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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

2009 INCSR: Country Reports - Moldova through Singapore

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
February 27, 2009




I. Summary


Drug transit and drug-related crime rates in Moldova continue to increase. In 2008, Moldovan law enforcement seized unprecedented quantities of heroin and cocaine. Moldova does not produce a significant amount of narcotics or precursor chemicals itself. Despite the fact that widespread poverty makes Moldova a relatively unattractive market for narcotics sales, drug use within the country remains a concern. There was an increased use of heroin and Ecstasy (MDMA) in 2008. Moldova is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Moldova is an agriculturally fertile nation with a climate favorable for cultivating marijuana and poppy, although annual domestic production of marijuana, after seizures and crop destruction, is estimated at just several hundred kilograms. Authorities regularly seize and destroy illicitly cultivated hemp and poppy plants. The market for domestically produced narcotics remains small, and is largely confined to the areas where drug crops like marijuana are cultivated. Moldova’s proximity to the European Union, corruption, and the limited capacity of law enforcement resulted in the increased import of synthetic drugs and the increased smuggling of narcotic and psychotropic substances into Moldova in 2008. Investigations conducted in 2008 revealed a decreased number of cases involving narcotic substances of synthetic origin, such as methamphetamine, amphetamine, and Ecstasy (MDMA), as well as diverted licit opiates such as codeine. According to the Moldovan Ministry of Interior (MOI), domestic drug traffickers remain closely connected to organized crime in neighboring countries such as Turkey, Israel, Ukraine, Romania and Russia. Moldovan authorities also reported an increase in drugs produced in small-scale operations in homes. Control over the movement of licit narcotic and psychotropic substances, as well as precursors, is maintained by the permanent Drug Control Committee of the Ministry of Health.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives: The Ministry of Interior is responsible for counternarcotics law enforcement. Its Anti-Drug Unit has 78 officers nationwide. The unit continues to strengthen its efforts to counter narcotics activity. Pursuant to its mission of curbing the threat of transnational crime, the Ministry of Interior established the Department of Operative Service in April 2006. This department was created to ensure effective cooperation among existing GOM law enforcement authorities in combating cross-border crime. Additionally, the Drug Enforcement Unit and other law enforcement agencies drafted a Common Action Plan to combat the trafficking of drugs (and precursors) by means of railway transport. This plan involved the Ministry of Interior, Information and Security Service, Customs Service, Border Guards Service and Ministry of Transportation and Roads. Moldova is also a party to the EU-funded Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova against Drugs (BUMAD) agreement, which aims to reduce the intensity of drug trafficking into and out of the countries on the periphery of the EU.


Law Enforcement Efforts. Moldovan authorities registered 1,747 drug-related cases in the first nine months of 2008, compared with 1,985 cases during the same period in 2007. In 96.7 percent of drug-related cases, a criminal investigation was initiated, with 70.9 percent of these cases going to trial. In 2008, 20.8 kg of poppy straw and 1,611 liters of liquid opium were seized through September, compared to 95 kg of poppy straw and 10 liters of opium seized for the same period in 2007. Marijuana seizures in 2008 constituted 151.4 kg, compared to 230 kg seized during 2007. Synthetic drug seizures also decreased significantly in 2008. In 2008, 170 Ecstasy pills were seized, compared to 31,265 pills in 2007. One ml of methamphetamine and 480 grams of amphetamine were seized in 2008, compared to 189 ml and 881 grams in 2007. Likewise, 200 pills of codeine were seized in 2008 versus 950 pills in 2007. LSD seizure, however, increased from 2 LSD saturated papers (2 doses) through September 2007, to 231 LSD saturated papers (231 doses) during the same period in 2008. Through September 2008, the Drug Enforcement Unit's identification of drug distribution cases increased by 44.4%. In 2008, 104 crimes were detected, versus 72 for the same period in 2007. Of the 104 crimes of drug distribution this year, 21 were committed by the same criminal group. In 189 cases, extremely large quantities of drugs were seized (51 more than during the same period in 2007). Through September 2008, police detected 61 cases of illegal storage of psychotropic substances and 16 cases of smuggling of narcotic substances.


As a result of police action directed towards the identification and seizure of narcotic substances, over 300 kg of drugs were seized, an unprecedented amount. Seizures of heroin increased considerably in 2008 to 207 kg from only 1.676 grams last year through September 2007. This was primarily the result of one very large drug bust which took place only one block from the U.S. Embassy, where a single load of 200 kg of blocked heroin from Afghanistan was discovered. In 2008, 69 cases of illicit distribution of heroin were registered, compared to only 11 cases in 2007. In 2008, police identified and apprehended an international criminal organization which dealt in the smuggling, production and distribution of cocaine. As a result, 250 liters of coconut oil mixed with cocaine from Colombia and 5.5 kg of stand-alone cocaine were seized. Three clandestine laboratories were discovered with the equipment to extract, press, and pack cocaine. Weapons were also seized as a result of this operation. The exact quantity of cocaine that could be extracted from the coconut oil has not been determined, but about 25 kg is the best estimate. Moldova does not have the laboratory facilities to adequately process and analyze this haul. Moldova will need to invest significant resources in education, border control, and further law enforcement initiatives if it hopes to stem the growth of domestic drug use. Because of its entrenched poverty and the scarcity of government resources, significant additional government investment is unlikely. Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe.


Corruption. Corruption at all levels is systemic within Moldova. The Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption (CCECC) is the law enforcement agency responsible for investigating corruption allegations, including those related to narcotics. The CCECC has been accused of political bias in targeting its investigations, although not in regard to narcotics cases. The GOM as a matter of policy does not encourage or facilitate the production or distribution of drugs or money laundering from illegal drug transactions. On October 9, 2007, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Threshold Country Program officially launched its implementation phase in Moldova. With $24.7 million in MCC assistance over two years, Moldova seeks to reduce corruption in the public sector through judicial reform. Moldova also plans health care reform, tax reform, customs reform, and reform of the police agencies and CCECC. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance, and Training has provided technical assistance and training for the CCECC, funded by the U.S. State Department. DOJ’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program has also provided technical assistance and training to the MOI and Customs Department.


Agreements and Treaties. Moldova is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the1972 Protocol. Moldova is also party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling, and trafficking in illicit firearms.


Cultivation/Production. Each year, between June and August, the Ministry of Interior launches a special law enforcement operation called “Operation Poppy". This operation targets illicit poppy, hemp, and marijuana fields for eradication and reinvigorates other counter-drug efforts. As a result of Operation Poppy in 2008, 579 criminal cases involving the illegal cultivation of poppy and cannabis were initiated. The cases included the following: 445 cases of the cultivation of poppy plants (resulting in the eradication of 15,768 kg of marijuana in the field.


Drug Flow/Transit. Seizures of illicit narcotics in 2008 continue to indicate that Moldova remains primarily a trans-shipment country for narcotics. Information provided by the MOI indicates that two of the predominant heroin routes are from Ukraine through Moldova into Western Europe and from Turkey through Romania/Moldova into Russia and near-by states. The major cocaine route is from Colombia through Panama to Ukraine to Moldova then into Western Europe.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In 2008, the Ministry of Interior reinvigorated its efforts regarding the provision of social services and on strengthening the relationship between the police and society. The MOI and local NGO "New Life" organized a training program in "Creation and Development of Assistance Groups," covering the northern and southern regions of the country. MOI also organized a series of lectures at educational institutions in the country aimed at emphasizing the dangers of drug abuse to young people. Posters and brochures containing information about the consequences of drug use and ways to protect oneself from drug pushers' solicitations were distributed. The MOI publicized information about cases involving the apprehension and arrest of drug traffickers, by means of press conferences, television shows, high-profile media releases, and announcements on its internet site. In August 2008 and September 2008, the MOI augmented its collaboration with local public administrations by holding two working meetings which took place in different parts of the country. These meetings involved representatives of public administrations, education departments, health departments, NGOs, an UN agencies, along with narcotics drug specialists, local council representatives, prosecutors, and local police. They discussed drug abuse prevention and counternarcotics activities. Private drug treatment is an option only for the wealthiest of drug abusers. The GOM and NGOs continue to provide information about narcotics and conduct some educational and media campaigns. Neither NGOs nor the government offer adequate drug treatment for those already addicted.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. Ongoing U.S. Government (USG) training and the provision of equipment are designed to improve the ability of Moldovan police to investigate and infiltrate organized crime and narcotics enterprises. The DEA’s office in Vienna is responsible for drug enforcement assistance to members of Moldova’s drug unit within the MOI. Direct communication between the DEA and MOI officers is common and mostly in the form of investigative or operational assistance. While incidents of corruption within the GOM are reported, the DEA has not encountered any instances of corruption in bilateral enforcement efforts. The USG also offers assistance in customs and border control, with programs specifically aimed at strengthening Moldovan border control. Although not specifically related to narcotics, these programs have a spin-off effect of reducing the flow of illegal goods through Moldova, including narcotics. During 2008, the USG financed basic and specialized law enforcement training programs via the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), which included narcotics enforcement modules. INL also supported the GOM through the donation of equipment. The USG supported visits to the U.S. for police, anti-corruption, and customs officers for various capacity- building and developmental programs. These programs focused on enhancing techniques related to combating corruption, money laundering, illicit drug trafficking, and organized crime. One officer from Moldova attended the USCG’s Officer Indoctrination School in the U.S.


The Road Ahead. The U.S. and Moldova continue to work together through U.S. assistance programs to help improve the ability of Moldovan law enforcement to target the movement of illicit goods and persons through Moldovan territory.




I. Summary


Drug trafficking and drug abuse among Mongolians are not widespread but continue to increase and to draw the attention of the government. Mongolia's increasingly urbanized population is especially vulnerable to the growing drug trade. The government continues to implement the National Program for fighting Narcotics and Drugs, adopted in March 2000. The National Council, headed by the Chief of Police, coordinates implementation of this program. The program is aimed at preventing drug addiction, drug-related crimes, creating a legal basis for fighting drugs, implementing counternarcotics policy, and raising public awareness of the drug abuse issue. Rather than implement a rigid, inflexible national program, Mongolian leaders and lawmakers are maintaining a flexible approach that focuses on particular aspects of the drug problem. Mongolia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention; there are no US-GOM law enforcement treaties in force.


II. Status of Country


Mongolia's long, unprotected borders with Russia and China are vulnerable to penetration by drug traffickers. Police believe that most smuggled drugs come from China and are usually carried by Mongolian citizens. Illegal migrants, mostly traveling from China through Mongolia to Russia and Europe, also sometimes transport and traffic in drugs. The organized crime division of the Criminal Police reported in 2008 that drug-related crime is growing. Although organized crime does not yet have a significant presence in Mongolia, police and NGOs express particular concern that this could change if drug use in Mongolia continues to rise. The Government of Mongolia (GOM) has made the protection of its borders a priority. U.S.-sponsored projects to promote cooperation among the security forces have provided some assistance, as has training done in connection with these projects. A lack of resources and technical capacity, along with corruption in the police forces and other parts of government, hinder Mongolia's ability to patrol its borders, detect illegal smuggling, and investigate transnational criminal cases.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives/Law Enforcement. The Mongolian government and law-enforcement officials have increased their participation in international fora focused on crime and drug issues. This is an encouraging development. Greater government participation in regional and international seminars on drug issues will be required if Mongolia is to stay current on drug trafficking trends. In September 2007, Mongolian police took part in a regional counternarcotics conference in Russia called "Channel 2007." During the event, the Mongolians reportedly provided their Chinese counterparts with information on African drug traffickers based in Beijing. Chinese law enforcement was later able to identify the group in question and take appropriate measures. In May 2008, the National Children's Center (NCC) and the Anti-Drug Center (ADC) NGO, with the participation of relevant government agencies and other NGOs, held a round table on the illegal drug situation in Mongolia. The primary concerns raised were the increase in drug use among young people, increased drug imports coming from China and from Russia, the wind-borne spread of wild cannabis from northern to central Mongolia, and the increasing incidence of wild cannabis simply taking root in unused mines, which could lead to intentional cultivation at such sites. The meeting delineated priorities for the future, including the training of psychologists who specialize in drug-related problems, the establishment of a national drug rehabilitation center (there is no such facility at present), and enhanced coordination between the government and NGOs, including additional funding for NGOs with experience organizing information campaigns to discourage narcotics use Nationwide there are only 60 police officers who work on drug cases related to minors, or one officer for every 15,000 children. In June 2008, on the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the government and NGOs arranged seminars across the country to raise public awareness of the drug problem.


From 1995 through June 2008, 208 people had been investigated in connection with the drug trade, 30 of whom were foreigners (primarily Russian and Chinese). Fifteen have been convicted and jailed. In the first six months of 2008, the investigations of three cases involving nine people commenced. In June 2008, five Mongolians were charged and convicted in a Chinese court of exporting drugs to China; they are now serving sentences of 12 to 15 years. No illegal drug lab was identified in Mongolia during the year. The Mongolian government is alert to precursor chemical trade and the potential for diversion.


Corruption. Mongolian internal corruption and related criminal activity are generally unrelated to narcotics trafficking. On September 7, 2007, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), an independent governmental body with 90 employees, acquired investigative power previously held by police and prosecutors. The ACA compelled the country's top 252 officials, including all parliamentarians, Cabinet ministers and Supreme Court justices, to declare their assets and income. The weakness of the legal system and financial structures leaves Mongolia vulnerable to potential exploitation by drug traffickers and international criminal organizations, particularly those operating in China and Russia. In October 2007, a court in Ulaanbaatar imposed a ten-year sentence on Shatarbal Dugerjav, who had worked as a Counselor at Mongolia's Embassy in Bulgaria. In March 2005, Dugerjav was driving his car when a search by Bulgarian police found 138 kg of psychotropic drugs in the vehicle, allegedly bound for Turkey. The government does not encourage or facilitate illicit production of drugs or the laundering of the proceeds thereof. No senior government official is known to facilitate or encourage the production or distribution of illegal drugs or the laundering of the proceeds thereof.


Agreements and Treaties. Mongolia 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. Mongolia also is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption. The GOM attempts to meet the goals and objectives of international conventions and treaties on drugs. The United States and Mongolia have in force a customs mutual legal assistance agreement.


Drug Flow/Transit. While drug use is not widespread, marijuana, the most commonly used illegal drug, grows wild in various parts of the country. Police said a growing number of Mongolians and foreign residents were harvesting and smoking the wild naturally-occurring cannabis. However, there were no reliable surveys on drug use. Cocaine, amphetamines, heroin and abused over-the-counter drugs were less common and less available than cannabis. Hashish is smuggled into Mongolia from China in small quantities.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Domestic, nongovernmental organizations work to fight drug addiction, including the use of commercial inhalants such as glue and aerosols by street children. International donors are working with the government to help Mongolia develop the capacity to address narcotics addiction among its population, and related criminal activities before they become an additional burden on Mongolia's development.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. Government assistance has included international visitor programs on transnational crime and counternarcotics, as well as training by several U.S. law-enforcement agencies.


The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to cooperate closely with Mongolia to assist with the implementation of its counternarcotics policies, including border protection, the Anti-Corruption Agency, and training and assistance for the Mongolian police.



I. Summary


Organized crime groups use Montenegro as a transit country for cannabis from Albania and Kosovo, and smaller amounts of other narcotics from the Middle East (heroin) and Latin America (cocaine), destined for the western Balkans and Western Europe. A small proportion of the smuggled narcotics is sold in the small but growing domestic market. The Government of Montenegro is implementing a comprehensive action plan against illegal drugs, and is seeking close law enforcement relationships with other states in the region. By using improved methods and additional technical capabilities in investigating drug trafficking, in cooperation with other countries, Montenegrin police disrupted several international smuggling operations. Montenegro became an independent state in June 2006, and is in the process of becoming a party to relevant international conventions and agreements. Montenegro is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, as a successor state of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro.


II. Status of Country


There were no reports of significant production of narcotics, precursor chemicals or synthetic drugs in Montenegro. The Government of Montenegro estimates that only a small percentage of the illegal drugs entering the country are for the domestic market, although the police and press report that domestic drug addiction rates have been rising. Information on illegal drug use is not systematically recorded, but authorities estimate that Montenegro has between 2,000 and 3,000 addicts. Heroin is the most prevalent drug on the local market, but the use of Ecstasy and amphetamines is on the rise. Crimes connected with narcotics also have increased, and currently 40 percent of all Montenegrin prison inmates have been convicted for narcotics-related offenses. Protection of its borders is a national priority for Montenegro. The United States and other international donors have supported efforts to tighten border controls. Recent U.S. donations of ocean and lake patrol craft have improved Montenegro's ability to curb water-borne smuggling.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. To position itself better for future EU accession, Montenegro is training more counter-narcotics investigators, procuring new equipment, and strengthening its inter-agency cooperation. In May 2008, the Montenegrin government issued the country's first National Strategy for Suppression of Drugs, along with a National Plan to implement that strategy. The government also plans to create a National Office, within the Ministry of Health, to coordinate the country's anti-drug efforts.


Law Enforcement Efforts. The Drug Smuggling Suppression Department within the Police's crime division is responsible for coordinating cooperation and exchange of information between nine counter-drug police units located through Montenegro, the Customs Administration, the Ministry of Justice, and Interpol. The Ministry of Interior (MUP) compiles data on narcotics seizures. The Customs Administration likewise continued to strengthen its capacities. Police officials assert that their cooperation with Customs has been effective. A new 6.5 million Euro Forensic Center at the Police Academy in Danilovgrad was opened on December 16. The Center should improve the capabilities of Montenegro’s law enforcement agencies and help fight organized and the other forms of crime, including narcotics-related crimes. The U.S. donated approximately 540,000 dollars to help establish and equip the Center.


During the first nine months of 2008, police filed 338 criminal charges against 278 individuals for narcotics-related violations and made 280 seizures. Police estimated that the street value of confiscated drugs was about 2,305,000 Euros (equivalent to $2,958,921).


Police seized:
* 201.8 kg of marijuana
* 21.6 kg of heroin
* 7.8 kg of cocaine
* 0.9 kg MDMA Ecstasy
* 0.1 kg amphetamine "speed"


Montenegrin police disrupted several international smuggling operations. Police cooperated actively with their counterparts in Australia, Germany, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. The investigations mostly focused on the organizers of criminal groups, users, street dealers, and border seizures; major narcotics dealers are rarely arrested. According to the Chief State Prosecutor's Office, during 2007 out of 453 cases reported by police, the prosecutor's office indicted 391 persons plus 420 continued cases from previous years, making a total of 811 indictments. During the same period, 320 persons were convicted for violations of Article 300 of the Criminal Code (related to production, storage, and sale of narcotics) and Article 301 (related to drug consumption). The duration of sentences for drug law violations in 2007 increased 32.84 percent in comparison to the previous five years.


Corruption. Corruption and the perception that corruption is tolerated are common in Montenegro, and affect both law enforcement and the judiciary. The Government attempts to identify, prosecute, and punish instances of official corruption, but does not specify whether the acts underlying specific disciplinary actions and prosecutions are narcotics-related or not. Laws that criminalize corrupt activities by government employees also address narcotics-related corruption. There were no fact based-reports of cases linking senior Government officials to the illicit narcotics trade, though one senior opposition leader claimed that the Government had links to a local "narco-cartel." The USG has no information to corroborate such allegations. Public confidence in the Government's ability to combat corruption remained weak. As a matter of government policy, 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. Montenegro is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption.


Agreements and Treaties. As the successor state of Serbia and Montenegro, Montenegro has become a party to a number of narcotics-related international treaties, including the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Montenegro is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons, and trafficking in illicit firearms. The 1902 extradition treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia remains in force between the U.S. and Montenegro. Montenegro acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption in June 2006. Montenegro was admitted into Interpol in June 2006 and into the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) in June 2008. In September 2008 Montenegro signed a strategic partnership with EUROPOL as a step towards full membership.


Drug Flow/Transit. Organized crime groups use Montenegro as a transit point for drug smuggling, due to the country's central location and its topography-both coastal and mountainous. Marijuana is believed to transit Montenegro by several well established overland routes in private vehicles, by foot, on mules, etc., smuggled from producers in Albania and Kosovo, en route to the Western Balkans and Western Europe (primarily Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Scandinavia). Heroin from Afghanistan transits Albania and Kosovo and is smuggled to Montenegro in private vehicles before being transported further into Western Europe. Cocaine is smuggled by air and sea from South America (primarily Venezuela). The Montenegrin police report that the summer influx of tourists along Montenegro's coast has led to seasonal increases in use of illegal drugs.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Institute for Public Health believes that drug use is on the rise, including among minors, but has no database to track the number of drug addicts. The number of drug-related crimes is reportedly increasing. In Montenegro there is only one psychiatric clinic for treating drug addicts, and the facility's capacities are limited. Limited treatment and rehabilitation activities also are carried out in the hospitals in Podgorica and Niksic. Many patients also go for treatment to Belgrade at their own expense. On March 31, 2008 the Center for Re-socialization and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts was opened in Podgorica. Government run prevention programs for primary and secondary schools and NGOs assist with some of these efforts. Community police officers visit the schools to educate students about the risks associated with drugs use. There were only a few NGOs in Montenegro during 2008 dealing with drug related issues.


IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. MUP police and Customs officers continued to receive U.S. funded training in anti-organized crime operations and suppression techniques. The U.S. continued to provide training, technical advice, equipment and other assistance to the Customs and MUP border police units. Specifically, the USCG provided maritime boarding officer training through a mobile training team visit, and trained an officer at the International Maritime Officer Course in the U.S.


The Road Ahead. Accession to the EU and NATO remain Montenegro's primary foreign policy goals, providing a strong incentive to build up its criminal justice system to European standards. The U.S. coordinates its assistance programs and priorities with the EU and other international donors, particularly in strengthening the rule of law, combating corruption and developing an independent judiciary. The U.S. plans to continue its bilateral assistance for promoting rule of law in Montenegro, including suppression of narcotics trafficking.





I. Summary


The Government of Morocco (GOM) has achieved significant reductions in its cannabis and cannabis resin production in recent years. Advances in Morocco’s counternarcotics efforts are a result of the GOM’s comprehensive counternarcotics strategy, which emphasizes combining conventional law enforcement, crop eradication, international cooperation, and demand reduction efforts with economic development to erode the “cannabis growing culture” that exists in northern Morocco. The vast majority of cannabis produced in Morocco is consumed in Europe and has little, if any, impact on the U.S. market for illegal drugs. Morocco is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Morocco is one of the world’s largest cannabis resin (hashish) producers and has consistently ranked among the world’s largest producers of cannabis, but its importance as a main source country for cannabis resin is declining. The 2008 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report states that fewer countries around the world are citing Morocco as the “source” country or “origin” of the cannabis resin found in their markets. The percentage of countries citing Morocco as the origin of hashish found in their markets has dropped from 31 percent in 2003 to 18 percent in 2006. This statistic appears to indicate some success of the GOM’s counter drug efforts as well as increased cannabis resin production in Afghanistan.


Cannabis remains primarily a European export for Moroccan growers, with the vast majority of the product typically processed into cannabis resin or oil and exported predominately to Europe. Only very small amounts of cannabis and narcotics being produced in or transiting through Morocco reach the United States.


Cannabis cultivation is centered in the northern tip of the country, between the Rif Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, and large segments of the population of that area participate in the cultivation. Approximately 760,000 Moroccans living in roughly 60 percent of villages in that area are involved in cannabis cultivation, according to the GOM.


The center of cannabis production in Morocco appears to have shifted from Chefchaouen to al-Hoceima due to GOM eradication efforts. Nearly 50 percent of cannabis cultivation occurs in al-Hoceima, with the surrounding provinces of Taounate, Tetouan and Chefchaouen largely making up the rest of production. According to the GOM, the province of Larache has become a less important area for cannabis cultivation.


Morocco is also combating the growth in trafficking and consumption of “harder drugs,” particularly cocaine. According to the GOM, South American drug smugglers are transporting increased amounts of cocaine through Morocco and onward to Europe.


Heroin and psychotropic drugs (methamphetamine, Ecstasy, etc.) are also making inroads into the country but to a lesser extent than cocaine. Morocco has only a relatively modest licit requirement for dual-use meth or Ecstasy precursor chemicals (1025 kg of pseudoephedrine), and the country neither serves as a known source nor transit point for diverted meth precursors.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. Morocco’s national strategy to combat drugs rests on the four pillars of: (1) interdiction, (2) eradication, (3) international cooperation, and (4) demand reduction. Morocco’s strongest actions have been in the areas of interdiction and eradication. GOM officials seek to build upon their already strong existing relationships with international organizations such as the UNODC, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), and INTERPOL. Demand reduction efforts; however, have been weak, as GOM officials still consider this to be mainly a European issue.


Morocco’s national drug strategy is augmented by an emphasis on a broader economic development approach and crop substitution. Moroccan officials, however, readily admit that alternatives are often a “hard sell” to farmers who can earn 18 times the earnings of a substitute crop such as barley by continuing to grow cannabis.


Moroccan authorities reported that they hope to complete another detailed drug study in cooperation with UNODC as well as update their national drug strategy in 2009. Moroccan Ministry of Interior (MOI) has the goal to reduce cannabis cultivation to 12,000 ha by the year 2012. If this goal is accomplished, it will mean that Morocco will have reduced cannabis cultivation by 91% since it first started serious eradication efforts in 2003.


Law Enforcement Efforts. The following table is a summary of Morocco’s drug seizure efforts since 2004. The decrease in cannabis and hashish seizures between 2007 and 2008 may partly be the result of successful GOM eradication efforts and droughts reducing the supply cannabis and hashish on the local market.




Cannabis Hashish Cocaine Heroin Psychotropic Drugs
2004 318 MT 86 MT 4 kg 1001 grams 168,257 units
2005 116 MT 96 MT 8 kg 5,335 grams 94,900 units
2006 60 MT 89MT 57 kg 714 grams 55,881 units
2007 209 MT 118 MT 248 kg 1,906 grams 55,243 units
2008 (January-September) 222 MT 114 MT 34 kg 6,325 grams 48,293 units



The GOM has deployed 11,000 personnel into the Rif mountains and throughout the northern coastal areas to interdict drug shipments, maintain counternarcotics checkpoints, and staff observation posts along the coast. The Moroccan Navy carries out routine sea patrols. GOM forces are now using helicopters, planes, speed boats, mobile x-ray scanners, ultrasound equipment, and satellites in their drug fight. The mobile x-ray scanner has proven to be particularly effective, allowing GOM officials to seize a record quantity of 11 metric tons (MT) of cannabis resin in Tangier in December 2006. The Moroccan Navy used a similar scanner to seize 3 MT of cannabis resin in April 2008 alone. The GOM recently acquired another mobile x-ray scanner for use in the port city of Nador.


In 2008, Moroccan law enforcement arrested 28,896 individuals in connection with drug related offenses. Approximately 1,200 of these individuals were arrested for international drug trafficking of which 600 were foreigners, including 148 Spanish, 122 French, 21 Italians, 20 Dutch, and 12 Belgians. Arrests of traffickers at the seaports, and of arriving cocaine “mules” from Sub-Saharan Africa at the Casablanca airport are frequently in the news. In 2007, 93 kg of the total 248 kg of cocaine seized by the GOM was seized at the Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca; the majority of the 84 smugglers were West Africans in transit to Europe. Detection training and the use of ultrasound equipment were critical to the success of these seizures. As authorities become more vigilant, GOM officials opine that cocaine smugglers are likely to seek access to Europe through much harder to detect land routes and other methods.


Moroccan law provides a maximum allowable prison sentence for drug offenses of 30 years, as well as fines for illegal drug violations ranging from $20,000-$80,000. Ten to 15 years imprisonment remains the typical sentence for major drug traffickers convicted in Morocco.


Of special note, an American citizen was arrested on May 7, 2008 by Moroccan officials for an alleged drug shipment. On June 15, 2008, he was sentenced to seven years in prison, fined $1,200, and had his aircraft confiscated. The court also sentenced two Moroccan accomplices to prison terms of six and four years respectively, and acquitted two others.


Corruption. As a matter of government policy, 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. These actions are illegal and the government tries to enforce these laws to the best of its ability. Despite GOM actions to combat the illicit drug trafficking industry, narcotics-related corruption among governmental, judicial, military and law enforcement officials appears to continue.


In August 2006, authorities arrested senior government official Abdelaziz Izzou (the head of security at Morocco's royal palaces) for his cooperation with a major drug baron when he was head of the Tangier judicial police from 1996 to 2003. After a lengthy trial, Izzou received an 18 month prison sentence and had 700,000 MAD (approximately $100,000) seized by the state in March 2008.


In December 2007, notorious drug baron Mohamed Taieb Ahmed (AKA “El Nene”) escaped from prison in Kenitra with the assistance of local prison guards. Authorities re-captured “El Nene” in Spain in April 2008. For the role they played in the escape, Moroccan courts sentenced six Kenitra prison guards to prison terms ranging between two suspended months and four years on charges of forgery, corruption, and assisting a prisoner in escaping from custody. The GOM changed the management of its prison system and is also in the process of reinforcing prison security in response to this and other prison escapes in early 2008.


In January 2008, Moroccan authorities prosecuted three members of the gendarmerie (rural police) on corruption charges following a complaint made by an airline passenger traveling through the Agadir-Al Massira Airport. Moroccan police arrested the son of former Mauritanian president Khouna Ould Haidalla in July 2008 for attempting to smuggle 18 kg of cocaine. In October 2008, he was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison.


During a speech in August 2008, King Mohammed VI called on the government to work actively to launch the Central Authority for the Prevention of Corruption. By the end of the year, the chairman and 40 members of the Authority had been named, and it was included in the annual budget. While the body will have only policy rather than enforcement responsibilities, the new chairman said he would forward to judicial authorities reports of corruption the Authority uncovered.


Agreements and Treaties. Morocco 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. Morocco is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, but has not signed any of its protocols. Morocco and the United States cooperate in law enforcement matters under a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). Morocco is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. Morocco has several cooperative agreements to fight against drugs with European countries such as Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy, and it seeks to work closely with other Arab and African countries.


Cultivation/Production/Eradication. Morocco succeeded in decreasing the land dedicated to cannabis cultivation by 55% from 134,000 hectares in 2003 to 60,000 hectares in 2008, due in part to an aggressive eradication campaign, carried out mainly by Gendarme and local authorities, according to GOM officials. Plans call for cannabis cultivation areas to decrease below 50,000 hectares in 2009. Cannabis resin production dropped 71% from 3,070 MT to 877 MT between 2003 and 2005. Morocco used the following methods to eradicate illicit crops: (1) crop-dusting via airplane, (2) mechanical and manual destruction of crops and (3) burning.


GOM officials report that during the first phase of the 2008 eradication campaign, they were able to eradicate a total of 4,376 ha of cannabis in the northern provinces. This includes 2,695 ha in Taounate, 985 ha in Chefchaouen, 130 ha in Tetouan and 565 ha in Larache.


In 2004, Morocco launched an awareness campaign for cannabis growers alerting them to the environmental dangers of cannabis cultivation to include soil exhaustion, excessive fertilizer concentrations, and deforestation and informing them of alternatives to use the land more productively. The GOM selected the northern province of Taounate in 2006 as the site for the construction of the National Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants to study the viability of various crop substitutions. Saffron cultivation and rose petal extraction are two examples of possible future economic substitutes for cannabis cultivation in the region. GOM officials report that since the 2004 awareness campaign started, there has been a 50% decrease in cannabis production in the Province of Taounate.


Drug Flow/Transit. Given its proximity to Morocco, Spain is a key transfer point for Europe-bound Moroccan cannabis resin where it can normally be transshipped to most other Western European destinations. France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy are also major European destinations for cannabis trafficked from Morocco. Notwithstanding the changes reported above in cultivation and production, there is no confirmation of a significant diminution of cannabis products reaching these major European markets.


Most large shipments of illicit cannabis bound for Spain travel via speedboats, which can make the roundtrip to Spain in one hour or less, although fishing boats, yachts, and other vessels are also used. Smugglers also continue to transport cannabis via truck and car through the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, known to have lower inspection standards than the rest of the European Union, and the Moroccan port of Tangier, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar by ferry. Spain’s deployment of a network of fixed and modular radar, infrared, and video sensors around the Strait of Gibraltar, starting in 1999 and known as the Integrated System of External Vigilance (SIVE), has forced Moroccan smugglers to take longer and more vulnerable routes.


Latin American drug organizations have begun in recent years to exploit Morocco’s well-established cannabis routes to smuggle cocaine and perhaps also heroin into Europe. Although the main African redistribution centers for cocaine from Latin America remain Sub-Saharan, including Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria, Morocco is increasingly being used as a transit country in a trend that can be expected to continue. In October 2008, the Colombian National Police seized a shipping container destined for Morocco with a declared cargo of aluminum roofing sheets but also containing 324 grams of cocaine.


Trans-national drug trafficking networks are a growing problem for Morocco. Although French and Spanish networks are more prevalent, Romanian drug networks appeared in Morocco for the first time in 2007 when 34 Romanian traffickers were arrested. There are initial indications of a Russian organized crime presence in Morocco, but no evidence thus far that it is engaged in narco-trafficking.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The GOM is concerned about signs of an increase in domestic cocaine and heroin use, but does not aggressively promote reduction in domestic demand for these drugs or for cannabis. Some media estimates suggest that as many as ten percent of adults regularly use cannabis, but the GOM does not currently have an effective system in place to measure and evaluate the situation. Morocco has established a program to train the staffs of psychiatric hospitals in the treatment of drug addiction. In partnership with UNODC, the Ministry of Health is exploring the relationship between drug use and HIV/AIDS infection in Morocco. Moroccan civil society and some schools are active in promoting counternarcotics use campaigns.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. The USG is working to enhance Morocco’s counternarcotics capability through training in law enforcement techniques, and to promote the GOM’s adherence to its obligations under relevant bilateral and international narcotics control agreements. U.S.-supported efforts to strengthen anti-money laundering laws and efforts against terrorist financing may also contribute to the GOM’s ability to monitor the flow of money from the cannabis trade.


The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which covers Morocco from its Paris office, continued its bilateral exchange of information with the Moroccans in support of several ongoing drug investigations in 2008. The DEA invited the Director of Morocco’s Investigative Police Agency to participate as an observer in the July 2008 International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) in Istanbul, Turkey. On October 15, 2008, the IDEC granted Morocco full voting member status. The USG is presently working to provide the GOM a DEA internet-based communication tool that will enable Morocco to communicate directly with other countries in the region as well as South American counterparts. This new communication system will allow real time exchange of intelligence information. In 2008, the U.S. DEA office in Paris was able to facilitate meetings and exchanges between the GOM and Colombian officials to discuss South American trafficking networks and the threat they pose to Africa.


