Slovakia is not a major exporter of drugs. Cannabis and synthetic drugs are mostly produced locally for the domestic market and are mostly distributed without the involvement of organized crime. Cocaine and heroin are; however, imported by organized criminal groups. Synthetic drugs, including methamphetamine, pervitine, Ecstasy (MDMA), and MCPP are of the most concern to Slovak authorities as they are popular among youth and can result in severe health and social problems for users. Slovak Police reported significantly higher seizures of wet cannabis, pervitine, and psiocin (psychotropic mushrooms) in calendar year 2007 as compared to 2006. Slovakia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Interest in synthetic drugs, especially pervitine and Ecstasy, has driven an increase in local processing and production, as well as in the trade of precursors including ephedrine and pharmaceuticals from which ephedrine can be extracted. Slovak authorities attribute the rising interest in synthetic drugs to their low price, accessibility and the greater effect they provide in comparison to more traditional stimulants such as cocaine. Cannabis is the most commonly abused narcotic in Slovakia. Local cannabis production is on the increase, especially hydroponically grown cannabis with sharply increased THC content. Police believe consumer interest in hydroponically grown cannabis, attributable to experience with higher-THC varieties imported from Western Europe, has driven growth in this sector. Officials report the market for heroin and cocaine is saturated. Supplies remain high and prices historically low despite the seizure of nearly three times as much cocaine in 2007 as compared to 2006. Authorities believe heroin is usually imported from the Balkans by organized groups of ethnic-Albanian criminals, working in concert with ethnic-Turkish groups that move it from points of production. The same ethnic-Albanian groups largely control the trade in cocaine, which is usually of South American origin, and passes through the Caribbean before reaching Slovakia. For all drugs, regional differentiation in consumption is diminishing. Pricier narcotics, including cocaine and heroin, remain modestly more prevalent in the wealthier west, but officials describe narcotics use generally as a concern across the whole territory.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. In 2005, the National Program for the Fight against Drugs 2005-2008 was adapted into actions plans for relevant ministries and regional authorities in accordance with the "Action Plan of the EU for the Fight Against Drugs." At the same time, the Slovak Republic Government Office issued an instruction setting out the activities of regional authorities in the field of narcotics, and unifying procedures for establishing regional coordination commissions for narcotics issues. County Councils were abolished as from October 1, 2007, and their duties and functions were delegated to district councils, which are organized according to the same geographic areas but which are appointed by provincial self-governments.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The valid Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure became effective January 1, 2006. Sections 171 and 135 of the Penal Code set a maximum sentence of three years incarceration for possession of up to three doses of any narcotic substance, and up to five years for possession of 4-10 doses. Possession of more than 10 doses is considered possession for other than personal consumption and is punishable by 10-15 years imprisonment. In calendar year 2007, Slovak authorities pursued 2,390 criminal cases involving illegal narcotics. Heroin—212 cases involving seizure of 2.15 kg of powder, and 49 cases involving seizure of 12.8 ml of solution. Cannabis—1,257 cases involving seizure of 166.1 kg of dry herb, 8 cases involving seizure of 154 kg of wet herb, and 32 cases involving seizure of 469 g of hashish. Cocaine—15 cases involving seizure of 278.4 g of powder. Methamphetamines—677 cases involving seizure of 1.3 kg of powder, and 24 cases involving seizure of 6.17 ml of solution. MDMA—44 cases involving seizure of 1,464 tablets, and 1 case involving seizure of 0.32 g of powder. MCPP—2 cases involving seizure of 2 tablets, and 1 case involving seizure of 0.32 g of powder. Amphetamine—1 case involving seizure of 9 tablets, and 3 cases involving seizure of 1.6g of powder. Psilocin (mushrooms)—8 cases involving seizure of 39.8 g of mushrooms. Ephedrine—13 cases involving seizure of 11,108 tablets. Pseudoephedrine—20 cases involving seizure of 35.1 g of powder, and 1 case involving seizure of 3 ml of solution. There were also several additional cases involving the seizure of small amounts of synthetic drugs and abused prescription drugs.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of Slovakia 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. Corruption more generally, however, remains a concern in both the public and private spheres.
Agreements and Treaties. Slovakia 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. Slovakia is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Extradition between the United States and Slovakia is governed by the 1925 extradition treaty between the U.S. and Czechoslovakia and a 1935 supplementary treaty. As an EU member, Slovakia has signed bilateral instruments with the U.S. implementing the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements. Both countries have ratified these agreements. None have entered into force.
Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is increasingly cultivated in laboratory conditions as a "hydroponic crop." Under such conditions, it is possible to cultivate and harvest multiple crops of cannabis with elevated tetrahydrocanabinol (THC) each year. Seeds are mainly imported from the Netherlands, although authorities report increasing cases of cannabis grown from locally produced, high-quality hybrids. Cannabis was mainly grown in family homes and rented commercial properties. Slovak authorities report that a small but increasing portion of the locally produced cannabis crop is exported. Over the last 4 years, methamphetamine production and use has steadily increased in Slovakia. It is now the second most prevalent drug after cannabis. Slovak authorities believe the increase in production is driven by increasing domestic demand. Pervitine, produced from ephedrine and/or pseudoephedrine, is produced in special "laboratories," which produce bulk amounts of a high quality, and in small "kitchen labs". Although the "kitchen labs" produce a lower quality product less efficiently, authorities believe they were more popular with suppliers for their low start-up costs and ease of transport. Slovak-made pervitine was also found on the Hungarian and Austrian markets. The precursor for its production, in a powder form, was mainly imported from the Czech Republic. Precursors in the form of tablets were mainly imported from Hungary and Turkey. Locally available OTC medicines, as well as OTC imports from Hungary and Austria, were also used for the production of pervitine. Slovak authorities concluded that Modafen, Nurofen and Clarinase were the most commonly abused domestically available OTC inputs. As of January 1st, 2008, there were 8 OTC medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine available in the Slovak Republic. Slovak authorities report that producers and dealers of pervitine usually dealt in small quantities, and rarely appeared to be associated with organized criminal groups. In most cases, Ecstasy and pervitine were distributed concurrently by the same actors, mainly at discos or cultural events catering to young adults. In response to profit motives and fears of prosecution, Slovak producers continue to develop and experiment with new types of psychotropic and narcotic substances of synthetic origin. "MCPP", a drug with similar effects to Ecstasy, has been produced and available in Slovakia since 2006. It is sold in the tablet form at a very low price to appeal to individuals with lower incomes, notably high school and university students. Until November 1, 2007, MCPP was not included on the list of the controlled substances and its import was not criminal. MCPP is now on the list of controlled substances but now, like other narcotics and psychotropic substances, its import, export, production and distribution are criminal offenses. Hallucinogens, including LSD, magic mushrooms, and datura were consumed sporadically by youth and there was no organized market for these drugs. Hashish was mainly imported by tourists from Spain and Egypt.
Drug flow/Transit. Foreign criminal groups with local contacts, especially ethnic-Albanian and Turkish groups, are thought to be responsible for most of the imports and transshipments of heroin (from Central Asia), and cocaine from South America and Africa. Slovak Customs officials believe that many narcotics once transshipped through Slovakia from Ukraine are now diverted north or south due to the intensely protected border. U.S. donations of training and equipment are partially credited for improvements in border security.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The National Program for the Fight against Drugs (NPFD) 2004-2008 is primarily directed at activities to reduce drug demand. The National Strategy also defines key ministries for the implementation of prevention, including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family. Drug-use prevention is an integral part of the education process at schools. Positions for Drug Prevention Coordinators have been created at many schools, and Pedagogical and Psychological Counseling Centers have been established in each district. Since 2006, these centers have included programs that focus preventing social pathologies related to drug use, training courses for peer activists, teacher training, and methodological assistance to school psychologists and educational counselors.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral cooperation. The Regional DEA Office in Vienna shares information with the Slovak Police Presidium on operational issues of mutual interest, and has offered training for Slovak counterparts in the past.
Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to work with the Government of Slovakia to fight drug transit through Slovakia and to assist with drug treatment as appropriate.
Slovenia is neither a major drug producer nor a major transit country for illicit narcotics. The Government of Slovenia (GOS) is aware that Slovenia's geographic position makes it an attractive potential transit country for drug smugglers, and it continues to pursue active counternarcotics policies. Slovenia attained full Schengen membership on December 21, 2007 and adheres to all Schengen border control requirements. Slovenia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Heroin from Afghanistan, which transits Turkey, continues to be smuggled via the "Balkan Route" through Slovenia to Western Europe, though a branch of the “Northern Route” through Ukraine and Poland is more popular. The June 2008 seizure of 98 tons of acetic anhydride, a processing agent used in making heroin, is the largest seizure of the agent in Slovenian enforcement history. Cannabis was the leading confiscated drug in 2008, as it was in 2007. Slovenia's main cargo port, Koper, located on the North Adriatic, is a potential transit point for South American cocaine and North African cannabis destined for Western Europe. Two relatively large seizures of cocaine in June and July reflect the continued European trend toward cocaine use. Drug abuse is not yet a major problem in Slovenia, although authorities keep a wary eye on heroin abuse, due to the availability of the drug. Data on national programs to prevent drug use and reduce demand are unavailable due to an ongoing effort at the Ministry of Health to overhaul its statistical databases.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives/Accomplishments. The reduction of the supply of illicit drugs is one of the national police priorities in Slovenia. In order to ensure an efficient fight against drug trafficking, Slovenia is implementing its own national program against drugs to supplement the 2005-2008 EU strategy and action plan. Slovenia is tackling illicit drugs and related criminal offenses by conducting appropriate criminal police operations that include cooperation and information exchange at the national level as well as at the regional and international levels. Slovenia takes part in all relevant international and European fora that aim to combat organized crime groups that are involved in illicit drugs.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Law enforcement agencies seized 1772 tablets of Ecstasy in the first 10 months of 2008 compared with 783 in the first 11 months of 2007. In 2008 authorities seized slightly more than 120 kg of heroin, compared to slightly less than 59 kg of heroin seized in 2007. In addition, police netted a little more than 245 kg of marijuana in 2008, compared to just over 118 kg of marijuana in 2007. Police also seized 4,949 cannabis plants in the first ten months of 2008, compared to 8,254 cannabis plants seized in 2007. Through mid-October police seized over 169 kg of cocaine, compared to only 4 kg seized in the same period in 2007. Police also seized approximately 2kg of amphetamines and slightly more than 400 individual tablets of amphetamines in the first 10 months of 2008, compared to 0.75 kg of amphetamines and 1,000 individual tablets in 2007.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the GOS 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 indication that senior officials have encouraged or facilitated the production or distribution of illicit drugs. Corruption among police officials is very uncommon.
Agreements and Treaties. Slovenia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The 1902 extradition treaty between the United States and the Kingdom of Serbia remains in force between the United States and Slovenia as a successor state. Slovenia is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. In April 2008, Slovenia acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption.
Drug Flow/Transit. Slovenia is on the "Balkan Route" for drugs moving from Afghanistan, through Turkey, a traditional refining center for heroin, and then onward to Western Europe. Some heroin is thought to transit on so-called "TIR" trucks, long-haul trucks inspected for contraband at their place of embarkation, and then sealed by customs authorities before their voyage to a final destination.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Slovenians enjoy national health care provided by the government. These programs include drug treatment. The Ministry of Health is in the process of upgrading its databases and altering its methodology for tracking drug abuse and treatment, so no statistics for 2008 are currently available.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Slovenian law enforcement authorities have been willing and capable partners in several ongoing U.S. investigations. DEA’s office in Vienna has regional responsibility covering Slovenia and maintains a professional relationship with anti-narcotics officers within the Ministry of the Interior.
The Road Ahead. Based on the high quality of past cooperation, the USG expects to continue joint U.S.-Slovenian law enforcement investigation cooperation into 2009.
South Africa is in a better position than much of the African continent to fight domestic and international drug trafficking, production, and abuse, but is facing serious problems with violent crime. The country is an important transit area for cocaine (from South America) and heroin (from Afghanistan and East Asia) primarily destined for Southern African and European markets. South Africa is a large producer of cannabis (the world’s fourth largest according to the South African Institute for Strategic Studies), most of which is consumed in the Southern African region, but at least some of which finds its way to Europe (primarily the UK). It also may be the world’s largest consumer of Mandrax, a variant of methaqualone, an amphetamine-type stimulant. Mandrax is a preferred drug of abuse in South Africa and is often used in combination with cannabis; it is smuggled, primarily from China, India and other sources. South Africa has also become a significant transit country for precursor chemicals. According to the Organized Crime Threat Analysis prepared by the South African Police Service (SAPS) Annual Report 2007-2008 most of the organized crime syndicates in South Africa are foreign-led—primarily Nigerian, followed by Pakistani and Indian syndicates. Chinese organized crime is also present. The Prevention of Organized Crime Act (POCA, 1988), particularly its asset forfeiture section, is a potentially useful tool for law enforcement. South Africa is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
As the most prosperous and democratic country on the continent, South Africa attracts migrants from elsewhere in Africa. The country’s 1800 mile coastline and 3,100 mile porous land border, coupled with South Africa’s relative prosperity have resulted in the increased use of its territory for the transshipment of contraband of all kinds, including narcotics. An overloaded criminal justice system, straining hard just to deal with “street crime,” makes South Africa a tempting target for international organized crime groups of all types. South Africa has the most developed transportation, communications and banking systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. The country’s modern telecommunications systems (particularly cellular telephones), its direct air links with South America, Asia and Europe, and its permeable land borders provide opportunities for regional and international trafficking in all forms. The sanctions busting practices, so prevalent in the apartheid era, have continued under a different guise: instead of smuggling embargoed items, drugs and other illicit items are now smuggled into and out of South Africa. South Africa is both an importer and an exporter of drugs (marijuana produced on its own territory) and precursor chemicals.
Despite the progress it has made coping with organized crime, South Africa is the origin, transit point or terminus of many major drug smuggling routes. Many Nigerians live in South Africa, most of them illegally, and dominate the drug trade in the country. Cannabis is cultivated in South Africa, as well as imported from neighboring countries (Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe), and exported to neighboring countries (e.g., Namibia) and Europe (mainly Holland, UK) as well as consumed in South Africa itself. LSD is imported from Holland. Methamphetamine (locally known as “tik”) is manufactured in South Africa for local consumption, and there has been an explosion in usage, especially in Cape Town and, more recently, in Pretoria. Both heroin and cocaine are imported into South Africa (from Asia and Latin America, respectively), and also exported to Europe, Australia and even the U.S. and Canada. Cocaine from Bolivia and Peru goes through Colombia to Brazil and Argentina, then to South Africa via Portugal or Angola or directly to Johannesburg. To curb this trafficking, especially as the 2010 World Cup approaches, South Africa needs increased international cooperation and assistance in the effective use of international controlled deliveries and training.
As in previous years, a number of clandestine narcotics laboratories were dismantled. In 2008, in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, SAPS (South Africa Police Service) introduced an initiative to root out clandestine laboratories through training and partnership with the local chemical industry. The “South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use” (SACENDU) reported that although alcohol remains the dominant substance of abuse in South Africa, cannabis and Mandrax alone or in combination continue to be significant drugs of abuse. “Club drugs” and methamphetamine (“tik” in South Africa) abuse are emerging as a major concern, especially in Cape Town and Pretoria where the increase in treatment demand for methamphetamine addiction treatment is dramatic.
Methamphetamine has emerged as the main substance of abuse among the young in Cape Town and in Pretoria. In Cape Town, two-thirds of drug abusers are reported to be using tik as a primary or secondary substance of abuse. The increase in treatment admissions for methamphetamine-related problems in Cape Town represented the fastest increase in admissions for a particular drug ever noted in the country, and of particular concern is the large number of adolescent users. Police officials recently reported that the use of tik in the Western Cape is growing at the rate of 300 percent year-on-year. This increased use of methamphetamine is “strongly linked to gang culture on the Cape Flats.”
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Combating the use of, production of, and trafficking in illicit narcotics remains an important component of the anticrime agenda of the South African Government (SAG). As a practical matter, however, the SAG tends to target its limited anticrime resources on serious, violent and domestic crime. South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of murder and rape. The porous borders are crossed daily by criminals trafficking in all sorts of contraband, including illicit drugs, stolen cars, illegal firearms, diamonds, precious metals, and human beings. The Cabinet interagency “Justice Cluster” works to help coordinate the law enforcement and criminal justice system’s response to those challenges. The Narcotics Bureau was integrated into the police organized crime units in 2003. The loss of this specialized drug enforcement experience has impeded counter-narcotics progress. Another blow was the 2008 elimination of the Directorate of Special Operations of the National Prosecuting Authority (popularly know as “The Scorpions”), an elite unit created to investigate fraud that later expanded into drug investigation. The Central Drug Authority maintains and updates as necessary the “national drug master plan.” Other SAG agencies involved in counter narcotics efforts include—in varying degrees—the Home Affairs Department, the Customs Service, and the Border Police (a part of SAPS). The Border Police have 55 land border posts, 10 air-border posts and 9 sea-border posts. Intelligence organizations and the port and airport authorities also have a role in identifying and suppressing drug trafficking. The SAPS 2007/2008 Annual Report noted that an analysis of threats from organized crime groups over the past decade identified drug crimes as accounting for the largest proportion of the known threats. The report said that drug smuggling as an organized crime activity usually ties in with other aspects of organized crime, such as diamond smuggling, gold smuggling, abalone pirating and vehicle hijacking. SAPS concluded that drugs such as Mandrax, cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy and tik pose major threats to South Africa since they lead to violent crime such as murder, attempted murder, rape and assaults.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The number of detected drug-related crimes, according to the annual SAPS Report was 104,689 in 2007. Additional enforcement successes were reported in the press. For instance: In May 2007, SAPS seized cocaine worth Rand 60 million at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg bringing the total value of cocaine seized at that airport over the last two years to between Rand 200 million and Rand 300 million. SAPS conducted 10 international controlled deliveries this reporting period—one from Pakistan, two from India, three from the UK, one from France, one to Lesotho, one to Brazil and one to the UK. SAPS’ Airport Interdiction Unit makes weekly seizures of cocaine from South America and heroin from Pakistan at the Johannesburg and Cape Town Airports.
Corruption. Accusations of police corruption are frequent. Credible evidence of narcotics-related corruption among South African law enforcement officials has not been brought to light. Some suspect that the reported quantities of seized drugs are lower than actual seizures, and that the difference finds its way back out on the street. Some amount of corruption among border control officials does appear to contribute to the permeability of South Africa’s borders. As a matter of policy, however, the South African government 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. Likewise, no senior official of the federal government is known to engage in, encourage or facilitate such illicit production, or to launder proceeds of illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. South Africa 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. South Africa is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and 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. The U.S. and South Africa have bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements in force. All extradition matters in recent years, however, have been put on hold because of appeals raised by fugitives challenging the validity of the U.S.-South African extradition treaty. On January 21, 2009, the South African Constitutional Court ruled that the treaty was valid. Government officials have indicated that they intend to move quickly on the pending extradition cases. Both countries have also signed, a Letter of Agreement on Anticrime and Counter-narcotics Assistance which provides for U.S. training and commodity assistance to several South African law enforcement agencies. In 2000, the U.S. and South Africa signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement.
Cultivation/Production. Cannabis or “dagga” grows wild in Southern Africa and is a traditional crop in many rural areas of South Africa, particularly the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces. It also grows wild and is cultivated in neighboring Swaziland and Lesotho. It is possible to have three cannabis crops a year on the same piece of land in South Africa. Most South African cannabis is consumed domestically or in the region. Increasing amounts are, however, being seized in continental Europe and the UK. Some top-end estimates are that 20,000 to 30,000 hectares of arable land are used to grow cannabis, although most observers estimate the area dedicated to illicit cannabis to be about 1,500-2,000 hectares. Although the police force, with some success, sprays cannabis in South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho, illicit street prices never seem to rise—an indication of uninterrupted supply.
Mandrax, amphetamine, and methamphetamine are also produced in South Africa for domestic consumption. Among South Africans, “dagga” and Mandrax are the traditional drugs of choice; in more recent years, there has been rising interest in domestically produced amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and imported heroin.
Drug flow/Transit. Significant amounts of cocaine reach South Africa from South America. Cocaine is readily available on the local illicit market. Cocaine is mainly brought in by Nigerian syndicates, or people who work for them. South Africa, once a country of transshipment, has become a country with its own market. The consumption of cocaine, both powder and crystalline (“crack”), is on the increase. Heroin is smuggled into South Africa from Southeast and Southwest Asia, with some moving on to the U.S. and Europe. Most heroin trafficked into South Africa is intended for domestic consumption. Consumption of heroin among South African youth has increased with the advent of smokable heroin. An additional risk in terms of intravenous drug abuse is HIV/AIDS, a major health issue in South Africa. South Africans also import “dagga” from Swaziland and Lesotho, considering it to be of higher quality than the domestic version. Abuse of methaqualone (Mandrax) and other ATS tablets is on the rise too, especially among urban youth. Even Ecstasy finds its way into townships. Diverted precursor chemicals, some produced locally and some imported into South Africa, are also a growing problem. Many drug liaison officers, as well as South African Police Service officers, believe that South Africa is becoming a place for traffickers to warehouse their stocks of various drugs before sending them on to other countries. They believe that criminals view South Africa as a “weak enforcement” option for such warehousing operations. Nigerian, Pakistani, Indian, Colombian, Venezuelan, and Chinese syndicates are all taking advantage of the fact that South Africa, in addition to “weak enforcement,” has excellent financial, transportation, and communications facilities. SAPS reports that between January and September 2007 the chemical monitoring program to prevent the diversion of chemicals for the manufacture of illicit drugs checked 295 import notifications of precursors to South Africa.
