarcotics resources.
The Road Ahead. Implementation of new reforms within the GOJ’s Ministry of National Security will contribute greatly to the fight against drug trafficking. To prevent Jamaica from becoming a full-fledged kleptocracy, the GOJ must investigate, prosecute and convict corrupt officials at all levels of government service. This will require organizations such as the Anti-Corruption Unit and the FID, as well as the proposed NIIA, the Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor, to be independent, fully resourced, and backed by political will. The government must also make a commitment to implement the reform recommendations of the Ministry of National Security’s Strategic Review of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to ensure a professional non-corrupt organization. Finally, the GOJ needs to take action to begin the task of attacking endemic corruption throughout its customs and revenue service.
In 2008, the U.S. will continue to work with our international partners to assist the GOJ with tackling corruption. The USG will ensure the most effective use of our foreign assistance expenditures on operational equipment for the GOJ, thereby ensuring more uniform provisioning of JCF and JDF units. GOJ plans to push passage and implementation of the FID Act, which would make Jamaica eligible for Egmont membership and enable the USG to intensify information sharing.
The Government of Suriname’s (GOS) inability to control its borders, inadequate resources, limited law enforcement training, lack of a law enforcement presence in the interior of the country, and lack of aircraft or patrol boats allow traffickers to move drug shipments via land, sea, river, and air with little resistance. South American cocaine transits Suriname en route to Europe, Africa, and, to a lesser extent, the United States. In 2007 there were no major drug seizures in Suriname, but the GOS continued its efforts to eliminate major local narcotics organizations. The GOS continued forging cooperation agreements with other countries, regionally and internationally, in order to reduce the import and export of illicit narcotics. Suriname is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention but has not implemented legislation regarding precursor chemical control provisions to bring itself into full conformity with the Convention.
II. Status of Country
The lack of resources, limited law enforcement capabilities, inadequate legislation, drug-related corruption of the police, courts and military, a complicated and time-consuming bureaucracy, and overburdened and under-resourced courts inhibit the GOS’s ability to identify, apprehend, and prosecute narcotic traffickers. Cocaine from South America, destined primarily for Europe, Africa, and, to a lesser extent, the United States is transshipped through Suriname. Suriname’s sparsely populated coastal region and isolated jungle interior, together with weak border controls and infrastructure, make narcotics detection and interdiction efforts difficult. Intelligence analysis has indicated a movement of drug traffickers utilizing very remote locations for delivery and securing of narcotics. Additionally, the GOS is unable to detect the diversion of precursor chemicals for drug production, as it has no legislation controlling precursor chemicals and no tracking system to monitor them.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
Policy Initiatives. The National Anti-Drug Council and its Executive Office coordinate implementation of the National Drugs Master Plan (2006-2010) that covers both supply and demand reduction and includes calls for new legislation to control precursor chemicals. In 2007, national support was broadened by involving NGOs and civil society in the implementation of the plan. The participatory approach was institutionalized by incorporating NGOs and civil society – the Business Association, religious groups, treatment centers—in the National Anti-Drug Council.
Accomplishments. As a result of the GOS Ministry of Justice and Police and law enforcement institutions which continued targeting large trafficking rings and working with international partners, in 2007, the GOS seized 206 kilograms (kg) of cocaine, 131 kg of cannabis, 3,154 MDMA (ecstasy) tablets and 81 grams of ecstasy powder. A total of 667 people were arrested for drug-related offenses and 462 cases were sent to the Office of the Attorney General for Prosecution. While the statistics for cocaine seizures are far below those of last year, the decrease in seizures of cocaine can be attributed to the establishment of the Airport Narcotics Team, as well as anti-narcotics training provided for customs and police officers, which forced narcotics traffickers to develop innovative new ways to get narcotics through the airport. There are clandestine airstrips within Suriname, and a government crackdown on these airstrips has also forced traffickers to develop new routes for the trade.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2007, law enforcement officials noted a slight decrease in the number of drug mules and an increase in the mailing of packages containing narcotics abroad via the postal service. These packages usually contain household items or foodstuff (ginger roots, noodles and bananas) laced with or containing cocaine. In 2007, GOS law enforcement agencies arrested 99 drug couriers who ingested cocaine. Many who evaded detection in Suriname were arrested at the airport in Amsterdam, which since 2004 has implemented a 100 percent inspection of all passengers and baggage arriving on all inbound flights from Suriname. In March, a special Airport Narcotics Team was established, consisting of officers from the police, military police, customs and the Airport Authority. This team was trained by Dutch law enforcement experts in detecting narcotics and weapons, identifying fraudulent passports and searching aircrafts, and was tasked with decreasing the import and export of narcotics through the Johan Adolf Pengel International airport.