USG training remains an important factor in Morocco’s efforts to combat illegal narcotics. During FY 2008, the U.S. Government provided training to Moroccan police, gendarmes, and customs officials in the areas of (1) narcotics identification and testing (2) advanced U.S. Coast Guard boarding procedures, (3) fraudulent document detection and (4) customs and border issues. The GOM requested 2009 narcotics-related training assistance from the U.S. in the areas of airport interdiction, basic investigator techniques and money laundering


The Road Ahead. The endemic nature of the cannabis culture in Morocco will only be ameliorated through incremental application of Morocco’s comprehensive counternarcotics strategy. The U.S. will continue to monitor the illegal drug situation in Morocco, cooperate with the GOM in its counternarcotics efforts, and, together with the EU, provide law enforcement training, intelligence and other support.




I. Summary


Mozambique is a transit country for illegal drugs such as hashish, herbal cannabis, cocaine, and heroin consumed primarily in Europe, and for mandrax (methaqualone) consumed primarily in South Africa. Some illicit drug shipments passing through Mozambique may also find their way to the United States and Canada. Drug production mostly is limited to herbal cannabis cultivation and a small but growing number of mandrax laboratories. Evidence suggests considerable use of herbal cannabis and limited consumption of “club drugs” (Ecstasy/MDMA), prescription medicines, and heroin primarily by the country’s urban population. Porous borders, a poorly policed seacoast, inadequately trained and equipped law enforcement agencies, and corruption in the police and judiciary hamper Mozambique’s enforcement and interdiction efforts. The United States, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and other donors have established cooperation programs to improve training of drug control officials and provide better interdiction and laboratory equipment. Mozambique is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Mozambique is not a significant producer of illegal drugs and not a producer of precursor chemicals. Herbal cannabis remains the most produced and most consumed drug in the country. While herbal cannabis for local consumption is produced throughout the country, seizure quantities and statistics from 2006 indicate higher levels in Maputo City, Manica, Sofala, and Cabo Delgado provinces. Limited amounts are trafficked to neighboring countries, primarily South Africa. Mozambique’s role as a transit country for illicit drugs and precursors continues to grow, and it is a favored point of disembarkation in Africa for trafficking to Europe because of its proximity to South Africa (the major market for illicit drugs) and weak law enforcement capacity at borders, major seaports, and airports. Southwest Asian producers ship cannabis resin (hashish) and synthetic drugs through Mozambique to Europe and South Africa. Limited quantities of these shipments may also reach the United States and Canada. Heroin and other opiate derivatives shipped through Mozambique usually originate in Southeast Asia and typically transit India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and later Tanzania, before arriving by small ship or, occasionally, overland to Mozambique. Many traffickers are of Tanzanian or Pakistani origin. In 2008, there continued to be few reports of cocaine entering the country via couriers on international flights from Colombia and Brazil. Government authorities attribute the decrease to a change in tactics by traffickers and, to a lesser extent, more stringent police efforts at airports. However, they acknowledge that fewer reports may not represent a decrease in the overall amount of cocaine entering the country.


Government authorities have noted an increase in the use of heroin and Ecstasy among the urban population. The abuse of mandrax, which is usually smoked in combination with cannabis, continues to be a matter of concern for countries in southern Africa. Shipments of mandrax enter South Africa from India and China, sometimes after transiting Mozambique. South Africa dropped visa requirements for citizens of all six neighboring countries, further complicating interdiction and enforcement efforts.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. Mozambique’s accomplishments in meeting its goals under the 1988 UN Drug Convention remain limited. Government resources devoted to the counter narcotics effort are meager, and little or no donor funds have been available in recent years. The Mozambican government carries out drug education programs in local schools in cooperation with bilateral and multilateral donors as part of its demand reduction efforts.


Law Enforcement Efforts. Mozambique’s counter narcotics brigade operates in Maputo and reports to the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Police in the Ministry of Interior. The brigade suffers from a general lack of resources and is operating at reduced levels compared with previous years. The brigade has not received training for several years. Since 2005, a small, specialized police unit designed to strengthen efforts to fight organized crime, including narcotics trafficking, has operated at airports in provincial capitals. In 2006, Mozambican and Brazilian authorities signed a memorandum of understanding on principles in preparation for an eventual extradition agreement for convicted drug traffickers of drugs between their two countries. Through November 2008, cannabis seizures were 4,793kg, up from 4,638.26 kg in 2007, and 5.55kg of cocaine seized, up from 1.5kg in 2007. Due to alterations in trafficking procedures, and as interdiction efforts continue to improve at the Maputo airport, traffickers now use alternate airports, including those of Beira, Nampula, Quelimane, and Vilankulos. It is widely assumed that some illegal drugs enter the country by sea; the government relies on sporadic port inspections and under-trained border guards to police this source. Police reported that in 2008, 562 people were indicted for illegal drug trafficking and 107 were detained, of which 20 were tried, and 7 convicted of drug trafficking. On several occasions during the year, Mozambican authorities highlighted a severe lack of resources for destroying seized drugs, particularly hashish, cannabis, and cocaine.

Corruption. The government does not as a matter of policy encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There were no reports in 2008 that any senior government official engaged in such practices. While corruption is pervasive in Mozambique, the government continues its efforts to prosecute police and customs officials charged with drug trafficking offenses.


Agreements and Treaties. Mozambique is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. On April 9, 2008, Mozambique ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption.

Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is cultivated primarily in Maputo City, Tete, Manica, Cabo Delgado, Zambézia and Sofala. Cannabis production registered an increase in 2008. Intercropping is the most common method of production. The Mozambican government has no reliable estimates of crop size. Authorities have made efforts since 2007 to eradicate cannabis crops through controlled burns.


Drug Flow/Transit. Assessments of drugs transiting Mozambique are based upon limited seizure data and the observations of Mozambique officials and UNODC officials. Mozambique increasingly serves as a transit country for hashish, cannabis resin, heroin, and mandrax originating in Southwest Asia, owing to its porous borders, long and sparsely patrolled coastline, lack of resources for interdiction efforts, and improving transportation links with neighboring countries. Drugs destined for the South African and European markets arrive in Mozambique by small ship, mostly in the coastal provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Sofala, and Inhambane, before being repackaged and sent by land to neighboring countries.


The Maputo corridor border crossing at Ressano Garcia/Lebombo is an important transit point to South Africa. Hashish and heroin are also shipped on to Europe; some hashish may reach Canada and the United States, but not in significant quantities. Arrests in Brazil, Mozambique, and South Africa indicate drug couriers trafficked cocaine from Colombia and Brazil to Mozambique, often through Lisbon, for onward shipment to South Africa. Nigerian and Tanzanian cocaine traffickers are reported to have targeted Mozambique as a gateway to the South African and European markets.


In 2007, 562 people were indicted for use or drug trafficking, against 669 in the previous year. This reduction is seen as a positive trend in the effort to implement control measures in the ports, airports and land boarders, though the authorities recognize that they still lack financial resources and equipment means to that effect.


This is of particular relevance in light of the upcoming 2010 Soccer World Cup which will be hosted by South Africa. The Soccer World Cup will undoubtedly have major implications for Mozambique in view of its proximity to South Africa as well as the fact that it is hosting some national teams prior to the event This enhances the importance of strengthening the capacity of Mozambique to address the security challenges, including the influx of drugs and other illicit commodities.


Domestic Program/Demand Reduction. The primary substances of abuse are alcohol, nicotine, and herbal cannabis. The Mozambican Office for the Prevention and Fight Against Drugs (GCPCD) reported in 2007 that the use of heroin, cocaine, and psychotropic “club drugs,” such as Ecstasy and mandrax, was increasing in Mozambique’s urban population. GCPCD maintains an office in each provincial capital and coordinates a drug prevention and education program for use in schools and with high risk families; the program includes plays and lectures in schools, churches, and other places where youths gather. The GCPCD has also provided the material to a number of local NGOs for use in their drug education programs. GCPCD received no treatment assistance from bilateral donors in 2008 and relies heavily on the prestige and influence of community leaders for implementation of their drug education programs. Despite an increase in the number of drug users, government funding and resources remain scarce (the GCPCD operated on a budget of approximately $45,000 in 2007), which limits abuse and treatment options. The number of drug abusers seeking treatment has decreased from 1,436 in 2006 to 624 in 2007. This is also seen as the result of the prevention campaigns (6.8% increase in the number of activists since 2006) and improved inter-ministerial coordination. Programs assisting drug abusers are church and family based initiatives that reintroduce abusers into family and community settings. The Ministry of Health does not have any treatment programs to assist drug abusers; those seeking assistance are referred to a psychiatric hospital.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. The United States continues to sponsor Mozambican law enforcement officials and prosecutors to attend regional training programs at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) for Africa in Botswana. Law enforcement officials have also received training at ILEA in New Mexico. The United States has supported the police sciences academy near Maputo, through training and technical assistance in the areas of drug identification and investigation, as well as other areas of criminal sciences including fingerprint identification, forensic photography, and the identification of fraudulent documents. The assistance included construction of a forensic laboratory and the supply of related forensic analysis equipment. Additionally, technical assistance programs at the police academy also focus on methods to foster better relations between the community and the police. USAID provides training support to the Attorney General’s Central Office for the Combat of Corruption (GCCC), formerly the anticorruption unit. In October 2007, a short-term regional legal advisor arrived to work with the unit and other judicial offices for a period of several months through the Department of Justice Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training program. Also in October 2007, an assessment team from the State Department’s Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance conducted an assessment to consider appropriate assistance levels for improving the capabilities of Mozambican security forces to combat terrorism. Part of this assessment included an evaluation of security capabilities at the land border station at Ressano Garcia, the Maputo seaport, and Maputo’s international airport. Additionally, in 2007-2008, the USG provided training to 300 guards and senior officers of the Mozambican Border Guards in techniques of securing borders and managing border crossing (document checking, inspections). Inspection materials, vehicles and alternate transportation options, equipment for distant posts, and computer equipment were supplied to border guards to assist them in implementing the techniques taught in the training courses.


The Road Ahead. U.S. assistance in support of the GCCC will continue in 2008. Additionally, efforts to improve Mozambique’s border security capabilities continue. To build on the success of the initial training, the USG will sponsor additional basic and advanced border security courses for Mozambican border guards. The U.S. military has also provided shallow draft vessels for limited coastal security work in conjunction with USCG training on ship/vessel boarding and search and seizure techniques. DOD will train the Mozambican Navy on search and seizure techniques using those vessels.


The Government expects to finalize a $17.4 million Strategic Plan on Illegal Drugs for 2009-2014 by the end of 2008. Without the regional cooperation needed to finance anti-drug efforts in Mozambique, implementation of the Strategic Plan is impossible. The GRM would benefit from the following: strengthened interdiction capabilities of border control officials stationed at airports, land-borders, seaports and coastal areas; provision of equipment and training to enhance expertise and capacity for drug law enforcement; and, training of officers from the GCPCD and anti-drug activists in the private sector, particularly NGOs, to support the rapid destruction of seized drugs and s creation of a reliable Criminal Data Base. The GRM should continue its focus on reducing corruption to ensure that progress with its narcotics control efforts continues.





I. Summary


Although Nepal is neither a significant producer of, nor a major transit route for narcotic drugs, some hashish, heroin and domestically produced cannabis are trafficked to and through Nepal every year. Nepal’s Narcotics Drug Control Law Enforcement Unit (NDCLEU) reports that more Nepalese citizens are investing in, and taking a larger role in running, trafficking operations. Customs and border controls remain weak, but international cooperation has resulted in increased narcotics-related indictments in Nepal and abroad. Nepalese officials claim the end of the Maoist insurgency in 2006 has slightly improved interdiction and monitoring efforts in previously inaccessible parts of the country, and the new Maoist-led government elected in 2008 has committed to improve overall law enforcement efforts. The Government of Nepal (GON) continues to push legislative efforts to increase control over the trafficking of precursor chemicals between India and China. Nepal is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Police confirm that production of cannabis is on the rise in the southern areas of Nepal, and that most is destined for the Indian market. Abuse of locally grown and wild cannabis and locally produced hashish, which are marketed in freelance operations, remains widespread. Heroin from Southwest and Southeast Asia is smuggled into Nepal across the porous border with India and through Kathmandu’s international airport. Legal, medicinal drugs continue to be abused. Nepal is not a producer of chemical precursors but serves as a transit route for precursor traffic between India and China.


Monitoring and interdiction efforts have improved since the official end in 2006 of the Maoist insurgency, which had obstructed rule-of-law and counter narcotic efforts in many parts of the country. The Maoist-led government elected in 2008 has committed to enhance overall law enforcement efforts.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. Nepal’s basic drug law is the Narcotic Drugs Control Act, 2033 (1976). Under this law, the cultivation, production, preparation, manufacture, export, import, purchase, possession, sale, and consumption of most commonly abused drugs is illegal. The Narcotics Control Act, amended last in 1993, conforms in part to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol by addressing narcotics production, manufacture, sales, import, and export. The government is planning to amend the Act to incorporate provisions for psychotropic substances, demand reduction, treatment and rehabilitation.


In 2006, the Home Ministry updated the ten-year-old Narcotics Control National Policy. Noting the growing incidence of HIV infection among narcotics-using sex workers, abuse of narcotics and psychotropic medicines among youth, and illicit trafficking by organized mafia, the new policy attempts to address these concerns in a more “transparent and enforceable” manner. It consists of five strategies to control drug production, abuse and trafficking: (1) supply control, (2) demand reduction (treatment and rehabilitation and drug abuse prevention), (3) risk reduction, (4) research and development, and (5) collaboration and resource mobilization.


To ensure institutional support, the 2006 policy called for the creation of a Narcotics Control Bureau in the Ministry of Home Affairs that would include the NDCLEU and a special Nepal Police Task Force trained in counter narcotics. As of November 2008, this Bureau has yet to be made functional. In addition, the National Policy restructured a high-level Narcotics Control National Guidance and Coordination Committee, chaired by the Home Minister, and a Narcotics Control Executive Committee, chaired by the Home Secretary. These entities oversee all narcotics control programs, law enforcement activities, and legal reforms.


Nepal enacted legislation on asset seizures in January 2008 and continues to implement a National Drug Abuse Control Plan (NDACP), but other proposed efforts still await legislative approval. Legislative action on mutual legal assistance and witness protection, developed as part of the NDACP, has stalled for another year. The government has not submitted scheduled amendments to its Customs Act to control precursor chemicals. All are under review by the Ministry of Law and Justice. Legislation on criminal conspiracy has not yet been drafted.


In response to reports from the NDCLEU of increased trafficking and criminal behavior among tourists, the government has restricted the travel of several countries’ nationals to Nepal. Citizens of Nigeria, Swaziland, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Afghanistan, and residents of the Palestinian territories are unable to obtain visas on arrival. The Home Ministry and the NDCLEU reported that Nigerians in particular have traveled on false passports to Nepal, via South Africa and India, to widen their organized crime network.


Law Enforcement Efforts. The NDCLEU has developed an intelligence wing, but its effectiveness remains constrained by an insufficient budget, limited human resources and inadequate technological equipment. The NDCLEU and Nepal’s customs and immigration services have improved coordination and cooperation. Narcotics officials admit that the destruction of areas of illicit drugs cultivation is not as effective as it could be; statistical data indicate a drop in 2007 and 2008 after an improvement in 2006 over 2005. As of August 2008, 105 hectares of cannabis cultivation were destroyed, compared to 211 hectares in 2007, 328 hectares in 2006, and 121 hectares in 2005. The NDCLEU reports that as of August 2008, 21 hectares of opium were destroyed. Data were unavailable for 2007; in 2006, 0.5 hectare (19 plants) of opium was destroyed.


Data available as of August 2008 indicate that by year-end, police may equal or exceed the number of arrests and drug seizures they made in 2007. From January-August 2008, police arrested 442 individuals (387 Nepalese citizens and 55 foreigners) on the basis of drug trafficking charges. In all of 2007, police arrested 617 individuals (550 Nepalese citizens and 67 foreigners). Local police made approximately 90 percent of the arrests in 2008, while the NDCLEU accounted for the remaining 10 percent. In the same time period, the NDCLEU and local units reportedly seized 7,478 kg of cannabis—approaching the amount seized in all of 2007 (8,093 kg) and more than twice as much as the amount of cannabis seized in all of 2006 (3,624 kg). The NDCLEU also seized 5 kg of heroin from January-August 2008, about a third of the amount seized in each of the two previous years. Most of the seizures were of “brown sugar”—low quality heroin smuggled from India. Police made relatively few seizures of more expensive white heroin from Afghanistan. The NDCLEU further reported the seizure of 1,739 kg in Nepal from January-August 2008. Most seizures of heroin and hashish in 2008 occurred along the Nepal-Indian border, within Kathmandu, or at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) as passengers departed Nepal. The NDCLEU reported the seizure of 12 kg of opium through August 2008. The NDCLEU did not report the seizure of any opium in 2006 or 2007.


Corruption. Nepal has no laws specifically targeting narcotics-related corruption by government officials, although provisions in both the Narcotics Control Drug Act of 1976 and Nepal’s anticorruption legislation can be employed to prosecute any narcotics-related corruption. As a matter of government policy, Nepal neither encourages nor facilitates illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, or other controlled substances, nor the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.


Agreements and Treaties. Nepal is 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. Nepal has signed, but has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption. There are no US extradition or mutual legal assistance treaties between the U.S. and Nepal.


Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is an indigenous plant in Nepal, and cultivation of certain selected varieties is rising, particularly in the lowland region of the TeraI. There is some small-scale cultivation of opium poppy, but detection is difficult since it is intercropped among licit crops. Nepali drug enforcement officials reported that all heroin seized in Nepal originated elsewhere. Nepal does not produce precursor chemicals. Importers of dual-use precursor chemicals must obtain a license and submit bimonthly reports on usage to the Home Ministry.


According to the Home Ministry, there have been no seizures of precursor chemicals since 1997. There have been no reports of the illicit use of licensed, imported, dual-use precursor chemicals. Nepal is used as a transit route to move precursor chemicals between India and China. After the ratification of the SAARC Convention on Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which holds countries liable for policing precursor chemicals, the Home Ministry asserted control over precursor chemicals. The NDCLEU worked with the Home Ministry to develop a voluntary code of conduct for importers, cargo shippers, couriers, manufacturers, and the pharmaceutical industry. Official implementation of the code is pending as of November 2008. Additionally, a proposed amendment to the Narcotics Drugs Control Act regarding the control and regulation of precursor chemicals remains under review.


Drug Flow/Transit. According to NDCLEU, evidence from narcotics seizures suggests that narcotics transit Nepal from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to other countries in the region and to China, Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Media reports have claimed that most narcotics are bound for India, and law enforcement sources indicated that most seizures do occur at the India/Nepal border. Government officials report that 2008 maintained improvements from 2007 in stemming drug flow and transit through Nepal and better border security. Nevertheless, the NDCLEU says customs and border controls are weak along Nepal’s land borders with India and China, while the Indian border is essentially open. Security measures to interdict narcotics and contraband at TIA and at Nepal’s regional airports with direct flights to India are also inadequate. The GON, along with other governments, is working to increase the level of security at the international airport. The NDCLEU took the increase in arrests of Nepalese couriers in other countries as an indication that Nepalese were becoming more involved in the drug trade both as couriers and as traffickers. This also suggests that Nepal may be increasingly used as a transit point for destinations in South and East Asia, as well as in Europe-particularly Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The NDCLEU has also identified the United States as a final destination for some drugs transiting Nepal, typically routed through Thailand, China and Indonesia.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The GON has continued to implement its national drug demand reduction strategy in association with the Sri Lanka-based Colombo Plan, assistance from the United States, UNODC, donor agencies, and NGOs. However, budgetary constraints have limited significant progress.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Policy Initiatives. U.S. policy is to strengthen Nepal’s law enforcement capacity to combat narcotics trafficking and related crimes, to maintain positive bilateral cooperation, and to encourage Nepal to enact and implement appropriate laws and regulations to meet all objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


Bilateral Cooperation. The United States works with GON agencies to provide expertise and training in enforcement. Nepal exchanges drug trafficking information with regional neighbors and occasionally with destination countries in Europe in connection with international narcotics investigations and proceedings.


The Road Ahead. The United States will continue information exchanges, training, and enforcement cooperation. The United States will provide support to various parts of the legal establishment to combat corruption and improve rule of law, as well as support improvements in the Nepali customs service. The United States also will encourage the GON to enact stalled drug legislation.





I. Summary

With its extensive transportation infrastructure and the busiest maritime port in Europe, the Netherlands continues to be a major distribution point for illicit drugs to and from Europe. A significant percentage of the cocaine consumed in Europe enters through the Netherlands, and the country remains an important producer of Ecstasy (MDMA) despite the government's long-term strategy against the production, trade and consumption of synthetic drugs. According to the 2007 National Crime Squad (NR) report, the Expertise Center for Synthetic Drugs and Precursors (ESDP) received no reports of Ecstasy tablet seizures in the U.S. linked to the Netherlands in 2007, though this may be due to incomplete data. In July 2008, the Justice and Interior Ministers established the National Taskforce on Organized Hemp Cultivation to combat the criminal organizations behind cannabis plantations. Operational cooperation between U.S. and Dutch law enforcement agencies is excellent, despite some differences in approach and tactics. The Netherlands actively participates in DEA's El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC). The 100 percent controls at Schiphol airport on inbound flights from the Caribbean and some South American countries have resulted in a dramatic decline in the number of drug couriers from those countries. Dutch popular attitudes toward soft drugs remain tolerant. The Government of the Netherlands and the public view domestic drug use as a public health issue first and a law enforcement issue second. The Netherlands is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


The central geographic position of the Netherlands, with its modern transportation and communications infrastructure, one of the world's busiest container ports in Rotterdam and one of Europe's busiest airports, makes the country an attractive operational area for international drug traffickers and money launderers. Production of Ecstasy and marijuana is significant, although a sizeable amount of Ecstasy production has shifted outside the country. There also is production of amphetamines and other synthetic drugs. The Netherlands also has a large (legal) chemical sector, making it an opportune location for criminals to obtain or produce precursor chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives: Major Dutch Government policy initiatives in 2008 included:


During a Parliamentary drug debate in March 2008, Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin and Health Minister Klink promised to draft a new drug policy paper, which would include the government's view on Dutch drug policy over the next few years. The new drug report, which should be ready in 2009, will include the results of an assessment of Dutch soft drug policy over the past 30 years, and a comparison between Dutch and foreign drug policies. The Ministers also informed Parliament that they requested the State Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM) to study the risks of various kinds of drugs. The study, expected to be similar to a British study published in The Lancet of March 2007, should resolve whether or not the current classification system requires a revision. The study is expected to be completed in the spring of 2009.




National Taskforce on Organized Hemp Cultivation. The taskforce, which is chaired by the public prosecutor's office, includes representatives of national and local governments, law enforcement services, energy companies, housing corporations, insurance companies, and tax services. The special focus will be on fighting criminal organizations behind the cannabis plantations. The taskforce is to draw up a program that will achieve a measurable and visible reduction of large-scale hemp cultivation by the end of 2011. The establishment of the taskforce was announced in the government's policy plan to step up the fight against organized crime, which was submitted to Parliament in December 2007.


In October 2008, the Mayors of Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal announced that they would close down all eight marijuana coffeeshops in their cities as of February 2009. The two cities, situated close to the Belgian border, attract a total of 1.3 million mostly Belgian and French drug tourists per year. The Mayors stated they want to end the policy of "tolerating" soft drug sales in coffeeshops as this causes an unacceptable level of public nuisance to local residents. Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin supported the closures noting that the decision fits in with the policy of cracking down on nuisances caused by drug tourists. Immediately following the announcement, Maastricht Mayor Leers called for a national summit on soft drug policy. He fears that if local governments continue to formulate their own policies, the drug problem will simply shift to other cities and worsen. According to Leers, drug tourism is not a local problem and cannot be solved locally. Leers noted that "the political impasse" between government coalition parties of Christian-Democrats (CDA) and Labor (PvdA) makes it impossible to implement necessary changes in the policy of tolerating soft drug sales and fighting problems associated with drug tourism. Although the Justice Minister's CDA party in fact opposes coffeeshops, the coalition parties agreed in the government accord of February 2007 that drug policy would not change over the next four years. According to Leers and other mayors, the inconsistent policy of allowing soft drug sales in coffeeshops, while banning cannabis cultivation (the so-called front-door/back-door controversy) makes law enforcement difficult.


In April 2008, the Maastricht administrative court ruled that the city government was not allowed to ban foreigners from buying cannabis in coffeeshops. In 2006, Maastricht began a trial project to offer local residents special access passes to coffeeshops. The objective of the Maastricht trial was to cut down on drug tourism from neighboring countries. The city attracts some 1.5 million drug tourists annually. A coffeeshop owner started a legal procedure against the Maastricht city council as a test case to assess whether the trial project was in line with EU law. The court ruled that making a distinction on the basis of place of residence indirectly means making a distinction based on nationality, which is prohibited under the Constitution. The city has appealed the verdict. In March, the administrative court also rejected Maastricht's plans to move eight of the 15 coffeeshops out of the city center to the outskirts, close to the Belgian border.


In June 2008, Interior Minister Ter Horst made available 900,000 Euros to intensify efforts against drug runners in the Maastricht area. The region has serious problems with primarily Dutch-Moroccan drug runners, who try to intercept tourists on the highway to take them to illegal drug premises. The money will be used to purchase mobile cameras for automatic license plate recognition.


According to the Justice Ministry, 77 percent of local governments currently apply the so-called "distance criteria," meaning that coffeeshops located within 250 meters of a secondary school or college of higher professional education must be closed. By 2011, all local governments should have enforced the "distance criteria."


In April 2008, Health Minister Klink sent Parliament an administrative measure banning sales and cultivation of fresh "magic mushrooms." The unpredictable impact of human consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms and related risky behavior, and the fact that most EU countries also have such a ban in place were cited as the reasons for the ban. (Sales of dried hallucinogenic mushrooms were banned some time ago.) The administrative measure went into effect December 1, 2008. The number of incidents involving "magic mushrooms" has risen significantly over the past few years, particularly in Amsterdam, where the number of incidents rose from 55 in 2005 to 128 in 2006, and 149 in 2007.


A bill to ban so-called "grow" shops that sell, deliver, transport and manufacture equipment for cannabis cultivation will be submitted in the first half of 2009.


According to the annual THC Content study by the Trimbos Institute for Mental Health and Addiction, the THC content in Dutch-grown cannabis ("Nederwiet") stabilized at 16.4 percent in 2008 and 16 percent in 2007. The THC content in imported cannabis rose from 13.3 percent in 2007 to 16.2 percent in 2008. The average price for one gram of "Nederwiet" rose from 7.30 Euros in 2007 to 7.70 Euros in 2008, which was roughly the same as the price of imported cannabis.


In September 2008, the Supreme Court granted a multiple sclerosis (MS) patient permission to grow his own cannabis for medicinal use. Home cultivation of cannabis is banned under the Dutch Opium Act, but doctors have been allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis for chronically ill patients since 2003. The Health Ministry's Bureau for Medicinal Cannabis (BMC) buys the cannabis from two official growers. In the case of the MS patient, the prescribed type of cannabis did not improve his condition.


Bilateral law enforcement cooperation treaties with Germany and Belgium/Luxembourg became effective in 2006. Measures have been taken to reduce drug trafficking in border regions. Cross-border surveillance has been intensified and license plate numbers of drug tourists are being exchanged.


Cocaine Trafficking


The 100 percent controls on inbound flights from the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname continued in 2008, despite the dramatic decline in the number of cocaine couriers arrested at Schiphol airport. In August 2008, Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin promised Suriname support in combating drug trafficking. However, he emphasized that the 100 percent controls on inbound flights from Suriname would remain in place as long as Surinamese smugglers continue to be arrested (currently, an average of 50 per month). Netherlands-bound drug couriers increasingly appear to divert to the Dominican Republic, Peru and Mexico as a transit point for Colombian cocaine. According to a national police report, West African, particularly Nigerian, criminal networks are active in the Dutch cocaine market.


In December 2006, the KMar military police was instructed by the Justice Ministry to stop sharing the Schiphol "black list" of couriers intercepted at the airport with DEA for privacy reasons. The Ministry indicated that, since Dutch policy requires the names to be removed from the list after three years, entering the names into DEA’s database without a sunset provision would be contrary to Dutch law. To date, this issue has not been resolved and the suspension continues. The DEA office in the Netherlands continues to supply the KMar at Schiphol with international trend information on routes being utilized by drug couriers.


In June 2008, the National Crime Squad arrested three men suspected of having been involved in preparing the transport of 2,600 kilos of cocaine from Brazil to the Netherlands. The cocaine was found in spring 2008 in a warehouse near Sao Paulo.


In August 2008, under the Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) arrangement with the Royal Dutch Navy, a U.S Coast Guard LEDET deployed aboard a Royal Dutch Navy vessel boarded a Panamanian freighter and seized 4,200 kilos of cocaine. The freighter was sailing from Venezuela to Europe.


In May 2008, the Utrecht court imposed prison sentences of up to 10 years on three main suspects and 10 co-defendants for organizing drug transport from Suriname. In March 2007, a Portuguese navy frigate spotted the crew of a yacht dump several hundred kilos of cocaine into the Atlantic Ocean. The yacht was tracked as it sailed on to Rotterdam, where the police found traces of drugs. Nine people were arrested, including three crew members.




The 2007 Crime Pattern Analysis on Synthetic Drugs and Precursors published by the National Crime Squad (NR) in April 2008 concluded that "the Netherlands continues to play an essential role in the synthetic drug market, despite the emergence of new producing countries such as Canada and Australia." (For more details on seizures, see section on cultivation/production.) A Dutch police liaison officer has been stationed in Canberra since early 2008 to help the Australian police fight Ecstasy trafficking.


In May 2008, an international investigation by the NR and the Australian federal police force into a large drug trafficking organization led to the arrest of several suspects in the Netherlands, Germany, Thailand and Australia. In the Netherlands, 12 people were arrested, including the main suspect. The syndicate is suspected of having smuggled ephedrine, the basic ingredient for methamphetamine production, from Pakistan to Australia and from Congo to Belgium.




According to the 2007 Crime Pattern Analysis on Heroin published by the NR in April 2008, the Netherlands appears to have developed into a distribution country for heroin markets in the UK, France, Spain and Portugal.


In June 2008, the National Crime Squad (NR) intercepted a truck in the city of Tilburg concealing 460.5 kilos of heroin in large batteries. The drugs, which had been shipped from Turkey, had an estimated street value of 11.5 million Euros. The investigation was carried out in close cooperation with German and Romanian police.


Law Enforcement Efforts. The Health Ministry coordinates drug policy, while the Ministry of Justice is responsible for law enforcement. Matters relating to local government and the police are the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior. At the municipal level, policy is coordinated in tripartite consultations among the mayor, the chief public prosecutor and the police.


The Dutch Opium Act prohibits the possession, commercial distribution, production, import, and export of all illicit drugs. Drug use, however, is not an offense. The act distinguishes between "hard" drugs that have "unacceptable" risks (e.g., heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy), and "soft" drugs (cannabis products). Trafficking in "hard drugs" is prosecuted vigorously and dealers are subject to a prison sentence of up to 12 years. When trafficking takes place on an organized scale, the sentence is increased by one-third (up to 16 years). Sales of small amounts of cannabis products (under five grams) are "tolerated" (i.e., not prosecuted, even though technically illegal) in "coffeeshops" operating under regulated conditions (no minors on premises, no alcohol sales, no hard drug sales, no advertising, and not creating a "public nuisance"). Commercial production and distribution of cannabis is illegal and is vigorously prosecuted.


In May 2007, the Netherlands became a full member of DEA's International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) and they are expected to participate in all IDEC conferences. Most recently they participated in the 2008 IDEC conference in Istanbul, Turkey.


In 2008, DEA and the KLPD conducted joint clandestine laboratory training. DEA personnel traveled to The Hague for specialized training on MDMA clandestine laboratories and KLPD officers were provided specialized training on methamphetamine labs. This training took place at Europol headquarters in The Hague. In addition, Dutch authorities provided equipment to the DEA Academy to set up an operational MDMA lab for use in training DEA agents and other U.S. law enforcement officers at the DEA Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia.


All foreign law enforcement assistance requests continue to be sent to the IPOL (International Network Service), a division of the KLPD. The IPOL has assigned two liaison officers to assist DEA and other U.S. law enforcement agencies. Since the reorganization of the NR, the IPOL has allowed DEA and other liaison officers to contact the Regional Police and NR offices directly for requests and intelligence sharing. This policy has permitted better coordination during ongoing enforcement actions, such as controlled deliveries and undercover operations. Under Dutch law enforcement policy, prosecutors control most aspects of an investigation. Dutch police officers must get prosecutor concurrence to share information directly with foreign liaison officers even on a police-to- police basis. This can hamper the quick sharing of information, which could be used proactively in an ongoing investigation. However, the quick sharing of police-to-police information is improving as a result of the increased access for DEA agents with NR units. Additionally, DEA has been working with Dutch counterparts at the KLPD and the National Prosecutor's Office to shorten the amount of time it takes to obtain approval for some investigative actions via MLAT (Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty) requests. A number of MLAT requests have been made to the Dutch government; however, due to the amount of time taken by the authorities to approve these requests, certain operations have been adversely affected. Recently, Dutch officials indicated that their Justice Ministry may be able to "streamline" certain aspects of the approval process.


Drug Seizures 2006 2007
Heroin (kg) 984 519
Cocaine (kg) 10,581 10,478
Ecstasy (tablets) 4,118,252 8,430,043
(powder and paste)(kg)
664 1,319
Synthetic drug labs 23 15
Amphetamine (kg) 632 2,805
Amphetamine (tablets) 38,077 1,391
Methamphetamine (kg) 0 9.8
LSD (doses) 22,599 20,033
LSD (tablets) 2,482 217
Methadone (tablets) 11,559 4,753
Cannabis resin (kg) 4,622 9,948
Marijuana/"Nederwiet" (kg) 6,641 5,473
Hemp plants 1,570,006 851,510
Dismantled hemp plantations 5,201 5,242

(Source: KLPD National Police Force)


Corruption. The Dutch Government 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 official of the Dutch Government engages in, encourages or facilitates the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Press reports of low-level law enforcement corruption appear from time to time but the problem is not believed to be widespread or systemic. In June 2008, five employees of a state prison were suspended by the Justice Ministry on suspicion of drug trafficking to Germany.


Agreements and Treaties. The Netherlands is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol. The Netherlands is a member of the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs and the major donors group of the UNODC. The Netherlands is a leading member of the Dublin Group of countries coordinating drug-related assistance. The Netherlands is party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. The U.S. and the Netherlands have fully operational extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements (MLAT). All 27 EU member states, including the Netherlands, have signed bilateral instruments with the U.S. implementing the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements. The U.S. has ratified all and all EU countries except Belgium, Greece, Ireland and Italy have also ratified these agreements. None have entered into force.


Cultivation and Production. In July 2008, the Justice and Interior Ministers established the National Taskforce on Organized Hemp Cultivation. The taskforce is to focus on fighting criminal organizations behind cannabis plantations. According to taskforce member police commissioner Max Daniel, Dutch cannabis growers earn more than two billion Euros annually on illegal exports. He estimated annual exports of Dutch-grown cannabis ("Nederwiet") at more than 500,000 kilos. In comparison, exports of plants and cut flowers yield a total of 5.5 billion Euros. According to Daniel, more than 80 percent of illegally cultivated "Nederwiet" is exported. According to a report by the National Police Force, 5,247 cannabis plantations were dismantled in 2007, about the same as in 2006.


