Honduras is a transit country for Andean cocaine and small amounts of heroin destined for the United States and Europe, and increasingly for precursor chemicals for the production of methamphetamine. In 2008 the Government of Honduras (GOH) continued its cooperation with the United States on investigations of narcotrafficking, maritime interdictions and joint operations that resulted in increased seizures on land and at sea. Honduras is a party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Honduras faces new trafficking challenges with resources limited by the effects of the global financial crisis. The most noteworthy change in 2008 was the increase in the flow of pseudoephedrine and other precursor chemicals through Honduras, after imposition of tighter restrictions on the chemicals in surrounding countries. The GOH fought to stem the flow of cocaine and heroin through Honduras, especially the sparsely populated and isolated jungle region along its Atlantic coast, but interdiction is hampered by insufficient resources and poor road infrastructure. Police reports indicate that some drug trafficking and other organized crime activities are directed from Honduran prisons. The GOH began working with the USG to remedy management and resource allocation problems that allow these activities to occur in the prisons system, but much more progress is needed.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The Honduran Congress passed the Organic Police Law in 2008 to strengthen the police units and Internal Affairs. The law includes provisions to reorganize management of the police to strengthen direct oversight of operations and make information-sharing between the various police directorates more efficient. It also establishes an Internal Affairs unit which answers directly to the Minister of Security. As a result of the law’s passage, the Security Ministry will change its policies to authorize the use of polygraph exams and drug tests on all police officers.
In 2008, the GOH worked with the USG to develop more effective laws governing the importation of pseudoephedrine and other precursor chemicals. A presidential decree limiting precursor chemical imports is currently being drafted and will serve as the first step toward more permanent controls over precursors.
Accomplishments. In calendar year 2008 the GOH seized 6.5 metric tons (MT) of cocaine. This total includes seizures made from Honduran vessels in international waters by the U.S. Coast Guard. The GOH also seized 2 kilograms (kg) of crack cocaine, 19.6 kg of heroin, over 3 MT of processed marijuana and 3.5 million pseudoephedrine pills, plus over five tons of precursors (sodium sulphate and soda ash). An additional 13 MT of pseudoephedrine were seized in the United States en route to Honduras to be diverted to Mexican drug cartels. In conjunction with these seizures 721 people were arrested. This represents an increase in seizures and arrests over 2007. In 2008, authorities also seized $4,324,446 in cash and $6.7 million in total assets as a result of joint operations with the USG.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Honduras continues to participate in the USG interagency counternarcotics “Operation All Inclusive,” directed at major drug trafficking organizations exploiting Central America and Mexico. In June 2008, members of the United States Coast Guard boarded a Honduran flagged fishing vessel, and discovered 4.5 MT of suspected cocaine concealed in two false compartments on the vessel. The crew of seven Honduran nationals was arrested. With USG assistance, Honduras continues to improve in combating the trafficking of pseudoephedrine and other illegal precursor chemicals. The GOH Organized Crime Prosecutor continued to collaborate with the U.S. Attorney's Office on U.S. investigations that resulted in criminal indictments of Honduran nationals engaged in narcotics trafficking. However, prosecution efforts in Honduras are still affected by judicial corruption, inefficiency, overwhelming caseloads and funding constraints. Furthermore, Honduras has the legal framework to allow the seizure of traffickers’ assets and use to them to fund interdiction and prosecution. However the process for making use of those assets is inefficient and overly cumbersome. As a result, the process of utilizing seized assets is currently done at a net cost to the GOH.
In 2008, as part of an internal policy change, the GOH reorganized the police command, appointed regional commanders, and gave them more autonomy to fight crime. In addition, the Organic Law placed all police under a centralized Director General, freeing the Minister to work on general policy. The police force increased to 13,500 from 7,000 in 2005, on track to meet the Zelaya administration's goal of doubling the police force by 2009.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOH does not facilitate the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs. Official corruption continues to be an impediment to effective law enforcement and there are press reports of drug trafficking and associated criminal activity among current and former government and military officials. The GOH has legal measures in place to prevent and punish public officials although enforcement is sporadic and convictions are rare. Many cases languish unresolved on the books for years. Honduras is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.
Agreements and Treaties. Honduras has counternarcotics agreements with the United States, Belize, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela, and Spain. Honduras is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. The major public maritime ports are in compliance with International Ship and Port Facility Security codes and the country is an active member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). Honduras is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on Trafficking in Persons. A U.S.-Honduras maritime counternarcotics agreement entered into force in 2001 and a bilateral extradition treaty is in force between the United States and Honduras, but the Honduran Constitution prohibits the extradition of its nationals. Honduras signed the Caribbean Regional Maritime Counter Drug Agreement, but has not yet ratified it. A Declaration of Principle was signed between the United States and Honduras on December 15, 2005 as part of the Container Security Initiative (CSI) for the inspection of sea-going cargo destined to the United States and other countries.
Cultivation and Production. Marijuana is the only known drug cultivated in Honduras. It is planted in small isolated plots throughout the country and sold locally.
Drug Flow and Transit. In 2008, there was an increase in the diversion of precursor chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamines through Honduras, attributed to stricter import controls in neighboring countries. Honduras’ laws allow for easy licensing of supposedly legitimate pharmaceutical labs, which provides cover for precursor imports. In 2007 police seized 3.2 MT of pseudoephedrine but no other precursors. In 2008 they seized 2 MT of bulk pseudoephedrine, over 3 million pseudoephedrine pills, plus over 5 MT of other precursors.
South American cocaine destined for the United States and Europe transits Honduras by land, sea, and air. On the north coast, areas accessible only by sea or air allow traffickers to refuel maritime assets and effect boat-to-boat transfers. Private aircraft are also used to smuggle cocaine. Heroin is believed to be transported through Honduras to the United States in small quantities.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Honduran Institute for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction (IHADFA) is the GOH entity that works in the areas of research, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The USG funded a Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) NGO support program for community organizations that fight drug abuse. Numerous church groups and NGOs have drug prevention and rehabilitation projects. Honduras also is affected by transnational gangs, which promote increased drug use through street level trafficking.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG’s focus in Honduras is to support improved GOH intelligence gathering efforts on drug trafficking, improved information exchange capability, and police interdiction activities.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2008, Honduras cooperated closely with the USG in investigations and operations against drug trafficking. The USG supported the Frontier Police in its interdiction efforts, crime information management, and also supported anti-corruption programs within the Ministry of Security by providing funding and logistical support to the National Police Internal Affairs Office. The USG provided assistance to the GOH to reform its police training program, as well as Coast Guard support in maritime operations planning, engineering and maintenance, and a Border Enforcement Seaport course.
The Road Ahead. The USG encourages the GOH to use existing money laundering laws more effectively to seize and use drug trafficking-related assets. While seized asset laws are in place, the process of using them needs to be made more efficient so there is a net gain in support to counternarcotics interdiction and prosecution. The GOH needs to continue work ton new laws to close legal loopholes on precursor chemical controls, which are not as strict as those of neighboring countries. The USG supports GOH plans to improve police operations that will focus on police training reforms, including basic ethics, and its efforts to make needed improvements to police communications and investigative techniques, as well as establish human rights training. Improvements are also needed in the prison system, to include measures to dismantle criminal organizations working from within the penitentiaries. The USG is prepared to provide assistance to help the GOH achieve these goals.
For its part, the USG will provide significant support in the coming year under the Merida Initiative--a partnership between the governments of the United States, Mexico, Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic to confront the violent national and transnational gangs and organized criminal and narcotics trafficking organizations that plague the entire region, the activities of which spill over into the United States. The Merida Initiative will fund a variety of programs that will strengthen the institutional capabilities of participating governments by supporting efforts to investigate, sanction and prevent corruption within law enforcement agencies; facilitating the transfer of critical law enforcement investigative information within and between regional governments; and funding equipment purchases, training, community policing and economic and social development programs. Bilateral agreements with the participating governments were in the process of being negotiated and signed at the time this report was prepared.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is not a major transshipment point for illicit drugs destined for the international market. Some narcotics shipments do transit Hong Kong’s high volume port, but its efficient law enforcement efforts, the availability of alternate routes, and the development of port facilities elsewhere in southern China prevent the HKSAR from becoming a major transshipment point. Some traffickers continue to operate out of Hong Kong, arranging shipments from nearby drug-producing countries via Hong Kong to other international markets, including to the United States. The HKSAR Government actively combats drug trafficking and abuse through legislation and law enforcement, preventive education and publicity, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as research and external cooperation. The 1988 UN Drug Convention, to which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a party, also applies to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s position as a key port city in close proximity to the Golden Triangle and mainland China historically made it a natural transit/transshipment point for drugs moving from Southeast Asia to the international market, including to the United States. In recent years, Hong Kong’s role as a transshipment point has diminished due to law enforcement efforts and the availability of alternate routes in southern China. Despite the diminished role, some drugs continue to transit Hong Kong to other international markets. Some drug-traffickers continue to use Hong Kong as their financial base of operations, including investors involved in international drug trafficking activity who reside in Hong Kong. Drug trafficking groups operating in Hong Kong are primarily transnational in nature.
Hong Kong law enforcement officials maintain very cooperative liaison relationships with their U.S. counterparts in the fight against drugs. According to HKSAR authorities, drugs seized in Hong Kong are smuggled mostly for local consumption and to a lesser extent for further distribution in the international market. The 56th edition of the Hong Kong Central Registry of Drug Abuse (HKCRDA) for 2006 reported that the total number of reported drug abusers in recent years declined from 18,513 persons in 2001 to 13,258 in 2006. While at this writing, the 57th edition of the HKCRDA was not yet available, the Hong Kong Narcotics Bureau reported that the number of reported drug abusers in 2007 increased slightly to 13,491, with most of the increase attributed to new users under the age of 21. Through September 2008, the number was up yet again over the same period in 2007.
Though heroin is traditionally the most commonly abused drug in Hong Kong, the number of heroin abusers has been declining for years. In 2007, there were 7,390 (or 55.2 percent of drug abusers) reported as heroin abusers, with the number of reported heroin abusers falling further in the first three quarters of 2008. The rising trend in the abuse of psychotropic substances in evidence over the last 10 years continued. The number of psychotropic substance abusers increased to 7,810, up six percent from the previous record high in 2006. In the first three quarters of 2008, psychotropic drug abusers increased four percent from the same period in 2007. Among psychotropic substances, the most commonly abused drug is Ketamine (34.2 percent of drug abusers). Triazolam/midazolam/zopiclone (9.4 percent), Methamphetamine/Ice (8.9 percent) MDMA/Ecstasy (5.4 percent), cannabis (4.9 percent), cocaine (4.7 percent) and cough medicine (4.3 percent) are also regularly abused.
In 2008, the Hong Kong Government continued to make tackling psychotropic substance abuse a high priority. The Hong Kong Government has identified the continuing prevalence of psychotropic substance abuse and the growing trend of young people experimenting with drugs as their major area of concern in the battle against drug abuse and trafficking.
III. Actions Against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Although there were no major policy changes in 2007 and 2008, the Hong Kong Government continued to work with existing counternarcotics policies and strategies in drug prevention efforts. Minor policy changes included the replacement of the Action Committee Against Narcotics on Research by the Research Advisory Group (RAG). Apart from monitoring research, the RAG provides advice on interpreting drug abuse statistical trends and drawing together the latest research findings from both local and overseas narcotics-related studies. The Hong Kong Government publicly discussed the idea of mandating drug testing in public schools, but public opposition to the proposal appears to have stalled it.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Hong Kong’s law enforcement agencies, including the Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (HKCED), place high priority on meeting the objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Their counternarcotics efforts focus on the suppression of drug trafficking and the control of precursor chemicals. The Hong Kong Police have adopted a three-level approach to combat narcotics distribution: at the headquarters level, the focus is on high-level traffickers and international trafficking; the regional police force focuses on trafficking across police district boundaries; and the district level police force has responsibility for eradicating street-level distribution. In 2008, the Hong Kong Police continued ID checks on entertainment premises in order to deter young people from visiting venues where drugs are more easily available.
The HKCED’s Chemical Control Group, in cooperation with the U.S. DEA office in Hong Kong, closely monitors the usage of precursor chemicals and tracks the export of suspicious precursor chemical shipments to worldwide destinations with significant results impacting on several regions including the United States. Due to an effective chemical tracking program, in April 2008, a significant seizure of 5.6 million tablets of pseudoephedrine was made by law enforcement authorities in Guatemala. The seizure of this consignment exemplifies the close and successful cooperation between the DEA Hong Kong Office and Hong Kong Customs and Excise authorities against the illicit diversion of chemical precursors for manufacture of dangerous drugs.
Corruption. As a matter of policy and by all accounts in practice, the Government of Hong Kong SAR does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior government official is alleged to have participated in such activities. Hong Kong has a comprehensive anticorruption ordinance that is effectively enforced by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which reports directly to the Chief Executive. In addition, the UN Convention Against Corruption, which the PRC ratified on January 13, 2006, is applicable to Hong Kong.
Agreements and Treaties/International Cooperation: Upon resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, China advised the UN Secretary General that the 1961 Single Convention and the 1972 protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention apply to Hong Kong. Also, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption apply to Hong Kong. Hong Kong has “mutual legal assistance in criminal matters agreements (MLAA)” with the United States and many other countries. Hong Kong signed surrender of fugitive offenders’ agreements with Finland, Germany and Korea in 2006 and with Ireland in 2007 to bring the total number of countries with which Hong Kong has such agreements or treaties to 17, including the U.S. Hong Kong has also signed transfer of sentenced persons’ agreements with eight countries, including the U.S. Hong Kong law enforcement agencies enjoy a close and cooperative working relationship with their mainland counterparts and counterparts in many countries. In October 2008, a Colombian money launderer was successfully extradited from Hong Kong back to the United States to face federal money laundering charges. The subject was arrested on a provisional arrest warrant filed under the surrender agreement. In this same case and pursuant to a U.S. MLAA request, the Hong Kong authorities froze over $1.1 million dollars in several Hong Bank accounts belonging to this subject. The funds in those banks are pending U.S. forfeiture proceedings.
Hong Kong participates in Project Prism and Operation Cohesion, both managed by the International Narcotics Control Board, to control the illegal diversion of chemical precursors. Hong Kong also participates in joint tracking programs, which allow Hong Kong Customs and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to target the movement of precursor chemical shipments exported from, transshipped or transiting via Hong Kong to high-risk countries. In addition to the monitoring of controlled chemical precursors, Hong Kong monitors the movement of ephedra, a raw material for the manufacture of ephedrine.
Cultivation and Production. Although Hong Kong police detected and destroyed several minor drug production and cultivation enterprises in 2006, including four small-scale crack cocaine production labs and three cannabis cultivation sites, Hong Kong is generally not considered a significant producer of illicit drugs.
Drug Flow/Transit. Some drugs continue to flow through Hong Kong for the overseas market, to destinations including Australia, China, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, and the United States. In July 2007, based on an aggressive container profiling program, the HKCED seized 160 kilograms of cocaine which was concealed within containerized cargo believed to be destined for European markets. The container was transiting through Hong Kong in order to disguise its origin. Traffickers use land routes through mainland China to smuggle heroin into Hong Kong. In 2007, Hong Kong Customs authorities arrested 14 Thai nationals at Hong Kong International Airport attempting to smuggle heroin into Mainland China.
There continues to be an increase of cocaine and ATS (amphetamine-type stimulants) such as methamphetamine and MDMA. Ketamine, a hallucinogen, is also being smuggled into Hong Kong. Cocaine consumed in Hong Kong is primarily sourced out of Southern China (Guangzhou Province). The cocaine and other ATS drugs destined for Hong Kong are usually transported via courier (by train), in ounce and gram quantities. Couriers also still continue to smuggle drugs by way of concealment methods through the airport. In July 2008, Hong Kong Police authorities seized over 13 kilograms of powdered cocaine concealed in plastic containers of protein powder and arrested the two couriers at Hong Kong International Airport.
The heavy volume of vehicle and passenger traffic at the land boundary between the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong continues to pose difficulties in the fight against the trafficking of drugs into and out of Hong Kong. In an effort to curb Hong Kong’s role as a transit/transshipment point for illicit drugs, the HKSAR maintains a database of information on all cargo, cross-border vehicles, and shipping. The air cargo clearance system, the land border system and the customs control system are all capable of quickly processing information on all import and export cargoes, cross-border vehicles and vessels. The local Chinese population dominates the Hong Kong drug trade. Contrary to common belief, there is not a significant and direct connection between Hong Kong narcotics activity and Hong Kong triads at the wholesale and manufacturing level. Therefore, drug investigations are not focused on known triad societies, but rather on the particular trafficking syndicates or individuals involved. Trafficking destined for mainland China by Southeast Asians continues to be prominent.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Hong Kong Government uses a five-pronged approach to confront domestic drug problems, including legislation and law enforcement, preventive education and publicity, treatment and rehabilitation, research, and external cooperation. In 2007, the Hong Kong Government’s preventative education policy efforts continued to focus on youth and parents. The Hong Kong Government has provided a comprehensive drug prevention program throughout Hong Kong’s education system. As previously noted, the Hong Kong Government publicly discussed the idea of mandating drug testing in schools, but public opposition to the proposal appears to have stalled it.
In 2007 and 2008, the Hong Kong Police Narcotics Division continued publicity efforts to teach Hong Kong adolescents about the detrimental effects of commonly abused drugs like ketamine by using announcements in the public interest through TV and radio broadcasts, short internet films, and wide dissemination of posters and printed materials. The Hong Kong Government’s Narcotics Bureau partners with youth organizations and groups such as Junior Police Call, the Hong Kong Red Cross, and the Scout Association of Hong Kong to promote an anti-drug message to youths. The Hong Kong Government also implemented a public awareness campaign to educate the public about the harmful effects of ketamine and Ecstasy, the two most commonly abused drugs among youth. A Hong Kong Government sponsored Hip Hop Dance and Music Competition encourages youth to participate in healthy activities and reinforces a healthy drug-free lifestyle. The Hong Kong Government also launched an updated drug education kit to disseminate counternarcotics messages in schools and regularly publicizes the consequences of cross-boundary drug abuse.
In June 2004, the Hong Kong Government formally opened the Drug Information Centre (DIC), funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The DIC is the first exhibition center in Hong Kong dedicated to counternarcotics education. Since the DIC’s opening, it has received more than 100,000 visitors for various drug-prevention education activities. The Government also continued to commission nongovernmental organizations to assist in educating primary and secondary school children by sponsoring counternarcotics education programs in local schools and conducting counternarcotics seminars with parents, teachers, social workers and persons from various uniformed groups. For the 12 month period ending in August 2007, 163,000 school-age children participated in drug education programs provided by the government.
The Hong Kong Government also continued to implement a comprehensive drug treatment and rehabilitation program in 2008. The fourth Three-year Plan on Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Services was released in March 2006. The plan sets out the overall direction for enhancing Hong Kong’s treatment and rehabilitation services and increases focus on early intervention efforts and focus programs that reach out to substance abusers. The Department of Health and the Social Welfare Department continued to operate seven residential drug treatment centers and five counseling centers for psychotropic substance abusers and the Department of Health continued its operation of a methadone treatment program. The Correctional Services Department continued to provide compulsory treatment for convicted persons with drug abuse problems. In early 2008, the Hong Kong Government launched a pilot cooperation scheme to refer abusers to designated medical practitioners who provide comprehensive health check-ups and motivational interviews, to alert abusers to any signs of health deterioration as a result of drug use, and to heighten abusers awareness of early treatment options.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. Government and the HKSAR continue to promote sharing of proceeds from joint counternarcotics investigations. In May 2003, Hong Kong began participating in the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI), which U.S. law enforcement believes will increase the potential for identifying shipments of narcotics, even though its focus is on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Hong Kong is also an active participant in the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, Thailand. From 2003 to October 2005, Hong Kong Customs, Hong Kong Department of Health and the U.S. DEA launched a joint operation to monitor the movement of precursor chemicals that are used in the production of methamphetamine and other drugs from Hong Kong to high-risk countries. The operation effectively decreased the frequency of these shipments and, through the high level of information exchange and timely international tracking, indicated strong cooperation between Hong Kong Government officials and their U.S. counterparts.
To further strengthen international cooperation against trafficking of precursors used in the production of amphetamine and other amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) drugs, Hong Kong secured an agreement with the U.S., Mexico and Panama to impose stringent controls on such shipments. Since the agreement’s implementation in April 2005, no shipment of such products to Mexico or any other high-risk countries has been detected. Another cooperative chemical initiative was implemented in February 2006. This program allows the U.S. DEA and Hong Kong Government to monitor and track other precursor chemical shipments sourced from countries or territories in Asia, which transit through Hong Kong, and are destined for high-risk countries.
The Road Ahead: The Hong Kong Government has proven to be a valuable partner in the fight against drug trafficking and abuse. Hong Kong law enforcement agencies, among the most effective in the region, continue to cooperate closely with U.S. counterparts. The U.S. Government will continue to encourage Hong Kong to maintain its active role in counternarcotics efforts.
Hungary continues to be primarily a narcotics transit country between Southwest Asia and Western Europe. This results from its geographic location, a modern transportation system, and the unsettled political and social climate in the neighboring countries of the former Yugoslavia. Since the collapse of communism in Europe, Hungary has become a significant consumer of narcotics as well. Drug abuse, particularly among persons under 40 years of age, rose dramatically during the 1990s and continues to increase. The illicit drugs of choice in Hungary are heroin, marijuana, amphetamines, and Ecstasy (MDMA). Although the abuse of opium-poppy straw, barbiturates and prescription drugs containing benzodiazepine is growing, their share in total drug abuse is declining. In the lead up to its accession to the European Union in May 2004, Hungary adopted and amended much of its narcotics-related legislation to ensure harmonization with relevant EU narcotics law. Since 2004, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor has been the lead ministry in all matters related to narcotics issues. Hungary continues to expand the collection and reporting efforts of its National Narcotics Data Collection Center. The Center was established in February 2004 to report valid, comparable and reliable data on drug abuse trends to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Hungary met Schengen Standards for border control and joined the Schengen area on December 21, 2007. Hungary is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Hungary continues to be a transit route for illegal narcotic smuggling from Southwest Asia and the Balkans into Western Europe. Traditional routes in the Balkans that had been disrupted due to instability in the former Republic of Yugoslavia are again being utilized to transport narcotics. Hungarian Ministry of Justice and Law Enforcement and Border Guard officials reported narcotics smuggling to be especially active across the Ukrainian, Romanian and Serbian borders. Foreign organized crime, particularly from Albania, Turkey, and Nigeria, controls the transit and sale of narcotics in Hungary. Concurrently, Hungarian drug suppliers and criminal networks are getting stronger as well and involve an increasing number of immigrants and ethnic minorities in the transport, sale, and distribution of narcotics. Officials report the increasing seriousness of Hungary’s domestic drug abuse problem, particularly among teens and those in their twenties.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The Drug Prevention Coordination Committee, created in 1998, facilitates the implementation of the country’s national counter-narcotics strategy and coordinates among different ministries and national authorities to combat drug abuse. A National Drug Strategy was adopted by the government in 2000 and contains key action plans to address the strategy’s goals. The next update of the strategy will be prepared in 2009 and will cover the period starting from 2010. In 2008, the Department for the National Coordination of Drug Affairs of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor became the Directorate for the National Coordination of Drug Affairs, within the same ministry. The change helped to increase the profile of drug policy makers within the government and improve their effectiveness.
Hungary continued to maintain strong regional expert relations with neighboring countries, including Croatia and Romania. This group of countries collaborated on initiatives including regular study visits and expert conferences to facilitate information exchange in the drug policy field. As a member of the EU, Hungary also maintained regular contact with other member states. Hungary will be co-chair of the Balcan Regional Group within the framework of the Central Dublin Group starting in 2009.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Hungary met Schengen standards for border control by the end of December 2007, and joined the Schengen area. The Hungarian Border Guards were merged with the Hungarian National Police (HNP) and greater cooperation, information sharing, and efficiency in border interdiction was reported. Accession to the European Union (EU) provided Hungarian border guards and national police forces with greater access to modern electronic detection equipment provided by the European Union to certain high-threat border posts. This equipment was initially installed in 2003, and has continued to result in improved border interdiction of all types of contraband. Expanded investigative authorities and cooperation between the Hungarian border guards and the Hungarian national police, coupled with investigative agreements with neighboring countries, have also played a significant role in increasing Hungary’s ability to interdict shipments of narcotics. Despite these successes, Hungary continues to be a significant trans-shipment point for narcotics destined for, and sent from, Western Europe. The Hungarian Ministry of Finance and the national headquarters of the Customs and Finance Guard supported anti-narcotics and anti-smuggling activities as well. These groups jointly planned and staged actions related to crime and border security that were specifically designed to prevent drug trafficking and a wide range of illicit transit and smuggling activities.
According to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, the number of criminal drug cases has continued to increase. Much of the increase is attributed to the transition from penalty-based court and social systems to treatment-based court and social systems, which are alleged to have eliminated negative individual consequences for drug use. The cooperation between the HNP and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Office in Vienna, Austria, has decreased from previous years, with the DEA reporting the relationship as “almost non-existent.”
Seizure data provided by the National Bureau of Investigation covering the first six months of 2008 indicate that police seized 10 kilograms of heroin, 13.3 kilograms of cocaine, 22 kilograms of amphetamine, 65,000 Ecstasy tablets, and 20 kilograms of dried cannabis plants. The most recent complete year seizure data as reported by the Institute for Forensic Sciences in 2006 appears below:
|Illicit Drug||# of Seizures||Quantity|
|Herbal cannabis (kg)||1540||266.5|
|Cannabis plant (pieces)||50||3529|
|Cannabis resin (kg)||67||3.0|
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Hungary does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No cases of official drug-related corruption have come to the USG’s attention. The Hungarian Government aggressively enforces its narcotics-related laws. In addition, it takes administrative steps (e.g., the regular re-posting of border guards) to reduce the temptation for corruption whenever it can. On the other hand, it is difficult to assess accurately the scope and success of Hungarian efforts to combat corruption, when the GOH treats corruption-related information and prosecutions as classified national security information.
Agreements and Treaties. Hungary 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. A mutual legal assistance treaty and an extradition treaty between the U.S. and Hungarian Governments have been in force since 1997. In December 2006 the Hungarian National Assembly ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. Hungary is a party to the UN Corruption Convention.
Cultivation/Production. Marijuana is cultivated in western Hungary with seeds being transported in from Slovakia; Ecstasy and LSD may also be manufactured in Hungary, however, to date no production laboratories have been discovered. All other illegal narcotics are smuggled into Hungary, not produced in Hungary.
The number of cannabis plant seizures continuously increased during the past years, indicating an increasing problem with domestic cannabis production. A significant proportion of the seized plants was grown in nutrient cubes in artificial (“indoor”) environments. The cannabis seeds reportedly came from the Netherlands, while the technical equipment was available in domestic points of sale disguised as “agricultural” stores. An increasing number of foreigners are reportedly entering Hungary to establish and operate clandestine cannabis farms. Law enforcement officials cite this foreign influence as the primary source of financial and technological support in the industry.
Drug Flow/Transit. Hungary is primarily a narcotics importer country, with different types of narcotics arriving to the country via routes frequently controlled by criminal groups. Heroin is trafficked into Hungary from the south along the Balkan route by organizations that have ethnic, family, and blood ties to the country. Cocaine is most commonly smuggled in by a Nigerian courier operation which recruits Hungarian women to act as couriers and to conscript others into the organization. The HNP reported that the Nigerian operation is looking to establish new routes into Hungary through southern Europe where the drugs arrive by ships from South America and North Africa.
The HNP reported that synthetics are transported into Hungary from newly established labs in Serbia. Synthetic drugs are becoming more popular, with the highly addictive drug nicknamed “Gina” the preferred choice among most users. The HNP also reported that the source of synthetics and cocaine is the Netherlands, while Afghan heroin generally arrives from Turkey and Albania via Romania. Long-term resident Albanians, Turks and Nigerians are involved in trafficking. Budapest’s Ferihegy International Airport continues to be an important stop for cocaine transit from South America to Europe. Synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy are transported into Hungary, frequently via car from the Netherlands and other Western European countries. Cannabis arriving from abroad has recently changed to a more concentrated form.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Hungarian ministry officials report the drug abuse is significantly higher among youth between the ages of 12-25, and truly addicted drug abusers are more commonly found in the 25-34 age group. The majority of addicted drug abusers are male, with an average age of 25 years, and use amphetamines, heroin, or Ecstasy.
Drug prevention programs are taught to teachers as part of the normal teacher education training. In 2008, the GOH provided drug prevention education grants to 230 schools totaling HUF 157,098,200 ($785,491). From these grants, 35,557 schoolchildren studying in grades 5-8 (aged 10-14) and 81,237 secondary school pupils (aged 14-18) participated in prevention activities, representing 8% and 17.2% of the student population, respectively.
Public schools in Hungary include several drug prevention and health promotion programs in their normal education program. The life skills program is the largest of the counter-narcotics programs and was developed in the early nineties with State-INL assistance. Through 2005, the fifteen year program has trained nearly 12,000 teachers and educators. Community-based prevention efforts are primarily focused on the teen/twenties age group and provide information about the dangers of substance abuse while emphasizing active and productive lifestyles as a way of limiting exposure to drugs.
There are approximately 230 healthcare institutions that care for drug patients in Hungary. The total number of drug users receiving both inpatient and outpatient treatment during 2007 was 13,457.
|Addiction treatment centers||2,807/20.9||728/18.0|
|Specialized outpatient treatment centers||5,641/41.9||2,115/52.4|
|Child and youth psychiatric care centers||9/0.1||8/0.2|
|Psychiatric care centers||288/2.1||146/3.6|
|Psychiatric & addition-treatment inpatient departments||1,161/8.6||278/6.9|
Fourteen organizations operated needle exchange programs in 2007 and distributed a total of 213,774 sterile needles in exchange for 105,313 used needles. The joint programs reached 2,019 clients in 2007, an increase of 14% over the previous year. Together the organizations distributed 213,774 sterile needles via mobile units, street outreach, and needle vending machines. The total number of needles distributed in 2007 was 30% higher than the 2006 total.
The Ministry of Health continues to establish and fund drug outpatient clinics in regions where such institutes are not yet available. The 2003 amendment to Hungarian counter-narcotics legislation was designed to shift the focus of criminal investigations from consumers to dealers. Before this amendment was enacted, Hungarian civil rights advocates claimed that the Hungarian narcotics law, among the toughest on users in Europe, subjected even casual users to stiff criminal penalties, while addicts were often exempted from prosecution. The 2003 amendment called the “diversion program” allowed police, prosecutors, and judges to place drug users in a 6-month government-funded treatment program or mandate participation in a counseling program instead of prison. Drug addicts are encouraged to attend treatment centers while casual users are directed to prevention and education programs. The amendment also provided judges with more alternatives and flexibility when sentencing drug users. According to Ministry of Health data, 2,930 drug users participated in diversion programs in 2007.
Due to the continued increase in the rate of drug use as well as drug-related crime in Hungary, the GOH has become dissatisfied with the results of the treatment-focused deterrence system and is currently considering a return to the punishment-based deterrence system. As a result, the constitutional court has begun to scale back treatment programs in its sentencing guidelines and focus again on prison sentences. However, the State Secretary for Drug Affairs has reconfirmed the GOH commitment to maintaining treatment programs, as an alternative to simple prison time for drug abusers.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The primary USG focus in support of the GOH counter-narcotics efforts is through training and cooperative education at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA). In addition, the DEA maintains a regional office in Vienna, Austria, that is accredited to Hungary to work with local and national Hungarian authorities. However, because of recent restructuring within the HNP drug units, direct contact between the DEA and HNP diminished in 2007.
Road Ahead. The USG continues to support and encourage Hungarian legislative efforts to stiffen criminal penalties for drug offenses, and will continue to support GOH law enforcement efforts through training programs and seminars at the ILEA as well as through specialized in-country programs.
Icelandic authorities do not have to confront significant levels of drug production or transit. Their focus is thus on stopping importation and punishing distribution and sale, with a lesser emphasis on prosecuting for possession and use. Overall seizures and narcotics offenses declined slightly during 2008, though authorities made record-setting seizures of hashish (190 kg). Along with the government, secular and faith-based charities organize abuse prevention projects and run respected detoxification and treatment centers. Iceland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Illegal drugs and precursor chemicals are not produced in significant quantities in Iceland. The harsh climate and lack of arable soil make the outdoor cultivation of drug crops almost impossible. Icelandic authorities believe that the production of drugs, to the extent it exists, is limited to marijuana plants—now grown in quantities adequate to satisfy virtually all domestic demand—and the occasional small-time amphetamine laboratory. Most illegal drugs in Iceland are smuggled in through the mail, inside commercial containers, or by airline and ferry passengers. The chief illicit drugs entering Iceland, mainly from Denmark, are cannabis and amphetamines, with the latter becoming increasingly common during recent years as part of a trend of stimulant drug use that also involved heightened levels of cocaine in circulation. In addition, methamphetamine and MDMA are imported to Iceland often from Lithuania via Norway. According to authorities there were 89 cases of importation of drugs and precursors in 2008 (latest available National Commissioner of Police figures through November 30). Icelandic officials raised concerns during the year that drug smuggling into Iceland could be tied to eastern European and Baltic organized crime groups, and said publicly that investigation and interdiction efforts were being redirected accordingly. The Icelandic Center for Social Research and Analysis, a nonprofit research center that specializes in youth research, published a report in September showing that controlled substance use among 15-16 year olds decreased considerably from 2004 to 2007.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The Public Health Institute of Iceland, established in 2003, is responsible for managing alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs on behalf of the government. Programs are funded through an alcohol tax, with allocations overseen by the independent national Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Council (ADAPC). The institute collects data; disseminates information on use of intoxicants; supports health improvement projects; and funds and advises local governments and non-governmental organizations working primarily in prevention. During the year it made grants worth roughly $344,000 to a total of 40 groups and administered projects across the country. The institute is part of the Nordic Council for Alcohol and Drug Research, which promotes and encourages a joint Nordic research effort on drug and alcohol abuse. Authorities have documented a substantial upward trend in narcotics violations over the past several years but the tentative number for 2008 shows a decrease in such violations (from 2098 in 2006, to 1847 in 2007, and 1491 as of November 30, 2008). While one explanation for the increase in previous years may be escalating drug use, another is a 2002 National Commissioner of Police decision to increase enforcement against possession. Police nationwide have intensified surveillance in public places and initiated searches of suspicious individuals, while also improving interdiction training for border police and customs officials.
A program called “Youth in Europe” emphasizes the importance of organized leisure activities, as well as time spent with parents, as Icelandic studies of drug abuse showed that these reduced the likelihood of drug use. The program is sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Actavis Group, headquartered in Iceland, and is administered and coordinated by the City of Reykjavik, the University of Iceland, and Reykjavik University.
Law Enforcement Efforts. As of November 30, 2008, KEF authorities had made 43 seizures compared to a total of 48 in 2007. Nationwide drug seizure highlights include:
In January, Keflavik Airport (KEF) Police arrested a Dutch national with roughly 350 grams of cocaine hidden internally.
In January, Reykjavik Metropolitan Police arrested a man in Hafnarfjordur and seized about 600 grams of cocaine.
In February, KEF Police arrested a Dutch man for smuggling 1.2 kg of cocaine in his luggage.
In March, KEF Police arrested a man with approximately 200 grams of amphetamines and some cannabis seeds on his person.
In March, KEF Police arrested two Polish men and a Polish woman with one kg of amphetamines hidden in a bra and in underwear that they were wearing.
In April, KEF Police arrested a man coming from Paris and seized approximately 3 kg of amphetamines that he had concealed in a hidden compartment of his suitcase.
In June, customs officials confiscated 190 kg of hashish, 1.5 kg of cocaine, and 1 kg of marijuana aboard the Norrona car ferry while it was making a stop in Seydisfjordur. The drugs were taken from a Dutch man who had hidden the substance in his RV. This is the largest quantity of narcotics ever seized in Iceland.
In August, customs officials stopped a Lithuanian man arriving at KEF, who had hidden between 500 and 600 grams of amphetamines internally.
In September, customs officials seized 20 kg of hashish and roughly 1.7 kg of amphetamines from a German man aboard the Norrona ferry.
In September, Reykjavik Metropolitan Police arrested a woman and confiscated 2000 doses of steroids.
In October, a major police operation led to the discovery of a highly sophisticated amphetamines production facility in the town of Hafnarfjordur.
In addition, police seized approximately 20 kg of hashish. The operation was a cooperative effort between the Icelandic police and customs and Europol. The production capacity of the facility was estimated to be up to one metric ton of amphetamines per month, and as a result, Police thought it must be intended for export. Three men were arrested in connection with the case.
In October, Reykjavik customs found 500 g of amphetamines and 1.1 kg of marijuana in a mail delivery from Poland. Police arrested two Polish men and one Lithuanian in connection with the case.
During the year, police seized roughly 233 kg of hashish, 11 kg of amphetamines, 6 kg of cocaine, 407 units of LSD, 1,443 Ecstasy pills, and confiscated approximately 654 cannabis plants (National Commissioner of Police figures as of November 30, 2008). In 2007, KEF authorities seized a total of 23,410 Ecstasy pills, 350 g of hashish, 5.7 kg of cocaine, and 5.3 kg of amphetamines.
The National Police Commissioner and the Sudurnes (formerly Keflavik Airport) Police Commissioner have expressed concern about attempts at infiltration into Iceland by Central and Eastern European gangs and criminals, including from the Baltic States. In the past, police have cooperated with Nordic officials to prevent the entry of biker gang members suspected of attempting to expand their criminal operations to Iceland. Customs and police deployed drug-sniffing dogs to popular outdoor festivals on a holiday weekend in early August to deal with drug distribution among youths attending the event. Drug-related violence against police has increased. For example, in January, five Lithuanian individuals viciously attacked four non-uniformed narcotics police officers.
Corruption. There were no reports of narcotics-related public corruption in Iceland. The country does not, as a matter of government 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. No senior official of the government is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or to be involved in the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions
Agreements and Treaties. Iceland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol. Iceland has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. An extradition treaty is in force between the U.S. and Iceland.