A total of 1,468 export notifications of precursors were forwarded to relevant foreign authorities during 2007, which is a 64 percent increase over 2006. This apparent increase in exports is at least partially due to the SAPS’ increased reporting and South Africa’s lead role in the production of pharmaceuticals in Africa. Traffickers of Nigerian origin may be the most established of organized crime groups operating in South Africa. Using South Africa as their base for world-wide operations, they are involved in virtually every aspect of drug trafficking.
South Africa was the third-largest non-U.S. importer of pseudoephedrine and the fourth-largest non-U.S. importer of ephedrine in 2006. The latest Global Trade Atlas (http://www.gtis.com/gta/) statistics indicate South Africa’s imports of ephedrine in 2003 were 5703 kilograms and increased in 2004 to 11,185 kilograms, and again in 2005 to 14374; there was a sharp decline to 7,175 Kg in 2006, and the trend continued down in 2007, with only 2325 kg imported. Even more significant, imports of pseudoephedrine in 2003 to South Africa were 3,840 kilograms in 2003 and exploded in 2005 to 91,400 kilograms. In 2006 and again in 2007, pseudoephedrine imports fell precipitously to about 10,000 Kg. The imports are reportedly for use by the domestic pharmaceutical industry, which markets both locally and regionally. While the South African Police Service’s Chemical Control Program is by far the most progressive in Africa, the potential for diversion of this ephedrine and pseudoephedrine is an area of concern. South Africa participates in the UN sponsored program Project Prism and is a member of the Project Prism Task Force, serving as the focal point for Africa. South Africa is actively involved in the law enforcement initiatives being developed pursuant to Project Prism to halt the diversion of precursors to illicit chemical trafficking and drug manufacturing organizations around the world. During the course of the past year, DEA’s office in Pretoria has participated with South African authorities on a number of investigations involving methamphetamine precursors with the potential to impact the United States.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. South Africa has had a long history of Mandrax and “dagga” (cannabis) abuse; drug counselors have noted large increases in the number of patients seeking treatment for crack and heroin addiction. SAG treatment facilities and non-government drug rehabilitation agencies have seen their budgets for treatment cut the last few years. There are many people seeking treatment who are unable to register with any program, and those who manage to enter a rehabilitation program find that available services are constrained by lack of resources. Education of the general public about the dangers of drug addiction remains a high priority for the government. SAPS are continuing their visible crime deterrence policy by organizing visits and counternarcotics lectures in schools with assistance from the Department of Education and NGOs. The objective is to curb the influence of illegal drugs among children. The National Awareness Program, sponsored by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Department of Safety and Security and the Central Drug Authority, and originally launched in Cape Town in 2003, continues to present facts on drugs and their dangers to young people, students and others, under the slogan “Ke Moja” (“No Thanks, I’m Fine!”).
Certain successes have been achieved within the correctional system as well, mainly through the efforts of NGOs. In South African prisons, up to 70 percent of inmates are drug users (with an even higher percentage among incarcerated defendants awaiting trial), according to NGO contacts. Among the main rehabilitation program organizers are KHULISA, the Center for Socio-Legal Studies and Creative Education with Youth at Risk, the President’s Award for Youth Empowerment, and the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO). These NGOs are partly funded by State Department narcotics assistance. “Peer” counselors, trained by KHULISA within the prison system, continue to organize counternarcotics lectures and seminars for inmates. Some of the government-employed prison officials have also received basic training in this area.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. U.S. law enforcement officers from the DEA, FBI, DHS/ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement), the Secret Service, and the State Department’s Security Office successfully cooperate with their South African counterparts. The U.S. also continues to urge the SAG to strengthen its legislation and its law enforcement system to be able to prosecute more sophisticated organized criminal activities, including drug trafficking. Some U.S. training has been provided to the national police, the metropolitan police forces of Johannesburg and Tshwane (Pretoria), the Special Investigating Unit (Since disbanded), the Department of Home Affairs, the Customs and Revenue Service, and others.
The Road Ahead. Bilateral links between the United States and South African law enforcement communities are in the interest of both countries and even closer cooperation in the future is in both sides’ interest.
Narcotics production or abuse is not a major problem in the Republic of Korea (ROK). However, reports continue to indicate that an undetermined quantity of narcotics is smuggled through South Korea en route to the United States and other countries. South Korea has become a transshipment location for drug traffickers, anomalously, due to the country's reputation for not having a drug abuse problem. This combined with the fact that the South Korean port of Pusan is one of the region's largest ports, makes South Korea an attractive location for illegal shipments coming from countries which are more likely to attract a contraband inspection upon arrival. Several large-scale diversions of dual-use precursor chemicals destined for Afghanistan were traced back to South Korea. The ROK is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Drugs available in the ROK include methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and club drugs such as LSD and Ecstasy. Methamphetamine continues to be the most widely abused drug, while marijuana remains popular as well. Heroin and cocaine are only sporadically seen in the ROK. Club drugs such as Ecstasy and LSD continue to be popular among college students. To discourage individuals from producing methamphetamine, the South Korean government controls the purchase of over-the-counter medicines containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, requiring customer registration for quantities greater than 720 mg (a three-day standard dose).
III. Country Actions Against Drugs 2008
Policy Initiatives. In 2008, the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) continued to implement stronger precursor chemical controls under amended legislation approved in 2005. The KFDA continued its efforts to educate companies and train its regulatory investigators on the enhanced regulations and procedures for administering the precursor chemical program. In addition to existing regulatory oversight procedures to track and address diversion of narcotics and psychotropic substances from medical facilities, the ROK in 2008 strengthened the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs' role in the treatment, protection, and study of drug-addicts. In 2008, the ROK added benzylpiperazine to the list of narcotics and gamma butyrolactone (GBL) to the list of narcotic raw materials.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In the first ten months of 2008, South Korean authorities arrested 8,283 individuals for narcotic violations of which 6,120 individuals were arrested for psychotropic substance use and 814 persons for marijuana use. ROK authorities seized 17.2 kg of methamphetamine. Ecstasy seizures decreased from 18,151 tablets (for the first nine months of 2007) to 273. South Korean authorities seized 65.4 kg of marijuana, which is an increase from the 19.6 kg seized during the first nine months of 2007. South Koreans generally do not use heroin; and cocaine is used only sporadically, with no indication of its use increasing.
Corruption. There were no reports of corruption involving narcotics law enforcement in the ROK in 2008. As a matter of government policy, the ROK does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. South Korea has extradition treaties with 23 countries and mutual legal assistance treaties in force with 18 countries, including the United States. South Korea 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. In 2008 South Korea became a party to the UN Convention against Corruption; it has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Korean authorities exchange information with international counter narcotics agencies such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and have placed Korean National Police and/or Korea Customs Service attaches in Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, China, and the United States.
Cultivation/Production. Legal marijuana and hemp growth is licensed by local Health Departments. The hemp is used to produce fiber for traditional hand-made ceremonial funeral clothing. Every year, each District Prosecutor's Office, in conjunction with local governments, conducts surveillance into suspected illicit marijuana growing areas during planting or harvesting time periods to limit possible illicit diversion. Opium poppy production is illegal in South Korea, although poppy continues to be grown in Kyonggi Province where farmers have traditionally used the harvested plants as a folk medicine to treat sick pigs and cows. Opium is not normally processed from these plants for human consumption. Korean authorities continue surveillance of opium poppy-growing areas.
Drug Flow/Transit. Few narcotic drugs originate in South Korea. The exportation of narcotic substances is illegal under South Korean law, and none are known to be exported. However, the ROK does produce and export the precursor chemicals acetone, toluene, and sulfuric acid. Transshipment through South Korea's ports remains a serious problem. ROK authorities recognize South Korea's vulnerability as a transshipment nexus and have undertaken greater efforts to educate shipping companies of the risk. ROK authorities, ability to directly intercept the suspected transshipment of narcotics and precursor chemicals have been limited by the fact that the vast majority of transiting shipping containers never formally enters ROK territory. Nonetheless, the ROK continued its international cooperation efforts to monitor and investigate transshipment cases. Redoubled efforts by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) have resulted in increased seizures of methamphetamine and marijuana (12.8 kg and 13.9 kg respectively in the first ten months of 2008) transported by arriving passengers and through postal services at South Korea's ports of entry. Most methamphetamine smuggled into South Korea comes from China. A majority of the LSD and Ecstasy used in South Korea has been identified as coming from North America or Europe. People living in metropolitan areas are known to use marijuana originating in South Africa and Nigeria, whereas those living in rural areas appear to obtain their marijuana from locally produced crops. ROK authorities also report increased instances of marijuana use among the foreign population in South Korea in recent years, a trend that is most likely the result of increased law enforcement efforts targeting this segment of the population.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives and Programs. The U.S. Embassy's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Seoul Country Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials work closely with ROK narcotics law enforcement authorities. Both the DEA and ICE consider their working relationships to be excellent.
Bilateral Cooperation. The DEA Seoul Country Office has focused its efforts on international drug interdiction, seizures of funds and assets related to illicit narcotics trafficking (in collaboration with ICE), and the diversion of precursor chemicals in South Korea and in the Far East region. In 2008, the DEA Seoul Country Office organized, coordinated, and hosted a one-week training seminar on Airport Interdiction. This training was co-hosted by the Korea Customs Service (KCS). The DEA Seoul Country Office continues to share intelligence regarding the importation of precursor chemicals into South Korea from the United States and other Asian countries with the KFDA, KCS, the Korean Supreme Prosecutors’ Office (KSPO), and the Korean National Intelligence Service (KNIS). DEA also works closely with the KSPO and KCS in their activities to monitor airport and drug transshipment methods and trends, including the use of international mail by drug traffickers. The USCG works with the Korean Coast Guard, mainly through the multilateral North Pacific Coast Guard Forum. Activities through this forum focus on the interdiction of maritime threats, including the smuggling of illegal drugs, in the North Pacific region.
The Road Ahead. ROK authorities have expressed concern that the popularity of South Korea as a transshipment nexus may lead to greater volume of drugs entering Korean markets. Korean authorities fear increased accessibility and lower prices could stimulate domestic drug use in the future. South Korean authorities also indicate a growing concern about the importation of narcotics, psychotropic drugs, and illegal medicines purchased via the internet, predominately from web sites maintained in the United States. In response, Korean authorities established Memorandum of Understanding with a number of Korean internet portal sites to allow the KNPA to track and intercept such purchases. The South Korean government is currently seeking further international cooperation to better navigate the legal complexities surrounding the prosecution of transnational cyber crimes. The DEA Seoul Country Office will continue its extensive training, mentoring, and operational cooperation with ROK authorities.
Spain remains the primary transshipment and an important market for cocaine imported into Europe from South and Central America. Although the Madrid government in 2008 declared that cocaine consumption is no longer on the increase, Spain continues to be the largest consumer of cocaine in the European Union (EU), with 3 percent of the Spanish population consuming it on a regular basis (20 percent of all European consumers live in Spain). Sixty-three percent of patient admissions to Spanish emergency rooms for drug consumption were due to cocaine consumption, and 47 percent of the people admitted in treatment/rehabilitation centers were cocaine users. Among EU nations, Spain is also the number one consumer of designer drugs and hashish, with 25 percent of Spaniards 15 to 24-year-olds having consumed hashish in the last year. Spanish National Police, Civil Guard, and Customs Services, along with autonomous regional police forces, maintained an intense enforcement operational tempo during 2008. Spanish security services carried out increased law enforcement operations throughout Spain. As of the end of September, they were on target to seize more than twice as much heroin in 2008 than in the previous year while seizures of hashish and ecstasy also appeared likely to increase. As of the end of September, the Spanish security services appeared on track to seize less cocaine in 2008 than they did in 2007.
The Spanish government ranks drug trafficking as one of its most important law enforcement concerns and Spanish drug enforcement continues to maintain excellent relations with U.S. counterparts. The United States continues to improve the current excellent bilateral and multilateral cooperation in law enforcement programs it has with Spain, as symbolized by joint operations to arrest key drug traffickers and a series of visits this year from high-level USG officials, such as the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and several Congressional delegations. Spain is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Spain remains the principal entry, transshipment, and consumption zone for the large quantities of South American cocaine and Moroccan cannabis destined for European consumer markets, and is also a major source and transit location for drug proceeds returning to South and Central America. Colombia appears to be Spain’s largest supplier of cocaine from Latin America, although some information available suggests an increase in shipments of illicit cocaine from Bolivia. Bolivian cocaine is transshipped through Venezuela and Argentina by vessel or plane to the Iberian Peninsula.
Spain also faces a sustained flow of hashish from its southern neighbors, Morocco and Algeria. Maritime smuggling of hashish across the Mediterranean Sea is a very large-scale business. Spanish police continued to seize multi-ton loads of Moroccan hashish, some of which is brought into Spain by illegal immigrants. In an effort to prevent this, Morocco and Spain created in November 2008 a joint working group to study drug-smuggling routes from the former country to the latter. The majority of heroin that arrives in Spain is transported via the “Balkan Route” from Turkey, although Security Forces in 2008 have noticed recent efforts to transport it into Spain by boat. The Spanish National Police have identified Turkish trafficking organizations that distribute the heroin once it is smuggled into Spain. Illicit refining and manufacturing of drugs in Spain is minimal, although small-scale laboratories of synthetic drugs such as LSD are discovered and destroyed each year. MDMA-Ecstasy labs are rare and unnecessary in Spain as MDMA labs in the Netherlands prefer shipping the final product to Spain. However, the Ecstasy trafficking trend has been to use cities in Spain as transshipment points for small shipments to the U.S. to foil U.S. Customs inspectors who are wary of packages mailed to the U.S. from Belgium or the Netherlands.
Spain’s pharmaceutical industry produces precursor chemicals; however, most precursors used in Spain to manufacture illegal drugs are imported from China. There is effective control of precursor shipments within Spain from the point of origin to destination through a program administered under the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs’ National Drug Plan, known by its Spanish acronym of PNSD.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The PNSDprovides overall guidance and strategic directives for Spain’s national policy on drugs. In 2008, Spain concluded its first-ever National Drug Plan, which covered the years 2000 to 2008. The strategy, approved in 1999, expanded the scope of law enforcement activities and permitted the sale of seized assets in advance of a conviction and allowed law enforcement authorities to use informants. The strategy also outlined a system to reintegrate individuals who have overcome drug addictions back into Spanish society. The strategy also targeted money laundering and illicit commerce in chemical precursors and calls for closer counternarcotics cooperation with other European and Latin American countries.
During 2008, Spain also drafted its new PNSD for 2009-2016, which it formally unveiled on November 12, 2008. This new plan—which still needs to be approved by the Congress—aims to have citizens more involved in the fight against drugs, with the hope to prevent and/or lower consumption, delay the age for initial consumption (currently at age 20 for cocaine and heroin, and age 18 for hashish), and to guarantee assistance to drug addicts.
In October 2008, the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs released a report claiming that consumption of cocaine had stabilized after it decreased in 2007 for the first time since 1994. Overall, 3 percent of the Spanish population regularly consumes cocaine. Spain is a UNODC Major Donor and a member of the Dublin Group, a group of countries that coordinates the provision of counternarcotics assistance.
In March 2008, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body for the implementation of the UN’s international drug control conventions, congratulated Spain for its 2007-2010 Action Plan to Fight Cocaine Consumption, a plan that has an annual cost of 7 million euros. The INCB report urged countries with cocaine consumption problems similar to Spain, such as the US, UK, Italy and Denmark, to follow the Spanish example. The report also highlighted that cocaine consumption in Spain has doubled in the last 10 years among the general population (from 1.8 percent to 3 percent), and quadrupled among the Spanish youth (from 1.8 percent to 7.2 percent).
Law Enforcement Efforts. The Spanish law enforcement agencies responsible for narcotics control are the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard, both of which fall under the domain of law enforcement and civil security matters within the Ministry of Interior. The Spanish Customs Service, under the Ministry of the Treasury, also carries a mandate to enforce counternarcotics legislation at Spain’s borders and in Spanish waters. Spanish officials at the Ministry of Interior report that drug enforcement agencies had seized 22 MT of cocaine as of the end of September 2007.
Large-scale cocaine importation in Spain is principally controlled by Colombian drug traffickers, though Galician organizations also play an important role in the trafficking of cocaine into and within the country. Hashish trafficking continues to increase, as does the use of the drug in Spain. Many of the more significant seizures and arrests this past year were a direct result of the excellent cooperation between the U.S. DEA Madrid Country Office and Spanish authorities. For example, in September 2008, the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard, working with the DEA, arrested Colombian national Edgar Vallejo Guarin in Madrid. Also known as “Beto the Gypsy”, Vallejo Guarin was one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the world and the subject of a $5 million reward by the US Government for information leading to his arrest. Spanish authorities recorded several large seizures of cocaine in 2008. For example, a Venezuelan-flagged ship with 3,600 kilos of cocaine was stopped in June by the Spanish IRS. Another operation in July ended with the seizure of 1,500 kilos of cocaine in a sailing boat on its way to Bilbao from South America.
Hashish trafficking is controlled by Moroccan, British, and Portuguese smugglers and, to some extent, nationals of Gibraltar and the Netherlands. Spanish Civil Guard investigations have uncovered strong ties between the Galician mafia in the northwest corner of Spain and Moroccan hashish traffickers. Hashish continues to be smuggled into Spain via commercial fishing boats, cargo containers, fast Zodiac boats, and commercial trucks. Spanish authorities also recorded several large hashish seizures in 2008. For example, in September authorities intercepted 1,110 kilos of hashish, arresting three people. In August, seven tons of hashish were seized in two boats near the Balearic Islands and six people were arrested, and the same month another two operations seized roughly 2.5 tons of hashish each in Malaga. In July, several operations seized more than 25 tons of hashish.
Spanish law enforcement officials have detected a worrying rise in the amount of heroin trafficked through the country in recent years. On August 1, 2008 Spanish police seized a sailboat in Sitges, just south of Barcelona, with 316.5 kilos of heroin, more than the entire amount of heroin seized in 2007. Heroin smuggled into Spain originates principally in Afghanistan and transits Turkey on the way to Spain; it is usually smuggled into Spain by commercial truck or private vehicle through the “Balkan Route” or from Germany or the Netherlands.
|Heroin (kg)||631||275||242||271||174||454||227||484 (as of September 30 2008)|
|Cocaine (MT)||34||18||49||33||48||47||38||25 (As of September 30 2008)|
|Hashish (MT)||514||564||727||794||670||451||653||567 (As of September 30 2008|
|Ecstasy (pills x 1000)||860||1,400||772||797||573||408||491||
488 (As of September 30 2008)
Corruption. Spain’s Organized Crime Intelligence Center (CICO) coordinates counternarcotics operations among various government agencies, including the Spanish Civil Guard, National Police, and Customs Service. Under their guidance, law enforcement cooperation appears to function well. Spain does not encourage nor 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 of corruption of senior officials or their involvement in the drug trade, but there have been isolated cases involving corrupt law enforcement officials who were caught facilitating drug trafficking. For example, the Chief of Police in El Molar and two Civil Guards in Guadalix de la Sierra were arrested in an operation to combat drug trafficking in the Autonomous Community of Madrid. Another case in 2008 involved the dismantling of a drug-dealing and illegal immigration network that operated out of Madrid’s Barajas airport. Forty-seven people, including a Police Deputy Inspector, were arrested. In April 2008, the Chief Inspector for Organized Crime of the Malaga Police Office was arrested, along with another five people. They were accused of stealing money from drug dealers to buy drugs and sell them later.
Agreements and Treaties. Spain is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Spain is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. A 1970 extradition treaty and its three supplements govern extradition between the U.S. and Spain. The U.S.-Spain Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty has been in force since 1993, and the two countries have also signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. Spain has signed bilateral instruments with the U.S. implementing the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements. Both countries have ratified these agreements. None have entered into force.
Cultivation/Production. Coca leaf is not cultivated in Spain. However, there has been concern in recent years that clandestine laboratories in Spain and some West African countries have been established for the conversion of cocaine base to cocaine hydrochloride. Some cannabis is grown in country, but the seizures and investigations by Spanish authorities indicate the production is minimal. Opium poppy is cultivated licitly under strictly regulated conditions for research, and the total amount is insignificant. Spain has been added to the list of nontraditional countries authorized to export narcotic raw materials (NRM) to the United States. This change replaced the former Yugoslavia with Spain. It allows Spain to join the other “non-traditional” NRM exporters, Australia, France, Hungary, and Poland, as the only countries allowed to supply approximately 20 percent of the NRM required annually by the United States. Traditional exporters India and Turkey have preferred access to 80 percent of the NRM market. Spain is not a significant production zone for synthetic drugs. While not a significant producer of MDMA/Ecstasy, limited production of the drug has been reported in Spain.