According to the 2007 National Crime Squad (NR) report, the Expertise Center for Synthetic Drugs and Precursors (ESDP) received no reports of Ecstasy tablet seizures in the U.S. linked to the Netherlands in 2007, though this may be due to incomplete data. The number of Ecstasy tablets seized in the Netherlands totaled almost 8.5 million in 2007 compared to 4.1 million in 2006. The increase was attributed partly to two major seizures of 1.1 million tablets and 2.5 million tablets in Haarlem and Veldhoven, respectively. According to the 2007 NR report, 2007 MDMA seizures around the world that could be associated with the Netherlands totaled more than 18.3 million tablets and 35 kg of MDMA powder, as compared to 5.7 million tablets and 72 kilos of MDMA powder in 2006. MDMA (powder and paste) seizures in the Netherlands rose from 664 kilos in 2006 to 1,319 kilos in 2007, the equivalent to over 13 million Ecstasy tablets. The NR also reported seizing 20,033 LSD paper trips, 493,800 MCPP tablets, and 9.8 kilos of methamphetamine in 2007. The number of dismantled production sites in the Netherlands for synthetic drugs dropped to 15 in 2007 from 23 in 2006. Of the 15 production sites dismantled, 5 were for amphetamine and 2 were for Ecstasy production, and 6 were meant for tableting.


According to the NR report, only 1,391 amphetamine tablets were seized in 2007 compared to 38,000 tablets in 2006. In 2007, there were no seizures of amphetamine tablets abroad that could be linked to the Netherlands, whereas in 2006 there was a record haul of 92,277 tablets. One of the more notable seizures of 2007 was the record discovery in the Netherlands of 2,805 kilos of amphetamine powder. According to the NR report, the figures demonstrate how greatly the picture changes from year to year. The NR seized almost no BMK and PMK chemical precursors in 2007. However, signals from criminal circles indicate that PMK and BMK are readily available for synthetic drug production. The NR concluded that investigation agencies are still unaware of the smuggling methods and routes.


Drug Flow/Transit. The Netherlands remains an important point of entry for drugs to Europe, especially cocaine. The Dutch government has stepped up border controls to combat the flow of drugs, including the successful Schiphol Action Plan. The Netherlands is a member of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Center-Narcotics (MAOC-N) in Lisbon, which should bolster EU capacity to protect its southwestern flank. Cocaine seizures in the Netherlands in 2007 amounted to 10,478 kilos compared to 10,581 kilos in 2007. Of the 2007 seizures, more than 4,000 kilos were seized in the port of Rotterdam. Some 4,443 kilos were seized at Schiphol, of which 3,112 kilos from passengers and 1,332 kilos in air cargo. Because of stronger controls at Schiphol, traffickers have diverted to other European airports or alternative routes. The government has expanded the number of container scanners in the Port of Rotterdam and at Schiphol airport. Controls of highways and international trains connecting the Netherlands to neighboring countries have also been intensified.


Demand Reduction. The Netherlands has a wide variety of demand and harm-reduction programs, reaching about 80% of the country's 24,000-46,000 opiate addicts. The number of opiate addicts is low compared to other EU countries (about 3 per 1,000 inhabitants); the number has stabilized over the past few years; the average age has risen to 40; and the number of overdose deaths related to opiates has stabilized at between 30 and 50 per year. Needle supply and exchange programs have kept the incidence of HIV infection among intravenous drug users relatively low. Of the addicts known to the addiction care organizations, 75 percent regularly use methadone.


According to the 2007 National Drug Monitor, out-patient treatment centers registered some 6,544 cannabis users seeking treatment for addiction in 2006, compared to 6,100 in 2005. The number of opiate addicts seeking treatment dropped significantly from almost 18,000 in 2005 to 13,000 in 2006, and the number of cocaine users seeking help dropped slightly from 9,800 in 2005 to 9,600. About 54 percent of addicts seeking help for cocaine problems are crack cocaine users. According to a study by the Trimbos Institute published in June 2008, drug use among high school students again dropped in 2007. About 17 percent of students queried admitted having used cannabis and eight percent admitted having used cannabis during the previous month. Past-month use of hard drugs was less than one percent in 2007.



Below are the latest available statistics on drug use among the general population ages 15-64, 2001 and 2005 of percent reporting life-time (ever) use and last-month/current use.


   Life-time use Last-month use
    2001 2005  2001 2005
Cannabis 19.5 22.6 3.4 3.3
Cocaine 2.1 3.4 0.1 0.3
Heroin 0.2 0.6 0.0 0.0
Amphetamine 2.0 2.1 0.0 0.2
Ecstasy  3.2 4.3 0.3 0.4


(Source: National Drug Monitor 2007, Trimbos Institute)


Prevention. Drug prevention programs are organized through a network of local, regional and national institutions. Programs target schools in order to discourage drug use among students, and use national mass media campaigns to reach the broader public. The Netherlands requires school instruction on the dangers of alcohol and drugs as part of the health education curriculum. The "healthy living" project developed by the Trimbos Institute continues to run in about 55 percent of Dutch elementary and secondary schools. At the request of the Health Ministry, the Trimbos Institute each year carries out drug information campaigns. The 24-hour national Drug Info Line of the Trimbos Institute has become very popular. In September 2008, the public prosecutor's office published a newsletter warning young people about the effects of drug use.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. and Dutch law enforcement agencies maintained excellent operational cooperation, with principal attention given to countering the Netherlands' role as a key source country for MDMA/Ecstasy entering the U.S. The U.S. Embassy in The Hague has made the fight against the Ecstasy threat one of its highest priorities. Dutch law enforcement has dramatically improved its acceptance of controlled delivery operations with the DEA, but continues to resist use of criminal undercover informants in investigations of drug traffickers. In addition, the Dutch do not use their asset forfeiture laws in conjunction with drug related investigations as often as the U.S. does. Law enforcement officials and political leaders are now expressing concern about indications that organized crime is involved in the local drug trade. Bilateral law enforcement cooperation continues to expand under the U.S.-Dutch bilateral "Next Steps" commitments to jointly fight drug trafficking. DEA The Hague has also noted improved and expedited handling of drug-related extradition requests. The Netherlands provides warships under the tactical control of Joint Interagency Task Force South to support efforts to stop the flow of narcotics in the Caribbean. A Dutch Liaison Officer, seconded to the JIATF South staff, also assists in coordinating Dutch support to JIATF South counternarcotics operations. The U.S. is also working with the Netherlands to assist Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles in countering narcotics trafficking. The 10-year Forward Operating Location (FOL) agreement between the U.S. and the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the establishment of a FOL (for U.S. enforcement personnel) on Aruba and Curacao became effective in October 2001. Since 1999, the Dutch Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) has been working with the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on joint addiction research projects.


The Road Ahead. U.S.-Dutch bilateral law enforcement cooperation is expected to intensify in 2009, particularly through DEA's access to the NR units. During the bilateral "Next Steps" law enforcement consultations in The Hague in October 2007, the U.S. and the Netherlands agreed to continue operational cooperation in international drug trafficking investigations.





I. Summary


Nicaragua is a maritime and land transshipment route for South American cocaine and heroin smuggled to the United States. Despite an ineffectual, corrupt, and politicized judicial system, the Government of Nicaragua (GON) continues to make a determined effort to combat domestic drug abuse and the international narcotics trade plaguing its country. Despite a lack of resources and technical capabilities, collaboration between law enforcement and military components resulted in an increase in drug seizures and trafficker disruptions from 2007. During 2008 the GON seized approximately 19.5 metric tons (MT) of cocaine, and also recorded the first seizure of pseudoephedrine in Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) continue to transport drugs and currency through Nicaragua via land, air and maritime conveyances. For DTOs, Nicaragua's strategic geographic location features the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans hugging its eastern and western coasts and the north-south Pan American highway, running the length of the country.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. In 2008, the GON began implementation of the Penal Code passed in 2007 by the National Assembly to address some of the legal weaknesses in Nicaragua’s efforts against money laundering and terrorism financing. The new Code contains language establishing money laundering as a crime independent of drug trafficking, imposing stiffer penalties, and establishing terrorism financing as a crime. In 2008 the legislation to create an independent Financial Investigative Unit (FIU) was stalled for a fourth year due to Nicaraguan National Assembly concerns about accountability and possible political interference in the operations of the proposed new unit. The Nicaraguan National Assembly plans to continue discussions on the FIU legislation in 2009.


A delegation of Nicaraguan legislators, NNP legal experts, and representatives from the office of the Nicaraguan Superintendent of Banks were sponsored by the USG to attend a regional anti-money laundering conference in Panama. The conference also offered the participants a chance to meet with FIU directors from around the region to discuss the current anti-money laundering regime in Nicaragua and consult on the possibility of creating a Nicaraguan FIU.


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) worked jointly with the NNP to expand the size and operations of a GON Vetted Unit within the Nicaraguan National Police (NNP). The unit, comprised of NNP agents of diverse law enforcement background, training and experience, is charged with conducting investigations of international drug trafficking and money laundering organizations operating in Nicaragua. This unit has worked closely with newly formed anti-corruption units in the Attorney General’s office as well as with other vetted units in the region in coordinating cross-border counternarcotics operations.


Law Enforcement Efforts. During 2008, Nicaraguan law enforcement officials seized approximately 19.5 MT of cocaine and 52.84 kilograms of heroin, and arrested 136 drug traffickers. The National Police also seized over $4.7 million in U.S. currency and denied 109 traffickers assets worth over $9 million. For the first time ever, Nicaraguan authorities also seized pseudoephedrine (18,000 dosage units) as it was being smuggled out of the country.


In 2008, Nicaraguan law enforcement and military entities made a concerted effort to facilitate greater exchange of information and closer coordination of operational ventures. Despite these efforts, however, inter-agency rivalries between civilian and military narcotics interdiction personnel hampered cooperation.


Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GON 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. However, corruption and political interference is a pervasive and continuing problem in law enforcement and the judiciary. The continued politicization of the Nicaraguan judiciary, especially in the Nicaraguan Supreme Court, is a worrisome impediment to serious law enforcement undertaking in Nicaragua. As a result of these conditions, the United States no longer provides foreign assistance to the Nicaraguan Supreme Court.


Agreements and Treaties. Nicaragua is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. A U.S.-Nicaragua extradition treaty has been in effect since 1907. Nicaragua does not extradite its nationals, but occasionally will domestically prosecute its nationals for crimes committed outside Nicaragua. Nicaragua’s commitment to domestic prosecutions, however, has been inconsistent. Nicaragua is a member of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which has sent a team to investigate the country’s failure to comply with the requirements outlined in its most recent country report. The United States and Nicaragua signed a bilateral counternarcotics maritime agreement that entered into force in November 2001. Nicaragua is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols and is a member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS). Nicaragua is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. In 2001, Nicaragua signed the consensus agreement on establishing a mechanism to evaluate compliance with the Convention. Nicaragua also ratified the Inter-American Mutual Legal Assistance Convention in 2002, an agreement that facilitates sharing of legal information between countries. Nicaragua signed the Caribbean regional maritime counternarcotics agreement in 2003, but has not yet taken any action to bring it into force.


Cultivation/Production. Marijuana cultivation continues to take place mostly in the mountainous areas of Nicaragua (Metacarpi, Esteli, Jinotega, Boaco, and Nueva Segovia). Local cultivation is directed towards domestic consumption. During 2008, the National Police seized 81.77 kilograms of marijuana, a comparatively insignificant amount for the size of the country and documented growing regions. Exact cultivation and eradication figures are unknown because cultivation is not large enough in scale to merit the devotion of scarce law enforcement resources to the issue.


Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine continues to be the drug trafficked in the largest quantities through Nicaragua. Cocaine is trafficked from the southern part of the country in large quantities via land, air, and maritime routes. Once the shipments reach and/or enter national territory, they are often stored in warehouses (bodegas) and farms in the coastal and interior areas of Nicaragua before being moved out of the country towards final destinations. The preferred method to smuggle cocaine out of the country is in hidden compartments in tractor-trailer trucks and private vehicles.


On the maritime front, the aggressiveness of Nicaraguan authorities has forced drug trafficking organizations to alter their smuggling routes. While in 2007, the vast majority of the maritime interdictions and seizures conducted by the Nicaraguan Navy and National Police occurred on the Pacific coast, in 2008 drug trafficking organizations strengthened and redirected their efforts towards Nicaragua’s Atlantic region, which is plagued by high unemployment, lack of infrastructure, and inadequate law and maritime enforcement resources. This makes it an ideal haven for Mexican and Colombian narcotics trafficking organizations seeking vulnerable territory to exploit. With this pendulum shift in illicit activity, the Nicaraguan Navy proactively patrolled their territorial waters and aggressively deployed their limited assets to respond to tactical information provided by US law enforcement agencies. This assertive maritime posture and coordination with US law enforcement agencies resulted in the seizure of over 9 MT of cocaine; approximately half of 2008 cocaine seizures. Of the nine documented maritime events, eight occurred on the Atlantic coast. In response to the continued high flow of narcotics through the Atlantic Coast region, the USG supported the construction of a new pier and barracks for the maritime interdiction forces on Corn Island. The GON also plans to refurbish police buildings and expand NNP presence on both Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island.


While drugs continue to transit northbound out of Nicaragua, currency continuously moves southbound through the country. The majority of the seizure of $4.7 million in U.S. currency occurred at border crossing checkpoints. All the currency seized was in U.S. dollars with one exception, a seizure of $24,000 EUROS (equivalent to $48,000). GON and USG intelligence also indicates that the Managua International Airport continues to be utilized as a transshipment point for heroin and cocaine being smuggled to the continental United States and Europe as well as currency being smuggled into the country.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Program, established in Nicaragua in 2001, continued to be implemented on the Atlantic coast in 2008. The USG also worked with the NNP’s Department of Juvenile Affairs to evaluate and expand a pilot effort for the Second Step (Segundo Paso) demand reduction/at-risk youth program which is designed for younger children. Drug consumption in Nicaragua remains a growing problem, particularly on the Atlantic coast, where the increase in narcotics trans-shipment during recent years has generated a rise in local drug abuse. The Ministries of Education and Health, the NNP, and the Nicaraguan Fund for Children and the Family (FONIF) have all undertaken limited demand reduction campaigns to schools.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. continues to support Nicaragua’s efforts in interdiction, as well as encouraging it to undertake more fundamental challenges to corruption and money laundering. During 2008, the United States provided counternarcotics assistance to the NNP and continued funding to expand the NNP Vetted Unit, a unit that investigates international drug trafficking, corruption (with ties to drug trafficking and money laundering crimes only) and money laundering. The USG continued support to the Nicaraguan Navy by finishing the refurbishment of three large naval boats and providing engines, spare parts, and maintenance for several smaller patrol boats for maritime interdiction on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The USG also provided training in maritime law enforcement, small boat operations, maintenance and logistics, engineering and leadership to the Nicaraguan Navy in 2008.


The Road Ahead. The USG hopes to continue its fruitful working relationship with the Nicaraguan military and law enforcement institutions and would encourage the GON to address issues that hamper its counternarcotics efforts. The continued politicization of the Nicaraguan judiciary at the highest levels is a worrisome impediment to serious law enforcement undertaking in Nicaragua. The GON should professionalize and de-politicize the judiciary and the Prosecutor General’s office. The GON should also pass and implement stronger statutes to combat corruption, strengthen anti-money laundering controls, create an independent and effective FIU, and create an effective methamphetamine precursor control regime.


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.




I. Summary


Nigeria is a major trafficking hub in West Africa. Afghan heroin and South American cocaine transit Nigeria on their way to markets in Europe, and the U.S. Heroin transiting Nigeria has a significant impact on the United States. More recently, there is clear evidence from seizures at Abuja and Lagos’ main international airports that Nigerian criminal organizations are sending numerous low level drug curriers or “mules” to Europe, especially to Spain. Typically these mules ingest about a kilo of cocaine and try to smuggle it to their destination. Many have been apprehended as a result of the use of modern scanning equipment donated to Nigeria by the U.S. State Department anti-drug assistance program.


Nigerian Organized criminal networks are a major factor in moving cocaine and heroin worldwide. Many of these organizations are not based in Nigeria, but there is good evidence that large quantities of both cocaine and heroin transit Nigeria on their way to markets in the West. In addition to drug trafficking, some of these organizations are also engaged in advance-fee fraud, and other forms of fraud against U.S. citizens and businesses. These include document fabrication, illegal immigration, and financial fraud. Their ties to criminals in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and South Africa are well documented. Nigerian poly-crime organizations exact significant financial and societal costs, especially among West African states with limited resources for countering these organizations.


Poor economic conditions for the vast majority of Nigerians, including widespread under/unemployment, contribute significantly to the continuation and expansion of drug trafficking. Widespread corruption in Nigeria makes the traffickers’ task easier. These factors, combined with Nigeria’s central location along the major trafficking routes and access to global narcotics markets have provided both an incentive and mechanism for criminal groups to flourish, and for Nigeria to emerge as a major drug trafficking hub.


In Nigeria, the only drug that is being cultivated in significant amounts domestically is Cannabis Sativa (marijuana). Nigerian-grown marijuana is Nigeria’s most common drug of abuse and is exported to neighboring West African countries and to Europe, but not in significant quantities to the United States. Nigeria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is responsible for enforcement of laws against illicit drug. It also plays the lead role in demand reduction, drug control policy formulation and implementation in the country. Cooperation among Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies is weak. For instance, although all law enforcement elements are represented at Nigeria’s international ports of entry, joint operations between them are virtually non-existent. A missing ingredient partially explaining the dearth of apprehensions of major traffickers or the absence of consistent interdiction of major shipments of contraband is interagency cooperation. No single law enforcement agency in Nigeria has adequate resources to combat the increasingly sophisticated international criminal networks that operate in and through the country itself; inter-agency cooperation is necessary for success.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. Nigeria’s counter narcotics policy is based on the National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP), which has been in place since 1998. This plan assigns responsibilities to various government ministries and agencies as well as NGOs and other interest groups. In addition, the Master Plan outlines basic resource requirements and timeframes for the completion of objectives. Unfortunately many of these goals remain unfulfilled. In the past, the Nigerian Government has been open to criticism for not adequately budgeting for necessary drug law enforcement by NDLEA. This year, in part because of the involvement of the NDLEA itself in advocating for a more generous budget, NDLEA is supposed to receive upwards of the NAIRA (Nigeria’s currency) equivalent of $55 million for the budget year, of which more than 410 million will be for capital expenditures.


Law Enforcement Efforts. The NDLEA’s most successful interdictions have taken place at Nigeria’s four international airports, with the majority of hard drug seizures (e.g., cocaine and heroin) at Lagos Murtala Mohammed International Airport. In addition, increasing numbers of drug couriers are being apprehended at Abuja International Airport. The agency continues to successfully apprehend individual drug couriers transiting these airports, but there are all-but no arrests of major drug traffickers. An essential factor in the increased arrests of couriers has been the installation of Digital Body scanners donated by the US State Department’s anti-drug assistance project. These “body scanners” have been in operation at Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja International Airports since approximately March of 2008. Many observers believe that if Nigeria introduced a vigorous anti-drug enforcement regime at its five major seaports, they, too, would yield significant results in drug seizures.


As noted above, Nigeria’s own number one drug of abuse is marijuana. In June 2008, the NDLEA seized 80 metric tons of cannabis in Ibadan. In the past year, NDLEA continued to emphasize a high-profile campaign to destroy the annual Cannabis Sativa crop before it can reach domestic drug abusers. In addition to a significant number of acres of cannabis publicly destroyed on site where it is grown, a total of one hundred and sixty seven metric tons (167) of hard drugs of which cannabis constituted the largest proportion (over 95%) has been burnt during the on-going campaign. Between October 2007 and September 2008, the various NDLEA commands apprehended approximately 4,240 narcotics suspects and seized 293.8 MT of cannabis, 279 kg of cocaine, 10.3 kg of heroin, and 259 Kg of synthetic drugs.


Although Nigeria’s main drug problem locally remains cannabis, cocaine has now emerged as one of Nigeria’s most challenging drug abuse problems. At least some share of the cocaine being seized in Nigeria seems to have been refined in West Africa, not trafficked as cocaine from Latin America. Drug traffickers take advantage of lax enforcement in Nigeria and some of the other countries of West Africa to “warehouse” bulk quantities of drugs, until they can be trafficked to developed country markets by myriad, low level drug mules, employed by traffickers. Moreover, trafficking drugs is made easier because it is so difficult to effectively police Nigeria’s extensive borders due to their porosity and the cultural links between border communities living in different countries along both sides of land borders.


In the past year, the NDLEA prosecuted 1,239 drug suspects, which resulted in 1,231 convictions and 8 acquittals. In addition, a significant number of vehicles used to commit crimes have been seized by NDLEA.


Unfortunately, attempts by the NDLEA to apprehend and prosecute major traffickers and their associates often fail. Sometimes the failures are traceable to the lack of capacity of NDLEA itself to successfully assemble a case against the higher echelons of sophisticated organized criminal gangs. Other times the problem is with Nigeria’s courts, which are subject to intimidation and corruption.


NDLEA is attempting to improve its capacity to investigate and prosecute complex crime through training. NDLEA has requested that the National Assembly amend Nigeria’s basic narcotics law to provide a more strict and effective punishment for major traffickers by requiring a minimum sentence of 5-years in jail with no option for a simple fine. NDLEA wants a new provision for the seizure of a foreign offender’s passport, during any pre-trial period. NDLEA is also trying to keep track of the foreign travel of certain individuals suspected of involvement in narcotics trafficking. About 826 people were monitored between January and June 2008 for various reasons during traveling to drug source countries. Nigerian enforcement also can petition the court to withdraw a suspected foreign drug trafficker’s residence permit for Nigeria, and expel him or her from Nigerian territory.


Asset seizures from narcotics traffickers and money launderers, while permitted under Nigerian law, have never been systematically utilized as an enforcement tool, although some convicted traffickers have had their assets forfeited over the years. In 2008, approximately $85,470 in domestic currency equivalent has been seized and investigations are ongoing on 14 other cases. NDLEA also points to seizure of foreign currencies totaling $1,937,478 some of which represents stolen money, counterfeit US dollars, money orders and Travelers’ Cheques.


Corruption. Corruption plays a major role in drug trafficking around the world, and this is almost certainly true in Nigeria, as well. The large illicit proceeds from drug trafficking empower traffickers to use widely prevalent small and large scale corruption to protect their operations. There are laws against corruption in Nigeria and the Nigerian authorities can point to several indictments, including one lodged against a former Chief of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency itself, as evidence of their attempts to enforce the law. The Government of Nigeria does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit drug production, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs. Still, the frequent reports in domestic and foreign media that high-level corruption in Nigeria, especially among government officials at the state and national levels, goes on unpunished contributes to Nigeria’s reputation as a center of many forms of crime, including narcotics crime.


Agreements and Treaties. Nigeria 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. Nigeria is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its three protocols. The 1931 U.S.-UK Extradition Treaty, which was made applicable to Nigeria in 1935, is the legal basis for U.S. extradition requests. The United States and Nigeria also have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), which entered into force on January 14, 2003.


The Government of Nigeria continues to work on a mechanism to process U.S. extradition requests expeditiously, but currently has failed. The only U.S. drug extradition request pending has been pending since June 2004. Currently, a dedicated prosecutorial team handles all U.S. extradition cases before a specifically designated High Court judge. Nigerian law still affords the defendant many options to delay/confuse proceedings, especially interlocutory objection proceedings, which allow defendants to raise objections that are litigated to conclusion first before the main case can proceed.


Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is the only illicit drug produced in any significant quantity in Nigeria; it is cultivated in all Nigeria’s 36 states. Major cultivation takes place in central and northern Nigeria and in Delta and Ondo states in the south. Marijuana, or “Indian Hemp” as it is known locally, is sold in Nigeria and exported throughout West Africa and into Europe. To date, there is no evidence of significant marijuana exports from Nigeria to the United States. The NDLEA has continued to pursue an aggressive and successful eradication campaign.


Drug Flow/Transit. Nigeria is a major staging point for Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin smuggled to Europe and the United States and for South American cocaine trafficked to Europe. While Nigeria remains Africa’s drug transit hub, there are indications that the preferred methods of trans-shipment have changed. The NDLEA unit at Lagos’ Murtala Mohammed International Airport conducts select searches of passengers and carry-on baggage, but they do not conduct 100 percent searches, preferring to focus on travelers who fit a profile as a possible drug courier. The efforts of NDLEA have been bolstered by the donation of Digital Body Scanners by the USG. The scanners have ensured that drug couriers face a significant likelihood of detection at the international airports. The scanners enabled Nigerian law enforcement to perform a quick, non-invasive search of suspected drug traffickers and to locate illegal drugs. The U.S. also purchased three additional scanners and four new drug/explosives-detecting “Itemizers” for use at Nigeria’s international airports in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. The procured equipment allows Nigerian law enforcement personnel to improve identification and detection capabilities, especially as it regards drug couriers transiting Nigeria’s airports. Nigeria’s sea ports and land borders remain extremely porous and efforts should be made to increase interdiction efforts at these locations.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Local production and use of cannabis has been a problem in Nigeria for some time; however, according to the NDLEA and NGOs, the abuse of harder drugs (e.g., cocaine, heroin) seems to be on the rise. Heroin and cocaine are readily available in many of Nigeria’s larger cities. The Directorate Demand Reduction carried out public awareness campaigns in various commands of the Agency nationwide. Workshops and seminars have been conducted to address the effects of drug abuse and trafficking in Nigerian society. The NDLEA counseled and rehabilitated 1,586 drug abuse clients during 2008. NDLEA has also made 35 referrals to private counseling centers which have approximately106 existing clients undergoing counseling and treatment. The NDLEA has conducted a public survey to collect and analyze drug abuse data. The basic conclusion of the analysis indicates that younger unmarried males, not surprisingly, topped the list of drug abusers. In addition, the survey found that cannabis remains the most frequently abused drug in the country. The Nigerian Government is financing a planned $42,735 Drug Abuse Public Awareness program in 2009. This program will cover the whole country. This commitment is a sign of the Nigerian Government’s efforts to increase the level of dangerous drug awareness among Nigerians in order to reduce involvement of Nigerians in drug abuse and narcotics trafficking.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Policy Initiatives. U.S.-Nigerian counter-narcotics cooperation focuses on interdiction efforts at major international entry points and on enhancing the professionalism of the NDLEA and other law enforcement agencies. The State Department Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Assistance Program country office in Nigeria along with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) works closely with the NDLEA and other narcotics-related agencies to help train, Nigerian law enforcement so that they can better coordinate, plan and implement internal and regional interdiction operations. The U.S. Coast Guard provided residential training to 10 students focused in the following areas: professional military education, search and rescue, gunners mate, machinery technician and electricians mate. At all levels, USG representatives enjoy excellent access to their counterparts and there is an evident desire on both sides to strengthen these relationships.


The Road Ahead. Nigeria’s own federal funding for Nigerian law enforcement agencies remains insufficient and erratic in its disbursement. This inadequate budget execution and lack of consistency affects the planning of actions on the part of these agencies, and creates an impression that there is little commitment on the part of government authorities to effective law enforcement. Unless the Nigerian Government remedies this situation, very little progress will be made quickly, and none sustained over the long term. It will require strong and sustained political will and continued international assistance for any Nigerian government to confront these difficult issues and bring about meaningful change.


U.S. government counternarcotics assistance to Nigeria since February 2001 now totals over $3 million. Despite some successes the Nigerian National police remain grossly mistrusted by the Nigerian population and organized crime groups continue to exploit that mistrust by preying on citizens throughout the country.


NDLEA officers are also frequently poorly trained. Consequently, NDLEA has mandated that all its officers undergo re-training at the basic level and mid-level before qualifying for promotion under the new promotion scheme.


The U.S. government will continue to engage Nigeria on the issues of counternarcotics, money laundering and other international crimes. The underlying institutional and societal factors that contribute to narcotics-trafficking, money-laundering and other criminal activities in Nigeria are deep-seated and require a comprehensive and collaborative effort at all levels of law enforcement and government. Progress can only be made through Nigeria’s own sustained effort and political will, and the continued support of the international community.



North Korea


I. Summary


Drug trafficking with a connection to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) appears to be down sharply. There have been no instances of drug trafficking suggestive of state-directed trafficking for six years, but there still is insufficient evidence to say for certain that state-sponsored trafficking has stopped at this time. Small-scale trafficking along the DPRK-China border continues. In March 2007 the DPRK acceded to the three drug conventions.


II. Status of Country


There were no confirmed instances of large-scale drug trafficking involving the DPRK or its nationals during 2008. Anecdotal evidence suggests that small-scale trafficking and drug abuse in the DPRK itself and along its border with China continue. The China-DPRK border region is the only area in the world where there are continuing reports of drug trafficking involving DPRK nationals. Most reports indicate small-scale trafficking by individual North Koreans who cross the border into China. In some cases there are reports of slightly larger-scale trafficking by locally prominent individuals.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Law Enforcement Efforts. Most of the reports about drug trafficking along the China-DPRK border emerge only after the individuals involved are apprehended. There is no evidence of a central role for DPRK state institutions in organizing the trafficking, as had emerged regularly in the past. This past trafficking activity frequently occurred in Japan during the mid- to late nineties and continued until a 2003 incident in Australia involving the “Pong Su,” a DPRK cargo vessel involved with the delivery and seizure of a large quantity of heroin. In fact, it appears that both China and the DPRK have tried to discourage such trafficking through law enforcement efforts and information campaigns on both sides of the border. For example, the DPRK increased the penalty for possession of narcotics in excess of 300 grams (10.6 oz.) to execution in March of 2008, and a DPRK Health Ministry official has been quoted extolling the effectiveness of the DPRK’s drug control regime in press reports. An atmosphere of lawlessness, however, remains along this border as individuals who wish to leave the DPRK can apparently do so through payments to guides or so-called “snakeheads.” At the same time, other DPRK goods, such as copper wire and scrap iron, continue to be smuggled into China for profit.


Reports of non-narcotics-related acts of criminality suggests that DPRK tolerance of criminal behavior may exist on a larger, organized scale, even if no large-scale narcotics trafficking incidents involving the state itself have come to light. Press, industry and law enforcement reporting of DPRK links to large-scale counterfeit cigarette trafficking in the North Korean Export Processing Zone at Rajiin (or Najin) continue. It is unclear the extent to which DPRK authorities are complicit in this illegal activity, although it is all but certain that they are aware of it, given the relatively high-profile media reports. In addition, counterfeit $100 U.S. notes called “Supernotes” (because they are so difficult to detect) continue to turn up in various countries, including in the United States. There are reports, for example, of recent Supernote seizures in San Francisco, and a very large Supernote seizure in Pusan, South Korea. Supernotes are uniquely associated with the DPRK, but it is not clear if recent seizures are notes which have been circulating for some time, or if they are recently issued new notes.


Agreements and Treaties. In March 2007, the DPRK became 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.


Cultivation/Production. It has been alleged that illicitly grown poppies are cultivated in the DPRK, with the opium converted into heroin and then trafficked by state organs for profit. However, it has never been possible to confirm such illicit cultivation, and there has not been a heroin trafficking incident with a DPRK connection for many years. At least some poppy is grown licitly under supervision in the DPRK for medicinal use. There are several factories in the DPRK that could produce methamphetamine drugs, and there have been cases of large-scale smuggling of pure methamphetamine drugs from the DPRK to Japan and Taiwan as recently as 2002.


Nevertheless, since almost six years have passed since the last seizure of drugs anywhere in the world with a clear link to a DPRK state entity, it appears possible that the DPRK has abandoned its involvement in drug trafficking. The Department has no evidence to support a clear finding that state trafficking has either stopped or is continuing. The absence of any seizures linked to DPRK state institutions, especially after a period in which such seizures involving very large quantities of drugs occurred regularly, does suggest considerably less state trafficking, and perhaps a complete end to it.


On the other hand, the continuing large-scale traffic in counterfeit cigarettes from DPRK territory suggests that enforcement against notorious organized criminality is lax. It is also possible that a lucrative counterfeit cigarette trade has replaced a riskier drug trafficking business as a generator of revenue for the DPRK state.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


It is likely, but not certain, that the North Korean government has sponsored criminal activities in the past, including narcotics production and trafficking. There has been no evidence for almost six years that North Korea continues to traffic in narcotics; however, giving rise to a reasonable presumption that state-sponsored drug trafficking from the DPRK might well have been halted.





I. Summary

Norway’s illicit drug production remained insignificant in 2008. Norway tightly controlled domestic sales, exports and imports of precursor chemicals, limiting the potential for synthetic drug production ever to emerge in Norway. In the first half of 2008, the number of drug seizures increased by around 5 percent. Cannabis accounted for 45 percent of the total number of seizures, followed by amphetamines and methamphetamine (some 21 percent) and benzodiazepines (15 percent). Other drugs made up about 20 percent of the seizures. Norway had seen a drop in number of seizures and volume of heroin seized in the last few years, but so far in 2008, there has been an increase. According to drug enforcement authorities, cocaine has a wider distribution than ever in Norway. The total volume of cocaine seizures doubled in 2007 and has remained stable in 2008. The police continued to step up efforts to track and intercept drugs in transit through Norway. Norway is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Norwegian illicit drug production remained insignificant in 2008 mainly due to Norway’s tight regulations governing domestic sales, exports and imports of precursor chemicals and the country’s unfavorable climatic conditions for vegetal-drug production. 2008 saw a police crackdown on small-scale illicit production of cannabis. However, Norway remained a significant market and transit country for drugs produced in Central/Eastern Europe, North Africa and elsewhere.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services continued its narcotics and alcohol abuse treatment and prevention reform program in 2008, publishing several policy documents and brochures dealing with narcotics and alcohol abuse and their treatment (e.g., Drugs and Alcohol in Norway). The Ministry reiterated in reports that the national government, represented by the regional health enterprises, has the ultimate responsibility for treatment and prevention of narcotics and alcohol abuse. The Ministry acknowledged that the principal aim of state centralization of drug treatment policy is to provide improved and uniform health and counseling services for drug and alcohol abusers countrywide.


In May 2007, the Ministry opened a national electronic database on drugs and alcohol prevention and treatment to serve as a guideline for local governments. In 2008, the Ministry continued to encourage the use of drug injection rooms for drug addicts. It is up to each municipality to decide if it wants to have such facilities. So far Oslo is the only city in Norway to have them. The rationale for the injection rooms is to remove the pressure on drug addicts to feed their addictions by crime and to provide addicts with sterilized injection needles in a controlled environment. The rooms have been criticized in the local press for encouraging drug abuse. At a World Forum Against Drugs conference in September 2008, Norway received criticism for not adhering to the UN’s Convention on Narcotics. The International Narcotics Control Board’s Annual Report concludes that Norway fails to fully respect important international treaties on the fight against drugs. Furthermore, the Norwegian government has received criticism for using methadone in the treatment of heroin addicts.