In May, a judge convicted one of the suspects associated with the 2006 Shaheed “Roger” Khan case and sentenced him to 3 years imprisonment for participation in a criminal organization and sale/transport of 235 kg cocaine. The GOS also arrested Shaheed “Roger” Khan, and deported him to Guyana, via Trinidad. In Trinidad, he was arrested for narcotics violations during his transit at Piarco International Airport. Trinidad authorities surrendered Khan to the DEA. The GOS also sentenced three men for an August 2006 possession of 130 kg of cocaine; the men received two to seven year sentences.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, no senior GOS official, nor the GOS, encourages or facilitates 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. Public corruption is believed to have played some role in reducing the number of seizures that could have taken place, as it is believed that the narcotics traffickers’ influence and infiltration in the military and police affected the cooperation of the sparsely populated communities nearby the clandestine airstrips, thereby stymieing law enforcement interdiction efforts.
The GOS has demonstrated some willingness to undertake law enforcement and legal measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish public corruption. Several police officers suspected of narcotics trafficking and membership in criminal organizations, were investigated in 2007. The police officers who were investigated have been transferred to other units, but there have been no resulting prosecutions in these cases. Public corruption is considered a problem in Suriname and there are continued reports of drug use and drug sales in prisons. Reports of money laundering, drug trafficking, and associated criminal activity involving current and former government and military officials continue to circulate.
Agreements and Treaties. Suriname is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the Inter American Convention against Corruption. 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 it has failed to pass legislation complying with precursor chemical control provisions.
Suriname is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol against migrant smuggling. The GOS has not ratified the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters or the Optional Protocol thereto. Since 1976, the GOS has been sharing narcotics information with the Netherlands pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement. The two countries intensified their cooperation to fight drug trafficking with agreements between their police forces and their offices of the Attorney General. In August 1999, a comprehensive six-part, bilateral, maritime counternarcotics enforcement agreement was entered into with the U.S. The U.S.-Netherlands Extradition Treaty of 1904 is applicable to Suriname, but current Suriname law prohibits the extradition of its nationals.
Officials from Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba met in March and agreed to share intelligence regarding transnational crime and financial crimes, following the January 2006 signing of a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement allowing for direct law enforcement and judicial cooperation between the countries. Suriname has also signed bilateral agreements to combat drug trafficking with neighboring countries Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela and Colombia. Brazil and Colombia have cooperated with Suriname on specific drug-related cases. 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 has signed agreements with the United States, Netherlands and France that permit law enforcement attachés to work with local police.
Cultivation and Production. Suriname is not a producer of cocaine or opium poppy. There is little specific data on the amount of cannabis under cultivation, or evidence that it is exported in significant quantities.
Drug Flow/Transit. The border between Suriname and Guyana is open and, according to law enforcement officials, traffickers increasingly use this border to traffic cocaine and cannabis to Suriname. Much of the cocaine entering Suriname is delivered by small aircraft, which land on clandestine airstrips that are cut into the dense jungle interior and sparsely populated coastal districts. The lack of resources, infrastructure, law enforcement personnel, and equipment makes detection and interdiction difficult. Drugs are transported along interior roads to and from the clandestine airstrips. Drugs are also shipped to seaports via numerous river routes or overland for onward shipment to Caribbean islands, Europe, Africa and the United States. Sea-drops are also used. Drugs exit Suriname via commercial air flights, by drug couriers or concealed in planes, and by commercial sea cargo. European-produced MDMA (Ecstasy) is transported via commercial airline flights from the Netherlands to Suriname.