Drug Flow/Transit. Spain is the major gateway to Europe for cocaine coming from Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Traffickers exploit Spain’s close historic and linguistic ties with Latin America and its extensive coastlines to transport drugs for consumption in Spain or distribution to other parts of Europe. DEA information suggests a developing trend for Colombian cocaine to be sent first to Africa and then smuggled northward into Spain. This year has seen a significant increase in the number of “swallower mules” detained in Nigeria en route from Latin America to Spain. Spanish police report that the country’s two principal international airports, Madrid’s Barajas and Barcelona’s El Prat, play expanding roles as the entry point for much of the cocaine trafficked into and through Spain, and there continues to be a substantial number of body cavity smugglers arriving by air. Those two airports are also key transit points for passengers who intend to traffic Ecstasy and other synthetic drugs, mainly produced in Europe, to the United States. These couriers, however, are typically captured before they leave Spain or when they arrive in the U.S. Spain remains a major transit point to Europe for hashish from Morocco, and Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla are principal points of departure. Spanish law enforcement has disrupted many drug shipments through its use of the Integrated External Surveillance System (Spanish acronym SIVE), deployed on its southern coast. The Spanish Civil Guard initiated the SIVE system to control the growing flow of illegal maritime drug trafficking, mainly African hashish, especially around the coasts of Cadiz and Malaga.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The national drug strategy identifies prevention as its principal priority. In that regard, the government continued its publicity efforts targeting Spanish youth. The PNSD closely coordinates its demand reduction programs with the Spanish National Police, Civil Guard, Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, and Ministry of Public Administration. Spain’s autonomous communities provide treatment programs for drug addicts, including methadone maintenance programs and needle exchanges. Prison rehabilitation programs also distribute methadone. The government contributes over 4 million euros to assist private, nongovernmental organizations that carry out drug prevention and rehabilitation programs.
In November 2008, the Delegate of the Government for the National Drug Plan announced that several hospitals would administer, over a 12 month period, a vaccine against cocaine addiction to a number of volunteers to study its effects prior to its approval by the European Medicine Agency, which is expected in 2009.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The United States continues to improve the current excellent bilateral and multilateral cooperation in law enforcement programs it has with Spain, as symbolized by a series of visits this year from high-level USG officials, such as the Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and Congressional delegations. Bilateral cooperation in 2008 built upon a strong foundation from the previous year, when DEA coordinated with the Spanish government to host the annual IDEC conference in Madrid–the first time IDEC was held in Europe. On November 8, 2008, Spain’s Council of Ministers approved the extradition to the U.S. of Colombian drug dealer Vallejo Guarin. DEA continues to work very closely with its Spanish law enforcement counterparts, which has resulted in numerous successful joint investigations. DEA also has conducted training courses in undercover operations and financial investigations for its Spanish counterparts, which were very well received by the Spaniards. The U.S. urges Spain to become a leader among EU member states in the fight against narcotics and is pleased to see that Spain in 2008 assumed the rotating leadership of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Center-Narcotics (MAOC-N) in Lisbon.
Road Ahead. With drug traffickers targeting Spain in a major way and its government reaching out to the U.S. for collaboration, the U.S. will continue to coordinate closely with Spanish counternarcotics officials. Spain will continue to be a key player in the international fight against drug trafficking and seeks to maintain momentum from its successful hosting of the IDEC Conference in 2007. The U.S. and Spain are natural partners in Latin America, and are intent on developing a partnership there for the benefit of Latin America as well as Spain and the U.S.
Sri Lanka has a relatively small-scale drug problem. The Government of Sri Lanka (GSL) remains committed to targeting drug traffickers and implementing nation-wide demand reduction programs. In early 2005, the U.S. government strengthened its relationship with Sri Lanka on counternarcotics issues by offering training for the Sri Lanka Police. Sri Lanka is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, ratifying key legislation in October, 2007.
II. Status of Country
Sri Lanka is not a significant producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals and plays a minor role as a transshipment route for heroin from India. GSL officials continue to raise internal awareness of and vigilance against efforts by drug traffickers attempting to use Sri Lanka as a transit point for illicit drug smuggling. Domestically, officials are addressing a modest upsurge in domestic consumption, consisting of heroin, cannabis, and increasingly Ecstasy.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The lead agency for counternarcotics efforts is the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB), headquartered in the capital city of Colombo. The GSL remains committed to ongoing efforts to curb illicit drug use and trafficking. The PNB recruited more officers, resulting in increased investigations and interdictions. In early 2006, a special court was established to try drug cases with minimal delays. The PNB also conducted in-service counternarcotics training for police outside of the conflict-affected north and east and drug awareness programs in schools on a regular basis. The Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Program, a regional organization, pledged its assistance to the government and non-government agencies in their efforts to combat illicit drugs. The program regularly provides advice relating to reducing the demand for drugs to NGOs and government agencies including the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, Customs, PNB and the Ministry of Social Welfare. Over the past year 34 drug treatment practitioners in Galle and an additional 28 in Colombo have been trained on preventing relapse for those in recovery. Three new drug treatment centers opened for female addicts in Nawadiganthaya, Urapola and Nittambuwa.
Accomplishments. The PNB and Excise Department worked closely to target cannabis producers and dealers, resulting in several successful arrests. The PNB warmly welcomed and has been an active partner in taking full advantage of U.S.-sponsored training for criminal investigative techniques and management practices in the past.
Sri Lanka continued to work with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on regional narcotics issues. SAARC countries met in Maldives in early 2004 and agreed to establish an interactive website for the SAARC Drug Offense Monitoring Desk, located in Colombo, for all countries to input, share, and review regional narcotics statistics. GSL officials maintain continuous contact with counterparts in India and Pakistan, origin countries for the majority of drugs in Sri Lanka. The SAARC Drug Offences Monitoring Desk (SDOMD) is co-located within Colombo's PNB. The SDOMD Anti-drug officials based in India and Pakistan regularly share information with the SDOMD, though other SAARC countries reportedly do not maintain such regular contact with the SDOMD desk.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The PNB continued to cooperate closely with the Customs Service, the Department of Excise, and the Sri Lankan Police to curtail illicit drug supplies in and through the country. As a result of these efforts, over the last 12 months GSL officials arrested 9,825 persons on charges of using or dealing heroin and 33,848 persons on cannabis charges. Police seized a total of 30.5 kg of heroin. Police also seized 37,310 kg of cannabis from late 2007 through late 2008. In addition, in response to slowly increasing Ecstasy usage in upscale venues in Colombo, the PNB made six Ecstasy-related drug arrests.
Apart from its Colombo headquarters, the PNB has one sub-unit at the Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo, complete with operational personnel and a team of narcotics-detecting dogs. Greater vigilance by PNB officers assigned to the airport sub-station led to increased arrests and narcotics seizures from alleged drug smugglers. A planned new PNB substation at the Colombo port has not opened yet for lack of space.
Corruption. The GSL does not, as a matter of policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of any controlled substances or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. A government commission established to investigate bribery and corruption charges against public officials that resumed operations in 2004 continued through 2008. There are unconfirmed reports of links between drug traffickers and individual corrupt officials. However, since late 2007, there have been no arrests of government officials on bribery or corruption charges related to drugs.
Agreements and Treaties. Sri Lanka is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the 1990 SAARC Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Over the past year Parliament ratified conventions, passing the Drug Dependent Persons Treatment and Rehabilitation Act in October, 2007 and the Conventions Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic and Psychotropic Substance Act in 2008. Sri Lanka is also a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Sri Lanka is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and has signed, but not yet ratified, the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons and the Protocol on Migrant Smuggling. Sri Lanka is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption. An extradition treaty is in force between the U.S. and Sri Lanka. A U.S.-Sri Lanka extradition treaty has been in force since January 12, 2001.
Cultivation/Production. Some cannabis is cultivated and used locally, but there is little indication that it is exported. The majority of cannabis cultivation occurs in the southeast jungles of Sri Lanka. PNB and Excise Department officials work together to locate and eradicate cannabis crops.
Drug Flow/Transit. Some of the heroin entering Sri Lanka is transshipped to other markets abroad, including Europe. In the last year, 10 Sri Lankans were arrested in India and the Maldives on drug charges. Sri Lanka's coast remains highly vulnerable to transshipment of heroin moving from India.
Police officials state that the international airport is a major entry point for the transshipment of illegal narcotics through Sri Lanka. There is no evidence to date that synthetic drugs are manufactured in Sri Lanka. Police note that the Ecstasy found in Colombo social venues is likely imported from Thailand.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) established task forces in each regional province to focus on the issue of drug awareness and rehabilitation at the community level. Each task force works with the existing municipal structure, bringing together officials from the police, prisons, social services, health, education and NGO sectors. The GSL continued its support, including financial, of local NGOs conducting demand reduction and drug awareness campaigns.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The USG remained committed to helping GSL officials develop increased capacity and cooperation for counternarcotics issues. The USG also continued its support of a regional counternarcotics program, which conducts regional and country-specific training seminars, fostering communication and cooperation throughout Asia. Towards that end, the U.S. Coast Guard provided residential training to Sri Lankan officers in the areas of International Crisis, Command and Control, as well as residential training in Seaport Security.
Road Ahead. The U.S. government will follow up on its commitment to aid the Sri Lankan police in its transition to community-focused policing techniques. This will be accomplished with additional assistance for training. The U.S. also expects to continue its support of regional and country-specific training programs.
Suriname is a transit zone for South American cocaine en route to Europe, Africa, and, to a lesser extent, the United States. The Government of Suriname (GOS) does not have the capacity to adequately control its borders. Inadequate resources, limited law enforcement training, the absence of a law enforcement presence in the interior of the country, and lack of aircraft or patrol boats, allow traffickers to move drug shipments via land, sea, river, and air with little resistance. As in 2007, there were no major drug seizures in 2008, but GOS efforts to eliminate major local narcotics organizations and to crack down on clandestine airstrips within Suriname have forced traffickers to shift tactics and in some cases to move operations to neighboring countries. Suriname is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but has not implemented legislation regarding precursor chemical control provisions to bring itself into full conformity with the Convention.
II. Status of Country
The GOS ability to identify, apprehend, and prosecute narcotics traffickers is inhibited by its chronic lack of resources, limited law enforcement capabilities, inadequate legislation, drug-related corruption of the police and military, a complicated and time-consuming bureaucracy, and overburdened and under-resourced courts. Cocaine from South America, destined primarily for Europe, Africa, and, to a lesser extent, the United States is transshipped through Suriname. The GOS has no legislation controlling precursor chemicals and no tracking system to monitor them. This leaves the GOS unable to detect the diversion of precursor chemicals for drug production. However, in 2008, Suriname participated in a training seminar with Colombian counterparts and experts to learn how to identify precursor chemicals.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The National Anti-Drug Council and its Executive Office renewed its mandate from the Ministry of Health in June 2008 to continue to coordinate implementation of the National Drugs Master Plan (2006-2010) that covers both supply and demand reduction and includes calls for new legislation to control precursor chemicals. Since 2007, national support has been broadened by involving Non-government Organizations (NGOs) and civil society in the implementation of the plan. The participatory approach was institutionalized by incorporating the Business Association, religious groups, and regional sites set up by the National Anti-Drug Council.
Accomplishments. In 2008, the GOS seized 228.1 kilograms (kg) of cocaine, 123 kg of cannabis, 785 MDMA (Ecstasy) tablets and 3,346.4 grams of heroin. While 2008 seizures were on par with previous year, the GOS Ministry of Justice and Police and law enforcement institutions’ continued targeting large trafficking rings, (with direct links to South American and European rings), and its expanding cooperation with regional and international partners could yield improved results. USG law enforcement intelligence shows that traffickers have changed their routes and methods of operations in response to GOS efforts. The drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) have moved their landing strips further into the interior and changed trafficking tactics, such as using one landing strip for a very short period of time and then moving to another strip. The continuing GOS crackdown against clandestine airstrips within Suriname has also forced traffickers to develop new routes for transiting drugs. USG law enforcement intelligence shows a possible trafficking shift from Suriname to Guyana as the cost per kilogram in Suriname is now higher than in Guyana. Costs per kilogram in Suriname have risen due to an increase in security costs for shipments. In 2008, a total of 582 people were arrested for drug-related offenses.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2008, law enforcement officials noted a slight decrease in the number of drug mules arrested from 99 in 2007 to 66 in 2008. Traffickers continued the use of postal services to mail packages containing household items or foodstuff (ginger roots, noodles and syrup) laced with or containing narcotics. There was a notable increase of African nationals arrested at Suriname’s Johan Adolf Pengel airport carrying narcotics intended for Africa (transported via the Netherlands). The most significant arrest trend in 2008 was the arrest of several members of different Surinamese music entertainment groups. These persons were arrested at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport after inspection showed they had ingested cocaine pellets. In 2008, GOS law enforcement agencies arrested 66 drug couriers, the majority of whom who had ingested cocaine pellets. In June, the GOS stepped up its enforcement efforts at the Johan Adolf Pengel International airport by installing luggage scanning equipment. Drug mules who evaded detection in Suriname were subsequently arrested at the airport in Amsterdam, which, in 2004, implemented a 100 percent inspection of all passengers and baggage arriving on all inbound flights from Suriname.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, no senior GOS official, nor the GOS, encourages or facilitates illicit drug production or distribution, nor is it involved in laundering the proceeds of the sale of illicit drugs, and does not discourage the investigation or prosecution of such acts. Public corruption by military and police who were possibly influenced and infiltrated by narcotraffickers is believed to have played some role in limiting the number of seizures made compared to the amount of illegal narcotics that is reportedly flowing through Suriname. Public corruption also appears to affect the prison system, where there are continued claims by non-governmental organizations of drug use and drug sales. Media reports and rumors of money laundering, drug trafficking, and associated criminal activity involving current and former government and military officials continue to circulate.
The GOS demonstrated some willingness in 2008 to undertake law enforcement and legal measures to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish public corruption. In October, for example, acting on a tip that drugs would be transported from Nickerie to Paramaribo, police stopped a car driven by an off-duty police officer. The off-duty officer resisted arrest and was shot and killed by his colleagues. Police found 50 kilograms of cocaine in the officer’s car. Two other police officers were arrested on narcotics charges in separate cases in September.
Agreements and Treaties. Suriname is party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Suriname is also a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and has accordingly passed legislation that conforms to a majority of the Convention’s articles, but it has failed to pass legislation complying with precursor chemical control provisions.
Suriname is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling. Suriname is party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and Migrant Smuggling. the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters but not the Optional Protocol thereto. Since 1976, the GOS has been sharing narcotics information with the Netherlands pursuant to a Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement. The two countries intensified their cooperation to fight drug trafficking with agreements between their police forces and their offices of the Attorney General. In August 1999, a comprehensive six-part, bilateral, maritime counternarcotics enforcement agreement was entered into with the U.S. The U.S.-Netherlands Extradition Treaty of 1904 is applicable to Suriname, but current Suriname law prohibits the extradition of its nationals. Suriname did, however, deport foreign national Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members to Colombia in 2008 and is cooperating with regional counterparts on ongoing Drugs-for-Arms network investigations. During 2008, the U.S. made both formal and informal requests for assistance to Suriname. Suriname has worked with the in-country DEA office and has provided, and attempted to provide, information and evidence to assist U.S. investigations and trials.
Officials from Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba met in June. The three countries share intelligence on judicial and criminal matters and evaluated and expanded this cooperation. In May, Suriname and Guyana made the “Nieuw Nickerie Declaration,” to combat transnational crime between the countries. The declaration said they had agreed to advance cooperation regarding narcotics, money laundering, trafficking in persons and weapons. Suriname has also signed bilateral agreements to combat drug trafficking with neighboring countries Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. Brazil and Colombia have cooperated with Suriname on specific drug-related cases. Suriname is an active member of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS/CICAD), to which it reports regularly. Suriname publicly announced its candidacy for the CICAD vice chair position in 2009-2010 in late 2008. Suriname has signed agreements with the United States, Netherlands and France that permit law enforcement attachés to work with local police.
Cultivation and Production. There is little data on the amount of cannabis under cultivation in Suriname, or evidence that it is exported in significant quantities.
Drug Flow/Transit. Suriname’s sparsely populated coastal region and isolated jungle interior, together with weak border controls and infrastructure, make narcotics detection and interdiction efforts difficult. USG analysis indicates that drug traffickers use very remote locations for delivery and temporary storage of narcotics. There are also indications that the illicit drug flights are increasingly moving to Guyana. Narcotics shipments are then transported by ground through the Nickerie District into Suriname. Cocaine shipments that enter Suriname via small aircraft land on clandestine airstrips that are cut into the dense jungle interior and sparsely populated coastal districts. The GOS has worked to combat this flow by monitoring the illegal cross-border traffic near the city of Nieuw Nickerie and by destroying several clandestine airstrips in 2007 and 2008. European-produced Ecstasy is transported via commercial airline flights from the Netherlands to Suriname.
Drugs exit Suriname via numerous means including commercial air flights, by drug couriers and concealed in small private planes. The bulk of the cocaine movement out of Suriname to Europe and Africa is via commercial sea cargo. Traffickers move hundreds of kilograms, concealing it either in cargo, containers, or in the vessels. Small fishing vessels also carry drugs out to sea and transfer them to large freight vessels in international waters. Well-concealed cocaine is off-loaded at the destination port as legitimate cargo, while kilograms in block form, are packaged in bundles of 50 to 100 kilograms, and then off-loaded in international waters to smaller boats prior to entering port. The government has no coast guard or maritime capability to interdict drug traffickers at sea.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In 2008 the National Anti-Drug Council (NAR) established one new regional site in Saramacca for anti-drug activities, bringing the number of its active sites to three across the country. These sites were used as a base for data collection, analysis and recommendations based on trends, and drug awareness activities for the local communities. The NAR also organized a host of activities for the 2008 International Day Against Drugs, including a presentation of an anti-drugs song by primary school children, a poster competition at the youth detention center, a film presentation, distribution of drug information at community centers and via the mass media, and other activities. The NAR also coordinated training sessions for counselors working on prevention issues.
A 2007 CICAD-funded survey on alcohol and drug abuse in secondary schools in Suriname showed that among the 2,066 students surveyed the most common drugs used are alcohol, followed by cigarettes, tranquilizers, and marijuana. Less than 1 percent of the students use other substances such as heroine, hashish, opium, morphine, cocaine, and methamphetamines. The highest prevalence rate can be found in the age group 17 to 20 years, and most of them (19 percent) live in the capital city Paramaribo. The results of this study were analyzed in 2008, and will be made public on February 6, 2009.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The United States’ focus is on strengthening the GOS law enforcement and judicial institutions and their capabilities to detect, interdict, and prosecute narcotics trafficking activities.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2008, the GOS and Guyana made the “Nieuw Nickerie Declaration” to advance cooperation on transnational crime as a follow-on to the 2006 “Paramaribo Declaration,” which provided a framework to establish an intelligence-sharing network, coordinate, and execute sting operations, destroy clandestine airstrips and tackle money laundering. In December 2008, the Ministry of Justice and Police co-hosted (with the Embassy of the Republic of France in Suriname) a regional counternarcotics and money laundering seminar for law enforcement and police attaches.
In 2008, the United States provided training and material support to several elements of the national police to strengthen their counternarcotics capabilities. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), office in Suriname provided counternarcotics training to several units of the Korps Politie Suriname (KPS). DEA also arranged for some KPS officers to take part in a larger U.S. military provided training course on interdiction, and provided operational assistance for the course. In 2008, DEA also provided technical assistance to the KPS in narcotics and money laundering investigations. The “Paramaribo Declaration” set forth several tenants of understanding among the participating countries, and in 2008 the DEA took actions to enhance the cooperative actions between the participating countries. The USCG provided resident training in leadership, crisis and command control and professional development.
The Road Ahead. The United States encourages the GOS efforts to continue to pursue major narcotics traffickers and to dismantle their organizations, and to build on and strengthen its regional and international cooperation to date. The GOS should continue to strengthen its focus on port security, specifically seaports, which are seen as the primary conduits for large shipments of narcotics exiting Suriname. A concerted effort by the GOS to increase the number of police and military boats capable of patrolling the border rivers and coastal areas would also likely enhance counternarcotics efforts. Similarly, in order to achieve greater results, the USG encourages the GOS to continue to engage in capacity-building measures of its counternarcotics-focused units, to monitor and protect its porous borders and vast interior with a radar detection system and adequate air support. With regard to enhancing its interdiction at the principal airport and border crossings, the GOS should invest in a passport scanning/electronic database system.
Sweden is not a significant illicit drug producing country. However, police report that Sweden is increasingly becoming a transit country for illegal drugs to other Nordic countries and Eastern European states. The fight against illegal drugs is an important government priority and enjoys strong public support. There are an estimated 26,000 serious drug (viz., heroin, cocaine) users in Sweden, and the overall quantities of narcotics seized in 2008 did not change significantly from 2007. Amphetamine and cannabis remain the most popular illegal drugs. Cocaine has an increasing impact and police report a larger influx of it into the country. Total heroin and Ecstasy usage did not change from 2007, although the abuse of anabolic steroids rose. The quantity of Internet ordered narcotics increased in 2008. To combat these trends, law enforcement and customs entities have been active in several domestic and international counter-narcotic projects in the last year.
The majority of narcotics in Sweden originates in South America, West Africa, Eastern Europe, and Afghanistan and is smuggled via other EU countries. In 2008, authorities made a large bust of illegal drugs sold over the Internet. Khat usage remains restricted to specific immigrant communities. Limited residential cultivation of cannabis occurs, along with a limited number of small kitchen labs producing methamphetamine and anabolic steroids. Sweden is not believed to have any industrial narcotics laboratories and residentially-produced narcotics are mainly for personal use. Sweden is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Relative to other European countries, Sweden (both government and society) is highly intolerant towards illegal drugs. Sweden places strong focus on prevention and education. According to government statistics, 10 percent of the adult population (15-75 years old) has tried drugs at some point during their lives, and the number of drug users is twice as high among men as among women. In line with results first reported in 2007, Sweden continues to have approximately 26,000 serious drug addicts (i.e. regular intravenous use and/or daily need for narcotics). Some 25 percent of serious drug users are women (in both 2007 and 2008).
The National Institute of Public Health notes an increase in drug-related deaths in 2008; the average number of narcotics- related deaths is 300 per year. Last year’s drop in the death rate, attributed by authorities to the increased use of Subutex, a synthetic opiate used for maintenance of heroin addicts during detoxification and treatment, did not continue into 2008. Drug-related deaths rose during 2008. According to police reports, Sweden is both a destination and transit country for amphetamines.