A multi-party narcotics action committee continued its review of government narcotics policy. According to the committee’s mandate, it will evaluate preventative strategies and propose drug rehabilitation and treatment alternatives. The committee is also mandated to study the premises behind current narcotics policy and propose any appropriate long-range policy changes.


In 2008, the Norwegian Police Directorate (PD), a part of the Ministry of Justice and Police, continued to enforce the PD’s 2003-2008 counternarcotics action plan, with narcotics police following up by carrying out an increasing number of countrywide and border drug raids. The 2003-2008 action plan carried forward plans and initiatives to meet the objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. A new counternarcotics action plan is currently being drafted, and scheduled to be announced in 2009. The PD has at its disposal modern equipment (e.g., one helicopter; drug scanner machinery at borders). The PD thus focuses on reducing domestic drug abuse, identifying and curbing illicit drug distribution, and curbing drug abuse among drivers of motor vehicles.

Several counternarcotics police operations have been launched during the last years. The 2006 operation “Broken Lorry” helped destroy a drug cartel, and the police credit this bust with a subsequent decrease in heroin trafficking and heroin seizures, which were only 8 kilos in 2007. The first half of 2008 saw an increase in heroin seizures, but the seizures are still lower than in many previous years, possibly indicating a long-term downward trend in heroin abuse in Norway. In 2007 “Operation White Snow” infiltrated the cocaine market in the capital, Oslo, increasing seizures by 25 percent in 2007 and keeping them at this higher level in 2008. In addition, Norway has introduced a mapping system aimed at detecting new abuse patterns. The so called “Early Warning System” has been introduced in the big towns of Bergen, Oslo, and Drammen and it is primarily aimed at youth and young adults. Indicators are compiled, and officials seek contact with affected youths and subcultures, with the objective of identifying and responding to any emerging drug abuse issues.

Norway’s Customs and Excise Directorate (CED) continued its counternarcotics efforts. The CED has now been equipped with mobile x-ray scanners that can detect drugs, illegal firearms and alcohol in vehicles passing major border crossings. The CED continued implementing its own counternarcotics plan aimed at curbing drug imports, and seizing illicit drug money and chemicals used in narcotics production. The CED coordinates its efforts with the police and the Coast Guard.


Law Enforcement Efforts. According to statistics compiled by the Norwegian police crime unit (KRIPOS), the total number of drug seizures in the first half of 2008 increased by 5.5 percent to an estimated 12,470 cases from 11,816 in the first half of 2007. The police and customs agents said they continue to focus attention on drug “wholesalers” rather than individual abusers. Of the seizures made in 2008, cannabis accounted for 45 percent, amphetamines and methamphetamine 21 percent, benzodiazepines 15 percent, and other drugs accounted for 20 percent of total seizures. The number of khat seizures is moderately up, while the number of Ecstasy seizures has gone down steadily the past years. The numbers and volume of Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), a drug associated with date rape, remains low, but is considered a problem in some rural districts.


In 2007 (the most recent year for which figures were available), the number of persons charged with narcotics offenses was 29,000—somewhat lower than in 2006. In order to discourage the use of narcotic substances, Norwegian law enforcement authorities, in cooperation with CED, have continued to make coordinated raids at border crossings against smuggling rings and to impose heavy fines for narcotics offenses. In a move to improve law enforcement, the Ministry of Justice and Police has given permission to use technical means to monitor the conversations of suspected narcotics offenders.


In 2008, there was a significant seizure of the benzodiazepine drug, phenazepam, in North Trondelag county. 28,500 phenazepam tablets and 1.7 kilo phenazepam with a purity rate of 87-90 percent (equivalent to 1.5 million tablets) were seized in this one seizure. This seizure alone accounted for more than all the phenazepam seizures in the previous record year 2002.


Corruption. Neither the government, as a matter of policy, nor senior government officials engage in, encourage, or facilitate illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.


Agreements and Treaties. Norway 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. Norway is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms, and the UN Convention against Corruption. Norway has an extradition treaty and customs agreement with the U.S.


Cultivation/Production. The number of cannabis plants seizures increased significantly in 2008. Norwegian police cracked down on organized cultivation and production of cannabis in and around Oslo. The police seized approximately 300 kg of potted and cultivated plants on private premises. This is 13 times the 2007 number. While there is concern that narcotics dealers may establish mobile synthetic drug laboratories, few significant seizures of such labs occurred in 2008.


Drug Flow/Transit. According to KRIPOS, the 2008 inflow of illicit drugs remained significant in volume terms with amphetamines, cannabis, heroin, and benzodiazepines. Most illicit drugs enter Norway by road or ferry from other European countries, the Baltic states (e.g., amphetamines), Russia (e.g., methamphetamine), Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Morocco via Spain, Central Asia, Afghanistan, the Balkans and other countries in Eastern Europe. In the past, some drugs have been seized in commercial vessels arriving from Europe and Central/South America. The influence of outlaw motorcycle gangs, such as Hells Angels and Bandidos, remains significant in Norway. Such groups are regularly involved in the distribution of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine, which they acquire from Albanian, Serbian and Montenegrin traffickers.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Government ministries and local authorities continue to initiate and strengthen counternarcotics abuse programs. According to the Ministry of Health and Care Services, a reduced number of drug-related deaths during 2007 suggest that these programs have been successful. While the maximum penalty for a narcotics crime in Norway is 21 years imprisonment, penalties for carrying small amounts of narcotics are not severe.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. DEA officials in Denmark regularly consult with their Norwegian counterparts and continue to cooperate on drug related issues. Since 2000, Norway has been a member country of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), monitoring the state of the drug problem and emerging trends, as well as solutions applied to drug-related problems. One Norwegian Coast Guard officer attended the USCG’s International Maritime Officers’ Course.


The Road Ahead. Norway and the U.S. will continue to cooperate on narcotics-related issues both bilaterally and in international forums, notably the EU.





I. Summary


Pakistan remains a major transit country for opiates and hashish moving to markets around the world and precursor chemicals moving into neighboring Afghanistan, the world’s largest producer of opium poppy. Pakistan is also a major narcotics producing country with cultivation of poppy still over 1000 hectares. In 2008, Pakistani forces have engaged the militants along the border with Afghanistan, particularly in the Bajaur Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Militant groups have challenged the forces throughout FATA and are encroaching into the settled areas of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), such as the Swat valley and the settled district of Peshawar, the provincial capital. Fighting in these areas adversely effected Pakistan’s efforts against poppy cultivated in Pakistan, and reduced seizures of opiates moving through Pakistan sharply. The joint Narcotics Affairs Section and GOP Narcotics Control Cell poppy survey of 2008 indicated that 1,909 hectares (ha) of poppy were cultivated in 2008 (about one percent of the cultivation in Afghanistan). Poppy cultivation levels in 2007 were 2,315 ha and in 2006 1,908 ha. In 2007, 614 ha were eradicated, bringing harvested poppy down to 1,701 ha. In 2008, poppy eradication was not conducted because both the Frontier Corps and Tribal Levies in FATA were engaged in operations against militants.


National counternarcotics efforts are led by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) under the Ministry of Narcotics Control. In general, counternarcotics cooperation between the GOP and the United States has solid foundations and a record of accomplishment, but there remains a systemic lack of willingness/capacity to exploit investigative leads. In addition, Pakistan’s five-year Master Drug Control Plan, promised since 2006, has languished, and once again failed to emerge in 2008. There were some significant drug and precursor seizures on the Makran coast during 2008. U.S. assistance programs in counternarcotics and border security continue to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement agencies and improve their access to remote areas where much of the drug trafficking takes place. Heroin seizures in 2007 at 11 MT of heroin were down sharply from 2006 (-70%) and at 15 MT, opium seizures increased sharply and were up by almost 92 percent. During 2008, Pakistani law enforcement agencies seized a combined total of 5.3 MT of heroin (including morphine base), 8.7 MT of morphine, 125 MT of hashish, and 18 MT of opium were seized. There is an extradition treaty between the United States and Pakistan, however, Pakistan’s performance with respect to U.S. requests, currently 12, has been unsatisfactory


II. Status of Country


The GOP is committed to regaining the poppy-free status it reached in 2001. Since then, tensions between the GOP and Pakistan’s tribal populations on the Afghan border have increased. Small cultivators in remote areas tried to exploit this tension by resuming poppy cultivation. In the tribal belt, where militant activity is a continuous threat, 1,847 ha were cultivated this year, down from 2,315 ha in 2007. Under these circumstances, and given the lack of eradication and enforcement capacity resulting from deployments of thousands of Frontier Corps forces to North and South Waziristan, the net harvest of only 1,907 ha (one percent of Afghanistan’s 2007 crop) for the entire country, demonstrates that the long-standing GOP campaign against increased poppy cultivation is being sustained even when the threat of eradication does not materialize. On the other hand, with cultivation of poppy still near all-time highs in neighboring Afghanistan, modest cultivation in Pakistan might simply represent reflect the over-supply of opium in the region.


Opium production in neighboring Afghanistan continues at record levels in excess of world demand but is down from 2007’s all-time high. Given the huge supply within Afghanistan, Pakistan remains a significant transit country for heroin, morphine base, opium, and hashish, and is a conduit to Iran, the Arabian Peninsula, East Asia, and Africa by land and sea. The U.S.-funded Border Security Program, which began in 2002, is building GOP interdiction capabilities along the 1600-kilometer Afghan border, as demonstrated by drug seizures in 2008 by border security forces such as the Frontier Corps Baluchistan. However, successfully interdicting drug shipments is difficult given the difficult terrain, the sheer number of smuggling routes, the lack of resources, scant law enforcement training in reconnaissance and combined ground/air operation experience, and the fact that smugglers keep adapting their tactics.


Pakistan's position as a major drug transit country has fueled domestic addiction, especially in areas of poor economic opportunity and physical isolation. The GOP estimates that Pakistan has up to four million drug abusers in the total population of 170 million (2.4 percent). Accurate figures for drug abuse do not exist, but better estimates are now available thanks to UNODC's 2006 National Assessment on Problem Drug Use in Pakistan. The study estimated that there were 628,000 (up from 500,000 in 2000) chronic opiate abusers and identified a new trend of injecting narcotics, which raised concerns about HIV/AIDS. The UNODC survey reveals that the number of chronic heroin abusers has increased and that the numbers of injecting drug users has doubled in the last 6 years from 60,000 to 125,000, with implications for hepatitis and HIV infection rates.


Pakistan has established a chemical control program that strives to closely monitor the importation of controlled chemicals used to manufacture narcotics. Significant quantities of diverted precursor chemicals nevertheless transit Pakistan, but there is no indication that Pakistan is a source country for these precursor chemicals. The impressive seizure of 14 MT of acetic anhydride at the port of Karachi in March 2008 was not followed up by the investigative agency, which failed to develop promising leads. Some progress has been made in determining the routes and methods used by traffickers to smuggle chemicals through Pakistan into Afghanistan. Most Afghan labs are in Helmand province near the Baluchistan border or in Nangahar near the Khyber Agency in the NWFP. DEA continues to provide Pakistani law enforcement with information regarding chemical seizures that may have links with Pakistani smuggling groups and/or chemical companies, to facilitate further investigation within Pakistan.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives: As of the end of 2008, the Drug Control Master Plan is still waiting for approval by the Cabinet. Publication of the national plan was anticipated in early 2007, and delay in its release is a concern. The plan should identify interdiction strategies, agency responsibilities, and inter-agency coordination as well as training and equipping requirements for attacking drug supply and demand. The Ministry of Narcotics Control, in coordination with UNODC, continues to work on the plan. The GOP also seeks to regain "poppy-free" status, which it had secured from the United Nations in 2001, by enforcing a strict "no tolerance" policy for cultivation. Federal and provincial authorities continue anti-poppy campaigns in both Baluchistan and NWFP, informing local and tribal leaders to observe the poppy ban or face forced eradication, fines, and arrests. Security concerns in the Khyber Agency, where the majority of Pakistani poppy continues to be harvested, prevented full realization of the GOP's goal to be "poppy-free" in 2007-2008. Of course, as long as Afghanistan is producing some 90 percent of world opium and Pakistan just one percent of Afghan production, even success in totally eliminating the small amount of poppy cultivation presently occurring in Pakistan would not appreciably impact the world, or even the regional picture.


ANF is the lead counternarcotics agency in Pakistan. Other law enforcement agencies have counternarcotics mandates, including the Frontier Corps Baluchistan (FCB) and Frontier Corps NWFP (FCN), the Pakistan Coast Guards, the Maritime Security Agency, the Frontier Constabulary (FCONS), the Rangers, Customs and Excise, the police, and the Airport Security Force (ASF). The GOP approved significant personnel expansions for the ANF, the FCB and FCN, and the FCONS in 2006 and 2007. The ANF now has over 2000 personnel. The Pakistan Coast Guard has started using anti-drug cells (or units) to better coordinate and execute counternarcotics operations.


Law Enforcement Efforts: In 2007, GOP law enforcement and security forces reported seizing 10.9 MT of heroin/morphine and 15.3 MT of opium. Also, 93.8 MT of hashish was seized in this time period. During 2008, Pakistani law enforcement agencies seized a combined total of 5.3 MT of heroin (including morphine base), 8.7 MT of morphine, 125 MT of hashish, and 18 MT of opium were seized.


According to the ANF, in 2007, all GOP law enforcement authorities reported arresting 50,100 individuals (48,724 cases) on drug-related charges for 2007. The ANF itself had 1,702 cases pending, 1,187 from 2006 and 515 new cases through September 2007. Of that total there were 301 convictions through October 1, 2007. (Figures for 2008 are not yet available). The great majority of narcotics cases that go to trial continue to be uncomplicated drug possession cases involving low-level couriers and straightforward evidence. The problematic cases tend to involve more influential, wealthier defendants. To date the ANF continues to prosecute appeals in seven long-running cases in the Pakistani legal system against major drug traffickers, including Munawar Hussain Manj, Sakhi Dost Jan Notazai, Rehmat Shah Afridi, Tasnim Jalal Goraya, Haji Muhammad Iqbal Baig, Ashraf Rana, and Muhammad Ayub Khan AfridI.


Since many strong cases were reversed on appeal, in an effort to address those reversals, the ANF has hired its own special prosecutors. The ANF also added additional attorneys as part of its expansion. The DEA continues to advance the concept of conspiracy investigations with the ANF to target major traffickers. Through September 30, 2007, drug traffickers' assets totaling Rs 110.8 million rupees (about $1.8 million) remained frozen.


In 2005, former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz approved 1,166 new positions for the ANF with the first group of 600 graduating in mid-2007. The GOP also approved an increase of 10,264 personnel for the Frontier Corps Baluchistan to increase their capacity along the border with Afghanistan and Iran. In 2000, the DEA vetted and funded the ANF Special Investigative Cell (SIC) to target major drug trafficking organizations operating in Pakistan. Each vetted investigator undergoes a thorough screening and a five-week training course at the DEA training facility in Quantico.


Corruption: The United States has no evidence that the GOP or any of its senior officials 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, with government salaries low and societal and government corruption endemic, it is not surprising that some narcotics-related corruption among government employees occurs. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB), a Pakistani agency tasked with investigation and prosecution of corruption cases (not only narcotics-related), reports that it received 13,722 complaints of corruption in 2006, of which it investigated 701 cases and completed 241 cases. The investigations resulted in 165 arrest warrants and 46 convictions. NAB recovered Rs.930 million rupees (almost $15.5 million) from officials, politicians, and businessmen in 2006 through plea bargains and voluntary return arrangements.


Agreements and Treaties: Pakistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The United States provides counternarcotics and law enforcement assistance to Pakistan under a Letter of Agreement (LOA). This LOA provides the terms and funding for cooperation in border security, opium poppy eradication, narcotics law enforcement, and drug demand reduction efforts. There is no mutual legal assistance treaty between the U.S. and Pakistan, nor does Pakistan have a mutual legal assistance law; it has not responded to formal U.S. requests for assistance. The U.S. and Pakistan have an extradition agreement that is carried out under the terms of the 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty, which continued in force after Pakistan gained independence in 1947. Both the Extradition Treaty and Pakistan’s Extradition Act are outmoded. Lack of action by Pakistani authorities and courts on pending extradition requests for four drug-related cases continues to be of concern to the United States; one has been pending since 1995; the last extradition was in 2006. Obstacles to extradition include judicial disinterest caused in part by the continuing lawyers strike, inexperience of GOP public prosecutors, an interminable appeals process that tolerates defense-delaying tactics, and corruption.


Pakistan is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime.


Cultivation/Production: Through interagency ground monitoring and aerial surveys, the GOP and USG confirmed that Pakistan's poppy harvest decreased by roughly 400 ha in 2008. In 2008, Pakistan cultivated 1,907 ha, compared to cultivation of approximately 2,315 ha in 2007. The actual number of hectares harvested increased 206 ha to 1,907 due to the inability to mount any eradication effort. Based on the GOP's methodology for determining poppy crop yield, which estimates that approximately 25 kg of opium are produced per hectare of land cultivated, Pakistan's potential opium production was approximately 47.6 MT in 2008.


Cultivation in the "non-traditional" areas in NWFP remained almost completely contained this year, with Kala Dhaka as the only trouble spot. The USG does not fund any application of aerially applied herbicides in Pakistan. The NWFP Government struggled this year to contain poppy in the FATA agencies where both the Pakistani Army and the FCN are combating an aggressive militancy, including elements of al-Qaida. FC force concentrations in North and South Waziristan mean that there are no troops available to combat poppy cultivation in Khyber, Bajaur, and Mohmand, where 1,729 ha of poppy were cultivated. Ground monitoring teams continue to observe, particularly in Khyber, a trend of increased cultivation within walled compounds to prevent eradication.


Drug Flow/Transit: Although no exact figure exists for the quantity of narcotics flowing across the Pakistan-Afghan border, the ANF estimates that 36 percent of illicit opiates exported from Afghanistan transit Pakistan en route to Iran, Western Europe, the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, and East Asia. The UNODC's Afghanistan Opium Survey 2008 notes that 157,000 ha of poppy were cultivated in 2007. The total combined cultivation of 350,000 ha in 2007 and 2008 in Afghanistan almost certainly means more opiates transiting Pakistan and probably escalating domestic drug abuse in Pakistan. The GOP is alert to the possibility that law enforcement efforts in Afghanistan could push drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and labs into Pakistan Many of the DTOs already have cells throughout Pakistan, predominantly in remote areas of Baluchistan where there is little or no law enforcement presence. DTOs in Pakistan are still fragmented and decentralized, but individuals working in the drug trade often become "specialists" in processing, transportation, or money laundering and sometimes act as independent contractors for several different criminal organizations. To some degree, Pakistan and Afghanistan form an opium/heroin production system where Pakistan provides significant financing; while Afghanistan provides cultivation/refining sanctuaries.


Much of the poppy produced in Afghanistan is smuggled through Pakistan to more lucrative markets in Iran, the Arabian peninsula, and onward to Europe, including Russia and Eastern Europe. The balance goes to North America and to Southeast Asia where it appears to supplement opiate shortfalls in the Southeast Asia region. Couriers intercepted in Pakistan are en route to Africa, Nepal, India, Europe, Thailand, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Middle East (especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE)).


Pakistani law enforcement notes that precursor chemicals such as acetic anhydride are most likely smuggled through UAE, Central Asia, China, South Korea, and India to Pakistan, then on to Afghanistan in mislabeled containers that form part of the Afghan transit trade. Ecstasy, buprenorphine (an opiate adapted for use in the treatment of opiate addiction), and other psychotropics are smuggled from India, UAE, and Europe for the local Pakistani market. Small amounts of cocaine smuggled into the country by West African DTOs have also been seized.


Afghan opiates trafficked to Europe and North America enter Pakistan's Baluchistan and NWFP Provinces and exit either through Iran or Pakistan's Makran coast or through Pakistan’s international airports. Customs and ANF report that drugs are being smuggled in the cargo holds of dhows to Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates via the Arabian Sea. Some 40 MT of hashish were seized in the spring of 2008 by law enforcement on the Makran coast, in cooperation with Joint Task Force 150 in the Persian Gulf. Traffickers also transit land routes from Baluchistan to Iran and from the tribal agencies of NWFP to Afghanistan for transit through Central Asia.


In Baluchistan, drug convoys are now smaller, typically two to three vehicles with well-armed guards and forward stationed scouts, who usually travel under cover of darkness. Several years ago there were seizures of 100-kg shipments, but now traffickers are transporting smaller quantities of drugs through multiple couriers, both female and male, to reduce the size of seizures and to protect their investment. This is evidenced by the 20-30 kg seizures, which are now typical. Other methods of shipment include inside false-sided luggage or concealment within legal objects (such as cell phone batteries or carpets), the postal system, or strapped to the body and concealed from drug sniffing dogs with special sprays. The ANF reports that traffickers frequently change their routes and concealment methods to avoid detection. West African traffickers are using more Central Asian, European, and Pakistani nationals as couriers. An increasing number of Pakistani females are being used as human couriers through Pakistan's international airports. In recent years, the GOP has also detected an increase in narcotics, both opium and hashish, traveling through Pakistan to China via airports and land routes. Arrests of couriers traveling via Pakistan to China have increased significantly.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction: The GOP, in coordination with the UNODC, completed a drug use survey, which was published in 2007 and was based on data gathered in 2006. The survey indicates that Pakistan has approximately two to three million drug addicts, with around 628,000 opiate abusers. The alarming trend from the survey is the near doubling of the number of injecting drug users to an estimated 125,000. The prevalence of drug-users testing positive for HIV is estimated at nearly 11 percent in March 2007, with the city of Karachi having the highest prevalence (28 percent). Eleven percent of users reported being infected with hepatitis and 18 percent reported being infected with tuberculosis. With the increased incidence of intravenous drug abuse these diseases have the potential to spread rapidly. The age of first use is 18 years and the initial drug of choice is cannabis (hashish); first use of heroin is 22 years. Cannabis and heroin are the most widely abused drugs, followed by raw opium. Prescription and synthetic drugs such as Ecstasy are gaining popularity among high-income users. The GOP views addicts as victims, not criminals. Despite the perseverance of a few NGOs and the establishment of two GOP model drug treatment and rehabilitation centers in Islamabad and Quetta, drug users have limited access to effective detoxification and rehabilitation services in Pakistan.


The ANF is also tasked with reducing demand and increase drug use awareness. In 2008, ANF organized USG-funded seminars for religious leaders in each provincial capital. The USG funded several NGOs in their efforts aimed at drug awareness and treatment and rehabilitation. The first such program supports a drug treatment center in Peshawar via the Colombo Plan, extending an already-successful program with a local NGO. The second program included support to a Karachi-based NGO to set up and operate a drug treatment/rehabilitation center and to organize awareness campaigns on drug abuse prevention with schools, youth groups, industries/ workplaces, and communities. There are several other USG-supported treatment/education programs.


While the GOP appears to have the political will to do more in demand reduction, it lacks the human and technical resources and an updated, comprehensive strategy.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Policy Initiatives:It is increasingly clear that traffickers of hashish and opiates have financial links to the insurgents operating on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The United States has several counternarcotics policy objectives in Pakistan that are closely related with America's larger goals of defeating the insurgency on the Pak-Afghan border and preventing terrorist safe-havens in the FATA and Baluchistan. To achieve these objectives the US helps the GOP fortify its land borders and seacoast against drug trafficking and terrorists, supports expanded regional cooperation, encourages GOP efforts to eliminate poppy cultivation, and inhibits further cultivation. The United States is also working to increase the interdiction of narcotics from Afghanistan and to destroy DTOs by building the capacity of the GOP, as well as expanding demand reduction efforts. USG agencies continue to build GOP cooperation in the extradition of narcotics fugitives and to encourage enactment of comprehensive money laundering legislation. The United States is also focusing on streamlining Pakistani drug enforcement legislation, making it easier for the ANF and other law enforcement agencies to prosecute narcotics cases. The United States presses for the reform of law enforcement institutions and encourages cooperation among the GOP agencies with counternarcotics responsibilities. The United States also focuses on improving anti-smuggling capabilities of law enforcement agencies, including the Customs Department, the Frontier Corps, and the National Police, and the Maritime Security Agency (MSA). In coordination with CENTCOM, the U.S. Coast Guard is assisting in the procurement of patrol vessels for the MSA and is seeking other opportunities to improve MSA’s drug interdiction capabilities.


Bilateral Cooperation: The United States, through the State Department-funded Counternarcotics Program and Border Security Project, provides operational support, commodities (e.g., vehicles, radios, and body armor), and training to the ANF and other law enforcement agencies. Under the Border Security Project, the USG has built and refurbished 64 Frontier Corps outposts in Baluchistan and NWFP, and another 62 Levy (tribal police force) and 11 Frontier Constabulary outposts in the NWFP. Construction of 1423 km of roads in the border areas of the FATA is complete, and ongoing construction of 266 km continues to open up remote areas to law enforcement. Since 1989, the State Department also has funded construction of more than 547 km of counternarcotics program roads in previously inaccessible areas, facilitating farmer-to-market access for legitimate crops while providing authorities access for poppy eradication. The Department has implemented over 971 development projects to provide water and electricity to remote areas and to encourage alternative crops in Bajaur, Mohmand, and Khyber Agencies. Alternative crop programs were extended into Kala Dhaka and Kohistan in 2006, where this year seven kilometers of new road were completed and 45 kilometers are underway. A total of $10 million has been committed to road construction and small electrification and irrigation schemes for this earthquake-devastated area of NWFP.


In September 2008, an INL-funded Resident Legal Advisor position was created at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. The RLA will institute training for prosecutors in coordination with USAID’s Rule of Law efforts. The training will develop and improve advocacy skills, police-prosecutor cooperation, prosecutorial ethics, and management of the prosecutorial function. This program will be coordinated with NAS’s police training and assistance to ensure that police investigations provide the material needed by prosecutors and that the prosecutors communicate their requirements to police.


The United States funds a Narcotics Control Cell in the FATA Secretariat to help coordinate counternarcotics efforts in the tribal areas, where the overwhelming majority of poppy is grown. The U.S.-supported Air Wing program operated by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) provides significant benefits to counternarcotics efforts and also serves to advance our Border Security objectives. DEA provides operational assistance and advice to ANF's Special Investigative Cell (SIC) to raise investigative standards. The Department of Defense began providing assistance to the Pakistan Coast Guards to improve the GOP's counternarcotics capabilities on the Makran Coast.


The Road Ahead: The United States will continue to assist the GOP in its nation-wide efforts to eliminate poppy, to build capacity to secure its borders, to conduct investigations that dismantle drug trafficking organizations, to increase convictions and asset forfeitures, and to reduce demand for illicit drugs through enhanced prevention, intervention, and treatment programs. Implementation of these strategies will require GOP perseverance in strict enforcement of the poppy ban and eradication efforts, development of an indigenous drug intelligence capability, improvements in the prosecution and resolution of court cases, GOP interagency cooperation, more effective use of resources and training, and enhanced regional cooperation and information sharing.


V. Statistical Table

Drug Crop–Opium Poppy


a) Cultivation: 2008–1,909 ha; 2007–2,315 ha; 2006–1,908 ha; 2005–3,147 ha; 2004–6,600–7,500 ha; 2003–6,811 ha


b) Harvested: 2008–1,909 ha; 2007–1,701 ha; 2006–1,545 ha; 2005–2,440 ha; 2004–3,145 ha; 2003–3,170 ha


c) Eradication: 2008–none; 2007–614 ha; 2006–363 ha; 2005–707 ha; 2004–4,426 ha; 2003–3,641 ha



a) heroin (including morphine base): 2008–5.3 MT; 2007–10.9 MT; 2006–35.3 MT; Jan-Nov 2005–24 MT; 2004–24.7 MT; 2003–34 MT

b) opium: 2008–18 MT; 2007–15.3 MT; 2006–8.0 MT; Jan-Nov 2005–6.1 MT; 2004–2.5 MT; 2003–5.4 MT


c) hashish: 2008–125 MT; 2007–93.8 MT; 2006 -110.5 MT; 2005–80 MT; 2004–136 MT; 2003–87.8 MT


Illicit Labs Destroyed: No labs have been destroyed to date.


Arrests (total): 2008–31,330; 2007–50,100; Jan-Oct 1, 2006–34,170; Jan-Nov 2005–33,932; 2004–49,186; 2003–46,346





I. Summary


By virtue of its geographic position and well-developed maritime and transportation infrastructure, Panama is a major logistics control and trans-shipment country for illegal drugs to the United States and Europe. Major Colombian and Mexican drug cartels as well as Colombian illegal armed groups use Panama for drug trafficking and money laundering purposes. The Torrijos Administration has cooperated vigorously with the U.S. on counternarcotics operations. In 2008, seizure levels remained very high with 53 metric tons (MT) of cocaine having been seized. U.S. support to Panama's counternarcotics efforts, including developing an effective community policing model to help control a nascent gang problem, is crucial to ensure fulfillment of agency missions. Panama is a party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Panama's geographic proximity to the South American cocaine and heroin producing countries makes it an important transshipment point for narcotics destined for the U.S. and other global markets. Panama's four major containerized seaports, the Pan-American Highway, a rapidly growing international hub airport (Tocumen), numerous uncontrolled airfields, and relatively unguarded Atlantic and Pacific coastlines all facilitate drug movement. Smuggling of weapons and drugs continues to take place, particularly between Colombia and the isolated Darien region, the Azuero peninsula and the sparsely populated Caribbean coastal areas. The flow of illicit drugs has contributed to increasing domestic drug abuse and gang violence, and Panamanian authorities attributed the majority of murders to revenge killings between traffickers. Panama is not a significant producer of drugs or precursor chemicals. Limited amounts of cannabis are cultivated for local consumption.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. The Torrijos Administration is strongly committed to counternarcotics and anti-crime cooperation with the United States. Panama participated in the U.S.-Central American Integration System (SICA) security dialogue. In 2008, Panama passed a law reforming the criminal system from a written (inquisitorial) system to a largely oral (accusatorial) system, which will be implemented over several years. The GOP merged the National Air Service (SAN) and the National Maritime Service (SMN) into a unified “Coast Guard”-type service to be called the National Aero-Naval Service (SENAN). The merger became official on 22 November and will require substantial investment by the GOP to become fully operational. The GOP also separated the frontier police from the National Police (PNP), creating an independent National Frontier Service (SENAFRONT). Early in 2008, another reform folded the Technical Judicial Police (PTJ) into the National Police Investigative Division, creating the new Division of Judicial Investigations (DIJ). A separate intelligence directorate known as the Police Intelligence Division (DIP) still remains and performs a separate function under the PNP. Forensic investigation responsibilities remained with the Public Ministry and Attorney General’s office. In 2008, Panama, for a second straight year, carried out a successful table-top exercise (Panamax Alpha) to address asymmetrical threats to the Panama Canal.


Accomplishments. Panama seized 53 metric tons (MT) of drugs in 2008, including 51 MT of cocaine and 2 MT of marijuana. While this is lower than 2007 levels, last year’s numbers include one 20-ton seizure made by the USCG on a case developed in Panama. Police also seized over $3 million in cash linked to drug trafficking and confiscated $1.5 million from 42 bank accounts. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-monitored statistics for 2008 also indicate seizures of 17 kg of heroin, and 126 arrests for international drug-related offenses.


Law Enforcement Efforts. Several USG-supported Government of Panama (GOP) vetted units were fortified with equipment and increased personnel in 2008. The newly-created SENAN cooperates with U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) requests for ship registry data and provides officers to serve aboard USCG cutters as “ship riders,” allowing the USCG to patrol Panamanian waters. The SENAN also provides excellent support for counternarcotics operations within its limited means, including patrolling and photographing suspect areas, and identifying suspect aircraft. In 2008, under the bilateral agreement with Panama, the U.S. Coast Guard was able to remove over 5.8 metric tons of cocaine from Panamanian flagged vessels. Counterdrug cooperation with Panama has been solid and remains vital to ensuring continued success. In 2008, the Government of Panama staffed the U.S.-funded Guabala checkpoint (inaugurated in early 2006) on the Pan-American Highway, and the national police deployed mobile road blocks throughout the country targeting land based movements of drugs.


Corruption. The Government of Panama 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. President Torrijos's administration, through its National Anti-Corruption Commission, which is charged with coordinating the government's anti-corruption activities, continued to audit government accounts and launch public corruption investigations. Several government ministries established transparent, automated procedures to minimize opportunities for corruption (e.g., for registering a business, or preparing a shipment for export). Despite the Torrijos Administration's public stance on corruption, few high-profile cases, particularly involving political or business elites, have been acted upon.


A USG-funded "Culture of Lawfulness" program, designed to encourage officers to fight against corruption within the police, has produced 10 trainers within the National Police and will continue to train officers in 2009. This program is being combined with an aggressive effort to implement a community policing program with the PNP.


Agreements and Treaties. Panama is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. A mutual legal assistance treaty and an extradition treaty are in force between the U.S. and Panama, although the Constitution does not permit extradition of Panamanian nationals. In 2008, Panama surrendered nine fugitives to the United States; seven of them were for narcotics charges. A Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement and a stolen vehicles treaty are also in force. In 2002, the USG and GOP concluded a comprehensive maritime interdiction agreement. Panama has bilateral agreements on drug trafficking with the United Kingdom, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, and Peru. Panama is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols and to the UN Convention against Corruption. Panama is a member of the Organization of American States (OAS) and is a party to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. Panama is an active participant in the U.S.-SICA (Integrated System for Central America) security dialogue.


Cultivation and Production. Limited cannabis cultivation, principally for domestic consumption, exists in Panama, particularly in the Pearl Islands.


Drug Flow/Transit. Panama remains an important hub for the transit and distribution of South American cocaine and heroin. Drugs are moved in fishing vessels, cargo ships, small aircraft, and go-fast boats. Drug-smuggling aircraft utilize hundreds of abandoned or unmonitored legal airstrips for refueling, pickups, and deliveries. Panama’s coastlines are used to store drugs for continued shipment towards Mexico and to store fuel and supplies for go-fast boats making the runs. Couriers transiting Panama by commercial air flights also moved cocaine and heroin to the U.S. and Europe during 2008.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Various programs have U.S. sponsorship such as DARE programs for the Panama National Police, Youth Crime Watch for the Roberto Boutet Foundation, Young People Building a Better World for the White Cross Foundation and an Integral Prevention Education Program for the Pride Foundation.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Policy Initiatives. USG-supported programs focus on improving Panama's ability to intercept, investigate, and prosecute illegal drug trafficking and other transnational crimes; strengthening Panama's judicial system; improving Panama's border security; and ensuring strict enforcement of existing laws. The Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) and USCG provided resources for modernization and upkeep of SMN and PNP vessels and bases, and assisted the newly-created SENAN with training personnel and maintaining key aircraft for interdiction efforts. In 2008, the USG provided training and operational equipment and support to the multi-agency Tocumen Airport Drug Interdiction Law Enforcement Team. NAS coordinated training for the DEA and ICE vetted units, as well as the quick response motorcycle team (“lynx” unit) in Tactical Law Enforcement procedures, internal affairs and Anti-Corruption investigations and crowd control procedures.