Drug Flow/Transit. Authorities consider Iceland a destination country for narcotics smuggling rather than a transit point.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Heroin abuse is virtually unknown in Iceland. Cannabis is the prevalent drug among persons under 20, while older addicts are partial to injecting morphine. Ecstasy, cocaine (but not crack cocaine), and particularly amphetamines are popular on the capital region’s weekend club scene. Most alcohol and drug abuse treatment is taken on by SAA, the National Center of Addiction Medicine. Individuals with less acute problems may turn to Samhjalp, a Christian charity that uses faith-based approaches to treating addiction, and Gotusmidjan, a treatment center for individuals, 15-20 years old, is operated in conjunction with the Government Agency for Child Protection. SAA was founded in 1977 by a group of recovered addicts who wished to replicate the rehabilitation services they had received at the Freeport Hospital in New York. SAA now receives roughly two thirds of its annual budget from the government and makes detoxification and inpatient treatments available free to Icelandic citizens. While there can be waiting lists for long-term addicts, especially men, there is no wait for teenagers. SAA’s main treatment center estimate for the number of admitted patients in 2008 is around 2,300. The National Hospital annually admits some 300 drug addicts (often those with complicating psychiatric illnesses).
The Directorate of Customs continued with its national drug education program, developed in 1999 and formalized in an agreement with the national (Lutheran) church in 2003, in which an officer accompanied by a narcotics sniffing dog informs students participating in confirmation classes about the harmful effects of drugs and Iceland’s fight against drug smuggling. Parents are invited to the meetings in order to encourage a joint parent-child effort against drug abuse. The Directorate of Customs and the national church maintained an educational website, which expounds the message of the program, including drug awareness, information about the Directorate of Customs, and healthy living.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA has enjoyed good relations with Icelandic law enforcement authorities on information exchanges. In 2008, the USCG and the Icelandic Coast Guard signed a memorandum of understanding for general cooperation, including in the areas of maritime law enforcement and maritime security.
The Road Ahead. The DEA office in Copenhagen and the Regional Security Office at the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik have developed good contacts in Icelandic law enforcement circles for the purpose of cooperating on narcotics investigations and interdiction of shipments. In the past year, the Embassy’s Regional Security Office has facilitated continued support between U.S. and Icelandic authorities by sharing law enforcement practices and techniques to continue strengthening the abilities of the Icelandic police. The USG’s goal is to maintain the good bilateral law enforcement relationship that up to now has facilitated the exchange of intelligence and cooperation on controlled deliveries and other areas of mutual concern. The USG will continue efforts to strengthen exchange and training programs in the context of its ongoing effort to improve law enforcement, homeland security, and counterterrorism ties with Iceland.
India is one of only a few countries authorized by the international community to produce opium licitly for pharmaceutical use and the only country utilizing the opium gum method. The other licit producers use the concentrate of poppy straw (CPS) method to produce opium alkaloids. India's strategic location, between Southeast and Southwest Asia, the two main sources of illicit opium, make it a heroin transshipment area. Insurgent groups operating in the Northeast finance their activities through smuggling of drugs from Burma into India. Much of the hashish and cannabis intended for international markets is smuggled into India from Nepal. In addition to its controlled licit opium production, criminal groups produce heroin illicitly for both the domestic addict market and for the international market. Injecting drug use (IDU) of heroin, morphine base (“brown sugar” heroin) and opiate pharmaceuticals, particularly in the Northeast states bordering Burma, continues to be a concern, resulting in an extremely high incidence of HIV/AIDS in these populations. Major metropolitan areas increasingly report the use of cocaine, Ecstasy and other synthetic drugs among the wealthy elite.
The Government of India (GOI) continually tightens licit opium diversion controls, but some licit opium is nevertheless diverted into illicit markets. India takes many steps to control illegal diversion of licitly grown opium to the illicit market. In past years the U.S. and India conducted joint research projects into some of the key policy issues to hold down diversion. India’s highly refined methodology to control diversion benefited from this research. India is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
The United States and India are parties to an extradition and a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT). Implementation by India under the extradition treaty has resulted in extensive delays and lack of communication regarding status of cases. Implementation of the MLAT has been hampered by lack of direct communication by the Indian Central Authority to its US counterpart.
II. Status of Country
Under the terms of international agreements, supervised by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), India must maintain licit opium production and carry-over stocks at levels no higher than those consistent with world demand to avoid excessive production and stockpiling, which could be diverted into illicit markets. India has complied with this requirement. Opium stocks now exceed minimum requirements set each crop year by the INCB. From a stock of 509 metric tons in 1999/2000, stocks rose to 1,776 metric tons in 2004/05, but were down to 1,401 metric tons at the end of the 2006/07 crop year. Figures for 2007/08 are not yet available.
Farmers licensed to grow opium for licit production of pharmaceuticals are allowed to cultivate a maximum of 10 “ares” (one one-hundredth of a hectare). “Opium years” straddle two calendar years. All farmers must deliver all the opium they produce to the government alone, meeting a minimum qualifying yield (MQY) that specifies the number of kg of opium to be produced per hectare (HA), per state. The MQY is established yearly by the Central Bureau of Narcotics (CBN) prior to licensing. At the time the CBN establishes the MQY, it also publishes the price per kilo the farmer will receive for opium produced that meets the MQY, as well as significantly higher prices for all opium turned into the CBN that exceeds the MQY.
The MQYs are based on historical yield levels from licensed farmers during previous crops. Increasing the annual MQY has proven effective in increasing average yields, while deterring diversion, since, if the MQY is too low, farmers could clandestinely divert excess opium they produce into illicit channels, where traffickers often pay up to ten times what the GOI can offer.
During the 2002/03-crop year, CBN began to estimate the actual acreage under licit opium poppy cultivation by using satellite imagery and then comparing it with exact field measurements. The satellite results are then confirmed by on-ground CBN visits that measure each farmer's plot size. Interpretation of survey data is a complex undertaking as licit poppy cultivation is not confined to an enclosed area, many of the farmers integrate fields with other agricultural crops like soybean, wheat, garlic and sugarcane.
Any cultivation in excess of five percent of the allotted cultivation area is not only uprooted, but the cultivator is also subject to prosecution. During the lancing period, the CBN appoints a village headman for each village to record the daily yield of opium from the cultivators under his charge. CBN regularly checks the register and physically verifies the yield tendered at harvest.
In 2008, the CBN continued issuing microprocessor chip-based cards (Smart Identity Cards) to opium poppy cultivators. The cards are delivered to cultivators at the time of licensing. The card carries the personal details of the cultivator, the licensed area, the test measured field area and the opium tendered by him to the CBN in past crop years. The information stored on the card is read with handheld terminal/read-write machines that are provided to field division controllers.
The GOI periodically raises the official price per kilo of opium, but illicit market prices are four to five, even ten times higher than the base government price. Farmers who submit opium at levels above the MQY receive a premium, but premium prices can only act as a modest positive incentive. In the 2005/2006 opium harvest year, CBN significantly decreased the number of hectares licensed from 8,771 in 2004/2005 to 6,976 in 2005/2006, and the number of farmers licensed from 87,682 in 2004/2005 to 72,478 in 2005/2006. This trend continued in 2006/2007, with a total of 5,913 hectares cultivated and 62,658 farmers under license. The estimated yield for the 2006/07-crop year is 346 metric tons of opium. Estimated yield for 2007/2008 is not yet available.
Although there is no reliable estimate of diversion from India's licit opium industry, some diversion does take place. The GOI estimate is less than 10 percent of production. There is no evidence that significant quantities of opium or its derivatives diverted from India's fields reaches the U.S. In 2007, the GOI seized 2,226 kg of licit opium, which had been diverted, or was cultivated in contravention of Indian law. As of September 30, 2008, GOI had seized 643 kg of diverted/diversion threatened licit opium.
Poppies harvested using concentrate of poppy straw (CPS) are not lanced, and since the dried poppy heads cannot be readily converted into a usable narcotics substance, diversion opportunities are minimal. However, it is inherently difficult to control diversion of opium gum collection because opium gum is collected by hand-scraping the poppy capsule, and the gum is later consolidated before collection. The sheer numbers of Indian farmers, farm workers and others who come into contact with poppy plants and their lucrative gum make diversion appealing and hard to monitor. Policing these farmers on privately held land scattered throughout three of India's largest states is a considerable challenge for the CBN. All other legal producers of opium alkaloids, including Turkey, France, and Australia, produce narcotics raw materials using the CPS process. The GOI believes the labor intensive gum process used in India is appropriate to the large numbers of relatively small-scale farmers who grow poppy in India.
Processing opium gum into narcotic alkaloids is difficult because a residue remains after the narcotic alkaloids have been extracted. This residue must be disposed of with appropriate environmental safeguards. Because of this, pharmaceutical opiate processing companies prefer using CPS for ease of extracting the opiate alkaloids, with the exception of certain companies, which have adapted their equipment and methods to be able to use gum opium.
To meet this challenge, the GOI has explored the possibility of converting some of its opium crop to the CPS method. The GOI is also examining ways to expand India's domestic opiate pharmaceutical processing industry and the availability of opiate pharmaceutical drugs to Indian consumers through ventures with the private sector. However, regardless of the GOI's interest in CPS, the financial and social costs of the transfer and the difficulty of purchasing an appropriate technology are daunting. Since alkaloid extraction requires highly specialized equipment, some of the most obvious places where such equipment and technologies would be available, along with advice on how to use them, are in the other countries licensed to produce legal opiate alkaloids and thus in countries in direct competition with India for licit opium sales.
Morphine base (“brown sugar” heroin) is India's most popularly abused heroin derivative, either through smoking, “chasing” (i.e., inhaling the airborne fumes of burning opium) or injecting. Most of India's “brown sugar” heroin comes from diverted licit Indian opium and is locally manufactured. Indian “brown sugar” heroin is also increasingly available in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Most seized “white” heroin is destined for West Africa and Europe.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. India's stringent Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA) of 1985 was amended in October 2001, bringing significant flexibility to the Indian sentencing structure for narcotics offenses. After rising for several years, arrests and prosecutions under the NDPSA declined in 2007. However, the overall conviction rate continues to increase, reaching 50 percent. In 2006 there were 9,921 convictions and in 2007, 15,390 persons were convicted. In certain cases involving repeat offenders dealing in commercial quantities of illegal drugs, the law allows for the death penalty, although there have been no such sentences to date.
In April 2003, GOI moved the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry of Finance remains the GOI's central coordinating ministry for counternarcotics and continues to cooperate with the NCB. The move has enhanced the NCB's law enforcement capabilities and helped align the bureau with other GOI police agencies under the control of the Home Ministry.
India has been actively involved in international operations dealing with precursor control such as Project Cohesion and Project Prism, and in October 2008 hosted the combined meeting of the Task Forces of Project Prism and Project Cohesion. India issues pre-export notifications (PEN) for export of precursors using the online system developed by the INCB. Law enforcement agencies in India continued to exchange information on a regular basis with Drug Law Officers (DLOs) based in India. The NCB and other drug law enforcement agencies continued their extensive cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency through its Country Attaché.
Law Enforcement Efforts. While heroin and opium seizures increased from 2005 to 2006, both declined in 2007. Seizure statistics for other drugs, such as cocaine, methaqualone and ephedrine, tend to fluctuate more dramatically as a result of larger single seizures. After several years of explosive growth, marijuana seizures are down (from 157,710 kg in 2006 to 107,881 kg in 2007), and hashish seizures have stabilized at between 3,000 and 4,000 kg per year.
India already has a system to try to prevent diversion of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. The NDPS (Regulation of Controlled Substances) Order, 1993, requires every manufacturer, importer, exporter, seller and user of controlled substances (both ephedrine and pseudoephedrine have been notified as controlled substances) to maintain records and file returns with the NCB. Every loss or disappearance of a controlled substance is also required to be reported to the Director General, NCB. Exports of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine require a No Objection Certificate from the Narcotics Commissioner, who issues Pre-Export Notification to the Competent Authority in the importing country as well as to the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB). India has also been actively involved in operations like Project Prism which target precursors to manufacture ATS. India’s efforts in identifying and stopping suspicious transactions have been appreciated by the INCB in INCB’s Precursors Report, 2006. Despite its vigorous efforts to control precursor chemicals, India has been identified in a number of cases as the source of diverted precursor chemicals for a range of narcotic drugs, including methamphetamine and heroin.
Joint investigation by the DEA and NCB have shown the continuing use of the Internet and commercial courier services to distribute drugs and pharmaceuticals of all kinds from India to the U.S. and other countries. Although ephedrine seizures within India were down in 2007, one seizure in the U.S. in September 2007 found 523 kg of ephedrine shipped through commercial carrier from India through the U.S. and headed to Mexico. The shipment was disguised as green tea extract. In the fall of 2005, Indian Customs seized five international mail packages that were found to contain a kg or more of Southwest Asian heroin destined for individuals in the United States, with controlled deliveries leading to the arrest of five individuals in the U.S. Heroin being smuggled into India from Afghanistan and Pakistan has picked up over the past two years, with West Africans often arrested as the carriers. This trend may continue as the border between Pakistan and India opens up to increasing commerce and travel. Although there have been fewer large seizures over the past year, the number of smaller seizures associated with couriers attempting to travel through India has increased.
Corruption. The Indian media periodically reports allegations of corruption against law enforcement personnel, elected politicians, and cabinet-level ministers of the GOI. The United States receives reports of narcotics-related corruption, but lacks the corroborating information to confirm those reports and the means to assess the overall scope of drug corruption in India. The GOI does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit drug production or distribution, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs Both the CBN and NCB periodically take steps to arrest, convict, and punish corrupt officials within their ranks. The CBN frequently transfers officials in key drug producing areas to guard against corruption. The CBN has increased the transparency of paying licensed opium farmers to prevent corruption and appointing village coordinators to monitor opium cultivation and harvest. These coordinators receive 10 percent of the total paid to the village for its crops, in addition to what they receive for their own crops, so it is advantageous for them to ensure that each farmer under their jurisdiction turns in the largest possible crop. Despite these precautions and vigorous enforcement efforts, it is likely that corruption is a factor in narcotics trafficking in India.
Agreements and Treaties. India is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The United States and India signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in 2001 that came into force in October 2005. An extradition treaty is in effect between the U.S. and India. India has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The USG and the GOI signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement on December 15, 2004. India entered into bilateral agreements with several countries including the United States on cooperation in drug related matters.
Cultivation/Production. The bulk of India's illicit poppy cultivation has traditionally been confined to Arunachal Pradesh, the most remote of northeastern states, which has no airfields and few roads. The terrain is mountainous, isolated jungle, requiring significant commodity and personnel resources just to reach it. The poppies are often cultivated by tribal groups that consume the opium themselves, but there have been recent indications that cultivation there is becoming commercialized. The need to combat the many insurgencies in the Northeast states has limited the number of personnel available for such time-consuming, labor-intensive eradication campaigns. In early 2007, CBN launched a major operation in the Tirap District that resulted in the destruction of 800 hectares of opium poppy. Tirap is one of five districts of Arunachal Pradesh that border Burma and China and are responsible for the bulk of illicit cultivation in the state. Illicit poppy eradication figures if any for 2008 are not yet available.
Of greater concern was the discovery of more than 6,500 hectares of illicit opium cultivation in two districts of West Bengal (Murshidabad and Nadia). CBN and West Bengal police destroyed the crop in March 2007, but the size of the area of cultivation raises concerns that local farmers have joined hands with larger, more organized drug syndicates, and that an effective law enforcement presence has been absent. All together, the Government of India reported that it destroyed 19,877 acres of illicit opium poppy plants in 2006/07, greatly exceeding the amount reported destroyed in previous years.
Another new trend that bears watching is the connection between illicit opium and marijuana cultivation and Maoist (Naxalite) insurgencies in other parts of the country. There are reports that insurgent groups in Jharkhand finance their operations through opium cultivation for laboratories in Uttar Pradesh that previously depended on diversion from the licit crop in that state. Arrests in Andhra Pradesh indicated insurgents have sold marijuana to purchase arms.
Drug Flow/Transit. Although trafficking patterns appear to be changing, India historically has been an important transit area for Southwest Asia heroin from Afghanistan and Pakistan and, to a lesser degree, from Southeast Asia–Burma, Thailand, and Laos. India's heroin seizures from these two regions continue to provide evidence of India's transshipment role. Most heroin transiting India appeared bound for Europe. Seizures of Southwest Asian heroin made in New Delhi and Mumbai tend to reinforce this assessment. However, the bulk of heroin seized in the past two years has been of domestic origin, was seized in South India, and was apparently destined for Sri Lanka. Trafficking groups operating in India fall into four categories. Most seizures in Mumbai and New Delhi involve West African traffickers. Traffickers who maintain familial and/or tribal ties to Pakistan and Afghanistan are responsible for most of the smuggling of Pakistani or Afghan heroin into India. Ethnic Tamil traffickers, centered primarily in Southern India, are alleged to be involved in trafficking between India and Sri Lanka. Indigenous tribal groups in the northeastern states adjacent to Burma maintain ties to Burmese trafficking organizations and facilitate the entry into Burma of precursor chemicals and into India of refined “white sugar” heroin through the porous Indo/Burmese border. In addition, insurgent groups in these states have utilized drug trafficking as a means to finance their operations against the Indian Government.
Indian-produced methaqualone (Mandrax) trafficking to Southern and Eastern Africa continues. Although South Africa has increased methaqualone production, India is still believed to be among the world's largest known clandestine methaqualone producers. Seizures of methaqualone, which is trafficked in both pill and bulk forms, have varied widely, from 472 kg in 2005 and 4,521 kg in 2006, 1 kg in 2007 and as of September 2008, 2,361 kg has been seized. Cannabis smuggled from Nepal is mainly consumed within India, but some makes its way to Western destinations.
India is also increasingly emerging as a manufacturer and supplier of licit opiate/psychotropic pharmaceuticals (LOPPS), both organic and synthetic, to the Middle East, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Some of the LOPPS are licitly manufactured and then diverted, often in bulk. Some of the LOPPS are illicitly manufactured as well. Indian-origin LOPPS and other controlled pharmaceutical substances are increasingly being shipped to the U.S. DHS Customs and Border Protection intercept thousands of illegal “personal use” shipments in the mail system in the United States each year. These “personal use” quantity shipments are usually too small to garner much interest by themselves, and most appear to be the result of illegal Internet sales. However, as a whole, these small shipments are indicative of a negative trend which signifies that India is increasingly becoming a source country for illicit pharmaceuticals.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Press reports frequently refer to Ecstasy and cocaine use on the Mumbai and New Delhi “party circuit,” but there is little information on the extent of their use. There has been a considerable amount of reporting in local newspapers indicating that the use of cocaine and Ecstasy is on the rise. While smoking “brown sugar” heroin (morphine base) and cannabis remain India's principal recreational drugs, intravenous drug use (IDU) of LOPPS is also present. In parts of India where intravenous drug users (IDUs) have been denied access to LOPPS, IDUs have turned to injecting “brown sugar” heroin. Various licitly produced psychotropic drugs and opiate painkillers, cough medicines, and codeine are just some of the substances that have emerged as the new drugs of choice. In 2004, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) released a drug abuse study showing licit opiate abuse accounting for 43% of Indian drug abuse. Although drug medicinal cuts across a wide spectrum of Indian society, more than a quarter of drug abusers are homeless, nearly half are unmarried, and 40 percent had less than a primary school education. Itinerant populations (e.g., truck drivers) are extremely susceptible to drug use. Widespread needle sharing has led to high rates of HIV/AIDS and overdoses in some locations. The states of Manipur and Nagaland are among the top five states in India in terms of HIV infection (disproportionately affecting the 15-to 30-year old population in these states), primarily due to intravenous drug use.
The popularity of injecting licit pharmaceuticals can be attributed to four factors. First, they are far less expensive than their illegal counterparts. Second, they provide quick, intense “highs” that many users prefer to the slower, longer-lasting highs resulting from heroin. Third, many IDUs believe that they experience fewer and milder withdrawal symptoms with pharmaceutical drug use. Finally, licit opiate/psychotropic pharmaceuticals are widely available and easy to obtain since virtually any drug retail outlet will sell them without a prescription.
The MSJE has a three-pronged strategy for demand reduction, consisting of building awareness and educating people about drug abuse, dealing with addicts through programs of motivational counseling, treatment, follow-up and social reintegration, and training volunteers to work in the field of demand reduction. The MSJE's goal is to promote greater community participation and reach out to high-risk population groups with an on-going community-based program for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation through some 400 NGOs throughout the country. The MSJE spends about $5 million on NGO support each year. It also has treatment and rehabilitation programs in nearly 100 government-run hospitals and primary health centers.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The United States has a close and cooperative relationship with the GOI on counternarcotics issues. The U.S. and India have had a long-standing extradition relationship but, India's efforts to bring about prompt conclusion of extradition proceedings and to keep the USG informed have been poor. The USG has repeatedly asked the GOI to take steps to bring extradition proceedings to completion more promptly and to be timelier in reporting on status of cases. In 2006, India's NCB provided prompt and effective cooperation under the MLAT in connection with a narcotics prosecution in EDPA; other requests have been stalled, however. The USG hopes to consult with India soon on efforts to improve cooperation. In 2008, the USCG provided training in maritime law enforcement and vessel boarding for officers in the U.S.
The Road Ahead. The NCB's move to the Ministry of Home Affairs has enhanced the U.S. relationship with the Ministry and NCB. In recent years, DEA gave more courses to more law enforcement officials from a wider variety of state and central government law enforcement agencies than ever before. Other training included standard and advanced boarding officer training by the USCG. Our joint (Letter of Agreement (LOA) Monitoring Committee Meetings with the GOI ensure that funds achieve desired results, or are otherwise reprogrammed to higher priority projects. The LOA project to enhance and improve NCB's intelligence gathering and information sharing will enable it to better target drug traffickers and improve its cooperation with DEA. Another project managed by the Ministry of Finance trains law enforcement officials across India on asset forfeiture regulations. We also use LOA funds to build the capacity of Indian law enforcement agencies to fight international narcotics trafficking by providing them with badly needed commodities and equipment. The United States will continue to explore opportunities to work with the GOI in addressing drug trafficking and production and other transnational crimes of common concern.
V. Statistical Tables Through September 2008
Drug seizure statistics are kept by the NCB (Ministry of Home Affairs) and updated on a monthly basis. The accuracy of the statistics is dependent upon the quality and quantity of information received by the NCB from law enforcement agencies throughout India. Statistics relative to opium cultivation and production are kept by the CBN (Ministry of Finance). Note – not all information is available in all categories.
Poppy cultivation/harvest in hectares. Final figures for opium gum yields in metric tons at 90 percent consistency; provisional yields at 70 percent consistency. Average yield of gum per hectare in kilograms
the process for licensing began in mid- October
In 2007/08, a large number of farmers uprooted their damaged crops due to extreme cold weather conditions and frost. The total opium poppy crop uprooted in all the three states where licit cultivation is permitted was 1,932.6 hectares out of a total licensed area of 4,680 hectares. The final harvested area was 2,653 hectares.
OPIUM PRICES PAID TO FARMERS IN RUPEES (RS. 48 EQUAL ONE USD). THE PRICE OF OPIUM FOR THE 2008/09 CROP YEAR HAS YET TO BE DECLARED BY THE GOI.
DRUG SEIZURES 2005-2008
(2008 statistics through September, 2007 figures revised)
*Through September 2008
Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and historically, has not been considered a major drug producing, consuming or transit country. However, in recent years Indonesia has experienced a major increase in the production, transshipment, trafficking and consumption of narcotics. Specifically, since 2002, Indonesia has seen a significant increase in the number of large-scale clandestine methamphetamine laboratories seized by Indonesian authorities. Methamphetamine production syndicates exploit Indonesia’s lax precursor chemical controls, as well as, corruption and ineffective government bureaucracy, policies and capabilities. These large-scale clandestine laboratories are capable of producing multi hundred kilogram quantities of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). In 2007, Indonesian National Police seized a methamphetamine laboratory containing over six hundred kilograms of crystal meth and over 1,400 kilograms of pseudo-ephedrine. Methamphetamine production syndicates utilized familial connections in China (PRC) for precursor chemicals and laboratory equipment. Furthermore, production syndicates rely upon chemists trained in the Netherlands for the production of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), as well as Taiwanese chemists for the production of crystal meth. In addition, regional drug trafficking syndicates are exploiting Indonesia’s very long coastline and remote and porous borders. Indonesia lacks the resources for effective maritime security and border management, making border control for the transshipment of heroin, as well as ATS very difficult. Increases in narcotics production and trafficking have been mirrored in drug abuse rates throughout Indonesia. Increasing drug abuse rates, specifically intravenous drug use, combined with limited health care options, rehabilitation and demand reduction programs has resulted in near epidemic rates of HIV/AIDS infection in Indonesia.
The Indonesian counter narcotics code is sufficiently inclusive to enable police, prosecutors and the judiciary to arrest, prosecute and adjudicate narcotics cases. Nevertheless corruption in Indonesia remains pervasive, despite increased Government of Indonesia (GOI) efforts. The high level of corruption in Indonesia limits the effectiveness of all law enforcement, including units targeted specifically on narcotics crime, and poses the most significant threat to the country’s counter drug strategy.
The Indonesian National Police (INP) participates in several international donor-initiated training programs and continues to commit increased resources to counter narcotics efforts. The INP has received both specialized investigative training and equipment, including vehicles, software, officer safety and tactical equipment to support its efforts against crime and drugs. INP efforts are firmly based on counter narcotics legislation and international agreements. The INP relies heavily on assistance from major international donors, including the United States. Indonesia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
In 2007 and 2008, Indonesian police continued to disrupt and dismantle clandestine laboratories, including some in the prison system. This reaffirms Indonesia’s position as a major clandestine manufacturing location. Much of this is due to Indonesia’s lax regulations on importation of precursor chemicals and porous borders that allow for easy movement of precursor chemicals and finished product.
The Indonesian National Narcotics Board (BNN) estimates that approximately 3.2 million people or, 1.5 percent of Indonesia’s total population, are drug abusers. Indonesian National Police (INP) data shows a steady increase of drug arrests over the past two years. In 2006, 17,355 drug arrests took place, in 2007 there were 22,630 and through September 2008 there have been 21,244. With only a 1,386 arrest difference between the total of 2007 and the first three quarters of 2008, it is reasonable to assume that 2008 numbers will surpass 2007.
In 2007 and 2006, narcotics dominated the drug arrests; however, in 2008, the most common drugs seized during arrests were dangerous drugs. INP defines narcotics as marijuana, marijuana plants, heroin, cocaine, opium and morphine. Dangerous drugs are classified as alcohol, traditional medicines, ATS and counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
While methamphetamine and MDMA are the common drugs seized during clandestine lab searches, the arrests associated with such drugs dropped in 2008. In 2006, psychotropic drugs (such as methamphetamine and MDMA) accounted for 5,658 of the total arrests, and in 2007 they accounted for 9,289 of the total arrests. However, in 2008 through September they only accounted for 1,101 arrests.
Afghan heroin continues to be the heroin of choice in the Indonesian market. Since 2002 the amount of heroin seized declined, with 2007 being the only recent year with an increase in seizures. In 2006, 11,902 (11.9 Kg) grams seized; in 2007, 14,691 (14.7 Kg) grams seized and through September 2008, 9,993 (10 Kg) grams have been seized.
While MDMA is produced domestically, it is also smuggled into and transshipped through Indonesia from sources in the Netherlands and Belgium. Ethnic Chinese/Indonesian trafficking syndicates utilizing commercial air carriers and express mail services transship MDMA through Bali and Jakarta to consumers in Australia, Japan, New Zealand and China. In November 2007, Indonesian National Police made the largest seizure of MDMA in their history. Police seized over 1,000,000 tablets of MDMA, which were part of a shipment of 10,000,000 tablets from the Netherlands.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The Indonesian counter narcotics code is sufficiently inclusive to enable, police, prosecutors and judiciary to arrest, prosecute and adjudicate narcotics cases. Under Indonesian Laws No. 22/1997 on narcotics and 5/1997 on psychotropic substances, the Indonesian courts have sentenced approximately 72 drug traffickers to death. Through September 2008, Indonesia executed 2 defendants for drug trafficking crimes. These defendants were convicted in 2004 for drug trafficking. The continued lack of modern detection, enforcement and investigative methodologies and technology, as well as the presence of pervasive corruption, are the greatest obstacles to advancing Indonesia’s anti-drug efforts.
During 2006, the Government of Indonesia (GOI), via the Indonesian National Narcotics Board (BNN), the government agency responsible for the coordination to Indonesia counter narcotics efforts, signed an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) declaration stating Indonesia’s commitment for a “drug-free ASEAN 2015”. “Drug-Free ASEAN 2015” is a political commitment of the ASEAN member countries, of which Indonesia is a member, in achieving a drug free condition by the year 2015. In 2007 and 2008 Indonesia has continued to work toward these goals.
According to Indonesia’s BNN, the GOI has established new policies and strategies, in a “goal oriented rolling Plan of Action”, consisting of stages with each stage covering 3 years. These three year policy horizons will continue until Indonesia reaches a drug-free condition, hopefully by 2015. Specifically, Indonesia has established a national drug control plan that addresses the illicit drug supply and demand reduction challenges. The goals and targets for the GOI’s drug control plan were developed from the 1998 UNGASS and ASEAN and China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD) plan of action.
Per Indonesia’s BNN, the objectives of Indonesia’s National Drug Plan are to:
The primary demand reduction policy goals of Indonesia’s National Drug Plan are to:
In March 2007, lawmakers from Indonesia’s House of Representatives Commission III and the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) proposed a new regulation, to be attached to the national narcotics law which would allow for law enforcement agencies to confiscate convicted drug traffickers’ assets to fund Indonesia’s drug trafficking enforcement program. The aim of the proposed regulation is to deny drug trafficking networks of their assets. Under the new regulation, assets seized by the GOI would be used to rehabilitate impoverished drug abusers and would serve to supplement the budget of the BNN. The BNN receives approximately $30 million per year from the state budget, far below the $53 million the agency requests for its yearly budget.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to INP arrest data, prosecutions for drug possession, trafficking and manufacturing have increased from 14,105 cases in 2006 to 22,630 in 2007.
Recorded drug cases, including trafficking throughout Indonesia:
|2008:||21,244 (through September 2008)|
|2005||Marijuana Plants: 160,211 plants|
|2006||Marijuana Plants: 1,019,307 plants|
|2007||Marijuana Plants: 1,828,803|
|2008||Marijuana Plants: 123,675|
The BNN continues to strive to improve interagency cooperation in drug enforcement, interdiction, and precursor control. In 2005, under the auspices of BNN, the USG Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) West sponsored Joint Interagency Counter Drug Operations Center (JIACDOC) was opened in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 2006, the BNN had begun staffing and subsequently utilizing the JIACDOC’s facilities to improve coordination and information exchange between Indonesian law enforcement agencies and supporting ongoing narcotics investigations. Throughout 2007 and 2008 BNN has continued to utilize the JIACDOC facility to assist in counter narcotics efforts. Additionally, in 2008 a DEA agent has been sponsored by JIATF-West to be stationed in Jakarta and will be posted at the JIACDOC.
The INP Narcotics and Organized Crime Directorate continued to improve in its ability to investigate and dismantle international drug trafficking syndicates. The Directorate also cooperates with other international law enforcement agencies. In addition, the Narcotics Directorate has become increasingly active in the regional targeting conferences designed to coordinate efforts against transnational drug and crime organizations. In 2007, INP attended the Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) held in Madrid, Spain.
Corruption. Pervasive corruption in Indonesia is an impediment to the effectiveness of all law enforcement, including narcotics enforcement. As a matter of government policy and practice, the GOI does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of proceeds from illegal transactions. The executive branch of the Indonesian government has made anti-corruption efforts a major policy initiative along with counter-terrorism and counter-drug efforts. Indonesia continues to make significant strides in addressing corruption with the highly successful and aggressive Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) that has investigated and successfully prosecuted high level government officials in 2007 and 2008. During U.S. AG Mukasey’s June 2008 visit to Indonesia, the GOI announced the creation of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) Anti-Corruption Task Force. In the past seven months since its creation, the Task Force has already prosecuted 16 cases.
Indonesian prosecutor’s low wages encourage official corruption, and are an important factor in a low level of motivation. For instance, the average Indonesian prosecutor with 30 years of seniority makes no more than about $400 a month. Furthermore, corrupt police and prosecutors abuse their authority in illegal searches, as Indonesian courts do not exclude evidence obtained without a warrant. Corrupt prosecutors are suspected of carrying out investigations to elicit bribes from subjects. Corruption within the police force has led to corrupt officers in narcotics cases asking for bribes in payment for a reduction in charges, with the defense attorneys serving as intermediaries.
INP internal efforts to control corruption and discipline have been made and are being addressed. In 2007 the INP investigated 19,459 officers for ethics and misconduct violations (4,700 in 2006) with eighty-three (83%) of the officers investigated having been found to have sustainable allegations. Disciplinary measures ranged from letters of reprimand to incarceration. With the appointment of the strict disciplinarian Bambang Hendarso Danuri as the National Police Chief, internal anti-corruption efforts will get a fillip.
A further impediment to Indonesia’s attempts to investigate official corruption within its judicial system is the requirement that the Attorney General’s Office secure an authorization letter from the President of Indonesia before it can proceed in any high level corruption investigation. Additionally, the time it takes to file and develop a case within the AG’s Office can be eight months, allowing suspected defendants to cover their complicity or involvement.
Agreements and Treaties. Indonesia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1972 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Indonesia hosted the UNCAC Conference of States Parties in 2008. Indonesia has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling. The United States and Indonesia are currently negotiating a mutual legal assistance treaty, or MLAT.
Cultivation/Production. The large-scale production of MDMA and methamphetamine is one of the most significant dangerous drug threats to Indonesia. Ethnic Indonesian/Chinese trafficking syndicates exploit Indonesia’s lax precursor chemical controls to establish large-scale clandestine MDMA and methamphetamine laboratories capable of producing multi-hundred kilogram quantities. These syndicates utilize sources of precursor chemical supply from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and also secure laboratory equipment from the PRC. These organized criminal syndicates rely upon chemists trained in the Netherlands for the production of MDMA, as well as chemists form Taiwan and Hong Kong for the production of crystal methamphetamine.
The current trend in methamphetamine production is for the methamphetamine mega labs to be divided among several different lab sites. The production is broken down into several separate stages, with different chemists at each location. The aim of this is to avoid detection by law enforcement and to limit the loss to the syndicate if one lab is discovered. Additionally, this allows for a division of labor within the drug trafficking organization. A prime example of this is the Batam lab that was seized in October 2007. The lab was organized into six different lab sites with one being located in Jakarta, several hundred miles away from the primary location in Batam.
Marijuana is cultivated throughout Indonesia. However, due to the equatorial climate of Sumatra, and year round growing conditions, the area of most intense marijuana cultivation is in northern Sumatra. Sumatra cultivation is large-scale (greater than 20 hectares). It occurs in remote and sparsely populated regions of the province, often in mountainous topography with the objective of exploiting INP’s inability to discover or to reach cultivation sites in remote and high elevation areas. There is no known cultivation of opium poppy or cocaine in Indonesia.
Drug Flow and Transit. The Indonesian National Police (INP) report that the majority of heroin seized in Indonesia originates from sources of supply in Southwest Asia. The heroin trade in Indonesia is predominantly controlled and directed by West Africans, Nigerians in particular. Heroin is smuggled by West African and Nepalese trafficking organizations utilizing sources of supply in Karachi, Pakistan and Kabul, Afghanistan. West African and Nepalese couriers travel on commercial air carriers transiting Bangkok, Thailand, and India, en route to Jakarta. In addition to heroin being trafficked domestically in Indonesia, heroin is also transshipped from Indonesia by couriers traveling via commercial air carrier to Europe, Japan and Australia.
Historically, MDMA has been smuggled into Indonesia from sources of supply in the Netherlands. However, in recent years Indonesia is experiencing an increase in large-scale domestic production of MDMA and methamphetamine. MDMA and methamphetamine produced in Indonesia are trafficked both domestically and internationally. Recently ethnic Indonesian/Chinese MDMA and methamphetamine production syndicates have established numerous large-scale clandestine MDMA and methamphetamine laboratories capable of producing multi hundred kilogram quantities of both illicit drugs, utilizing precursor chemicals from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In addition, MDMA and methamphetamine produced in the PRC are smuggled into Indonesia by Chinese organized crime syndicates based in Hong Kong. The drugs move in multi hundred kilogram quantities via maritime cargo and fishing vessels. In November 2007, Indonesian National Police made the largest seizure of MDMA in their history. Police seized over 1,000,000 tablets of MDMA, which were part of a shipment of 10,000,000 tablets hidden in a cargo shipment from the Netherlands via Hong Kong to Jakarta.
Marijuana is cultivated and trafficked throughout Indonesia. Many of these large-scale marijuana cultivation sites are located in the remote and sparsely populated mountainous regions of Northern Sumatra. INP reports that marijuana trafficking in Indonesia is controlled by Indonesian trafficking syndicates based out of Jakarta. The majority of marijuana cultivated in Indonesia is consumed domestically and typically is not trafficked on the international market.
Although cocaine seizures continue to occur in major Indonesian airports, the market for cocaine in Indonesia is believed to be very small currently but it is increasing, specifically in Bali and Jakarta where one kilogram of cocaine sells for around $100,000.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Government of Indonesia views drug abuse and narcotics trafficking as a major long term threat to social, religious and political stability. Government agencies continue to promote anti-drug abuse and HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns through various media campaigns. The Indonesian National Narcotics Board (BNN) is responsible for the development of Indonesia’s demand reduction programs. No statistics exist regarding the success of these anti-drug abuse programs. Treatment options in Indonesia are very basic, except in the major cities where adequate treatment can be found in private sector facilities for the wealthy.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Indonesia and the United States maintain excellent law enforcement cooperation in narcotics cases. During 2007 and 2008, the United States provided technical assistance and training for hundreds of INP officers in a variety of transnational crime topics including forensics, cyber-crime, maritime law enforcement, and counter-terrorism. In 2007 and 2008, DEA provided training in the areas of drug intelligence analysis, precursor chemical control, basic drug investigations and clandestine laboratory and instructor development. INP and BNN maintain excellent relationships with the DEA regional office in Singapore and continue to work closely with DEA on narcotics investigations. During 2008, the USCG provided boarding officer training using both the Maritime Law Enforcement Boarding Officer Course, and Mobile Training Teams deployed to Indonesia. In July 2008 Police Commissioner KomJen Gories Mere was appointed as the Director of BNN. He previously served as Chief of the Criminal Investigations Division and was a major player in the INP’s counter-terrorism efforts. He has already demonstrated he will carry the same zeal into his new position as chief drug law enforcer in Indonesia.