The government-sponsored Organization for Information on Drugs and Alcohol (CAN) reports that the overall number of young people who have used drugs recently remains comparable to that of 2007. The percentage of high school students (15-16 years old) who claim to have been offered drugs decreased to 19 percent in 2008, compared to 20 percent in 2007. High school aged boys who claim to have tried drugs increased one percentage point to seven percent; the corresponding statistic for high-school aged girls remained at five percent. Approximately 60 percent of those who try drugs for the first time do so with cannabis. Amphetamines and Ecstasy are the second and third most commonly used drugs.
There are regional differences in drug use. The use of narcotics is predominately concentrated in urban areas, but is growing in rural areas. The police have observed a countrywide increase in the use of cocaine. Previously considered a "luxury" drug and mainly used in fashionable bars and restaurants, cocaine has become more common due to a significant drop in price. In 2000, one gram of cocaine cost the approximate equivalent of $200; today the street price is $80 and it continues to decrease. The shift from heroin to cocaine among some addicts is attributed to this relative price decrease and indications point towards an increased influx of cocaine. Cocaine is mainly smuggled to Sweden through the major European ports, such as Rotterdam, and then by land or air. South American smugglers and dealers have long-dominated the drug trade, however competition from other criminal groups, such as Serbians, have lead to a price decrease. Distribution is handled by different ethnic groups, such as from West Africa. Law enforcement entities note that West African networks, once heavily involved with heroin smuggling, now cooperate with South American smugglers in the cocaine trade.
Cannabis is one of the most commonly used narcotics in Sweden. Some 80 percent of the cannabis in Sweden comes from Morocco, the remainder from the Middle East and Central Asia. German citizens also smuggle cannabis from Germany to Scandinavia.
National Drug Policy Coordinator Björn Fries stated that the use of khat is an insufficiently acknowledged drug problem in Sweden. The use of khat is exclusive to immigrant communities such as Somalis and Ethiopians, who are continuing a practice of their birth countries. Khat is often smuggled into the country concealed in fruit and vegetable packages. In 2008, the police hired more personnel with in-depth knowledge of khat and intend to propose to change the law to reduce the possession amount of khat that is legally punishable.
In July, the government decided to classify the drug DMX (Dextrometrofan) as a narcotic. Overdoses of the drug killed seven people during 2008.
The trend last years of an increase in the ordering of illicit drugs over the Internet continued. Cannabis is the drug most commonly smuggled via parcels ordered over the Internet. Other Internet-ordered drugs confiscated by customs include Ecstasy, heroin, steroids and illegal pharmaceuticals such as Tramadol. Most packages originate in Spain, the Netherlands, South America and the Baltic region. Combating the Internet narcotics trade is a priority and Swedish law enforcement is coordinating closely with Interpol and Europol to develop methods to prevent teenagers from purchasing drugs online.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives and Accomplishments. The Mobilization Against Drugs (MOB) Task Force and the National Drug Policy Coordinator positions were terminated during the year. The government’s National Action Plan on Narcotic Drugs runs through 2010. Demand reduction and supply restriction figure prominently, and the plan includes provisions to increase treatment for prison inmates with drug addictions. Four ministries share the primary responsibility for drug policy: the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Together, officials from these ministries form an independent working group called The Government’s Coordination Body in Drug Related Issues (SAMNARK), which coordinates the implementation of the Action Plan. The government has established an investigative commission to review current narcotics legislation and to make recommendations on how to strengthen it. The commission is also considering proposals for harsher penalties for doping crimes in athletics and expects to release its results soon.
Sweden ran a National Cannabis Project from 2004-2008, which focused on combating the organized criminal aspect of the cannabis trade. The project was replaced by an “action group” based in Malmo. Sweden participates in a three-year, Denmark-led project targeting West African cocaine and heroin networks.
Continued cooperation with Baltic countries, where significant drug trafficking routes exist, constitutes an ongoing and important element in Sweden's counternarcotics efforts. Sweden also has an active part in the EU strategy plan for narcotics and participates in the EU Minister Council Horizontal Working Group (HNG). Sweden also participates in the Western Balkans and drug combating projects spearheaded by COSPOL, a counternarcotics EU task force led by national police commissioners.
Fighting drugs remains a high priority area for Sweden's official development assistance. Sweden allocated over $15 million in 2007 for the UN Office of Drugs and Crime’s general and special-purpose programs.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2008, authorities did not uncover any major drug processing labs. Police reported 56,735 narcotics-related crimes from January to September 2008. This represents a one percent increase compared to the corresponding period of 2007. Approximately 30 percent of the arrests under the Narcotics Act led to convictions, which on an average resulted in six months in jail. The majority of the crimes involved consumption and possession.
In February, authorities closed an Internet pharmacy based in Sweden for selling illegal prescription drugs. The case is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Activity started in 2003 and registered customers in 65 countries with the largest market in the U.S. The drugs included Rohypnol, morphine and Viagra. Police estimate that the business grossed approximately $5 million. Seven men were prosecuted.
A nation-wide drug bust was conducted by the police in October 2008, resulting in 43 apprehensions for internet-based drug trafficking. The suspects were between 18–55 years old.
In September 2007, Swedish police in coordination with DEA conducted a similar raid called “Raw Deal” against illegal sale of steroids over the Internet. The raid brought 22 individuals to justice. The majority was convicted of doping crimes carrying sentences of one to two years. Some cases were appealed and are ongoing.
In 2007, the police started investigating, together with the Doping Call Center, the growing trend of steroid users taking other narcotics and prescription pharmaceuticals to counteract the negative side effects of steroid use. The majority of steroid users who mix with other drugs are between 18-25 years old. The majority of the users are not athletes, but ordinary people.
Amounts seized per substance per year in kilograms:
(number of pills)
Number of drug seizures by Swedish Authorities:
Corruption. There were no known cases of public corruption in connection with narcotics in Sweden during the year. Swedish law covers all forms of public corruption and stipulates maximum penalties of six years imprisonment for gross misconduct or taking bribes. 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.
Agreements and Treaties. Sweden is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is meeting the Convention's goals and objectives. Sweden is a party to the 1961 Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Sweden is also 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 Swedish Police have a cooperation agreement with the Russian Narcotics Control Authorities. The agreement is meant to facilitate counternarcotics efforts in the region through information sharing and bilateral law enforcement coordination. In 2008, Swedish-Russian anti-drug efforts continued to be conducted under the auspices of the Baltic Sea Task Force. The US and Sweden cooperate in extradition matters under an extradition treaty signed in 1961 and amended in 1983. Sweden has bilateral instruments with the U.S. implementing the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements. Both countries have ratified these agreements. None have entered into force.
Sweden has bilateral customs agreements with the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Norway, Hungary, Latvia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Iceland, Russia, Lithuania, France, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands. Through the EU, Sweden also has agreements with other nations concerning mutual assistance in customs issues and anti-drug efforts.
Cultivation/Production. No major illicit drug cultivation/production was detected during the year. However, in August the police detected modest-scale cannabis cultivations outside Kristianstad and seized 41 kilos of cannabis. One 48 year-old woman and one 41 year-old man were apprehended. Sweden is not believed to have any industrial narcotics laboratories and domestically produced narcotics are mainly for personal use. Some legal cultivation of cannabis for use in fibers occurs in Sweden, as allowed for under EU regulations of the cultivation of flax and hemp for fiber.
Drug Flow/Transit. Drugs mainly enter the country concealed in commercial goods, by air, ferry, and truck over the Oresund Bridge linking Sweden to Denmark. The effectiveness of customs checks at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport is believed to have resulted in an upward trend of smuggling by truck and ferry. An estimated 70 percent of all seizures are made in the southern region of Sweden. Most seized amphetamines originate in Poland, the Netherlands, and Baltic countries. Regular Baltic ferry routes serve Sweden; in the spring and southern months, amphetamines are trafficked into Sweden via maritime routes. Ecstasy usually comes from the Netherlands; cannabis from Morocco and southern Europe; and khat from the Horn of Africa via Amsterdam and London. The influence of outlaw motorcycle gangs, such as Hells Angels and Bandidos, remains significant in Sweden. Such groups are regularly involved in the distribution of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine, which they acquire from Albanian, Serbian and Montenegrin traffickers. Cocaine often comes through Spain and the Baltic region or directly from South America in freight containers. In December 2006, over one metric ton of cocaine was seized at the port of Gothenburg. The route for heroin is more difficult to establish, but according to police information, a West African network has established a route to Sweden via Portugal and Spain. West African smugglers are also more likely to carry heroin and cocaine into Sweden in suitcases or in their personal property. In 2008, Swedish law enforcement did not seize any drugs intended for the U.S. market.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The National Institute of Public Health and municipal governments are responsible for organizing and providing compulsory drug education in schools. In October, the government allocated $2 million to the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research for research on drugs and narcotics. Several NGO's are also devoted to drug abuse prevention and public information programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Swedish cooperation with U.S. Government law enforcement authorities on all issues, including narcotics, continues to be excellent.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. will pursue enhanced cooperation with Sweden and the EU on narcotics issues.
Switzerland is both a consumer market and transit route for illicit narcotics, but it is not a significant producer of illicit drugs. Nevertheless, in 2007 (NB: Throughout this report, the latest official statistics available are for 2007) total reported drug arrests reached 46,957, down 0.1 percent from the 47,001 cases recorded in 2006. Drug arrests peaked at just over 50,000 in 2004. Cocaine seizures reached another record high by increasing significantly-14 percent-to 404 kg from 354 kg in 2006(In 2005 cocaine seizures had increased by +44 percent; 2004: +91 percent) so the trend of increased cocaine abuse in Switzerland is clear. Overall, seizures of LSD and amphetamines increased, while Ecstasy and Methamphetamines seizures fell. Heroin seizures decreased from 231 kg in 2006 to 135 kg in 2007, but a major 2007 operation involving the seizure of 150 kg has not been accounted for in the statistics because the investigation is still on going. Contrary to previous increases, Ecstasy seizures dropped by 430 percent from 216,000 pills to 50,100 (2006: +7.1% 2005: +75 percent; 2004: +480 percent). Many drug smugglers belong to Swiss-based foreign criminal networks from Africa and the Balkans. The Swiss public continues its strong support for the government’s four-pillar counternarcotics policy of preventive education, treatment, harm reduction, and law enforcement.
The politics of drug liberalization at the federal level have changed recently, putting the brakes on the cannabis legalization movement that seemed to have gained momentum in recent years. A drug bill aimed at decriminalizing cannabis use for Swiss adults was rejected by voters in 2008; however, voters approved a partial revision of the law on narcotics legalizing the sale of heroin for maintenance of addicts based on medical need. Additionally, authorities in many Swiss cantons largely tolerate possession of marijuana in small quantities for personal consumption. A zero tolerance law against driving while under the influence of drugs (cannabis, heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy) entered into effect on January 1, 2005. Switzerland is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
In a country of approximately seven and a half million people, about half a million Swiss residents are thought to use cannabis at least occasionally. Roughly 30,000 people are addicted to heroin and/or cocaine, and more than 7 percent of the population uses a narcotic substance regularly. While reported arrests for Ecstasy consumption increased by 15 percent in 2007, the use of other drugs remained more or less the same. Cannabis, cocaine, and heroin still remain popular among drug addicts. Swiss statistics show that cocaine consumption decreased among youths and 66% of cocaine consumers are aged above 30. Young drug addicts between 18-24 years are however the largest users of amphetamines, LSD and Ecstasy. Police are also concerned about the continuing trend by casual users to mix cannabis and other drugs. An international survey recently found that Swiss teenagers smoke more cannabis than their peers in more than 30 other European countries, with one in three Swiss 15-year-olds smoking pot at least once within the past year. There are an estimated total of 250,000 people who regularly smoke cannabis–nearly twice as many as a decade ago. Drug trafficking-related arrests remained steady with 183 cases, and drug-related deaths decreased by 21% from 193 to 152. The Swiss Federal Police published a report on narcotics activities in 2008. It is available at: www.fedpol.admin.ch/fedpol/fr/home/dokumentation/zahlen_und_fakten.html.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Since January 1, 2002, jurisdiction for all cases involving organized crime, money laundering, and international drug trafficking shifted from the cantons to the federal prosecutor’s office in Bern. According to the federal prosecutor’s office, the number of investigative magistrates increased to 25 in 2006. Beginning January 1, 2002, it became illegal to advertise products that contain narcotic or other psychotropic substances without government approval. Violators who put human lives at risk face fines up to $158,079 (SFr 200,000) or imprisonment. Heroin maintenance prescription programs originally intended to end in December 2004 have been extended until 2009, and a recent vote by Swiss citizens might institutionalize them indefinitely. The Swiss Federal Office for Public Health believes that its heroin prescription program has a direct impact on drug-related crime: around 70 percent of addicts earned money from illegal activities at the time they entered the program, compared with 10 percent after 18 months in the program. The heroin prescription program has many detractors. Following the release of the “Zurich Drugs and Addiction Policy Report,” made public on August 12, 2004, Zurich authorities admitted that they had been so busy tackling the open heroin scene that other aspects of addiction had been overlooked. After concentrating on the heroin problem for the past ten years, the city said it wanted to be more active in other areas, such as encouraging the reintegration into society of drug addicts.
A pilot project for the distribution of cocaine under prescription is underway, but it has not been supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health in Bern. However, the Swiss government is backing other pilot projects in Bern and Basel aimed at distributing Ritalin, a substitute for narcotic drugs. The City of Zurich has also offered, over the last five years, the possibility for youngsters to test their drugs for harmful impurities outside nightclubs without criminal liability. In September 2006, the city decided to establish an office, open daily, which provides the same services and is sponsored by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and the city budget. Swiss and German authorities continue to cooperate under a bilateral police agreement signed on June 22, 2004, aimed at increasing bilateral cooperation at border checkpoints. The main goal of the agreement is to facilitate police cooperation to more effectively deal with drug and weapons smuggling. Document specialists from both countries also assist border guards to use improved techniques to detect forged travel documents. The Swiss-German border crossing at Basel/Larach is one of the busiest in Europe, with 70 million people crossing per year.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to the Swiss Federal Police, there are three types of organized criminal groups in the country: West African networks involved in cocaine traffic; Albanian bands dealing in heroin and prostitution; and money laundering networks working from the former Soviet republics. Due to resident aliens, suspected (but not convicted) of drug dealing, traveling from canton to canton, several cantonal authorities have increasingly banned convicted drug dealers residing in another canton from visiting their cantons. They also prohibit convicted drug dealers from visiting certain areas, like railway stations (difficult) and schools (possible). If picked up by police, these dealers (mainly refugees from Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa) are fined and “deported” to their canton of residency. If picked up again, they are jailed. Deportation of foreign drug dealers to their home country is difficult because they often hide their true country of origin from the police (NB: cantonal police are responsible for deportations, not the Federal Office of Migration). When looking at cross-border cocaine smuggling, the Swiss Federal Police believe that many criminals involved use trains to transport drugs to and from Switzerland, Holland or Spain. Their nationalities include Swiss, Italian, Lebanese, West-African, South-East Europe, South American, and the Dominican Republic. The “mules” generally originate from Africa, Brazil, the Dominican Republic or Europe.
By type of drug and offense:
Drug consumers were primarily arrested for consuming Marijuana (47%), Cocaine (18.6%), Heroin (12%), and Hashish (10%). Males accounted for 87% of drug consumers, and 63% of consumers were Swiss nationals. Most of the arrests took place in Zurich, Bern, and Vaud.
Drug traffickers were primarily arrested for smuggling Cocaine (30%), Marijuana (26%), and Heroin (19%).
Males totaled 75% of traffickers, and 27% were Swiss nationals. Foreigners not living in Switzerland accounted for 66% of drug traffickers. The major cantons involved were Zurich, Geneva, and Valais.
Drug dealers were 88% males, 21% Swiss nationals and 70% of the foreigners involved live in Switzerland. The major cantons involved were Geneva, Zurich, St.Gallen, Vaud, and Bern.
To give a sense of drug abuse developments in Switzerland, some important drug-related enforcement operations are described below:
In December 2007, the Zurich police made the largest drug seizure in Swiss history, by confiscating 144 kg of cocaine, worth SFr. 12 million (approximately $10.5 million), and arresting four women and seven men ranging in age from 26-62. They originated from the Dominican Republic, Chile, Cuba, Spain and Switzerland.
In January 2008, Swiss customs seized a postal parcel containing 3500 Thai amphetamine pills (“yaa-baa”)originating from Bangkok, and addressed to a 48 year-old Vietnamese living in Basel. The investigation is still ongoing.
In February 2008, three Nigerian nationals accused of smuggling 235 kg of cocaine to Basel were on trial in a Basel court. The drugs were transported from Holland to Switzerland by train. They are accused of drug trafficking, money laundering and violations of the law on the residence of foreigners.
In March, the Zurich police arrested a 27 year old Nigerian acting as a mule. They found two bags totaling 1.4 kg of cocaine on him. He had a previous arrest record for pick-pocketing.
In March, a police search for asylum seekers selling cocaine continued in Lugarno. Six asylum seekers, mostly African, were arrested. The cantonal police believe the accused control a large part of the local cocaine network.
In April, four citizens of Guinea-Bissau were tried in the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona on the grounds they received large sums of money from cocaine dealers. The investigation is still continuing.
In April, four Albanian traffickers were on trial in a Vaud cantonal court in Lausanne on charges they sold heroin to drug dealers. Two of them had already been sentenced to 8 years in prison, but had used their probation period to look for additional drugs. The cantonal police also found 7 kg of heroin in their apartment.
In June, Swiss customs at a border post in St.Gallen used their narcotics detection dog to find 8 kg of heroin in a car arriving from Austria. The driver was a 29 year-old Macedonian accompanied by his 56 old mother, both of whom were living in Switzerland.
In June, the Lausanne police seized the largest amount of Thai pills in the canton since 2000. Following many evenings watching the area below the train station, the inspectors of the local drug squad managed to stop three Thai prostitutes and a Swiss holding a bag containing 1000 Thai methamphetamine pills (known as Yaa-baa) and more than SFr 7000. The ensuing investigation uncovered a network that was in operation since 2004 and had sold 15,000 pills. Twenty-five people were convicted for violations of the federal law on drugs, including 13 people for smuggling.
In July in Basel, a mobile Swiss customs unit stopped a car at an unguarded border post and found 160 kilograms of khat. The driver, a 50 year-old Frenchman was trying to move the drugs from Luxembourg into Switzerland. The drug was coming from Africa and was hidden in boxes located in the trunk of his limousine with a Neuchatel license number.
In July, an important network selling prescription drugs was dismantled in Lausanne after it had sold 342,500 sleeping pills to drug addicts between spring 2004 and June 2007. Police later arrested the main supplier who was working as a delivery driver for a pharmaceutical company in the western suburb of Lausanne. His accomplice was a Geneva pharmacist. He was ordering large quantities of the product “Dromicum 15mg”, and relied on the driver to divert the delivery to two women who sold it from their homes to drug addicts. In total, thirteen persons were arrested.
In August, a tourist group from Brazil tried to smuggle 41 kg of cocaine, but was arrested before they could depart. The remaining portion of the drug – 25 kg – still made its way to the Zurich airport in eleven suitcases. The group totaled 14 people, including 9 women and 5 men.
On August 26, a federal police expert warned that Ethnic Albanian criminal gangs continued to pose a serious security threat, as they dominate the transit and supply of heroin to Switzerland. According to the expert, the influence of ethnic Albanian criminal groups is still very strong, especially in the heroin market, and it is not abating. The vast majority of heroin sold in Switzerland still is trafficked by ethnic Albanian groups. According to the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Switzerland has historically been singled out as one of the countries most affected by ethnic Albanian heroin trafficking, due to the large expatriate population.
During the third quarter of the year, the Zurich Airport reported it had arrested 14 drug smugglers (10 men, 4 women), and confiscated 23 kg of cocaine and 15 kg of hashish. This is less than a year ago, when police had confiscated 26 kg of cocaine, 51 kg of marijuana, and 8 kg of hashish.
In September, a Bernese district court sentenced a 50 year old transport manager of Turkish origin to 11 years in prison. He had imported 150 kg of heroin illegally. The drugs had come from Bulgaria, and transited through Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Austria. He had been paid SFr. 80,000 to carry out this operation. The man was trying to cross the Swiss-Austrian border at Diepoldsau when a Swiss customs officer discovered 300 bags of heroin, of 500 grams each with a 56% purity rate. The drugs could have been sold to a million consumers at a total street price of SFr.40 million. The man argued he had been forced by the Kurdish PKK to carry out the transport, but police determined he acted willingly to fund his transport company.
In October, the Federal Criminal Court tried three members of the same Kosovo family for operating one of Europe's largest heroin wholesale operations. Prosecutors say the 69-year-old father and his two sons, aged 42 and 28, used their base in Albania to import 1.5 tons of heroin from Turkey for sale elsewhere. The clan has been one of the principle suppliers of heroin in Western Europe since the middle of the 90s. According to drugs expert at the Federal Police Office, the seizure was very significant, even though it was split between different countries. The quantity seized approximates 25 to 50 percent of the total consumption in Switzerland in one year. The court sentenced the 42 year old son to a 15 year prison sentence, less than the 20 years requested by the prosecutor. The younger son was sentenced to a 2-year prison sentence, while the 69-year old father, who is living on social welfare, was released.