Domestic Programs. In 2007 the Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) Program continued its nationwide drug awareness and drug prevention activities with funding from the European Commission. One of the highlights of the decentralized strategy was a widely attended march through Nickerie, the country’s most western district, to celebrate the International Day Against Drugs. The DDR program trained a cadre of counselors and citizens, increased awareness about the danger in the general population and increased focus on prevention of drug use, counseling at early detection of drug use and treatment of drug dependents. In 2007, all six drug treatment centers in the country adopted minimum standards for treatment that were endorsed by the Ministry of Health. The Psychiatric Hospital opened the first detoxification center in the country, expanding the treatment capabilities for drug dependents.
In 2007, with the support of CICAD, a national survey was conducted to assess the magnitude of drug consumption in the country. A total of 4,000 persons from all geographic regions of the country were interviewed on drug consumption, age of first use and perception of risks. The results will be available in early 2008, and will be used to refine national policy. In the area of supply reduction, the drug supply reduction network was strengthened, linking key players such as the Narcotics Squad, Office of the Attorney General and Customs in an automated system.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
U.S. Policy Initiatives. The United States’ focus is on strengthening the GOS law enforcement and judicial institutions and their capabilities to detect, interdict, and prosecute narcotics trafficking activities. In 2006, Suriname hosted an anti-narcotics conference attended by many regional and international players, including the United States. The “Paramaribo Declaration,” which was endorsed in principle by the participants at the end of the conference, provided a framework to establish an intelligence-sharing network, coordinate, and execute sting operations, destroy clandestine airstrips and tackle money laundering. As follow-on to the objectives in the Declaration, in 2007, the GOS destroyed two clandestine airstrips and also signed a law enforcement cooperation agreement with neighboring Brazil.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2007, the United States provided training and material support to several elements of the national police to strengthen their counternarcotics capabilities. In July 2007, the U.S. government funded leadership training for elements of the police force at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in El Salvador. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intensified its cooperation with Surinamese law enforcement in 2007 after having established an office in Suriname the previous year. In February 2007, DEA trainers provided a two-week Basic International Narcotics Course for 26 police, military police, and customs officials in Suriname.
The Road Ahead. The United States encourages the GOS to pursue major narcotics traffickers and to dismantle their organizations. The GOS should continue to strengthen its focus on port security, specifically seaports, which are seen as the primary conduits for large shipments of narcotics exiting Suriname. The United States will continue to encourage Surinamese judges to use the existing asset forfeiture laws to penalize narcotics traffickers and remove their financial bases. The United States will also support GOS efforts to draft and pass new legislation to strengthen law enforcement ability to utilize undercover agents in narcotics investigations and to enhance the judiciary’s asset forfeiture capabilities.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is a transit country for illegal drugs from South America to the U.S. and Europe. While there has been an increase in illicit drug traffic out of Venezuela, the quantity of drugs transiting Trinidad and Tobago does not have a significant effect on the U.S. Cannabis is grown in Trinidad and Tobago, but not in significant amounts. Trinidad and Tobago’s petrochemical industry imports and exports chemicals that can be used for drug production and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) has instituted export controls to prevent diversion. The GOTT continues to cooperate with the U.S. on counternarcotics issues and allocates significant resources of its own to the fight against illegal drugs. The GOTT is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Trinidad and Tobago, located seven miles off the coast of Venezuela, is a convenient transshipment point for illicit drugs, primarily cocaine and marijuana but also heroin. Increased law enforcement success in Colombia has led to greater amounts of illegal drugs transiting the Eastern Caribbean. This does not have a significant effect on the U.S. market.