The Road Ahead. In 2008 and 2009 the U.S. will assist the BNN and its member agencies further utilizing the resources and capabilities of the Counter Drug Operations Center and Network. The addition of a DEA agent in Indonesia will assist with coordinating joint counter-drug operations and further develop law enforcement relationships between Indonesia and the U.S. The U.S. will further work with INP and BNN to standardize and computerize the reporting methods related to narcotics investigations and seizures; to develop a drug intelligence database; and to build an information network designed to connect to the major provinces of Indonesia. This will permit Indonesian law enforcement to contribute to and access the database for investigations. Similarly, the U.S. will work with INP and BNN to further expand the scope and impact of narcotics investigations targeting the large scale production of methamphetamine and MDMA in Indonesia. The U.S. will also continue to work with the INP to develop maritime police capacity and to support criminal justice sector reform and anti-corruption efforts.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a major transit route for opiates smuggled from Afghanistan and through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Russia, and Europe. The largest single share of opiates leaving Afghanistan (perhaps 60 percent) passes through Iran to consumers in Iran itself, Russia and Europe. There is no evidence that narcotics transiting Iran reach the United States in an amount sufficient to have a significant effect.
Drug seizure data indicate that more cannabis might be being cultivated in Iran than previously thought, and that synthetic drugs from Europe and Asia are being exported to Iran in growing quantities.
There are at least 3 million opiate abusers in Iran, and probably more, with 60 percent reported as addicted to various opiates and 40 percent reported as casual users. Record levels of opium production in nearby Afghanistan, and continuing large volumes of opiate seizures in Iran indicate Iran is experiencing an epidemic of drug abuse, especially among its youth.
Iran tries to keep drugs leaving Afghanistan from reaching its citizens. Iran claims that more than 3,500 Iranian law enforcement personnel have died in clashes with heavily armed drug traffickers over the last two decades, and Iran reports that 46 more died in the first seven months of 2007. There is a long simmering Baluch ethnic insurgency and general lawlessness in the same geographical region where drugs enter Iran.
Iran spends a significant amount on counter drug-related activities, including interdiction efforts and treatment/prevention education. Estimates range from $250 million to $800 million each year, depending on whether treatment and other social costs are included. Iran claims to have invested upwards of $1 billion in its elaborate series of earthworks, forts and deep trenches to channel potential drug smugglers to areas where they can be confronted and defeated by Iranian security forces. Nevertheless, traffickers from Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iran itself continue to cause major disruption along Iran's eastern border.
Syringe exchanges, distribution of condoms, and programs which use buprenorphine to maintain addicts during treatment are all being used in Iran.
Iran is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but its laws do not bring it completely into compliance with the Convention. The UNODC is working with Iran to modify its laws, train the judiciary, and improve the court system.
II. Status of Country
Iran is a transit country and a major consumer country of opiates and hashish. Entering from Afghanistan and Pakistan into eastern Iran, heroin, opium, and morphine are smuggled overland, usually to Turkey. Drugs are also smuggled by sea across the Persian Gulf, and some small share finds its way to Iraq. Iran is a major opiate consuming country, with the highest share of population abusing opiates in the world. The UNODC estimates that 2.8 percent of the Iranian population between the ages of 15 to 64 used opiates in 1999 (latest complete survey data available).
Many Iranian practitioners, especially in the treatment community, argue that the share of opiate abusers now is even higher than 2.8 percent of the population. A continuing high share of unrefined opium in total opiate seizures made by Iranian enforcement (ca. 62 percent) in 2007 suggests that drug traffickers in Afghanistan have consciously decided to serve a growing opium market in Iran. But continuing large seizures of heroin and morphine base demonstrate no loss of interest among Afghan traffickers in meeting growing demand for heroin in Iran itself, and in Russia and Western Europe.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Iran seems to be exploring treatment as opposed to punishment and incarceration as a response to drug abuse. Abuse of controlled drugs remains a crime in Iran. Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters has been trying to make drug abuse treatment both more available and more effective, and has turned to foreign models for ideas. In the face of growing intravenous drug abuse among Iranian youth, and a concomitant danger from HIV/AIDS, Iran has begun needle exchange programs, and the free distribution of condoms, even using dispensing machines in some locations. Iran is also spending more of its drug abuse budget on treatment, and is experimenting with techniques like maintaining addicts, using synthetic opiates like methadone and buprenorphine, while they undergo treatment. Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters also supports post treatment efforts to reintegrate addicts into Iranian society.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Iran blames a failure of “foreign forces’ efforts” in Afghanistan for many of Iran’s problems with growing drug abuse. Iran also clearly believes that its efforts to keep drugs out of Iran have the side effect of mitigating the impact of drugs on the West, and as a result, Iranian authorities regularly call for the West to recognize this fact by more vigorous assistance to Iran, especially through grants of more modern inspection and interdiction technologies for use at Iranian border control points.
Iran pursues an aggressive border interdiction effort. A senior Iranian official told the UNODC that Iran had invested as much as $1 billion in a system of mud walls, moats, concrete dams, sentry points, and observation towers, as well as a road along its entire eastern border with Pakistan and Afghanistan. According to an official Government of Iran (GOI) Internet site, Iran has installed 212 border posts, 205 observation posts, 22 concrete barriers, and 290 km of canals (depth-4 m, width-5 m), 659 km of soil embankments, a 78 km barbed wire fence, and 2,645 km of asphalt and gravel roads. It also has relocated numerous border villages to newly constructed sites, so that their inhabitants are less subject to harassment by narcotics traffickers.
Iran began investing in this extensive barrier-type construction and fortification system on its eastern border region many years ago, well before the burgeoning drug problem started in the mid-1990’s, as security protection against a general lawlessness along its eastern border.
Some villagers organized into self-defense forces (Basij) have received training from the Iranian government, and on occasion even launch offensive operations against traffickers, bandits and ethnic insurgents.
Basij units also play a broader political role in Iran and are associated with suppression of internal dissent. The Basij fall under the authority of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, an Iranian government entity designated under USG Executive Order 13382 for its role in supporting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Executive Order 13224, designated the IRGC’s Qods Force (IRGC-QF) but not the entire IRGC for its role in supporting terrorist groups.
Security forces also periodically clash with Baluch tribesmen who are seeking more autonomy from the central governments in Iran and Pakistan in long simmering conflicts. These tribesmen are also an important element in narcotics trafficking and have traditionally smuggled goods across regional borders. Finally, there are numerous Afghan displaced persons and refugees on both sides of Iran’s eastern border; some share of them also participate in drug trafficking. As a result, all three elements of lawlessness-narcotics trafficking, ethnic insurgency and smuggling-occur simultaneously complicating the situation along Iran’s eastern border.
Iran claims that 50,000 law enforcement personnel are regularly deployed along its border with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Interdiction efforts by the police and the Revolutionary Guards have resulted in numerous drug seizures. Iranian officials seized almost 683 metric tons (MT) of opiates (opium equivalent) during 2007. Opiate seizures in 2007 set a new record for Iran’s seizures of opiates, increasing by more than 30 percent over 2006. Seizures at rates like those claimed in Iran surely strike a blow at narcotics criminals and their financiers. Iran and Pakistan alternate as the countries with the highest volume of opiate seizures in the world.
Iranian opiate seizures in 2007 demonstrated the following interesting trends:
Unrefined (raw) opium seizures continued to increase sharply during 2007, reaching more than 427 MT, a new record for Iranian raw opium seizures, more than 37 percent higher than 2006. Seizures of refined opiates (morphine base and heroin) for 2007 also set a new record for Iran at almost 256 MT of opium equivalent, but the increase over 2006 was a more modest 20.3 percent;
The share of raw opium in total opiate seizures was 62.5 percent, a relatively high level in line with recent years’ results. Given the weight and bulk advantage of shipping opiates as either heroin or morphine base (approximately 1/10th the weight and bulk), it would seem that trafficking groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan have made a conscious decision to serve the large and growing market for opium in Iran;
For the first time, Iran reported seizures of varieties of more addictive opiates that it names “crystal” and “crack”. Together seizures in these two categories were 2.25 MT, suggesting a sharply increased addiction potential from these purer and more intense refined products;
Heroin seizures were 23.3 percent of all opiates seized (opium equivalent), up from 2006’s roughly 20.3 percent share; not since 1992 has the share of heroin seized been this high;
Morphine base seizures in 2007 declined by 8.7 percent to 9.7 MT and the share of seized morphine base in total opiates seized fell to just 14.2 percent of the total. Refineries in Afghanistan seem to be turning out more heroin, as opposed to morphine base.
Hashish seizures in Iran in 2007 were 89.7 MT. This represents a sharp increase (37 percent) over 2006, when 59.2 MT of hashish were seized. Even under the assumption that Iranian enforcement has increased the efficiency with which they are seizing all drugs, these high seizure results for hashish together with the equally high results for opiates suggest an across-the-board explosion in demand for all drugs in Iran.
NB. To compute shares of opiates seized in Iran accurately, we convert morphine base and heroin into opium equivalents by multiplying by a factor of ten. This is a convention, and is only an approximation of actual opium heroin conversion factors.
Iran also reports destruction of 13.2 metric tons of marijuana and growing seizures of methamphetamines: 38 kg. The large volumes of marijuana seized and destroyed in Iran suggest more marijuana may be being cultivated illegally in Iran itself. While methamphetamine seizures remain small, the emergence of relatively cheap synthetic drugs in Iran’s very young population represents just one more threat to Iranian society from illicit drugs. There have also been reports of the seizure/destruction of small synthetic drug laboratories in Tehran during 2007.
Drug offenses are under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts. Punishment for narcotics offenses is severe, with death sentences possible for possession of more than 30 grams of heroin or five kilograms of opium. Those convicted of lesser offenses may be punished with imprisonment, fines, or lashings, although it is believed that lashings have been used less frequently in recent years. Offenders under the age of 18 are afforded some leniency. More than 60 percent of the inmates in Iranian prisons are incarcerated for drug offenses, ranging from use to trafficking. Twice as many drug abusers were detained as drug traffickers. Iran has executed more than 10,000 narcotics traffickers in the last two decades.
Corruption. Corruption plays an important role in narcotics trafficking in Iran. Some corruption cases reached the courts in Iran, and were also featured in media reports, though few involving narcotics-related corruption. There are reports that enforcement authorities accept bribes to pass shipments, and fail to enforce laws that prohibit street sales of narcotics and other contraband inside of Iran. Iran has signed, but has not ratified, the UN Convention against Corruption.
Agreements and Treaties. Iran is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention; however, its legislation does not bring it completely into compliance with the Convention, particularly in the areas of money laundering and controlled deliveries. The UNODC is working with Iran through the NOROUZ Program to modify its laws, train the judiciary, and improve the court system. UNODC has also begun to implement new assistance projects for Iran’s courts and prosecutors after a Paris Pact review of Iran’s counter-narcotics efforts. The new assistance, which is projected to cost in excess of $7.5 million, focuses on modernization of the courts, especially increased use of computerization in courts, transparency, and corruption reduction. Iran is also a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Iran has signed, but has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC); however, it has not signed any of the UNTOC protocols. Iran has shown an increasing desire to cooperate with the international community on counter-narcotics matters. Iran is an active participant in the Paris Pact, a group of countries that actively seeks to coordinate efforts to counter opiate smuggling in Southwest Asia. Iran also actively cooperates with its nearest neighbors, Pakistan and Afghanistan, in an effort to counter drug smuggling and hosted a trilateral meeting, also attended by the UNODC, in 2008.
Cultivation/Production. In 1998, and again in 1999, a U.S. survey of opium poppy cultivation in Iran and a detailed U.S. multi-agency assessment concluded that the amount of poppy being grown in Iran was negligible. The survey studied more than 1.25 million acres in Iran's traditional poppy-growing areas, and found no poppy production, although the survey could not rule out the possibility of some cultivation in remote areas. Iran is now generally viewed as a transit country for drugs produced elsewhere, but there are reports of opium refining near the Turkish/Iranian border. Recently, there have also been more indications in Iran’s press of opium poppy cultivation in remote areas. Most refining of the opiates moving through Iran is done elsewhere, either in Afghanistan or in Turkey.
Cultivation of marijuana in Iran, on the other hand, seems more extensive than originally thought. Iran reported seizing more than 13 MT of marijuana in 2007, and hashish seizures reached a new high of in excess of 89 MT. It is unlikely that marijuana is moving very long distances as bulky, hard-to-transport leaves, so some share of the reported 13 MT of marijuana seizures is likely to be of marijuana cultivated in Iran itself.
Drug Flow/Transit. Shipments of opiates enter Iran overland from Pakistan and Afghanistan by camel, donkey, or truck caravans, often organized and protected by heavily armed ethnic Baluch tribesmen from either side of the frontier. Iranian enforcement officials have estimated that as much as 60 percent of the opium produced in Afghanistan in past years entered Iran, with as much as 700-800 metric tons of opium consumed in Iran itself by its 3 million plus users. Once inside Iran, large shipments are either concealed within ordinary commercial truck cargoes or broken down into smaller sub-shipments. The Iranian town of Zahedan is reportedly a center for the opiate trade as it first enters Iran, and then moves westward. The Iranian government has tried to counter this problem by stationing a drug enforcement unit headquarters in Zahedan. Individuals and small groups also attempt to cross the border with two to ten kilograms of drugs, in many cases either ingested for concealment or hidden in backpacks or hand luggage. Trafficking through Iran's airports also appears to be on the rise, with numerous reports that couriers transit Iranian airports, bound for foreign destinations. There are even foreign trafficking rings operating in Iran, as was revealed when a large international trafficking group led by Africans and shipping drugs worldwide was apprehended. Still, many local traffickers in Iran move drugs in large armed convoys on Iran’s eastern border, and are ready for a fight if challenged.
A large share of the opiates smuggled into Iran from Afghanistan is smuggled to neighboring countries for further processing and transportation to Europe. Turkey is an important transit point for these opiates, most of which are bound for consumption in Russia and Europe. Some refining of opiates takes place in the ethnically Kurdish areas of Turkey, and in other parts of Eastern Turkey. Almost all of the morphine base, which represented almost 14.2 percent of all opiates seized in 2007, in Iran, is moving west for additional refining. Important quantities of the approximately 23 percent of opiates moving as heroin also transit Turkey on their way to Europe, while some heads to Russia. Significant quantities of raw opium are consumed in Iran itself, but some raw opium also moves on to the west as opium, while the largest share of opium, not consumed in Iran, is refined and consumed as heroin in Europe, and elsewhere. There is a northern smuggling route through Iran’s Khorasan Province, to Turkmenistan, to Tehran, and then on to Turkey. The mountains and desert, which are sparsely populated along this route, make it hard to police.
The southern route also passes through sparsely settled desert terrain, and then passes through Tehran on its way to Turkey; some opiates moving along the southern route detour to Bandar Abbas and move by sea to the Persian Gulf states. Bandar Abbas also appears to be an entry point for precursor chemicals moving to refineries in Afghanistan. Such movement is facilitated by the fact that the goods are “in transit” and never officially clear customs and enter Iran. Iran actively participates in the international systems for pre-notification of exports for precursor chemicals, and maintains a licensing and inspection regime for domestic firms authorized to use dual-use precursor chemicals. Iran has also made a number of important seizures, mostly at Bandar Abbas, of acetic anhydride, used in the refining of heroin. For example, in February/March of 2008, Iranian enforcement found 5 MT (5000 liters) of acetic anhydride hid in a shipment of second-hand cars and parts loaded in Pusan South Korea. All precursor chemicals seized were consigned to Afghanistan. Trafficking through Iran is facilitated by wide-spread smuggling traditionally used to provide necessities and small luxuries like TV satellite dishes, and to escape high taxation.
Azerbaijan and Armenia provide alternative routes to Russia and Europe that bypass Turkish interdiction efforts. Additionally, despite the risk of severe punishment, marine transport is used through the Persian Gulf to the nations of the Arabian Peninsula, taking advantage of modern transportation and communication facilities and a laissez-faire commercial attitude in that area. The UAE is a prominent transshipment destination and small loads of opiates are smuggled across the Persian Gulf to be placed in containerized cargo shipments. Hashish moves extensively along this route, as well. Iran reported to UNODC in October 2008, for example, a seizure of 610 kilograms of opium and 150 kilograms of hashish from a vessel passing along Iran’s coastline towards the UAE. In December 2008, Iran reported to UNODC a seizure of 250 kilograms of hashish in Bushehr province, bound for Qatar. Oman and Dubai appear to be important destinations, but some Iranian hashish even finds its way to Iraq.
Increasingly, synthetic drugs from Europe (Netherlands) and Southeast Asia (Thailand) are shipped to Iran for sale in Iran’s larger cities and towns to young people. Based on seizure statistics, the scale of this traffic is still small, but Iranian drug control officials are concerned since Iran has a young population, and synthetic drugs could become popular quickly as their price is low.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Smoked opium is the traditional drug of abuse in Iran, but opium is also drunk, dissolved in tea. Opium and its residue are also injected by a small number of addicts. Iranians have clearly been using more heroin during the past several years. Heroin has not replaced opium, the traditional drug of choice in Iran, but the share of heroin in Iran’s total opiate seizures has been rising since the mid-eighties and reached more than 23 percent (opium equivalent) in 2007. Afghan traffickers are also apparently shipping proportionally less morphine base. Some heroin is smoked or sniffed, but a growing share is injected. Growing seizures of synthetic drugs are also regularly reported, and this year there were again reports that synthetics were being produced in Iran itself. Since synthetic drugs are favored by young people, this suggests that young people are driving drug abuse in Iran to even higher levels. There have also been regular reports of a concentrated or “crack” heroin, which is reportedly more pure than other heroin available in Iran. Because of its intensity, crack heroin is associated with increased emergency room visits, and overdose deaths. In 2007, Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters reported seizures of “crack” and “crystal” heroin rose precipitously to more that 2 MT. At this level, this new form of heroin would represent 17 percent of total heroin seizures during 2007 in Iran.
Ninety-three percent of Iranian opiate addicts are male, with a mean age of 33.6 years, and 1.4 percent (about 21,000) is HIV positive. Under the UNODC's NOROUZ narcotics assistance project, the GOI spent more than $68 million dollars in the first year of project implementation for demand reduction and community awareness. The Prevention Department of Iran's Social Welfare Association says that it treated 438,341 drug addicts in 2007, and reports that more than 4 million syringes were distributed in the first nine months of 2007. The ability to deliver treatment on this scale represented a significant success, as addicts admitted for treatment in 2007 were up 40 times from just five years earlier in 2002, according to official treatment statistics. Narcotics Anonymous and other self-help programs can be found in almost all districts, and several other NGOs, including NGOs supported by the Soros Foundation, which focus on drug demand reduction are active in Iran. There are now methadone treatment and HIV prevention programs in Iran, in response to growing HIV infection, especially in the prison population.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The U.S. Government continues to encourage regional cooperation against narcotics trafficking. Iran and the United States have expressed similar viewpoints on illicit drugs and the regional impact of the Afghan drug trade. In the context of multilateral settings such as the UN's Paris Pact group, the United States and Iran have worked together productively. Iran nominated the United States to be coordinator of an earlier UN-sponsored coordination effort on narcotics called the “Six Plus Two” counter-narcotics initiative. The U.S. has approved licenses which allow U.S. NGOs to work on drug issues in Iran.
The Road Ahead. The GOI has taken strong measures against illicit narcotics, particularly interdiction of drugs moving into and through its territory. Iran stands to be one of the major benefactors of any long-term reduction in drug production/trafficking from Afghanistan, as it is one of the biggest victims of the recent increase in opium/heroin production there now.
Senior Iraqi Government officials acknowledge that illicit drugs enter Iraq from Iran, some to be used by Iraqis, but most transshipped south out of Basra or north through Iraqi Kurdistan. However, officials deny that illicit narcotics are a major problem in Iraq. Indeed, faced with an active insurgency and intense sectarian violence, the Government of Iraq (GOI) maintains no drug-abuse-specific statistics. The Iraqi Ministry of the Interior (MOI) has reported no known production of illicit drugs in Iraq. The MOI, which also supervises the Border Security Police, does not track narcotics-related arrests or seizures.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), the health system is under-resourced and overwhelmed by trauma cases. Given the relatively modest drug abuse problems in Iraq, the MOH has not organized special treatment options for drug abuse. There are no controls over prescription drugs and no GOI focus on illegal drug use. Smuggling or theft of chemicals of any sort is more often related to bomb-making activities, not drug manufacture or abuse. However, within the last few years, there has been a marked increase in the seizure of large quantities of methamphetamine precursors, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, as well as large seizures of amphetamine tablets. Money laundering is widely employed to support sectarian militias and/or terrorist groups, but is less apt to be used to launder the proceeds of narcotics sales. The availability of both chemical precursors and money laundering networks illustrate Iraq’s vulnerability to narcotics trafficking should the security environment continue to improve. The three GOI anti-corruption agencies reported no corruption cases involving narcotics. Iraq is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Iraq is not a significant producer of illicit drugs or precursor chemicals. U.S.D.A. (Department of Agriculture) advisors in Iraq opined that most of Iraq is too arid to grow plants that could be used for illicit drugs. In the south, where sufficient water is available, efforts to farm marijuana instead of rice have not succeeded. Due to its geographical location near drug-producing countries (Afghanistan) and drug-consuming or transshipping countries (Iran), Iraq is a transit country for illicit drugs. Iraq’s vast desert borders and tenuous security situation make it vulnerable to illicit drug smuggling operations. However, due to numerous military checkpoints and subversive activity outside of military-controlled areas, the amount of narcotics being smuggled in and through Iraq is estimated to be low. Iraq is not a major drug-consuming country: most Iraqis (80 percent of whom currently receive food rations from the government) would seem hard-pressed to find the cash to support a drug habit.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), in conjunction with the Department of State (DoS) Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), has begun an extensive training program for Iraqi Border Security Agents. This basic skills training program for Iraqi Border Security Forces includes a module on narcotics.
Law Enforcement Efforts. While Iraq lacks a coordinated national anti-narcotics effort, several Iraqi police commanders have requested training from the U.S. in identifying and prosecuting narcotics traffickers. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has sent test kits for narcotics to several police units. Training in how to use these kits is done by U.S. contractors. Several provinces have anti-narcotics units and have requested funding, training and equipment for forensics laboratories to assist them in enforcing the strict anti-narcotics laws. To date, the GOI does not have official statistics on arrests and convictions for narcotics-related crime. The Iraqi Ministry of Justice (MOJ) reports that the vast majority of inmates confined in Iraq’s prisons are there on terrorism-related charges. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provide advisory and training assistance to Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement officials at high threat locations along Iraq’s borders. DHS and CBP also provide assistance to Iraqi Customs, Immigration, and Border Guards to help ensure their policies, procedures, and capabilities enhance Iraqi border control efforts.
The USG provides some assistance to help the GOI develop counter-narcotics capacity. For example, State Department-INL-contracted experts assigned to MNC-I (Multi-National Corps-Iraq) conduct training for Iraqi Border Security Agents. DEA also provides assistance. DEA operates in a concerted region-wide manner through the Ankara Regional Office in Turkey. DEA efforts include:
establishing relations in the KRG (Kurdish Regional Government) between MNSTC-I (Multi-National Security Transition Corps-Iraq) and Kurdish authorities to develop operational cooperation, intelligence sharing, and investigative training; sharing intelligence and supporting Coalition initiatives such as MNF-W’s (Multi-National Force-West) Joint Prosecution Exploitation Cell (JPEC); increasing efforts to develop intelligence in southeast Turkey, along the borders with Iran and Syria; assigning DEA agents to the Major Crimes Task Force (MCTF), an interagency effort headed by the FBI that works with the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.
Corruption. While corruption is a serious problem in Iraq, Iraqi officials do not seem to engage in narcotics-related corruption. Before 2003, the GOI enforced strict prohibitions on narcotics abuse; current Iraqi cultural norms discourage recreational drug use. Consequently, current GOI officials are not viewed as encouraging or facilitating illicit production or otherwise supporting drug-trafficking. INL has provided $21 million in assistance from the FY-07 supplemental budget, and an additional $6.2 million from the 2008 supplemental budget, to train Iraqi anti-corruption agencies. Thus far, none of the corruption investigations undertaken have involved narcotics.
Agreements and Treaties. Iraq is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, In March 2008, Iraq acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) but has not signed any of the UNTOC protocols. The extradition treaty between Iraq and the United States is in force.
Drug Flow/Transit. Iraq is primarily a narcotics transit country. This presents many challenges for its new government. The border area, where most of the smuggling occurs, continues to experience violence and instability. The Commander of the Iraqi Drug Squad in the northern Kurdish province of Sulaymaniyah reported 117 arrests for drug smuggling over the past two years. His squad sees opium, heroin, and cannabis coming over the border in mule trains, cars and trucks operated by Iranian gangs. He reports that the drugs are moved on to Turkey, where the opium is refined into heroin. From there, the drugs move on to Western Europe.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. With its current focus on anti-insurgency operations, the GOI has no domestic programs to respond to the relatively few instances of narcotics-related problems. There are no prescription drug controls in Iraq. Village markets often have prescription drugs, pilfered from medical facilities, for sale in an uncontrolled atmosphere. In February 2008, the GOI, in a report provided by the National Intelligence Information Agency, within the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), summarized the drug problem in Iraq. The GOI reported that after 2003, there was a noticeable increase in the sale and consumption of illegal drugs. The GOI estimated approximately 10,000 Iraqi’s are addicted to illegal narcotics, with recent growth among the addicted population between the ages of 16-24. It identified Iran as the main source of illegal drugs, and Maysan provinces as a primary passageway for illegal drugs. Health officials believe that Valium, a drug found in Iraqi correctional facilities and health institutions, is the drug most commonly abused by the Iraqi population.
Drug Trafficking, the Insurgency, and Security Forces. There is some evidence that insurgents use drug trafficking as a means of financing. Additionally, Coalition forces have reported that insurgent groups use drugs to increase the risk-taking willingness of their fighters.
Amphetamine. Since 2006, there have been several seizures of significant amounts of amphetamine tablets in Iraq.
In December 2006, coalition forces seized 50,000 tablets of amphetamine.
In June 2008, coalition forces seized 595,000 tablets of amphetamine.
In July 2008 the Iraqi National Intelligence and Information Agency (INIIA) seized approximately 425,000 tablets of amphetamine.
In October 2008, coalition forces seized 125,000 tablets of amphetamine.
Regionally, Jordanian law enforcement reported seizing approximately ten million tablets a year since 2004, while Saudi Arabian authorities reported seizing approximately twenty-two million tablets from May to November 2007.
Hashish. Kuwait law enforcement has reported large quantities of hashish are being smuggled from Iran through Basra Province into Kuwait. This is corroborated by limited Iraqi intelligence reporting. Syrian law enforcement officials reported seizing approximately 125 kgs of hashish smuggled through Iraq.
Equipment/Precursors. In the last three years there have been multiple attempts to import tablet processing equipment and large quantities of methamphetamine precursors into Iraq, notably:
In 2005 international law enforcement officials tracked the delivery of a tablet manufacturing press capable of producing 50,000 tablets per hour from Germany to Iraq.
In 2006, international law enforcement officials stopped six shipments of ephedrine to Iraq totaling 18,000 kgs, and in 2007, stopped an additional three shipments of pseudoephedrine totaling 250,900 kgs. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has set Iraq’s legitimate annual ephedrine/ pseudoephedrine requirement at 1,400 kgs.
In March 2008, international law enforcement officials halted the shipment of 10,000 kgs of pseudoephedrine to a company in Iraq
While there has not been any indication of large scale methamphetamine production in Iraq, incidents of this nature and the large number of amphetamine tablets seized cause concern for the possibility of future production of methamphetamine or, more likely, illicit diversion of precursors to third countries.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The National Drug Intelligence Center conducted a thorough assessment of the situation in Iraq during 2008 and is scheduled to release a report on their findings in the early part of 2009. . To assist Iraqi maritime forces in readiness to patrol, the USCG sent two engineering teams to provide training in the areas of logistics and administration. They also sent teams to provided advanced outboard motor maintenance and small boat operations training
The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to support the training of the Iraqi Defense Forces, the Iraqi Police, the anti-corruption agencies, the Border Security Forces, and economic policy-makers in terms of agriculture and banking. The U.S. will encourage Iraq to direct more resources towards narcotics-related crime and abuse, and will assist Iraqi ministries to improve their capacity in preparation for a period when improved security permits a more typical enforcement effort.
The Republic of Ireland is not a transshipment point for narcotics to the United States, nor is it a hub for drug trafficking. The ability to travel between Ireland and the U.K. document-free does pose a unique challenge for Irish law enforcement officials. According to Government of Ireland (GOI) officials, overall drug use in Ireland continues to remain steady, with the exception of cocaine use, which continued its upward trend. Seizures have also increased as domestic traffickers attempt to import drugs in larger quantities. The GOI’s National Drug Strategy aims to reduce drug consumption significantly through a concerted focus on supply reduction, prevention, treatment, and research. Ireland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Ireland is not a transit point for drugs to the United States, but it is occasionally used as a transit point for narcotics trafficking to other parts of Europe, including across its land border to Northern Ireland, which, of course, is part of the United Kingdom. Ireland is not a significant source of illicit narcotics, though officials have found a large quantity of precursors intended to manufacture around Euro 500 million worth of Ecstasy and amphetamines in past seizure operations.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The GOI continued to implement the National Drug Strategy for 2001-2008. Its goal is to “to significantly reduce the harm caused to individuals and society by the misuse of drugs through a concerted focus on supply reduction, prevention, treatment and research.” Since the 2003 launch of a National Awareness Campaign on Drugs, substance abuse programs have become part of every school curriculum in the country. The campaigns feature television and radio advertising, and lectures by police, supported by an information brochure and website, all designed to promote greater awareness of and communication about drug issues. Regional Drug Task Forces (RDTF), set up to examine narcotics issues in local areas, were operational throughout the country. A new National Drugs Strategy for the period 2009-2016 is currently being developed. A comprehensive consultation process took place during 2008. It is expected that the Strategy will be finalized and launched early in 2009.
A national Awareness Campaign focusing on the dangers of cocaine misuse was launched in early 2008 by the Health Service Executive. The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs allocated Euro 500,000 across Local and Regional Drugs Task Forces to develop locally based campaigns to dovetail with the national campaign. Increased funding of Euro 14.3 million under the Drugs Strategy was provided in 2008. Under the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund (YPFSF), further facilities and services were provided for young people at risk of becoming involved with drugs. The increased funding provided staffing and running costs for projects in existing areas and facilitated the expansion of the YPFSF into four new towns: Arklow, Athlone, Dundalk and Wexford. In October, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) announced the transfer of the YPFSF into the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to facilitate a more coordinated approach to policies for young people at risk.
Further progress was made towards full implementation of the agreed work programs of the ten RDTFs. The additional funding allowed for the full year cost of projects already in progress, as well as the start of additional projects this year. Euro 750,000 was allocated to support a range of rehabilitation measures across Task Force areas. The increased funding also provided for the continued implementation of the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs report “An Overview of Cocaine Use in Ireland”. Euro 1.2 million was allocated across Task Force areas to develop new responses to tackle cocaine abuse and to strengthen and deepen existing cocaine projects. Euro 2.3 million was allocated to 16 projects in RDTF areas not covered by the YPFSF. Applications were invited from the ten RDTFs for suitable community based, youth focused proposals.
The Dial-to-Stop Drug Dealing Campaign was launched in 2008. This initiative, including a confidential telephone line, involves a number of local/regional campaigns run through the mechanism of the Local/Regional Drugs Task Forces.
The 2006/2007 Drug Prevalence Survey: “Drug Use in Ireland and Northern Ireland” was published in October. Figures show that heroin use has stabilized in Dublin while increasing in other areas. Cocaine use has increased.
The Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs coordinated the Irish input into the preparation of the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2009-2012. A British-Irish Council summit on “Families & Drugs” was held in Dublin in February. A Ministerial sectoral group meeting on the “Misuse of Drugs” was held in London in November.
Accomplishments. Prosecutions increased in 2007, the majority of which were for drug possession, which has risen steadily since 2003, and accounted for 73.5 percent of the total drug offences prosecuted in 2007. The number of simple possession offences increased from 10,471 in 2006 to 14,033 in 2007.
The number of supply offences leading to a prosecution in 2006 was 2,525, representing 21.6 percent of the total number of offences prosecuted (Figures for 2007 are not yet available). Recordedheadline drug offences in 2007 rose by 791 (21.8%). The largest offence type , Possession of drugs for sale or supply, increased by 595 (19.7%) while recorded Cultivation, manufacture or importation of drugs offences increased by 79 (58.5 %) over the year. The Irish Police continued to cooperate closely with other national police forces. In November, Irish Police arrested three British nationals for their part in an international cocaine smuggling network following information from the British Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) and the Lisbon-based European anti drugs agency Maritime Analysis and Operations Center—Narcotics (MAOC-N), of which Ireland is a participating member.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Although official statistics are not yet available for 2008, the Irish Police confirmed that drug-related arrests remained roughly constant over the previous three years. There are normally 7,000-8,000 arrests annually, including approximately 450 arrests made by the Garda National Drug Unit (GNDU) each year. The GNDU’s arrests tend to include most of the large seizures, but local police also have had success. For example, the Irish Police, Irish Navy and the Irish Customs Service seized 1,875 kilograms of cocaine (valued at Euro 500 million; the largest ever seizure in the State) off the coast of Cork on November 5. The cocaine was discovered on, Dances with Waves, a ship not registered in any country or territory, and had been tracked from the Caribbean across the Atlantic until it was intercepted by Irish authorities. Three arrests, all British nationals, were made in relation to this ill-fated smuggling operation. The three are to be tried in 2009. Irish Police believe the drugs were not intended for the Irish market and were more likely destined for the UK.
Police sources said, contrary to widely-held perceptions, the value of cocaine seizures decreased in 2007, with a value of Euro 17.4 million, while the value of heroin seized increased to Euro 23.4 million. Sources said the rise in the quantity of heroin being offered for sale was directly related to the large opium crops in Afghanistan.
Police sources say the increase in quantities seized and arrests made are a function of enhanced efforts rather than an increase in narcotic use.
A breakdown of the type and quantity of drugs seized by police in 2007 follows:
Particulars of drugs seized during 2007
Source: Central Statistics Office
|Amphetamine||58,217 grams, 10,471 tablets||235|
|Cannabis resin||1,235.4 kg||3,166|
|Cannabis plants*||1,272 plants||100|
|2 C-B||2 tablets||1|
*Approximately 1,500 kilograms of cocaine were the result of one seizure made in July 2007.
|Diamorphine (Heroin)||146.6 kg||1,698|
|Diazepam||71,483 tablets, 1,988gram||166|
|Dihydrocodeine||358 tablets, 0.2 grams||16|
|Ecstasy MDMA||204,799 tablets, 13,.3 kg||1,171|
|Ecstasy MDEA||7 tablets||2|
|Ephedrine||695 tablets, 47 capsules, 3.2 grams||11|
|Flunitrazepam (Rohypnol)||76 tablets||4|
|Ketamine**||52.1 grams 2,082 tablets||28|
|Methadone||6,022 milliliters, 900 tablets||21|
|Oxycodone||283 capsules, 263 tablets||2|
*The number of cannabis plants does not reflect the total number detected as only a sample of the plants are sent for analysis for practical reasons.
**These drugs are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Acts, 1977 & 1984
In February, in a planned operation led by the Garda National Drugs Unit with drugs units in Naas and Newbridge, one and half tons of cannabis, with an estimated street value of Euro eleven million, was seized. In April, eight kilograms of cocaine was seized by officers from the Garda National Drug Unit and the National Criminal Intelligence Unit in Dublin city centre. Officers from the Garda Organized Crime Unit and the Clondalkin Drugs Unit discovered 20 kilograms of heroin in an industrial estate in Clondalkin, West Dublin in June. In July, in a joint operation with Customs officers, detectives from the Garda National Drugs Unit intercepted two cars on a transporter in Birr, County Offaly and seized six kilograms of methamphetamine (crystal meth). The interception was part of Operation Chestnut, an investigation set up to target Eastern European drug trafficking gangs and Nigerians who are focusing on the Irish market. (Note: In 2006 a total of only 10.2 grams of the drug was found in five separate seizures.) In August, as part of an operation by the Organized Crime Unit, the Garda National Drug Unit and Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation seized six kilograms of heroin in Dublin. An investigation headed by the Garda's Organized Crime Unit (OCU) seized 13 kilograms of heroin, with an estimated street value of Euro 2.6 million, in September. In October, cannabis valued at Euro 10 million, was seized entering Ireland by car ferry in Rosslare, County Wexford. In November, Garda seized heroin and cocaine with an estimated street value of Euro 2 million in a planned raid in Blessington, County Wicklow.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the GOI does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There are also no known reports of senior officials of the government engaging in, encouraging, or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. In July 2005, the United States and Ireland signed instruments on extradition and mutual legal assistance as part of a sequence of bilateral agreements that the United States is concluding with all 25 EU Member States. The instruments supplement and update the 1983 U.S.-Ireland extradition treaty and the 2001 bilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance (MLAT). The 2005 instrument also provides for searches of suspect foreign located bank accounts, joint investigative teams, and testimony by video-link. The U.S. has ratified these agreements. As of November 2008, the GOI had enacted legislation to bring the U.S.-EU MLAT and the U.S.-Ireland MLAT into force. In addition, the two countries have concluded protocols to the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements. The protocols are pending entry into force Ireland is a party to the 1998 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Ireland has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation/Production. Only small amounts of cannabis are cultivated in Ireland. There is no evidence that synthetic drugs were produced domestically this year.