On October 28, the Criminal Court of Boudry (NE) sentenced two traffickers found with 430 kg of marijuana and 29 kg of hashish to 32 months imprisonment. Aged about 30, of Portuguese origin, and raised and educated in Switzerland, they conducted their illegal trade for several years until their arrest in early 2007. The revenue totaled 4 million francs with a profit estimated at more than 2 million. One of the defendants had created a company to cover the traffic and to justify his lavish lifestyle. The other defendant held a fictitious job at a restaurant, whose owner received a kickback of 445,000 francs for the purchase of real estate in Portugal. According to the traffickers, all the marijuana came from an outdoor field experiment. The defendants were also tried for money laundering.
On October 19, the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona sentenced four Guinean traffickers to 12-22 months in prison for money laundering offences. They were found guilty of carrying SFr. 900,000 of drug-related money to Africa. It is believed they worked on behalf of another person, and were paid a 10% commission on the funds transferred. Two of the traffickers had already been arrested at the Paris-Roissy airport with a significant amount of cash: Euro 100,000 and SFr. 334,000.
In October 2007, Swiss border guards arrested a drug smuggler from Sierra Leone who was traveling in a train from Paris with one kg of cocaine concealed in a bag. The man, aged 28, supplied local addicts in Lausanne and Vevey. The total value of the goods whose origin is not known, is valued at 125 000 francs. He had already been sentenced by a Vaud tribunal in a prior drug case, and confessed to having sold cocaine since May 2007. A dozen consumers, identified in Vevey and Lausanne, have also been brought up on charges.
On November 23, the Swiss border guards made the largest cocaine seizure in the Franco-Jura town of Boncourt. Customs officers found 400g of cocaine balls wrapped in cellophane and coated with powdered coffee on a Dutch citizen driving a French registered car. Customs searched his vehicle and discovered another 700g of cocaine hidden in the windscreen washer. The drug (pure) would have had a market value of SFr. 100,000.
Geneva police authorities complain that the city’s number one problem is drug trafficking. The Geneva drug scene is controlled by many nationalities depending on the type of drug. Large numbers of drug dealers or traffickers destroy their identity papers and apply for asylum to avoid repatriation to their home country. Dealers from Algeria, Guinea and Serbia Montenegro are the most problematic in this regard. Cocaine normally enters the country via courier. Trafficking routes tend to be from South/Central America, the Caribbean, and West Africa. West African based organizations are mostly involved in cocaine trafficking. Couriers for these groups, arriving at Switzerland’s international airports, utilize ingestion and false-bottomed suitcases as their principal means of concealment. Excellent international air connections at Zurich and Geneva airports facilitate the movement of smugglers to other destinations as well as to Switzerland. Increasingly, countries from West Africa are used as storage/transshipment points for cocaine destined to Europe and Switzerland. The Geneva market is controlled by traffickers originating in West Africa (Benin, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea-Conakry) who come from nearby France and then apply for asylum. Because of a lack of space in the overcrowded Geneva prison and few repatriation agreements, most African dealers are released on the street. The Geneva Drug Task Force reports that about 200 young hashish drug dealers from Morocco operate on the streets of Geneva. Many of them reportedly are violent, commit theft, and have been known to stab other drug dealers. In order to evade repatriation, many of them applying for asylum destroy their identity papers and claim they are Palestinians or Iraqis. Police forces regret there are no repatriation agreements with Morocco and Algeria. A successful repatriation agreement with Nigeria helped send back many traffickers. The average monthly earnings of a drug dealer in Geneva are about SFr. 4,000. Geneva police statistics on drug-related arrests show that 98.5% of drug dealers were foreigners.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Switzerland 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. Similarly, no senior government official is alleged to have participated in such activities. In June 2008, the Geneva police arrested a 50-year old employee of the Cantonal Population Office on the ground he stole 600-700 blank working permits and sold them to an Albanian cocaine network for SFr. 60,000. The judgment is still pending.
Agreements and Treaties. Switzerland and the United States cooperate in law enforcement matters through bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. Unfortunately, the process for executing mutual legal assistance requests is very slow in Switzerland and defendants/account holders are provided with copies of the U.S. requests for assistance early in the process, thereby impacting U.S. law enforcement’s ability to quickly and effectively pursue its investigation. Switzerland 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. Switzerland is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons and has signed but not ratified the UN Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation and Production. Switzerland is not a significant producer of illicit drugs, with the exception of illicit production of high THC-content cannabis/hemp. After years of abuses in hemp shops selling a variety of cannabis products, a federal court ruled in March 2000 that selling hemp products with a THC level above 0.3 percent was a violation of the narcotics law regardless of how the shop had labeled the hemp. Since then, police operations in all cantons have targeted the illegal production, traffic and sale of cannabis products. Today, hemp plantations and shops no longer operate in the open but have moved underground. Illicit cultivation of high TNC content hemp has collapsed which has led to an increase in prices and reduced availability. In 2007, Switzerland saw a decrease of smuggling cases involving cannabis (both resin and herb), thus following the trend of earlier years (except 2006). Surveys among pupils in 2006 suggest that cannabis consumption is slightly decreasing (corroborating findings on consumption are due in 2009). In the past few years, there have been no important cases of domestic production of Ecstasy or other synthetic drugs in Switzerland.
Drug Flow/Transit. Switzerland is both a transit country for drugs destined for other European countries and a destination for narcotics deliveries.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Switzerland focuses heavily on prevention and early intervention to prevent casual users from developing a drug addiction. Youth programs to discourage drug use cost $6 million annually according to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. Swiss authorities purchase on an annual basis 250 kilograms of heroin for use in maintenance of the 130,000 registered addicts through the Heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) program at the 23 heroin distribution centers. The heroin imported by the Swiss government costs SFr. 100-130 million each year, and originates from Tasmania, Turkey or France-all licit producers of opium products. The Swiss government is also treating 20,000 people with methadone replacement therapy.
Three-quarters of those enrolled in the HAT program were male. The number of slots available in “heroin treatment centers” increased from 1389 to 1429. With 1308 patients by December 2006, the heroin distribution program is currently running at 91 percent of capacity. A total of 135 drug addicts entered the program during 2006. The average participant is 35 year old and most are male. Average time in heroin treatment is 2.92 years. Of the 173 persons who terminated the heroin prescription program, 63 percent opted for the methadone-assisted programs, or an abstinence therapy.
In many cases, patients’ physical and mental health has improved, their housing situation has become considerably more stable, and they have gradually managed to find employment. Numerous participants have managed to reduce their debts. In most cases, contacts with addicts and the drug scene have decreased. Consumption of non-prescribed substances declined significantly in the course of treatment.
Dramatic changes have been seen in regards to crime. While the proportion of patients who obtained their income from illegal or borderline activities at the time of enrolment was 70%, the figure after 18 months in HAT was only 10%. Each year, between 180 and 200 patients discontinue HAT. Of these patients, 35-45% are transferred to methadone maintenance, and 23-27% to abstinence-based treatment.
The current average cost per patient-day at outpatient treatment centers came to Swiss Franc 51. The overall economic benefit–based on savings in criminal investigations and prison terms and on improvements in health–was calculated to be Swiss Franc 96. After deduction of costs, the net benefit is Swiss Franc 45 per patient-day. Twenty percent of the costs were paid for by the cantons, while 80 percent was paid by the public health insurance.
More information on the Heroin-assisted treatment (HAT) program is available at:
In early 2005, Switzerland also took part in an international pilot study, the implementation of the Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) for adolescents with a cannabis problem. MDFT was developed at Miami University and has been used successfully in many instances in the U.S.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives/Bilateral Cooperation. On March 15, 2004, Switzerland and the U.S. joined forces to curb the rise in illegal sales of prescription drugs over the Internet. The two countries called for international action in a resolution presented at the annual session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna. The joint resolution stated that every country should introduce and enforce laws against the sale of narcotics and psychotropic drugs over the Internet. Some of the enforcement results of the cooperation which began with that CND resolution are reported in this document.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. and Switzerland will continue to build on their strong bilateral cooperation in the fight against narcotics trafficking and money laundering. In particular, the U.S. urges Switzerland to use experiences gained in fighting terrorist money laundering to become more proactive in seizing and forfeiting funds from narcotics money laundering. The U.S. also will monitor Switzerland’s proposed revisions to the Swiss narcotics law.
In 2008, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic (SARG) continued to publicize its efforts to interdict and punish drug smugglers, while downplaying domestic narcotics consumption. Syria remains primarily a transit country for narcotics en route to more affluent markets in Europe and the Persian Gulf. Continuing political conflicts in Lebanon and Iraq, porous borders, and endemic police corruption make Syria an attractive overland smuggling route between Europe/Turkey and the Persian Gulf. Domestic Syrian consumption of illicit drugs is not widespread, largely due to harsh penalties and cultural norms stigmatizing substance abuse. However, recent reports indicate an increasing prevalence of local prescription drug abuse, particularly in Aleppo. Syria continues to have a working anti-narcotics relationship with Saudi Arabia and Jordan, but counternarcotics cooperation with Lebanon has diminished since Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2005. Syria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Syria is not a major producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals. Due to political conflicts in neighboring Lebanon and Iraq, however, Syria is an increasingly important transit country for narcotics between Europe and the Persian Gulf. Hashish, heroin and cocaine are, respectively, the most prevalent narcotics transiting Syria destined for Lebanon and Europe. Syria is also along the trafficking route for Captagon (fenethylline), a synthetic amphetamine-type stimulant. Captagon is increasingly trafficked through Syria from Turkey and Lebanon to the Gulf States. A newer phenomenon, however, is the smuggling of Captagon through Syria to Iraq for use by foreign fighters and insurgents.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Syrian drug policy is based on Law No. 2 of 1993, which authorizes harsh punishment—including capital punishment—for those convicted of narcotics manufacturing, trafficking, or sales. However, the same law requires treatment at state-operated rehabilitation facilities for drug addicts who surrender to the police. Provided addicts have no other serious criminal offenses, and make a good faith effort during treatment programs, Law No. 2 exempts them from punishment. Authorities admit that some drug dealers have exploited this aspect of the law to avoid incarceration and locate additional customers.
In 2002, Syria upgraded its Counternarcotics Unit from a branch to a directorate of the Interior Ministry. The government also opened regional counternarcotics offices in Aleppo province, covering the Turkish border, and in Homs province, to monitor the Lebanese border, with eventual plans to open offices in the remaining provinces. A new police facility for the Syrian Anti-Narcotics Department was opened in Damascus during the early part of 2006. With the opening of the new facility came the arrival of new and updated equipment that will be used to enhance Syria’s drug investigation capabilities. This facility also houses the country’s newest drug lab. In 2005, Syrian officials implemented a 2002 draft decree providing financial incentives of up to several million Syrian pounds ($1 = 50 SP) to anyone providing information about drug trafficking and/or illicit drug crop cultivation in Syria. Parallel to that, the SARG created the National Committee for Narcotic Affairs, which was tasked with setting up general drug-related polices and coordinating efforts with relevant local and international agencies to formulate prevention and treatment plans. The National Committee for Drug Affairs convened in June 2008 and recommended the establishment of a drug database, the funding of expanded awareness campaigns and treatment programs, and preparation of a national anti-narcotics strategy (including rehabilitation). Headed by the Minister of Interior, the committee includes representatives from a broad range of concerned Ministries, civic organizations and vocational unions.
Syria also contributed to combating the spread and trafficking in narcotics through the Arab Bureau of Narcotic Affairs, which is affiliated with the Arab League. Through this organization, Syria exchanges narcotics trafficking information with other Arab countries.
Nevertheless, there were some reports of public violence associated with drug addiction. One incident occurred in the Sbeina suburb of Damascus and included vandalism of private property, fist fighting and knife crime. One Sbeina shop owner told media that "not a day passes by without a problem or a quarrel". Another said that merchants shutter their shops whenever addicts are fighting for fear of sabotage. Pharmacists in the area reported that they refuse to sell tranquilizer tablets to drug addicts. One pharmacist added that tranquilizer tablets are smuggled from Lebanon through Syria.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to a report published by the Counternarcotics Directorate, the number of successful drug apprehensions during the period January – August 2008 stood at 2,800 cases and the number of persons standing trial on drug-related offenses was 4,348. The report added that during the same period, the Syrian government confiscated 191 kg of hashish, 41 kg of heroin, 128.5 kg of cocaine, 6.8 billion Captagon tablets, 22 kg of hashish oil, 390 liters of precursor materials and 95,800 assorted narcotic tablets. The confiscated quantities were burnt by the Syrian authorities.
In a bid to combat narcotics smuggling and drug dealing, Syrian law enforcement personnel cracked down on drug dealers and continually reported their successful raids in the local media. In April 2008, the Syrian authorities dismantled a network of Arab and foreign nationals who were trafficking narcotics using Turkey as their base of operation. According to media reports, the culprits received a capital punishment sentence and were ordered to pay a fine of SYP 1.5 million each (presumably prior to their execution). Syrian law enforcement also apprehended a gang trafficking drugs in the Al Mujtahed neighborhood of Damascus and confiscated 1 kg of heroin intended for sale. On September 2008, law enforcement officers in Lattakia apprehended 21 persons for drug trafficking and addiction. Similarly two drug dealers were arrested in Dayr Ezzor with heroin in their possession. One particular case of smuggling along the Syrian-Israeli border was reported by Agence France Presse: On July 20, 2008 Israeli security forces opened fire on suspected drug smugglers along the Israeli-Syrian border, killing one Syrian citizen and wounding another. The incident occurred when a joint army and police patrol, searching for drug traffickers in the Golan Heights, identified a group of suspicious people, an Israeli army spokesman told AFP. The army said that the deceased man and the wounded man were both Syrian citizens. Others arrested were identified as residents of the mostly Druze town of Majd al-Shams in the northern Golan.
In October 2008, the Syrian Ministry of Interior and Interpol held a meeting at the Syrian Training Institute of the Internal Security Forces to discuss the smuggling of Captagon tablets to the Middle East. Experts from Interpol briefed the Syrian officers on ways that Interpol can help to combat Captagon trafficking, including an overview of Interpol forensic analysis programs and its anti-narcotics database.
Syrian officials characterized cooperation on drug issues with neighboring Saudi Arabia and Jordan as excellent, but say that counternarcotics cooperation with Lebanese and Iraqi officials has diminished. Turkey continues to provide some technical assistance to Syria, primarily training courses, as part of their joint efforts to combat trafficking of narcotics, according to Turkish officials based in Damascus.
Corruption. Generally speaking, corruption is a daily fact of life in Syria. Cultural acceptance of corruption, in addition to below-average compensation for police and customs officials, creates an environment ripe for smuggling. The Syrian government did not provide information on whether it had conducted any investigations into corruption, and the SARG has been reluctant to discuss this issue further. The Syrian government has an Investigations Administration (Internal Affairs Division) responsible for weeding out corrupt officers in the counternarcotics unit and the national police force. The Investigations Administration is independent of both the counternarcotics unit and the national police and reports directly to the Minister of the Interior. As a matter of government policy, the Government of Syria 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.
Agreements and Treaties. Syria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Syria has signed, but not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption. Syria and the United States do not have a counternarcotics agreement, nor is there an extradition treaty between the two countries. However, the Syrian and Cypriot Interior Ministries are currently discussing the signature of an MOU (proposed by the Cypriots) to cooperate in fighting illegal migration, terrorism and drug trafficking. To this end, the Syrian Interior Minister and the Cypriot Assistant Police Commander met in June 2008. As of November 2008, both sides were still in the process of reviewing the draft MOU.
Cultivation/Production. Traditional drug cultivation and production remain at negligible levels in Syria. However, Syria does have a sizable, legitimate pharmaceutical industry that produces inexpensive prescription pain medication, among other drugs. Currently, the trafficking of prescription pain medicine is not legally categorized as the equivalent offense of trafficking in illicit drugs, despite the addictive nature of most prescription painkillers. Additionally, Syrian law currently supports the common practice of “leasing” a licensed pharmacist’s credentials. In this practice, investors may “lease” a pharmacist’s credentials in order to open and operate a licensed pharmacy in Syria. A pharmacist will receive payment for allowing his/her name to appear on the business registration, but the pharmacist may have nothing further to do with the operation of the pharmacy.
In 2007, multiple media reports highlighted significant abuse of prescription drugs in Aleppo, specifically Valium, Baltan and Proxamol. Several pharmacists were threatened with violence by addicts and dealers attempting to obtain painkillers without a prescription. After accounts of taxi drivers being beaten and robbed, many Aleppan taxis refused to enter certain neighborhoods known for prescription drug trafficking activity. An Aleppan social worker also reported seeing an increasing number of cases of children as young as 10 addicted to prescription pills. Responding to these reports, Syrian police closed 50 pharmacies in the greater Aleppo area in late October for selling prescription painkillers to customers without a doctor’s prescription. As each of the offending pharmacies was operated by a businessman leasing a pharmacist’s credentials, the Aleppan Pharmacists Union requested the government’s intervention to close this legal loophole.
Although cultivation of narcotics is a minor problem in Syria, rare incidents were reported. On June 2008, a law enforcement squad in Al Padrosia village apprehended a man for planting approximately 100 kg of marijuana on land adjacent to his house. Additionally, Syrian authorities found 3 kg of semi-dried marijuana in his house. The accused was transferred to Lattakia for trial.
Drug flow/transit. Syrian officials estimate that in 2007, the overall flow of illegal narcotics transiting Syria and destined for other countries had increased. As mentioned above, one likely reason for this increased traffic is that the continuing political conflicts in Lebanon and Iraq have made Syria a more attractive overland smuggling route between Europe/Turkey and the Gulf.
Transshipment of narcotics from Turkey continues to represent the major challenge to Syria’s counternarcotics efforts, as the porous Turkish/Syrian border provides easy entry points for drug smuggling into Syria. Narcotics coming from Iraq are transported into Syria either directly or via Jordan. The SARG’s reported seizure statistics suggest that SARG counternarcotics efforts have been more effective, or more likely, the overall flow of narcotics has increased. Main shipment routes include the transit of hashish and cocaine through Syria to Europe and other countries in the region; opium transiting from Pakistan and Afghanistan through Syria to Turkey; and Captagon pills transiting from Turkey through Syria to Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Syrian government’s counternarcotics strategy, which is coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior, uses the media to educate the public on the dangers of drug use and drug awareness is also part of the national curriculum for schoolchildren. The Ministry also conducts awareness campaigns through university student unions and trade unions. The SARG also regularly publishes accounts of successful law enforcement efforts to combat narcotics in the various government-owned media outlets. Anti-drug campaigns were noticeably on the rise during 2008. A three–day drug awareness campaign took place in Aleppo in late June 2008, organized by the "For Aleppo" NGO, the Family Planning Association, the Aleppo Health Department and the UNRWA. The campaign will continue for one year, and is aimed at both drug awareness and treatment of addiction. Also, In November 2008, Aleppo University in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior held a seminar about the dangers of narcotics. Lt. General Ahmad Houri, Head of the Anti-Narcotics Department, talked about different types of narcotics and the socio-economic dangers of drug addiction. Dr. Abdullah Al Habbash, Comparative Criminal Law specialist, discussed the 1993 drug law and its provisions for sentencing of drug dealers. The seminar was attended by the rector of the Law Faculty and a number of students. In late January 2008, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts held a special seminar on "Drugs and their devastating effects on youth and society.”
Due to the social stigma attached to drug use and to stiff penalties under Syria’s strict anti-trafficking law, domestic consumption of illicit drugs remains low. In 2007, the head of Syria’s Counternarcotics Directorate claimed that there were no more than 150 drug users per one million citizens, or roughly 3000 nation-wide. The SARG maintained the same figures for 2008, adding that 95% of drug addicts are delinquents with criminal records. Although there are no independent statistics available to verify the accuracy of this claim, anecdotal evidence suggests the SARG is significantly underestimating the prevalence of illicit drug use in Syria. Furthermore, the government’s estimate likely does not include prescription drug abusers, as mentioned above. Unless the government enacts legislation to close the loophole allowing businessmen to “lease” pharmacists’ credentials, increases the penalties for trading prescription medication, and raises public awareness of this problem, it will likely grow.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. In discussions with Syrian officials, DEA officials continue to stress the need for diligence in preventing narcotics and precursor chemicals from transiting Syrian territory and the necessity of terminating any involvement, active or passive, of individual Syrian officials in the drug trade.
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA officials based in Nicosia, Cyprus maintain an ongoing dialogue with Syrian authorities in the Counternarcotics Directorate.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to encourage the Syrian government to maintain its commitment to combating drug transit and production in the region; to strengthen anti-money-laundering legislation; and to continue to encourage Syria to improve its counternarcotics cooperation with neighboring countries.
Taiwan authorities continued to make seizures of psychotropic drugs like ketamine and MDMA (Ecstasy) in 2008, but there is no evidence to suggest that Taiwan is reverting to a transit/trans-shipment point for drugs bound for the U.S. Taiwan Customs and counter-narcotics agencies work closely with their U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) counterparts, guided by the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (MLAA) between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the U.S. In 2008, as part of the Drug Signature program, the DEA received several samples of heroin and cocaine, demonstrating Taiwan's commitment to fully implement a 2004 legal provision that permits samples of narcotics seized in Taiwan to be provided to other law enforcement agencies for testing and analysis.
Taiwan is not a member of the UN and therefore cannot be a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Nevertheless, the Taiwan authorities have amended and passed legislation consistent with the goals and objectives of this Convention.