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 previously been found in illegal drug labs in Colombia. The GOTT is working to track chemical shipments through the Trinidad and Tobago, and export controls have been instituted to prevent future diversion to narcotics producers.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2007
Policy Initiatives. In 2007, the GOTT acknowledged that Trinidad and Tobago is a significant drug transshipment location and underscored its intention to take action against traffickers. In this regard, the GOTT commissioned a new Air Guard Unit, with two helicopters and comprised of 119 former Coast Guard officers and 4 members from the Regiment (Trinidad and Tobago Army). This unit is operational and replaced the disbanded Coast Guard Airwing detachment. Additionally, in an effort to further secure the country’s borders from trans-national organized criminal networks and the increasing phenomenon of identity fraud, in 2007 the country began issuance of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard machine-readable passports.
In 2007, the GOTT also enacted several laws that focused on streamlining the police service and holding it more accountable, submission of evidence, and increasing the penalties for certain crimes, specifically kidnapping. Three highly publicized legislative acts of 2007 were the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Act, which provides for the taking of “intimate” and “non intimate” samples from persons connected with the commission of an offense as well as convicts; the Evidence (Amendment) Act, which made hearsay evidence admissible in court under specific circumstances; and the Bail (Amendment No.3) Act which restricts granting of bail for 60 days to those charged with kidnapping offenses.
In order to improve the capacity to detect narcotics and appropriately manage crime scenes, the GOTT continued to implement training recommendations made by an American private sector criminal justice specialist. The Government also implemented several recommendations from the Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program that suggested changes to the structure, recruiting and retention of Specialized Anti-crime Unit Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) officers. Specifically, the SAUTT set minimum standards of level of education, began process to become a separate and legal entity and provided monetary benefits corresponding to the high-level of risk and sacrifice an officer might experience.
In 2007, the GOTT awarded a contract to a UK shipbuilding firm to design and build three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for the Coast Guard. These vessels will be used for maritime drug interdiction as well as anti-smuggling operations. The GOTT also has expressed an interest in patrolling eastern Caribbean waters to assist neighboring countries in countering trafficking, should funding and vessels be available. Additionally, the GOTT provided the Police Service with eight hi-tech vehicles fully equipped with forensic equipment, which will aid with crime scene investigations. After being grounded for maintenance, a SAUTT air blimp resumed flight in 2007, providing crime surveillance throughout Trinidad. It primarily had a deterrent value and was used extensively during the election.
Accomplishments. The GOTT, during joint operations with foreign law enforcement counterparts, made 110 drug trafficking arrests in 2007, an increase of 92 persons compared to last year. Also in 2007, the GOTT seized approximately 167 kilograms (kgs) of cocaine and 3,792 kgs of cannabis in various forms. The GOTT also conducted 148 eradications, destroying 162,210 marijuana trees, 15,500 seedlings and 194 kilograms of cured marijuana.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The Coast Guard (TTCG), Organized Crime and Narcotics Unit (OCNU), Counter Drug and Crime Task Force (CDCTF), SAUTT and other specialized police/military units continued drug interdiction and eradication operations throughout 2007. The DEA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection assisted with several of these joint exercises. The GOTT purchased technical equipment to augment human resources, however, some agencies continue to complain that they have been overlooked in budgetary allocations and do not have adequate funds for upkeep or necessary new equipment. Retired Scotland Yard officers hired in 2006, continued to mentor T&T law enforcement agents and to provide support for the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which has its secretariat in Port of Spain.
The Organized Crime Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) reported an increase in seizures of various types of illicit drugs and disruption of the drug trade in 2007. The OCNFB arrested 85 persons, seized over 100 kilos of cocaine and over 2,193 kilos of marijuana from January to October 2007.