Drug Flow/Transit. Among drug abusers in Ireland, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines, Ecstasy (MDMA), and heroin are the drugs of choice. A Council of Europe report on organized crime, published in January 2005, reported that Ireland had the highest rate of Ecstasy and amphetamine use in Europe and the second highest rate of cocaine abuse. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2008, published in June, placed Ireland in joint fifth place (out of 32 European countries) for cocaine use and in joint sixth place for Ecstasy use. South American cocaine, available in Ireland, comes primarily from Colombia and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, and cannabis are often hidden in cars in either Spain or the Netherlands, and then driven into Ireland, by gang members posing as tourists, for distribution around the country. This distribution network is controlled by 6 to 12 Irish criminal gangs based in Spain and the Netherlands. Herbal cannabis is primarily imported from South Africa.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. There are 7,390 treatment sites for opiate addiction, exceeding the GOI’s National Drug Strategy target of 6,500 treatment sites. The Strategy also mandates that each area Health Board have in place a number of treatment and rehabilitation options. In January 2005, the ten health boards were replaced by a single entity, the Health Service Executive (HSE), which manages Ireland’s public health sector. Since September 2005, health care is now provided through four HSE regions and 32 local health offices. For heroin addicts, there are 71 methadone treatment locations. The treatment centers treat 9,000 of Ireland’s approximately 15,000 heroin addicts, 13,000 of whom live in Dublin. A total of 1,579 individual prisoners received methadone in Irish prisons, accounting for about 10 percent of the total population sent to prison in 2007.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. In 2008, the United States continued legal and policy cooperation with the GOI, and benefited from Irish cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agencies such as the DEA. Information sharing between U.S. and Irish officials continued to strengthen law enforcement ties between the countries.
The Road Ahead. U.S. support for Ireland’s counternarcotics program, along with U.S. and Irish cooperative efforts, continues to work to prevent Ireland from becoming a transit point for narcotics trafficking to the United States.
Israel is not a significant producer or trafficking point for drugs, but its domestic market for illicit narcotics is characterized by high demand. Compared with 2007, the Israeli National Police (INP) reported a 40% rise in new illicit narcotics-related cases in 2008. This increase is likely the result of increased resources and improved efforts by the INP in interdicting illicit drugs and not from a substantial increase in the domestic drug market. Israel’s porous border with Egypt in the south and lucrative smuggling routes through Lebanon in the north make the drug trade an attractive and profitable venture for Israelis and others. The Israeli National Police (INP) report high availability of marijuana, hashish, Ecstasy/MDMA, cocaine, heroin and LSD in the Israeli domestic market. The intense security presence and surveillance along Israel’s borders generally make it difficult for smugglers to bring drugs into the country, but demand in the market guarantees a profitable return for those determined to take the risk. Israel is not a significant transit country for drugs, although authorities intercept heroin transiting Israel from Jordan to Egypt. 2008 witnessed several large seizures of cocaine and other narcotics and an increase in resources to combat pharmaceutical crime. Israel is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Israel is not a major producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals. In a 2008 study, the INP estimated annual domestic proceeds from the sale of illicit drugs to be approximately U.S. $1.5 billion. Officials are also concerned about the widespread use of Ecstasy and marijuana among Israeli youth, and say that juvenile usage mirrors trends in other Western countries. There is widespread concern about the abuse by minors of household items such as inhalants, and the availability of chemical analogs of banned substances not explicitly prohibited under the law.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The INP continued its general policy of interdiction at Israel’s borders and ports of entry. The police concentrate specifically on the Jordanian and Egyptian borders, where the majority of heroin, cocaine and marijuana enter Israel. Israel’s Pharmaceutical Crime Unit (PCU) in the Ministry of Health added an additional pharmacist in 2008 who rotates through ports-of-entry to lend expertise to the Israeli customs service in interdicting illicit pharmaceuticals or precursor drugs. Due to the success of this program, the PCU has requested additional money from the 2009 budget for a third pharmacist. In an initiative similar to the “DAWN” program in the US, the GOI is working to establish a network to increase monitoring of drug abuse by compiling data gathered from hospitals.
The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, approved legislation allowing expanded testing measures of drivers who police suspect of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. New legislation allowing random saliva drug testing of professional commercial vehicle drivers is in its final stages of approval. The Knesset is also considering legislation prohibiting the manufacture, import, display, possession, or sale of any drug-related paraphernalia. Additionally, 15 new synthetic drugs (ATS) were added to Israel’s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2008, the INP established a new drug interdiction unit called “Magen” to patrol the Israeli-Jordanian border in the Dead Sea region. Increased drug enforcement and interdiction efforts led to increased amounts seized. The INP report that the main source of hashish has shifted from Jordan and Lebanon to Morocco and Afghanistan. Also, since the majority of Israel’s Ecstasy or MDMA enters via sea, the police and customs units are paying greater attention to smuggling efforts at sea ports. The INP report about a 40% increase in the number of drug trafficking and smuggling cases for 2008 over 2007. Heroin and cocaine seizures increased dramatically in 2008, mostly due to large seizures that a few successful operations yielded. Building on changes in law that occurred in the last couple of years, in 2009 the INP and PCU plan to take aggressive measures against drug dealers that operate in Israel’s “kiosks”, or small, 24-hour stands that sell tobacco and other convenience products throughout Israeli cities.
|MDMA (Ecstasy tablets)||
2 kg powder
*2008 data represents seizures from January through November.
Source of data: Israel National Police, Research Department.
** Of the 891,300 Ecstasy tablets seized in 2007, 777,000 were seized from one container in the port of Haifa arriving from Europe.
***80,000 of this number were tablets of Captagon seized in the Dead Sea region.
****Seizures of Cathinone only. Availability of Cathinone diminished after it was banned under Israeli law, but authorities continue to pursue analogs of the drugs.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Israel 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. Corruption is treated as a serious matter by the government. In 2008, a number of public officials, including the prime minister, were under investigation for corruption-related offenses. Israel has signed, but not ratified, the UN Convention against Corruption. Israel does not have specific legislation for public corruption related to narcotics, but narcotics-related corruption is covered under its generic anticorruption legislation.
Agreements and Treaties. Israel is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol. A customs mutual assistance agreement and a mutual legal assistance treaty are also in force between Israel and the U.S. Israel ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in December 2006. Israel has been a member of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) since 2003. Israel has signed but not yet ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Israeli companies participate in UN operations Topaz and Purple to restrict the abuse of precursor chemical substances. Israel is one of 36 parties to the COE European Treaty on Extradition and has separate extradition treaties with several other countries, including the U.S. Under the umbrella of the UNODC, Israel has restarted bilateral cooperation with the Palestinian Authority on reducing demand and supply of narcotics. Israel also cooperates on a regular basis with the Anti-Narcotics Department in Jordan. This has resulted in increasingly effective control of the Israel-Jordan border area, as reflected in interdiction figures.
In 2007, a new Protocol to the Convention on Extradition between the United States and Israel entered into force. Significantly updating the 1962 convention, the Protocol replaces the outdated list of extraditable offenses with a modern dual criminality approach and permits temporary surrender for trial in the requesting state of fugitives serving a prison sentence in the requested state. In combination with Israeli domestic extradition law, the Protocol also provides for service of a U.S. sentence in Israel for fugitives determined to be Israeli citizens and residents at the time of the commission of the offenses and allows limited inclusion of hearsay evidence in U.S. extradition documents. Israeli domestic statute of limitations in certain circumstances, however, may prohibit extradition of fugitives whose cases are more than ten years old. The application of Israel’s statute of limitations now is being litigated before the Israel Supreme Court in an U.S. extradition request involving an alleged pedophile. In the 1980s, Israel refused to turn over the fugitive because, at that time, the 1962 convention and Israeli domestic law did not permit the extradition for the offenses charged. Once the treaty was amended by the Protocol, the case was re-filed in 2007. The Supreme Court is not expected to make a final ruling in the matter until sometime in 2009.
The U.S. also has a mutual legal assistance treaty with Israel. Although this relationship is very active, in many cases Israel has been slow in executing U.S. requests.
Cultivation/Production. The vast majority of drugs consumed in Israel are produced in other countries, though domestic cultivation of marijuana and hashish remains a small problem. From time to time, the police arrest clandestine farmers growing cannabis using hydroponic techniques. Though domestically produced analogs of Ecstasy/MDMA, dimethyl cathinone, and amphetamines were manufactured and available in many urban kiosks under a wide variety of ever-changing names, the PCU has plans to establish a program in the near future to counter this activity. Cathinone is extracted from the “khat” plant, which is legal in Israel and widely cultivated within Israel’s Yemenite and Ethiopian immigrant communities. Together with the INP, the PCU recently broke up a large Ritalin counterfeiting ring. The government expects indictments in this case sometime in 2009.
Drug Flow/Transit. The intense security presence and surveillance along Israel’s borders generally makes it difficult for smugglers to bring drugs into the country, though domestic demand ensures that Israeli citizens continue to take part in international drug trafficking networks in source, transit and distribution countries. Israel is not a significant transit country for drugs. While smugglers prefer the more porous borders with Egypt and Jordan where security is not as strong, Israeli military officials still report a sizeable incidence of smuggling in many of the Arab villages that straddle the Israeli-Lebanese border in the north.
2008 drug interdiction data for Israel indicate that Egypt is the country’s main source of marijuana, South America is the main source of cocaine, and MDMA enters primarily via sea. 2008 data strongly support the trend that began in previous years in which Morocco and Afghanistan have replaced Lebanon and Jordan as the Israeli market’s main source of hashish; the Egyptian border provides the primary point of entrance for the drugs. Israeli officials continue to see a trend in the use of Israel as a transit point for the flow of heroin from Jordan to Egypt. The Negev Bedouin tribes, using their knowledge of the desert terrain and their familial connections with Jordanian and Egyptian Bedouin, facilitate most of the heroin trafficking across Israel. The INP report that in 2008, 37 kg of heroin was seized on the Egyptian border, 115 kg on the Jordanian border, and 124 kg on the Lebanese boarder. The Israeli Bedouin trade the heroin in Egypt for cash, Moroccan hashish and marijuana, for which there is a large Israeli market.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Israel Anti-Drug Authority (IADA) is the primary agency responsible for designing and implementing domestic programs to reduce the demand for drugs. The IADA administers treatment programs targeted to special populations such as women, youth, new immigrants, homeless, co-morbidity patients and other specific segments of the population. Israel pursues a harm-reduction approach in conjunction with aggressive enforcement, offering counseling, sanitary services, food, and needle exchange at clinics distributed throughout the country. If addicts are willing, they are taken directly to treatment facilities, where drug use is curtailed and where patients have access to professional training and family therapy. Israel employs the use of commonly known drugs such as Subutex-buprenorphine, and Methadone in its treatment facilities and hospitals.
The IADA worked with other agencies such as the Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene on the needs of special populations. Needle exchange programs were implemented in several cities to reduce harm to homeless populations and other programs were developed specifically targeting prostitutes. Israel established therapeutic communities focusing on rehabilitation of patients, and in particular, vocational rehabilitation. The IADA began developing culturally sensitive prevention programs for the Ethiopian and former Soviet Union immigrant communities. The IADA participated in and/or helped to facilitate regional law enforcement workshops organized by the UN, attended joint meetings with Israeli and Palestinian law enforcement officers, and began building bridges with neighboring Jordan by means of research trips.
In 2008, several training courses were developed and implemented with the key goal of enhancing and promoting human resource development in the field of alcohol and drugs. Two main groups targeted over the year, which have significant interaction and impact over youth, included medical personnel such as nurses, doctors and pediatricians, and new teachers and students of education. The IADA has outlined several objectives for 2009. They intend to expand awareness of drug abuse through development of comprehensive, multi-disciplinary alcohol prevention programs. The IADA also plans to focus its attention on the illicit sale of designer drugs and sale of alcohol to minors. The IADA continues to advocate for a new, updated anti-drug law that would permit more immediate inclusion of dangerous substances into the Dangerous Substances Ordinance. Officials would like to explore programs on rehabilitation of clean addicts, in particular vocational rehabilitation. Enhancing international activities with the European Community and UN organizations and intensifying professional relations with the Palestinian Authority remain goals within the Israeli anti-drug community.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Cooperation between Israeli and U.S. institutions dealing with illicit drugs is excellent. The DEA Country Office In Nicosia, Cyprus and Israeli officials characterize their cooperation as outstanding. The ITA also maintains direct cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Rome, and has conducted joint anti-smuggling operations. There is a monthly bilateral exchange on major drug seizures in both countries. The Pharmaceutical Crime Unit also works directly with the DEA and sent representatives to a DEA-sponsored course on dual-use drug precursor diversion in June 2008. The PCU continues to provide intelligence in a precursor drug case of Israeli pseudoephedrine destined for an alleged methamphetamine lab in Africa.
Road Ahead. Officials from both the Israeli and U.S. government wish to continue strengthening an already excellent partnership in the area of illicit drug enforcement, eradication, and rehabilitation efforts. The DEA Country Office in Nicosia, Cyprus will continue its cooperation and coordination with counterparts in the Israeli law enforcement community. The INP continues to strengthen relationships between law enforcement agencies in other countries, and works through the Office of International Relations within the IADA to pursue this objective. The IADA has begun to establish relationships with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the U.S.
Italy is a consumer country and a major transit point for heroin transiting from the Middle East and southwest Asia through the Balkans and for cocaine originating from South America en route to western/central Europe. Italian and Italy-based foreign organized crime groups are heavily involved in international drug trafficking. The Government of Italy (GOI) is firmly committed to the fight against drug trafficking domestically and internationally. The Berlusconi government continues Italy's strong counternarcotics stand with capable Italian law enforcement agencies. GOI cooperation with U.S. law enforcement agencies continues to be exemplary. Italy is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Italy is mainly a narcotics transit and consumption country. Law enforcement officials focus their efforts on heroin, cocaine, and hashish. Although Italy produces some precursor chemicals, they are well controlled in accordance with international norms, and are not known to have been diverted to any significant extent. Law enforcement agencies with a counternarcotics mandate are effective.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Italy continues to combat narcotics aggressively and effectively. In 2006, Italy adopted a tougher new drug law that eliminates distinctions between hard and soft drugs, increases penalties for those convicted of trafficking, and establishes administrative penalties for lesser offenses. All forms of possession and trafficking are illegal but punishment depends on the severity of the infraction. Stiff penalties for those convicted of trafficking or possessing drugs include jail sentences from six to 20 years and fines of over $300,000. The law provides alternatives to jail time for minor infractions, including drug therapy, community service hours, and house arrest.
Italy has contributed an average of $12 million to UNODC, over the last several years, making it one of the largest donors to the UNODC budget. Italy has supported key U.S. objectives at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), and chairs the Dublin Group of countries coordinating narcotics sector assistance projects for Central Asia.
Law Enforcement Efforts. From January 1 to September 30, 2008, Italian authorities seized 1,377.9 kilograms of heroin; 4,201.2 kilograms of cocaine; 31,476.3 kilograms of hashish; 3,638.7 kilograms of marijuana; 153,766 marijuana plants; 127,423 doses and 14.773 kilograms of amphetamines; and 7,768 doses of LSD.
In June 2008, a lengthy DEA and Italian Carabinieri investigation into an Ecstasy and cocaine trafficking organization operating in Italy and the U.S. led to the seizure of $2.6 million in trafficker-owned assets by Italian law enforcement authorities. The investigation revealed this group was directing a complex scheme to launder millions of narco-dollars through money remitters, businesses and shell companies based in Italy, the U.S. and other locations.
In July—August 2008, a year-long joint investigation by DEA and the Italian Guardia di Finanza (GdF) dismantled a cocaine trafficking organization operating in the U.S. and Europe. The GdF seizure of 10 kilograms of cocaine in Milan revealed the cocaine transited through Los Angeles, California and led the identification of an organization responsible for polydrug trafficking activities in the U.S., Italy and Albania. The U.S. investigation led to the arrest of nine U.S.-based group members and the seizure of six kilograms of cocaine, one pound of methamphetamine, various weapons and the seizure of $1.6 million in assets.
In August 2008, a multilateral investigation involving DEA offices in Italy, Colombia and Ecuador, the Italian Carabinieri, as well as Colombian and Ecuadorian authorities, resulted in the seizure of 100 kilograms of cocaine from a residence in Naples, Italy. This operation targeted a Naples-based Camorra clan responsible for smuggling large amounts of cocaine from South America into Italy via maritime cargo containers. The Carabinieri arrested the leader of the group, as well as other members of the organization, significantly disrupting the group's drug trafficking activities.
In September 2008, the DEA Rome office, in conjunction with Italian law enforcement officials and numerous other DEA domestic and foreign offices, participated in a multinational and multi-jurisdictional enforcement action—dubbed Operation Reckoning—which targeted a significant element of the Mexican based “Gulf Cartel” responsible for importing multi-ton quantities of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana from Mexico for distribution in the U.S. and elsewhere, including Italy. The joint DEA and Italian Carabinieri investigation targeted 'Ndrangheta organized crime cells operating between Calabria, Italy and New York City as part of the overall operation. During the initial phase of this investigation, 16 individuals were indicted on Italian drug trafficking and conspiracy charges. In mid-September 2008, ten other subjects were arrested in Italy and six were arrested in New York. Operation Reckoning received extensive media coverage in Italy and Europe, and highlighted DEA's efforts to assist Italian counterparts in targeting and dismantling 'Ndrangheta's international operations.
On October 16, Italian police arrested 70 people across the country suspected of drug trafficking and money laundering. Police made the arrests in the northern cities of Milan and Varese, as well as in several cities in the southern Sicily, Calabria, Puglia and Campania regions. 'Operation Tsunami', which began in 2004, uncovered two drug trafficking organizations, each with its own supply channels and extensive networks of drug pushers who reportedly operated in city squares and streets as well as nightclubs and other youth hangouts. The gangs reportedly had a monopoly over the trafficking and pushing of hashish and cocaine in several Sicilian provinces.
The fight against drugs is a major priority of the National Police, Carabinieri, and GdF counternarcotics units. The Italian Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services (DCSA) coordinates the counternarcotics units of the three national police services and directs liaison activities with DEA and other foreign law enforcement agencies. Working with the liaison offices of the U.S. and western European countries, DCSA has 22 drug liaison officers in 20 countries (including the U.S.) that focus on major traffickers and their organizations. In 2006, DCSA stationed liaison officers in Tehran, Iran and Tashkent, Uzbekistan; in 2007 they added liaison officers in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Islamabad, Pakistan.
Investigations of international narcotics organizations often overlap with the investigations of Italy's traditional organized crime groups (e.g. the Sicilian Mafia, the Calabrian N'drangheta, the Naples-based Camorra, and the Puglia-based Sacra Corona Unita). During a two-year investigation leading to a major drug bust in early 2005, Italian officials confirmed that a number of these organized crime groups were linked to drug trafficking.
Additional narcotics trafficking groups include West African, Albanian, and other Balkan organized crime groups responsible for smuggling heroin into Italy; Colombian, Dominican, and other Latin American trafficking groups are involved in the importation of cocaine. Italian law enforcement officials employ the same narcotics investigation techniques used by other western countries. Adequate financial resources, money laundering laws, and asset seizure/forfeiture laws help ensure the effectiveness of these efforts.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Italy does not encourage or facilitate the illicit distribution of narcotics or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The USG has no information that any senior official of the Government of Italy engages in, encourages, or facilitates the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Corruption exists in Italy although in the area of counternarcotics it rarely rises to the national level and it does not compromise investigations. When a corrupt law enforcement officer is discovered, authorities take appropriate action.
Agreements and Treaties. Italy is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, as well as the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Italy is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols and has signed but not ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Italy has bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties with the U.S. In 2006, the U.S. and Italy signed bilateral instruments on extradition and mutual legal assistance to implement the U.S.-EU Agreements on Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance signed in 2003; Italy has yet to ratify these instruments. In fact, Italy is one of only three EU countries that have failed to ratify the new network of bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties with the U.S. The other two countries are Greece and Belgium.
Cultivation Production. There is no known large-scale cultivation of narcotic plants in Italy, although small-scale marijuana production in remote areas does exist mainly for domestic consumption. No heroin laboratories or processing sites have been discovered in Italy since 1992. However, opium poppy grows naturally in the southern part of Italy, including Sicily. It is not commercially viable due to the low alkaloid content. No MDMA-Ecstasy laboratories have been found in Italy.
Drug Flow/Transit. Italy is a consumer country and a major transit point for heroin coming from southwest Asia through the Balkans enroute to western and central Europe. A large percentage of all heroin seized in Italy comes via Albania. Albanian heroin traffickers work with Italian criminal organizations as transporters and suppliers of drugs. Heroin is smuggled into Italy via automobiles, ferryboats and commercial cargo. Albania is also a source country for marijuana and hashish destined for Italy. Italy maintains a liaison office in Albania to assist Albanians in interdicting narcotics originating there and destined for either Italy or other parts of Europe.
Almost all cocaine found in Italy originates with Colombian and other South American criminal groups and is managed in Italy mainly by Calabrian and Campanian-based organized crime groups. Multi-hundred kilogram shipments enter Italy via seaports, concealed in commercial cargo. Although the traditional Atlantic trafficking route is still in use, stepped-up international scrutiny and cooperation are forcing traffickers to use alternative avenues. Italian officials have detected traffickers using transit ports in West Africa where drugs are off-loaded to smaller fishing vessels that ultimately reach Spain and other Mediterranean destinations.
Cocaine shipments off-loaded in Spain and the Netherlands are eventually transported to Italy and other European countries by means of land vehicles. Smaller amounts of cocaine consisting of grams to multi-kilogram (usually concealed in luggage) enter Italy via express parcels or airline couriers traveling from South America.
Ecstasy found in Italy primarily originates in the Netherlands and is usually smuggled into the country by means of couriers utilizing commercial airlines, trains or land vehicles. A method used in the past by trafficking groups has been to provide thousands of Ecstasy tablets to couriers in Amsterdam concealed in luggage. The couriers then travel by train or airline to Italy; the EU's open borders make this journey somewhat less risky.
Hashish comes predominately from Morocco through Spain, entering the Iberian Peninsula (and the rest of Europe) via sea access points using fast boats. As with cocaine, larger hashish shipments are smuggled into Spain and eventually transported to Italy by vehicle. Hashish also is smuggled into Italy on fishing and pleasure boats from Lebanon.
Catha Edulus (aka Khat) is a shrub grown in the southern part of Arabia and Eastern Africa, primarily in the countries of Yemen, Somalia, and Ethiopia. The leaves of this plant contain the alkaloids cathine and cathinone (chewed for stimulant effects), which are controlled substances in Italy and the U.S. Italy is one of several European countries used by East African trafficking organizations for the transshipment of khat to major urban areas across the U.S. These organizations primarily use international parcel delivery systems and airline passenger luggage to transport multi-kilogram to multi-hundred kilogram quantities of khat. Italian law enforcement officials continue to cooperate with DEA in joint investigations targeting these groups in Italy and the U.S.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The GOI promotes drug prevention programs using abstinence messages and treatment aimed at the full rehabilitation of drug addicts. The Italian Ministry of Health funds 544 public health offices operated at the regional level; the Ministry of Interior identified 720 residential, 200 semi-residential facilities, and 179 ambulatories. Of about 500,000 estimated drug addicts and 318,000 estimated eligible for treatment in Italy, 171,000 receive services at public agencies. About 62 percent of the total used cannabis or cocaine. Others either are not receiving treatment or arrange for treatment privately. The government continues to promote more responsible use of methadone at the public treatment facilities. For 2006, the national, regional and local governments spent about 1.8 billion Euro for drug treatment programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. and Italy continue to enjoy exemplary counternarcotics cooperation. In January 2007, the Italian Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services (DCSA) hosted a working group conference of law enforcement counterparts from Europe and Africa as part of the DEA's annual International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC). At the July 2008 IDEC, the Director of DCSA met with DEA's Acting Administrator in furtherance of bilateral cooperation and operations. DEA and DCSA personnel continue to conduct intelligence-sharing and coordinate joint criminal investigations on a daily basis. Based on the October 1997 International Conference on Multilateral Reporting in Lisbon, Portugal, the DEA Headquarters Chemical Section and DCSA continue to exchange pre-shipment notifications for dual-use drug precursor chemicals. (Note: Italy has not been identified as a significant international producer or distributor of methamphetamine precursor chemicals.)
In June 2008, the Italian 'Ndrangheta Organized Crime group was added to the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) Foreign Drug Kingpin list after close coordination between American and Italian counterparts. The designation by President Bush is aimed at reducing the ability of ‘Ndrangheta members to use the U.S. and international banking systems in furtherance of their drug trafficking operations. The GOI's stated intention to enforce the provision is an indication of the Italian government’s commitment to target and dismantle 'Ndrangheta's financial infrastructure. During 2008, DEA continued the Drug Sample Program with the GOI, which consists of the analysis of seized narcotics to determine purity, cutting agents, and source countries. From October 2007 to September 2008, DEA received approximately 74 samples of heroin, cocaine, and Ecstasy. DEA has expanded this program to the countries of Slovenia, Croatia and Albania. The sample collection from these countries and others in the Balkans is essential in determining production methods and trafficking trends that ultimately impact Italy.
DEA independently conducted drug awareness programs at international schools in Rome and Milan. DEA also provided training to Italian counterparts in the areas of asset forfeiture and drug law enforcement operations.
The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to work closely with Italian officials to break up trafficking networks into and through Italy as well as to enhance both countries' ability to apply effective demand reduction policies. The USG will also continue to work with Italy in multilateral settings such as the Dublin Group of countries that coordinate counternarcotics and UNODC policies.
Jamaica remains the Caribbean’s largest source of marijuana for the United States. While the volume of cocaine transit traffic remains lower than its sub-regional neighbors, it is worth noting that the cocaine seizure data from 2008 reflects a significant increase over both 2006 and 2007. In 2008, 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 the extradition of a drug kingpin and his co-conspirators. The GOJ's ambitious legislative anti-corruption and anti-crime agendas announced in 2007 and mid-2008 respectively remain stuck in parliament. In 2008 enforcement of the Proceeds of Crime Act and the Anti-trafficking law enacted in 2007 was less than hoped for. Jamaica is a party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
The majority of the direct export of marijuana to the U.S. is through Jamaica’ busy commercial and cruise ports, and convenient air connections. Consumption of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana is illegal in Jamaica, with marijuana most frequently abused. 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 2008, an increase in murder and other violent crime by gangs was fueled in part by the “ganja for guns” trade between Jamaica and its neighbors.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives/Accomplishments. In 2008 the GOJ failed to pass and effectively implement key anti-crime, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering legislation. This included not establishing a new anti-corruption special prosecutor, not modifying the bail act, and not vigorously implementing the more expeditious seizure and forfeiture process that was enacted in 2007.
The manufacture, sale, transport, and possession of MDMA (Ecstasy), methamphetamine, or the precursor chemicals used to produce them, remains regulated by civil and administrative rather than criminal authorities. 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.
In 2008, the Ministry of National Security expanded its policy directorate in an effort to increase efficiency. In 2008, the GOJ expanded the vetting of senior police officers. This effort combined with other reforms as mandated by the GOJ-approved Police Strategic Review, should begin to turn around a police force that is plagued by corruption and inefficiencies.
The USG Container Security and MegaPorts (CSI) initiative began in late 2006. In 2008, construction began on a permanent facility for U.S. officers and their Jamaican counterparts. Pervasive corruption at Kingston’s container and bulk terminals continue to undermine the CSI team’s activities.
Law Enforcement Efforts. 2008 marked the first year of the new Police Commissioner’s tenure and the beginning by the GOJ to implement reforms recommended in its strategic review of the force. The new Commissioner continues to face internal obstacles in his efforts to reform the police. The Commissioner and the GOJ are grappling with holistic reform at a time when murder and other violent crimes threaten to overwhelm the country. These criminal organizations use proceeds to purchase weapons and further destabilize Jamaica. The U.S. is working cooperatively with the Organized Crime Division to shut down these organizations.
Despite death threats against several of its ministers, in 2008, the GOJ extradited drug trafficker Norris Nembhard and five indicted co-conspirators to the U.S. for prosecution. The very successful Operation Kingfish, a multinational task force (GOJ, U.S., United Kingdom and Canada) to target high profile organized crime gangs, celebrated its fourth anniversary in 2008. The new Police Commissioner combined his National Intelligence Bureau with Kingfish and Special Branch in an effort to gain efficiency. In years’ past, Kingfish was becoming a catch-all investigative entity and worked on cases outside its original mandate. In 2009, Kingfish should return to its core mandate and prioritize the targeting of high- level criminals who command and control gangs in Jamaica. In 2008, the GOJ appointed a known reformer as the new Commissioner of Customs. Since his arrival a “no tolerance” policy against corruption has resulted in the removal or reassignment of a significant number of staff members and an increase in Custom’s revenue by 25 percent. The new Commissioner intends to reinvigorate the Jamaican Custom’s Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) which suffered for years under the previous Customs’ leadership. Given that container traffic through the seaports is believed the primary method of transshipment of cocaine and cannabis it is critical to have a strong CET. In 2008, CET seized 168 kilograms (kg) of cocaine and 5,642 kg of cannabis at Jamaican air and seaports.
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. For the first time in 2008, corruption ranked second to crime and violence as the area of greatest concern for Jamaicans. Corruption remains a major barrier to improving counternarcotics efforts. The Jamaica Defense Force investigates any reports of corruption, and takes disciplinary action when warranted in furtherance of its zero tolerance policy. A bill creating an Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor remains stuck in Parliament despite the Government’s legislative majority. There has not been legislative action to create a National Anti-corruption Agency (NIIA), which could satisfy the Inter-American Convention against Corruption’s requirements. In mid-2007, the JCF established a new Anti-Corruption Branch headed by an internationally recruited police officer. Since 2007, the Branch has arrested seventy-one officers on corruption charges. The Branch’s number one task is to target high-level officers for corruption. The GOJ now requires senior police officers to sign employment contracts to improve accountability and facilitate the speedy dismissal of corrupt 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 1971 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 Corruption, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation/Production. Exact cultivation levels for marijuana 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 was down in 2008, with 423 hectares eliminated, compared with 723 hectares eliminated in 2007. Jamaica uses manual eradication without the use of herbicides.
Drug Flow/Transit. GOJ security forces seized a total of 266 kg of cocaine in 2008. This is triple the amount seized in 2007 (80 kg) and double 2006’s figure (109 kg). Some of the increase can be attributed to a reinvigorated effort to police the air and seaports by GOJ Narcotics police and DEA. In 2008, cocaine smugglers continued to use container cargo transshipments, couriers, checked luggage, and bulk commercial shipments to move cocaine through Jamaica to the United States. There was a noticeable increase by law enforcement in detection of liquid cocaine secreted into consumer goods and luggage. Seizures of compressed marijuana remain as levels commiserate with 2006 & 2007. Marijuana traffickers continue to barter for cocaine and illegal weapons. 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. U.S. funding supported the provision of books and teaching staff to an inner-city after school program. The GOJ operates five treatment centers through the Ministry of Health. The GOJ/Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) university-level certificate program in drug addiction and drug prevention (funded by INL) enrolled 31 students and graduated 8 students in the 2007-2008 academic year. 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 2008, the U.S provided training and material support to elements of the JCF and JDF to strengthen their counternarcotics, and anti-corruption capabilities and improve the investigation, arrest and prosecution of organized crime. The U.S assisted the GOJ with vetting of specialized units within the JCF. The Jamaica Fugitive Apprehension Team (JFAT) received specialized training, equipment, guidance and operational support from the U.S. Marshals permanently stationed in Kingston. In 2008, the U.S. Marshals opened 80 new cases and closed 132 cases involving U.S. fugitives. Jamaican authorities made 14 arrests, 15 extraditions and 8 deportations during the year. In mid-2008, the USG-funded, Kingston-based Airport Interdiction Task Force continued operations and was instrumental in the increase in cocaine seizures.
The GOJ participated in joint deployments with the USG in Jamaican waters during 2008 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 2008 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 2008.
Multilateral Cooperation. In 2008 multi-nationals (GOJ, U.S., United Kingdom and Canada) shifted focus to assist the GOJ as it begins implementation of the 124 recommendations of the Police Strategic Review. An additional multi-lateral priority is to assist the Anti-Corruption Branch tackle corruption among senior police officers. 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. Gang-led violent crime and corruption will continue to pose a significant threat to social stability in Jamaica. The GOJ is exploring legislation to criminalize participation in organized crime gangs. If the difficultly that the GOJ has experienced in 2008 to pass more modest anti-crime legislation is a prelude, passage of RICO-type legislation could be difficult. Passage of RICO or Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor legislation is not enough, however. So that the GOJ can successfully investigate, prosecute and convict corrupt officials at all levels of government service, we encourage the GOJ to ensure that the Anti-Corruption Special Prosecutor, the JCF Anti-Corruption Branch and the FID are independent, fully resourced and backed by political will. We also encourage the GOJ to support the Commissioner of Police 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 is encouraged to support the Commissioner of Customs efforts to take action against endemic corruption throughout its customs and revenue service.
The GOJ has requested assistance from its multilateral partners with the creation of a regional forensics training program to increase its own ability to train forensic pathologists, lab technicians and improve throughput at its laboratory. Greater speed and accuracy of forensic testing would greatly assist the GOJ in investigating violent crime. To better track, and intercept narcotics and weapons being smuggled into and through Jamaica, the GOJ should work to improve its port, border, and passport security to allow for real-time data collection and profiling of offenders and vessels. The GOJ should also look to foster greater sub-regional cooperation with Hispaniola, and the Bahamas in an effort to collect better intelligence on the gangs that move contraband between their borders.
Methamphetamine abuse remains the biggest challenge to Japanese antinarcotics efforts, marijuana use is widespread and MDMA (Ecstasy) trafficking continues to increase significantly. Cocaine use is much less prevalent but still significant. According to Japanese authorities, all illegal drugs consumed in Japan are imported from overseas, usually by Japanese or foreign organized crime syndicates. In spite of legal and bureaucratic obstacles, Japanese law enforcement officials are becoming more proactive in addressing Japan’s illegal drug distribution problem. Japanese Police have conducted several complex drug investigations during 2008, both independently and in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Tokyo. Japan's efforts to fight drug trafficking comply with international standards; Japan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Japan is one of the largest markets for methamphetamine in Asia. A significant source of income for Japanese organized crime syndicates, over 80 percent of all drug arrests in Japan involve methamphetamine. MDMA Ecstasy is also a significant problem in Japan and MDMA abuse is increasing. Marijuana is the second most commonly used drug in Japan and is readily available. There is little evidence of domestic commercial cultivation, though there are some indications of small scale processing of imported herbal cannabis. Japan is not a significant producer of narcotics. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare strictly controls some licit cultivation of opium poppies, coca plants, and cannabis for research. According to DEA and the National Police Agency, there is no conclusive evidence that methamphetamine or any other synthetic drug is manufactured domestically. There is, however, some anecdotal evidence that small quantities of MDMA may be being produced in Japan.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The Headquarters for the Promotion of Measures to Prevent Drug Abuse, which is part of the Prime Minister's Office (Kantei), supervises the implementation of Japan’s Five-Year Drug Abuse Prevention Strategy, first announced in July 2003. This strategy includes measures to increase cooperation and information sharing among Japanese agencies and between Japanese and foreign law enforcement officials, promotes greater utilization of advanced investigative techniques against organized crime syndicates, and mandates programs to raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse. In practice, information sharing with foreign law enforcement officials has been almost entirely one way, with much information provided to Japanese authorities and little shared by them. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare added 30 more drugs to its list of controlled substances in 2006 with plans to add three more in 2008, but they have not yet (November 2008) been added.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Japanese police are effective at gathering intelligence. Investigations, however, are largely reactive in nature, and normally only disrupt drug operations at lower levels, that of couriers and street dealers. Prosecutors do not have the plea-bargaining tools to motivate the assistance of co-defendants and co-conspirators in furthering investigations. Japan also has laws restricting the proactive use of informants, undercover operations, and controlled deliveries using a human courier. Proactive policing rarely occurs, and only when very strict legal and bureaucratic hurdles can be overcome. Although wiretapping remains infrequent, police are increasingly making use of legislation that took effect in 2003 authorizing the use of telephone intercepts. In addition, officials maintain detailed records of Japan-based drug trafficking, organized crime, and international drug trafficking organizations. Japanese authorities do attempt to engage in international drug trafficking investigations. Legal constraints, however, restrict them from passing useful and timely information of real assistance in international drug-trafficking investigations. These same legal restrictions make it very difficult for police authorities to pro-actively investigate members of international drug cartels who operate in Japan.
The reduction in methamphetamine supply that began mid-2006 appears to have reversed. Law enforcement officials believe that Chinese traffickers using supplies from China and Canada have stepped in to fill the gap presumably created by the 2006 closure of several methamphetamine mega-labs in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, as well as tightened security measures in the Sea of Japan. Methamphetamine prices have returned to their May 2006 levels, indicating a significant rebound in supply.
After a year of unremarkable interdiction results in 2006, increased efforts by customs officials produced dramatic results in 2007, and these continued to improve in 2008, particularly at Narita and Kansai International Airports. Given restrictive Japanese laws, these seizures result in little more than the arrest of the courier, and do nothing to attack the larger drug-trafficking organization. In the January through June 2008 period, Police and Customs Officials seized 58,966 MDMA tablets, 42.1 kg of methamphetamine, and 94.7 kg of marijuana (a 2.5 times increase over the same period of the previous year). There were no major methamphetamine seizures-the meth which was seized was seized in small lots- in the first quarter of this year, although there was an 8.8 percent increase in methamphetamine arrests between January and June 2008. Cannabis resin seizures for January through June were 8.8 kg, approximately 20 percent lower than the same period of the previous year. During the January through June period, a total of .9 kg of cocaine, and 6.2 kg of opium were seized. There were no heroin seizures in this period.
Corruption. There were no reported cases of Japanese officials being involved in drug-related corruption in Japan in 2008. The government does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Japan’s parliament failed to agree on an anti-conspiracy bill for the fifth consecutive year. As a result, Japan still cannot ratify the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), although it has signed the UNTOC and its three protocols. Japan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances and has signed but not yet ratified the UN Convention against Corruption . An extradition treaty is in force between the U.S. and Japan, and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) went into effect in August 2006, Japan's first MLAT with any country. The MLAT allows Japan's Ministry of Justice to share information and cooperate directly with the Department of Justice in connection with investigations, prosecutions and other proceedings in criminal matters. The MLAT is being used with some regularity between Japanese and U.S. law enforcement. Despite verbal commitments, Japan has still not joined IDEC-a DEA sponsored group of professional drug law enforcement officers.
Cultivation/Production. Japan is not a significant cultivator or producer of controlled substances. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare's research cultivation program produces a negligible amount of narcotic substances purely for research purposes.