II. Status of Taiwan
Taiwan's role as a major transit/transshipment point for narcotics has diminished due to law enforcement efforts and the availability of alternate routes within southern China. Taiwan authorities continue to strengthen anti-narcotics efforts with enhanced airport interdiction, coast guard and customs inspections, surveillance and other investigative methods, as well as establishment of Taiwan’s Customs Services Canine Drug Detection and Training Center in 2008. Some drugs, however, continue to transit Taiwan enroute to Japan and the international market. The People's Republic of China (PRC), the Philippines, Thailand and Burma remain the primary sources of drugs smuggled into Taiwan. In 2008, Taiwan law enforcement and customs agencies continued to seize drug shipments originating from Thailand and Burma and identified heroin shipments seized in Thailand destined for the Taiwan market
III. Actions Against Drugs In 2008
Policy Initiatives. Taiwan's Legislative Yuan (LY) again failed to enact any new counter-narcotics legislation in 2008 due to protracted infighting between the two major political blocs in the LY. Legislation that would permit the use of confidential sources of information and enable undercover operations was not enacted during 2008; however, a continued effort is being made to encourage the LY to implement such legislation. In December 2007, the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) structure law was amended. The MJIB Drug Enforcement Center (DEC), which was originally a department established by administrative order, was renamed the MJIB & Drug Enforcement Division and became a formal division regulated by law.
Law Enforcement Efforts. In the absence of a single drug enforcement agency, like the U.S. DEA, the Ministry of Justice continues to lead Taiwan's counter-narcotics efforts with respect to manpower, budgetary and legislative responsibilities. The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB), the National Police Administration/Criminal Investigation Bureau (NPA/CIB) and Customs, however, all contributed to counter-narcotics efforts in 2008. MJIB, NPA/CIB, and Coast Guard Administration continue to cooperate on joint investigations and openly share information with their DEA counterparts. During 2008, Taiwan law enforcement authorities exchanged intelligence information with DEA and other foreign law enforcement agencies within the Asia Region. One example illustrating the successful results of this intelligence exchange and cooperation was the seizure of several kilograms of heroin concealed within containerized cargo that originated from Thailand and was destined for Taiwan.
In 2008, the DEA sponsored a National Police Agency/Criminal Investigation Bureau (NPA/CIB) officer to participate in an Intelligence Database Workshop at the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In addition, a NPA/CIB Forensic Chemist will attend training sponsored by the DEA Special Testing and Research Laboratory. From January 2008 through August 2008, Taiwan authorities seized 116.1 kilograms of heroin/cocaine, 23.6 kilograms of marijuana/MDMA/amphetamine, and 101.0 kilograms of Methylephedrine/ephedrine.
Corruption. There is no indication that the Taiwan authorities, as a matter of policy, either encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics, psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, nor launder proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No cases of official involvement in narcotics trafficking or the laundering of proceeds from illicit drug transactions were reported in 2008.
Agreements. In 1992, AIT and its counterpart, TECRO, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Counter-narcotics Cooperation in Criminal Prosecutions. In 2001, AIT and TECRO signed a Customs Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement. In March 2002, the AIT-TECRO Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement (MLAA) entered into force and remains the primary avenue for cooperation.
Drug Flow/Transit. Thailand and Burma remain the principal sources for heroin coming to Taiwan. The PRC, Philippines, and Malaysia are seen as intermediary smuggling points for methamphetamine and synthetic drugs, such as ketamine and MDMA, destined for Taiwan. India has emerged as a source for diverted ketamine which is smuggled into Taiwan and other international markets. Taiwan’s domestic clandestine laboratories continue to provide a majority of the methamphetamine consumption for Taiwan. In 2008, Taiwan seized ketamine sourced from India, Europe, and Mainland China and observed an increase in illicit domestic ketamine production. Couriers at Taiwan’s International Airports, as well as fishing boats and cargo containers at Taiwan seaports, remain the primary means of smuggling drugs into Taiwan.
Most of the drugs smuggled into Taiwan appear to be for local consumption; the remainder is intended for further distribution to international markets, especially Japan. In 2008, Taiwan has seen an increase in domestically-produced methamphetamine and a decrease in methamphetamine that was imported from the PRC.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Ministry of Education and the Taiwan National Health Administration continue to forge partnerships with various civic and religious groups to raise awareness about the dangers of drug-use and educate the public about the availability of treatment programs.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives: Working with the local authorities to prevent Taiwan from reverting to its earlier status as a major transit/transshipment point for U.S.-bound narcotics remains the primary goal of U.S. counter-narcotics policy. Counter-narcotics training and institution building have proven to be the cornerstones of this policy. In December 2007, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection conducted training for Taiwan Customs officers. In April 2008, the DEA provided asset forfeiture and financial investigations training in a training seminar titled International Asset Forfeiture School to law enforcement personnel from MJIB, NPA/CIB, Taiwan Customs, Taiwan Coast Guard Administration, and members of the Taiwan Prosecutors Office.
Taiwan law enforcement and Customs agencies enjoy a close working relationship with the DEA and AIT's Regional Security Office. Agents from MJIB, NPA/CIB and the Coast Guard Administration all participated in joint investigations and shared intelligence with their DEA counterparts in 2008, resulting in several significant drug seizures and arrests in Taiwan and throughout the Pacific region. The USCG trained Taiwanese officers by presenting the Maritime Law Enforcement Boarding Officer Course in Taiwan.
The Road Ahead. AIT and DEA anticipate building upon and enhancing what is already an excellent working relationship with Taiwan's counter-narcotics agencies. Taiwan counterparts continue to pursue an island-wide forensic clandestine laboratory response capability. In the coming year, the DEA is already planning to conduct a Basic Drug Investigations Workshop, a Chemical Control Seminar, and a Precursor Chemical and Clandestine Laboratory Seminar. This training will strengthen the investigative abilities of Taiwan's law enforcement agencies while, at the same time, promoting continued cooperation and information exchange in the counter-narcotics effort. More intelligence exchange and jointly conducted investigations are anticipated for 2009. DEA will also continue to urge Taiwan law enforcement to provide the DEA Drug Signature Program samples of drugs seized in Taiwan.
Tajikistan is not a producer of illicit narcotics, but it is a major transit country together with Pakistan and Iran for heroin and opium from Afghanistan. The Republic of Tajikistan has emerged as a frontline state in the war on drugs and is suffering from the boom in Afghan drug production. The Republic of Tajikistan is also a major center for domestic and international drug trafficking organizations. A significant amount of opium/heroin is trafficked, primarily using land-based routes, through Tajikistan, onward through Central Asia to Russia and Europe. Approximately 40 percent reaches Russia; 30 percent goes to Europe; and there is evidence of trafficking in Afghan opiates to and through China. Chinese border police and the Tajik Drug Control Agency conducted a joint study of the drug flow of Afghan opiates from Tajikistan to China in October 2007. They estimated that approximately five percent of Afghan opiates entering Tajikistan exit to China, three percent go to the United States, three percent through Africa to South America with the remainder going to Russia and Europe.
The Tajik Government is committed to fighting narcotics; however, corruption within the Tajik government continues to limit the effectiveness of counternarcotics efforts. Corrupt officials at all levels thwart law enforcement efforts as officers strive to move drug investigations up the chain of organized criminal groups. So far, no anti-corruption efforts by the Government of Tajikistan have had a significant impact on the corruption problem.
The Government of Tajikistan continues to implement counternarcotics activities, which the UNODC states yield more seizures than all other Central Asian states combined. While effectiveness is agency specific, Tajikistan's law enforcement and security services coordinate activities with all major donors and surrounding countries. Tajik law enforcement continues to make arrests and seizures for mid- to low-level cases and there has been increased cooperation between Russia, the Krygyz Republic, and Tajikistan focusing on narcotics smuggling rings. Cooperation between Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and, most importantly, Afghanistan is increasing among counter-narcotics agencies.
Tajikistan is ill-equipped to handle the myriad social problems that stem from narcotics trade and abuse. Tajikistan's medical infrastructure is inadequate to address the population’s growing need for addiction treatment and rehabilitation. Still, Tajikistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, as well as the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
II Status of the Country
Geography and economics make Tajikistan an attractive transit route for illegal narcotics. The Pyanj River (Amu Darya in Afghanistan) which forms most of Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan is thinly guarded and difficult to patrol. Traffickers can easily cross the border at numerous points without inspection due to the lack of adequate border control. Tajikistan’s non-criminal economic opportunities are limited by a lack of domestic infrastructure and complicated by the fact that its major export routes transit neighboring Uzbekistan. A new U.S.-built bridge provides a new route for trade through Afghanistan to the south. In the past, Uzbekistan closed and mined a significant portion of its border to combat a "perceived instability" from Tajikistan, although borders have generally remained open for the last three years.
Criminal networks that came to prominence during the 1992-97 Tajik civil war, continued instability in Afghanistan, rampant corruption, low salaries, a poorly trained legal cadre and dysfunctional legal system, and inadequate funding to support law enforcement all hamper efforts to combat illegal narcotics flows. With a $40 average monthly income, high unemployment, poor job prospects, and massive economic migration to Russia, the temptation to become involved in lucrative narcotics-related transactions for those remaining in Tajikistan remains high.
In-country cultivation of narcotics crops is minimal. However, the Government of Tajikistan said that it is investigating the possible existence of small mobile Afghan opiate processing labs in the southern border area in Shurabad district near Yol and Sarigor, and in the east near Khorog in Gorno-Badakhshan.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. In his annual speech to Parliament on April 25, President Rahmon called for the transfer by 2010 of the power to issue preliminary arrest warrants from the prosecutors to the courts. The transfer of powers to issue arrest warrants is one of the key elements of ongoing reform of Tajikistan's Criminal Procedure Code. President Rahmon ordered a new draft Code to be submitted for consideration to Parliament in 2008. While vesting the courts with greater oversight of criminal prosecutions would be an important development, a great deal of work will be required to improve the fairness, efficiency, and effectiveness of the criminal justice system. Passed in early 2008, the "Law on the Human Rights Commissioner" established an ombudsman who would independently review human rights claims against government officials. The law lacked some provisions that observers hoped would safeguard the Commissioner’s independence. At the time of this report’s publication, a Human Rights Commissioner had not yet been appointed.
In 2008 President Rahmon sent for ratification to the Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan’s lower chamber of parliament) an agreement between Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on the establishment the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC) for combating illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, and precursors. UNODC launched the Center to counter illicit drug trafficking. The Center has liaison officers seconded from member states whose role is to ensure cooperation between CARICC and the competent authorities in the respective country.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The data below shows the narcotics seizures by law enforcement and security services during the first 9 months of 2008 compared with the same period of 2007:
Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD):
Heroin (kg): 2007: 792. 2008: 751
Opium (kg): 2007: 1002. 2008: 411
Cannabis (kg): 2007: 347. 2008: 821
Total MVD (kg) 2007: 2141. 2008: 1983
MVD 2007 percentage change 2008: -7.4 percent.
Drug Control Agency (DCA):
Heroin (kg): 2007: 278. 2008: 307
Opium (kg): 2007: 329. 2008: 487
Cannabis (kg): 2007: 309. 2008: 358
Total DCA (kg) 2007: 916. 2008: 1152
Total DCA (kg) 2007: 916. 2008: 1152
DCA 2007 percentage change 2008: +25.8 percent
Border Guards (BG):
Heroin (kg): 2007: 82. 2008: 111
Opium (kg): 2007: 471. 2008: 241
Cannabis (kg): 2007: 276. 2008: 649
Total BG (kg) 2007: 829. 2008: 1001
BG 2007 percentage change 2008: +20.7 percent.
Committee for National Security (KNB):
Heroin (kg): 2007: 100. 2008: 200
Opium (kg): 2007: 397. 2008: 468
Cannabis (kg): 2007: 102. 2008: 121
Total KNB (kg) 2007: 599. 2008: 789
KNB 2007 percentage change 2008: +31.7 percent.
Customs Service (CS):
Heroin (kg): 2007: 36. 2008: 81
Opium (kg): 2007: 0. 2008: 01
Cannabis (kg): 2007: .026. 2008: 9
Total CS (kg) 2007: 36. 2008: 90
CS 2007 percentage change 2008: +149.8 percent.
Heroin (kg): 2007: 1280. 2008: 1450
Opium (kg): 2007: 2199. 2008: 1607
Cannabis (kg): 2007: 1034. 2008: 1958
Total (kg) 2007: 4521. 2008: 5015
All Agencies 2007 percentage change 2008: +11 percent.
According to the UNODC, in 2008 Tajikistan accounts for approximately 50 percent of Central Asia heroin and opium seizures. Although drug seizures are significant, the lack of a conspiracy law severely limits law enforcement's ability to target upper echelon drug traffickers. Corruption continues to hinder law enforcement investigations, and as in previous years major narcotics traffickers are not apprehended and brought to trial. Such a move would require the full backing of the Presidential Administration and the possible prosecution of government officials charged with narco-related corruption. The United States continues to advocate with the Tajik government to encourage official focus on investigations and prosecutions, rather than just seizures and arrests.
The State Committee on National Security on January 31st, 2008 in Qubodiyon district of Khatlon carried out the largest single drug seizure in 2008. Officers seized a total of 400 kg of drugs including 73 kg of heroin. Law enforcement officers arrested eight people including four Border Guard Officers. The courts sentenced the Border Guards to jail terms of 16-19 years and gave 15-16-year terms to the other traffickers. Another long sentence was awarded to three foreign nationals from Uganda, the Philippines and Afghanistan after an investigation linked them to a single criminal drug trafficking incident.
The Drug Control Agency is one of the most effective and active enforcement and intelligence agencies in Tajikistan. In the first nine months of this year they seized over 1152 kilos of illicit drugs. Agency operations are unique in their ability to collaborate effectively with other government agencies and regional and international law enforcement institutions. The Agency participated in thirty-seven joint operations with the Russian Federation, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, and Afghanistan. These operations were successful, giving rise to information which helped Afghan forces to destroy four drug laboratories in Afghanistan and to seize large amounts of drugs and weapons.
As a means to encourage more cooperative enforcement activity, the USG is actively working with law enforcement bodies to develop and use joint operational intelligence strategies. These initiatives include the development of a Joint Intelligence Center and a Field Intelligence Center. The Joint Center is intended to improve the capacity of law enforcement officials to work jointly in detecting, investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting criminals and terrorists. This strategy complements the United States' ongoing efforts to upgrade database software utilized in the analytical centers to organize and better track complex criminal investigations.
The Border Guards which are the first line of defense against contraband trafficking along the Tajik-Afghan border were more successful in seizing drugs in 2008 than in 2007. They seized 1001 kg of drugs during the first nine months of 2008, which is a 17 percent increase over the same period last year. Shurabad region, on Tajikistan's southeastern border with Afghanistan, is considered to be the main entry route for Afghan drugs. It is also the region which experiences the highest incidence of violence targeting Border Guards. Fifteen skirmishes were reported in 2008, with casualties reported to both Border Guards and traffickers. The Border Guards' lower ranks are young, poorly paid conscripted soldiers, and very susceptible to corruption. Statistical information on border activity continues to be difficult to obtain since the Border Guards were placed administratively under the direction of the State Committee for National Security.
On the whole, Tajik law enforcement and security ministries are becoming more proactive and technically competent in dealing with border smuggling and organized crime although poor funding and corruption limit their effectiveness.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Tajik Government does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances and has continued to seek international support in augmenting its efforts to combat narcotics trafficking. It is impossible to determine authoritatively just how pervasive drug-related corruption and other forms of corruption are within government circles. However, there is certainly a striking discrepancy between the extravagant lifestyles of some senior officials and their nominal government salaries. Even when arrests are made for narcotics trafficking, the resulting cases are not always brought to a satisfactory conclusion. There have been some arrests of Border Guard and Customs officers in the past by the Drug Control Agency, Ministry of Interior, and State Anti-Corruption Agency; however, these are low level officers, and investigations rarely proceed beyond indictment of the courier and foot soldiers involved.
In 2006 Tajikistan ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). In 2007, the President created the State Financial Control and Anti-corruption Agency, which reports to the President’s office. The Agency has not conducted any investigations of high value targets. The Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor General’s Office remain major obstacles to improving many law enforcement efforts. As corruption continues to be the single largest obstacle to reform, the United States is looking at ways to engage law enforcement and support rule of law programs with a more grass-roots approach to promoting public action and involvement in supporting anti-corruption and community-based rule of law initiatives.
Law enforcement units of the Anti Corruption Agency discovered 693 corruption-based crimes in the first nine month of 2008: 244 of them were felonies, 142 were connected to bribery, and 121 were committed by government employees. Authorities accused employees of the courts and law enforcement agencies including officers from the Drug Control Agency and the Ministry of Defense of 132 corruption-based crimes. The Anti Corruption Agency investigated 232 cases and 208 of them were sent to the court for further proceedings.
The State Financial Control and Anti-Corruption Agency conducted 792 financial audits of government entities for the period conducted 792 financial audits of government entities for the period January-October, 2008. Auditors discovered theft or misappropriation of $31 million from the country's budget; almost $10 million was returned. 983 officials received disciplinary punishment and 43 were released.
Agreements and Treaties. Tajikistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1972 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Tajikistan is also a party to the e UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons.
Cultivation/Production. According to media reports in 2008 poppies and marijuana are cultivated in very limited amounts in various parts of the country. The Drug Control Agency does not consider Tajikistan a narcotics production country. The two largest cultivations were found by the Tajik police in Sughd region, along the Tajik-Kyrgyz and Tajik-Uzbek borders and in districts of the remote Badakhshan province. Officers found a total of 85,000 bushes of wild marijuana and destroyed them as part of the "Poppy-2008" operations in 2008. There were no laboratories found or reported in Tajikistan.
Drug Flow/Transit. Tajikistan is an important transit route for the Afghanistan drug trade. Estimates suggest that between 15 percent and 30 percent of Afghanistan drugs pass through Tajikistan destined for Russia, China, and Europe. Although the volume has likely increased, because of higher Afghan production, the estimated percentage has remained relatively stable. Hashish from Afghanistan also transits Tajikistan en route to Russian and European markets. This year there has been a marked 89 percent increase in the quantities seized in Tajikistan. An undetermined quantity of Afghan opiate traffic is crossing into Tajikistan, transiting through the eastern Badakhshan region and entering western China. Lack of verifiable intelligence and actual seizures in that region make it difficult to assess the amount of this traffic. The remoteness of the Badakhshan region and limited law enforcement capacity continue to offer challenges to enforcement and deterrence on one hand while offering opportunities to traffickers on the other.
It is estimated, but not verified, that precursor chemicals used in Afghan heroin production are coming from western China to Afghanistan via the eastern Tajikistan route. With U.S. and other donor assistance Tajikistan authorities are addressing this region more aggressively, strengthening their enforcement profiles and developing their intelligence structures. In particular the USG has been working to develop integrated intelligence capacity and to encourage joint operational strategies.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Drug addiction in Tajikistan is increasing yearly and school-age children from all regions have relatively easy access to illegal narcotics. The Government of Tajikistan's resources to address both the user and transit problems are limited. Unofficial United Nations statistics estimate about 119 registered drug users per 100,000 people in Tajikistan, with heroin the overwhelming drug of choice in all regions in the country. Unregistered drug users, included in this estimate, cause the figure to be higher.
According to the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Tajikistan, in the first half of 2008, 8,732 drug addicts have been registered by health centers (7,791 in 2006, 8,117 in 2007). Most registered drug addicts are found in the capital Dushanbe (47 percent) and Sogd Region (19 percent). Drug-related problems, including crime and HIV infection, have begun to take their toll on Tajik society. The U.S. Embassy conducts drug demand reduction projects to address the increasing consumption. Jointly with the Tajik Karate-do Federation the U.S. embassy, co-sponsored an International Karate-do Tournament under the slogan "Strike a Blow Against Narcotics" to advocate a healthy lifestyle for Tajik youth. This program aims to stop drug addiction by bringing drug demand reduction information to young people in their schools. The program complements other U.S. counter-narcotics initiatives aimed at improvements in traditional narcotics interdiction and law enforcement institution-building. The project targets high school students in Dushanbe, Khujand and Khatlon to promote a healthy and drug-free lifestyle through peer-to-peer interaction.
The Drug Control Agency continued to expand and develop its initiatives to increase drug awareness during the reporting period, primarily among school children. The Tajik government funded the "Decrease of Demand for Drugs in Tajikistan" project which supports a rehabilitation center for drug users in Badakhshan. Under the project the government also constructed a sports complex in Khorog to provide healthy alternatives to young people. The Drug Control Agency organized 801 programs including 281 anti-drug publications, 274 TV programs, 268 meetings, seminars, round table discussions, and 69 sport activities. In April and July of 2008 the Prime-Minister of Tajikistan chaired sessions in Dushanbe to organize programs to prevent drug use in Tajikistan. Other leaders conducted similar sessions in all the regions of Tajikistan.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S.-Tajik bilateral relationship in counter-narcotics and law enforcement is sound. Cooperation in reform of the justice sector has just begun, but has already led to an invitation to assist in reform of the process for selection and training of judges. However, international donor assistance for rewriting the Criminal Procedures Code resulted in bureaucracy and obstruction by Tajik officials with no assistance ever accepted. The counter-narcotics office in the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan is headed by a full-time International Narcotics and Law Enforcement officer. He is assisted by a Senior Law Enforcement Advisor, Rule of Law Attorney Assistant, Program Managers for Border Security and Policing, and a Construction Engineer. The embassy funds the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime as an implementer for support to the Drug Control Agency. The International Organization for Migration is the implementer of the INL-funded Trafficking in Persons programs; American Bar Association implements the rule of law programs, and local non-governmental organizations implement justice sector programs.
The United States has been supporting the Drug Control Agency (DCA) for nine years and is hoping to prepare the agency for full self-sufficiency, but this will require budget commitment by Tajik authorities. The Dushanbe Office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime facilitates cross border cooperation between drug agencies in Kyrgyz Republic and Afghanistan. The DEA Dushanbe Country Office engages the Drug Control Agency and the Ministry of Internal Affairs Department on counter-narcotics by assisting in international counter-narcotics cases and mentoring Agency officers to improve operational skills.