NAS and CBP continue to organize operational evaluation teams of Border Patrol Agents who work in the border areas with National Police. NAS continued to develop a major law enforcement modernization project with the PNP to develop its police leadership and implement community-based policing procedures. The program focuses on many pillars including proven community policing tactics, expansion of existing crime analysis technology, and promotion of managerial change to allow greater autonomy and accountability. NAS provision of computers, office equipment, and other operational equipment will help the counternarcotics units achieve their goals.


Bilateral Cooperation. In 2008, the Torrijos Administration continued to sustain joint counternarcotics efforts with DEA and USCG, and worked to strengthen national law enforcement institutions with assistance from NAS. Maritime cooperation continued to be excellent. The U.S. Coast Guard provided training to SMN and APC personnel on waterside port security, maritime law enforcement, and port security-vulnerability assessments.


The Road Ahead. The USG encourages Panama to devote sufficient resources to enable its forces to patrol land borders along Colombia and Costa Rica, its coastline, and the adjacent sea-lanes, and to increase the number of arrests and prosecutions of major violators, especially in the areas of corruption and money laundering. The USG will continue to offer the GOP expertise and resources to strengthen Panama’s ability to safeguard its citizens, confront drug traffickers, and ensure that law enforcement efforts are anchored in democracy. The USG will also continue to support law enforcement modernization through improved equipment, maintenance, strategic planning, decentralization of decision making, and community-oriented policing philosophies.


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.





I. Summary


In 2008, the Government of Paraguay, through its National Anti-drug Secretariat (SENAD), continued its efforts against illegal narcotics trafficking. SENAD seized locally-grown marijuana and Andean cocaine which transits Paraguay en route to Brazil and other Southern Cone countries. With renewed political support from the new Lugo administration, which ended 61 years of Colorado Party rule, SENAD captured drug traffickers linked to Brazilian drug trafficking organizations and made important inroads into fighting new threats posed by international ephedrine trafficking. The new Lugo Government has expressed interest in reversing Paraguay’s status as a major drug transit country. Paraguay is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Paraguay is the largest producer of marijuana in South America, and its marijuana, which has high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, is cultivated throughout the country. Marijuana in Paraguay is primarily trafficked for consumption in neighboring countries, and is not trafficked to the United States. Paraguay remains a major transit country for Andean-sourced cocaine destined primarily for Brazil, other Southern Cone markets, Europe, and Africa. The extensive land border with Brazil facilitates many types of illicit activities, including drug trafficking. Endemic public corruption in Paraguay, along with limited government controls, is a contributing factor to Paraguay’s standing as a major drug transit country. Despite SENAD’s efforts, the GOP’s ability to fight narcotics trafficking is hampered by budget constraints, weak laws, and pervasive corruption.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. President Fernando Lugo, who assumed office August 15, named Retired Police Commissioner Cesar Damian Aquino as the new SENAD director. President Lugo pledged during his campaign to fight narcotics, corruption and other illicit activities in Paraguay.


In August, Director Aquino reorganized SENAD to improve the institution’s efficiency, naming a single Director of Operations to eliminate potential conflicts in a chain-of-command containing multiple directorships with equal authority. SENAD focused its efforts on major drug trafficking organizations and their assets. SENAD was dealt a major setback, however, when the Senate rejected a bill that would have made SENAD an autonomous institution with the power to regulate its agents independently. The measure had passed the Chamber of Deputies. Currently, SENAD officials are considered civil servants, rather than law enforcement agents, and are not issued weapons, though many carry personal weapons. The rejected legislation would have given SENAD agents the legal status of law enforcement agents. SENAD worked to professionalize its agents through training, but was unsuccessful in its efforts to augment the current SENAD force of 165 agents by an additional 30 recruits.


Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2008, SENAD seized a record 172 metric tons (MT) of marijuana. Cocaine seizures were substantially lower than previous years at 277 kilograms (kg).


SENAD arrested 419 persons, including several well-known Brazilian drug traffickers from the Commando Vermelho and First Commando Capital (PCC) drug trafficking organizations. SENAD expelled 17 individuals and facilitated the extradition of two persons to Brazil and one to Argentina.


Paraguayan authorities reported a new trend in ephedrine trafficking from South America through Paraguay to Mexico where it is reportedly processed into methamphetamine destined for the US market. This year, SENAD seized 127.36 kg of ephedrine, including the detention of a Mexican national in possession of 45 kg of ephedrine.


In the last year SENAD conducted a series of marijuana eradication operations in the departments of Amambay and Canindeyu, destroying 1,724 hectares of marijuana with an estimated weight of over five million kilograms.


Corruption. As a matter of policy, neither GOP policy nor senior GOP officials 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. Nevertheless, corruption and inefficiency within the Paraguayan National Police (PNP), the broader judicial system, and other public sector institutions negatively impact SENAD operations. Combating official corruption remains a daunting challenge for the GOP, but the Lugo administration has already brought several corruption cases against public officials.


Agreements and Treaties. Paraguay is a party to the UN 1988 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 GOP is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its two protocols (Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling), the UN Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism. The GOP also signed the OAS/CICAD Hemispheric Drug Strategy. Paraguay has law enforcement agreements with Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, and Colombia. An extradition treaty between the United States and Paraguay is in force and the 1987 bilateral letter of agreement under which the United States provides counter-narcotics assistance to Paraguay was extended in 2008. Paraguay is also a signatory to the 1992 Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.


Cultivation/Production. The UN estimates that Paraguay produces 5,900 MT of marijuana per year—more than half the marijuana grown annually in all of South America. The crop is primarily cultivated in the departments of Amambay, San Pedro, Canindeyu and Concepcion and harvested year-round. Marijuana production has dramatically increased in recent years, spreading to nontraditional rural areas of the country. There are approximately 6,000 hectares under cultivation throughout the country, according to UN and SENAD estimates.


Drug Flow/Transit. Paraguay continues to be a major transit country for cocaine from Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. Only a small portion of the cocaine that transits Paraguay is destined for the United States. According to SENAD, traffickers are encouraged by the lack of controls along Paraguay’s vast, porous border. Every year, 30-40 MT of cocaine are transshipped to Brazil and other Southern Cone markets, as well as to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. The northwestern part of the country is poorly monitored, making that region an attractive staging area for transshipments of drugs, weapons, and other contraband. Paraguayan authorities report a new trend in ephedrine trafficking from South America to Mexico and the United States.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. SENAD’s drug prevention program includes educational workshops for Paraguayan children. SENAD has the principal coordinating role under the “National Program against Drug Abuse” and works with the Ministries of Education and Health and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on program development, implementation and dissemination. The USG supports SENAD’s limited budget for demand reduction and its program has been concentrated in central Paraguay. A pilot prevention program introduced in 2007 in Pedro Juan Caballero has helped SENAD expand its drug abuse prevention program, and the Lugo government has expressed intent in further expansion. During the current school year SENAD sponsored 425 workshops, directly reaching 10,617 students, parents, and teachers. SENAD also distributed 1,741 informational pamphlets to teachers and counselors during workshops.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. Working with the GOP, USG programs and policies in Paraguay focus on disrupting drug trafficking organizations and instituting stronger legal and regulatory measures to combat drug trafficking and money laundering. The GOP uses U.S. assistance to support SENAD’s operations, including its base of operations in Pedro Juan Caballero and its canine program. U.S. assistance also provides support for SENAD operations in the northwestern town of Mariscal Estigarribia. The USG funded the participation of 50 new SENAD agents in a Basic Drug Enforcement Training Seminar which taught the knowledge and skills required to identify drug traffickers, to initiate and to develop investigations. The USG funded a five-week Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) program in Quantico, Virginia which trains DEA foreign counterparts to work on sensitive bilateral investigations. SENAD is one of only a dozen foreign counterpart agencies to obtain this training. The USG provided operational support and equipment to Paraguay’s intellectual property operational unit (UTE), as well as training seminars on intellectual property issues. The USG continued to provide a Resident Legal Advisor (RLA) to assist GOP efforts to pass and implement effective laws to combat money laundering, intellectual property theft, and terrorist financing.


The Road Ahead. The new Lugo administration has expressed interest in reversing Paraguay’s status as a major drug transit country and as the largest producer of marijuana in South America. To do so, the GOP must focus its efforts on major narcotics trafficking organizations operating in Paraguay. The USG encourages the Lugo administration to allocate additional resources to law enforcement agencies and implement legal tools to facilitate investigations, the seizure and forfeiture of assets and prosecution of major offenders. New anti-money laundering legislation will take effect July 16, 2009, and will provide an important tool for law enforcement agencies. The GOP also needs to draft asset seizure and forfeiture laws, pass the new criminal procedure code pending before Congress, and implement in 2009 the new penal code signed into law in 2008.





I. Summary


Peru remains the world’s second largest producer of cocaine and is a major importer of precursor chemicals used for cocaine production. In 2008, the Garcia Government consolidated gains in the eradication of illicit coca cultivation in the Upper Huallaga Valley by exceeding its coca eradication goal of 10,000 hectares for the second year in a row, and pressed forward on interdiction, including targeting precursor chemicals. The Government of Peru (GOP) promulgated additional decrees against corruption, money laundering, and other forms of organized crime. The GOP also implemented security measures against violent attacks against personnel engaged in eradication and interdiction efforts. Peruvian forces seized nearly 28 metric tons (MT) of cocaine in 2008 and destroyed record numbers of cocaine labs. The change in government in October 2008 did not alter Peru’s commitment to full cooperation on counternarcotics matters. Peru is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Peru is a major cocaine producing country and is also a major importer of precursor chemicals used for cocaine production. In the Upper Huallaga Valley (UHV), coca growers, incited by their leaders, at times engaged in violent acts to resist eradication during 2008. Remnants of the terrorist group Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso—SL), reliant on drug trafficking for funding, were reportedly responsible for ambushing and killing police and military personnel in the UHV and the Apurimac and Ene River Valleys (VRAE); as well as threatening eradication workers and other government authorities and alternative development teams. In 2008, one eradication worker was wounded by a booby trap, and another was wounded as he strayed outside of an eradication site security perimeter. Since 2006, 26 Peruvian National Police (PNP) officers and one CORAH (Control and Reduction of Coca in the Upper Huallaga) employee have been killed in SL attacks.


CORAH implemented security measures to prevent and minimize the possible impact of violent attacks. Counter and anti-explosive measures reduced exposure and neutralized located improvised explosive devices. An internal accord with Peruvian Army elements stationed in the Huallaga valley provided additional security for eradicators. Coca growers’ efforts to gain support for sit-ins, road blocks, and forcible eviction of eradicators were ineffective.


According to Catholic University’s Institute for International Studies (IDEI), approximately four million Peruvians are reported to use up to 9,000 metric tons of coca leaf each year for such “licit” purposes as chewing the leaves, or brewing leaves for tea; however, IDEI estimates that over 90 percent of this ‘licit’ coca cultivation is actually directly diverted to narcotics trafficking. It is estimated that about 60,000 Peruvian families (a relatively small percentage out of the greater than 29 million total population) is involved in growing, processing coca leaf, and trafficking cocaine hydrochloride (HCl), and cocaine base. In various public forums, coca growers’ leadership promoted the legal uses and benefits of coca leaf. Despite this, polls show greater public understanding of the close linkage between illegal coca cultivation and the negative impact of drug trafficking on Peru.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. In July the Peruvian Congress passed laws against organized crime, drugs, and terrorism and also strengthened the provisions of the Precursor Chemical law of 2004. The Attorney General’s Office (Public Ministry) continued to strengthen its prosecutorial capacity for drug cases by increasing staff and enhancing training to improve investigative and procedural skills. In 2008, the Garcia Administration promulgated additional decrees against corruption, money laundering, and other forms of organized crime. The new Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), enacted in 2007, continued to be implemented across the nation with the final regions scheduled to come on line by 2010. As part of the Ministry of Justice’s Anti-Corruption Plan, the section of the CPC which applies to public corruption came into effect nation-wide in 2008. The Public Ministry created a new prosecutor’s position to handle all money laundering cases not related to drug-trafficking. Also, new legislation came into effect in 2008 requiring all members of the Financial Investigation Unit to sign a Standards of Conduct document. Finally, in July 2008, President Garcia signed a defense pact with President Lula of Brazil and President Uribe of Colombia to jointly patrol rivers and expand regional cooperation on borders. This will help limit the cross-border activities, including drug trafficking of illegal armed groups such as the FARC and the SL. The change in government in October 2008 did not alter Peru’s commitment to full cooperation on counternarcotics matters.


Accomplishments. The GOP disrupted the production and transshipment of cocaine through operations on land, sea, and air, seizing more than 16.2 metric tons (MT) of HCl and 11.7 MT of cocaine base as of December 15, 2008. Eradication helped tamp the number of hectares of illicit coca cultivation, although denser coca planting is evident and efficiency of extracting alkaloid among some traffickers has increased from 44 percent to 72 percent, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) studies. The GOP also investigated and dismantled major drug trafficking organizations (Valdez in Pucallpa) and shut down drug-processing sites in coca-growing areas. The Peruvian National Police (PNP) Directorate of Antinarcotics Agency—DIRANDRO destroyed 1,225 cocaine-production laboratories, including 19 cocaine HCl and 1,206 base laboratories in the UHV and the VRAE; and 2,119 MT of dry and macerated coca leaf by in 2008.


Law Enforcement Efforts. Actions by Peruvian authorities in August and September led to the arrests of two important SL collaborators, one was considered a major SL financier and drug trafficker, the other was considered a prominent SL recruiter. In September, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction and 20-year sentence of drug “Kingpin” Fernando Zevallos. In October, authorities detained the mayor of the eastern city of Pucallpa on charges of laundering proceeds from drug trafficking, and began proceedings to seize assets valued at more than $200 million.


In 2008, Peru continued to strengthen police capacity east of the Andes. Nine-hundred-thirty-five new police officers, including 76 women, with a 3-year commitment to serve in counternarcotics units, were trained at U.S.-supported police academies. The curriculum in these academies was extended from 12 to 26 months in compliance with Peruvian regulations. Related to this, 842 students also attended PNP pre-Academies that train qualified local police recruits. By the end of 2008, approximately 2,000 anti-drug police were operating in the source zones.


The PNP also continued to operate basic training academies collocated with DIRANDRO police bases at Santa Lucia, Mazamari, and Ayacucho. An increase of DIRANDRO personnel in source zones has contributed to more effective and sustained eradication and interdiction operations. The PNP is also reinvigorating the anti-drug police Special Operations Group, including a special Jungle Operations Training Course established in Mazamari for junior officers.


Despite these efforts, traffickers continued to adapt to counter-drug strategies and tactics, experimenting with new delivery and production methods.


Maritime/Airport Interdiction Programs. Peruvian agencies involved in maritime and airport counter-drug enforcement were responsible for approximately 13 metric tons of cocaine seized nationwide. An additional 2 metric tons were seized in third countries based upon research and alerts conducted by the joint Peruvian Customs (SUNAT) and National Police Manifest Review Unit (MRU). SUNAT personnel examined an average of 9,500 containers per month nationwide, compared to 3-4 per month less than two years ago. Interdiction efforts at Peru’s international airport resulted in the detention of 190 internal carriers (mules).


SUNAT continued to emphasize training and utilization of non-intrusive inspection (NII) technology, at the Port of Callao and the international airport. Using XRAY Container Scanners, SUNAT inspected more than 116,000 export seagoing containers in 2008. Use of NII technology expanded to the southern frontier city of Tacna, with the deployment of a Body Scanner for screening suspect “mules” crossing into Chile. In 2008, SUNAT concentrated efforts to interdict illicit money transported through the international airport and domestic flights, resulting in the seizure of nearly one million dollars. In addition, SUNAT improved the security of cargo at the Port of Callao with a camera system used to provide Peruvian law enforcement full situational awareness at the port. SUNAT now uses container and cargo electronic manifests for the Port of Callao and the Port of Paita (Peru’s second leading port), and is in the final stages of completing electronic manifests for all air-cargo leaving the international airport.


SUNAT also augmented its drug detection canine force and, in collaboration with DIRANDRO, formed and trained a Dive Unit to conduct underwater counternarcotics operations and ship-hull inspections.


Corruption. The GOP does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of the proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The Comptroller General has submitted a bill to modify the Asset Forfeiture Law to include corruption of public officials as a predicate offense. The GOP closed the National Anti-Corruption office inaugurated in 2007, dispersing the responsibilities among several Ministries. In October 2008, Luis Valdez, the mayor of Pucallpa, of one of the largest eastern cities was arrested and charged with narcotrafficking and money laundering. He is currently in custody awaiting trial.


Agreements and Treaties. Peru is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the 1988 UN Drug Convention; the Inter-American Convention on Mutual assistance in Criminal Matters; the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols; and the UN Convention against Corruption.


Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance. The United States and Peru are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force in 2003. Peruvian law requires individuals to serve sentences in Peru before being eligible for extradition. Among the pending U.S. extradition and provisional arrests, eight are related to narcotrafficking, and four have been approved; surrender is pending completion of judicial and penal processes in Peru. One subject of an extradition request remains at large, but three were extradited to the U.S. on December 10. The GOP has assured the USG that drug traffickers will be extradited upon completion of their Peruvian judicial and penal processes.


Cultivation and Production. The official U.S. Government estimate for 2007 indicated that 36,000 hectares of coca were under cultivation in Peru, a 14 percent decrease from 2006. This would potentially produce an annual harvest of approximately 43,500 MT of oven-dried coca leaf, enough to potentially produce 210 MT of pure cocaine, and 235 MT of export quality cocaine. Successful interdiction and eradication actions eliminated nearly one quarter of Peru’s potential production of cocaine in 2008.


During 2008 the GOP continued eradication operations in the Upper Huallaga Valley, clearing out remaining coca in San Martin Department and beginning a much awaited program in Huanuco Department. During the year Coca growers’ and their leadership pressured the Government of Peru (GOP) to halt or limit eradication, but their disarray made the protests more a distraction than an effective impediment to counternarcotics efforts. Day-to-day coordination among drug police, aviation components, and eradicators permitted eradication to continue at an optimum pace. As of December 15, based on the Embassy Lima Cocaine Production Averted Formula calculation, CORAH prevented the production of approximately 77 metric tons of cocaine.


Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine HCl continues as the principal illicit drug product in Peru, with traffickers utilizing large-production laboratories and caletas (storage areas) to prepare and store this product. They transported cocaine base/HCl products from coca production zones, primarily in the Upper Huallaga and Apurimac Valley regions, to Peru’s coastal and border areas for further processing and distribution.


Cocaine is exported from Peru to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Europe, the Far East, Mexico, and the U.S. via maritime conveyances and commercial air flights. U.S. law enforcement agencies and their host nation counterparts from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand report of Peruvian cocaine trafficking/transportation organizations operating in the Far East. In addition, cocaine HCl is shipped to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador via land routes, where it is subsequently exported to consumer markets in the United States and Europe.


Colombians and Mexicans were frequently found to be involved in Peru in drug transportation operations of multi-kilogram and multi-ton loads headed to Colombia, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Drug intelligence and investigations also detected clandestine airstrips along Peru’s neighboring borders and in coca cultivation areas.


Maritime smuggling of larger cocaine shipments is becoming the primary method for transporting multi-ton loads of cocaine base and HCl.


Opium Poppy. Though limited, the reported presence of opium poppy cultivation in Peru, continues to raise international concerns. Opiate trafficking in Peru, including opium poppy cultivation, the production of opium latex, and suspected morphine, may be predominately concentrated in the northern and central parts of the country. Opium latex and morphine moved overland north into Ecuador and/or Colombia, for conversion to heroin and subsequent export to the United States and Europe.


In 2008, the PNP eradicated approximately 16 hectares of opium poppy and seized 171 kilograms of opium latex. The PNP reported instances of opium latex, intercepted at Jorge Chavez International Airport, being couriered by “drug mules” and/or mailed to European destinations.


Demand Reduction. The USG funds local NGOs in the development of 11 community anti-drug coalitions (CAC) targeting poor, at risk, communities in Lima. The CAC model emphasizes the participation of all sectors of the community in long-term, sustainable activities to reduce drug use. The CACs have proven effective in addressing community specific drug demand issues especially among youth.


The GOP, through its drug policy entity DEVIDA, engages in various media campaigns to inform public opinion, NGOs do most of the work in terms of education, research, and information. Most local/public schools have drug awareness education in the large cities, but drug use prevention programs are lacking in the regional education system and at the University level. Drug use in the regions outside of the major cities has increased steadily without a comparable increase in government sponsored treatment and prevention programs. Statistics indicate that there is a growing incidence of use among university students who report their first exposure and use of drugs occurred when they entered university, not before.


Public opinion has changed its perceptions about coca cultivation and the complicity of coca growers in drug trafficking, particularly when studies show that 90 percent of the coca leaf grown in Peru is made into narcotics. In Peru’s major cities the public is most concerned about the impact of drug trafficking on and the effect of drug abuse among youth. Furthermore, there is a growing awareness of the damage that illicit drug cultivation and production causes to the environment. Recently, Environment Minister Antonio Brack stated that drug trafficking had destroyed nearly two million hectares of forest in Peru, that isolated protected areas are invaded for the purpose of coca cultivation, and that precursor chemicals used to process narcotics pollute water sources and alter hydro-biological resources.


Alternative Development (AD) Program. At the close of the sixth year of the alternative development program, more than 756 communities have renounced coca cultivation and continue to participate in the alternative development program. Over 49,000 family farmers have received technical assistance on 61,000 hectares of licit crops (cacao, coffee, African palm oil, etc.). With many of these long term crops now entering their most productive years, the alternative development program has expanded business development activities to link AD producers to local and world markets at optimum prices. In 2008, sales from AD assisted organizations reached nearly $13 million in San Martin, Huanuco, and Ucayali.


The increase in counternarcotics police allowed the PNP to sustain interdiction and eradicate in previously “no-go” areas that have witnessed violent resistance in the past. CORAH workers focused their efforts in San Martin, where USAID’s Alternative Development (AD) program has been in place since 2002. In 2005, USAID reoriented the AD program to work directly in areas with established CORAH eradication programs. The initiative was confronted with threats from armed groups pressuring communities in the Tocache, San Martin area to refuse to sign up for the program. Extended dialogue and the strong will of these communities eventually overcame the challenges. The direct link between AD and eradication is successfully reducing coca cultivation and is a model for further progress against illicit cultivation.


Coordination between CORAH and USAID programs continued, including the return of eradication activities by CORAH to AD communities where there were residual pockets of coca cultivation. Growers in the 78 communities that signed no-replanting agreements are feeling the economic impact of AD assistance, as their licit crops have now gone through a harvest cycle and are starting to demonstrate improved productivity. Tocache serves as an example to other communities that viable alternatives to coca exist, reducing resistance to eradication and increasing acceptance of alternative development.


V. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Policy Initiatives. U.S. assistance to Peru focuses on strengthening governance and creating space for legal activities in isolated areas where drug traffickers and terrorists operate, using aggressive eradication, interdiction, and chemical control to reduce drug production; coupled with alternative development efforts geared to reduce dependence on illicit coca cultivation. The USG also provides support for GOP efforts to improve its counter-terrorism efforts and publicize the links between drug production and common crime; so that Peruvians understand that their quality of life (and not just that of United States citizens) is degraded by drug-trafficking.


Bilateral Cooperation. In 2008, the USG continued to work with the GOP on counterdrug operations in the major drug source zones of the UHV and the VRAE. The PNP received USG assistance to increase police presence and their operational productivity in these areas by supporting and renewing existing police bases and enhancing police training. Other U.S. government provided training included maritime law enforcement and container inspection. With U.S. Embassy support, DIRANDRO commanders and field personnel received specialized counternarcotics courses, including U.S. Special Forces Training, Colombian and Bolivian Police Jungle Schools, and refresher courses in advanced airport drug interdiction and chemical field testing. Law enforcement officials from other Andean countries also participated in the training courses, which contributes to regional cooperation in drug investigations and interdiction.


Peru’s law enforcement organizations conducted joint operations with neighboring countries, and participated in drug enforcement strategy conferences to address drug trafficking along its borders, such as the joint chemical diversion—Operation Seis Fronteras. This multilateral initiative is conducted at various stages during the year to combat the diversion of controlled chemicals to illicit markets where these chemicals are utilized. At the September 2008 evaluation conference, participants chose Peru as the host country for Phase XI of Seis Fronteras in 2009.


The Cooperating Nation Information Exchange System (CNIES) Agreement signed in 2005 between the USG and the GOP enables the USG and other cooperating nations to share intelligence concerning trafficking of drugs by air. CNIES has been implemented in Air Force of Peru (FAP) locations in Lima, Pucallpa, and Iquitos.


The Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG) coordinated and conducted CNIES training for FAP personnel and shifted radar assets in response to intelligence indicating potential trafficking by air. FAP conducted joint training exercises with Brazil and Colombia. Since 2005 the FAP Joint Anti-Drug C-26 Air Squadron, supported by NAS, has conducted CN reconnaissance and airlift east of the Andes. The C-26 Forward Looking INFRA-RED (FLIR) was used to map suspected clandestine runways in Peru and update the status of known airstrips. The FAP C-26s provide critical overhead real time coverage for eradication workers, eradication police, and army personnel in the field. The installation in 2008 of a visual spectrum mapping camera in the C-26 program will provide imagery of coca fields to aid in planning eradication operations in the UHV (Upper Huallaga Valley).


The Road Ahead. The USG encourages the GOP to continue its focus on core commitments to eradication, interdiction, and alternative development to reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production. The GOP’s five-year counternarcotics plan reflects this emphasis on control and interdiction of precursor chemicals, drug seizures, reduction in coca cultivation, enforcement of money-laundering laws, demand reduction, and improvement of local economic conditions by introducing development alternatives to reduce dependency on coca cultivation. The GOP should continue its efforts to expand counternarcotics police presence east of the Andes to 2,700 personnel by late 2010. This will provide needed capacity to improve security and stem drug flows at air and seaports. Successful conclusion of negotiations on maritime operational procedures for counterdrug and migrant interdiction initiated in 2006 would be a positive step forward consistent with Peru’s efforts on other counternarcotics fronts


V. Statistical Tables


Peru Statistics (1999-2008)














Net Cultivation* (ha)












Eradication (ha)


10, 143










Leaf: Potential Harvest 3 MT)




50, 000








HCI: Potential (MT)























Coca Leaf (MT)**












Coca Paste (MT)






















Combined HCL & Base (MT)























Labs Destroyed











Cocaine HCI






















* Based on CNC estimates
** In 2007 the basis of reporting coca leaf seizure was shifted from dry leaf to include macerated leaf.



I. Summary


The drug problem in the Philippines remains significant, despite the continued efforts of Philippine law enforcement authorities to disrupt major drug trafficking organizations and dismantle clandestine drug laboratories and warehouses. The Philippines faces challenges in the areas of drug use and production, law enforcement, corruption, and drug trafficking. There is widespread use of illegal drugs nationwide, although national statistics on drug use are inaccurate, according to the Chairman of the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB). As evidenced by drug seizures in 2008, the Philippines continued to be a producer of methamphetamine and marijuana.


While the scope of the drug problem is immense, the government had some successes in enforcing counternarcotics laws, including a large methamphetamine seizure made from a speedboat in Subic Bay, northwest of Manila, and the dismantling of a large clandestine laboratory in northwest Luzon in cooperation with the Philippine National Police (PNP). Enforcement remains a high priority for the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the lead counternarcotics agency. As a relatively new agency, the PDEA's effectiveness remains hampered by a lack of investigatory discipline, leading to the dismissal of cases for insufficient evidence. There are also coordination problems with other agencies, and trained investigative staff is inadequate to the scale of the problem.


Corruption of police and other public officials remains an obstacle to better law enforcement; over 60 police officials were relieved from duty during the year for their alleged involvement with a clandestine laboratory. Pending whistleblower legislation, if passed, could help to fight corruption. The Philippines' vast stretches of unpatrolled and sparsely inhabited coastline across more than 7,000 islands make it an attractive narcotics source and transshipment country for traffickers, including terrorist and insurgent organizations. Illegal drugs and precursor chemicals also enter and leave the country through seaports, economic zones, and airports. Children are often used as street drug runners because of the difficulty in prosecuting them when they are caught in possession of illegal drugs. The Philippines is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


The Philippines continues to have a significant drug problem, based on quantitative data of the number of arrested drug traffickers, high-volume seizures of dangerous drugs, regular diversion of controlled precursors, and essential chemicals, as well as the number of clandestine laboratories identified and dismantled. A recent survey by the Philippine National Police (PNP) shows illegal drug usage is the fourth most pressing law enforcement problem in the Philippines. However, the DDB chairman announced that the Philippine infrastructure to fight illegal drugs is in place and implementation is proceeding as planned. The DDB reported in previous years that there are an estimated 6.7M illegal drug users in the Philippines, but the chairman acknowledged in 2008 that the estimate was based on a flawed methodology and is likely much larger. The DDB intends to conduct a more thorough survey in early 2009.


The Philippines' poorest regions, such as Mindanao, have the highest percentage of methamphetamine abusers. Crystal methamphetamine, locally known as "shabu," continues to be the drug of choice in the Philippines and is consumed by all demographics. Information from the 2008 United Nations (UN) World Drug Report indicates the Philippines has the world's highest estimated annual methamphetamine prevalence rate (6 percent). UN reports state that the problem is underreported by Philippine authorities, who claim seizures of clandestine laboratories have reduced supply, increasing the price of methamphetamine. However, it is more likely that price increases are driven by increased cost of foreign precursor chemicals rather than local law enforcement efforts. The current price of methamphetamine has doubled from 5,000 pesos per gram in 2007 ($106) to 10,000 pesos in 2008 ($212), with a street value of 10M to 12M pesos per kilo. Prices in the northern Philippines are higher than in central and southern Philippines, probably due to higher lab-to-market transportation costs, since clandestine labs are concentrated in the south, particularly in Mindanao. The price increase is likely driven by what the market will bear, rather than a shortage of supply; law enforcement agencies report no shortage of available methamphetamine.


Methamphetamine is clandestinely manufactured in the Philippines. Precursor chemicals are smuggled into the Philippines from the People's Republic of China, India, and Thailand. There were 264 local drug trafficking groups in 2008, compared with 220 in 2007. According to the DDB, there were three known transnational criminal drug organizations operating in the country in 2008, compared with eight in 2007. The decrease in the number of known criminal drug organizations is a result of their project-based system of operations. The criminal drug organizations dismantle individual groups after completing an operation to avoid detection or apprehension and then form new organizations. Chinese and Taiwanese drug trafficking organizations remain the most influential foreign groups operating in the Philippines and control domestic methamphetamine production. Methamphetamine producers continue to compartmentalize production in diverse locations to prevent detection and to allow drug syndicates to produce large quantities during a production cycle. This sophisticated technique is employed by Chinese and Taiwanese drug trafficking organizations and may indicate a departure from the previous mega-lab production technique, which relies on quick production to avoid detection. Philippine authorities are also investigating five significant domestic organizations.


While Chinese criminal organizations continue to establish and operate many methamphetamine clandestine laboratories, investigations have revealed that Muslim traffickers, many affiliated with separatist groups, are the main distributors of methamphetamine in the Philippines. Insurgent activity in Mindanao facilitates methamphetamine production, according to DDB and local government sources, thus increasing availability within the Muslim community. There are widespread reports that methamphetamine is produced in laboratories in areas controlled by Muslim rebels, who use profits to fund their operations. There is also anecdotal evidence that rebel fighters take methamphetamine to combat lack of sleep and inadequate food intake, as well as to enhance aggression and withstand pain. Law enforcement investigations revealed that the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are directly involved in the smuggling, protection of methamphetamine production, and transportation of illegal drugs to other parts of the country and across Southeast Asia. The Philippines is a source of methamphetamine exported to Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and in relatively small quantities to the U.S. (including Guam and Saipan).


The Philippines produces, consumes, and exports marijuana and it is currently the second most used drug in the country. Much of the cultivation of marijuana is in mountainous regions, often in government-owned areas inaccessible to vehicles. The ease of marijuana re-planting after eradication efforts by Philippine law enforcement makes marijuana eradication a never-ending operation, and official reports indicate an increase in the number of marijuana plantations in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the MILF, and the ASG earn funds by providing protection for marijuana cultivation and smuggling operations as well as participating in local distribution operations. The terrorist group New People's Army (NPA), a group of communist insurgents, controls and protects many marijuana plantation sites, particularly in the Cordilleras Autonomous Region of northern Luzon, as well as some eastern parts of Mindanao. Most of the marijuana produced in the Philippines is for local consumption, with some smuggled to Korea, Japan, Malaysia, and Taiwan.


Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA or Ecstasy) is commonly used in Metro Manila night clubs and bars by young, affluent members of Philippine society. Multiple Philippine law enforcement agencies are conducting active investigations of MDMA sales. The demand for ketamine in the Philippines is low. Transnational drug groups utilize the country as a venue for the production of ketamine powder for export to other areas in the region, including mainland China and Taiwan. The PDEA reported seizing 51 million pesos ($1,085,000) worth of ketamine in 2008.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. The administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo continues to concentrate on the full and sustained implementation of counternarcotics legislation and the positioning of the PDEA as the lead counternarcotics agency. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is implementing a counternarcotics master plan known as the National Anti-Drug Strategy. The strategy is executed by the National Anti-Drug Program of Action and contains provisions for counternarcotics law enforcement, drug treatment and prevention, and internal cooperation in counternarcotics, all of which are objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The PDEA is a relatively new agency; it graduated its second class of 196 new agents and swore in a third class of 200 during the fourth quarter of 2008. The National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) also contributes to the narcotics fight.


As part of its demand reduction strategy, DDB continues to create sector-specific programs and activities to reach youth through an effective anti-drug campaign. Drug distributors frequently recruit and exploit children as drug runners. The law protects children below 18 years old from prosecution; children often return to illegal drug activities after leaving youth rehabilitation centers. DDB has submitted to the Senate a draft amendment to a law that would reduce the opportunity for drug traffickers to use children in illegal drug trafficking. The amendment would change the definition of children, for the purpose of drug trafficking only, to persons below the age of nine (9) instead of eighteen years of age.


In order to frustrate the rapid replanting of harvested marijuana, the DDB has developed alternative livelihood programs, and initiated a pilot program of silk production in the Cordilleras in Northern Luzon, where 70 percent of the country's marijuana is cultivated. The DDB is replicating this program in Cebu in central Philippines, the second largest area of marijuana cultivation.


Prosecuting a typical narcotics case takes four years, on average. In 2008, three clandestine laboratory operators arrested in 2004 were sentenced to life imprisonment. The slow judicial process not only demoralizes law enforcement personnel but also enables drug dealers to continue their drug business between court dates. Cases against alleged criminals are sometimes dismissed, but can be reinstated. In December, after a meeting with a concerned elected official and a local religious leader, President Arroyo ordered the reopening of a clandestine lab case from La Union province, reversing a November decision by the Department of Justice to dismiss charges against the accused. To improve the judicial process for drug offenses, the DDB conducted a series of joint seminar-workshops for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges throughout the Philippines. There is no effective restriction on the use of telephones or possession of cash in Philippine jails, allowing incarcerated drug traffickers to continue practicing their trade. DDB established a toll-free telephone hotline in 2008 for citizens to report drug trafficking tips and complaints about alleged abuses by PDEA and other counternarcotics law enforcement agencies.