Drug Flow/Transit. Authorities believe that methamphetamine smuggled into Japan primarily originates in the People's Republic of China (PRC). This is substantiated by a five-fold increase in methamphetamine prices around the time of the Beijing Olympics. Other nations in Asia certainly contribute to the flow of methamphetamine into Japan, and should not be discounted. Most of the precursor chemicals for production though appear to originate in China, and most transshipment takes place through China. Malaysia and Indonesia have documented production of meth targeted on Japan, while evidence for the Philippines and Taiwan is largely anecdotal. The case for Burma and the DPRK is less clear. Drugs other than methamphetamine often come from these same source countries. Airport customs officials regularly make seizures of cocaine transiting from the United States. Authorities confirm that methamphetamine, MDMA, and marijuana are being imported in large quantities from Canada. Most of the MDMA in Japan originates in either Europe or China.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Most drug treatment programs are small and are run by private organizations, but the government also supports the rehabilitation of addicts at prefectural (regional) centers. There are a number of government-funded drug awareness campaigns designed to inform the public about the dangers of stimulant use, especially among junior and senior high school students. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, along with prefectural governments and private organizations, continues to administer national publicity campaigns and to promote drug education programs at the community level.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. U.S. goals and objectives include strengthening law enforcement cooperation related to controlled deliveries and drug-related money-laundering investigations; supporting increased use of existing anti-crime legislation and advanced investigative tools against drug traffickers; and promoting substantive involvement from government agencies responsible for financial transaction oversight and control of money-laundering operations. During 2008, the USCG conducted Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) training for the JSDF.
The Road Ahead. DEA Tokyo will continue to work closely with its Japanese counterparts to offer support in conducting investigations on international drug trafficking, money-laundering, and other crimes. Law enforcement efforts alone however, without political backing to change restrictive Japanese laws, will not succeed in making Japan, a first world country with the world’s second largest economy and a capable and modern police force, an equal partner in international counter-narcotics efforts.
Jordan's geographical location between drug producing countries to the north and east and drug consuming countries to the south and west continues to make it primarily a transit point for illicit drugs. The Public Security Directorate (PSD) believes that the volume of drugs transiting through Jordan continues to grow. Historically, Jordanians do not consume significant quantities of illegal drugs, and the PSD knows of no production operations in the country. Statistics for the first 11 months of 2008 show an increase in total number of cases, arrests and drug abusers when compared to 2007. 2008 has also proven to be a record year for seizures of Captagon, a synthetic stimulant also known as phenethylline, with over 14 million tablets seized. PSD attributes increases to Jordan's enhanced rehabilitation programs, increased border interdiction operations, better intelligence gathering, and continued strong cooperation between Jordan and neighboring countries, but it is also possible that the large increase in Captagon seizures is because there is more demand for the drug in Jordan than heretofore known or acknowledged. The drugs of choice among users arrested for drug possession in Jordan are cannabis and heroin. The majority of people arrested for drug related crimes ranges between 18 and 35 years old. PSD continues to see an increase in drug trafficking through its border regions, especially with Iraq, and drugs transiting Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA). Jordan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
According to statistics from the PSD-AND (Anti-Narcotics Department), there are currently no indications that Jordan will transition from a predominantly drug transit country to a drug producer. Jordan's vast desert borders make it vulnerable to illicit drug smuggling operations. Jordanian authorities do not believe that internal drug distribution is a substantial profit-making venture.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Jordan is continuing its drug awareness campaign focused at educating people of the dangers of drug use. This includes providing educational presentations in schools and universities throughout the country. The PSD-AND has created a program it calls “Friends of the AND.” This program sends volunteer civilians into the schools, universities, and other community centers to speak out against drug usage. Jordan has also implemented an outreach program for the country's religious institutions whereby some Imams are trained and given literature on drug prevention topics for inclusion in religious services. Jordan publishes a number of brochures and other materials aimed at educating Jordan's youth. Jordan is in its forth year of producing cartoons aimed at younger children designed to dissuade youngsters from trying drugs. Jordan will take this program to the next level in the near future with anti-drug abuse movies directed at Jordanian youths. PSD publishes an anti-narcotics magazine, and maintains a website in English and Arabic for drug abuse awareness and prevention (http://www.anti-narcotics.psd.gov.jo /English). Jordan has also worked with the UNODC to provide drug prevention training.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Jordan's PSD maintains an active anti-narcotics department and has established excellent working relations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Nicosia Country Office based. PSD-AND has seen an increase in cocaine and other drug trafficking through Jordan’s International Airport and has increased interdiction efforts there. GOJ authorities continue to use X-ray equipment on larger vehicles at its major border crossings between Syria and Iraq, which netted numerous drug seizures in past years and continued to do so in 2008. This equipment has proven to be very effective. Seizures of Captagon tablets have increased since last year. As one result, recent Jordanian media coverage has highlighted Captagon seizures giving the perception of increased trafficking of this drug. PSD claims not to have observed any wide-spread use of the drug in Jordan and there are some reports that insurgents in Iraq are widely using Captagon as a stimulant. The PSD reports that 85% of all seized illicit drugs coming into Jordan are bound for export to other countries in the region. Jordan's general drug traffic trends continue to include cannabis entering from Lebanon and more now from Iraq, heroin from Turkey entering through Syria on its way to Israel, and Captagon tablets from Bulgaria and Turkey entering through Syria on the way to the Gulf. But if a pattern in drug transit countries generally holds true in Jordan, there will be an increase in domestic abuse of drugs like Capatagon which seem to transit Jordan in such large quantities.
The majority of Jordan's drug seizures take place at the Jaber border crossing point between Jordan and Syria, although seizures from Iraq (Karama/Trebil border crossing) have risen significantly the past few years. For the last four years, the PSD has continued to observe an increase in trafficking of hashish and opium from Afghanistan through Iraq into Jordan. Jordanian authorities regularly cooperate with the relevant anti-narcotics authorities in the region. In 2007-08, Jordanian officials reported that they conducted 22 specific operations during which they coordinated efforts with Syrian and Saudi Arabian authorities.
Drug Seizure Statistics
(as of 17 November 2008)
NB. Seizures are reported in kilograms (Captagon seizures are measured in number of tablets; weight measurements are not available for tablets). 2008 statistics include January through November only. 2004 through 2007 statistics cover the full year.
Corruption. Jordanian officials report no narcotics-related corruption investigations for 2008. There is currently no evidence to suggest that senior level officials are involved in narcotics trafficking. As a matter of government policy, Jordan does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
In 2008 Jordan held the Transparency and Anti-Corruption Conference at a Dead Sea Conference Center. Columnist Jamil Nimri in Arabic daily Al-Ghad commented, “I conclusively say that we in the region have not advanced much on transparency and anti-corruption standards.” He further stated “Let's now see how much the Anti-Corruption Commission will do to obstruct corruption and to investigate any actions or deals or projects that smell of foul play.” Jordan also took part in the 3rd Conference of Anti-Corruption Organizations Union held in Kiev in October of 2008. Council member of the Jordan Anti-Corruption Commission Ali Dmour headed the Kingdom's delegation to KieV. While the anti-corruption commission forwarded its first corruption cases for prosecution (non-drug related), most observers still believe that the anti-corruption commission is not effective enough.
Agreements and Treaties. Jordan is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Jordan continues to remain committed to existing bilateral agreements providing for counter-narcotics cooperation with Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, and Hungary. Jordan also cooperates with the UNODC and the European Commission through a number of projects funded by the EU.
Cultivation and Production. Jordan neither grows nor produces illicit drugs and there are no statistics regarding domestic cultivation or eradication. Existing laws prohibit the cultivation and production of narcotics in Jordan. These laws have been effectively enforced.
Drug Flow/Transit. Jordan remains primarily a narcotics transit country, though with a danger of increased consumption of drugs like Captagon transiting Jordan in significant volume. Jordan's main challenge in stemming the flow of illicit drugs through the country remains its vast and open desert borders. PSD-AND reports, however, that drug flow through Jordan’s International Airport is also on the rise. While law enforcement contacts confirm continued cooperation with Jordan's neighbors, the desolate border regions and the various tribes with centuries-old traditions of smuggling as a principle source of income, make interdiction outside of the ports of entry difficult. None of the narcotics transiting Jordan are believed to be destined for the United States. Jordan is bordered by Israel and the West Bank on the west, Syria (an outlet for producing countries) on the north, and Iraq and Saudi Arabia to the east. Most of Jordan's borders are difficult to effectively patrol. The stationary posts along these areas lack the equipment and training to effectively patrol and monitor Jordan's borders.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Jordan increased the scope of its programs on drug abuse awareness, education, and rehabilitation in 2008. Education programs target high schools, colleges, inmates, and religious institutions. Authorities continue to provide educational presentations in schools and universities throughout the country. As previously noted, Jordan created the “Friends of the AND” Program. Jordan also publishes a number of brochures and other materials aimed at educating the country's youth. Jordan's anti-narcotics cartoon program aimed at younger children and designed to dissuade youngsters from trying drugs has continued to flourish. Cultural and religious norms also help to control drug use. In 2008, AND conducted 872 awareness lectures in various institutions, organized 67 visits to AND, put on an anti-narcotics awareness play 5 times and actively participated in various fairs and media programs.
In conjunction with the UNODC, Jordan has strengthened its treatment and rehabilitation services for drug abusers in the country. The Jordanian Drug Information Network (JorDIN) was officially established in 2005 with help from the UNODC. The national treatment and rehabilitation strategy and coordination mechanism has proven effective, and Jordan looks to continued success in this strategy. A new, larger rehabilitation facility that will accommodate more patients is in the planning phase and PSD hopes to begin construction in the near future. PSD reports that it has treated 203 patients at its drug rehabilitation center in 2007 and thus far 172 in 2008. PSD also noted that another highlight of the center's success is the number of patients the Government of Lebanon has sent to Jordan for rehabilitation. The PSD notes that this is an indicator of the strong levels of cooperation between the Governments of Lebanon and Jordan in their anti-narcotics efforts. In December 2008, Jordanian Prime Minister Nader Dahabi remarked during a session at the Lower House of Parliament that PSD-AND has “intensive contacts, mainly with neighboring countries and is supported both on the official and popular levels.
IV. USG Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The DEA Nicosia Country Office, RSO Amman, and the PSD have an excellent working relationship. The DEA and the interagency Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program recently provided Jordan with additional equipment including 10 thermal eye imagers to help Jordan's Border security operations. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) provided residential training in shipboard damage control. The USCG has also provided Maritime Crisis Management training through its Mobile Training Teams (MITTS). There are several miles of Jordan's borders that are patrolled only by the PSD's Anti-Narcotics Department. In October 2007, EXBS provided PSD with a portable x-ray van for use in screening containers and vehicles at the Port of Aqaba. Jordanian Customs also uses a previously USG-donated X-ray van. This equipment primarily screens for weapons, but can detect density anomalies that may indicate the presence of drugs and/or other contraband. Other ongoing GOJ and USG efforts to strengthen border security measures following the Iraq-based terrorist attacks in Amman and Aqaba in 2005 have served to enhance Jordan's detection capabilities and to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs transiting through Jordan.
The Road Ahead. The USG expects continued strong cooperation with the Jordanian government in counter-narcotics efforts and related issues. According to Jordanian authorities the drug situation is still “under control” but they are mindful that they could face a more serious problem in the future. New smuggling trends and new types of drugs are offering new challenges. Cocaine comes to Jordan from South America via European airports bound for Israel and other countries in the region. In 2008, Jordanian authorities seized more than three kilograms in three different cases in which two Peruvian and two Argentinean couriers were arrested. Department of Defense-Military Assistance Program (DoD-MAP) in Jordan has initiated the first phase of a comprehensive border security initiative. The multi-million dollar project will strengthen Jordan's ability to secure its borders with enhanced technologies.
Kazakhstan is still affected by the expansion of international drug trafficking and continues to fight drug trafficking, focusing on improvements to legislation, prevention, and supply reduction. Law-enforcement agencies in Kazakhstan have focused their efforts on disruption of the trafficking route from Afghanistan, which is the main source of narcotics in Kazakhstan. Afghan heroin transported along the northern route supplies Kazakhstan's domestic market and transits Kazakhstan to Russia and onward to Europe. Kazakhstan continues implementation of two, large-scale programs to combat corruption and drug trafficking mandated by President NazarbayeV. Strengthening the borders, especially in the south, is a priority for the government. Kazakhstan has acceded to the 1988 UN Drug.
II. Status of Country
Its geographic location, relatively developed transportation infrastructure, the openness of its borders with neighboring countries, and its social and economic stability have made Kazakhstan a major transit zone for narcotics and psychotropic substances. In 2008, the drug situation in Kazakhstan has been characterized by a decrease in the total number of registered drug-related crimes and a significant increase in the volume of seized drugs, including heroin.
The main factors influencing illegal drug use and sales in Kazakhstan are the expansion of Afghan production, the importation of synthetic drugs from Russia and Europe, and the presence of naturally-growing marijuana in Southern Kazakhstan. The main types of drugs illegally crossing into and through the country are Afghan opiates, synthetic drugs, and cannabis. During the first nine months of 2008, there was a significant increase in the volume of seized heroin (from 379 kilos to 1.5 metric tons, a 300% increase compared to the same period last year).
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. A law signed on June 26, 2008 by President Nazarbayev that amends the Criminal, Criminal Procedural, and Administrative Codes introduced tougher punishments for drug-related crimes, which is consistent with article 24 of the Narcotics Convention stipulating application of stricter measures than those required by the Convention. The new law increases the most serious penalty for drug-related crimes to life imprisonment. Because of the threat to Kazakhstani national security posed by narco-trafficking, the new law defines certain drug-related crimes as “especially grave” and, thus, life imprisonment is now available to sentencing judges in cases of trafficking in large quantities; participation in drug-related crimes as part of a criminal organization; drug sales in an educational institution and/or to minors; and sale or distribution of drugs resulting in death.
Article 319-1 of the Administrative Code penalizes entrepreneurs of entertainment facilities who do not take measures to stop the sale and/or consumption of drugs, psychotropic substances, and precursors on their business premises.
The amended counter-narcotics legislation is believed to have been a factor in the recent increase in apprehensions of narcotics abusers, including among heroin and opium abusers. The average price of heroin nearly doubled in the northern regions of the country and increased an average of 130% in the southern regions perhaps as a result of increased enforcement success.
The serious problem of seized drugs being resold by corrupt police was dealt with by introducing amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code allowing for the destruction of seized drugs more than the minimum amount necessary for evidence as soon as forensic testing is completed.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Kazakhstan actively fights narco-trafficking to and throughout the country. For example, special services share information with their colleagues from neighboring countries. The Border Guard Service has jurisdiction over trafficking across the border, while counter-narcotics operations in country are conducted by Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) units and the Committee for National Security (KNB), with the goal of ultimately arresting the leaders of trafficking rings.
All law-enforcement agencies combined reported 7,883 drug-related crimes, including 295 cases of trafficking during the first nine months of the year. A total of 23 tons of various drugs, including 200 kilos of synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances, were seized during that period, which is a 6.5% increase over the same period last year (21 tons, 787 kilos were seized during the same period in 2007). The total includes 1,514 kilos of heroin (nearly a 300% increase over last year's seizures of 378 kilos), 14 kilos of opium (a decrease of 92.9% from last year's 197 kilos), 327 kilos of hashish (a 74.7% increase), and 21,196 kilos of marijuana (a 3.6% increase over last year’s 20,467 kilos).
Kazakhstani law-enforcement agencies have focused on conducting quality operations against entire cartels and not just the arrest of small couriers to increase seizure statistics. Over nine months, the MVD broke-up eight organized criminal groups, whose members committed 51 drug-related crimes. As a result of these operations, the police seized 48.763 kilos of drugs, including 37 kilos of marijuana, over 10 kilos of heroin, and one kilo of cannabis resin.
Two record seizures occurred during 2008. In March, the Customs Service seized 537 kilos of heroin at the Kairak border checkpoint on the Kazakhstani-Russian border utilizing a stationary X-ray machine. Two Russian citizens were sentenced to 13 years in prison as a result. The cargo was en route from Uzbekistan to Saint Petersburg. The drug couriers reportedly were paid $8,000 to transport the heroin to Russia. The year’s second large seizure was of 120 kilos of heroin by the MVD's Committee on Combating Drugs, in cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Turkish law enforcement.
The law enforcement agencies of Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with the assistance of Afghanistan, broke up one of the largest Central Asian trafficking organizations, which transported heroin and opium through Central Asia to Russia. As a result of the multi-stage, three-year Operation "Typhoon,” law-enforcement agencies opened 24 criminal cases and arrested 42 members of an international drug ring, including 14 Kazakhstan citizens. A total of 800 kilos of heroin and 100 kilos of opium were seized in four countries during the operation. As a result of the operation, all branches of the trafficking group were disrupted in participating countries. Traffickers working for the cartel transported drugs via two routes: from Shymkent (on the Kazakhstani-Uzbek border) through Taraz, Karaganda, Astana, and Petropavlovsk and from Shymkent through Taraz, Almaty, Taldy Korgan, and Ust-Kamenogorsk.
Law-enforcement agencies target nightclubs and other areas where drugs are sold. As a result of this strategy, law enforcement agencies in Astana reported 198 drug-related crimes during the first nine months of 2008. One hundred thirty-six of these crimes involved sales. The volume of seizures in Astana increased by 62.7% and the total amount of heroin seized in Astana has increased by more than 600%.
In accordance with Article 11 of the Narcotics Convention, Kazakhstan participates in controlled deliveries. During the first nine months of 2008, Kazakhstani law-enforcement bodies conducted 27 controlled deliveries, including 12 cross-border operations. Kazakhstan conducted five controlled deliveries jointly with colleagues from the Kyrgyz Republic and the Russian Federation and two operations with Tajikistan. These operations resulted in the seizures of 600 kilos of illicit drugs, including over 88 kilos of heroin.
As a result of the successful operations, drug prices have increased throughout the country. In Astana, prices have doubled to $600 for a kilo of marijuana, $5,000 for hashish, and $10,000 for heroin. In Almaty, a kilo of marijuana is up to $400 from last year's $250. In Pavlodar, a kilo of heroin ranges from $10,000 to $15,000, an increase over last year's $8,000.
In 2008, 5,756 people were detained for drug-related crimes (A decrease of 6.6% from last year). The number of women, minors, and repeat offenders committing drug-related crimes has decreased by 4.2% for women (from 684 to 655), 36.5% for minors (from 52 to 33), and 4.9% for repeat offenders (from 288 to 274). Convictions for drug-related crimes have also decreased from 5,850 to 5,326. Of those convicted, 575 were women and 31 were minors.
The Kanal-2008 (Channel) interstate operation was on September 15-23. The purpose of the operation was the detection and disruption of trafficking from Central Asia and Afghanistan and the dismantling of transnational organized criminal groups involved in trafficking. In Kazakhstan, the operation resulted in the discovery of 274 drug-related crimes, including 97 cases of sales and nine cases of trafficking, with the seizure of 1.4 metric tons of drugs, including 133 kilos of heroin.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Kazakhstan does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug trafficking. There were no cases of senior government officials engaged in the illicit production or distribution of drugs. However, there were several reported cases of corrupt police officers.
Two officers of the Criminal Police Unit and two officers of the Counter-Narcotics Unit in Southern Kazakhstan were sentenced to 10 to 12 years after having been convicted of the storage and sale of drugs and the abuse of their official position. As a result of an undercover KNB operation in January, the four officers were arrested for attempting to force a recently-released convict to sell drugs that had been previously seized for their benefit. The 2003 UN Convention on Corruption was ratified in May 2008.
In November, President Nazerbayev proposed that the fight against government corruption should be concentrated in one body. Currently, all state agencies are mandated to take measures to combat corruption internally.
Agreements and Treaties. Kazakhstan is a party to the 1998 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Kazakhstan is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its three protocols. The United States and Kazakhstan signed the seventh Supplementary Protocol to the Memorandum of Understanding on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement on August 29, 2008 to support demand reduction programs and the sixth Supplementary Protocol on September 29 to support border security, counter-narcotics and anti-trafficking in persons programs.
The law-enforcement bodies of Kazakhstan closely cooperate with the Agency of the Kyrgyz Republic on Drug Control, the Agency on Drug Control of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Federal Service of the Russian Federation on Drug Control, and the National Center on Drug Control of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The intergovernmental interagency agreements on cooperation in the area of combating drugs are the legal basis for this cooperation. These countries conduct joint operations and investigations, demand reduction events, special operations, exchange of operative information and methodological literature, working meetings, and other activities.
The pilot phase of the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center (CARICC) was launched on November 1, 2007, in Almaty. UNODC recruited the core staff for the pilot phase. CARICC has already arranged controlled delivery operations. Kazakhstan believes that CARICC will become an effective organization which will collect operational information and analyze it. Kazakhstan ratified the CARICC agreement on November 6, 2007 and, with the ratification of Tajikistan six days later, CARICC has the required ratifications for the agreement to enter into force. Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan had previously ratified the agreement. According to the terms of the CARICC agreement, signed by all of the countries of Central Asia, Russia, and Azerbaijan, the agreement officially enters into force 30 days after Kazakhstan receives the fourth ratification instrument.
CARICC has established professional relationships with Europol, Interpol, the World Customs Organization, and other professional agencies. DEA is opening an office in Almaty to allow for closer contact with both Kazakhstan and CARICC.
Cultivation/Production. A favorable climate in Kazakhstan contributes to the growth of wild marijuana, equisetum ephedra, and opium poppies. Such plants grow on over 1.2 million hectares in Almaty, Zhambyl, South Kazakhstan, Kyzylorda, and East Kazakhstan regions. The largest source of marijuana in Kazakhstan is the Chu Valley in the Zhambyl region. Marijuana with a high THC content grows naturally on an estimated 138,000 hectares in the Chu Valley. The approximate annual harvest is estimated to be as high as 145 thousand tons of marijuana, with an estimated 6,000 ton yield of hashish.
The government has considered various proposals to fight marijuana cultivation in the Chu Valley, including introduction of a quarantine zone in the region or establishing legally controlled industrial processing of wild marijuana.
Operation “Mak” (Poppy) is an annual operation conducted from May 25 to October 25 to combat the harvesting of illicit crops and disrupt drug cartels in the Chu Valley. During the operation, the Committee on Combating Drugs closely cooperates with the Border Guard Service of the Committee for National Security (BGS) and creates a security zone around the valley to prevent the movement of the crop out of the valley. Inter-agency mobile units also conduct patrols throughout the valley. As a result of the operation, law-enforcement agencies found 230 separate illicit crop cultivations, including 24 areas growing poppies and 206 areas growing marijuana over a total area of 11,079 square meters. Over 20 tons of drugs, including those being trafficked through the area, were seized during this year’s operation, including 50 kilos of heroin, 20 tons of marijuana, over two kilos of opium, and 74 kilos of hashish. The MVD registered 3,754 drug–related crimes, including 1,476 cases of sales and 107 cases of trafficking. The operation also resulted in the detention of 3,170 offenders. Despite the discovery of poppy cultivation, law-enforcement agencies have not yet discovered heroin labs in Kazakhstan. It is believed that the majority of the raw opium from the Kazakhstani poppies is smoked, chewed, or eaten in Kazakhstan. An average user chews or eats 5-10 grams of raw opium, per day.
On July 28, police closed a lab producing pervitine (methamphetamine hydrochloride) in Pavlodar (Northern Kazakhstan). Methamphetamine is included in the list of drugs, psychotropic substances, and precursors that are subject to control under Kazakhstani legislation. The lab was operated by a Russian citizen who learned to build and operate the lab from a fellow prisoner in Tolyatti, Russia while serving a two-year term for a drug-related crime.
Drug Flow/Transit. Despite the large amount of domestic production, Kazakhstan faces a much more serious threat from the transit of narcotics. As a result of the transit, the country faces an increasing problem with addiction. International experts estimate that 10%-15% of drugs trafficked through Kazakhstan remain in the domestic market.
The main types of drugs trafficked through Kazakhstan are Afghan opiates (heroin and opium), synthetic drugs (LSD and Ecstasy), marijuana, and hashish. Police discovered no labs producing heroin, LSD, or Ecstasy during 2008. The delivery and sale of synthetic drugs was disrupted by the KNB in the North Kazakhstan region, where 500 doses of Ecstasy from the Netherlands were seized. The price of one pill was estimated at approximately 15 Euro. In the Jamaika night club in Astana, the MVD detained a distributor of 50 Ecstasy pills, who was later convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison. Though the majority of Ecstasy seized in Kazakhstan came from Europe in past years, this year the MVD seized some Ecstasy that had been imported from Istanbul.
According to officers working at internal narcotics checkpoints, trucks traveling under the International Road Transport Convention (TIR) are being used to traffic narcotics through the country. Recent seizures in TIR vehicles have confirmed these suspicions. The TIR Convention was drafted to facilitate the international shipment of goods and was meant to simplify and harmonize administrative formalities. Article 5 of the TIR Convention stipulates that goods carried in previously inspected and customs sealed vehicles or containers shall not be subjected to examination by customs officials en route. However, to prevent abuses, customs authorities may, in exceptional cases and particularly when trafficking is suspected, examine the goods.
Though there are definite economic advantages for countries from the Convention, such as avoiding long delays at the borders and physical inspection of goods in transit, it is clear that traffickers are exploiting the TIR Convention. Law-enforcement agencies on the border and inside the country have said that more truck scanners are needed to detect contraband in sealed trucks. However many enforcement officials are also clamoring for reconsideration of the rules of the TIR Convention, to allow for inspection of vehicles.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In order to address the serious issue of drug addiction in Kazakhstan, the MVD is working closely with the Ministry of Culture and Information, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Education and Science to conduct demand reduction and prevention campaigns. The Ministries implemented a pilot project in September to detect drug consumption among university students. Law enforcement and medical personnel conduct drug tests at a university in Astana and forward the results to parents. They also conduct statistical analysis on the test results. The aim of the project is to raise awareness among the public, parents, teachers, and members of Parliament about the necessity for obligatory drug tests in educational institutions, including universities and secondary schools.
In the demand reduction area, interested agencies conducted over 4,500 events, including large-scale demonstrations, seminars, round tables, conferences, lectures, and sport competitions. A total of 270,000 people participated in these events. With the help of state agencies and the local administration, 2,600 clubs were established to encourage youth to lead a healthy life-style. An estimated 688,000 people have visited these clubs. Approximately 6,400 anti-narcotics pamphlets, TV commercials, and other events were sponsored during 2008 up until November.
Secondary schools in Kazakshtan include discussions of the dangers of drug use with students in their curricula, encourage students to seek help from social and psychological services, and work directly with parents when necessary. The Ministry of Education and Science also introduced special demand-reduction courses in the academic curricula at schools. As part of this program, experts in drugs, psychologists, and police deliver lectures to students.
Kazakhstan also conducts harm-reduction programs and needle exchanges. In accordance with the 2006-2010 program, those with AIDS from vulnerable populations receive contraceptives, educational materials, needle exchanges, and treatment of infections on a free confidential basis. Clinics and government and NGO hotlines deliver these services.
IV. USG Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Section (INL) of the U.S. Embassy worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to strength the Rubezh-Narkotiki (internal narcotics) checkpoints. UNODC provides communications equipment to six posts throughout the country. Based on the results of an assessment of the Rubezh checkpoints, INL arranged a series of training events for personnel working at the checkpoints. To support the future sustainability of counter-narcotics training capacity, INL equipped a computer lab and provided conference and interpretation equipment to the Interagency Scientific and Analytical Counter-Narcotics Training Center in Almaty.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is the implementing partner in the project to strengthen the Kazakhstani side of the Kazakhstani-Russian border. IOM recently established a second Border Guard Training Center in Uralsk, Western Kazakhstan.
One of the major programs initiated in 2008 was a drug detection dog program with all law-enforcement agencies. INL funded the purchase of three dogs and sponsored the attendance of three Kazakhstani officers at a two-month course at the Canine Center in Bad Kreuzen, Austria. The training of the first three dogs was meant to acquaint Kazakhstanis with the Austrian method of training dogs for the search of drugs and allow Kazakhstani and Austrian officials to exchange experience in this area. The Austrian method uses training approaches that minimize stress and conflict and maximize training work with the dogs. The training of instructors on site in Austria was followed by a series of interagency training programs in Kazakhstan. Through its grant to IOM, INL is renovating sections of the canine facility at the Military Institute of the Committee for National Security.
To increase border security capacity, INL continues its close cooperation with the Border Guard Service and the Military Institute of the Committee for National Security. The U.S. Embassy also provided drug detection equipment and training in its use to border posts. Two instructors of the Military Institute attended basic training at the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico. The USCG sent two teams to assist in the area of container inspection.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue its cooperation with the Government of Kazakhstan to increase counter-narcotics capacity. INL will continue providing training in drug courier profiling, the use of newly provided equipment, and new operations techniques. In 2009, the focus will be on information exchange in the area of intelligence gathering.
The United States will also continue its cooperation with the Border Guard Service and provide technical assistance to checkpoints on the Kazakhstani-Russian border and will open an additional training center on the northern part of the Kazakhstani-Russian border.
In cooperation with the Military Institute, INL plans to send one instructor from the Institute to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Academy and one canine instructor to a canine academy in the United States. The same program will work with the Military Institute to strengthen its canine capacity by providing equipment and technical assistance. INL plans to continue to support for the relationship between the Austrian Ministry of Interior's Canine Center and Kazakhstani canine centers.
Currently, law enforcement officers lack requisite English-language skills and are unable to communicate directly with specialized units in other countries. To solve this problem, INL will provide English-language training to cadets of the Military Institute and staff of specialized counter-narcotics units.
Kenya remains a significant transit country for cocaine, heroin, and khat. Quantities of heroin and hashish transiting Kenya, mostly from Southwest Asia bound for Europe and the U.S. have markedly increased in recent years. There is a growing domestic heroin and cocaine market and use of cannabis or marijuana is widespread, particularly on the coast and in NairobI. There is also an emerging pattern of opiates trafficked from Kenya to the Indian Ocean islands of Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and Comoros. Although government officials profess strong support for antinarcotics efforts, the overall program suffers from a lack of resources and corruption at various levels. Kenya is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Kenya is a significant transit country for cocaine and heroin and a minor producer of cannabis for the domestic market. The production of khat, legal in Kenya, is an important source of foreign revenue for Kenya. Though there is some local demand for the product, the majority of khat grown is for export to Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen, and increasingly, but illegally, to the U.K. and The Netherlands. Multiple ton quantities of khat have reportedly been exported into the U.S. market as well. Kenya also serves as a transit country for large shipments of cocaine from South America destined for Europe; however, cocaine seizures were modest in 2007 at 18.8 kg compared to 23.5 kg seized in 2006. Kenya's sea and air transportation infrastructure, and the network of commercial and family ties that link some Kenyans to Southwest Asia, make Kenya a significant transit country for Southwest Asian heroin and hashish. Cannabis is produced in commercial quantities primarily for the domestic market (including use by some elements among the large number of tourists vacationing in Kenya), with additional quantities arriving from Uganda and Tanzania. Kenya does not produce significant quantities of precursor chemicals, and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board closely monitors imports and exports of precursor and licit drugs.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Counter narcotics agencies, notably the Anti-Narcotics Unit (ANU) within the Kenyan Police Service, depend on the 1994 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act for enforcement authorities and interdiction guidelines. Revisions to the Narcotics Act on the seizure, analysis, and disposal of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances drafted by the government of Kenya and the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2005 were implemented in March 2006. The National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse Authority (NACADAA), the governmental organization charged with combating drug abuse in Kenya, was formally designated an Authority in June 2007 giving it greater legal standing and autonomy. In addition, its annual budget has been doubled. These changes are widely viewed as improvements that will lead to enhanced efficacy in the pursuit of its mandate. In May 2008, NACADAA published the National Strategy on Prevention, Control and Mitigation of Drug and Substance Abuse, 2008-2012 and the National Alcohol Policy.
In September 2008, the Nairobi-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime hosted a meeting for regional members of the Paris Pact Initiative. The Initiative facilitates counter narcotics cooperation and coordination among countries affected by the illicit traffic of opiates from Afghanistan. The meeting drew counter narcotics experts and policy makers from across Africa along with representatives of international drug law enforcement agencies and UNODC experts. Kenya called on all African countries to enact tougher legislation to combat drugs and substance abuse.
As a result of UNODC and bilateral training programs, the ANU and the Kenyan Customs Service now have a cadre of officers proficient in profiling and searching suspected drug couriers and containers at airports and seaports. Airport profiling has yielded good results in arrests for couriers but not major traffickers. Seaport profiling has proven difficult. Despite the official estimate that a significant portion of the narcotics trafficked through Kenya originates on international sea vessels, ANU maritime interdiction capabilities remain virtually nonexistent. Personnel turnover at the ports is high contributing to Kenya’s limited capability for maritime interdiction. The ANU remains the focus of Kenyan antinarcotics efforts. Corruption continues to thwart the success of long-term port security training. Lack of resources, a problem throughout the Kenyan police force, significantly reduces the ANU's operational effectiveness. The number of ANU police officers has decreased to 90 from highs in the 130s. Malindi, an important coastal tourism destination and major narcotics transit site, has but one ANU officer.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2007, seizures of heroin declined from 136 cases involving 20.7 kg in 2006 to 94 cases involving 12.5 kg. (All statistics on drug seizures in this section reflect the period from January to December 2007 as provided by the ANU. The ANU compiles statistics regarding seizures annually; statistics for 2008 are not yet available. ANU arrested 98 people in heroin-related charges in 2007, down from 149 the previous year. Seizures of Cannabis and derivatives increased substantially from 10,280.5 kg in 2006 to 43,590.5 kg in 2007, although the number of persons arrested dropped from 5067 to 4618. The ANU conducts joint operations with the Kenya Wildlife Service, including aerial surveys in the area of Mount Kenya. However, there is no systematic program for detection and eradication of marijuana crops, and farmers are increasingly aware of techniques used by the ANU and often intercrop, effectively preventing detection. Kenyans account for the majority of the 4,743 persons arrested in 2007 for narcotics-related offenses, mostly for abuse or retail sale of cannabis. Tanzanians are the mules of choice for heroin and cocaine. Cocaine seizures remained constant at 7 cases, but 2007 netted only 18.8 kg versus 23.5 kg in 2006. Seizures of psychotropic substances increased, with Mandrax at the top of the list at 25 kg. Other substances seized include 52 tablets of Diazepam and 1334 tablets of abused pharmaceuticals.
In 2008, ANU forces discovered and dismantled a laboratory manufacturing illicit drugs and arrested three South Africans and two Kenyans. The case is pending in the courts. In 2008, five tons of Chinese pseudoephedrine destined for Tanzania and onward to super-labs in Mexico was seized during transshipment from Kenya to Tanzania. The shipment of pseudoephedrine transited Ethiopia before arriving in Kenya. The shipment was seized by Kenya customs authorities, with the assistance of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, when an attempt was made to illegally move the transiting product from the port to an unsecured outside warehouse. There is close cooperation between the ANU and the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board in coordination of seizures and implementing measures to ensure drugs and chemicals are not diverted.
Corruption. Corruption remains a significant barrier to effective narcotics enforcement at both the prosecutorial and law enforcement level. Despite Kenya's strict narcotics laws that encompass most forms of narcotics-related corruption, reports continue to link public officials with narcotics trafficking. As a matter of policy, the Government of Kenya does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Kenya is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty remains in force between the United States and Kenya through a 1965 exchange of notes. Kenya is a party to the UN Corruption Convention and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.
Cultivation and Production. A significant number of Kenyan farmers illegally grow cannabis on a commercial basis for the domestic market. Fairly large-scale cannabis cultivation occurs in the Lake Victoria basin, in the central highlands around Mt. Kenya, and along the coast. ANU officials conduct aerial surveys to identify significant cannabis-producing areas in cooperation with the Kenya Wildlife Service. However, according to ANU officials, farmers are increasingly savvy about how to shield their crops from aerial detection and difficult terrain hampers eradication efforts. The ANU was unable to provide statistics on the success of their crop eradication efforts. Routinely, when fields are found, the crops are uprooted and fields burned.
Khat, categorized as a Schedule 1 narcotic in the U.S. but legal in Kenya, is a major generator of foreign exchange revenues. Khat’s active ingredient is cathinone, a naturally occurring chemical similar to amphetamines which is best chewed within 48 hours of being picked, when the leaves are still fresh. Grown primarily near the town of Meru on the slopes of Mt. Kenya, khat is primarily exported through Somali networks to countries in the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen. Tanzania has banned the sale of khat, and Uganda has drafted legislation to ban sales as well, but bans in these countries have had little impact on the massive khat trade to Somalia. Exports to U.K. and Netherlands, where the drug is legal, have increased in recent years to satisfy the demands of immigrants from the Horn of Africa residing in those countries. The U.S. market is not immune to khat trafficking, as khat cultivated in East Africa is shipped through European nations to the U.S. In 2006, a major Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operation dismantled an organization responsible for importing over 25 metric tons of khat into the U.S.
Drug Flow/Transit. Kenya is strategically located along a major transit route between Southwest Asian producers of heroin and markets in Europe and North America. Heroin normally transits Kenya by air, carried by individual couriers. A string of cocaine and heroin seizures at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in spring 2006 (most from flights originating in West Africa) highlights the continuing drug trafficking problem in Kenya. While the arrests of drug "mules" may alert trafficking syndicates that enhanced profiling measures and counter narcotics efforts make JKIA an increasingly inconvenient entry/exit point for drugs, the arrests have achieved little in the way of assisting authorities to identify the individuals behind the drug trafficking networks.
ANU officials also continued to intercept couriers transiting land routes from Uganda and Tanzania, where it is believed the drugs arrive via air routes. The increased use of land routes demonstrates, in the minds of ANU officials, that traffickers have noted the increase in security and narcotics checks at JKIA. Postal and commercial courier services are also used for narcotics shipments through Kenya, particularly shipments of khat to the U.K. and U.S. Reports indicate that poor policing along the East African coast makes this region attractive to maritime smugglers. An emerging pattern is that of opiates shipped from Kenya to the islands of the Indian Ocean: Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and Comoros. In June 2008, a Kenyan woman was arrested in Mauritius in a $1.8 million drug bust. She appeared to be the contact in Mauritius for two Tanzanian boxers and four officials who had arrived for the African boxing championships with the heroin.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Kenya continues to make progress in efforts to institute programs for demand reduction. Illegal cannabis and legal khat remain the domestic drugs of choice. Heroin abuse is generally limited to members of the economic elite with a broader range of users on the coast. Cocaine is generally limited to urban centers. Solvent abuse is widespread among street children in Nairobi and other urban centers. NACADAA actively combats drug abuse, although the organization's budget remains inadequate to the challenge. In May 2008, NACADAA published a National Strategy on Prevention, Control and Mitigation of Drug and Substance Abuse, as well as a National Alcohol Policy. In an effort to offset the dearth of reliable statistics on drug abuse in Kenyan, NACADAA developed a comprehensive survey of the problem in 2007. It has also done an assessment of drug counseling and treatment centers in Kenya. NACADAA and a number of communities sponsored programs to commemorate International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, 2008 with public fora and speeches. NACADAA is presently engaged in developing certification standards for drug treatment centers and implementing a licensing service to formalize the process. NACADAA continues to be actively engaged at the community level, distributing public information brochures and leaflets through schools and community centers. Community associations and local activists promote peer counseling and provide training to volunteers. Of particular note is that all Kenyan civil servants now have clauses in their performance contracts relating to what they will do to counter drug abuse.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The principal U.S. antinarcotics objective in Kenya is to interdict the flow of narcotics to the United States. A related objective is to limit the corrosive effects of narcotics-related corruption in law enforcement, the judiciary, and political institutions, which has created an environment of impunity for well-connected traffickers. The U.S. seeks to accomplish this objective through law enforcement cooperation, the encouragement of a strong Kenyan government commitment to narcotics interdiction, and strengthening Kenyan antinarcotics and overall judicial capabilities.