U.S. security assistance to Tajikistan continues to expand with additional resources coming from the Department of Defense and other sources. The Office of Defense Cooperation manages Central Command's counter narcotics program to develop the Government of Tajikistan’s capacity to limit narcotics trafficking along its porous border with Afghanistan through projects that promote interagency cooperation; improve mobility, communications, and support of guards stationed at isolated outposts by the Drug Control Agency and the Border and Customs Services; and professionalize the Government's approach to counternarcotics. The Office has implemented a major communications project that links all border posts and border guard headquarters. Next steps include expanding the system to link law enforcement/security agencies in Tajikistan and connect to the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The purpose of the Center is to improve information flow and operational intelligence across Central Asian borders to better combat the increase of transnational organized crime networks in the region.
The Departments of Defense and State renovate border outposts; provide training, and operational and investigative equipment to various law enforcement and security-related government agencies. The embassy's Border and Law Enforcement Working Group (BLEWG) coordinates all USG assistance on counternarcotics and border assistance. Donor countries and organizations coordinate provision of assistance through the Border Security Working Group that meets monthly. Cooperation with the Border Guards is bureaucratic and slow. Lack of transparency, insufficient staffing, and regular leadership changes within the Border Guards delay project implementation and require more donor oversight and direct implementation. The US continues to assist the Ministry of Internal Affairs by renovating the Ministry's Training Academy, reforming curriculum, and improving teaching methodology.
The Road Ahead. The United States remains committed to working with the Tajik Government to increase its law enforcement and counternarcotics capabilities. The United States will continue to focus on building basic capacity of the major law enforcement agencies, in particular the Ministry of Interior and the Border Guards; to expand mid-level management and leadership training to these entities; and to continue to push for meaningful anti-corruption efforts throughout the government. The Drug Enforcement Administration will provide more sophisticated operational training and mentoring of the Drug Control Agency. A greater emphasis on recruiting and developing a network of reliable sources will enable the Drug Control Agency and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to initiate cases against major trafficking organizations operating regionally and internationally.
The United States will also sustain the justice sector reform program and coordinate with other donors and international organizations during planned training of prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys. A major goal of the INL-funded rule of law program, a subset of the justice sector program, is to strengthen Tajikistan's ability to investigate and prosecute major drug traffickers and organized crime syndicates as well as improve and reform judicial sector training. In order to achieve this goal in light of existing corruption and transparency issues within the government, the United States will increase its emphasis on anti-corruption, public outreach, ethics, and education efforts. The culture of corruption fueled by the huge amount of drugs passing through the country poses a significant threat to Tajikistan’s stability and prosperity. The embassy will focus on anti-corruption campaigns within existing counter-narcotics, policing, and border security programs. To combat the ever increasing drug consumption, the U.S. will sustain drug demand reduction programs especially using the peer-to-peer principle. To improve regional cooperation to address common problems and threats, the United States will coordinate closely with other donor countries and international organizations to organize and implement as many Afghan-Tajik joint training courses as possible.
Tanzania is located along drug trafficking routes linking Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Drugs like hashish, cocaine, heroin, Mandrax, and opium pass through Tanzania's porous borders. In addition, the domestic production of cannabis is a significant problem, with active cultivation in many regions. Drug abuse, particularly involving cannabis and, to a lesser extent, cocaine and heroin, is gradually increasing, especially among younger people and in tourist areas. Tanzanian institutions have minimal capacity to combat drug trafficking, and corruption reduces that capacity still further. Tanzania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Sustained economic growth and increasing affluence, especially in urban areas, have helped drive the demand for narcotics. Domestic production of cannabis is expanding and improving in quality. Cannabis grown in the Arusha region reportedly sells at a premium price in Kenya. In October, police reported the seizure of over 200 kilograms of marijuana thought to be from Tanzania at a port in Comoros. During the year, Tanzanians were arrested for drug trafficking elsewhere in East Africa as well as in India and Mauritius.
Domestic use of narcotics appears to be on the rise. Because cocaine and heroin are not as affordable as cannabis or khat, they are used in smaller quantities and primarily within affluent urban areas. The growth of the tourism industry, particularly on Zanzibar and near Arusha, has also increased demand for narcotics. Tanzania’s location, along trafficking routes with numerous possible points of entry through its eight land borders and 600-kilometer coastline, provides the opportunity for relatively easy drug trafficking.
Drugs are believed to enter Tanzania by air, sea, roads and rail. Major points of entry include airports in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro, seaports at Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, and smaller ports like Tanga, Mtwara and Bagamoyo. Anecdotal evidence suggests that improved port surveillance has driven many traffickers out of the major points of entry to minor sea ports and unofficial land entry points. Traffickers reportedly conduct a significant amount of narcotics smuggling offshore via dhows and small boats that avoid ports.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. According to the Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry and Marketing, Hezekiah Chibulunje, the government saw an upward trend in the trade of counterfeit goods in 2008. This new trend was thought to be a reaction by small-scale drug dealers, those hardest hit by antinarcotics efforts, to diversify from narcotics, as well as a means for large-scale traffickers to launder their money.
Efforts to amend the Anti-Drugs Control Commission Act of 1995, designed to strengthen the Drug Control Commission (DCC) and increase the penalty for drug trafficking, failed in 2007. With the failure of the amendments, the semi-autonomous archipelago of Zanzibar has indicated that it will proceed independent of the mainland with its own anti-narcotics legislation.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Tanzania has three counter-narcotics police teams, located in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, and MoshI. Law enforcement efforts are increasingly successful at arresting small-scale smugglers; however, law enforcement has been less successful at apprehending “kingpins” of narcotics activities. Newspaper articles and editorials have criticized the government for not investing more in manpower and training of drug control officials.
Senior Tanzanian counter-narcotics officials acknowledge that their officers need additional training. However, they are limited by a lack of resources and staff. Antinarcotics units lack such basic resources as modern patrol boats to monitor the harbor and must rely on modified traditional wooden dhows to interdict smugglers at sea. Tanzanian officers and police staff are not able to effectively implement profiling techniques to seize larger amounts of narcotics. Narcotics interdiction seizures generally result from tip-offs from informants. Moreover, low salaries for law enforcement personnel encourage corrupt behavior.
Formal cooperation between counter-narcotics police in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania is well established, with bi-annual meetings to discuss regional narcotics issues. This cooperation has resulted in significant increases in effectiveness in each nation's narcotics control efforts. Tanzania also cooperates formally with countries from the Southern African Development Community, including Zambia and South Africa. In 2008, the United Kingdom provided counter-narcotics training to Tanzanian officers from immigration, customs and police divisions. Other officers attended various international training events held in Malawi, Botswana and Johannesburg.
In 2008 Tanzania's judiciary convicted 467 individuals for narcotic offenses involving “hard drugs” like cocaine and heroin, and 6033 individuals on minor offenses involving drugs like cannabis. It was reported by the police that approximately 200 metric tons of cannabis and two metric tons of khat, locally known as mirungi, were seized during the year.
Corruption. The Government of Tanzania 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; however, corruption continued to be a serious concern in the Tanzanian Police Force. It is widely believed that corrupt police officials at ports facilitate the transshipment of narcotics through Tanzania. There is no specific provision of the anticorruption laws regarding narcotics-related corruption cases. In June 2006, two police officers were arrested following the disappearance of approximately 80 kg of cocaine and heroin from police custody. During the year, the courts began hearing the case, but there was still no ruling by the end of 2008.
Many believe that corruption in the courts often leads to case dismissals or light sentencing of convicted narcotics offenders. Some prosecutors have complained that many arrested suspects plead “not guilty” until the magistrate hearing the case can be bribed. Once confident of the magistrate's complicity, the suspects change their plea to guilty, thereby forgoing a lengthy trial process, and the magistrate issues a judgment of only a minor fine.
Agreements and Treaties. Tanzania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Tanzania is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its three protocols. The 1931 U.S.-U.K. Extradition Treaty is applicable to Tanzania.
Cultivation and Production. Traditional cultivation of cannabis takes place in remote parts of the country, mainly for domestic use. It is estimated that an acre of land can produce up to $1000 worth of cannabis crop as opposed to $100 worth of maize. The Ministry of Public Safety and Security identified the following eight regions as the primary production areas for cannabis: Iringa, Tabora, Shinyanga, Mara, Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya and Tanga. However, for 2008, Morogoro topped the list for farmland where cannabis plants were destroyed, with a reported 600 acres. No figures on total production exist, but during the year, police and government officials reported that production continued and had spread to different regions in response to eradication efforts and special police operations against drug traffickers in Iringa, Mbeya and Ruvuma regions. Given the availability of raw materials and the simplicity of the process, it is likely that most hashish is produced domestically; however, other illegal drugs in Tanzania are probably produced elsewhere.
Drug Flow/Transit. Due to its location and porous borders, its weakly controlled seaports and airports, Tanzania has become a significant transit country for narcotics moving in sub-Saharan Africa. Traffickers from landlocked countries of Southern Africa, including Zambia and Malawi, use Tanzania for transit. Control at the ports, especially on Zanzibar, is difficult. Traffickers using sophisticated methods of forging documents and concealment face poor controls and untrained and corrupt officials. According to the Anti-Narcotics Unit, heroin entering Tanzania from Iran and Pakistan is being smuggled to the U.S., China and Australia in small quantities by traffickers from Nigeria, Tanzania (with a significant number of traffickers from Zanzibar) and other countries in East Africa. Cocaine enters Tanzania from Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Curacao in transit to South Africa, Europe, Australia and North America. Cannabis Resin, a drug that is not known to be consumed domestically, enters Tanzania mainly by sea from Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is often concealed with local goods such as tea and coffee and smuggled to Europe, North America and the Seychelles. The port of Dar es Salaam is also a major point of entry for Mandrax from India, Nepal and Kenya headed toward South Africa. Tanzanians continue to be recruited as “drug mules” for trafficking.
In November, the Commissioner of the Drugs Control Commission said that number of suspects arrested for involvement in drug trafficking increased, while the overall volume of trafficked narcotics decreased. He attributed this to a new strategy by drug lords to spread the risk by increasing the number of traffickers, but giving each of them smaller amounts of drugs.
In April, a Tanzanian national was arrested in the Maldives after arriving from India for possession of large quantities of narcotics. In June, while traveling to the Olympic Games, Tanzanian boxers and their coach were arrested in Mauritius for trafficking in narcotics worth 120 million shillings, (approximately $100,000). The president of the Boxing Federation of Tanzania was later arrested and charged with arranging the deal.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Police have been actively involved in community education programs to educate the public about the dangers of narcotics. In 2008, the Drugs Control Commission (DCC) worked together with the police to use the media to spread anti-narcotic messages. Police and DCC officials participated in state sponsored trade fairs and youth-centered events to create greater awareness about drug trafficking. The DCC attributed the increase in narcotics-related arrests to working more closely with local communities to identify and stop drug dealers and users. The DCC, under the Prime Minister's Office, also managed a small demand reduction program, which included training courses for nurses, counselors, and teachers in urban centers across the country. Limited government resources existed for specialized care for drug addiction and rehabilitation. Any required in-patient care was typically provided by psychiatric hospitals.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. policy initiatives and programs for addressing narcotics problems in Tanzania are focused on training workshops and seminars for law enforcement officials. One Tanzanian officer completed the residential USCG International Maritime Officers Course (IMOC). State Department law enforcement assistance included funding the establishment of a forensics lab and training in its use. The United State Government is funding the Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) to improve interdiction capabilities at major border crossings. The program is primarily designed to target terrorist activities, but also is effective against narcotics and other smuggling activities. The DOS sent six officers from the Tanzania National Police Force to the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana for a course in money laundering, combating human trafficking, conducting drug investigations, and other subjects.
The Road Ahead. U.S.-Tanzanian cooperation will continue, with a focus on improving Tanzania's capacity to enforce its counter-narcotics laws.
Thailand does not have significant levels of drug cultivation or production, but is, however, a transshipment point and a net importer of drugs. The trade in and use of illicit drugs remains a serious problem. The primary drugs of concern are amphetamine type stimulants (ATS), whose abuse is less widespread than a few years ago due to improved enforcement and public education, but are still readily available across the country. “Club drugs” such as Ecstasy and cocaine are mainly used by some affluent Thai and foreign visitors.
Trafficking of illicit drugs through Thailand poses a continuing challenge to Thai law enforcement agencies. As suppression of trafficking succeeded in certain targeted northern border areas, smugglers changed their routes. Heroin and methamphetamine continue to move from Burma across Thailand’s northern border for domestic consumption as well as for export to regional and international markets. Methamphetamine and some heroin move into Thailand from Burma, via Laos across the Mekong River into Thailand’s northeastern border provinces. Drugs also travel south through Laos into Cambodia where they enter Thailand across the Thai-Cambodian border. And drugs also move from Thailand directly through Laos to Vietnam and Cambodia for regional export. Some opium and large quantities of marijuana are moved into/through Thailand from Laos, while smaller quantities are smuggled from Cambodia. Small amounts of marijuana are grown domestically, as well. Thailand is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
There is no significant cultivation or production of opium, heroin, methamphetamine or other drugs in Thailand today, but various regional and international drug trafficking networks use Thailand as a transit point and sell drugs produced in Burma and elsewhere. Seizures of low-dosage methamphetamine tablets made from caffeine, inert filler substances (e.g., talcum powder), and methamphetamine—known locally as “yaa baa” or “crazy medicine”—slightly increased from the previous year to approximately 14.3 million tablets in 2007. Total seizures of “yaa baa” remain far below the 2002 seizure total of 96 million tablets. “Yaa-baa” remains Thailand’s most-commonly abused illicit drug. The recent emergence of crystal methamphetamine or “ice” production in the Shan State of Burma is of on-going concern to Thai authorities, who believe that it is a greater addictive threat, and could lead to an increase in domestic Thai consumption, with all the attendant social problems such a development would bring.
Thailand has long been a net importer of opium. The small quantities of opium produced in Thailand cannot support even the modest continuing domestic needs of traditional opium smoking ethnic tribal regions, much less, any refining into heroin in commercial quantities. Small pockets of local opium cultivation do persist – shifting locations in response to periodic eradication campaigns by Thai authorities. Such planting is usually carried out by ethnic highland tribal peoples trying to supplement their meager incomes by selling locally, or to meet their own consumption needs.
The region’s largest commercial-scale drug producer, the Burma-based United Wa State Army (UWSA), publicly pledged to eliminate opium poppy cultivation by the end of 2005, and did appear to reduce poppy cultivation in the region they control. Opium cultivation was not entirely eliminated, and was accompanied by the emergence of very significant ATS pill production. In general, the long-term decline in opium production over recent years, accomplished through improved law enforcement and crop reduction, has been offset by increasing production of methamphetamine tablet trafficking from Burma for sale in Thailand.
Thailand has a small domestic consumer market for Ecstasy and cocaine. Ecstasy arrives in Thailand from a variety of sources including Cambodia, Malaysia, Burma, Europe and Canada. The cocaine market in Thailand, like that for Ecstasy, is still primarily restricted to some affluent Thai and foreigners in large cities. Some of the cocaine that arrives in Thailand is for onward transit to other East Asian countries, such as China. While the cocaine market is still largely controlled by West African criminal organizations, South Americans have become involved in Thailand to a limited extent. They are more aggressively involved elsewhere in the region, and represent a new trend in international organized criminal activity.
Marijuana is sold and consumed widely in Thailand without much law enforcement attention, and a steady flow continues to transit Thailand. It is still used by some as a flavoring ingredient in curries and noodle soup. The use of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a plant with addicting stimulant properties found in southern Thai provinces, increased, as did marijuana use. In southern Thailand, the expanding use of Kratom is of concern to authorities, as chewing of the addictive leaf has become commonly accepted among many communities, which view it as an easy way to remain alert and ready for work. The Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) reports that users also mix the Kratom plant leaves with cola drinks, cough syrup or tranquilizers to form a narcotic-laced drink. Kratom is reportedly popular due to its low cost, difficulty of detection, and broad acceptance by village society.
Ketamine is used throughout Asia by people searching a “high” without the criminal penalties that pertain to other controlled substances. It is found in both liquid and powder forms. Most Ketamine used in Thailand is produced in India. A veterinary tranquilizer, it has hallucinogenic side effects and is sometimes used in the youthful party scene, because it is cheaper and considered less dangerous than Ecstasy. Ketamine causes distorted perception and makes the user feel disconnected and out of control. While the hallucinogenic effects last only about 90 minutes, the coordination and distortions of the senses among Ketamine users can last for up to 24 hours. Finally, there is significant abuse of inhalants, such as glue, that impoverished users turn to because they are readily available and cheap. Such inhalants are not usually controlled substances.
Treatment data reported by the Thai government and United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicates that “yaa baa” use remains widespread. Consumption rates and trafficking volumes of “yaa baa” remain less than before former Prime Minister Thaksin’s controversial drug war of 2003, with prices today about three times higher than what they were prior to the “drug war.” Heroin and opium usage continued to decrease in 2008 as well. Crystal methamphetamine, “ice” usage increased in 2008, continuing a trend since 2004 although usage remains relatively limited, perhaps as a result of the much higher cost of this drug in comparison to “yaa baa.”
Seizures of “ice” have declined steadily since 2005. “Ice” abuse in Thailand is still mostly limited to entertainment districts in the larger cities. “Ice” is smoked in a fashion similar to crack cocaine and costs 3,000 baht ($88) per gram on the street. The “ice” that transits Thailand for regional markets usually goes to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The uncertainties of the political situation in Thailand have not adversely affected the Thai Government’s efforts to combat drugs. During 2008 the Royal Thai Government (RTG) launched a special operation entitled “unity for freedom from the threat of drugs”, aiming to reduce the numbers of drug traffickers and users by focusing on high-risk youth groups. Government officials, civic groups and local administrations, and interested private citizens were deployed to monitor the drug problem. Three general areas were monitored; Bangkok Metropolitan, the southern border provinces, and other border areas known to present special smuggling control problems.
Law Enforcement Efforts. RTG efforts to interdict the trade and use of illicit drugs during 2007-08 included the following measures: a) Stronger border control; b) using units of the civil service, police and army to patrol, c) operation of check points to monitor high traffic areas; d) strengthening the anti-drug educational capacities of local communities and schools through anti-drug programs for youth; e) border Liaison Offices with Laos and Cambodia; f) using the new law on asset forfeiture and anti-money laundering against illicit drug traffickers; g) enhancing international assistance and operational cooperation; h) surveying and manual eradication of poppy cultivation areas; i) education and alternative livelihood support for northern hill-tribe villagers; j) better statistical research and measurement of drug users, traffickers, and released prisoners. The Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board conducts year-round surveillance in upland areas of northern Thailand, where renewed opium poppy planting is most likely to occur. The Office coordinates at least one opium eradication campaign per year, carried out by Thai 3rd Army units that have become specialists in this activity. These campaigns are conducted with financial support from the U.S. Mission, through intelligence developed by DEA’s Bangkok Country Office.
Thailand has no quiet, well-controlled borders, and the country’s central location and vibrant economy make it a lodestone for narcotics. Thai counter-drug air assets are insufficient to control the most narcotics-active land borders with Laos, Burma, and Cambodia because those areas are often remote and vegetation-covered. In recent years the Thai have stepped up efforts to coordinate with law enforcement entities in neighboring countries, even in times of border tension (the Thai Police report sustained contact with their colleagues in Cambodia, even during the recent military clashes between their countries). The relationship with Laos has improved the most. Recent Thai efforts in border interdiction and law enforcement coordination include continued intense policing of the northern and northeast border areas. Improved cross-border operational communications along the Mekong River have been fostered by joint Lao-Thai river patrols, using U.S. Government-purchased small boats and other equipment. Lao and Thai border law enforcement authorities take advantage of more frequent contacts and meetings, as well as better communications tools, to support operational cross-border communications. While still far from optimal, this is an order of magnitude better than the Mekong border situation only a decade ago.
Thai law enforcement authorities employ extensive field training and modern equipment to respond to the border trafficking threat. A wide assortment of counternarcotics tools, including confidential sources, undercover operations, controlled deliveries and court-authorized wiretaps are commonly used in drug suppression and interdiction. Thai agencies also adjust their strategy and tactics to meet the changing threat from modern-day drug trafficking groups as the traffickers adapt and alter their own operations. When traffickers shifted their smuggling routes to Laos and Northeast Thailand, Thai authorities quickly shifted enforcement capacity to those areas. A new USG-outfitted drug intelligence center in northeastern Thailand, constructed with the help of the Joint Interagency Task Force, JIATF-West, further bolsters counter-narcotics coordinating and operational capabilities within the Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau (RTPNSB) network.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Thai Government does not permit, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of drug proceeds, either by individuals or government agencies. No senior official of the Thai government is known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances or the laundering of proceeds from drug transactions. However, corruption is endemic in Thai society, even though in recent years it has graduated from a taboo topic to being frequently chronicled in press reports of high-profile court cases. Reports of official corruption are rarely drug-related, but drug-related corruption is very likely, given the volume and value of drugs consumed in and moving through Thailand.
Agreements and Treaties. Thailand is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. It has signed, but not ratified, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption. Thailand is an active participant in the Colombo Plan and a participant in the ASEAN and China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD) Organization. Thailand signed the ASEAN Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance. The United States and Thailand have extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties in force, and the Thai have been among the most cooperative USG partners in this area. During 2008, Thai authorities extradited two individuals to the United States on drug charges, but both were important as they were related to different high-priority targets of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Further, during 2008, international arms merchant Viktor Bout was arrested in Bangkok in March 2008 and his extradition process is currently moving through the Thai courts, as is that of one additional priority target of the DEA.