Law Enforcement Efforts. Counternarcotics law enforcement remains a high priority of the GRP, according to government pronouncements, although lack of resources continues to hinder operations. The PDEA, with its roughly 250 agents and 200 more in training, nearly all of whom began law enforcement careers in the past two years, can have only limited impact in a country of nearly 90 million people. Limited PDEA cooperation with the Department of Justice (DOJ), PNP, and NBI hinders progress in law enforcement. Helping to fill the enforcement gap, international support has had significant impact. Philippine Law enforcement officials believe that continued ILEA and JIATF-West training for law enforcement and military personnel has helped make interdiction operations more efficient and effective. GRP law enforcement agencies continued to target high-profile drug traffickers and clandestine drug labs in 2008. Significant successes included a series of seizures of clandestine laboratories and warehouses in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. PDEA reports that in 2008, authorities seized 1471 kilograms of methamphetamine, valued at $17.6 million; 10 kilograms of ketamine, valued at $1 million (at $106 per gram); 2,525 kilograms of processed marijuana leaves and buds, valued at $1.3 million; 4.8 million plants (including seedlings), valued at $23.5 million; 798 tablets of Ecstasy, valued at $19,950 (at $25 per tablet); and $9 million worth of chemicals and precursors. So far, from January to September, 2008, the Philippine authorities claimed to have seized total narcotics worth approximately $52.6 million and arrested 6,589 individuals for drug related offenses. By comparison, in 2007 Philippine authorities seized $58.3 million in narcotics and arrested 10,293 individuals. The Philippine authorities dismantled six clandestine laboratories and four warehouses in 2008 and dismantled 106 marijuana plantations.


In May 2008, Philippine authorities seized 744 kilograms of methamphetamine that was smuggled by "go-fast" boats in Subic Bay, northwest of Manila. The estimated potential street price of the methamphetamine was $8.9 million (at $12,000 per kilogram). The counterfeit cigarette trade from Subic Bay was used to conceal methamphetamine trafficking activity. In July 2008, the PDEA, working closely with the PNP, dismantled a large clandestine laboratory in northwest Luzon. PNP officials told the media that the equipment and essential chemicals seized could have facilitated the production of 180 tons of methamphetamine; however, no precursor chemicals (ephedrine or pseudoephedrine) were seized, so no accurate estimate of the lab's output potential was possible. A lack of investigatory discipline has impeded the PDEA's effectiveness, while the forced assignment of 18 previously convicted-but-pardoned military officers as mid-level PDEA supervisors has lowered the agency's morale. Premature arrest of suspects has led to numerous case dismissals due to lack of sufficient evidence for prosecution. In November, for example, a judge at a Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court ordered the release of a Chinese national for lack of sufficient evidence for his role in a Zamboanga clandestine laboratory. Investigations are rarely continued after the initial arrests and seizures because of a lack of awareness of the significance of circumstantial, testimonial, and documentary evidence. Co-conspirators, frequently at the upper levels of DTO therefore have little fear of subsequent arrest by the PDEA. A lack of administrative oversight and inadequate fiscal controls promote inefficiency and corruption within the agency. Unit directors have unaudited discretion over operational funds disbursed from headquarters, and corruption sometimes prevents funds from reaching field agents, who often have to use personal funds to undertake drug sting operations. In turn, some agents may seek to recoup their spent personal funds through irregular means.


In addition to employing the pardoned mutineers, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has replaced many experienced law enforcement officers at the Regional Director/Service Director level with active duty military officers, in the ranks of Major, Lt. Colonel, and Colonel. This apparently violates the Philippine Constitution just as it would in the US (Article 16 Section 5 Paragraph 4 of the Philippine Constitution mirrors the US Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1385, forbidding the use of military personnel in law enforcement capacities), despite claims that the officers' orders were endorsed by the Office of the President and so are exempt from Constitutional concerns. The military officers are often forceful leaders, but have no training in civilian law enforcement or court procedures. Cases produced by their offices/teams are frequently dismissed by PDOJ for lack of evidence and violations of defendants' rights, leaving the arresting officers potentially liable for civil suit, PDOJ/judicial chastisement, etc. For the loss of the cases, PDEA leaders often blame prosecutors rather than improving internal procedures. The PDEA Director General's public feud with the Secretary of Justiceover one of these cases, known in the Philippine media as the "Alabang Boys" case, has quickly infected relations between PDEA and PDOJ nationwide; PDEA agents bringing cases to PDOJ are now treated with suspicion and contempt by prosecutors and court staff. This severely harms the morale of young PDEA agents who have been trained to do cases the right way, but whose military supervisors frequently don't give them time or resources to do so. Continued use of untrained military officers in the role of law enforcement supervisors will adversely affect the ability of PDEA to enforce drug laws, and lends support to the argument for making the PNP and NBI Drug Task Forces permanent and relatively autonomous from PDEA.


Early in 2008, a fire broke out at the PDEA Headquarters parking lot in a stack of shipping containers used for evidence storage. The fire was caused by spontaneous combustion of flammable, toxic chemicals seized from clandestine drug laboratories which had been stored for years in the containers. The PDEA continues to lack standardized, written guidelines for evidence collection and submission procedures. Two experienced PDEA laboratory directors with knowledge of such procedures were dismissed from their positions in 2008. PDEA agents lack means of movement and communication on the job. Personal vehicles are often used for surveillance, and communication between officers is generally by text message on personal cell phones. Few radios are available for team members to share observations or call for assistance.


PDEA has accelerated its recruitment and training timeline for new agents, although the large number of students per class impedes the training's effectiveness. The two most recent classes consisted of approximately 200 students, but the training facilities were designed for a maximum of 100 students. In the 2007-2008 class, half the students were issued weapons during training, and they were able to practice firing only a small number of live rounds. PDEA lacks a training program for brand new law enforcement supervisors, nor do they have a comprehensive in-service training program.


The Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and New People's Army (NPA) are directly linked to drug trafficking activity. PNP officials believe elements of the ASG are engaged in providing security for marijuana cultivation, protection for drug trafficking organization (DTO) operations, and local drug distribution operations, particularly in Jolo and Tawi-TawI. Philippine police and military officials report that the ASG continues to provide protection for major drug trafficking groups operating in the Sulu Archipelago, as well as local drug trafficking activity in exchange for cash payments that help fund their operations. Many ASG members are drug users themselves. Likewise, NPA cadres throughout the country earn money to feed their members by providing protection to drug traffickers and marijuana growers.


Corruption. Corruption continues to be a problem among the police, judiciary, and elected officials and poses a significant challenge to Philippine law enforcement efforts. The GRP has criminalized public corruption in narcotics law enforcement through the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, which clearly prohibits GRP officials from laundering proceeds of illegal drug actions. During the fourth quarter of 2008, the PNP made arrests of lower ranking police officers and high level politicians on corruption charges. In August 2008, over 60 police officials were relieved from duty pending investigation for their involvement in the protection of a clandestine laboratory in northern Luzon. In addition, five new PDEA agents in 2008 were summarily dismissed on corruption charges. Congressional investigations were underway in January 2009 to examine allegations of corruption in the Philippine DOJ's dismissal of a case against drug suspects in PDEA custody. Both the PNP and PDEA have internal affairs divisions to address corruption. Pending legislation, the Whistleblower Act, would enable individuals to come forward with information regarding corrupt government officials or employees without fear of physical or other retaliation. The Philippine Presidential Anti-Corruption Council received a large grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation in 2008, much of which was given to PDEA to hire approximately 400 agents and support personnel and fund their basic agent training program. As a matter of government policy, the Philippines 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 known senior official of the GRP engages in, encourages, or facilitates the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Several active and former politicians and officials have been implicated in drug trafficking and money laundering, but have yet to be charged.


Agreements and Treaties. The Philippines is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, as well as to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention. The Philippines is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, and the UN Convention against Corruption. The U.S. and the GRP continue to cooperate in law enforcement matters through a bilateral extradition treaty and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. In October 2008, the PDEA Director General signed a Memorandum of Agreement with his Indonesian counterpart to share real-time drug intelligence through U.S.-funded intelligence fusion centers in both countries.


Cultivation/Production. DDB reports that there are at least 67 marijuana cultivation sites spread throughout the mountainous areas of nine regions of the Philippines, compared with PDEA's estimate of 60 sites in 2007. Using manual techniques to eradicate marijuana, various government entities claim to have successfully uprooted and destroyed 4.8 million plants and seedlings in 2008, compared with 2.5 million plants and seedlings in 2007. PDEA stated that number of marijuana plantation increased by 242 percent from 2007 to 2008, although data to corroborate this figure were not released.


Drug Flow/Transit. The Philippines is a narcotics source and transshipment country. Illegal drugs and precursor chemicals enter and leave the country through seaports, economic zones, and airports. The Philippines has more than 7,000 islands and 36,200 kilometers of coastline. Vast stretches of the Philippine coast are unpatrolled and sparsely inhabited. Busy seaports, often privately operated with limited customs and law enforcement controls, an under-funded Coast Guard with inadequate authorities, along with thousands of miles of open coastline, allow traffickers to use cargo ships (which off-load to smaller craft), shipping containers, fishing boats, and "go-fast" boats to transport multi-hundred kilogram quantities of methamphetamine and precursor chemicals. AFP and law enforcement marine interdiction efforts are hindered by a lack of intelligence sharing and insufficient fuel for patrol vessels. Maritime smuggling is prevalent in the tri-border region with Malaysia and Indonesia, and in northern Luzon. Commercial air carriers and express mail services remain the primary means of shipment of illegal drugs to Guam, Hawaii, and to the mainland U.S., with a typical shipment size of one to four kilograms.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 includes provisions that mandate drug abuse education in schools, the establishment of provincial drug education centers, development of drug-free workplace programs, the implementation of random drug testing for secondary and tertiary students; mandatory drug testing for military and law enforcement personnel, driver's license, and firearm license applicants; and other demand-reduction classes. Abusers who voluntarily enroll in treatment and rehabilitation centers are exempt from prosecution for illegal drug use. Southern Mindanao enjoys a robust and effective, though under-funded, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program in both public and private elementary schools. In 2008, there were 1,371 new admittances and 376 re-admittances to drug rehabilitation centers. A joint effort headed by the DDB is currently in its planning stage to fight drug use by a demand reduction strategy, while continuing the pursuit against drug cultivation and production. This includes improving drug rehabilitation programs. In 2008, there were four new rehabilitation centers in ARMM, Region 2, Region 12, and in CARR.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Policy Initiatives. The USG's main counternarcotics assistance goals in the Philippines are to:


  • Work with local counterparts to provide an effective response to counter the still growing clandestine production of methamphetamine;
  • Cooperate with local authorities to prevent the Philippines from becoming a source country for drug trafficking organizations targeting the United States market;
  • Promote the development of PDEA as the focus for effective counternarcotics enforcement in the Philippines and;
  • Provide ILEA, JIATF-West, and other drug-related training for law enforcement and military personnel.


Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. assists the Philippine counternarcotics efforts with training, intelligence gathering and fusion, and infrastructure development. In July 2005, the DEA Manila Country Office and Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-West (JIATF-W) began to develop a network of drug information fusion centers in the Philippines. The primary facility, the Interagency Counter Narcotics Operations Network (ICON) is located at PDEA Headquarters in Quezon City. There are three ICON outstations located at the headquarters of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, Zamboanga del Sur (southwestern Mindanao); Coast Guard Station, General Santos City (south-central Mindanao); and at Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union (northwestern Luzon). These outstations are intended to serve as regional collection points for information about drug smuggling and other maritime security issues and provide actionable target information that law enforcement agencies can use to investigate, interdict, and prosecute criminal organizations.


The Road Ahead. The USG plans to continue work with the GRP to promote law-enforcement institution building and encourage anti-corruption mechanisms via JIATF-West programs, as well as ongoing programs funded by the Department of State (INL and S/CT, and USAID). Strengthening the bilateral counter-narcotics relationship serves the national interests of both the U.S. and the Philippines.



I. Summary


Poland has traditionally been a transit country for drug trafficking. As economic conditions improve, it is increasingly a more significant consumer of narcotics and producer of amphetamines. The Government of Poland has a comprehensive demand reduction program and integration into the European Union's Schengen zone appears to have improved law enforcement capabilities against narcotics trafficking. Poland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


In 2008, no significant changes were made in legislation. Compared to 2006, public expenditures on counternarcotics programs decreased in 2007. Polish law enforcement agencies have been successful in breaking up organized crime syndicates involved in drug trafficking, yet trafficking activities continue to become more sophisticated and global in nature. According to mid-year statistics provided by the Polish National Police (PNP), drug-related crimes have decreased since Poland's accession to the European Union's Schengen zone, which the PNP attributes to better information sharing via the EU's Schengen Information System. Police officials acknowledge that their statistics probably do not reflect the full scale of narcotics transiting through Poland, which according to anecdotal information appears to be constant or even slightly on the rise. Cooperation between USG officials and Polish law enforcement has been excellent and Poland's EU accession in 2004 accelerated GoP diligence on narcotics policy.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives.  Budget: The 2007 expenditures on the National Program for Counteracting Drug Addiction totaled approximately 136.5 million PLN (approx. $58 million). This figure includes expenditures of the National Bureau for Drug Prevention, National AIDS Center, the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Border Guards, the National Health Fund, provincial and municipal Governments, various training programs, and many other associated expenses. Starting in 2007, this figure excludes Police Headquarters and Central Management Board of Prison Service expenses, partially explaining the large decrease in expenditures from 2006 expenditures of 321 million PLN (approx. $137 million). The National Health Fund's 2007 expenditures rose for the first time since 2004 by 2 million PLN from the 2006 level. Legislation. There have been no major changes in legislation. The Ministry of Health continues to seek to enact its National Plans on HIV and AIDS. In 2008, the Justice Ministry established a special inter-ministerial group to revise the 2005 Law on Combating Drug Addiction and to encourage alternative forms of punishment to incarceration for drug addicts or simple possession offenders. Although under current law, drug users can be required to attend specialized therapy and have their cases suspended or dropped if therapy succeeds, this option is rarely utilized. Polish law permits the use of informants, telephone taps, and controlled deliveries to fight international crime, and a witness protection program is in place. The maximum sentence for narcotics trafficking is 15 years. All forms of possession are punishable.


Law Enforcement. Administrative controls for programs like demand reduction and health care are largely decentralized, while law enforcement efforts remain centralized and hierarchical in nature. Demand reduction programs are managed by the Health Ministry's National Bureau for Drug Addiction (NBDA) and provincial and municipal governments, and are intended to target local populations. In contrast, regional law enforcement offices are required to coordinate most activities with Warsaw, which hinders the development of investigations and evidence collection. Cooperation between regional law enforcement offices at times is also limited by the centralized structure. This centralization of power in Warsaw appears to have strengthened since the November 2007 election of Prime Minister Donald Tusk.


According to PNP mid-year statistics, since Poland’s December 2007 accession to the EU's Schengen zone, drug-related crimes committed in Poland have dropped by 22 percent. The PNP attribute this drop to better access to information from the Schengen Information System. However, anecdotal information indicates that Poland's role as a transit nation has remained more or less constant or might even be on the rise. More comprehensive analysis of the impact of Schengen is not expected to be available until 2009. Poland works with Interpol and EUROPOL to combat transnational narcotics trade. Poland also cooperates with several neighboring countries on counternarcotics programs, including Project Eagle, a Polish-Swedish project against trafficking of amphetamines. One sign of the success of local law enforcement in uncovering amphetamine labs is the relocation of labs from Warsaw to more remote, rural areas. From the beginning of 2008 through the end of October, the PNP closed down 10 amphetamine labs.


In 2007, 27,936 suspects were identified as being involved in drug-related crimes, including 2,945 underage suspects, and over 63,007 drug-related crimes were registered. In September 2008, four tons of hashish worth 120 million PLN (approx. $51 Million) was seized in Germany, as the result of cooperation between the Polish Central Bureau of Investigation (CBS) and German and Dutch Police. On the basis of recent seizures, the Polish CBS assesses that it has managed to stem the flow of narcotics from Pakistan to Western Europe. In July, the Polish daily newspaper 'Rzeczpospolita' reported that new routes for transporting cocaine and marijuana from Africa through Poland into Western Europe had emerged. There were indications of the emergence of a shipment route for hashish from Morocco to Poland: in April 2007 Dutch Border Guard's seized a 44 million PLN (approx. $19 Million) drug shipment destined for Poland, and in May 2007 CBS arrested four people suspected of smuggling 1.5 tons of hashish from Morocco to Poland.


Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of Poland 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. Poland has fulfilled requirements to harmonize its laws with the EU's Drug Policy and closely cooperates with the EU Monitoring Center on Drugs in Lisbon. Poland 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. Poland is a party to the UN Convention Against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Poland is also a member of the Dublin Group. An extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty are in force between the U.S. and Poland. Poland has signed bilateral instruments with the U.S. implementing the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements. The U.S. and Poland have ratified these instruments. None have entered into force.


Cultivation and Production. Synthetic drugs, particularly amphetamines, are manufactured in Poland in small-scale kitchen operations. The quality of amphetamines in Poland tends to be high as a result of double distillation, making Polish amphetamines more attractive to some users than cheaper, large-scale production amphetamines from Belgium or the Netherlands.


Drug Flow/Transit. A significant percentage of Polish-produced amphetamines are exported to Scandinavia. Precursors for amphetamines are not locally available and must be imported from other countries. The profitability of Poland's small amphetamine labs remains low. Shipments of heroin, hashish, cocaine, and Ecstasy frequently transit the country, destined for Western Europe. Ecstasy prices in Poland in 2007 ranged from 15 to 40 PLN ($6.50 to $17) per pill and can be bought wholesale for 8 PLN ($3.40). Opium originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan is also frequently shipped through Poland to Western Europe.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The NBDA has a comprehensive plan for reducing drug addiction and programs to discourage new users. The GoP estimates there are between 100,000 and 120,000 drug users in Poland. In 2007, 85 drug-free residential facilities were in operation, and 13,000 addicts were successfully treated in 2006. An additional 169 outpatient clinics were in operation. In 2007, three new methadone programs were launched, bringing Poland to 15 active substitution treatment programs offered in 1230 centers around the country. Notwithstanding the extensive treatment programs, a gap exists between prison substitution programs and general programs which can lead to addict relapse. In 2007, the National Bureau for Drug Prevention co-financed the implementation of prevention programs for at-risk children and adolescents, focusing on recreational drug use. Programs like Monar, which targets discotheques and clubs, and Parasol, which focuses on commercial sex workers, are two of the seven demand reduction programs. The National Bureau for Drug Prevention also launched a "Watch Your Drink" program to combat date rape drugs like GHB, ketamine, and rohypnol.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. Bilateral cooperation between U.S. and Polish counternarcotics agencies remains strong, especially since the stationing of two DEA officers in Warsaw in 2005. One of the challenges to cooperation on a policy level remains the high turnover of senior- and managerial-level Polish police officials. Differences between the U.S. and Polish judicial systems continue to make cooperation and investigation of some leads problematic. Nonetheless, DEA and LEGAT assess that there is good cooperation at the working level. Cooperation has also been effective in cases where the USG has been able to supplement Polish resources and capabilities and to coordinate regional and intercontinental investigations. In 2008, the PNP cooperated with DEA in several narcotics investigations targeting criminal organizations that import controlled substances into and through Poland.


The Road Ahead. Given Poland's predominant role as a transit country, the USG will continue to promote regional cooperation and focus on providing training that promotes integrated interdiction efforts. Additionally, the USG will continue to advocate judicial reform measures that enable more efficient investigations and ensure more effective punishment for narcotics traffickers.



I. Summary


Portugal once again saw a significant decline in cocaine seizures as shipments to Europe are increasingly being routed through African nations rather than Northern Atlantic routes. As a result, seizures of cocaine decreased from 5.2 metric tons in the first six months of 2007 to 2.6 metric tons during the same period in 2008. In the first half of 2008, seizures of heroin increased from 40 kilograms in 2007 to 49 kilograms in 2008. Hashish seizures increased significantly from 15.1 metric tons in the first half of 2007 to 24.4 metric tons in the first half of 2008. U.S.-Portugal cooperation on drugs has included high-level visits to Portugal by U.S. officials and experts, and consultations on the newly established Maritime Analysis Operations Center for Narcotics (MAOC-N), located in Lisbon. Portugal is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Drug smugglers have used Portugal as a primary gateway to Europe in recent years; their task is made easier by open borders among the Schengen Agreement countries and by Portugal’s long coastline. Since early 2007, Portuguese law enforcement entities have seen a significant drop in cocaine seizures and speculate that traffickers have moved to Western African nations and then use “swallower mules” to enter Europe in smaller, harder to detect packages. South America remains the source of cocaine arriving in Portugal, usually transited through Brazil and Venezuela. For hashish, primary source countries were Moroccan hashish, transshipped through Spain. Cocaine and heroin enter Portugal by commercial aircraft, containers, and maritime vessels. The Netherlands, Spain and Belgium are the primary sources of Ecstasy in Portugal. Drug abuse within the Portuguese prison system continues to be a major concern for authorities.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. Portugal decriminalized drug use for casual consumers and addicts on July 1, 2001. The law makes the “consumption, acquisition, and possession of drugs for personal use” a simple administrative offense. In 2007, the Portuguese Parliament approved a law allowing police to test drivers’ saliva for driving under the influence of narcotics and/or alcohol. If the road-side sample is positive, drivers must then undergo a blood test at a health care establishment to confirm the results. Drug testing prior to the new law had to be done at a health care establishment, making the process more complicated for both drivers and law enforcement officers.


Law Enforcement Efforts. Portugal has seven separate law enforcement agencies that deal with narcotics: the Judicial Police (PJ), the Public Security Police (PSP), the Republican National Guard (GNR), Customs (DGAIEC), the Immigration Service (SEF), the Directorate General of Prison Services (DGSP), and the Maritime Police (PM). The PJ is a unit of the Ministry of Justice with overall responsibility for coordination of criminal investigations. The PM reports to the Ministry of Defense and the other entities are units of the Ministry of the Interior. According to a 2007 semi-annual report prepared by the PJ, the Portuguese law enforcement forces arrested 2,550 individuals for drug-related offenses in the first six months of 2008 as “traffickers/consumers.” Of those arrested, 80% were Portuguese citizens, but the foreign nationals arrested include citizens from Cape Verde (229), Guinea Bissau (50), Brazil (36), Angola (30), and Spain (23). The 2007 PJ semi-annual report indicates a significant decrease in the cocaine seized in the first half of 2007 compared to the first half of 2006. Cocaine seizures fell by 45% from 5.2 metric tons to just 2.6 metric tons in the first half of 2008. Also over the first six months of 2008, compared to the same timeframe in 2007, hashish seizures jumped by 60% to 24.4 metric tons, Ecstasy seizures increased to 64,361 pills and heroin seizures increased to 49 kilograms. PJ's first semester report on 2008 activities notes the seizure of over 1 million Euros in cash, plus the equivalent of over 12,000 Euros in foreign currency, and 344 vehicles, 1,565 cell phones, and 114 weapons.


  • On May 14, 2008, GNR officers seized 4.4 metric tons of hashish in Cabanas de Tavira, Portugal. Most hashish seized in Portugal is intended for the Portuguese market, although some does go to Spain.
  • On June 26, 2008, Portuguese Judicial Police (PJ) seized 199 bales of hashish, weighing 6 metric tons, off the southwestern coast in a Portuguese fishing boat.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Portugal does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.


Agreements and Treaties. Portugal is 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. Portugal is party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. In September 2007 Portugal ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. A Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) has been in force between Portugal and the U.S. since 1994. Portugal and the U.S. have been parties to an extradition treaty since 1908. Although this treaty does not cover financial crimes, drug trafficking or organized crime, certain drug trafficking offenses are deemed extraditable in accordance with the terms of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In addition, Portugal and the U.S. 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.


Drug Flow/Transit. Portugal’s long, rugged coastline and its proximity to North Africa offer an advantage to traffickers who smuggle illicit drugs into Portugal. In some cases, traffickers are reported to use high-speed boats in attempts to smuggle drugs into the country, and some traffickers use the Azores islands as a transshipment point. The U.S. has not been identified as a significant destination for drugs transiting through Portugal.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Responsibility for coordinating Portugal’s drug programs was moved to the Ministry of Health in 2002. The Government also established the Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction (IDT) by merging the Portuguese Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction (IPDT) with the Portuguese Service for the Treatment of Drug Addiction (SPTT). The IDT gathers statistics, disseminates information on narcotics issues and manages government treatment programs for narcotic addictions. It also sponsors several programs aimed at drug prevention and treatment, the most important of which is the Municipal Plan for Primary Prevention. Its objective is to create, with community input, locality-specific prevention programs in thirty-six municipal districts. IDT runs a hotline and manages several public awareness campaigns. Regional commissions are charged with reducing demand for drugs, collecting fines and arranging for the treatment of drug abusers. A national needle exchange program was credited with significantly reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, although HIV infections resulting from injections are still a major concern in the Portuguese prison system. In November 2006, Lisbon city officials approved plans for legalized assisted narcotics consumption centers or “shoot houses” to open in late 2007 but the heated internal debate has stalled plans to open them. Portugal is implementing its National Drugs Strategy: 2005-2012, with an intermediary impact assessment scheduled for 2008. It builds on the EU’s Drugs Strategy 2000-2004 and Action Plan on Drugs 2000-2004 and focuses on reducing drug use, drug dependence and drug-related health and social risks. The 2008 strategy includes prevention programs in schools and within families, early intervention, treatment, harm reduction, rehabilitation, and social reintegration measures.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. DEA-Madrid is responsible for coordinating with Portuguese authorities on U.S.-nexus drug cases. The Portuguese Customs Bureau cooperates with the U.S. under the terms of the 1994 CMAA.


In April 2008, U.S. Director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, John Walters, visited Portugal and met with Portuguese law enforcement, health, and NGO officials to discuss the narcotics problem in Portugal.


A USCG mobile training team provided maritime law enforcement training in Portugal in 2008, delivering an advanced boarding officer course.


The Road Ahead. Portugal and the U.S. will use their excellent cooperative relationship to improve narcotics enforcement in both countries.





I. Summary


Romania is not a major source of illicit narcotics. However Romania continues to serve as a transit country for narcotics and lies along the well-established Northern Balkan route to move opiate derivatives such as opium, morphine base and heroin from Afghanistan to Central and Western Europe. Within Romania, the overall levels of drug use remained relatively stable, with some fluctuations. In 2008, for example, the number of injected-drug heroin abusers decreased but the use of synthetic, recreational drugs increased among segments of the country's youth. The average age-group of drug users is 14-25, with a 5-to-1 ratio of boys to girls. Metropolitan Bucharest is the key area for both drug traffic and use. Programs targeting heroin and synthetic drug users significantly increased in scope. Police and government authorities modernized their data collection methods and recorded increases in the amount of drugs seized. Romania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Romania lies along what is commonly referred to as the Northern Balkan route, and therefore is a transit country for narcotics. This route has multiple branches. Heroin and opium move from Southwest Asia, principally Afghanistan, through Turkey, Ukraine and Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania and onward toward Central and Western Europe. Synthetic drugs and cocaine, as well as heroin precursor chemicals, also flow from Western Europe through Romania eastward; entry points are through Bulgaria, Serbia and Ukraine. The Balkan route generally involves transit by autos and by sea in containers. Cocaine, for example, is smuggled by sea directly from Spain. Marijuana and heroin are the primary drugs consumed in Romania. Among the country's youth, MDMA (Ecstasy) is increasingly consumed in homes and in nightclubs. Some government authorities believe consumption will increase as Romania continues to integrate into Europe.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy initiatives. Romania continues to build an integrated system of prevention and treatment services at the national and local level. Forty-seven Anti-Drug Prevention and Counseling Centers are spread throughout the country with one in each of the 41 Romanian counties and six in Bucharest. The General Directorate for Countering Organized Crime and Anti-Drug (DGCCOA), a law enforcement body that is part of the Romanian Police, operates throughout the country. Joint teams of police and social workers carry out educational and preventative programs against drug consumption. The National Anti-Drug Agency (ANA), a government agency with the mandate to combat drug use, spends approximately 70 percent of its budget on prevention programs and works with 1500 volunteers nationwide. Romania continues to play an active role in the Anti-Drug task force of the Bucharest-based Southeast European Cooperative Initiative's Regional Center for Combating Trans-Border Crime (the SECI Center), as well as the Southeast European Prosecutors Advisory Group (SEEPAG).


Law Enforcement Efforts. In the first six months of 2008 the total amount of drugs seized increased over 250 percent from the same period of the prior year. From January through June, Romanian authorities seized 441.4 kilos of illegal drugs, including 324 kilos of heroin, 105.5 kilos of cannabis and 50,163 amphetamine and derivative pills. Cocaine is found in smaller amounts in Romania, and seizures usually do not exceed several kilos per year. Within this relatively small scale of cocaine seizure activity, the amount of cocaine seized has decreased significantly from 2007 to 2008. During the first half of 2008, 2,221 persons were investigated for drugs and precursor trafficking, possession and consumption. Of these, 397 persons were indicted and 275 were held in preventative arrest. The number of individuals investigated and indicted was 17 percent fewer than the first half of 2007. The Romanian courts convicted 256 individuals, including eight minors. Of these, 255 received prison sentences, although approximately half of them were paroled or had their sentences conditionally suspended. Law enforcement activities are expanding. The ANA has developed closer relationships with counterparts in the countries around Afghanistan and those comprising the Balkan routes. Data collection techniques are improving but challenges remain, such as the need to improve communication between relevant agencies and the inadequacy of budget support.


Corruption: Corruption remains a serious problem in the Romanian Government, including within the judiciary and law enforcement branches. The code of ethics for police officers provides strict rules for the professional conduct of law enforcement and specifically addresses corruption, use of force, torture, and illegal behavior. Unlawful or abusive acts may trigger criminal or disciplinary sanctions.


As a matter of government policy, Romania 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 is no evidence that senior Romanian officials engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of dangerous drugs or substances, or launder the proceeds from illegal transactions.


Agreements and Treaties. Romania is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Bilateral instruments related to the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements were concluded in 2007; they have been ratified in both countries, but have not yet entered into force. Romanian legislation on precursor substances is consistent with that of the European Union. Romania is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN Convention against Corruption.


Cultivation/Production. Romania is not a significant producer of illegal narcotics; however, there is a small amount of domestic amphetamine and cannabis production.


Drug Flow/Transit. Illicit narcotics from Afghanistan enter Romania by land from Ukraine, Moldova and Bulgaria, and by sea through the Black Sea port of Constanta. Once in Romania, the drugs move either northwest through Hungary or west through Serbia. Destination countries are primarily Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The Balkan Route also includes transshipment of drugs eastward through Romania. Cocaine, for example, is smuggled by sea, directly from Spain. Romania also is becoming an increasingly important route for the transit of synthetic drugs and precursor chemicals from Western and Northern Europe to the East. Some Romanian authorities believe that as the economy grows, drug traffickers will become more aggressive.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Although drug use remained relatively stable within Romania, the authorities appear to be paying greater attention to the problem. Programs targeting heroin and synthetic drug users increased in scope; the National Drug Agency (ANA) estimates that 70 percent of its budget is allocated to prevention programs. ANA reports that the number of injecting-heroin abusers decreased, but officials are concerned that urban Romanian youth are increasingly using synthetic, recreational drugs in private, hard-to-reach places, such as homes and nightclubs. The average age-group of drug users is 14-25, with a 5-to-1 ratio of boys to girls. Synthetic drug use is thought to be especially on the rise in Transylvania, but Metropolitan Bucharest remains the center for both drug consumption and traffic. A 2007 study identified 35,000 to 40,000 users in the capital region. ANA reports it attracted several million dollars in external funding, but its programs remain hampered by resource constraints. Drug prevention programs were initiated in cooperation with local authorities, NGOs, religious organizations and private companies. Detoxification programs exist in some local hospitals, but treatment is limited. Four new rehabilitation centers are planned. A program of probation, based on the American model, was introduced in part as an attempt to separate drug users from those convicted of violent crimes.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. In 2008, Romania benefited from U.S. financial assistance to the SECI Center for Combating Trans-border Crime, which more broadly supports the twelve participating states in the Balkan region and focuses in part on the narcotics trade. U.S. funding consisted of: (1) approximately $1.4 million sent in 2007 by the U.S. Department of State for 2007-08 programs, and (2) approximately $175,000 in financial support and equipment donations by the FBI. In addition to financial support, the U.S., which is a permanent observer country at the SECI Center, provides expertise and personnel to support the SECI Center's law enforcement efforts. A Supervisory Special Agent from the DEA is posted at the SECI Center, as well as a U.S. Department of Justice Resident Legal Advisor and a Supervisory Special Agent (retired) FBI liaison. The DEA representative assists in coordinating narcotics information sharing, maintains liaison with participating law enforcement agencies, and coordinates with the DGCCOA on case-related issues. The Resident Legal Advisor provides advice and technical assistance on various aspects of the SECI Center's mandate, including enhancing cooperation to combat drug trafficking.


The Road Ahead. DEA has increased its presence in Romania by assigning a Supervisory Special Agent and Supervisory Intelligence Research Specialist to the SECI. The two new positions will complement and strengthen the already solid relationship between DEA and Romanian Authorities, which up to now had been maintained and developed by DEA personnel assigned to Athens, Greece. The additional presence will enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation and partnership, which will result in continued joint successes in international drug trafficking investigations. The United States stands ready to assist Romania and nearby countries in meeting the growing challenge of drug trafficking and abuse.



I. Summary


Trafficking in opiates from Afghanistan and their abuse continue to be major problems facing Russian law enforcement and public health agencies in 2008. The Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) estimates (March 2008) that 5.1 million Russians (3.6 percent of a population of 143 million) take drugs on a regular basis. Russian officials estimate that about 10,000 people die annually of drug overdoses and another 70,000 deaths are considered drug-related. There are estimates that nearly 65 percent of newly detected HIV cases can be attributed to injecting drug use and that among HIV-positive injecting drug users, about 85-90 percent are Hepatitis C positive.