Bilateral Cooperation and Accomplishments. USG bilateral cooperation with Kenya on antinarcotics matters is ongoing. The donation by the Department of State's Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program to the government of Kenya (GOK) of seven boats (coupled with training) will enable GOK multi-agency shallow water patrols along Kenya's coastline, which should significantly improve the capacity of the GOK to patrol and secure Kenya's coastal waters and assist drug interdiction efforts on the coast. ATA is also assisting with building Kenya's capacity to patrol points of entry to and in the Port of Mombasa by providing training and refurbishing existing patrol boats. The Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Control (CBP) office is assisting the Kenya Revenue Board (KRA) Customs Bureau in meeting the World Customs Organization (WCO) Framework of Standards to Secure Global Trade and addressing Export Border Control Issues. CBP has provided multi-agency training through workshops, seminars, and courses covering airport, seaport, land border, and export control issues and provided $443,000 worth of inspection equipment to customs and other agencies in Kenya engaged in port/border security issues. CBP is also assisting the KRA in improving and expanding its Canine Enforcement Program. KRA is scheduled to procure four additional canines for its program from the U.S. in January 2009. In May 2008, a GOK delegation traveled to the US to witness CBP best practices pertaining to airport, seaport, land border, headquarters operations programs, and training facilities which they are now adapting to enhance programs, operations and training in Kenya. The DEA continues to partner with Kenyan law enforcement on bilateral narcotics investigations.
USAID/Kenya provides support to projects offering addiction treatment services to substance abuse addicts in Nairobi and on the Kenyan coast. The Department of State's Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs will provide training to Kenyan drug addiction counselors in the therapeutic communities model beginning in January 2009 as well as assist the GOK in establishing a three-year training program to train drug addiction counselors throughout the country in Level 1 certification and prepare them for an independently-administered examination by the U.S.-based The Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). Certification training will be scheduled in January 2009. The U. S. Coast Guard sent four Mobile Training Teams (MTTs) to Kenya in 2008 covering training in small boat operations, coastal search and rescue operations, and leadership and management.
The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to take advantage of its good relations with Kenyan law enforcement on enhancing its operational capacity, and information sharing. USG will actively seek ways to maximize antinarcotics efforts both in Kenya and throughout East Africa. Perhaps most significantly, the USG will work with local, regional, and international partners to better understand and combat the flow of international narcotics through Kenya. The USG will also continue to expand our public awareness outreach to assist demand reduction efforts in Kenya.
Kosovo is primarily a transit point for heroin originating in Turkey and Afghanistan destined for Western European countries. Kosovo also has a small and reportedly growing domestic narcotics market. Kosovo faces challenges in its battle against narcotics trafficking: its borders are porous and there is almost certainly corruption among the Border Police and Customs officers. The Kosovo Police Service (KPS) continues its efforts to combat the drug trade, but it suffers from limited resources and the low priority of its counternarcotics branch. The Kosovo Government, led by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) is in the process of drafting its national counternarcotics strategy.
Kosovo has not yet become a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Its unique history under UNSCR 1244 as a United Nations-administered territory previously prevented it from entering into most bilateral, multilateral and international agreements, including the Convention. Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008 and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) began to transfer competencies to the Kosovo Government starting on June 15, when Kosovo’s constitution came into force. Kosovo now possesses the authority to sign treaties and agreements and is currently reviewing and prioritizing the most important treaties for future ratification. The United States and the European Union continue to provide rule of law technical assistance, training, and equipment that will help Kosovo to combat narcotics trafficking more effectively over time.
II. Status of Country
Kosovo is not a significant narcotics producer. The KPS has found cases of small-scale marijuana cultivation in rural areas, mostly in the form of marijuana plants mixed in with corn crops or cultivated in back yards. There is no evidence of large-scale illicit drug cultivation.
Kosovo is a transit point for Afghan heroin moving to Western Europe through Turkey and down the Balkan Route. The Kosovo Border Police is a young service lacking basic equipment, and narcotics traffickers capitalize on weak border controls in Kosovo. The Border Police patrol all border crossing points except two entry points in northern Kosovo, which are staffed by UNMIK and the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR). The Border Police and KFOR jointly patrol the “Green Border,” the area where there are no official manned borders or administrative boundary line gates. This patrolling along the “Green Border” extends up to the actual border, but traffickers nevertheless take advantage of numerous roads leading into Kosovo that lack border controls. Narcotics interdiction is not part of KFOR’s mandate. KFOR soldiers seize narcotics they happen to encounter while performing their duties, but they do not actively investigate narcotics trafficking.
Neither the KPS nor UNMIK have found any direct evidence of narcotics refining laboratories or synthetic drug production in Kosovo. There have been reports of seizures of small quantities of precursor chemicals in Kosovo.
Information on domestic narcotics consumption is not systematically gathered, but the KPS and UNMIK officials agree that there is a growing local market and that illegal drug use is on the rise. The Ministry of Health (MOH) believes levels of narcotics consumption among teenagers and university-aged young adults, the primary users, are close to those in most Western European countries. Drugs of all types, including heroin, are reportedly available in Kosovo. The vast majority of addicts referred for treatment are heroin users.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Kosovo has made limited progress in counternarcotics policy initiatives in 2008. The country’s national counternarcotics strategy is still in draft form. Previously, the MOH was in charge of drafting the strategy, but due to a policy shift in 2008, the MOIA took responsibility. An inter-ministerial conference with representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister, the MOH, and the MOIA was held on October 24 to begin the process of drafting the national counternarcotics strategy. Regional cooperation initiatives were limited to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Kosovo Government and Albania that pledged to increase cooperation in combating organized crime. There were no attempts to restructure counternarcotics agencies, initiate new legislation, or encourage regional cooperation beyond the MOU between the Kosovo and Albanian Governments.
Individual ministries continued with their own efforts. The MOH, in its strategic plan and budget for 2008-2013, included the goals of accurately assessing the extent of the drug problem in Kosovo, developing a national strategy for preventing drug use among adolescents and youths, creating regular mechanisms for monitoring drug use levels among adolescents and youths, and increasing services to drug addicts. The MOH is currently expecting the final results from a UNICEF/WHO funded report on drug use by Kosovo youth. Additionally, in December 2007, the MOH compiled the National Strategy on Mental Health, which includes treatment and services for drug addicts, and it expects to implement the strategy in 2009.
The MOIA reported that it is working to increase Kosovo’s narcotics investigative capacity and plans to meet European Partnership Agreement Program goals by training counternarcotics officials, procuring technical equipment, and strengthening interagency cooperation.
Law Enforcement Efforts. KPS counternarcotics officers face many challenges. Their resources are limited and counternarcotics is not a top priority for the Kosovo Government
From January to September 2008, the KPS confiscated 42.1 kg of heroin, 2.6 kg of cocaine, 12,642 individual marijuana plants, 40 grams of Ecstasy, and 12.4 kg of other narcotic substances. The KPS have found no evidence of synthetic drug production in Kosovo.
In 2008, the KPS arrested 257 people on narcotics charges and filed 144 narcotics-related cases, 122 of which were sent to the Prosecutor’s Office. The remaining cases are still under investigation. According to KPS statistics, 96 percent of offenders were male. The KPS focused on major traffickers down to street pushers.
The KPS uses a wide range of investigative techniques, from information collection to interception and surveillance. In 2008 the KPS started conducting “buy-bust operations, which led to the arrest of street pushers. The KPS has also created an e-mail account for use throughout Kosovo to collect anonymous tips.
UNMIK focused its anti-drug efforts on intercepting drugs smuggled into Kosovo and preventing them from departing to third countries. UNMIK reported significant improvement in the exchange of information regarding organized crime with neighboring countries, Western European countries, Canada, and the United States.
Corruption. It is difficult to estimate the extent to which corruption in Kosovo influences drug trafficking. Kosovo has taken legal and law enforcement measures to prevent and punish public corruption that facilitates the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances, or that discourages the investigation or prosecution of such offenses, especially by senior government officials.
The “Suppression of Corruption” law, passed in April 2005, is the prevailing legislation that directs anti-corruption activities. There are no laws that specifically address narcotics-related public corruption. The Suppression of Corruption law created the Kosovo Anti-Corruption Agency, an independent agency that began operations in July 2006. In 2008, the Anti-Corruption Agency investigated 103 cases, 35 of which were sent to the Prosecutor’s Office. Twenty-five cases were dismissed as unfounded, and the rest remain under investigation. While the Agency has never found any cases of narcotics related corruption, its representatives believe it is only a matter of time before these cases begin to appear.
In September, seven officials in the Customs Service were arrested and charged in connection with smuggling Viagra into Kosovo. There have never been any arrests for high-level illegal narcotics related corruption. While there is no evidence of systemic corruption in the KPS, Border Police, or Customs, there are reports of individual corruption, which officials are attempting to address. UNMIK alleges that widespread corruption exists within the KPS due to traffickers’ greater resources and willingness to use threats. Cases reportedly involve officers turning a blind eye to narcotics trafficking or accepting bribes to allow narcotics to pass through borders. KPS officials see the potential for problems due to the officers’ low salaries and lack of benefits, and they believe corruption exists in the regional counternarcotics offices.
In 2006 the Kosovo Government, the MOIA, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) inaugurated the Police Inspectorate of Kosovo (PIK), an independent body under the MOIA designed to promote police efficiency and effectiveness, hold police accountable for their actions, and investigate and punish serious misconduct. From January 1 to August 31, the PIK investigated 1,353 active cases; only two percent of the cases involved allegations of corruption, and only one case specifically pertained to drug related corruption. In that one case, the KPS conducted an undercover operation based on an informant’s tip. In September this operation led to the arrest of a KPS officer in the act of allegedly selling 100 grams of cocaine. The matter is still under investigation.
There is no information indicating that the Kosovo Government or its senior officials encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or launder the proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. The 1902 extradition treaty with the Kingdom of Serbia is now recognized as being in force by both the United States and the Government of Kosovo. However, Kosovo will not extradite its nationals. Furthermore, UNMIK reportedly asserts that it still has full law enforcement authority over Kosovo and insists that it’s the proper entity to make any extradition request. The United States, however, does not have a treaty with UNMIK and can not extradite to UNMIK. Thus, the matter of extradition remains unclear based on UNMIK’s reported assertions.
Due to its unique history as a UN-administered entity, Kosovo was not previously party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention or any other international convention or protocol. Since declaring independence in February 2008 and adopting a new state constitution in June 2008, Kosovo has gained the authority to sign international treaties as well as bilateral and multilateral agreements; however, this authority is for practical purposes limited to agreements with the 52 countries (as of November 1) which have recognized Kosovo. Kosovo is not yet a UN member-state.
The Kosovo Government is currently prioritizing the most important international agreements for ratification but has not yet become a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, or the UN Convention Against Corruption. The Kosovo Government has reaffirmed its commitment to existing treaties signed on its behalf by UNMIK and the former Yugoslavia, including the extradition treaty originally signed between the United States and Yugoslavia.
Kosovo cooperates and exchanges information with countries in the region through informal bilateral and multilateral meetings. For example, the Director of Organized Crime in the KPS regularly meets with his Albanian counterpart. Additionally, Customs has memoranda of understanding with both Albania and Macedonia, and Kosovo law enforcement authorities report that they have strong working relationship with their Albanian and Macedonian counterparts.
Cultivation/Production. Kosovo is not a significant narcotics producer. The KPS has found some evidence of small-scale marijuana cultivation in rural areas, mostly in the form of plants mixed in with corn crops or cultivated in back yards. The police have also found some uncultivated marijuana plants growing in rural areas. The KPS determine crop yield by counting individual plants, and the number of plants grown by any one producer is small enough to make this feasible. There have been a few reports of seizures of small quantities of precursor chemicals in Kosovo, but KPS and UNMIK officials have found no direct evidence of narcotics refining labs.
Drug Flow/Transit. Kosovo remains a transit point for heroin from Afghanistan, most of which is destined for Western European countries, including Switzerland, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. The KPS reports that the major transit points are Ferizaj/Urosevac, Mitrovice/Mitrovica, and Peje/Pec. There is conflicting information on who manages the drug trade. UNMIK reports that the drug trade is managed informally through regular travel by Kosovo citizens to Western and Northern Europe while visiting relatives. However, the KPS believes that the drug trade is now professionally managed by gangs and other criminals.
Most drugs illegally enter Kosovo overland from neighboring countries. Officials believe one major route is from Turkey, through Bulgaria and Macedonia. Another route from Turkey runs through Bulgaria and Serbia. There are reports of collaborative arrangements between Kosovo-Serb and Kosovo-Albanian criminal groups for drug trafficking. Both KPS and UNMIK Police believe there is a connection between drug trafficking and human trafficking.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the drugs are broken down into smaller quantities in Kosovo before heading to Western Europe. UNMIK officials report many small movements of narcotics, such as two to five kg on one person or 10 to 20 kg in a bag on a bus.
The Kosovo Government continues its efforts to interdict and seize drugs transiting Kosovo. However, there have been no significant changes in the methodology or tactics used by the Kosovo Police, Border Police, or Customs agencies. The Border Police are attempting to acquire drug detection dog teams but have not yet secured funding. The MOIA is beginning the process of drafting a national counternarcotics strategy, and it intends to focus its efforts on combating organized crime.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Kosovo Government is increasingly aware of the dangers of narcotics. Both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education run domestic prevention programs, and community police officers visit schools throughout Kosovo to educate students about the risks associated with drug use. Non-governmental organizations assist with both education and treatment.
There are no reliable estimates for the number of drug addicts in Kosovo. “Labyrinth,” an NGO that conducts drug awareness campaigns and runs treatment programs, is currently treating 600 clients in various stages of recovery from addiction. The Pristina University Hospital Psychiatry Department, which also provides drug treatment, reports that on average two to four people are receiving in-patient treatment at any given time. The overwhelming majority of the patients are heroin addicts. There are approximately 120-140 addicts receiving out-patient treatment per year. The staff at Pristina University Hospital is limited, with only one doctor and one nurse devoted to treating drug addicts. Other regional medical centers’ psychiatry wards reportedly do what they can to assist drug addicts, but they do not devote staff exclusively to their treatment.
Pristina University Hospital offers detoxification programs for motivated patients, but they report a high recidivism rate since many of the addicts are poor and unemployed. At the Hospital, some addicts receive anti-anxiety medication or anti-depressants to relieve withdrawal symptoms. The most severe, agitated patients receive anti-psychotic medication.
The Hospital notes that the number of patients is increasing and sees an urgent need for a better drug treatment program that includes more and better trained staff, individual and group therapy, and separation from the psychiatric ward.
Methadone is illegal at all public hospitals in Kosovo and is not prescribed at Pristina University Hospital. Methadone is, however, legal for private clinics and the NGO, Labyrinth, uses it as part of its rehabilitation program. Labyrinth reports a success rate of 12 percent using methadone to treat heroin addiction, and it attributes this low rate of success to the absence of a long-term maintenance program.
In October 2007, Pristina University Hospital presented a strategic plan addressing drug treatment for 2008 to 2013 to the Ministry of Health; it is still pending approval. Hospital officials consider the construction of a separate drug treatment facility a priority. They believe that the current arrangement that places drug addicts alongside psychiatric patients in the same ward creates a social stigma that prevents all but the most severe cases of drug addiction from seeking treatment.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Kosovo cooperates with the United States on counternarcotics issues to the extent possible, but Kosovo’s unique history of UN administration has hampered full bilateral cooperation in the past.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice conducted training for prosecutors in the new Kosovo Special Prosecutors Office, which handles narcotics trafficking and other sensitive crimes. Projects included instruction on how to handle Trafficking in Persons cases and the Confiscation of Documents, as well as a course in Terrorism, Organized Crime, Interagency Decision Making, Consequence Management, and Border Management. In past years, the United States Government has provided technical assistance and equipment donations that directly or indirectly support counternarcotics work in Kosovo. In 2008, through the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program, the United States also donated a large amount of border security equipment, including x-ray machines, density meter kits, and other equipment. During the year, the United States Government funded and contributed the largest contingent of police officers (214) to UNMIK’s international civilian police mission, which monitored and mentored KPS officers working on counternarcotics efforts.
The Road Ahead. Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008 and it has been assuming more and more of UNMIK’s previous competencies since the country’s new constitution came into force on June 15. The United States will continue to provide rule of law assistance to Kosovo for the foreseeable future. The EU is deploying a rule of law mission (EULEX) under the auspices of its European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). USG-funded police, prosecutors, and judges will continue working in Kosovo as part of the EULEX deployment. The U.S. Government is coordinating its rule of law assistance goals and priorities for Kosovo with the EU, and it will continue to provide training, technical assistance and equipment to the KPS and Kosovo’s criminal justice sector that directly and/or indirectly support counternarcotics work. Among the USG’s contribution of police officers to the EULEX police mission in Kosovo, some officers will possess special organized crime and counternarcotics skills.
The Kyrgyz Republic continues to have minimal internal production of illicit narcotics or precursor chemicals, but it is a major transit country for drugs originating in Afghanistan and destined for markets in Russia, Western Europe, and America. Experts estimate that 20 metric tons (20,000kg) of narcotics transit through Kyrgyzstan each year. The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (GOKG) attempts to combat drug trafficking and prosecute offenders, but is constrained by limited resources. The GOKG has been supportive of international and regional efforts to limit drug trafficking and has supported major initiatives to address its own domestic drug use problems. The GOKG recognizes that the drug trade is a serious threat to its own stability and is continuing efforts to focus on secondary and tertiary drug-related issues such as money laundering, drug-related street crime and corruption within its own government.
While the GOKG has been a supporter of counter-narcotics programs, it is still struggling to deliver a clear and consistent counter-narcotics strategy to either the Kyrgyz people or the international community.
II. Status of Country
The Kyrgyz Republic shares a common border with China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Mountainous terrain, poor road conditions, and an inhospitable climate for much of the year make detection and apprehension of drug traffickers more difficult. Border stations located on mountain passes on the Chinese and Tajik borders are snow covered and unstaffed for up to four months of the year. These isolated passes are some of the most heavily used routes for drug traffickers. Government outpost and interdiction forces rarely have electricity, running water or modern amenities to support their counter-narcotics efforts. The Kyrgyz Republic is one of the poorest successor states of the former Soviet Union, relying on a crumbling infrastructure and suffering from a lack of natural resources or significant industry. Unlike some of its Central Asian neighbors, the Kyrgyz Republic does not have a productive oil industry or significant energy reserves. The south and southwest regions--the Osh and Batken districts--are important trafficking routes used for drug shipments from Afghanistan. The city of Osh, in particular, is the main crossroads for road and air traffic and a primary transfer point for narcotics into Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and on to markets in Russia, Western Europe and the United States. The Kyrgyz Republic is not a major producer of narcotics; however, cannabis, ephedra and poppy grow wild in many areas.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. There were no new policy initiatives in 2008.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The Drug Control Agency (DCA) was established in 2003 with the Assistance and funding of the U.S. Government and UNODC. It has become a lead agency that coordinates all drug enforcement activities in the Kyrgyz Republic. To stop illegal transnational drug crime, the DCA continues to work with its counter-parts in Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In August 2007, 32 Kyrgz law enforcement officers from the DCA, Ministry of the Interior, Customs Service and Border Guards were trained and completely outfitted with equipment to form the first four Mobile Interdiction Teams (MOBITS). The teams were deployed in September 2007 after the completion of five weeks of training. Their mission is to identify drug trafficking targets and seize any and all illicit narcotics. Their mobility allows these teams to travel into remote southern areas between fixed border posts along the Kyrgyz border with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. As with the DCA, the MOBITS have suffered from a lack of effectiveness. Even after providing two in-country advisors residing in Osh with the teams, the teams have been unable to move forward. The next step for enhancing the MOBITS capability will be the introduction of in-country DEA agents working closely with the DCA and MOBITS.
In calendar year 2007, the DCA registered 87 seizures, but the quantity of drugs seized during each seizure diminished. As of September 30, 2007 the DCA had seized only 117kg of heroin, 26kg of opium, 673kg of marijuana, 5kg of Psycho-tropics and .33kg of hashish a negligible percentage for the volume of narcotics estimated to be trafficked through this country. For January to September 2008, drug seizures fell to extremely low levels: 55kg heroin, 27kg opium, 184kg hashish, 754kg marijuana and 295 pills defined as psychotropic substances. These statistics indicate almost a 50% reduction in heroin seized which is of grave concern and allows the most profit to the traffickers. Other substances such as marijuana, though illegal narcotics, do not pose the immense threat that heroin and opium do. In September 2008, a change in the DCA Director as well as the MOBITS commander became effective. This change resulted in several significant investigations that have resulted in the seizures of an additional 34kg of heroin and over 100kg of opium through November 2008.
Corruption. In 2008, four Kyrgyz law enforcement (MVD) officials were identified as participants in narcotics trafficking in Kyrgyzstan. In addition, the chief of the MVD Narcotics Investigation Branch was shot and killed. Corruption remains a serious problem and a deterrent to effective law enforcement efforts. The Kyrgyz DCA possesses a relatively good reputation, and its staff goes through a very thorough vetting procedure and receives substantial salary supplements from the UN/US counter narcotics project. The MOBITS Units are also vetted and receive a polygraph test, as do all DCA agents. As a matter of policy, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. The Kyrgyz Republic is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The Kyrgyz Republic is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Crime and its Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants.
Cultivation/Production. While there is no significant commercial production of drugs in Kyrgyzstan, cannabis and ephedra grow wild over wide areas, especially in the Chui valley region, and around Lake Issyk-Kul. In the past, Kyrgyzstan used to be a major producer of licit opium, and was the Soviet Union's main source of ephedra plant for decades. However, with the skyrocketing of opium production in Afghanistan, it has become less risky and easier to import drugs from Afghanistan via Tajikistan than to produce them locally. The Kyrgyz government carries out yearly eradication campaigns against illicit crops.
Drug Flow/Transit. Due to a very limited and rudimentary transportation system, traffickers mostly utilize lengthy overland routes leading through Afghanistan's neighboring countries. A large part of the drugs smuggled through Central Asia in 2008 entered the region through Tajikistan. Together with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan represents the main conduit for onward smuggling of opiates. In the last few years, trafficking activities have increased on the long and mountainous border between the Tajik Garm region and Batken in Kyrgyzstan. Onward smuggling through the Kyrgyz Republic takes drugs mainly to the Uzbek part of the Fergana valley, and across the Northern border into Kazakhstan.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Existing economic problems and budget constraints do not allow the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to effectively address the quickly aggravating drug abuse and HIV/AIDS problem. Insufficient allocation of budget funds is hampering the prevention and treatment programs and training of professional staff. Although for the past few years funding for international financial and technical assistance programs to address HIV/AIDS problems in Central Asia has increased considerably, the Kyrgyz have devoted insufficient attention to the conceptual and strategic development of a modern drug treatment service capable of stemming drug abuse and/or a the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The programs for drug users in the Kyrgyz Republic are conducted by state institutions in partnership with civil sector organizations. UNODC also has a number of drug treatment assistance programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs.
Bilateral Programs. During this last year, the DCA has lost some momentum in their quest to become a solid and respected law enforcement organization in the field of drug enforcement for the Kyrgyz Republic. Fortunately with the new leadership, DEA providing in-country assistance and an opportunity for getting this agency back on track, many achievements can be met in this coming year.
Road Ahead. The assistance of the Nebraska National Guard (NG) in providing assessment, training and guidance to the DCA has been invaluable. In August 2008, the Montana National Guard assumed this responsibility. Presence on the ground is of great value in forming working relationships with the DCA. Another initiative during 2008 was the assignment of two liaison officers (retired DEA Agents) to work with the MOBITS headquarters in Osh and to provide guidance, mentoring and technical assistance for the MOBITS teams. The most significant ongoing program in terms of funding is the MOBITS. This $1 million project, funded by CENTCOM, will give Kyrgyz law enforcement entities the capability to strike against narco-trafficking anywhere in their country. The US will also urge DCA's adoption of a recommended policy to dismiss immediately any DCA employee who fails their polygraph. The US also urges a review of all narcotics trafficking investigations and tracking of all seizures and court cases as a result of those seizures.
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) made tremendous progress in reducing opium cultivation between 2000 and 2008. Estimates by the USG (1,100 ha.) and UNODC (1,500 ha) of poppy cultivation in 2008 (no change from 2007) were at the lowest levels since 1975. However, the momentum of this effort is stalling, and gains remain precarious. Remaining opium poppy planting is generally in areas near borders with China, Vietnam, and Burma. This continued planting reflects higher opium prices, convenient trafficking routes, and the extreme poverty and food shortages in these areas. Most poppy is grown in areas that have received little or no development assistance. Both awareness programs and treatment capacity targeting abuse of methamphetamines expanded during 2008, but remain insufficient and ineffective in responding to the rapidly rising level of methamphetamine abuse which now affects virtually every socio-economic group in Lao society. Law enforcement capacity is inadequate to establish an effective deterrent to regional and international trafficking organizations. This, in addition to its central geographic location, makes Laos an important transit route for Southeast Asian heroin, amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), and precursor chemicals en route to other nations in the region. This transit drug trade includes criminal gangs with links in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the United States, as well as in other parts of Asia. Information exchanges between Lao enforcement and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) led to some notable seizures and arrests in 2008, and indicate the potential for greater law enforcement effectiveness. Laos is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
A new Lao PDR policy and program initiative ("National Drug Control Master Plan") was unveiled in November 2008. The crop control program was tentatively budgeted at $44 million over five years, with the Lao PDR looking to the international community for most of the funding. Most donors, however, continue to focus primarily on rural poverty alleviation, food security, or sectoral-focused programming such as primary health care, agriculture, or institutional capacity building. Very few donors show significant interest in reducing illegal poppy cultivation or drug addiction. Higher prices for unprocessed opium (up from $900 to $1,400–$2,000/kg), are driven by a reduction in supply, regional demand, and an increasing number of opium addicts. The opium addict population in Laos is now estimated at nearly 14,000, including some 5,000 relapsed addicts. Inhabitants of many villages in former opium growing regions face increasingly desperate circumstances. Many former poppy growers, finding themselves without the assistance they expected, continue to face severe staple food shortages (rice), a prime cause of a return to opium planting. Rice prices have also increased 30% over 2007, which means poor villagers are hard pressed to purchase rice to make up for food deficits, now that opium income has sharply declined. These circumstances create significant incentives for resumption of poppy cultivation by growers and communities that had abandoned it. Only the provision of adequate medium to long-term rural development assistance, focusing on alternative development and addict rehabilitation, will enable the Laotian authorities to sustainably eliminate opium cultivation.
Methamphetamine and similar stimulants constitute the greatest current drug abuse problem in Laos. There are currently an estimated 60,000 ATS addicts, with about 200,000 occasional users; although the last survey was completed in 2004 by UNODC. ATS abuse, once confined primarily to urban youth, is becoming more common among rural peoples. The scope of this problem has overwhelmed the country’s limited capacity to enforce laws against sale and abuse of illegal drugs, and to provide effective treatment to addicts. Petty crime, some involving violence, has increased significantly in recent years, in Lao cities, with much of the increase attributed by the Lao PDR to ATS-methamphetamine abuse. Methamphetamine in Laos is largely consumed in tablet form, but drug abuse treatment centers report admission of a growing number of users of injected ATS. Continued emphasis on drug abuse prevention, comprehensive drug awareness programs, increased capacity to provide treatment to addicts, and post-detox follow-up are all essential to control the growth in domestic demand for ATS. Unfortunately, none of these services have been very effective to date and major institutional capacity building and staff training are required. Government health services are relatively good at opium addict treatment after 20 years of experience, but treatment of ATS addicts is just beginning and is sorely inadequate.
Heroin abuse in Laos, once limited to foreign workers and tourists, has emerged as a growing problem in highland areas bordering Vietnam. Injected heroin is in some areas competing with smoked opium as the favored method for drug abuse in some ethnic minority communities, bringing with it an attendant potential for increased transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases. The threat of HIV/AIDS and the associated risks of injectable drugs motivated the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC) and the Ministry of Health to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in 2008. The Lao government is working to develop a treatment capacity to address this new problem, but at present, there is only one facility in Laos which has even a marginal capability to address heroin abuse.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Laos introduced two significant new drug control policy initiatives in 2008. The first was the passage, translation and dissemination of the new “Law on Drugs and Article 146 of the Penal Code”. The new Law is a far ranging document which addresses policy issues, social attitudes and family responsibilities, drug treatment, as well as traditional legal prohibitions and sentencing guidelines for a number of drug offenses. It is posted in English translation on the UNODC Laos website.
The second 2008 policy initiative was the issuance of the “National Drug Control Master Plan: A Five Year Strategy to Address the Illicit Drug Control Problem in the Lao PDR”. This draft document was developed by the LCDC, in consultation with UNODC, and presented to the international donor community for comment in mid November 2008. The Strategy summary is a comprehensive document which looks over the next five years and summarizes approaches and budget proposals for addressing the serious problems of drug crop control, demand reduction and law enforcement. The assistance requested from the international donor community totals some $72 million over five years, with $44 million requested for crop control, $16 million for demand reduction (including the threat of HIV/AIDS) and $9 million for improvements to the criminal justice system and law enforcement. The Lao government is hopeful that sufficient support from international donors will be forthcoming in order to implement its new drug control strategy. Without strong international donor support, Laos could revert to being a major opium producer, and risks becoming a center of regional and international drug trafficking with still weak law enforcement capacity.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The economic value of drug trafficking in Laos, both domestic-oriented and international or regional, was estimated in the National Drug Control Plan of 2008 to be between $350–$700 million or about 10% of the country’s estimated GDP of $4 billion. In contrast, the relative contribution to GDP of the hydropower/electricity production was about $147 million, mining was about $252 million, and tourism was estimated at $234 million. Increasing property crime, the growth of youth gangs, the presence of West African drug gangs and dealers, growing methamphetamine addiction and the emergence of heroin addiction among Lao and ethnic minority groups all suggest that trafficking in drugs for internal sale and abuse in Laos is increasing. Individuals or small-scale merchants undertake the majority of street-level methamphetamine sales. Criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking across the Lao-Vietnamese border, especially gangs or groups that involve ethnic minority groups represented on both sides of the border, constitute a particular problem for Lao law enforcement. Such cross-border gangs now reportedly play a leading role in the expansion of injected heroin use in northern Laos, and in the cultivation of marijuana for export from central and southern provinces to neighboring countries.
Laos’ law enforcement and criminal justice institutions remain inadequate to deal effectively with the problems created by domestic sale and abuse of illegal drugs and international trafficking in drugs, chemical precursors and other contraband. Laos does not currently possess the means to accurately assess the extent of production, transport or distribution of ATS or its precursors. There was a significant increase in seizures of ATS transiting through Laos to neighboring countries in 2008. The number of reported drug arrest cases rose in 2008 by 63 percent. Methamphetamine addiction and use is widespread and growing, while treatment regimens and services are ineffective.
Laos’ principal narcotics law enforcement office is the Department of Drug Control (DCD) within the Ministry of Public Security. At the provincial level, DCD’s counterparts are the Counter Narcotics Units (CNUs), the first of which was created in 1994 and which now exist as elements of provincial police in most provinces. The CNUs, however, remain generally under-staffed, poorly equipped, under-resourced, and with personnel inadequately trained and experienced to deal with the drug law enforcement environment in Laos. CNUs in most provinces are generally staffed less than 15 officers. The average annual budget of a typical provincial CNU (excluding salaries) is only about $3,000. Shortages of office supplies and operational (non-lethal) equipment are endemic.
This limited law enforcement presence in rural areas creates an obvious vulnerability to establishment of clandestine drug production or processing activities. There are persistent rumors of some methamphetamine laboratories operating in the northwest, but no confirmation. Assistance provided by the U.S., UNODC, Luxembourg, South Korea, Australia, and China has mitigated equipment, training, and skills deficiencies of the CNUs to some extent. As in many developing countries, Lao drug enforcement and criminal justice institutions have demonstrated a serious inability to investigate and develop prosecutable cases against significant drug traffickers without external assistance. Prosecutions that do occur almost exclusively involve street-level drug pushers or couriers. There were, however, several arrests of West Africans and other foreigners by Lao police (DCD) in late 2008 with significant quantities of cocaine and heroin in their possession. Successful collaboration between DCD and DEA on West African drug cases indicates potential for increased drug law enforcement effectiveness.
In December 2007, the Lao National Assembly passed a narcotics law, signed by the Prime Minister in early 2008, that defines what substances are prohibited and which pharmaceuticals are permissible for medical use. The new law also outlines criminal penalties for possession and contains provisions for asset seizure. Prosecutors still lack legal means to seize assets of convicted drug traffickers except for those assets that were clearly involved in the drug trafficking offense. Extrajudicial asset seizures reportedly may occur in some cases. The National Assembly and the Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC) are now working on implementing regulations for the new law. However, it will take some time and considerable effort to disseminate the law to the provinces and implement it in the criminal justice system.
Corruption. In 2008 the Government’s “Anti Corruption Committee” was moved from the party organization to the Prime Minister’s Office, and designated the “State Inspection Authority”. UNODC, UNDP and the French government have assistance programs for “good governance” which are intended to build the capacity and legal basis for this new Authority. However, corruption in Laos, long present in many forms, is at risk of increasing as the flow of illicit drugs and precursors in and through Laos grows. Lao civil service pay is inadequate, and those able to exploit their official positions, particularly police and customs officials, can augment their salaries through corruption. This is especially true in areas distant from central government oversight. Lao law explicitly prohibits official corruption, and some officials have been removed from office, and/or prosecuted, for corrupt acts. The Lao PDR has made fighting corruption one of its declared policy priorities.
As a matter of government policy, Laos strongly opposes the illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs, psychotropic or other controlled substances, and the laundering of the proceeds of illegal drug transactions. No senior official of the Lao PDR is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of illegal drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds of illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. The USG signed initial agreements to provide international narcotics control assistance in Laos in 1990, and has signed further Letters of Agreement (LOAs) to provide additional assistance to projects for Crop Control, Drug Demand Reduction, and Law Enforcement Cooperation annually since then. Laos has no bilateral extradition or mutual legal assistance agreements with the United States. During 2008, Laos delivered no suspects or fugitives on drug offenses to the United States under any formal or informal arrangement. Laos is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. It has made substantial progress in the control of opium cultivation, production and addiction, but has not yet achieved all objectives of the 1988 UN Convention. Laos is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, but is not yet party to the 1972 Amending Protocol to the Single Convention. Laos is a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Laos is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its three protocols. Laos is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption.
Laos has declared its support for the ASEAN initiative to promote a drug-free region by 2015. Laos has extradition treaties with China, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. The Lao PDR has assisted in the arrest and delivery of individuals to some of those nations, but does not use formal extradition procedures in all cases.
Cultivation/Production. In 2008, opium poppy production in Laos remained relatively stable at between the USG estimates of 1,100 hectares (ha) and the 1,500 ha estimated by UNODC. Most of the remaining poppy cultivation observed in these surveys was encountered in remote areas of three Northern provinces: Phongsaly, Luang Namtha and Houaphan. Opium production, as estimated by UNODC, was roughly the same in 2007 and 2008. UNODC reported that its survey found a reported average price for opium in Laos of $1,400/kg, nearly triple the $550/kg reported in 2006. Some border areas reported prices as high as $2,000 per kg. With the decline in estimated production and increasing price, UNODC estimates that Laos has now become a net importer of opium to supply its remaining population of nearly 14,000 opium addicts. Most opium produced in Laos is consumed domestically in northern border areas, where raw and cooked opium is smoked or eaten. The share of the opium product in Laos that is refined into heroin is thought to be very small. UNODC surveys show that about 3 percent of opium smokers are now converting to heroin, with the numbers rising especially among younger persons.
The USG crop control projects implemented in Laos from 1990 to 2006 did not employ chemical herbicides or any other form of compulsory eradication of opium poppy. The government of Laos began forced eradication in 2003, and since 2006, USG crop control assistance has supported the limited use of involuntary eradication (by hand) by Lao authorities. Only when individual farmers are found attempting to repeatedly cultivate poppy are their crops eradicated. Within some areas of the Lao-American Projects for opium poppy reduction in Houaphan, Phongsaly and Luang Prabang provinces from 1999-2006, growers themselves, or officials of their villages, carried out eradication of poppy as a condition of written agreements between villages and Lao PDR authorities that villages would cease production of opium. Since declaring Laos to be formally opium-free in 2006 (a policy assertion it justifies by arguing that eradication reduces harvestable cultivation to insignificant levels), the Lao PDR has stated that it may employ compulsory poppy eradication in selected areas where alternative development programs are not available, or have not by themselves sufficed to reduce and eliminate poppy cultivation.
Although the 2008 UNODC opium survey results have yet to be announced officially in late 2008, the UNODC Resident Representative in Laos notes that the situation of the farm population that has depended primarily or exclusively on poppy cultivation remains “precarious” and that “the current reduction in cultivation is dependent on the existence and creation of appropriate and sustainable livelihood opportunities.” However, UNODC reports that international donor support for such alternative development programs continues to diminish. UNODC has reported that many former opium growers survived the loss of income from opium only by consuming their savings, generally in the form of livestock and depleting local NTFPs (non-timber forest products).