The GOTT Incident Coordination Center established in 2006, and staffed by personnel from a number of specialized agencies, facilitated information sharing and more effective response by law enforcement to counternarcotics and financial investigations in 2007. The GOTT also completed six drug related extraditions in 2007, an increase from two in 2006.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOTT does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and has signed the UN Convention against Corruption. During 2007, there were no charges of drug-related corruption filed against GOTT senior officials. The country actively fights against the production or distribution of illicit narcotics and works against laundering the proceeds of such crimes. The 1987 Prevention of Corruption Act and the 2000 Integrity in Public Life Act contain the ethical rules and responsibilities of government personnel. The Integrity in Public Life Act requires public officials to declare and explain the source of their assets and an Integrity Commission initiates investigations into allegations of corruption. At GOTT request, the USG has polygraphed police and mid- and high-level officials selected 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, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, the Inter American Convention against Corruption, and Inter American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, and signatories to the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism and Inter American Convention against Trafficking in illegal firearms. Mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties with the U.S. entered into force in November 1999. The GOTT updated its domestic extradition legislation in April 2004 to make it consistent with the extradition treaty and to streamline the extradition process. A bilateral U.S.- GOTT maritime agreement is also in force. 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. Small amounts of cannabis are cultivated year-round in the forest and jungle areas of northern, eastern, and southern Trinidad and, to a lesser extent, in Tobago. The total amount of cultivation cannot accurately be determined because plants are grown in small lots in remote areas.
Drug Flow/Transit. Trinidad and Tobago is a transshipment country for the movement of cocaine and heroin from Colombia to the U.S., Canada and Europe. As a result of Venezuela’s recent lack of cooperation with the U.S., there has been an increase in the transshipment of cocaine and heroin from Colombia, through Venezuela. The majority of the cocaine that arrives on Trinidad is via commercial vessels, sailing vessels and small fishing vessels, in amounts upwards of several thousand-kilogram quantities. These loads are generally coordinated by organized Colombian and Venezuelan drug trafficking organizations, and are often facilitated and protected by members of the Venezuelan military. The cocaine is then stored and broken up into smaller loads for smuggling into the U.S., Canada and Europe.
Heroin smuggling is limited but organized by Colombian trafficking groups operating in Venezuela, and in Trinidad and Tobago. Heroin is smuggled from Venezuela, in amounts from two to fifty kilograms, using commercial airlines and vessels.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The GOTT does not maintain statistics on domestic consumption or numbers of drug users. 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 reduce demand. In addition, the GOTT promotes job skills training programs for high-risk youths, and supports police youth clubs with its community-policing branch. The GOTT also has a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program.
The USG continues to support demand reduction efforts in Trinidad and Tobago through the sponsorship of schools, police youth clubs, football leagues and public awareness campaigns.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. To assist the GOTT to eliminate the flow of illegal drugs through Trinidad and Tobago to the United States, 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 counter drug-related corruption. The U.S. also seeks to strengthen the administration of justice by providing training and technical assistance to help streamline Trinidad and Tobago’s judicial process, reduce court backlogs, and protect witnesses from intimidation and murder.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2007, the USG provided additional drug and explosive-detection canine/handler training to the Police Service, and supported Trinidad’s newly established Canine Academy. The USG also provided the TTCG with marine engineering, small boat maintenance, leadership, and crisis management training. In addition, the USG provided training courses in crime scene investigation, explosive detection and combating terrorism.
Over the past year, the DEA and its local counterparts have been involved in investigations that led to the seizure of over 10 tons of cocaine transiting into or through Trinidadian waters. The GOTT-funded U.S. Customs Advisory Team provided technical assistance to Customs and Excise in tracking and intercepting marine vessels, including cargo container ships.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to work closely with the GOTT’s law enforcement agencies to strengthen their counternarcotics/anticrime capabilities and provide training and operational support to the TTCG to enhance the GOTT’s maritime interdiction capabilities. Initiatives the GOTT should undertake include: establishment of a drug court to deal with drug offenses; strengthening border protection by automating the method to include container scanning; providing additional training for officers to deal with counterfeit merchandise and copyright items and counterfeit money; establishing an internal affairs unit to combat internal fraud and bribes; initiating more border patrols on the western side of the island; and, participating in the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) initiative called “Carib Venture,” which is a multi-national mission in the Southern Caribbean focused on stemming the flow of drugs in the region.