The FSKN reported that the sharp post-Soviet increases in the number of drug users has begun to stabilize. The Government of Russia (GOR) has begun to take steps to address the public health issues associated with drug use. Health education programs in schools and outreach programs for youth and other vulnerable populations are beginning to incorporate messages concerning the harmful effects of drug use and the links between injecting drugs and HIV/AIDS. However, government-supported drug addiction treatment programs are ineffective and in any case not widely available. Russia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of the Country


Russia is both a transshipment point and a user market for heroin, opium, marijuana, Ecstasy and other dangerous illegal substances including a synthetic injectable opiate comprised of a mixture of heroin and tri-methylfentanyl called "White China." Opiates available in Russia originate almost exclusively in Afghanistan, and are often ultimately destined for Europe. The 7000-kilometer Russian border with Kazakhstan is roughly twice the length of the U.S.-Mexican border and poorly patrolled. Retail distribution of heroin and other drugs within Russia is carried out by a variety of criminal groups which include, but are not limited to Russian Organized Crime, Central Asian, Caucasian, Russian/Slavic, and Roma groups.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. The FSKN, originally established in 2003 as the State Committee for the Control of Traffic in Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances (GKPN), was restructured in 2004 to become the Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN). The FSKN has an authorized staffing level of 40,000 employees, with branch offices in every region of Russia. Since its creation the FSKN has stressed the importance of attacking money laundering and other financial aspects of the drug trade. The money laundering division of the FSKN cooperates closely with the Ministry of the Interior (MVD), the Federal Security Service (FSB), and the Federal Customs Service (FTS), but its main partner is the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring (FSFM).


The FSKN has also continued its efforts to implement effective monitoring of the chemical industry. Prior to the creation of FSKN, precursor chemicals and pharmaceuticals were governed by a patchwork of regulations enforced by different agencies. Production, transportation, distribution, and import/export of controlled substances now require licensing from FSKN. Both FSKN and MVD routinely report large seizures of precursor chemicals. However these seizures are usually made for regulatory reasons and are not connected with clandestine drug production.


Russia is a producer of several precursor chemicals including the amphetamine precursor benzyl methyl ketone (aka Phenyl-2-Propanone or P2P), the heroin precursor Acetic Anhydride (AA), and the precursor Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), a precursor in the production of Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). In Russia, the production and distribution of GBL is licensed. According to FSKN officials, there are five chemical plants in Russia that have the capacity to produce AA, though at the present time only one of them is actually doing so (Dzerzhinsk, Russia).


The State Anti-Narcotics Committee was established by Presidential decree on October 19, 2007. The stated purpose of the governmental steering body is to develop proposals for the President on national anti-narcotics policy, to coordinate the activities of various government agencies, and to participate in international drug enforcement cooperation efforts. The Committee is chaired by the FSKN Director and is comprised of seven federal ministers, 14 heads of federal services, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative, vice speakers from the Duma and the Federation Council, and other officials. The Committee has met twice in 2008: January 23 and March 5. Anti-narcotics commissions have been established at the regional level and are headed by the heads of regional administrations.


The FSKN has been given authority to station drug liaison officers in foreign states to facilitate information sharing and joint investigations. To date, FSKN personnel have been stationed in Afghanistan, the United States, and Kazakhstan. The FSKN has indicated its intent to assign personnel to Austria, China, Belarus, Germany, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan as well. The FSKN has said, too, that its drug liaison officer in Kazakhstan will work with the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC), which is being established by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and will be based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. CARICC will serve as a regional focal point for communication, analysis and exchange of operational information in “real time” on cross–border crime, as well as a center for the organization and coordination of joint operations. CARICC includes Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In September 2008, President Medvedev stated that Russia, too, would benefit from membership in CARICC. However, at the time of this report, Russia has yet to join.


As part of the NATO-Russia Council’s counternarcotics project, Russian trainers conducted training courses Central Asian counterparts at the Domodedovo training centre of the Ministry of the Interior in Moscow during 2008. These training courses assist Central Asian police entities in combating major heroin trafficking organizations.


On December 6, 2007, President Putin signed into law a bill amending the criminal code to criminalize imports into Russia of synthetic analogs of narcotic substances, to shift the authority to investigate such offenses from the Customs Service (FTS) to FSKN, and to stiffen the penalty from a fine to seven years in prison.


Law Enforcement Efforts. Through September 2008, the MVD registered 180,196 crimes related to illicit drug trafficking, in which they identified 83,491 perpetrators, and 114,974 of these cases were referred for prosecution.


The following table reflects total drug seizures in Russia for the timeframes established below: MVD for the period January–June 2008, FSKN for the period January–August 2008, and FTS for the period January–September 2008 (most figures are in kg):



Substance MVD FSKN FTS
Hashish 379.2 (+7.4%) 767 242.1
Marijuana 4,047.6 (+78.8%) 8,752 243.3
Poppy Straw None reported 709 None reported
Opium 15 (+.3%) 148 45
Heroin 396.9 (+7.7%) 1,091 658.7
Cocaine 26.1 (+.5%) None reported 44.4
Psychotropic substances 193.1 (+3.7%) 163 None reported
Precursor chemicals None reported None reported 9,200
Synthetic drugs 81.6 (+1.6%) 84 2,185 units




Average Drug Prices Reported by Russian MVD in 2008
Heroin $50.00 $7,000.00–$20,000.00
Opium $25.00–$33.00 $5,000.00
Poppy Straw N/A $287.00
Marijuana $4.00–$10.00 $1,000.00
Cocaine $80.00–$250.00 $35,000.00–$60,000.00
MDMA $23.00 tablet


Hashish $18.00 $8,148.00


Note: The figures in the table above are an average of prices from 23 different Russian regions, and as such, vary considerably.


FSKN officials have stated that they see synthetic drugs as the threat of the future as new users opt for drugs that they perceive to be safer and more stylish than heroin.

According to reports, nearly 90% of synthetic drugs are imported into Russia from China, but there is some domestic production as well. Drug users may purchase ephedrine or medications that contain ephedrine, add water and potassium permanganate, and heat the mixture to create a solution whose active ingredient is methcathinone. The solution is then administered intravenously. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are also used to produce amphetamine. Authorities frequently report large seizures of pseudoephedrine in Russia’s far eastern regions, but methamphetamine is rare. It appears that most pseudoephedrine seized in Russia is intended to produce other forms of amphetamine or methcathinone.

Although MDMA (Ecstasy) tablets produced in Russia are of poor quality, the low prices (as little as $5 per tablet) are attractive to Russian youth compared to the $20 typically charged for each tablet for MDMA from abroad (primarily The Netherlands and Poland). The St. Petersburg area is considered the primary gateway for foreign-produced MDMA smuggled into Russia


Since the end of 2005, tri-methylfentanyl has spread through the western regions of the country. Soviet authorities first encountered 3-methylfentanyl in 1990 but seizures were rare until the end of 2005. According to MVD chemists, they encounter tri-methylfentanyl in two forms. First, it is used to spike highly diluted heroin to improve its narcotic effect. Second, tri-methylfentanyl is added to lactose or other inert substances to produce a mixture with the potency of a similar weight of heroin. The FSKN believes that tri-methylfentanyl is most often smuggled into the country from Belarus or Ukraine, but admits that it may be synthesized in Russia as well. The FSKN also reports encountering 3-methylfentanyl mixed with methadone. The FSKN reports that a majority of tri-methylfentanyl seizures occur in small amounts (300-600 grams) in the northwest and western parts of Russia.


Cocaine abuse is not widespread, but is increasing. Disposable incomes in Russia have risen steadily over the past few years, while cocaine prices have remained static, making the drug more affordable to a growing number of potential users. Cocaine is easily obtained in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Cocaine is frequently brought into Russia through the ports of St. Petersburg, and to a lesser extent Novorossiysk. Sailors aboard fruit carriers and other vessels operating between Russia and Latin America (especially Ecuador) provide a convenient pool of potential couriers. From March through December 2008, the Russian FTS, working with the Russian FSB, made eight seizures of cocaine totaling 164.4 kilograms from cargo ships docked at the port of St. Petersburg. The majority of the ships had sailed from Ecuador.


In an example of effective international law enforcement cooperation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Russian law enforcement agencies conducted operations which resulted in several seizures, totaling more than 122 kg of cocaine in 2008. These seizures involved Latvian, Ukrainian and Russian crewmembers aboard banana vessels smuggling multi-kilogram cocaine shipments from South America to St. Petersburg.


Another less common smuggling method involves couriers traveling on commercial flights bringing cocaine into Russia, often through third countries in Europe, as well as the U.S.


FSKN officials have also pointed to the use of the Internet to sell illegal drugs. According to the FSKN, Russia is home to hundreds of websites which market illegal drugs both in Russia and abroad. The FSKN has reported that it is attempting to develop technology to interrupt web-based drug trafficking. Presently, there are only 7-8 types of steroids which are illegal in Russia. Many criminal cases are made against those selling steroids based on the violation of not clearly marking what is being shipped (concealing the contents by marking them as something else).


A joint U.S.-Russian (DEA and FSKN) investigation into the internet sale of steroids from Russia to over 400 customers in the United States was successfully concluded in late 2007. Over $350,000 and 75 kilograms of steroids were seized at the scene of a search warrant in Moscow, with six drug trafficking organization (DTO) members being arrested. According to the FSKN, two rogue Russian customs agents (FTS) were arrested for facilitating the DTO’s overseas shipments.


Russia now has a legislative and financial monitoring structure that facilitates the tracking, seizure, and forfeiture of all criminal proceeds. Russian legislation provides for investigative techniques such as wiretapping, search, seizure and the compulsory production of documents. Legislation passed in 2004, entitled "On Protection of Victims, Witnesses and Other Participants in Criminal Proceedings" extends legal protection to all parties involved in a criminal trial. Prosecutors or investigators may recommend that a judge implement witness protection measures if they learn of a threat to the life or property of a participant in a trial. Steps taken to protect a program participant could include personal and property protection, change of appearance, change of identity, relocation, and transfer to a new job. The GOR has issued implementing regulations and provided money from the federal budget for implementation of the legislation. The Presidential Administration has submitted cooperating witness legislation to the Duma, where it is expected to win passage.


In 2006, asset forfeiture laws were reinserted into Russian legislation, enabling the courts to seize the property of a convicted drug trafficker if it is demonstrated that the property was purchased with drug proceeds.


Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the GOR 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 GOR senior officials were known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.


Several criminal cases against law enforcement were made public in 2008, including the arrest and conviction for illicit drug trade of two police officers in Gelendzhik, Russia, one of them the Deputy Police Chief; the arrest for drug smuggling in the Leningradskiy Oblast, St. Petersburg of a senior police officer with the Vasileostrovsky District; the arrest of a senior police operative with the Vyborgskiy District; the arrest of the Deputy Chief of the Kirovskiy District; and the arrest of a senior operative with the St. Petersburg Police. In Vladivostok, the Deputy Head of the Leninskiy District directorate of internal affairs was arrested for selling three kilograms of heroin. The Investigative Committee of the General Procuracy stated in November 2008 that its investigation of the general in charge of the FSKN’s Department of Operative Support has been completed and that he will stand trial for abuse of power, accepting and paying bribes, illegal wiretapping and money laundering. In October 2008, a deputy chief of a department of FSKN was charged with abuse of power under Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation for misappropriation of about two million rubles allocated for the publishing of anti-drug promotion materials. There is no indication that these charges in these two cases were drug-related.


Agreements and Treaties. Russia is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The U.S.-Russia Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), entered into force on January 31, 2002. Russia is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling.


The GOR has signed over 30 bilateral agreements on counternarcotics cooperation including a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to enhance bilateral cooperation to combat illegal drugs and their precursor chemicals. In October 2007, the Russian FSKN and the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote the exchange of information and technical expertise on the use of illegal drugs. In July, 2008, the Russian Federal Customs Service (FTS) signed a bilateral agreement on counter-narcotics cooperation including a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to enhance bilateral cooperation to combat illegal drugs.


Cultivation/Production. There are no official statistics on the extent of opium cultivation in Russia, and the USG has no evidence to suggest that more than 1,000 hectares of opium are cultivated. There are small, illicit opium poppy fields ranging in size from one to two hectares in Siberia, in the Central Asian border region, and in the Omsk-Novosibirsk-Tomsk area. Typically the opium fields are small backyard plots or are located in the countryside concealed by other crops.


Cannabis grows wild throughout Russia (FSKN estimates 1,000,000 hectares of “wild hemp”). Wild stands of the plant and large-scale outdoor cultivation are concentrated in the Caucasus and in the Republic of Tuva and the Amur River Basin in the Russian Far East. Russian authorities occasionally encounter indoor grows, which vary from a few plants in a city apartment to greenhouses in rural areas. The largest and most sophisticated indoor grows are typically discovered in and around Moscow and St. Petersburg. Marijuana, hashish, and hash oil can be found anywhere in Russia. Large amounts of cannabis are frequently seized in the Altai Territory and Republic of Buryatia (Kazakh-Chinese-Mongolian Border), the Amur Region (Far East) and Maritime Territory (Pacific Coast).


Opium poppies are grown in Russia. In rural areas, small plots of poppy were formally grown to produce poppy straw, which was steeped in water to produce a tea used as a folk remedy. In Soviet times and the early 1990’s, large amounts of poppy straw or confectionary poppy seeds were chemically treated to extract acetylated opium. This process required large amounts of raw material to produce relatively small amounts of low-purity opium. Use of this practice has declined as Afghan opiates became widely available (and abused) in Russia.


Every year, Russian authorities carry out the "Operation Poppy" eradication effort throughout Russia, aimed at illicit cannabis and poppy cultivation. The partial data below indicate the extent of the 2008 MVD effort:



2008 MVD Eradication
Planted   Area (m2) Amount (kg)
Cannabis 59,837,886
Opium Poppy 11,347  
Other plants Not reported  
Total 59,863,260


Wild   Area (m2) Amount (kg)
Cannabis 67,164,886
Opium Poppy Not reported  
Other Plants Not reported  
Total 67,164,886



The largest single marijuana seizure in 2008 was a grow operation uncovered in the Krasnodarsk Region of Russia, bordering the Black Sea, just north of SochI. A total of 763 kilograms was recovered. In 2007 officials reported stepped-up efforts to eradicate cannabis being grown on national park land around Sochi, the site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.


Drug Flow/Transit. Opiates (and hashish to a lesser degree) from Afghanistan are smuggled into Russia through the Central Asian states along the “Northern Route.” An estimated 10-20 percent of Afghanistan’s annual heroin production (which is estimated at 600-800 MT/year) is moved along this Northern Route. Contraband is typically carried in vehicles along the region's highway system that connects populated areas of southwestern Russia and western Siberia. Smuggling vehicles often utilize cover loads such as onions, cabbage, watermelons and honey. Couriers sometimes use the region's passenger trains and incidents involving internal body carriers or "swallowers" are also common.


An example of the volume of opiates being smuggled along the Northern Route into Russia were the seizures of 389 kilograms of opium in Tajikistan in May, 2008; 568 kilograms of heroin in Uzbekistan in February 2008; 537 kilograms of heroin in Kazakhstan (just south of the Russian border near Kurgan) in March 2008; 332 kilograms of heroin in Chelyabinsk in March 2008; and several more loads under 150 kilograms seized along the route from Afghanistan to Moscow.


FSKN officials continue to allege a significant increase in drug trafficking into Russia following the withdrawal of Russian border guards from the Afghan/Tajik border in 2005. Russian forces had been stationed in Tajikistan after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but departed after the expiration of the agreement governing their presence.


To disrupt this trafficking, each year since 2003, law enforcement agencies of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization-CSTO (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan) have participated in “Operation Canal.” Operation Canal’s operations are bi-annual, weeklong interdiction ‘blitzes’ during which extra personnel are stationed at critical junctures on the Russian border and in Central Asia to conduct increased searches of suspected drug smugglers and inspections of their vehicles for drugs, drug proceeds and precursor chemicals. In 2008, the first phase of Operation Canal took place in September. It included observers from Azerbaijan, Syria, China, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, the U.S., Uzbekistan, and Ukraine, as well from the OSCE, UNODC, INTERPOL and the Eurasia Anti-Money Laundering Group. As a result of this weeklong operation, the Russian FSKN reported that law enforcement agencies from the CSTO seized 973.6 kilograms of heroin, 4,360.6 kilograms of hashish, 40.8 kilograms of synthetic drugs, 625 weapons, 25,588 rounds of ammunition, and 4,843 kilograms of precursor chemicals. The reported totals from Phase II, held in November 2008, included drug amounts seized in parts of the world not applicable to the identification of smuggling trends in Russia and the Central Asian countries.


Russia and the other member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) have also attempted to use the SCO as a vehicle to combat narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan and Central Asia.


The Chu River Valley, which runs from Northern Kyrgyzstan into Kazakhstan, is the source of most of the foreign-grown cannabis brought into Russia. An estimated 140,000 hectares of cannabis, with a high THC content, is available free for anyone to harvest in the valley. No information has been received which would indicate a concerted effort is being made by either country, on a consistent basis, to destroy, or conduct operations geared specifically to the interdiction of marijuana. Therefore, the cultivation, smuggling and sale of this drug in Russia will likely continue unabated, despite law enforcement efforts.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Russian authorities are attempting to implement a comprehensive counter narcotics strategy that combines prevention, treatment, and law enforcement. A federal program, was launched in September 2005, aimed at reducing by 2010, the scale of drug abuse in Russia by 16-20 percent compared to the 2004 level, a reduction of the drug user population by 950-1,200 persons. Authorities report that this effort is on track to achieve this objective, with an estimated 5.1 million abusers in 2008 versus an estimated 5.9 million in 2004-5.
FSKN is tasked with demand reduction among its other responsibilities and has begun conducting public awareness campaigns. In 2006, the FSKN and National Health League launched a preventive program, called “Health Wave–Take Care of Yourself,” aimed at children's health and prevention of drug addiction in four cities (Samara, Saratov, Volgograd, and Astrakhan). Between June 1 and 26, 2008, the FSKN carried out a country-wide public awareness campaign named “Report Where Death is On Sale” during which hotlines were established to collect citizen’s reports on drug dens and drug dealers. According to FSKN, the hotline received more than 5,000 calls and the campaign resulted in the initiation of over 500 criminal cases and about 1,000 administrative cases.


With support from the USAID “Healthy Russia 2020” project and the U.S. Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), demand reduction messages are being incorporated into a Ministry of Education-sanctioned health education curriculum for high school students and training materials for teachers. Healthy Russia, for example, has established a peer-to-peer outreach program that targets youth approximately 15 to 18 years of age through vocational schools, youth clubs, NGO activities, summer camps and other special programs set up by regional governments to reach teenagers at greatest risk. These programs have been tested in Orenburg (one of the top ten regions most affected by HIV/AIDS in Russia) and Ivanovo (the eighth poorest oblast in Russia) and have been expanded to Irkutsk and Sakhalin, two oblasts on the key drug trafficking routes. The peer-to-peer program encourages youth to discuss the impact of substance abuse and introduces life skills to avoid drug use. Healthy Russia’s program reached almost 60,000 youth with substance abuse and HIV prevention messages in 2008.


USAID partner Population Services International (PSI) reached over 7,000 youth under 18 years of age in two pilot sites in the Leningradsky and Orenburg regions with substance abuse prevention messages, constructive recreational activities, and individual and family therapy in 2008. Professionals from the drug control, substance abuse treatment and HIV/AIDS services participate in providing services for these youth at risk of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.


According to the FSKN, in February 2007, there were 400,000 officially registered drug addicts in Russia's treatment centers. However, a Human Rights Watch study (November 2007) concluded that the effectiveness of treatment offered at state drug treatment clinics “is so low as to be negligible” and constitutes a “violation of the right to health.”


New models of cognitive therapy are being implemented in treatment centers in St. Petersburg, but substitution therapy (such as programs using methadone or buprenorphine) has not been fully explored, and remains illegal and politically sensitive. The U.S. National Institutes of Health has begun work with Russian research facilities in St. Petersburg to explore alternative drug treatment regimens acceptable to the GOR. A sign of progress is that the MOH has requested a special report on medication-assisted drug therapy (MAT). This past year two study tours to the U.S. were arranged by USAID-partner, the American International Health Alliance, that brought medical and substance abuse clinicians to New Haven, Connecticut to observe the drug rehabilitation programs. Additionally, in 2008, a number of high level conferences and workshops were devoted to HIV/AIDS and substance abuse, particularly injecting drug use. The USAID partner, TransAtlantic Partners Against AIDs, along with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and other partners supported a conference on HIV and substance abuse that included discussions on guidelines for care and treatment for substance abusers and international best practices such as medication assisted therapy. Additionally, in June of this year, UNAIDS assisted the Government of Russia in hosting the 2nd European Conference on HIV/AIDS, which again provided an opportunity for the international community to express support for methadone or other MAT programs in Russia. Resistance to methadone continues at senior levels of the Ministry of Health and Social Development and the FSKN. In the past year, a few Russian experts who have advocated publicly for MAT have even come under investigation. However, information sharing at international conferences, such as those hosted in Russia, demonstrates measured progress as well.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Policy Objectives. The principal U.S. counternarcotics programmatic goal in Russia is to help strengthen Russia's law enforcement capacity, both to meet the challenges of international drug trafficking into and across Russia, and to help improve cooperation of Russian law enforcement authorities with U.S. law enforcement agencies. The U.S. also promotes programs to reduce demand for narcotics and advocates for more effective treatment programs for drug users.


Bilateral Accomplishments. In 2002, the U.S. through the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) negotiated a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the GOR allowing direct assistance to the GOR in the area of counternarcotics and law enforcement assistance. Three on-going projects under the terms of the 2002 LOA continue into the present. They include the “Southern Border Project,” an effort that will eventually lead to the establishment of drug interdiction units along the Russian-Kazakh border in the Siberian cities of Orenburg, Chelyabinsk, Omsk, Saratov and Kurgan; the “Northwest Customs Project,” which provides technical assistance to the Federal Customs Service in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad; and the “Southern Seaports Project,” which includes technical assistance to the Federal Customs Service at the Caspian and Black Sea seaports of Astrakhan, Novorossisyk and SochI. The U.S. is also providing technical assistance in support of institutional change in the areas of criminal justice reform, mutual legal assistance, anticorruption, and money laundering. The USCG, through the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum, works with the Russian Northeast Border Guard to track and interdict vessels involved in the illegal transport of goods in the North Pacific and Bering Sea. USCG units coordinate these activities daily through an email based, dual language reporting system.


The Road Ahead. The GOR expresses a desire to deepen and strengthen its cooperation with the United States and other countries on counternarcotics. The USG will continue to encourage and assist Russia to implement its comprehensive, long-term national strategy against drug trafficking and use with multidisciplinary sustainable assistance projects that combine equipment and technical assistance.



Saudi Arabia


I. Summary


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no appreciable drug production and is not a significant transit country for drugs. The Saudi Arabian Government (SAG) places a high priority on combating narcotics abuse and trafficking. Since 1988, the SAG has imposed the death penalty for drug smuggling. Saudi Arabia’s conservative cultural and religious norms discourage drug abuse. Nonetheless, drug abuse and trafficking are on the rise and are addressed as both social and law enforcement problems. This rise has caused increased arrests and SAG policy responses, including a new education curriculum, ongoing expansion of drug treatment facilities, efforts at economic development and employment programs for Saudi youth, as well as efforts to better coordinate narcotics law enforcement with neighboring countries, specifically on the Saudi-Yemeni border. Saudi Arabia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. SAG officials actively seek and participate in USG-sponsored training programs and are receptive to enhanced official contacts with the Drug Enforcement Administration.


II. Status of Country


The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no significant drug production. Due to its conservative religious values and 1988 UN Drug Convention obligations, the Saudi Arabian Government (SAG) places a high priority on fighting narcotics abuse and trafficking. Narcotics-related crimes are punished harshly; narcotics’ trafficking is a capital offense enforced against Saudis and foreigners alike. Approximately seven individuals were executed for narcotics related offenses in 2008. The SAG maintains a network of overseas drug enforcement liaison offices and state-of-the-art detection and training programs to combat trafficking.


Despite the SAG’s determined counternarcotics efforts, Saudi officials themselves report that drug abuse and trafficking have increased significantly, though the SAG does not provide thorough public statistics on drug consumption, interdiction, or trafficking. In addition, most judicial proceedings in Saudi Arabia are closed, and many drug trafficking convictions likely go unreported. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this increase in drug use is significant, particularly amongst Saudi teenagers, mostly male. The combination of an affluent population, porous borders, large numbers of unemployed youth, and high profit margins, attracts both drug traffickers and dealers, despite strict criminal punishments.


According to a report issued in August 2008 by Prince Nayef Arab University for Security Studies, the overwhelming majority of narcotics traffickers are non-SaudI. The study estimated that 74% of smugglers are Pakistani nationals, with others coming mainly from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Nigeria, Yemen, Turkey, Philippines, and Thailand. According to the study, the vast majority of drug traffickers entering Saudi Arabia (96%) arrive by air with counterfeit travel documents. The majority of drugs themselves are trafficked via the porous borders with Yemen, Iraq, and Jordan, as well as by sea via Saudi Arabia’s two main port cities of Jeddah and Dammam.


A November 2008 study published by Imam Muhammed Bin Saud University revealed that 77.5% of those incarcerated for drug-related offenses are “socially rejected” upon release from prison. According to other sources, drug users and traffickers are perceived very negatively in Saudi society, which discourages admission of drug problems and often leads to relapse in terms of usage and criminal activities. Reports in 2008 indicate that prison authorities and other government entities planned measures to aid former drug addicts post-incarceration, including specific programs to avoid relapse, such as incentives for companies to hire these individuals.


SAG efforts to treat drug abuse are aimed solely at Saudi nationals, while expatriate substance abusers are usually jailed and summarily deported. In addition, the cost of drug treatment facilities is often so high that many expatriate abusers, especially those in low-wage occupations, are unable to afford treatment. There are three Al-Amal Mental Health and Narcotics Hospitals, in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam, and one Al-Amal health clinic in Qassim Province offering free detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare. Each hospital has 200 beds and the Qassim clinic has 50 beds for male inpatients. Al-Amal Hospital in Riyadh has a 6-bed ward for female inpatients. The hospitals in Jeddah and Dammam treat women as outpatients. The head of the Al-Amal Hospital in Jeddah stated that 100 women were treated for drug abuse within the last year, although the hospital lacks a female ward. Health officials describe a noticeable increase in drug-addicted inpatients and outpatients throughout the country in 2008. Hospitals officials say that 13 new mental health and addiction hospitals will be built throughout the country.


Saudi patients come from all classes and regions; however, the majority of upper class addicts reportedly rely on private clinics in and outside of Saudi Arabia. Patients vary in age from lower teens to the elderly, but Ministry of Health (MOH) officials claim that the overwhelming majority are young men in their twenties and thirties. Most female patients have a male relative who is also addicted to drugs. There is reportedly a 50 percent patient recidivism rate. Most patients participate in detox and rehabilitation treatment for 3-5 weeks. A 2007 program which was extended into 2008 provided select, motivated patients with 2-3 months of treatment and counseling. Hospital officials claim that 70-80 percent of patients are addicted to amphetamines or marijuana and the remaining patients are addicted to heroin, cocaine, and sedatives. MOH and hospital officials note that many newer patients have a dual diagnosis of addiction and psychiatric issues, possibly due to consumption of contaminated drugs, particularly Captagon.


Captagon, hashish, khat, and heroin are the most heavily consumed substances in order of prevalence. The wealthiest segments of society tend to consume the purest, highest potency drugs, while the majority of drug abusers consume more diluted forms. Captagon and other amphetamines are reportedly consumed mainly by students, drivers, and employees seeking prolonged energy. Khat is reportedly mainly consumed by Yemeni and Somali expatriates. Saudi officials say that heroin and cocaine are in greater demand in the two large Saudi cities of Jeddah and Dammam. Paint and glue inhalation and prescription drug abuse are also reported.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. The lead agency in Saudi Arabia’s drug interdiction efforts is the Ministry of Interior, which has over 40 overseas offices in countries representing a trafficking threat. Specifically, the SAG has five drug liaison offices in Nigeria, Lebanon, Thailand, UAE (Dubai), and Pakistan. In addition, the SAG continues to play a leading role in efforts to enhance counternarcotics intelligence sharing among the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Sources indicate that a series of judicial reforms passed in 2004 and implemented within the last two years has led to a dramatic increase in inter-state cooperation, with greater coordination between various Gulf and Arab countries for drug interdiction and pursuing traffickers. Saudi Arabia also has narcotics related bilateral agreements with Jordan, Turkey, and Syria. As a matter of policy, the government also continues to block internet sites deemed to promote drug abuse.


The General Directorate for Combating Narcotics (General Directorate) coordinates SAG efforts across Ministries. The women’s branch was established in 1988 and has approximately 40 female employees.


The National Anti-Drug Committee directs a 12-step rehabilitation program for Saudi addicts in each of the Kingdom’s 13 provinces. The program, which began 8 years ago, runs between 3 months to 2 years depending on the case. 1,250 former addicts have participated in the program, which includes performing the annual hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. According to Abdelilah al-Sharif, advisor to the Committee, only 20 of the 1,250 who performed the hajj have relapsed to addiction. The Committee chose 200 former drug addicts and dealers to take part in the 2007 hajj.

2008 has seen a marked increased in research and publicity regarding the root causes of drug use and drug trafficking. Specifically, the SAG has stated that unemployment, most notably in the border regions of Saudi Arabia, has become a threat to the security of the country. As a result, the SAG has announced several new development projects in areas where recruitment for drug trafficking is high. In addition, there are plans to launch university expansions into these regions in 2009. Recognition that many traffickers come from the border areas has led SAG officials to increase cooperation and funding for border area law enforcement, particularly the Saudi-Yemeni border.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The year 2008 saw increased reporting on the efforts of Saudi Arabian border guard units, or Frontier Police. Anti-drug units within the Frontier Police were reported to have played a significant role in drug-interdiction campaigns along the borders. In addition, Minister of Interior Prince Nayef stated on April 9 that in the course of the Kingdom’s anti-drug campaigns, “more that 400 policemen had lost their lives.” Prince Nayef also noted the connection between drugs and terrorism, stating that most of the terror suspects held by police were under the influence of narcotics.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the SAG 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 transactions. There is no evidence of SAG officials’ involvement in the production, processing, or shipment of narcotic and psychotropic drugs and other controlled substances. Attempts to bribe prison officials for drug smuggling were reported this year, and anecdotal evidence suggests that drugs are widely used in Saudi prisons where certain guards are involved in selling and distribution.

Agreements and Treaties. Saudi Arabia 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. Saudi Arabia is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. Saudi Arabia has signed, but not ratified, the UN Convention Against Corruption.

Cultivation/Production. Cultivation and production of narcotics in Saudi Arabia are minimal. According to academics and MOH officials, khat production appears to be localized to the rural areas of the southern Jizan Province; most khat is imported from Yemen. Due to the porous border with Yemen as well as the mountainous topography, there were increased reports this year of khat production within the Kingdom in this region.

Drug Flow/Transit. Saudi Arabia is not a major drug transshipment point. SAG officials say the strict control measures practiced by the country have led to more seizures by Saudi Customs and border officials. Drugs are smuggled in by various means, mainly over land borders. Some drugs are smuggled by couriers who come to the Kingdom to participate in the annual umra and hajj ceremonies and via the land borders. The SAG appears to have improved coordination with Yemen on their shared border, but reports this year indicate that the porous Iraq-Saudi border, along with increased trafficking through Iraq, has led to increased transit through the northern region of the Kingdom. In conjunction with anti-terrorism efforts, the SAG has launched plans this year to reinforce law enforcement in the border region with Iraq, including using technology to better stem the flow of illicit activities.

Captagon and heroin are reportedly smuggled into the country from Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Turkey via the northern border with Jordan. Hashish is mainly smuggled via the southeastern border with the United Arab Emirates. Khat is mainly smuggled via the southern border with Yemen.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In addition to widespread media campaigns against substance abuse, the SAG sponsors drug education programs directed at school-age children, health care providers, and mothers. Several new development projects have been announced to improve the economic livelihood of certain areas to sway young people away from the economic advantages of trafficking. Pressure on the Ministry of Education to take action has increased as evidence suggests a marked increase in Captagon usage in both high schools and universities.

The SAG announced this year that approximately 3% of drug addicts in Saudi Arabia are female. Several media articles pointed out an increase in drug treatment of females. The Committee for the Care of Female Inmates and their Families announced in October it would develop a more thorough and larger scale treatment program directed at women.


The Ministry of Civil Service began requiring applicants for certain civil service positions to take a drug test beginning in 2007. In addition, according to news reports, King Saud University is considering requiring drug tests for the university’s students and teaching staff.


Executions of convicted traffickers by well-publicized beheadings are believed by SAG officials to deter narcotics trafficking and abuse. The country’s influential religious establishment actively preaches against the use of narcotics and SAG treatment facilities provide free services to Saudi addicts. Al-Hayat reported on July 6 that 60% of Saudi prison inmates were charged with “drug use and trafficking,” and that Saudi courts investigate at least 20 cases of drug use and trafficking daily.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. SAG officials actively seek and participate in USG-sponsored training programs and are receptive to enhanced official contacts with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Saudi Arabia is part of the International Counternarcotics Office in Cairo that works closely with U.S. counternarcotics agencies.


DEA Cairo provided SAG officials several leads on potential trafficking. Most leads were developed in Pakistan and passed by DEA Islamabad to DEA Cairo.


The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to explore opportunities for additional bilateral training and cooperation with Saudi counternarcotics and demand reduction officials.




I. Summary


Counter-narcotics enforcement officers of the Senegalese government are increasingly concerned about the rise in cocaine trafficking through Senegal. Cocaine comes directly from South America transiting Senegal on its way to markets in Europe. There were also reports of cannabis originating in South Asia and utilizing Senegal as a transshipment point to Europe and Canada. Senegal remains concerned about the production and trafficking of cannabis, but to a lesser extent, given the explosive rise in cocaine seizures in West Africa. Senegal's 2005 money laundering statute and the establishment of a financial intelligence unit has had a limited impact on the seizure of bulk cash. Despite the apparent lack of success, CENTIF-Senegal’s Financial Intelligence Unit understands the growing problem and is working hard to address it. Senegalese authorities have been under pressure from European nations to curtail illegal immigration to the EU and the subsequent bilateral assistance to combat immigration may also disrupt narcotics trafficking. Continuing education of its population about the dangers of drug abuse and strict enforcement of drug laws remain cornerstones of Senegal's counter-narcotics goals. Senegal is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


While trafficking of all types of drugs, including heroin, cocaine and psychotropic substances, exists in Senegal, cannabis production and trafficking continued to defy most enforcement efforts. Southern Senegal's Casamance region is at the center of the cannabis trade. It is generally acknowledged that a portion of apparent agricultural development in this region is illicit cannabis cultivation. Police are reluctant to undertake greater enforcement efforts against cannabis cultivation in the Casamance for fear of hampering the ongoing efforts to establish peace.


Senegal, along with other West African countries, serves as a transit country for traffickers due to its location, infrastructure and porous borders. Because of a decline in the U.S. cocaine market, increase in the European market, and rise of the Euro compared to the dollar, South American traffickers have increased the use of low governance areas in West Africa, including Senegal, as transit zones. Senegalese, European and UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) efforts to tighten security at the maritime ports are still in the development phase. In general, drug enforcement efforts remain under-funded and undermanned, allowing the illegal cannabis trade and trafficking in harder drugs, including cocaine, to continue.