In 2008, the World Food Program published its "Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis Report (CFSVA)" for Laos. The report notes that on average 13 percent of the rural population is chronically short of staple food (3-6 months per year), 20 percent of all children are seriously malnourished, and 60 percent of the population are vulnerable to slipping back into serious food shortages if natural calamities destroy or reduce food crop production. Recognizing the particular vulnerability of remote mountain areas, WFP in 2008 began a two-year "protracted food emergency program" in three northern provinces. The program targets areas where opium was once grown that have developed no income alternatives as yet. WFP provides an emergency food (rice) ration of three months to over 200 such villages. Continued diminution of support for developing alternative livelihoods among populations previously dependent on poppy cultivation creates a significant risk that some cultivation will resume.
Seizures indicate continuing “contract” cannabis cultivation in central Laos. Use of cannabis as a traditional food seasoning in some Lao localities complicates attempts to eradicate this crop.
Drug Flow/Transit. The Mekong River and remote mountainous regions dominate Laos’ highly porous borders, over 5,000 kilometers in length. This terrain is notoriously difficult to control, and is permeable to trafficking of illicit drugs or other contraband, although there are no reliable estimates of the possible volume of such flows. An increase in the number and size of seizures in neighboring countries of drugs that reportedly passed in transit through Laos suggests a rapidly increasing transit problem. Illegal drug flows include methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, precursor chemicals, and even cocaine (originating from Latin America) destined for other countries in the region, some of which is diverted for consumption in Laos. Opium from Laos is shipped regularly to the U.S. via parcel post and commercial express packages. New regional transportation infrastructure, trade agreements, and special economic zones intended to facilitate regional trade and development may inadvertently also benefit transnational criminal trafficking organizations. Border checkpoints are few and far between.
The opening of two new transit arteries in Southeast Asia that pass through Laos, one a continuous east–west paved highway running from Danang in central Vietnam to ports in Burma or near Bangkok, and another, north to south all weather road, from Kunming (Yunnan, China) to Bangkok, have greatly complicated the already difficult challenge posed by illicit transit of drugs or other contraband for Lao law enforcement and border control agencies. Laos is not a principal destination for the majority of cargo that transits its territory, but the volume of traffic overwhelms Laos’ limited capacity for border control. In addition to increased trade volume, new bilateral and regional trade agreements will also likely result in proportionally fewer cargo inspections and a greater reliance on intelligence to identify suspect shipments of drugs or other contraband. Laos, which has very limited capabilities in this area, will have to rely substantially on regional cooperation with its neighbors to effectively impede trafficking in illegal drugs or other contraband.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Laos made some limited advances during 2008 in reducing the demand for and consumption of illicit drugs. Four new provincial drug addiction treatment facilities were constructed in 2007, but only one of these began offering any services in 2008. The operational costs and staffing of such provincial treatment centers are provided (or more often the case, not provided) by limited provincial budgets, so their capacity and effectiveness has been very limited.
In general, the capacity of existing facilities remains well short of the reported numbers of drug addicts in Laos. Available evidence suggests that many untreated addicts turn to crime as a means to support their addiction. Most existing treatment facilities are notably deficient in staff proficiency, counseling and effective occupational therapy or training. The U.S. is providing assistance to several treatment facilities in Laos to enhance their capabilities to offer some worthwhile occupational therapy and skills training prior to release for pre-release preparation. A new U.S.-supported modern media campaign for national drug awareness will be implemented in early 2009 using hip hop music and youth oriented materials.
Estimates by the Lao PDR in 2007 indicate that the number of remaining opium addicts has stabilized at approximately 14,000, after years of steady decline. Many opium addicts may remain unreported. Recidivism after attempted treatment is estimated at approximately 45 percent, and information about follow-on rehabilitation is scanty. In 2008, the USG provided funding for the treatment and rehabilitation of these remaining opium addicts, working with the LCDC and UNODC.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation. Most U.S. counternarcotics assistance to Laos over the past two decades has supported the successful effort to reduce poppy cultivation in Laos to a historically low level. U.S. crop control assistance continued at a diminished level in 2008, focusing on a large number of former opium growing communities that had not yet received assistance in identifying alternative income sources. The Law Enforcement and Narcotics Affairs Section (LENS) in Vientiane began a pilot project with the LCDC administering village-based alternative livelihood programs (mainly crops and livestock) in three northern provinces. LENS also provided funding support for UNODC rural development programs in northern upland areas where poppy cultivation remains.
As poppy cultivation has declined, more U.S. counternarcotics cooperation has been devoted to demand reduction and law enforcement activities. During 2008, the LENS in Vientiane worked closely with the LCDC and the Ministry of Health on enhancements to methamphetamine abuse treatment centers in Laos’ two largest cities, as well as on a variety of national drug awareness and prevention programs. U.S. law enforcement assistance funds supported operational costs, training and equipment for DCD, provincial CNUs and the Lao Customs Department. Training was also provided to the Lao Prosecutors Office under the U.S. Department of Justice and INL Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) program, and an anti-money laundering seminar delivered to Ministry of Finance and MOPS personnel by the U.S. Treasury Department. This was complemented by continuing regular Lao participation (over 100 persons in 2008) in INL-funded regional training opportunities offered by the U.S. and Thailand at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok as well as the ILEA International program based in New Mexico. Bilateral cooperation in drug law enforcement improved significantly in late 2008, with DEA working with the Lao PDR on several joint investigations of international narcotics traffickers.
The Road Ahead. Laos’ two-decade effort to sustainably eliminate opium poppy cultivation has made a good deal of progress, but the task is by no means complete. Further economic development is necessary in the northern highlands to achieve food security, integration with the licit national economy, and higher human development indicators generally. Most of this will come from broader rural development planning and assistance, but assistance targeted at former poppy growers and opium addicts remains necessary to ensure that poppy is completely abandoned. This is the key role for continuing U.S. crop control assistance. The Lao PDR needs to develop greater capacity for dealing with growing addiction to methamphetamines, as well as to other illegal drugs. Existing programs to educate youth and other vulnerable groups on the dangers of methamphetamine addiction must be enlarged and reinforced, and drug abuse treatment availability must be greatly enhanced.
Increased law enforcement cooperation with neighbors and other partners, building on some recent successes, is the most promising means for Laos to respond effectively to domestic and international drug trafficking activity. INL law enforcement funds will be used to increase capacity for effective cooperation, while DEA will provide operational expertise and help tie Lao law enforcement into broader channels of counter narcotics information. Lao authorities, however, remain cautious about engaging with other countries on law enforcement, and prefer to focus on crop control and demand reduction. The new Lao National Drug Control Master Plan (2009-2013) aims to address many of the problems noted here, but implementation will require both greater exertion of Lao political will and substantial and sustained support from development partners. Laos has made considerable progress in its counter narcotics efforts, but great challenges remain.
Drug use in Latvia is characterized by continued prevalence of synthetics, though cannabis is also popular. Cocaine use has recently seen a significant upsurge even though the price is generally high. Recreational drug use continues its shift to synthetic stimulants due to their low cost. The Latvian government backs national information campaigns highlighting the dangers of intravenous drug use. There are no significant changes in narcotics use, market or price (although there is a tendency for prices to rise after a major drug seizure) in Latvia and most of this activity is concentrated in Riga Latvia is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Latvia itself is not a significant producer of precursor chemicals, but Customs officials believe that a significant quantity of diverted “pre-precursors” originate in neighboring countries, such as Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia and Scandinavian countries and transit Latvia en route to other countries. Control of some cocaine smuggling through the Baltic region is directed by Latvian organized crime groups in coordination with Russian organized crime groups, though Russia (specifically Moscow) is the most likely ultimate market. Cocaine use in Latvia is an increasing problem and its high price is no barrier to users. An exponential rise in the number of administrative cases for possession of small amounts of cocaine is the result of the combination of more effective police activity and an increase in use of the drug. Heroin is usually sold at “retail” only to people known to the seller and is generally not available in public places, though selling tactics and methods constantly change. Amphetamines are distributed in venues that attract youth, such as nightclubs, discotheques, gambling centers and raves. Organized crime groups also engage in both wholesale and retail trade in narcotics. Overall, recreational drug use has increased.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Latvia is in the final year of its State Program for the Restriction and Control of Addiction and the Spread of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances, which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers for the years 2005 to 2008. This national strategy lists as its priorities: reducing the spread of drug abuse, especially among young people; increasing the possibilities for rehabilitation and re-socializing for drug addicts; reducing crime related to drug abuse and distribution, as well as drug trafficking; eliminating and preventing the harm caused to the general development of the Latvian state by drug addiction and drug related crime. The Action Plan for the Restriction and Control of Addiction and the Spread of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances for 2009, which has the same priorities as the State Program, has not yet been adopted but is before the Cabinet of Ministers for approval. One objective of the Action Plan is to ensure a transition period while the final evaluation of the State Program can be made. An outcome of this evaluation is the development of a new long-term policy planning document covering drugs and drug addiction in Latvia.
In 2006 a program called “HIV/AIDS prevention and care among injecting drug users and in prison settings in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania” was initiated with UN funding. The goal of the project is to establish a favorable environment in all project countries to better implement HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities among injection drug users and in prisons through addressing normative policy, capacity building and programmatic aspects of national HIV/AIDS prevention activities. The program is scheduled to last from 2006 to 2010.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Drug related crime during 2008 rose 60 percent, from 1470 cases in 2007 to 2446 cases in 2008. In 2008 the total amount of narcotic and psychotropic drugs seized rose significantly more for some drugs, and markedly less for others. The amounts of ephedrine, heroine, and amphetamines, seized did not change significantly from last year. LSD, poppy straw, cocaine and ecstasy amounts were much lower. Seized amounts of methamphetamines (in grams) rose by 300%. Substances controlled as prescription drugs were confiscated in significantly higher amounts over last year’s numbers. Hashish experienced a spike, with seizure amounts twenty-eight times higher than last year. Cocaine use in Latvia is increasing at an alarming rate. Although the amount confiscated in 2008 is a decrease of over 50% from 2007, the number of administrative cases (arrests for possession of a small quantity for personal use) launched near the end of 2008 was900 cases more than for the same time period in 2007. Peperzine, a newer drug from Western Europe, is on the EU controlled substance list and is expected to be added to the Latvian list in 2009. It is currently confiscated as misuse of a prescription drug. The marked improvement in seizures, according to an official in the Latvian State Police, is due to better experience among police officers and improved international contacts. However, because of low police salaries, law enforcement agencies are losing experienced staff to higher paying jobs and find it difficult to attract new recruits.
Money laundering continues to be a serious problem in Latvia, although authorities have passed numerous laws in an attempt to confront the issue. Most investigations into money laundering, however, are not connected to regional drug smuggling. The Latvian Police have a Financial Investigations Unit (FIT) that oversees money laundering cases within the country.
Corruption. Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) was established in 2002 to help combat and prevent public corruption. According to a KNAB official, the bureau has not found any senior-level Latvian officials to be involved in, encouraging, or facilitating narcotic crimes or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The USG also has no evidence of drug-related corruption at senior levels of the Latvian government. As a matter of government policy, Latvia 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.
Agreements and Treaties. Latvia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol. A 1923 extradition and a 1934 supplementary extradition treaty currently are in force between the U.S. and Latvia. The United States and Latvia are parties to a bilateral treaty on mutual legal assistance agreement which entered into force on September 17, 1999. The Republic of Latvia and the United States have ratified the new Extradition Treaty signed in Riga on December 7, 2005. The Protocol to the MLAT, also done pursuant to the U.S.-EU Agreement on this subject and signed on December 7, 2005 as well, has been ratified by both governments. The exchange of instruments to bring the treaties into force has not yet occurred. Latvia is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms.
Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine is being smuggled through the Baltic region by Latvian organized crime groups in coordination with Russian organized crime groups, and much of it goes through the port of St. Petersburg (with command and control in Latvia) or through Latvia en route to Russia. Most of the cocaine in the region probably goes to Russia (specifically Moscow) where the market is large and prices are high. Latvian groups send tens of kilograms at a time hidden in commercial vessels from Guayaquil, Ecuador to St. Petersburg, and some groups drive vehicles with concealed cocaine overland from the Benelux countries to Latvia and Lithuania. Latvia is not a primary transit route for drugs destined for the United States. Most drugs transiting Latvia are destined for the Nordic countries, Russia or Western Europe. Heroin transiting Latvia is Afghan in origin and comes via the “Northern Route” (former Soviet Central Asia) and not the Balkan Route.
Latvia became a Schengen country on December 21, 2007, thus opening its borders to other Schengen states. The Latvian State Police reported that the greatest rise in narcotics trafficking in Latvia occurred when it became an EU country in 2004. Police do not believe the change after Schengen has been significant.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The current national strategy addresses demand reduction, education, and drug treatment programs. Since its passage by the Cabinet of Ministers, the following objectives have been achieved: establishment of a co-ordination mechanism for institutions involved in combating drug addiction (involving eight ministries); holding educational events for teachers and parents, as well as updated educational materials and informative booklets; inclusion of information on drug addiction in school curriculums; establishment of a pilot program for teaching prevention of drug addiction, alcohol abuse and smoking; pilot programs on drug addiction for local governments; education programs for members of the armed forces; mechanisms for information exchange amongst relevant institutions; and an increase in the number of employees in the regional offices of the Organized Crime Enforcement Department under the State Police. Legislation and amendments to current legislation continue to be passed with the objective of further regulating and raising barriers to addictive drugs and activities.
In 2008 a short-term Drug Strategy was developed for 2009. It includes an evaluation of the 2005-2008 Drug Strategy. A plan for 2010-2013 will be established pursuant to that evaluation. Concerning interventions, in December 2006 a four-year UNODC project “HIV/AIDS prevention and care among injection drug and in-prison settings in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania” began. Program focus includes substitution treatment, and increased coverage of harm reduction activities.
In addition to the State Narcotics Center, Latvia has established four regional narcotics addiction treatment centers in Jelgava, Daugavpils, Liepaja, and Straupe. There are rehabilitation centers in Riga and Rindzele, and youth rehabilitation centers in Jaunpiebalga and Straupe. 2007 data on drug treatment clients show a significant increase in the number of patients treated at in-or out-patient treatment programs. The number of those treated for the first time at out-patient treatment centers in 2007 has increased by 40% compared to 2006 (627 in 2007 and 443 in 2006). Data show that approximately every fifth problem drug or injection drug user sought treatment in 2007. Preliminary analysis indicates that the number of those treated at in-patient programs has increased by the same percentage as out-patient programs. One explanation of this increase is that methadone treatment coverage has increased as well as availability of a broader range of services to drug users, such as psychological or social counseling.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The United States offers assistance on investigating and prosecuting drug offenses, corruption, and organized crime. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Latvia Central Criminal Police continue to conduct joint investigations in an effort to disrupt and dismantle Latvian-based organized crime groups that operate both regionally and internationally. A USCG Mobile Training Team visited Latvia in 2008 and provided a course on Maritime Operations and Planning.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to pursue and deepen cooperation with Latvia, especially in the areas of law enforcement and prosecution. The United States will expand efforts to coordinate with the EU and other donors to ensure complementary and cooperative assistance and policies with the government of Latvia. The United States will also encourage Latvia to work with regional partners to advance the mutual fight against narcotics trafficking.
Lebanon is not a major illicit drug producing or drug-transit country. The Lebanese government reported increased but still not significant marijuana cultivation in 2008, and expanded drug use particularly among the young, due to greater availability and reduced price of most drugs sold in Lebanon. Lebanon has been unable to prevent illicit drug cultivation or to eradicate illicit crops before harvest in the fertile Beqaa Valley due to internal political conflicts that prevented security officials from mounting an eradication campaign. Since 2005 the Drug Enforcement Bureau (DEB) of the Internal Security Forces (ISF) of Lebanon has undertaken almost no crop destruction operations due to ongoing political crises and overstretched security commitments of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which provide the security for the drug enforcement police involved in crop destruction. Also, illicit crop cultivation remains an attractive option for some farmers due to a difficult economic climate and a lack of economically viable alternate crops. There is practically no illicit drug refining in Lebanon, and minimal production, trading or transit of precursor chemicals. Drug trafficking across the Lebanese-Syrian border continued in 2008, in large part due to the absence of effective border security along the long eastern border with Syria. Also, the UN peacekeeping force on the Lebanese-Israeli border, UNIFIL (the UN Interim Force in Lebanon), reports increased drug smuggling across the Lebanese-Israeli border in 2008. Lebanon is a transit country for cocaine and heroin, with Lebanese nationals operating in concert with drug traffickers from Colombia and South America. The Government of Lebanon (GOL) continued its ongoing drug demand reduction efforts through public service messages and awareness campaigns. Lebanon is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
At least five types of drugs are available in Lebanon: hashish, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other synthetics, such as MDMA (Ecstasy). The use of hashish and heroin continues to rise. Since there has been almost no eradication of marijuana used to make hashish since 2005, hashish is easy to obtain and readily available to the growing numbers of young users. Over the last few years, only small quantities of cocaine and heroin arrived in Lebanon to meet local demand. This fiscal year, however, Lebanese officials intercepted 61 kilograms of cocaine and 14.5 kilograms of heroin, a significant increase over the previous year’s overall seizures of 3.5 kilograms of cocaine and 2.7 kilograms of heroin. Heroin use is small, but increasing, according to local officials. The government also reported increased abuse of synthetic drugs. Lebanon is not a major transit country for illicit drugs. Although most trafficking is done by small-time dealers rather than major drug networks, Lebanese citizens are a major presence among international drug trafficking and money laundering organizations in South America, and are tied into the highest levels of Colombian traffickers moving cocaine throughout the world. Cannabis and opium derivatives are trafficked to a modest extent in the region, but there is no evidence that the illicit narcotics that transit Lebanon reach the U.S. in significant amounts. South American cocaine, primarily from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, is smuggled into Lebanon via air and sea routes from Europe, Jordan, and Syria, or directly to Lebanon. Lebanese nationals living in South America, in concert with resident Lebanese traffickers, often finance these operations. Synthetic drugs are visible in the market, and Lebanese officials report that they are smuggled into Lebanon primarily from Eastern Europe for sale to high-income recreational users both within Lebanon and for transit to the Gulf States.
The stagnating economic situation in rural Lebanon, the lack of eradication campaigns and no effective investment in alternative crops continue to make illicit crop cultivation appealing to local farmers in the Beqaa Valley in eastern Lebanon. There is no significant illicit drug refining in Lebanon. However, small amounts of precursor chemicals, being shipped from Lebanon to Turkey via Syria, were thought to be diverted for illicit use in Lebanon. Lebanese officials reported an increase in misuse/overuse of prescribed medications. The ISF is working with the Ministry of Health to tighten regulations on the sale of drugs without prescription to lessen the increased consumption and overuse of pain killers such as Tramadol and codeine-based cough medicine referred to as "Simo". Legislation passed in 1998 authorized seizure of assets if a drug trafficking nexus is established in court proceedings.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The Ministry of Interior considers counter-narcotics a priority. The government has continued a vigorous campaign to discourage drug use by expanding public awareness on high school and university campuses, through media campaigns and advertisements.
Law Enforcement Efforts. No hashish eradication has taken place since 2005. In both 2006 and 2007, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) was unable to provide the requisite security owing to their commitments in internal conflicts (the Israel/Lebanon war in 2006 and battle against Islamic militants in a northern Palestinian camp in summer 2007). In 2008 internal confessional conflicts and political tensions created a political vacuum, and no decision was made to approve the eradication. After political tensions eased, the ISF mounted a large policing operation in October 2008, supported by the LAF, in the fertile hashish growing region of the Beqaa. In a one-week period in October, the ISF arrested over 350 drug dealers and traffickers, apprehended 83 tons of hashish plants, 7.5 kilograms of processed hashish, and 1,700 kilograms of hashish seeds. The ISF continues to face armed and violent resistance by the local farmers when attempting to eradicate crops or when attempting to undertake drug enforcement operations. Lebanese officials report increased trafficking of Captagon into the domestic market with 2.1 million tablets seized in November 2007, with the Gulf and Saudi Arabia believed to be the primary intended end-use market. Lebanese Customs officials intercepted a recreational vehicle carrying 1512 bottles of codeine-based cough medicine in the Beqaa Valley in October 2008. Also in October in Colombia, DEA and Colombian authorities arrested three Lebanese nationals suspected of being part of a large-scale international drug trafficking and money-laundering ring that operates globally, from Colombia to the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Middle East.
Lebanese law enforcement officers cooperated with foreign officials bilaterally and through Interpol in 2008. Several European and Arabian Gulf countries have drug enforcement liaison offices in Beirut with which local law enforcement authorities cooperate. The Internal Security Forces stated that from January to October 2008 they arrested 1,108 people for drug use and 699 for dealing, distribution, and smuggling.
Corruption. Corruption remains endemic in Lebanon in all levels of government, but the U.S. is unaware that government corruption is systematically connected with drug production or trafficking or the protection of persons who deal in illicit drugs. The Government of Lebanon does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of controlled substances. While low-level corruption in the counter narcotics forces is possible, there is no evidence of wide-scale corruption within the Judiciary Police or the ISF, which appear to be genuinely dedicated to combating drugs. On October 8, 2008, Parliament ratified the UN Convention Against corruption.
Agreements and Treaties. Lebanon is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Lebanon also is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons.
Cultivation and Production. Lebanon is no longer a significant drug producing country, but there has been an increase in marijuana cultivation for hashish production as many farmers appear to be resuming to plant illicit crops because they believe the crops will not be destroyed. In remote areas in the north where few other viable options exist, illicit crop production remains an attractive option. Lebanese police estimate that some 8,750 acres (3,500 hectares) of marijuana were planted this year in the Beqaa valley. Cultivation of poppies is negligible, according to Lebanese officials, and is estimated at less than 20 acres or 76,500 square meters.
Drug Flow/Transit. Coordinated through Interpol, joint Syrian-Lebanese anti-trafficking operations have continued since the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanese territory in 2005. The eastern border between Lebanon and Syria remains porous, and border policing efforts remain ineffective due to political constraints and lack of resources and manpower. UNIFIL and press reports indicate increased drug smuggling incidents on the Blue Line (Lebanese/Israeli border) since the passage of resolution 1701 (2006) and particularly within the last year. The primary route for smuggling hashish from Lebanon during 2008 was overland through Syria to Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and via sea routes to Europe. According to the ISF, large exports of hashish from Lebanon to Europe are more and more difficult for smugglers due to increased seashore patrols and airport control.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Lebanese government and NGOs are actively involved in programs and campaigns to address the problems of illicit drug use in Lebanon. The current, but unenforced, law on drugs dictates that a National Council on Drugs (NCD) be established to provide substance abuse treatment, prevention, awareness, and a national action plan, but the NCD has not yet been formed. Since 2002 the government has sponsored public awareness campaigns to discourage drug use. Textbooks approved for public schools contain a chapter on narcotics awareness. The ISF undertakes demand reduction programs in the schools and community; Drug Enforcement Bureau officers personally speak to youth at high schools and universities on a regular basis.
There are several detoxification and rehabilitation programs, the most comprehensive of which is run by Oum al-Nour (ON), a Beirut-based NGO funded in part by the Ministries of Social Affairs and Public Health. ON operates two drug treatment centers with a maximum capacity of 120 patients and offers a year-long residential program, in addition to its wide range of prevention programs, parents' and family guidance programs, outpatient follow-up programs, media campaigns, and training and conferences. ON reports that its activities directly benefited 18,000 people in 2008.
There are several other organizations that provide prevention and treatment services. A drug rehabilitation center in Zahleh run by the Saint Charles Hospital and the Ministry of Health has 23 patients as of October 2008, whose ages vary between 15 and 47. The Center holds drug prevention conferences, assemblies and talks throughout the Municipality every two weeks, and runs weekly anti-drug use campaigns in the schools. Skoun, an outpatient facility has broadened its drug treatment, prevention, awareness, and counseling to drug users and their families throughout Lebanon, including Sidon, Tripoli and the southern suburbs of Beirut. From January through October 2008, Skoun enrolled 120 patients for treatment, with almost 50 percent between the ages of 22 and 30. Skoun is the first treatment center in the Middle East to prescribe buprenorphine maintenance for opiate addicts and continues to lobby for buprenorphine's legalization with the Ministry of Health. With the aim of better implementing the 1998 law decriminalizing addiction and educating the criminal justice system in the benefits of treatment centers over drug addicts' imprisonment, Skoun has been working since August 2007 to ensure the legal rights of drug addicts through a series of roundtable discussions and workshops designed to sensitize 100 judges, 100 police investigators, 80 heads of police, 1500 police recruits, and other public officials on the condition of drug addicts and the laws that govern them. This project is sponsored by the European Union and administered by the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform. Jeunesse Anti-Drogue (JAD) offers rehabilitation centers, educational programs, medical treatment, and outpatient counseling. JAD has 390 patients through October 2008, the average age of whom was 17. Jeunesse Contre la Drogue raises awareness of substance abuse and AIDS. Association Justice et Misericorde was established to assist incarcerated drug abusers.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. In meetings with Lebanese officials, U.S. officials continued to stress the U.S. commitment to support law enforcement sector development by strengthening the capacity of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces to enforce the rule of law in Lebanon, to punish violators by increasing the capacity of the ISF to combat criminal activities in all forms, including drug trafficking, production and use. The USG also stressed the importance of anticorruption efforts.
Bilateral Cooperation. Bilateral cooperation has increased substantially with the FY 2008 opening of the State Department-INL Office at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. The INL director manages the new U.S. Lebanon Police Program aimed at strengthening the capacity of the ISF to enforce the rule of law in Lebanon through provision of training and equipment. The excellent working relations between the DEA Country Office in Nicosia, Cyprus, and ISF's Drug Enforcement Bureau were strengthened with three INL funded visits by DEA Nicosia officers in the course of the year. The first in-country DEA training will take place in December 2008, when 35 members of the DEB participate in DEA's Basic Counter-Narcotics course, funded by INL. A second training course in investigative techniques and Pen-Link training will occur early in 2009. INL is also funding donations of computers and investigative equipment to the DEB. USAID continued its program to empower Lebanese government, media, and civil society to fight corruption and assisted U.S. and local NGOs to promote transparency. USCG provided diesel engine maintenance training enabling maritime patrolling.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. Embassy in Beirut and DEA Country Office in Nicosia look forward to enhanced cooperation and coordination with the Lebanese government and the ISF. Benefiting from the increased USG funding to support the security forces of Lebanon, the Embassy and DEA intend to increase in-country training and investigative cooperation and provide necessary equipment for the under-funded ISF counter-narcotics unit. To ensure that all Lebanese security agencies with a counter-narcotics role are capable of carrying out their mandate, the Embassy and DEA will explore extending U.S. training in counter-narcotics strategies to Lebanese customs officers.
Synthetic drugs and cannabis are the most popular illicit narcotics in Lithuania. Lithuania remains a source country for synthetic drugs, as well as a transit route for heroin and other illicit drugs. The Government of Lithuania continued to strengthen efforts to deal with drug abuse, drug trafficking and organized crime. Lithuania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
According to the Narcotics Control Department (NCD), about 7.5 percent of Lithuanian people of 15-64 years of age said they had tried cannabis at least once in their lifetime. Although cannabis is the most popular drug, GOL and NGO experts consider the increasing use of synthetic drugs—amphetamines and Ecstasy—as the biggest problem. The relatively low price of these synthetic drugs is one of the main reasons for their popularity. Most drug abuse takes place in nightclubs and discos. Lithuanian enforcement officers also consider prescription tranquilizers a problem—the NCD estimates that about 20 percent of the adult population is misusing or abusing them.
According to the Lithuanian Statistics Department, 72 people died of narcotic or psychotropic substances in 2007, up by 10 persons from 2006. Two thirds of the casualties were accidental overdoses. The majority of drug victims (86 percent) were male.
In 2007, 318 persons applied to medical institutions for treatment of drug addictions. The number of patients overall was 5,700 at the end of 2007 (compared to 5,600 in 2006), 81 percent of these patients were men. 81 percent of those getting treatment had been abusing opiates. This percentage is unchanged from 2006.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Lithuania’s Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Social Security and Labor, NCD (Narcotics Crime Division), police, and other institutions continued to implement the National Program on Drug Control and Prevention of Drug Addiction for 2004-2008. The objectives of the strategy are: prevention of drug abuse among young people, drug supply reduction, care for drug addicts, international and inter-institutional co-operation in the field of drug demand and drug supply reduction, and coordination at the local and national levels. Lithuania increased funding to the National Drug Prevention and Control Program from 14.6 million LTL ($5.40 million) in 2006 to 16.2 million LTL ($6 million) in 2007 and to 19.1 million LTL ($7 million) in 2008. The Government will continue its commitment to fight drug use and has already drafted a new national program for 2009-2016.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2008, Lithuanian law enforcement officials recorded 1,391 drug related crimes, compared to 1,198 in 2007 and 1,393 in 2006. In 2007, Lithuanian Police seized 160 kilograms of marijuana, 86 liters of poppies and 6.4 kilograms of heroin. As of October 2008, police and customs in cooperation with other countries’ law enforcement agencies had seized 83 kg of cannabis seeds, 6.5 kg of heroin, 5.2 kg of Ecstasy, and 20.153 kg of methamphetamines. Lithuanian authorities also seized small quantities (less than five kg. each) of, LSD, hashish, cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms, various psychotropic drugs, and other precursors.
Lithuania worked effectively with international partners to break up drug smuggling operations in 2008, making important seizures in cooperation with Belarusian, French, Norwegian, Swedish, Estonian, Latvian, Russian, and Polish law enforcement partners. For example:
In June, police seized over three kilograms of amphetamines in Lithuania, resulting in the arrest of two Latvian citizens, who had been trafficking drugs into Lithuania. The record drug haul had an approximate street value of 120,000 LTL ($44,000).
In August, police found one kilogram of heroin on a train from Russia. The heroin, it was believed by the authorities, was intended for the Roma settlement on the outskirts of Vilnius, which is known as the country’s largest area of drug abuse. This amount of heroin has a street-level value of 420,000 to 700,000 LTL ($155,000 to $259,000). A police source stated that the heroin shipment was the largest amount of this type of drug intended for distribution in Lithuania seized this year. The suspects (arrested on the train) face 10 to 13 years in prison for unlawful possession and smuggling of a large amount of a narcotic substance.
In 2008, police shut down one laboratory producing high-quality amphetamines, confiscating 50 kg of the drug in the process.
As of November 1, 2008, the Lithuanian court system adjudicated 657 drug-related cases and convicted 847 persons. Sentences for trafficking or distribution of drugs range from fines to thirteen years of imprisonment.
Corruption. The Special Investigation Service (STT) established in 1997, has coordinated the Government of Lithuania’s National Anti-corruption program since 2002. The task of the STT is to collect and use intelligence about criminal associations and corrupt public officials as well as carry out anti-corruption prevention activities. There were no reports of drug-related corruption involving Lithuanian government officials. The Government of Lithuania does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate narcotics production or trafficking, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Treaties and Agreements. Lithuania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention against Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Lithuania also is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking-in-persons, migrant smuggling, and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. In addition, the two countries have concluded protocols to the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements. The protocols are pending entry into force. An extradition treaty and mutual legal assistance treaty are in force between the United States and Lithuania.
Cultivation/Production. Laboratories in Lithuania produce amphetamines for both local use and export, according to the Lithuanian Ministry of Interior. Law enforcement agencies regularly find and destroy small plots of cannabis and opium poppies used to produce opium straw extract for local consumption. As of October 2008, police, in cooperation with customs agents, eradicated Almost 24 square meters of poppies and 83.5 square meters of cannabis.
Drug Flow/Transit. According to Lithuanian law enforcement agencies, Lithuanian-produced synthetic drugs have been intercepted in Germany, Poland, and Denmark and also en route to Sweden and Norway. Customs agents have seized drugs entering Lithuania from all frontiers – cocaine and ecstasy enter the country via Western Europe; amphetamines and other synthetic drugs are produced in country, in the neighboring Baltic States, or in Poland; and heroin typically arrives from Central Asia via Russia and Belarus. Domestically grown poppy straw satisfies local demand and is also exported to Russia’s Kaliningrad region and to Latvia.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Lithuania operates five national drug dependence centers and ten regional public health centers. Under the National Drug Prevention and Control Program, the Government financed a number of prevention and supply-and-demand reduction projects targeted toward “at risk” youth and their parents. The Government has also developed a drug prevention teaching program for parents and created the first prevention project “Entertainment Without Narcotics” targeted at public discos and nightclubs. The Government continued implementing demand reduction programs and developed a classified information data base about persons who received these services. In 2007, authorities financed seven “harm reduction” projects including training for staff in these centers.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Law enforcement cooperation continues to be an area of great success, a result of several years of legal reform and law enforcement training. In 2007, the U.S. Coast Guard trained four Lithuanian officers in International Leadership and Management, and International Crisis Command & Control, International Maritime Officer, and Damage Control. The United States has successfully cooperated with the Lithuanian authorities in numerous investigations involving fraud, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue cooperating with Lithuanian institutions to support drug prevention activities and fight against narcotics trafficking.
Macedonia is neither a major producer nor a major regional transit point for illicit drugs. The Government of Macedonia (GOM) made some progress in combating drug trafficking during 2008, although illicit drug seizures in Macedonia significantly decreased during the first nine months of 2008, compared to the same period of the previous year. Domestic use of illicit drugs continued to grow. Macedonian law enforcement authorities cooperated with regional counterparts, including the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), in counternarcotics operations. Such operations in some cases were hindered by ineffective interagency coordination and planning, although there were improvements in interagency coordination compared to the previous year. Macedonia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Macedonia lies along one of several overland routes used to deliver Afghan heroin (through Turkey and Bulgaria) to Western Europe. Hashish and marijuana produced in Albania travel along the same routes to Turkey, to be exchanged for heroin that is then moved to Western European markets. Synthetic drugs on the Macedonian market are smuggled in from neighboring Bulgaria and Serbia. Small amounts of marijuana are cultivated, mainly for personal use in southern Macedonia where the climate is favorable. According to government sources, there was no production of precursor chemicals or synthetic drugs, nor illicit drug production facilities of significance in Macedonia. According to MOI sources, trafficking in synthetic drugs appeared to increase in 2008. Seizures, however, were lower than in 2008. Macedonia produced licit poppy straw and poppy straw concentrate on approximately 500 hectares of its territory, but in quantities insufficient for the country’s pharmaceuticals industry. As a result, some poppy straw was imported under license.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Macedonia’s National Anti-drug Strategy, approved in 2006, was followed in May 2007 by a National Action Plan for implementing that strategy, which in turn was succeeded by a 2008–2012 Action plan for implementation. A new Law on Control of Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, effective September 2008, is expected to further improve drug enforcement.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to MOI statistics, in the first nine months of 2008, criminal charges were brought against 268 persons (326 for Jan-Sept 2007), including eight (13 for Jan-Sept 2007) juveniles and one police officer. Those charges involved 221 actual cases of illicit drug trafficking, including 13 in the largest prison in the country, or a total of 61 cases less then in the same period of 2007. In 2008, police seizures of illicit drugs were significantly lower than in the previous year. Some MOI sources believe lower seizures are a result of Bulgaria and Romania’s 2007 EU accession, which now allows traffickers who have crossed into Bulgaria from Turkey to move goods straight to western European markets, thus avoiding crossing two more borders. MOI sources claim that Macedonian territory, especially the northwestern areas, are more often used as a wholesale drug depot.
The MOI reported the following quantities of drugs and psychotropic substances seized in the first nine months of 2008 (2007 figures are also Jan-Sept):
Cocaine: 176 grams (compared to 486 kg in 2007)
Heroin: 26.1 kilograms (60 kg in 2007);
Marijuana: 10.6 kg (208 kg in 2007);
Cannabis: 268 plants (4413 plants the previous year);
Hashish: 30 grams (851 grams in 2007);
Raw opium: 12.2 grams (one kg opium seized in 2007); and
Ecstasy: 290 pills (1,862 pills seized in 2007)
Morphine; 12.1 kg
Customs Administration continued to strengthen its intelligence units and mobile teams. Police officials claimed cooperation with their Customs colleagues improved compared to past years.
Corruption. Corruption is widespread in Macedonia, with low salaries fostering graft among law enforcement officials and the judiciary, which remains weak. As a matter of policy and practice, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Macedonia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. A 1902 Extradition Treaty between the United States and Serbia, applies to Macedonia as a successor state. Macedonia is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling, and trafficking in illicit firearms. In April 2007 Macedonia acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation/Production. Macedonia is neither a major cultivator nor producer of illicit narcotics. There are no reports of local illicit production or refining of heroin or illegal synthetic drugs. Only one pharmaceutical company in the country was authorized to licitly cultivate and process poppy for medicines. Authorized poppy production, some 500 hectares in 2008, is monitored by the Ministry of Health, which shares production data regularly with the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board. Illicit marijuana cultivation in southeast Macedonia continued to present a challenge to authorities, although MOI sources reported only small quantities of the drug were cultivated, mostly for personal consumption.
Drug Flow/Transit. Macedonia is on the southern branch of the Balkan Route used to ship Afghan heroin to the western European consumer market. The quantity of synthetic narcotics trafficked to Macedonia in 2008 appeared to increase, largely due to their higher street price in Macedonia. Most synthetic drugs aimed at the Macedonian market originated in Bulgaria and Serbia, and arrived in small amounts by vehicle.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Official Macedonian statistics regarding drug abuse and addiction are unreliable, but they are improving with the opening of the National Center, triggered by efforts to reach European standards in narcotics control policies. Ministry of Health officials estimated there were some 9,000 drug users in the country. The most frequently used drug was marijuana, followed by heroin. There were an estimated 600 or fewer cocaine users in the country in 2008, according to official sources. Treatment and rehabilitation activities are carried out in eleven state-run outpatient medical clinics for drug users. These clinics supervise methadone maintenance therapy for registered heroin addicts. One of the eleven centers is located in the largest prison in the country (with over 60 percent of the country’s total prisoner population). Of the 1,500 prisoners in the country’s main prison, an estimated 380 were identified as drug addicts, mainly addicted to heroin. Macedonian health officials acknowledged that rehabilitation centers were overcrowded. In-patient treatment in specialized facilities consisted of detoxification accompanied by medicinal/vitamin therapy, as well as limited family therapy, counseling and social work. Follow-up services after detoxification, or social reintegration programs for treated drug abusers were inadequate. There were only three centers for social reintegration and rehabilitation.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. During 2008, DEA agents worked with the Macedonian police to support coordination of regional counternarcotics efforts. Financial police, Customs officers, prosecutors, and judges continued to receive USG-funded training in anti-organized crime operations and techniques; one Macedonian officer graduated from the USCG’s International Maritime Officers’ Course. USG representatives continued to provide training, technical advice, equipment, and other assistance to Macedonian Customs and MOI Border Police units.
The Road Ahead. Macedonia’s porous borders, and the influence of regional narcotics trafficking groups, will continue to make the country an attractive secondary route for the transit of illegal drugs. Macedonia might also serve organized criminals as a “warehousing” base. The United States Government, through law enforcement training programs, will continue to strengthen the ability of Macedonian police, prosecutors and judges to monitor, arrest, prosecute, and sanction narcotics traffickers. In cooperation with EU and other international community partners, the U.S. will press for full implementation of the national counternarcotics action plan. USG law enforcement training agencies in Macedonia will encourage the preparation of new laws to strengthen the ability of prosecutors to successfully pursue counternarcotics cases. The USG will continue to work with the GOM and international partners to strengthen Macedonia’s criminal intelligence system, and to improve the government’s ability to provide reliable statistics on drug use, arrests, prosecutions, and convictions of traffickers.
Madagascar is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In accordance with this convention, the GOM adopted a law in 1997 to govern the cultivation, production, processing, and commercialization of narcotics, psychotropic substances and precursors. The Inter-ministerial Committee for the Coordination of the Fight Against Drugs (CICLD) developed a National Master Plan in 2003 for the fight against drugs and related criminal activities which focuses on both the supply and the demand sides. During the first half of 2008, the police and gendarmerie together seized 390,307 cannabis plants, and 7,634 kg of cannabis. The Malagasy government cooperates with the USG on anti-drug efforts.
II. Status of Country
Madagascar is not a major drug trafficking country; however, it is an attractive transshipment point due to its location, poor port security due to limited resources, and lack of ability to effectively control its borders. Official sources report no manufacturing and distribution of synthetic drugs in Madagascar; however cannabis is grown widely in isolated parts of the island. Drugs transiting the country from East Africa and Central Asia are mainly shipped to the neighboring islands. There is no evidence of drug related corruption; however such corruption is widely believed to exist. Currently, there are no specific laws covering narcotics-related public corruption. The GOM has signed multilateral, bilateral, and regional anti-drug agreements.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. In 2003, the GOM with the support of the United Nations developed the National Master Plan for the fight against drugs and related criminal activities. The CICLD has the lead in the implementation of this Master Plan. Actions being taken within the framework of this master plan concern the reduction of drug supply and demand. On the supply side, the efforts are focused on: the destruction of crops and the transformation of marijuana cultivation into alternative, legal cash crops; the dismantling of drug trafficker networks; and the strengthening of the capacity of the relevant authorities (customs, police, and gendarmerie) to enforce anti-drug laws. On the demand side, the efforts are focused on the prevention of drug abuse through presentation of training programs in primary and secondary schools, as well as at work and through the media. The improvement of drug addiction treatment is another goal of the plan.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In October 1997, Madagascar adopted the law 97-039 on the control of narcotics, psychotropic substances and precursors. This law criminalizes the cultivation of cannabis and mandates the destruction of all cannabis plants. This law also prohibits the production, processing, commercialization and transportation of psychotropic substances and precursors. Criminal sanctions including jail time and fines can be imposed in case of infringement. The Central Office against Narcotics (OCS), in collaboration with the National Police, Gendarmerie, Customs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Trade and international partners, is in charge of law enforcement. In 2007, the National Police destroyed 8,601 cannabis plants, seized 2,277 kg of cannabis and 93.5 liters of cannabis oil, and arrested 315 persons. During the same period, the Gendarmerie destroyed 1,087,192 cannabis plants, seized 20,095 kg of cannabis and 7.5 liters of cannabis oil, and arrested 319 persons. During the first half of 2008, the police and gendarmerie together seized 390,307 cannabis plants, 7,634 kg of cannabis, 18.5 liters of cannabis oil, 150 g of heroin, and 200 g of hashish. Most drug trafficking moves by sea. In response, the GOM has strengthened controls at the main ports. The share of drug seizures made at sea is not available.
Corruption. It is difficult to directly relate corruption to drug trafficking. However, given the extent of marijuana cultivation, and observing circumstances in other countries where drug crops are cultivated and trafficking occurs, many observers believe that government officials working at Malagasy ports or airports must facilitate shipment of drugs for bribes. Some confirmation of this thesis comes from seizures made by authorities in Mauritius and Mayotte on vessels coming from Madagascar.
There are no specific laws covering narcotics-related public corruption. The GOM does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Law 97-039 criminalized money laundering related to narcotics-trafficking. There are no senior officials of the GOM engaging in, encouraging, or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. Madagascar is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1972 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its three protocols and the United Nations International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. Under these treaties, the U.S. is able to submit requests for assistance. Although there is no bilateral extradition (or mutual legal assistance) treaty between the U.S. and the GOM, in 2004, the GOM extradited a fugitive to the U.S. pursuant to its domestic law. As a member of SADC since 2005, Madagascar should sign the SADC Protocol on the Fight against Drugs in the near future.
Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is the main drug produced in the country. It is found nationwide but it is difficult to estimate production due to the lack of appropriate data collection. The GOM does not use herbicide to destroy cannabis plants, but rather burns them.
Drug Flow/Transit. Drugs transiting Madagascar come from South Africa and Kenya, as well as Central Asia, and go mainly to Mauritius and La Reunion. Data on quantity flow is unavailable. Official sources report no manufacturing and distribution of synthetic drugs in Madagascar.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Ministry of Health has put in place a sectoral policy regarding the fight against drugs which aims to prevent alcohol and drug addiction, particularly among youth. In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Communication, and civil society, the government has organized conferences, training sessions, TV shows, and radio broadcasts to inform the population of the impact of drugs on health. The government has also tried to improve the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts at the three public hospitals and one private hospital in Madagascar. Several NGOs and associations also play an important role in the process. The medicines EQUANIL and ALDOL are frequently used for treating addicts undergoing withdrawal.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. mission in Madagascar has worked with the police and gendarmerie to provide drug interdiction and eradication training as permitted by limited resources. In 2008, five Malagasy law enforcement officers were sent to USG-sponsored training sessions in Botswana to improve Madagascar's ability to control precursor chemicals. In addition, 42 gendarmes, police, and civilian officials attended customs and immigration training sponsored by DHS and AFRICOM in Madagascar.
Road Ahead. Malagasy officials, including the police, gendarmerie, the guard, and customs would benefit from additional anti-drug training.
Malaysia is not a significant source country or transit point for U.S.-bound illegal drugs; however, domestic drug abuse in Malaysia remains on the rise, and Malaysia is increasingly being used as a regional hub for methamphetamine production. Like other ASEAN states, the government continues promoting its "Drug-Free by 2015" policy. Malaysia's counter-narcotics officials and police officers have the full support of senior government officials, but instances of corruption hindered adequate enforcement and interdiction. Malaysia has a low conviction rate for arrested drug traffickers, and the country relies heavily on preventive detention under the Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures 1985) rather than active prosecution. The extensive use of preventive detention in narcotics cases in lieu of prosecution is due in large part to an extremely high burden of proof required for narcotics trafficking cases which would result in a death sentence in the case of a guilty verdict. As there are no alternative sentences, authorities rely on preventive detention without trial. Malaysia is a party to the 1988 UN Convention.
II. Status of Country
Malaysia is not a significant source country or transit point for U.S.-bound illegal drugs. Nevertheless, regional and domestic drug-trafficking remains a problem and international drug syndicates are increasingly turning to Malaysia as a regional production hub for crystal methamphetamine and Ecstasy (MDMA). Narcotics imported to Malaysia include heroin and marijuana from the Golden Triangle area (Thailand, Burma, Laos), and other drugs such as amphetamine type stimulants (ATS). Small quantities of cocaine are smuggled into and through Malaysia from South America. Local demand and consumption of drugs is very limited in Malaysia; however, crystal methamphetamine, Ecstasy, and ketamine, mostly from India, are smuggled through Malaysia en route to consumers in Thailand, Singapore, China, and Australia. Ketamine from India is an increasingly popular drug in Malaysia. Since 2006, Malaysia has also been a location where significant quantities of crystal methamphetamine are produced. This trend continued in 2008, with a large methamphetamine laboratory seized in Southern Malaysia, and frequent police reports of ethnic Chinese traffickers setting up labs in Malaysia. Between January and July 2008, police encountered and identified 7,992 addicts, of whom 3,584 were new cases. Since 1988 the Malaysian Government cumulatively has identified 308,233 drug addicts, and the government-linked Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation and other NGO's estimate that there are currently some 900,000 to 1.2 million drug addicts in Malaysia. Statistics continue to show that the majority of the nation's drug addicts are between 19 and 39 years of age and have not completed high school.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Malaysia continues a long-term effort launched in 2003 to reduce domestic drug use to negligible levels by 2015. Senior officials including the Prime Minister speak out strongly and frequently against drug abuse. The Prime Minister chairs the Cabinet Committee on Eradication of Drugs, composed of 20 government ministers. The National Anti-Drugs Agency (NADA) is the policy arm of Malaysia's counter-narcotics strategy, coordinating demand reduction efforts with various cabinet ministries. Malaysian law stipulates a mandatory death penalty for major drug traffickers, with harsh mandatory sentences also applied for possession and use of smaller quantities. In practice however, many minor offenders are placed into treatment programs instead of prison. Convictions for trafficking are extremely rare, as they would require the defendant to receive a death sentence. Consequently, most major traffickers are placed in preventive detention.
Accomplishments. Malaysian authorities seized an operational methamphetamine laboratory in 2008, and had numerous other successful investigations, confiscating large quantities of methamphetamine, ketamine, and Ecstasy (MDMA). They have also initiated investigations of police corruption, in one case transferring an entire unit, and have transferred numerous officers suspected of corruption. Some of these officers have been detained under the SPMA, while several others remain under investigation.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Police and Customs Officers arrested 41,146 people for drug-related offenses between January and July 2008, an increase of 26%. Enforcement officials continued to show successes in ATS-related seizures and have also recorded a higher level of heroin seizures than over the same period last year. The Royal Malaysian Police recorded a forty-six percent increase in confiscated property derived from drug related cases in 2007. Malaysian police are generally effective in arresting small-time drug offenders, but have shown limited success in arresting mid- to upper level syndicate members. The Royal Malaysian Police have acknowledged these short comings and have begun implementing training plans to improve their investigations and procedures. Prosecutorial successes and limitations are generally similar to those of police investigations. Accordingly, Malaysian prosecutors have shown only limited success in prosecuting and convicting drug traffickers. Prosecutors are limited in their ability to charge and prosecute regular drug trafficking cases as Malaysia does not have an effective drug conspiracy law, thus limiting charging decisions against major traffickers. In addition, there are limited sentencing alternatives if a subject is charged and convicted of drug trafficking. Consequently, Malaysia police almost always use the Special Preventive Measures Act (SPMA) to arrest and detain drug traffickers. The SPMA allows for the detention without trial of suspects who pose a threat to public order or national security. The systemic use of the SPMA to arrest drug traffickers also stems from the extremely high burden of proof required for a drug trafficking conviction, which would then require a mandatory death sentence. Police and prosecutors are limited in their ability to prosecute such cases and preventive detention is therefore common. There is very limited judicial oversight for subjects arrested under preventive detention.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Malaysia does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. While Malaysian and foreign media organizations continued to highlight cases of government corruption both specifically and in general, no senior officials were arrested for drug-related corruption in 2007-2008. Malaysia's Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) investigated complaints filed against several senior police officers and one deputy cabinet minister for corruption involving known drug trafficking syndicates, including allegations of corruption concerning the release of suspects from preventive detention. The ACA's shortened investigations found no evidence to substantiate any of the allegations, and all parties remained in office.
Agreements and Treaties. Malaysia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. It is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) but has not signed any of the protocols to the UNTOC. Malaysia signed an MLAT with the U.S. in July 2006. The U.S.—Malaysian MLAT has not yet entered into force (as of November 2008). Malaysia also has a multilateral MLAT with the seven Southeast Asian nations of ASEAN, and also has an MLAT with Australia. The U.S.-Malaysia Extradition Treaty has been in effect since 1997.
Cultivation/Production. While there is no notable cultivation of crops used to produce U.S. controlled substances in Malaysia, local officials report significant cultivation/presence of a local plant known as ketum (Mitragyna speciosa) with known psychoactive properties and used for its narcotic effects throughout the region. ATS production has shown a marked increase since 2006 and Malaysian authorities admit that international drug syndicates are using Malaysia as a base of operations. All methamphetamine labs seized in Malaysia since 2006 were financed by ethnic Chinese traffickers from Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, or other countries. In 2008, a lab was seized in Malaysia in which the chemists were from Mexico.
Drug Flow/Transit. Drugs transiting Malaysia do not appear to make a significant impact on the U.S. market. However, Malaysia's proximity to the heroin production areas and methamphetamine labs of the Golden Triangle (Thailand, Burma, Laos) leads to smuggling across Malaysian borders, destined for Australia and other markets. Ecstasy from Amsterdam is flown into Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for domestic use and distribution to Thailand, Singapore, and Australia. Ketamine comes from Tamil Nadu, India and is exported to several countries in the region. There is evidence of increased transit of cocaine from South America. In 2008, several Peruvian couriers and one Bolivian courier were arrested with cocaine upon arrival in Malaysia. In nearly every case the cocaine was destined for Thailand. Large scale production of ATS in Malaysia remains a significant problem. There were three large labs seized in 2007, one large lab seized in 2008, and there are other cases in which traffickers sought chemicals to set up methamphetamine labs in Malaysia.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The NADA targets its demand reduction efforts toward youth, parents, students, teachers, and workers, with extensive efforts to engage schools, student leaders, parent-teacher associations, community leaders, religious institutions, and workplaces. Government statistics indicate that 6,968 persons were undergoing treatment at Malaysia's 28 public rehabilitation facilities as of July 2008, indicating over a 30% percent increase from last year. Another 32,696 persons were undergoing "in community" treatment and rehabilitation and are used as role models for relapse cases.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. counter-narcotics training continued in 2008 via the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok and the "Baker-Mint" program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. Baker-Mint aims to raise the operational skill level of local counter-narcotics law enforcement officers. In 2008, U.S. officials from the Department of Justice, DEA, and FBI presented a training workshop for Malaysian counter-narcotics investigators on intelligence analysis and other drug investigative techniques. The USCG trained boarding officers in Maritime Law Enforcement. In addition, senior Malaysian counter-narcotics officials traveled to the United States and visited DEA Headquarters and DEA's New York Field Division in an effort to expand their international cooperative efforts.
The Road Ahead. United States goals and objectives for the year 2009 are to improve coordination and communication between Malaysian and U.S. law enforcement authorities in counter-narcotics efforts. United States law enforcement agencies will utilize better coordination with Malaysian authorities to interdict drugs transiting Malaysia, and to follow regional and global leads. U.S.-funded counter-narcotics training for Malaysian law enforcement officers will continue and U.S. agencies will continue working with Malaysian authorities to improve Malaysia's investigative and prosecutorial skills. U.S. agencies are also seeking additional operational engagement of Malaysian counter-narcotics officials who have expressed an interest in greater regional cooperation.
The Republic of Malta does not play a significant role in the transit, processing or production of narcotics and psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances. Surveys indicate that illicit drug use is confined to a small segment of the population. The Maltese Government dedicated significant time and effort over the past several years updating Malta's laws and criminal codes in preparation for joining the European Union in 2004. As a result, Malta's criminal code is in alignment with the goals and objectives of the 1988 United Nations Drug convention, which Malta ratified in 1999. The Malta Police Drug Unit and the National Drug Intelligence Unit (NDIU) continue to improve their capabilities. Their success is perhaps best illustrated by the upward trend in seizures of heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, and cannabis resin over the last five years. This trend is the result of improved coordination and communications among all agencies involved in controlling drugs.
II. Status of Country
Malta, an island nation of some 402,000 population between Sicily and North Africa, is a minor player in global production, processing, and transshipment of narcotics and other controlled substances. There is no evidence to indicate that Malta's role in the worldwide drug trade will change significantly in the near future. There is some evidence to suggest that on a small scale Malta serves as a transshipment point for drugs from Africa to Europe. Malta is not isolated, with daily flights, numerous ship calls, a large commercial port, numerous illegal immigrants, and frequent international travel by a large percentage of Maltese, the island has myriad connections with Europe and Africa. The drug problem is generally limited to the sale and use of consumer quantities of illegal drugs. Consumption is generally not high, although there has been a recent increase in the proliferation of recreational drugs such as Ecstasy and also an increased use and trafficking of illicit drugs by persons under eighteen. Cultivation activity in-country is limited to the growing of less than a few hundred cannabis plants per year for local consumption. Malta is not a precursor or essential chemical source country. There are a number of generic pharmaceutical firms operating in Malta but no evidence of diversion from the production side. There are stringent legislative controls of the pharmaceutical sector and the Maltese Health Department conducts inspections and review of company records.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. In 2004, the Government of Malta and the United States successfully negotiated a Maritime Counter-Narcotics Cooperation Agreement. This agreement concerns "cooperation to suppress illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances by sea" and is intended to assist the interdiction of the flow of drugs via Maltese flagged shipping. In 2006, Malta and the U.S. finalized agreement on the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) Ship Boarding Agreement. Parliament passed the legislation necessary to implement the Ship Boarding Agreement and the Counter Narcotics Cooperation Agreement in November 2007. The agreement entered into force after the exchange of notes in December 2007.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Since the drug problem in Malta is not widespread, enforcement agencies are able to focus a large percentage of their resources on preventing the smuggling of drugs into Malta. Police and Customs personnel have had significant success through the profiling and targeting of suspected passengers transiting the airport. The Police and the Armed Forces work together to monitor intercept and interrupt sea borne smuggling of illegal drugs. Maltese Custom officials have worked to become more adept at detecting and preventing the movement of drugs through the Malta Freeport. Port authorities have shown the ability to respond quickly when notified by foreign law enforcement of intelligence-related to transshipment attempts. Maltese law provides the necessary provisions for asset forfeiture of those accused of drug related crimes. In 2008, the Courts ordered the freezing and/or seizure of cash and movable or immovable property of several persons found guilty of drug trafficking.
2008 Drug Statistics:
Drug Seizures (January 1–October 18, 2008):
A) Coca leaf = n/a
B) Cocaine = Kg 932.4g
C) Opium poppy straw = n/a
D) Opium gum = n/a
E) Heroin = 8 Kg 132.8g
- Resin = 22 Kg 460.31g
- Grass = 11.1g
- Seeds = n/a
- Plants = 11 plants
Police statistics also reveal the seizure of:
- 3,663 tabs of Ecstasy
- 5 micro-dots of LSD
- 230ml of methadone
- 0.5 of Amphetamine
- 20 Kg of Khat
- 2 tablets of Valium
- 3 tablets of Tryptizol
2008 Arrests (January 1—October 17, 2008):
Total = 487
Nationals = n/a
Foreign = n/a
Corruption. The Government of Malta does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate narcotics production or trafficking, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Maltese law contains the necessary provisions to deal effectively with official corruption. In 2002 the country's Chief Justice and a fellow judge both of whom have since voluntarily resigned their positions, were arraigned on corruption charges for taking bribes from inmates convicted on drug charges. Investigative agencies used wiretapping authority to identify the judges involved and gather evidence that they were planning to accept bribes in exchange for reducing the sentences of several individuals appealing the terms of their drug convictions. In 2007, one of the accused pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. The case against the former chief justice is still pending. In connection with the case, in 2008 an inmate and two accomplices were handed prison sentences of four and three years, respectively.
Agreements and Treaties. Malta is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Extraditions between the United States and Malta are currently covered by the Extradition Treaty between the United States and United Kingdom, signed on December 22, 1931, and made applicable to Malta on June 24, 1935. In May 2006, Malta and the United States signed a new extradition treaty pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition agreement. In addition, the U.S. and Malta concluded a partial bilateral mutual legal assistance instrument governing only those issues regulated by the U.S.-EU Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement. The new extradition treaty and partial mutual legal assistance instrument are pending entry into force.
Drug Flow Transit. There is no indication that Malta is a major trafficking location. The Malta Freeport container port is a continuing source of concern due to the high volume of containers passing through its vast container terminal. The USG has provided equipment and training as part of non-proliferation and border security initiatives that also have enhanced Malta's ability to monitor illicit trafficking through the Freeport. This should improve detection and act as a deterrent to narco-traffickers seeking to use container-shipping activity at the Freeport as a platform for drug movements internationally. Malta serves as a transfer point for travelers between North Africa and Europe. There are cases of heroin being smuggled into Malta hand-carried by visitors from North African countries (Libya and Turkey, in particular). Traditionally, Malta's drug problems involved the importation and distribution of small quantities of illegal drugs for individual use. In 2008, a Nigerian national was apprehended at the Malta International Airport (MIA) and later charged with importing drugs in cocaine-filled capsules in his stomach. A Libyan national was charged with importing 100g of heroin in capsules, while a Somali resident in London was charged with importing a considerable amount of Khat. A Libyan National was charged with conspiring to import three kilograms of heroin. A Nigerian residing in The Netherlands, together with four other persons was charged with conspiring to import six kilograms of cocaine. Malta has the world's eighth largest ship registry, which makes it a possible player in future ship interdiction scenarios.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. A National Drug Policy was adopted in January 2008 to "streamline the practices to be adopted by the various bodies, governmental and non-governmental involved in the provision of services related to drug use.”
There are five main drug-treatment providers. Three are managed and funded by the government: Sedqa, Agency Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse, which falls under the Ministry of Social Policy; the prison-based unit SATU (Substance Abuse Therapeutic Unit), which falls under the Ministry for Justice and Home Affairs; and the DDU (Dual Diagnosis Unit) within Mount Carmel Psychiatric Hospital, which falls under the Ministry for Social Policy. Caritas and OASI are voluntary treatment agencies, which receive partial support from the government.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. law enforcement and security agencies and their Maltese counterparts continue to cooperate closely on drug-related crime. U.S. Customs has provided several training courses in Malta over the last two years. Under the Export Control and Border Security assistance program (EXBS) at Embassy Valletta, the U.S. continues to work closely with port officials to improve their ability to monitor and detect illegal shipments. In 2005, a Coast Guard Attaché was assigned to Embassy Valletta to improve coordination and training with the Maltese Maritime Enforcement Squadron. Training focuses on maritime search and seizure techniques as well as on the proper utilization and operation of two state-of the-art patrol boats. A successful multi-national Search and Rescue Training Exercise was held on board the USCGC Dallas in August 2008. The Embassy's Regional Security Officer (RSO) works closely with the DEA Country Attaché and the FBI Legal Attaché based in Rome to foster cooperative efforts to strengthen law enforcement.
The Road Ahead. The joint effort to provide training, support and assistance to GOM law enforcement agencies has clearly improved the Maltese enforcement ability to profile individuals possibly involved with trafficking and/or in possession of dangerous drugs. The number of arrests and seizures for drug related offenses has steadily increased, indicating that Maltese authorities want to battle the drug problem within their own country and benefit from close USG cooperation.
Throughout 2008, the Calderon Administration continued the unprecedented efforts begun in December 2006 to stop the flow of drugs and curtail the power of drug cartels. The restructuring of security forces, coupled with the military’s strong engagement in the fight to dismantle major drug trafficking organizations (DTOs), has proven to be effective. These efforts led to numerous arrests of key narco-traffickers, the discovery of clandestine drug laboratories, and a dramatic decline in the importation of methamphetamine and precursors into the United States. The Calderon Administration is courageously dealing with increased violence as DTOs resist and fight among each other.
Also unprecedented is the degree of cooperation between the Government of Mexico (GOM) and the United States on counternarcotics and law enforcement, as we jointly press to dismantle major DTOs and pursue money laundering cases. This cooperation entered a new phase with the passage of the Merida Initiative by the U.S. Congress, which, with the signing of a bilateral agreement on December 3, 2008, will provide Mexico with substantial assistance and bring U.S. and Mexican officials closer in a joint counternarcotics effort.
All of this progress, however, comes against a backdrop of continuing high levels of corruption and turmoil within Mexico’s security and judicial bodies. Corruption throughout Mexico’s public institutions remains a key impediment to successfully curtailing the power of the drug cartels. Mexico is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Mexico is a major transit and source country for illicit drugs reaching the United States. It is estimated that as much as 90 percent of all cocaine consumed in the United States transits Mexico. It is a major source of heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as a primary placement point for the laundering of narcotics-derived criminal proceeds. Drug related violence continues to rise in Mexico, from approximately 2,700 deaths in 2007 to over 5,000 in 2008. Cross border linkages developed by drug cartels are used to move drugs into the U.S. and to bring guns into Mexico. U.S.-purchased or stolen firearms account for an estimated 95 percent of the country’s drug-related killings. Mexican drug cartels are increasingly carrying out contract killings in the U.S. and have recently been involved in several high-profile kidnappings in major southwestern U.S. cities.
The increase in violence may be due to the success of President Calderon’s aggressive anti-crime campaign which has broadly deployed the military in searches and regional security plans, while more effectively using tools such as extraditions. This has led to the arrest of important cartel leaders and narrowed the operating space of criminal gangs, who are now fighting among themselves for now diminishing profits. As a result, criminal gangs are now often in the control of more erratic and violent subordinates, leading to more killings and less predictable behavior. Trafficking organizations have also been effective at utilizing violence as a psychological weapon, intimidating political leaders, rival groups, and the general public.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. In the midst of rising violence, President Calderon has remained steadfast, pushing for long-term reforms in the judiciary and security forces, while aggressively confronting the cartels in the short term. There were a number of noteworthy initiatives in 2008 as summarized below.
Professionalization of the Federal Police: The Secretary for Public Security (SSP) is leading efforts to restructure and improve the operational capacity of the federal police. He is striving to develop the means to vet his entire force, as well as many units drawn from state and municipal police, to stem corruption. Other SSP measures include training of mid-level management personnel throughout SSP, as well as attempts to bring on-board an additional 8,000 investigative personnel by 2010.
Information Management: The SSP and the PGR are expanding nationwide investigative and prosecutorial case management data systems. The cornerstone of this effort is “Plataforma Mexico,” which was initiated in 2007 and eventually will establish real-time interconnectivity among all levels of police to support a national crime database. Thus far, data sharing agreements have been executed with all 31 states and the Federal District to support 154 operational nodes which will tie together state and local police units working with the Federal Police.
75-Point Plan: Public marches and rallies against violence led to a 75-point plan to aggressively reform public security institutions in order to retain grassroots support for a more secure and peaceful Mexico. The plan was developed in coordination with civic organizations and local politicians, with the full participation and support of President Calderon and his government, as well as the governors of all states and the mayor of Mexico City. Progress will be reviewed every several months.
Mega-Bases: The SSP has plans to develop ten “mega-bases” throughout the country to provide the federal police the mobility and operational capacity to respond quickly to events anywhere in Mexico. The first three bases, each equipped with a Blackhawk helicopter and an array of special units, are operational.
Security Sector and Judicial Reform: In June, the Mexican Congress passed constitutional reforms and legislation to overhaul Mexico’s judiciary and public security apparatus; implementing legislation is currently being considered in the Congress. Included in the reforms are provisions to introduce oral trials, plea bargaining and alternative case resolution methods, broaden asset forfeiture laws, and clarify the roles and organization of the police. President Calderon also appointed the highly respected Jorge Tello Peon as National Security Advisor, with the mandate to increase coordination between Mexico’s security forces and prosecutors.
Separating Addicts from Dealers: On October 2 the Calderon administration submitted a law to the Senate that would distinguish between addicts found with small amounts of illicit narcotics from dealers. The legislation requires that a person found in possession of less than 2 grams of marijuana, 50 mg of heroin, 500 mg of cocaine, or 40 mg of MDMA (Ecstasy) powder, will, after arrest, be given the option of voluntarily entering a drug treatment program in lieu of jail time. The offer does not apply if it is the person’s third offense, the arrest is made within 300 yards of a school or public park, or the arrest takes place during the commission of another crime. Failure to complete the program will put the offender back on the prison track.
Accomplishments. In 2008, the GOM substantially increased support for security forces and the justice sector, which enhanced Mexican counternarcotics enforcement actions, including the arrest of important drug traffickers. Major arrests include Alfredo Beltran Leyva and Jesus “El Rey” Zambada Garcia of the Sinaloa cartel, Reynosa plaza boss Antonio “El Amarillo” Gallarza Coronado and enforcer Jaime “El Hummer” Gonzalez Duran of the Gulf cartel, Eduardo Arellano Felix and Luis Romero, principals of the Arrellano Felix organization, and Colombian trafficker Pedro Antonio Ramirez. The GOM supported an initiative of the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks (COFREPRIS) to restrict the licit entry of methamphetamine precursor chemicals into the country, resulting in a significant decrease in the import of precursors from 2007-2008.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2008 Mexican law enforcement seized over 19 metric tons (MT) of cocaine, 1,650 MT of marijuana, 168 kilograms (kg) of opium gum, 192 kg of heroin, and 341 kg of methamphetamine. In most categories, this was a reduction by half from last year. U.S. law enforcement agencies attribute this reduction to better enforcement which has forced traffickers to seek alternate routes or alternative enterprises.
On July 16, the Mexican Navy intercepted a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) in the Gulf of Tehuantepec in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which resulted in the seizure of 5.6 MT of cocaine.
As of November 12, 2008, GOM security forces had seized 39,437 illegal firearms, including the record-breaking seizure of weapons believed to belong to the Zetas of the Gulf cartel, and arrested 26,947 persons on drug-related charges – 26,571 Mexicans and 376 foreigners. According to the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), 19 drug-processing laboratories were also dismantled in Mexico during 2008. DEA reports that five of these methamphetamine labs were classified as “super labs” (i.e., having a production capacity of 10 pounds or more per processing cycle).
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOM does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or any other controlled substances, or the laundering of money derived from illicit drug transactions. Corruption remains a considerable hurdle for Mexico in reforming institutions and confronting criminal gangs whose assets run in the billions of dollars. On October 27, Attorney General Medina Mora announced that five senior officials from the PGR’s anti-organized crime unit (SIEDO) had been arrested for passing information to a major drug cartel. On October 31, Acting Federal Police (PFP) Commissioner Gerardo Garay Cardena resigned over allegations of his connections to the Sinaloa drug cartel; subsequently, he was arrested on corruption charges. Dozens more junior federal security officials have also been suspended or fired over corruption charges.
Agreements and Treaties. Mexico 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. Mexico also subscribes to regional counternarcotics commitments, including the 1996 Anti-Drug Strategy in the Hemisphere and the 1990 Declaration of Ixtapa. Mexico is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Mexico is also a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption.
The current U.S.-Mexico bilateral extradition treaty has been in force since 1980. The 2001 Protocol to this Treaty allows for the temporary surrender for trial of fugitives serving a sentence in one country but wanted on criminal charges in the other. The United States and Mexico cooperate in judicial assistance matters under a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty. In addition, Colombia and Mexico formed a tri-party group with the U.S. that consists of the DEA Administrator, the Colombian Minister of Defense, and the Mexican Attorney General. This group meets at least twice a year to discuss counternarcotics and other issues of mutual interest. Also, Mexico is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.
Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance. During 2008, Mexico extradited a total of 95 persons, 24 of whom were wanted in the United States for narcotics trafficking or related money laundering offenses. Sixty-four were Mexican citizens. While extraditions are continuing at a significant pace, the process remains, at times, lengthy and complex. In addition to extraditions, Mexico regularly deports numerous US citizen fugitives to the United States. Mexican authorities, in cooperation with the U.S. Marshals Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, deported 172 non-Mexican fugitives to the United States to stand trial or serve sentences in 2008. Many of these fugitives were wanted on U.S. drug charges.
Cultivation and Production. In 2008, the Mexican military eradicated 15,756 hectares of cannabis, as compared to 22,348 hectares eradicated in calendar year 2007. The GOM reported eradicating 12,035 hectares of opium poppy as compared to 11,102 hectares eradicated in 2007. Eradication of cannabis has been on a steady decline since 2005 due to the realignment of responsibilities for aerial eradication within the GOM from the PGR to the SSP, the shifting of overall counternarcotics priorities to interdiction and the targeting of DTO leadership, and improved growing conditions.
Drug Flow and Transit. Drugs continue to transit Mexico via land, sea and air, although, based on seizures in Mexico and the Caribbean, in diminishing amounts. During 2008, a total of five “super” methamphetamine laboratories were located and destroyed – a reduction from 14 labs in 2007. A decrease in lab seizures may reflect a reduced availability of precursor / essential chemicals due to the regulatory controls put in place by the GOM that make it more difficult to introduce such chemicals into Mexico and recent U.S. and Mexican law enforcement activities.
During 2008, Mexico had several significant seizures of pseudoephedrine tablets. The most significant occurred on September 17, when approximately 5.6 million 60 milligram (mg) pseudoephedrine tablets originating in West Bengal, India were seized at the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City, Mexico.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Drug consumption in Mexico continues to have a negative impact on society, and drug use among youth is rising. In order to counter these impacts, the GOM continues to support several drug demand reduction programs. These programs include the National Council Against Addictions (CONADIC) and the National Network for Technological Transfer and Addictions (RENADIC), which have been designed to facilitate training and technical assistance for drug prevention and treatment. The GOM has designated $70 million dollars of the $205 million seizure from alleged drug trafficker Zhenli Ye Gon to establish 300 local offices that will be linked to RENADIC. Mexico’s First Lady hosted a conference on addictions—“New Paradigms, New Solutions”—in October which drew over 3,000 participants from 40 countries.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Bilateral counternarcotics cooperation continues to grow in scope and quality and will receive a major boost when the Merida Initiative is fully implemented. U.S. Government (USG) law enforcement personnel share sensitive tactical information with their vetted Mexican counterparts in real time, resulting in greater numbers of successful interdiction operations, and thousands of GOM law enforcement officers receive training through U.S. programs.
In May 2008, a Letter of Intent was signed by the commanders of SEMAR, U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and the USCG establishing a permanent bi-national working group on maritime safety and security laying the foundation for sustained and consistent cooperation and coordination in a variety of maritime mission areas. The working group advanced the process of integrating the diplomatic and operational channels for boarding requests with Mexico, which has already resulted in significantly more efficient operations. For example, the time required to obtain GOM approval for USG requests to board Mexican-flagged commercial vessels in international waters continues to be typically less than two hours, with approvals routinely received within an hour, compared to a response time of six to eight hours in the past. Coordinated efforts with the Mexican Navy have led in 2008 to Mexican seizures of over 20 MT of cocaine from maritime vessels. Occasionally, USG assets on the high seas have chased suspected smugglers into Mexican waters, where Mexican Navy assets continued the pursuit.
In 2008, the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ (INL) Narcotics Assistance Section (NAS) Professionalization and Training Program drew on interagency support from Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies to provide 294 specialized training courses to 8,112 Mexican law enforcement and prosecutors at the federal and state level, with courses on criminal investigations, crime scene search and preservation of evidence, cyber-crimes, explosives and incendiary devices, highway and airport interdiction, and counterterrorism. The NAS Information Technology Program also provided over 130 specialized and advanced computer software application training courses to over 700 GOM programmers and engineers within the Mexican law enforcement community. Additionally, in partnership with the Attorney General’s office, the USG through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provided training to Mexican state and federal investigators and prosecutors throughout Mexico to improve the justice sector.
The DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Border Enforcement Support Team (BEST) program, implemented in 2006 to combat cross-border violence along the Southwest Border, continued to improve bilateral cooperation with Mexican law enforcement personnel. In 2008, US Customs and Border Protection implemented several bilateral programs with Mexico to enhance border and national security of both nations. For example, the GOM provides airline passenger information to CBP through the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). CBP also works closely with GOM counterparts concerning an overall bi-lateral strategic plan, as well as specific issues such as confronting border violence, terrorism, trafficking in persons, and providing expedited border crossings for pre-approved low-risk travelers.
Border security was further enhanced through the delivery of INL-funded equipment, including an x-ray minivan, 15 ion scanners (vapor tracers), 10 x-ray backscatter vans, and 68 non-intrusive inspection (NII) kits to Mexican Customs (SAT), as well as another five ion scanners to SSP for counternarcotics and counterterrorism operations. This equipment will greatly aid Mexican law enforcement agencies to detect and confiscate drugs, chemicals, explosives, weapons, laundered money, and other forms of contraband. The USG also provided equipment for anti-money laundering units, and computer servers for the “Plataforma Mexico” program.
The USCG also provided a variety of training to Mexican personnel during 2008, including Search and Rescue, leadership and management, marine engineering and maintenance, port security, small arms, and maritime law enforcement courses.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to support President Calderon’s efforts and jointly seek ways to more effectively utilize counternarcotics programs, intelligence, and judicial tools to confront drug trafficking organizations. The U.S. encourages Mexico to press forward with the legal and institutional reforms to its judicial system and security forces, and to continue its anti-corruption efforts. A comprehensive security and judicial system that ensures integrity at all levels will help ensure that advances in other areas are successful. The United States also encourages closer cooperation between our counternarcotics and border security forces in order to enhance intelligence and evidence sharing and effectively close smuggling routes.
For its part, the USG will offer significant cooperation in the coming year under the Merida Initiative—a partnership between the governments of the United States, Mexico, Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic to confront the violent national and transnational gangs and organized criminal and narcotics trafficking organizations that plague the entire region, the activities of which spill over into the United States. The Merida Initiative will fund a variety of programs that will strengthen the institutional capabilities of participating governments by supporting efforts to investigate, sanction and prevent corruption within law enforcement agencies; facilitating the transfer of critical law enforcement investigative information within and between regional governments; and funding equipment purchases, training, community policing and economic and social development programs. Mexico signed a bilateral agreement with the U.S. for Mérida Initiative assistance on December 3, 2008.
V. Statistical Tables
Mexico Statistics (2002-2008)
|Harvestable / Net Cultivation (ha)||6,900||-||5,100||3,300||3,500||4,800||2,700||4,400|
|Potential Opium Gum (MT)||149||-||110||71||73||101||58||71|
|Potential Heroin (MT)||18||-||13||8||9||12||5||7|
|Harvestable / Net Cultivation (ha)||8,900||-||8,600||5,600||5,800||7,500||7,900||4,100|
|Net Cannabis Production (MT)||15,800||-||15,500||10,100||10,440||13,500||7,900||7,400|
|Cocaine HCl (MT)||19||48||21||30||27||21||12||30|
|Opium Gum (kg)||168||292||75||275||464||198||310||516|
* The PGR National Center for Analysis, Planning and Intelligence against Organized Crime (CENAPI) provided statistics on eradication, seizures and arrests.