III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. Senegal continues to improve their national plan of action against drug abuse and the trafficking of drugs. Multidisciplinary in its approach, Senegal's national plan includes programs to control the cultivation, production and traffic of drugs; to inform the population of the dangers of drug use; and to reintroduce former drug addicts into society. Full implementation of this plan remains stalled due to funding constraints. Periodic efforts to improve coordination have been hampered because of insufficient funding. The Senegalese National Assembly passed a uniform common law and issued a decree against money laundering. As a member of ECOWAS, Senegal has recognized the importance of cooperation between West African countries to combat cocaine trafficking. Specifically, Senegal borders Guinea-Bissau and Guinea, two countries with significant cocaine trafficking problems. In November, 2008, Senegal participated in the fifteen country ECOWAS conference in Praia, Cape Verde. During the conference, the ECOWAS members discussed the various narcotics problems facing West Africa. Currently, ECOWAS is preparing a West Africa strategy which will be agreed to and signed by each participating country.


Law Enforcement Efforts. There is no comprehensive GOS policy for systematic destruction of domestic cannabis or prevention of transshipment of harder drugs. Enforcement efforts are sporadic and uncoordinated. Although no significant changes were made to law enforcement strategies, "L’Office Central de Repression du Traffic-Illicite de Stupefiants" (OCRTIS) seized more than expected. Dakar's position on the west coast of Africa and the presence of an international airport and seaport make it an enticing transit point for drug dealers. The Port of Dakar and the Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport are the two primary points of entry/exit of drugs in Senegal. An increasing amount of narcotics, often cocaine, is being trafficked through Senegal by vehicle and boat from countries to the south of Senegal including Guinea Bissau and Guinea.


Given limitations on funding, training and policy, there is only limited ability to guard Senegal's points of entry from the transiting of drugs through Dakar. Drug enforcement agents are posted at the international airport, but they lack the training and equipment to systematically detect illegal drugs. The airport authority's efforts to attain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category One certification have resulted in the tightening of security procedures and more thorough passenger luggage screening. Presumably, this has had the positive outcome of discouraging drug trafficking through the airport. UNODC is developing a multi-agency program (Customs, Gendarmes and Ministry of Interior Police) for screening and controlling container shipments. Although the USG sponsored the establishment of a Financial Intelligence Unit, with an in-country U.S. Treasury Department advisor, the unit has not been specifically targeted against traffickers. European assistance efforts to combat illegal immigration, particularly to Spain, which have provided maritime patrol capabilities to Senegal, may also serve to inhibit the trafficking of narcotics.


2007’s cocaine seizure represents a regional success story in West Africa, but the amount of hard drugs seized by police in Senegal is relatively small by international standards. Due to weak enforcement efforts and inadequate record keeping, it is difficult to accurately assess the real drug problem in the country. Police lack the training and equipment to detect drug smuggling. Historically, Senegal has undertaken few cannabis eradication efforts. As previously mentioned, police forces are constrained in their efforts to eradicate cannabis cultivation in the southern part of the country because of a long-term insurgency.


Drug Seizures


DRUG 2006 2007
Opium None on record 0
Cannabis 1,585 kg 5,138kg
Cocaine 27.7 kg  2,507kg
Methamph. None on record  0
Heroin 168 gm 680 gm
Hashish 8395 kg 0


NB. Figures for Senegal's drug seizures are compiled from separate reports generated by the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Defense. Final statistics for 2008 are not yet available.


Corruption. Corruption is a problem for narcotics law enforcement all over Africa, but the USG is unaware of any narcotics-related corruption at senior levels of the Senegales government. In 2004, the National Commission against Non-Transparency, Corruption and Misappropriation of Funds, an autonomous investigative panel, was created. The efficiency of the commission's efforts remains an issue in Senegal. The GOS does not, as a matter of government 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 GOS officials that we are aware of engage in, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of such drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.


Agreements and Treaties. Senegal has several bilateral agreements with neighboring countries to combat narcotics trafficking, and has signed mutual legal assistance agreements with the United Kingdom and France in efforts to combat narcotics trafficking. Through cooperation with other members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU or UEMOA), a uniform common law against money laundering exists. Senegal is also a party to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol agreement, which includes an extradition provision. Traffickers and their organizations are subject to asset seizures, imprisonment and permanent exclusion from Senegal if convicted. Senegal 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. Senegal is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Crime and its three Protocols.


Cultivation/Production. Although cannabis cultivation in Senegal is not a large problem in relation to global rates of cultivation, it could become a serious domestic drug problem for Senegal itself. Efforts to eradicate cannabis cultivation in the Casamance region have improved slightly as military forces increased their presence and activities during 2008.


Drug Flow/Transit. According to the Chief of OCRTIS, the trend in the amount of illicit drugs transiting through Senegal continues to increase. OCRTIS is monitoring the transshipment of hashish and cocaine through Senegal. The U.S. is not a destination point for these drugs.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. NGOs, such as the Observatoire Geostrategique des Drogues et de la Deviance (OGDD), have taken the lead in public education efforts. OGDD continued a program that began in 2001. The first phase involved a campaign of information targeted at cannabis cultivators, arguing that the land had greater potential if it were used for purposes other than drugs, that drugs were bad for the environment and health, and that drugs were degrading the economy. Village committees have been established to convey the above information to sensitize people to the problems associated with drug use. The focus of the second phase of the program is to encourage farmers to substitute alternative crops for drugs on their land. Due to funding constraints, however, implementation of this part of the program has been impeded. Other associations for the prevention of drug abuse are in the process of elaborating a program of drug prevention under the auspices of the International Committee for the Fight against Drugs, which is managed by the Ministry of the Interior.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. USG goals and objectives in Senegal are to strengthen law enforcement capabilities in counter-narcotics efforts. The USG is in the sixth year of continued training of the technicians at the National Drug Laboratory that was founded with basic drug analysis equipment and training provided by State INL, working with the Department of Justice.


The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to work closely with the Senegalese government to improve the capacity of its narcotics law enforcement officers to investigate and prosecute narcotics crimes.

Sierra Leone

I. Summary

Sierra Leone has taken steps to combat illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and has mounted efforts against drug abuse. It has limited enforcement, treatment, and rehabilitation programs; however, corruption and a lack of resources seriously impede interdiction efforts. The largest bust in the nation's history netted over 700 kg of cocaine in July, causing the government to place considerable focus on developing strategies to curb the growing drug trafficking problem coming direct from Latin America. However, overall Sierra Leone made limited efforts to combat the increasing drug flow in 2008, hampered by resource issues and the lack of operational sophistication. Sierra Leone-U.S. law enforcement coordination on the narcotics issueincreased in 2008, with potential for further engagement in the future. Interagency coordination among Sierra Leone's law enforcement entities is a challenge, due in part to a historic lack of trust among them. The creation of the Joint Drug Interdiction Task Force will hopefully ameliorate this problem until the National Drug Control Agency, established by the 2008 National Drug Control Act, is operational. Sierra Leone is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Sierra Leone is a transshipment point for illegal drugs, particularly cocaine from South America. Europe is usually the final destination, often via sub-regional neighbors such as Guinea, though recent reports indicate the UAE via Accra as another destination. Lungi International Airport in Freetown is one focus for traffickers, though reports indicate that small, unmarked air strips throughout the country are also used. Narcotics primarily move overland or via sea to Guinea, with Konakridee near Port Loko as the usual port of exit. South American cocaine trafficking rings are increasingly active in Sierra Leone,relying somewhat on local partners with political and military connections.


Trafficking has also fueled increasing domestic drug consumption. Cannabis is cultivated in Sierra Leone and used regularly here. Law enforcement officials are concerned that narcotics rings are growing in size and influence. Major drug traffickers have been reported to pay local accomplices in kind with hard drugs in near-by countries; this practice could contribute to a domestic addiction problem in Sierra, should it be adopted there. Diversion of precursor chemicals is not a problem.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. In the wake of the major July cocaine bust of 700 kilos, the government quickly took steps to enact a comprehensive law, the National Drug Control Act, to bring Sierra Leone into conformity with international conventions and norms. The Act expands on the Pharmacy and Drugs Act (2001), which had major substantive drafting problems and inadequate punishment for narcotics abuse and trafficking. The 2008 Act established a National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to serve as the focal point on policy issues and investigations. The new law also defined stricter penalties for all charges, contained mutual legal assistance provisions, and authorized a budget appropriation to support prevention and control activities. While the new Act is a positive step for Sierra Leone, harmonizing its legislation with international standards, some critics argue that the new law was rushed through to provide a visible response to the July cocaine case, and will soon need further amendment. Offenses by legal “persons”, i.e., corporations and provisions for complicit or insufficiently responsible commercial carriers, and in addition the sections on forfeiture and foreign assets have been identified as areas needing either new or strengthened drafting. The Act also fails to adequately address prevention measures and treatment options for addicted drug abusers. Revising the law to address deficiencies may be undertaken as early as 2009.


The new Drug Agency is in the nascent stages of development, with the government providing only approximately $125,000 budget allocation for FY 2009 for non-salary expenses. Officers are expected to be seconded from the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in 2009 to work for the new Agency, but equipment expenses and other needs will challenge its ability to effectively enforce the law.

Government of Sierra Leone representatives participate in ECOWAS conferences and Mano River Union meetings, striving for better sub-regional cooperation. Law enforcement agencies cooperate with their counterparts in neighboring countries on specific cases and identifying trends.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Sierra Leone law enforcement agencies cooperated to combat narcotics trafficking through the Joint Drug Interdiction Task Force, which was established in February, 2008. The Task Force includes representatives from the SLP, Office of National Security (ONS), Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, Immigration, Civil Aviation Authority, Anti-Corruption Commission, and the National Revenue Authority. Intelligence organizations research and follow-up leads generated by their own contacts and from other agencies, involving the police’s enforcement divisions for investigations and operations. The July cocaine bust is counted as the Task Force’s main success to date, and a significant one. The Task Force performed with distinction during this high profile incident in sharp contrast to the response to similar incidents in neighboring countries. Currently designed as a responsive, rather than pro-active, entity, the Task Force can call on up to 22 officers from both the SLP and ONS if another serious incident arises. It will continue to be the primary government body responsible for narcotics-related crimes until the new National Drug Control Agency becomes fully operational.

Drugs transit in and out of Sierra Leone by sea, but authorities have limited means to combat this. The Joint Maritime Wing, composed of military and police officials, conduct minimal patrols with two small vessels provided by the U.S. Coast Guard and a larger, Shanghai-class patrol boat donated by the Chinese Government. The expense of fuel and maintenance is an impediment to the Wing’s effectiveness, as is the short-range nature of the patrol boats available to them. The Chinese-built boat, despite its longer range, has a shallow draft and is unsuitable for deep water operations.


The Government of Sierra Leone is working to improve the regularity and reliability of statistics maintained on arrest rates, prosecutions, and convictions. Data kept by the SLP between January and October, 2008, recorded seventeen seizures of cannabis and cocaine, netting approximately 10,602 kg of the former, and 743.5 kg of the latter. The majority of these seizures took place in and around Freetown, and though records indicate that charges were laid as a result of these seizures, information on convictions is unavailable. Twenty-one people were charged with various offenses surrounding the July case, though only 17 are facing narcotics charges in the High Court. There were no narcotics-related extraditions to or from the United States in 2008.


Corruption. Sierra Leone does not, as a matter of government 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, nor has any senior official been charged with engaging in, encouraging, or facilitating narcotics production or trafficking. However, Sierra Leone’s judicial system is still undergoing a rebuilding process, and struggles with low conviction rates across a spectrum of crimes, including those that are narcotics-related. Even those violators who are convicted often pay a fine in lieu of serving prison time, though the new National Drug Control Act has stiffer penalties and requisite jail terms. The limited resources available to the judiciary remain a problem in controlling drug trafficking in Sierra Leone.


Corruption among law enforcement officials is also a problem in Sierra Leone due to the low levels of pay and general endemic poverty. Two SLP officers and one ONS officer are on trial for charges related to the July cocaine bust. A number of defendants may face corruption charges under the 2008 Anti-Corruption Act following the current trial on the drug charge’s conclusion.


Agreements and Treaties. Sierra Leone 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. U.S.-Sierra Leone extradition relations are governed by the 1974 Extradition Act. Sierra Leone is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. In March 2008, Sierra Leone ratified the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, five years after they became signatories. Though Sierra Leone signed the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in 2001, it has yet to ratify it.


Cultivation and Production. Cannabis is widely cultivated and consumed locally. The Sierra Leone Police identified and destroyed a number of cannabis farms in 2008, and intend to ramp-up these efforts in 2009. Though cannabis is sent to other markets, the vast majority of what is grown is sold locally. One “joint” costs approximately 1,000 Leones, (33 U.S. cents) on the streets of Freetown.


Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine is the main drug that transits Sierra Leone. Cocaine comes from South America en route to Europe. Sierra Leone’s unguarded and porous maritime border makes it highly vulnerable to traffickers moving shipments by sea. Narcotics are often held and repackaged in Sierra Leone for reshipment to Guinea, though some go directly to Europe via shipping containers or in air cargo. Individuals also carry small amounts on passenger aircraft, sometimes in their baggage or items with hidden compartments, and through body cavity concealment. In October, approximately 25kg of cannabis was interdicted between Sierra Leone and the UK. The cannabis was concealed in two separate shipments of fresh and frozen vegetables.


Improving security at Lungi Airport has been a priority for authorities and the international airlines that use it, and luggage is scanned for contraband. Individuals are also searched, as well as hand-luggage searches, resulting in most of the arrests at the airport to date. Still, officials assume that the drugs found are only a small portion of what slips through the cracks due to imperfect detection efforts and corruption.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. TheNational Drug Control Agency, in conjunction with civil society, has conducted several public awareness campaigns about the dangers of drugs. This includes outreach to schools and over radio, and the publication of posters and pamphlets. The Agency intends to increase these efforts in 2009. Treatment programs are highly limited, with addicts receiving assistance at the country’s one psychiatric hospital and a few private facilities run by NGOs. The 2008 law puts treatment and rehabilitation for offenders under the purview of the Minister of Justice and appointed treatment assessment panels. Treatment can be in lieu of prosecution, or result in a sentence suspension, to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Funding for treatment and facilities will be provided by the Sierra Leone Fund for Prevention and Control of Drug Abuse, which will include funds from Parliament, moneys provided through mutual assistance agreements, voluntary payments, grants, or gifts, and investment income derived from the Fund. The Fund will also be used to support the Agency's overall efforts.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral Cooperation. The USG's counternarcotics and anticrime goals in Sierra Leone are to strengthen Sierra Leonean law enforcement capacity generally, improve interdiction capabilities, and reduce Sierra Leone's role as a transit point for narcotics. In 2008, Sierra Leone became eligible for ILEA-U.S Law Enforcement Academy training, and officers have started attending courses. Narcotics-specific training, especially in-country, is a priority that will hopefully begin to be addressed in 2009.


The Road Ahead. The July bust put an impossible-to-ignore spotlight on Sierra Leone's increasing role in narcotics trafficking. Though efforts had already been underway to strengthen the government's ability to combat the illicit drug trade, the bust served as a catalyst for the year's major policy initiative—enacting the National Drug Control Act. While this is a positive step forward, limited funding to effectively enforce the law will be a significant problem. Enhancing law enforcement's capacity to combat the drug trade through training and equipment and reducing corruption within the ranks require funds the Sierra Leone government simply does not have. Enforcing strict controls over financial transactions, to prevent funds earned from the narcotics trade being used for further criminal activity, is also an unaffordable necessity for Sierra. The government's quick actions immediately following the bust implied great political will to begin to address the problem, but the level of commitment may wane as public interest in this specific, well-publicized case diminishes. Strengthening law enforcement capabilities, enhancing security measures at the airport, and improving surveillance of the ports and waterways are important priorities that the government can ill-afford to ignore if it seeks to prevent Sierra Leone from becoming an even more attractive target for criminal organizations.





I. Summary


The Republic of Serbia is a major transit country for narcotics and other drugs along the Balkan smuggling corridor from Turkey to Central and Western Europe. In 2008, Serbia took measures to improve its capacity to combat drug trafficking through new laws and law enforcement initiatives that tightened the regulations on narcotics, corruption, and organized crime, and included legislation authorizing asset seizure. Serbia's drug laws are adequate, but strategic coordination among law enforcement and judicial bodies is problematic. While Serbia realized record-setting successes with drug interdictions and seizures, organized crime groups still exploited Serbia's inadequate border controls to transship heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and synthetic drugs. A small amount of smuggled narcotics remains in Serbia for domestic consumption. As Yugoslavia's successor state, the Republic of Serbia is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


Serbia is primarily a transit country for the movement of narcotics, although law enforcement did recently uncover two synthetic narcotics labs near Belgrade. Serbia’s porous borders make the country attractive for transit. Heroin and marijuana are the most prevalent narcotics, transported from Central Asia along the Balkan Route. There is also an increase in cocaine moving along the Balkan route, according to the Customs Administration Enforcement Directorate. Increasingly, Serbian organized crime groups are smuggling drugs from South America directly to Western Europe, bypassing Serbia, according to the Interior Ministry’s Drug Smuggling Suppression Department. The Serbian government estimates that relatively small amounts of narcotics remain in the country for domestic consumption.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. Serbia’s Parliament passed a set of laws in October 2008 to enhance Serbia’s law enforcement’s efforts to combat narcotics smuggling, organized crime, and corruption. The package of laws includes a law to regulate immigration and movement of people through the country, an asset seizure law, and a law creating a new Anticorruption Agency. The Finance Ministry is drafting a Customs Service Law to reorganize the Customs Administration, provide clearer links to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, and enable Customs officers involved in investigations to testify in court. (Currently Customs does not have law enforcement authority and cannot testify in court or continue investigations after drug seizures.) The Justice Ministry is drafting a new Criminal Procedure Code that would enable prosecutor-led investigations, plea bargaining, and the use of special investigative techniques such as wire tapping. The government has developed an Integrated Border Management Initiative to improve coordination among the agencies involved in border control. There is as yet no central oversight of the initiative, but individual agencies have begun implementation.


Law Enforcement Efforts. A number of law enforcement agencies are responsible for combating drug-related crimes, including the Interior Ministry’s Drug Smuggling Suppression Department, the Finance Ministry’s Customs Administration, the Interior Ministry’s Border Police, and the Interior Ministry’s Drug Addiction Suppression Department. While these agencies report generally good operational cooperation, there is no government-wide coordinating body that addresses law enforcement efforts.


The Drug Smuggling Department continues to develop a database for crimes, arrests, and seizures related to heroin, cocaine, marijuana, synthetic drugs, and chemical precursors.


Serbia hosts law enforcement liaison officers from Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Italy, Australia, and other countries in the region. The Interior Ministry conducts joint investigations with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Croatia and provides intelligence to Western European countries, which aids in seizures in those countries.


Serbia interdicted a record amount of narcotics in 2008. The Customs Administration seized approximately twice as much heroin and cocaine from January to July 2008 as it seized during the same period in 2007. Law enforcement seized 14.4 kg of heroin at the Merdare border crossing with Kosovo in November 2008. In October 2008, law enforcement seized 265 kg of marijuana at the Montenegro border, Serbia’s biggest marijuana seizure in the past decade. The Drug Smuggling Suppression Department shut down two amphetamine labs located near Belgrade, in December 2007 and March 2008.


From January to June 2008, the Drug Smuggling Suppression Department and Customs Administration Law Enforcement Directorate made 3,379 drug seizures, including 410 kg of marijuana, 114 kg of heroin, 9.5 kg of cocaine, 1,006 tablets of Ecstasy, 45,976 other narcotic tablets, and small amounts of other drugs. The Interior Ministry reports that all Interior Ministry agencies made 2,043 seizures from July to October 2008, including 850.7 kg of marijuana, 60.7 kg of heroin, 750 grams of cocaine, 650 grams of other drugs, and 6,939 tablets. According to the Customs Administration, the price of heroin on the street remains the same this year, suggesting that these seizures are not affecting domestic availability.


Under Article 246 of the Criminal Code, Production, Distribution, and Possession of Narcotics, 2,978 individuals were tried and 2,811 were convicted in 2007. Arrests and prosecutions for 2008 are approximately the same as in recent years, according to the Justice Ministry. Defendants are usually drug users, street dealers, or couriers. Few major narcotics dealers ever appear in court. Most prosecutions (nearly 80% in 2007) are for possession, which carries more lenient sentences, than for production or distribution (18% of cases in 2007). Most sentences are light or suspended, or are for monetary fines or community service instead of jail time. Moving “up the food chain” from street pushers to the individuals behind them will require more strategic cooperation among agencies, according to the OSCE. Law enforcement agencies believe that pending legislation enabling prosecutor-led investigations, to replace investigative judges, will improve trial outcomes.


The government is prosecuting drug dealers at the head of the operation in one of the synthetic lab cases and has arrested the dealers in the other case, pending trial.


Corruption. Corruption within Serbia's law enforcement agencies responsible for counter narcotics remains a problem, in large part due to low pay. In a major corruption investigation in 2006, 3% of Customs enforcement officials were arrested and removed from their posts. Customs has replaced those individuals with new officers. Parliament passed a law on October 23, 2008 establishing a new Anticorruption Agency, an independent state body that will implement the National Anticorruption Strategy.


No evidence exists that the Serbian government encourages illicit production or distribution of narcotics, or actively launders proceeds from illegal drug transactions. There is no evidence that any senior government official engages in, encourages, or facilitates the illicit production or distribution of drugs. The Republic of Serbia is a party to the 2003 UN Convention against Corruption.


Agreements and Treaties. Serbia became the legal successor state to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro on June 3, 2006. All international treaties and agreements continue in force, including the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its protocols against trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling and trafficking in illegal firearms. Serbia has cooperative agreements with Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina on issues relating to cross-border narcotics trafficking. Serbia signed a trilateral agreement with Romania and Bulgaria for counter-narcotics cooperation in 2008. The 1902 Extradition Treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia remains in force between the United States and Serbia.


Drug Flow/Transit: Serbia sits directly on the Balkan narcotics trafficking route. The UNODC estimates that over 80 tons of heroin travels along this route each year. Heroin grown and processed in Afghanistan is smuggled through Turkey, Bulgaria, and Kosovo into Serbia, and onward into Western Europe. The Customs Administration estimates that 5 -10 % of heroin stays in the country, but Serbia primarily serves as a transit point. Large amounts of marijuana and increasing amounts of cocaine also transit Serbia along the Balkan route. The Customs Administration reports an increasing number of individuals traveling by air from Central Asia to Serbia via Eastern Europe carrying ingested packages of cocaine. There is a decrease in cocaine transiting from South America. The Drug Smuggling Suppression Department believes that Serbian organized crime groups are bypassing Serbia and smuggling cocaine directly from South America to Western Europe. There is an increase in trafficking of synthetic drugs and precursors.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The government conducts an addiction prevention program in primary and secondary schools, “Drug Zero, Life One,” which includes lectures for students, parents, and teachers and referrals for families who seek help, but the program is not mandatory and individual schools choose whether to participate. The Serbian government and the Belgrade city government conducted a Drug-Free Month public awareness campaign in June 2008 with the support of UNODC, UNICEF, WHO, the Serbian Red Cross, and Serbian anti-drug NGOs. The National Network for the Fight against Drugs, a network of anti-drug NGOs, maintains a website with information about drug addiction and prevention. The Commission for the Fight against Drugs, composed of the Ministries of Health, Education and Sport, Interior, Social Welfare, and Justice, is developing a National Strategy for the Fight against Drugs which focuses on prevention.


The Health Ministry is developing a database to include information from other ministries to compile better data on the number of drug users. The Health Ministry estimates there are between 30,000 and 100,000 drug users in Serbia. Public hospitals, including prison hospitals, run outpatient and inpatient drug rehabilitation programs, and the Health Ministry has a pilot project to provide methadone substitution in primary care clinics. Drug rehabilitation programs include psychologists and social workers to provide life skills for social reintegration.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs


Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation. The Serbian Government works closely with the United States and EU countries to reform and improve its law enforcement and judicial capacity. The United States has provided extensive technical assistance and equipment donations to the police, customs services, border police, and judiciary. Several USG agencies have programs that directly or indirectly support counter-narcotics activities in Serbia, including the Department of Justice (ICITAP), Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of the Treasury, and Department of State. The Departments of State and Justice (OPDAT) have also been instrumental in supporting the Special Courts for Organized Crime and War Crimes. The programs are aimed at professionalizing the police and customs services, improving the ability of Serbia to prosecute corruption and organized crime, including money laundering and illicit trafficking, and increasing the ability of the judiciary to effectively address serious crime. A USCG mobile training team visited Serbia in 2008 and provided a basic small boat operations course.


The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to support the efforts of Serbian law enforcement to combat narcotics smuggling in the region. During the next year the United States would like to see additional progress in Serbian judicial and law enforcement reform, including tougher sentences for major narcotics dealers and more coordination among enforcement agencies and prosecutors to combat organized crime. Serbia also needs to improve its demand reduction programs.





I. Summary


The Government of Singapore (GOS) enforces stringent counter-narcotics policies through strict laws—including the death penalty and corporal punishment—vigorous law enforcement, and active prevention programs. Singapore is not a producer of precursor chemicals or narcotics, but as a major regional financial and transportation center it is potentially an attractive target for money launderers and those engaged in drug transshipment. Singapore is widely recognized as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. Corruption cases involving Singapore's counter-narcotics and law enforcement agencies are rare, and their officers regularly attend U.S.-sponsored training programs as well as regional forums on drug control. Singapore is a party to the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention.


II. Status of Country


In 2007, there was no known production of illicit narcotics or precursor chemicals in Singapore. While Singapore itself is not a known transit point for illicit drugs or precursor chemicals, it is one of the busiest transshipment ports in the world. The sheer volume of cargo passing through makes it likely that some illicit shipments of drugs and chemicals move undetected. With few exceptions, Singapore does not screen containerized shipments unless they enter its customs territory. Neither Singapore Customs nor the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) keep data on in-transit or transshipped cargo unless there is a Singapore consignee involved in the shipment.


According to GOS figures, in 2007 authorities arrested 2,166 drug abusers, compared to 1,218 arrests in 2006. The increase in arrests by the GOS most likely does not represent an increase in narcotics trafficking, but rather the result of an August 2006 amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) that added buprenorphine hydrochloride, the active ingredient in the opiate-substitute, Subutex, used in addiction treatment as a Class A controlled drug, and subsequent enforcement action by the Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). According to GOS statistics, in 2007 the number of first-time drug offenders increased from 477 arrests in 2006 to 520 arrests in 2007. In 2007 repeat drug offenders also increased with 1,661 arrested, compared to 741 arrested in 2006. Similarly, and consistent with previous years, abusers of synthetic drugs, including methamphetamine, MDMA, Erimin-5 buprenorphine hydrochloride and nimetazepam, comprise 63 percent of total drug abusers. The most significant increase is registered in the number of heroin abusers. In 2006 heroin offenders accounted for only 9.7 percent of total drug abusers, but this increased to 31 percent of total drug abusers in 2007. Conversely, decreases were observed in the number of MDMA, Ketamine and Nimetazepam abusers in 2007.


III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008


Policy Initiatives. Singapore continues to pursue a strategy of demand and supply reduction for drugs. The GOS has worked closely with numerous international groups dedicated to drug education, including the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. In addition to arresting drug traffickers, Singapore focuses on arresting and detaining drug abusers for treatment and rehabilitation, providing drug detoxification and rehabilitation, and offering vigorous drug education in its schools. Singaporean citizens and permanent residents are subject to random drug tests. The Misuse of Drugs Act gives the Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) the authority to commit drug abusers to rehabilitation centers for mandatory treatment and rehabilitation. Since 1999, individuals testing positive for consumption of narcotics have been held accountable for narcotics consumed abroad as well as in Singapore.


Singapore has continued efforts to curb synthetic drug abuse, of which Ketamine is the most prevalent. Amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act in 2006 designated Ketamine as a Class A Controlled Drug and increased penalties for trafficking accordingly. An individual in possession of more than 113g of Ketamine is presumed to be trafficking in the drug and can face maximum penalties of 20 years imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane.


Additional amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act also established long term imprisonment penalties for repeat synthetic drug abusers. Those arrested for a third time are subject to up to seven years imprisonment and seven strokes of the cane, and up to 13 years imprisonment and 12 strokes of the cane for subsequent offenses. Singapore’s long term imprisonment regime, first introduced in 1998, is considered a contributing factor in curbing the country's heroin use.


The Misuse of Drugs Act now classifies buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Subutex, as a Class A Controlled Drug. Unless dispensed by a licensed physician or practitioner, the importation, distribution, possession and consumption of Subutex is a felony offense. Subutex, first introduced by the Ministry of Health in 2000, is a heroin substitute clinically used in the detoxification/rehabilitation of heroin addicts. Drug abusers were found to be abusing Subutex by mixing it with other drugs, mainly Dormicum, a prescription sleeping pill. Buprenorphine was the most commonly abused drug in Singapore in 2006, involved in more than one-third of total narcotics offenses.


Law Enforcement Efforts. As noted above, arrests for drug-related offenses increased 43.7 percent, from 1,218 arrests in 2006 to 2,166 arrests in 2007, a reflection of new enforcement measures under the amended Misuse of Drugs Act. These statistics include persons arrested for trafficking, possession, and consumption of illegal drugs. The majority of drug-related arrests in 2007 were of abusers of buprenorphine, at 38 percent, followed by heroin at 31 percent. Abuse of synthetic drugs including Ecstasy, methamphetamine, Ketamine and nimetazepam accounted for 26 percent of drug arrests. Singapore recorded no cocaine-related seizures or arrests in 2007. Of the total arrests, 520 involved new drug abusers.


In 2007, authorities carried out 31 major enforcement operations which dismantled 27 drug syndicates. A majority of these arrests were conducted during sweeps of drug distribution groups, which were infiltrated by undercover Singapore narcotics officers. CNB officers frequently perform undercover work, purchasing small, personal-use amounts of narcotics from generally low and mid-level traffickers and drug abusers. These sweeps often produce additional arrests when subjects present at arrest scenes test positive for narcotics in their system.


Singapore's CNB seized the following quantities of narcotics in 2007: 17.2 kg of heroin; 30.3 kg of cannabis; 7,029 tablets of MDMA; 1.48 kg of crystal Methamphetamine; 518 tablets of tablet Methamphetamine; 4.6 kg of Ketamine; 24,881 Nimetazepam tablets; and 3,435 buprenorphine tablets.


Corruption. Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) actively investigates allegations of corruption at all levels of government. Neither the government nor any senior government official is believed to engage in, encourage or facilitate the production or distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. The CNB is charged with the enforcement of Singapore's counter narcotics laws. Its officers and other elements of the Singapore Police Force are well-trained professional investigators.


Agreements and Treaties. Singapore 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. Singapore and the United States continue to cooperate in extradition matters under the 1931 U.S.-UK Extradition Treaty. In addition Singapore has a domestic Extradition Act that authorizes extradition to a foreign country for violations “listed” in the statute, including “drug trafficking” and offenses related “to benefits derived from…drug trafficking.” Singapore and the United States signed a Drug Designation Agreement (DDA) in November 2000, a mutual legal assistance agreement limited to drug cases. Singapore has signed mutual legal assistance agreements with Hong Kong and ASEAN. Singapore ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on August 28, 2007 but has not signed any of its protocols. Singapore has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Corruption Convention. In April 2006, Singapore amended domestic legislation to allow for mutual legal assistance cooperation with countries with which they do not have a bilateral treaty.


Cultivation/Production. There was no known cultivation or production of narcotics in Singapore in 2007.


Drug Flow/Transit. Singapore is one of the busiest seaports in the world. Approximately 80 percent of the goods flowing through its port are in transit or are transshipped and do not enter Singapore's customs area. Similarly, the Port of Singapore is the second largest transshipment port in the world for cargo containers destined for the United States. According to GOS statistics during 2007, at the maritime Port of Singapore shipping tonnage reached 1,459 million gross tons (GT). This represents an increase of 11 percent from the 1,315 million GT record set in 2006. Given the extraordinary volume of cargo shipped through the port, it is highly likely that some of it contains illicit materials, although Singapore is not a known transit point for illicit drugs. Singapore does not require shipping lines to submit data on the declared contents of transshipment or transit cargo unless there is a Singapore consignee to the transaction. The lack of such information creates enforcement challenges. Singapore Customs authorities rely on intelligence to uncover and interdict illegal shipments. They reported no seizures of transshipped cargoes involving illicit narcotics shipments in 2007. GOS officials have been reluctant to impose tighter reporting or inspection requirements at the port, citing concerns that inspections could interfere with the free flow of goods, jeopardizing Singapore's position as the region's primary transshipment port.


However, Singapore has increased its scrutiny of shipped goods, primarily as part of an enhanced posture to combat terrorism and control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their precursors. Singapore became the first Asian port to join the Container Security Initiative (CSI) in 2003, under which U.S. Customs personnel prescreen U.S.-bound cargo. Singapore also participates in other counterterrorism-related programs such as the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Megaports Initiative. Singapore's export control law went into effect in 2003, and it is implementing an expanded strategic goods control list that took effect in January 2008. While these initiatives aim to prevent WMD from entering the United States, the increased scrutiny and information they generate could also aid drug interdiction efforts.


Singapore is a major regional aviation hub. In 2007, Changi International Airport handled 36.7 million passengers, a 4.8 percent increase over 2006 figures. The Changi Airfreight Center is one of the world's busiest and operates as a Free Trade Zone where companies can move, consolidate, store or repack cargo without the need for documentation or customs duties.


Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Singapore uses a combination of punishment and rehabilitation against first-time drug offenders. Rehabilitation of drug abusers typically occurs during incarceration. The government may detain addicts for rehabilitation for up to three years. Similarly, under Singapore's “three strikes” laws, third-time convicted drug offenders are subject to a minimum of five years imprisonment and three strokes of the cane. In an effort to discourage drug use during travel abroad, CNB officers may require urinalysis tests for Singapore citizens and permanent residents returning from outside the country. Those who test positive are treated as if they had consumed the illegal drug in Singapore.


Adopting the theme, "Prevention: The Best Remedy," Singapore authorities organize sporting events, concerts, plays, and other activities to reach out to all segments of society on drug prevention. Drug treatment centers, halfway houses, and job placement programs exist to help addicts reintegrate into society. At the same time, the GOS has toughened anti-recidivist laws. As noted above, three-time offenders face long mandatory sentences and caning. Depending on the quantity of drugs involved, convicted drug traffickers may be subject to the death penalty, regardless of nationality.


IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives


Bilateral Cooperation. Singapore and the United States enjoy good law enforcement cooperation, in particular under the Drug Designation Agreement. Under the terms of Designation Agreements, the GOS has cooperated with the United States and other countries in the forfeiture of drug-related proceeds discovered in Singapore banks, including the equitable sharing of seized and forfeited drug-related funds with the United States. In 2007, approximately 45 GOS law enforcement officials attended training courses at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok on a variety of transnational crime topics.


Road Ahead. The United States will continue to work closely with Singapore authorities on all narcotics trafficking and related matters. Increased customs cooperation under CSI and other initiatives will help further strengthen law enforcement cooperation.

Country Reports - Slovakia through Zambia

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