Cultivation/Production. There is no significant drug cultivation or production in Thailand.
Drug Flow/Transit. Thailand is a transit country for heroin and a small quantity of methamphetamine entering the international marketplace, including the United States. Much of the heroin leaving Thailand is destined for regional consumption with small quantities transported and marketed in Taiwan, Australia and other countries. Drugs are transported into northern Thailand via couriers, by small caravans along mountainous jungle trails, and trans-shipped from Burma through Laos and Cambodia from where they are introduced into northeastern and eastern Thai towns. Once inside Thailand, the drugs are transported to Bangkok and other distribution areas by motor vehicles. Use of the Thai mail system also continues to be a common means for moving smaller units of drugs within and out of the country. Burmese-based international drug trafficking organizations are believed to produce hundreds of millions of tablets of methamphetamine (“yaa baa”) each year. A substantial portion of them end up in Thailand, where, despite recent enforcement successes, “yaa baa” remains the number one drug of abuse.
Cocaine seizures in Thailand decreased in 2008 over the previous year (while seizures in Hong Kong and southern China have reportedly increased). Most of the cocaine smuggled from South America into Thailand is used as a “club drug” by well-off abusers and foreigners, and is most often found in private residences and entertainment places in Bangkok, as well as popular tourist destinations in the provinces. While the volume of cocaine seized is low, Thailand is a part of the regional market for this drug. Ecstasy trafficking is more common in Thailand, though high street prices still restrict the market. Sources have expanded beyond Europe and Canada, but earlier reports of Ecstasy production in Burma have not yet been confirmed. Thailand-based enterprises continue to market steroids and other pharmaceuticals on a worldwide scale, much of which end up in markets where such products are illegal including the U.S. and Europe. During 2008, two Thai-based organizations that produced steroids in three countries, distributed them to multiple companies around the world and channeled or laundered much of their financial proceeds through Thailand were dismantled. The leaders of both organizations have either been extradited to the United States or are awaiting extradition.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Thailand carries out a comprehensive range of demand reduction programs, encompassing combinations of educational programs for the public and treatment for users. During the past four years the Thai government has taken positive steps to substitute treatment programs for prison terms in instances where the user was apprehended in possession of quantities of drugs clearly intended only for personal use A highly visible and effective drug awareness and demand reduction program known as “To Be Number One” continues under the patronage and active involvement of a senior member of the revered Royal Family. This and other drug education and awareness campaigns are conducted in cooperation with private organizations, NGOs and public institutions, using radio, TV, and printed media.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. Thailand and the United States maintain an exemplary, long-standing partnership to combat drug trafficking and international crime. Thai-U.S. bilateral cooperation makes possible a broad range of investigations conducted jointly by Thai law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as well as other U.S. law enforcement agencies. These programs build capacity in anti-narcotics, as well as other law enforcement areas, and foster cooperation with third countries on a range of narcotics control and anti-transnational crime activities. The former Narcotics Affairs Section in the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok has become the Transnational Crimes Affairs Section (TCAS), with some regional responsibilities. TCAS also continues to assist the Royal Thai Police bilaterally to improve professional standards—a matter of urgency given the unsettled political situation. The U.S. Department of Justice Attaché at Post also works closely with Thai authorities to facilitate extraditions and mutual legal assistance in narcotics and transnational crime matters.
The United States continues to provide capacity-building and operational support to Thailand under annual Letters of Agreement (LOA). Most visible among these activities is the continued operation of the jointly funded and managed Thai-U.S. International Law Enforcement Training Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, which provides law enforcement operational and management skills training to government officials and police officers from 12 regional countries, plus Hong Kong. In addition to a full schedule of training programs for regional officials, in 2008 ILEA also conducted a number of bilateral skills-building courses and seminars to benefit Thai law enforcement and government agencies. These programs included training by federal, state and local U.S. law enforcement professionals, purchases of non-lethal equipment and other commodities, and targeted 3rd-party funded training—all aimed at facilitating Thailand’s capacity to combat the illicit drug trade and transnational and organized crime.
A new law enforcement capacity building program with initial funding of one-half million U.S. dollars began in September, 2008. The program, under a U.S. Department of Justice Law Enforcement Policy Advisor (LEPA), is housed in the TCAS Office in the Embassy and aims to improve Thai law enforcement competence and to instill broader respect for human rights in the law enforcement culture of the country. This will entail institutional changes in the Royal Thai Police and other law enforcement agencies.
Thailand is one of eleven countries worldwide in which the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has established Sensitive Investigative Units (SIU). Thai SIU participants receive specialized training and undergo a rigorous vetting process in order to be selected for the program. This process assures a cadre of highly competent counterparts with whom DEA works closely to target drug trafficking organizations. Four SIU teams currently operate in Thailand, and all are focused on the most important trafficking groups in the region. An intensive Department of State-funded forensics crime lab capacity-building training programs that began in 2007 to enhance Thai police and Ministry of Justice ability to build prosecutions using crime scene and other forensic evidence is being continued throughout 2008. This program is conducted by the Department of Justice experts, and will continue under the new LEPA program.
The Road Ahead. The United States will continue supporting the Thai Government’s efforts to interdict illicit drugs moving through Thailand and to the United States, as well as collaborate on a broad range of international crime control issues via material, legal and technical support. The U.S. will continue working with Thai counterpart agencies to improve law enforcement skills, enhance police attitudes regarding human rights, build better criminal cases based on evidence, encourage the promulgation of laws and regulations more closely aligned with international standards, and develop more consistent adherence to rule of law principals as part of the fight against illicit drug trafficking and all other transnational crime. The U.S. will contribute to manual opium eradication programs and provide modest support to the alternative livelihood programs for upland populations that have been carried out in northern Thailand by Thai agencies under Royal patronage for three decades. The U.S. will contribute to justice sector reform at the request of Thai counterpart agencies, and use seconded U.S. Department of Justice personnel as well as private sector organizations such as the American Bar Association to help achieve this goal. ILEA Bangkok will continue to offer a comprehensive program of regional law enforcement training and cooperation, and build Thai agency technical skills in order to enhance capacity to fight transnational crime and illicit drug trafficking.
V. Statistical Table:
Methamphetamine (“yaa baa”)
2004: 31 million tablets
2005: 17.7 million tablets
2006: 13.7 million tablets
2007: 14.3 millions tablets
2008: 11 million tablets (as of September 2008)
Crystal methamphetamine (“ice”)
2004: 47 kg
2005: 322.6 kg
2006: 93.9 kg
2007: 47.4 kg
2008: 29.4 kg (as of September 2008)
2004: 163.9 kg
2005: 47.5 kg
2006: 42.7 kg
2007: 3.0 kg
2008: 12.5 kg (as of September 2008)
Opium seized: includes raw, cooked, and poppy plants
2004: 1,595 kg
2005: 5,767.5 kg
2006: 787.6 kg
2007: 1,707.3 kg
2008: 2,370.37 kg (as of September 2008)
2004: 820 kg
2005: 954.6 kg
2006: 91.7 kg
2007: 58.2kg (as of September 2008)
2004: 31 kg
2005: 8.6 kg
2006: 6.8 kg
2007: 28.39 kg
2008: 9.72 kg (as of September 2008)
2004: 12.3 kg
2005: 6.78 kg
2006: 38.8 kg
2007: 18.7 kg
2008: 2.3 kg (as of September 2008)
Note: The seizure data above were gathered from the Asia and Pacific Amphetamine-Type Stimulants Information Centre, a Bangkok-based United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime project on data and trends with which the Thai government cooperates, and from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board of the Royal Thai Government. Some changes have been made to previously published prior-year information in order to remove duplicate reporting and errors. It is frequently hard to draw conclusions from seizure statistics, because of the large fluctuations. However, seizures of methamphetamine show a clear and steady downward trend, evidently due to enforcement success coupled with well-conceived and placed public education campaigns.
Togo is not a significant producer of drugs; however it plays an increasingly large role in the regional transport of narcotics. During 2008 the drug trade (particularly in hard drugs like heroin) continued to increase, and Togo is used more and more as a transit point for the inter-continental movement of drugs. Togo’s capacity to address the transnational flow of drugs is undercut by its inability to control corruption, the country’s extreme poverty, a resultant lack of resources and training and long, porous borders. Togo is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Drug abuse by Togo’s citizens is relatively rare, and there are few crimes resulting from drug use. There are three agencies responsible for drug law enforcement—the police, the gendarmerie, and customs. The only locally produced drug is cannabis, but in small quantities for individual consumption. Approximately one metric ton of cannabis is seized in Togo each year. Heroin and cocaine, while not produced in Togo, are also available. Heroin is smuggled from Afghanistan, while cocaine is transported from South America. Lome serves as a transit point for drugs on their way to Benin, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Niger on overland routes and ultimately to Europe. It has come to light that Togolese traffickers have developed distribution arrangements for drugs bound for Europe. According to police, most smugglers are long-term Lebanese residents or Nigerians, but they have recently arrested a Colombian smuggling network in Lomé. The gendarmerie is also targeting the Togolese players. Togo’s long and relatively porous borders permit narcotics traffickers easy access/egress. Current law enforcement activity in Togo suggests greater complicity of GOT entities in the form of corruption than was previously known. While in the past it was assumed that the largest quantities of drugs were trafficked through the Autonomous Port of Lome, it is now evident that the traffickers are using the Lomé international airport as well as remote airfields, and land borders for vehicular transport of narcotics.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The Central Office Against Drugs and Money Laundering (OCRTIDB) is responsible for investigating and arresting all persons involved in drug-related crimes. The office has approximately forty-five police and gendarmerie officers assigned to conduct investigations and enforcement operations. Security agencies are supposed to report all drug-related matters to the Director of the Central Office of OCRTIDB. The Director of the Central Office, in turn, is directly responsible to the Minister of Security. The reality, however, is that the police and gendarmerie conduct their own investigations and enforcement operations, lending to poor accountability for seized contraband and money. The National Anti-Drug Committee (CNAD), which consists of representatives from various offices, including security, defense, commerce and finance, meets periodically to coordinate. Togolese officials have reported that they have good working relations with Beninese authorities.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The number of drug-related arrests increased in 2008. Only occasional spot checks are made of passengers at the airport. The Port of Lomé’s cargo screening ability of 100 containers per day should aid the interdiction of drugs arriving by sea; however, many are skeptical of port authorities' willingness to use this tool aggressively. Arrests have been mainly at the land border crossings and in Lomé; the vast majority of trafficked drugs cross land borders. Arrests are sometimes made after a tip, but are most often made in the course of other routine law enforcement activities, such as traffic security or customs checks. The greatest obstacles that the Government of Togo (GOT) faces in apprehending drug traffickers are widespread official corruption, the government’s lack of computer technology, communication and coordination, and mutual distrust among security agencies and interested ministries. While all agencies are required to report narcotics related crimes to the Central Office, in practice there is no effective reporting, record keeping, or cross-agency communication process.
Corruption. The Anti-Corruption Commission made no drug-related arrests of government officials. Togo’s former chief narcotics officer, who was held under house arrest for several months in 2006 under suspicion that he had diverted for resale a quantity of captured drugs being held as evidence, was released in September 2006 and was assigned as the commander of a gendarme company in Dapaong, in Northern Togo. He has since been promoted and is currently the regional gendarmerie commander for the northern part of Togo. Reports continue to circulate that unnamed officials in various GOT agencies can be bribed to allow illicit narcotics to transit to or through Togo. After the recent arrest of a mostly foreign drug trade network in Togo, fresh rumors regarding corrupt Togolese officials are spreading widely. No officials have been arrested thus far, and it appears increasingly likely that Togo will miss a good opportunity to send a clear message to its public, its public officials and to the drug trade organizations regarding its purported tough stance on narco-trafficking. As a matter of government policy, the GOT 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 indication that senior officials have encouraged or facilitated the production or distribution of illicit drugs.
Agreements and Treaties. Togo is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by its 1972 Protocol. Togo is a party to the UN Corruption Convention and is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and has signed, but not yet ratified, its protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants.
Cultivation/Production. The only drug cultivated in any significant quantity in Togo is cannabis, but even this is limited. Cultivation is primarily for local demand, although some cross border distribution by small-scale dealers is suspected. Domestic use of cannabis is increasing.
Drug Flow/Transit. There are sizable expatriate Nigerian and Lebanese populations involved in Togo’s drug trade, and they arrange for drug transshipments from many places in the world, through Africa, and onward to final markets. Colombian drug trade organizations are also showing greater interest in Togo. Many observers of drug trafficking in West Africa believe that hard drugs like cocaine and heroin are “warehoused” in the region before being sent to final consumption markets, mostly in Europe.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The National Anti-Drug Committee has sponsored anti-drug films and counter-narcotics discussion groups. For national anti-drug day, June 26, the committee worked with civil society organizations to hold a week of anti-drug activities, including awareness raising seminars, debates, a march against drugs, and, together with the OCRTIDB, a ceremony for the destruction of seized drugs. In addition, the Minister of Security and Civil Protection is planning a counter narcotics conference from December 8-14, which will include experts from the EU and UN.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. The primary goal of the U.S. is to help the GOT combat the international trafficking of drugs. The U.S. seeks to help the government improve its ability to interdict illicit narcotics entering Togo through training opportunities and technical support, and to prosecute traffickers. The U.S. Coast Guard provided residential training focused in professional military education
The Road Ahead. U.S. cooperation with Togolese counternarcotics officials will continue. USG-funded narcotics assistance will be used for Togolese counternarcotics infrastructure improvements. With the support of the regional Drug Enforcement Agency representative based in Lagos, the U.S. Embassy will continue to look for ways to provide counternarcotics trafficking training to Togolese law enforcement personnel. Togo’s emerging willingness to confront the issue of illicit drugs is hampered by severe corruption problems among Togolese officials and the weak state of GOT finances.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is a transit country for illegal drugs from South America, principally from Colombia via Venezuela, to the U.S. and Europe. The illicit drug trade exploits the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago's (GOTT) lack of resources for border control, aircraft and patrol boats and for maintaining a law enforcement presence in Tobago. While there has been an increase in illicit drug traffic out of Venezuela, the quantity of drugs transiting Trinidad and Tobago does not have a significant effect on the U.S. The majority of narcotics are destined for other locations due to direct international flights to Europe as well as the ease of flow within the Caribbean and to Western Africa. Trinidad and Tobago's petrochemical industry imports and exports chemicals that can be used for drug production and the GOTT has instituted export controls to prevent their diversion. The GOTT continues to cooperate with the U.S. on counternarcotics issues and allocates significant resources of its own to the fight against illegal drugs. Prime Minister Manning has placed an emphasis on increasing regional patrols and soliciting international assistance to combating the illegal drug trade. The GOTT is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Trinidad and Tobago, situated seven miles off the coast of Venezuela, is a convenient transshipment point for illicit drugs, primarily cocaine and marijuana but also heroin. During recent years, increased law enforcement pressure in Colombia and Central America has led to greater amounts of illegal drugs transiting the Eastern Caribbean. Drugs from Trinidad and Tobago do not have a significant effect on the U.S. market.
Trinidad and Tobago has an advanced petrochemical sector that requires the import and export of chemicals that can be diverted for the manufacturing of cocaine hydrochloride. In the past, precursor chemicals originating from Trinidad and Tobago have been found in illegal drug labs in Colombia. The GOTT works to track chemical shipments through Trinidad and Tobago, and export controls have been instituted to prevent future diversion to narcotics producers.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. In 2008, the GOTT National Drug Council continued to implement counter-drug policy initiatives, including elements of the country's anti-narcotics master plan that address both supply and demand reduction. The GOTT has acknowledged that Trinidad and Tobago is a significant drug transshipment location and has underscored its intention to take action against traffickers. In June, the Ministry of National Security hosted a regional defense conference with the main objective of determining what assets could be shared throughout the region for counternarcotics exercises. This dialogue led to discussions with international partners to determine the framework for providing regional security. The GOTT also pledged support to assist the Regional Security System (RSS). Another initiative included the immigration division’s establishment of a document examination laboratory at the Piarco International Airport. The laboratory's primary aim is to secure further the country's borders by countering the fraudulent use of travel and identity documents.
In 2008, the GOTT implemented the Bail Amendment Act, which makes the offenses of kidnapping for ransom or knowingly negotiating to obtain a ransom a non-bailable offense for sixty days. The Bill also made certain violent offenses, such as possession of a firearm or ammunition without a license and trafficking in a dangerous drug, non-bailable offenses if a person has been convicted on two prior occasions. In securing its borders, the GOTT passed the Advance Passenger Information Act to reauthorize the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) after using it during the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
Law Enforcement Efforts. As a result of joint operations with foreign law enforcement counterparts, there were 51 drug trafficking arrests from January to September 2008, a decrease of 34 persons compared to the same period last year. Figures are incomplete due to a lack of reporting from all local law enforcement agencies, including Special Anti Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT), the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG), Trinidad and Tobago Police Services(TTPS), Organized Crime and Narcotics Unit (OCNU), and Organized Crime Narcotics and Firearm Bureau (OCNFB). The USG recognizes this information and reporting is fragmented and incomplete and is working with the GOTT to improve reporting and tracking. Based on local investigations and data collection, as of October 31, 2008, inside the territory of Trinidad and coastal waters, the GOTT had unofficially seized approximately 141 kilograms (kg) of cocaine, over 27 kg of heroin and almost 3,711 kg of cannabis in various forms.
The TTCG, OCNU, Counter Drug and Crime Task Force (CDCTF), SAUTT and other specialized police/military units continued drug interdiction and eradication operations throughout 2008, destroying in excess of 168,700 fully-grown marijuana plants in several exercises. The DEA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection assisted with several of these joint exercises. The country has purchased technical equipment to augment human resources. While some agencies continue to complain that they have been overlooked in budgetary allocations and do not have adequate funds for upkeep or necessary new equipment, the GOTT provided the Police Service with eight hi-tech vehicles fully equipped with forensic equipment, which will aid crime scene investigations. Retired Scotland Yard officers continue to work alongside GOTT law enforcement agents as "on-the-job mentors" and to provide support for the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which has its secretariat in Port of Spain.
The Organized Crime Narcotics and Firearms Bureau (OCNFB) reported a decrease in seizures of various types of illicit drugs and disruption of the drug trade in 2008. For the period of January to September 2008, the OCNFB arrested 51 persons and seized almost 84 kg of cocaine, over 27 kg of heroin and almost 375 kg of marijuana.
The Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) is an agency created and well funded by the current GOTT Administration. Although it has been involved in several tactical operations, legislation that would define its precise mission and strategy has not yet been passed, thus hindering its potential effectiveness. The combination of military and law enforcement personnel, with different skill sets and operating procedures, has also led to some operational difficulties involving SAUTT.
The GOTT Incident Coordination Center continued to facilitate information sharing among law enforcement agencies and the Counter Drug and Crime Task Force (CDCTF) and was active in developing and implementing counter drug operations and conducting financial investigations.
Maritime Smuggling: All vessels bearing a Trinidad and Tobago registration and flying a Trinidad and Tobago flag are free to transit Trinidad and Tobago territorial waters without notifying national Customs and Immigration authorities; this makes it relatively easy to conduct illegal trafficking in drugs, weapons, and people.
In order to improve the capacity to detect narcotics and appropriately manage crime scenes, the GOTT continued to implement training recommendations made by an American criminal justice specialist. The Government also implemented several recommendations from the Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program that suggested changes to the structure, recruiting and retention of Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT) officers.
Corruption. Trinidad and Tobago is a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Corruption. During 2008, there were no charges of drug-related corruption filed against GOTT senior officials, and the USG has no information indicating that any senior government officials encouraged or facilitated the illicit production or distribution of drugs or the laundering of drug money. The country actively fights against the production or distribution of illicit narcotics and works against laundering the proceeds of such crimes. The 1987 Prevention of Corruption Act and the 2000 Integrity in Public Life Act contain the ethical rules and responsibilities of government personnel. The Integrity in Public Life Act requires public officials to declare and explain the source of their assets and an Integrity Commission initiates investigations into allegations of corruption. At GOTT request, the USG has polygraphed police and mid- and high-level officials selected for training or entering elite units. The purpose of such screening is to ensure that reputable and reliable personnel are chosen.
Agreements and Treaties. Trinidad and Tobago is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties with the U.S. entered into force in November 1999. The GOTT continued to comply with U.S. requests under the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties. The GOTT updated its domestic extradition legislation in April 2004 to make it consistent with the extradition treaty and to streamline the extradition process. A bilateral U.S.-GOTT maritime agreement is also in force. The GOTT is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. Trinidad and Tobago is also a member of the Organization of American States' Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission (OAS/CICAD).
Cultivation and Production. Small amounts of cannabis are cultivated year-round in the forest and jungle areas of northern, eastern, and southern Trinidad and, to a lesser extent, in Tobago. The total amount of cultivation cannot accurately be determined because plants are grown in small lots in remote areas.
Drug Flow/Transit. Illicit drugs arrive from the South American mainland, particularly Venezuela, on fishing boats, pleasure craft and commercial aircraft. Sizeable quantities of drugs also transit the country through commodities shipments from South America. Drugs are smuggled out on yachts, in air cargo, or by couriers, and the use of drug swallowers continues to rise. Cocaine has also been found on commercial airline flights from Tobago en route to North America and Europe. Drug seizures reported by U.S. law enforcement officials at their international airports link directly to Trinidad and Tobago. Some shipments are bypassing Trinidad and Tobago in favor of other islands, due in large part to the counter-drug efforts of GOTT security forces.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Demand reduction programs are managed by government agencies such as the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs; the National Drug Council in the Ministry of National Security; the Ministry of Education; and the Office of Social Services Delivery, often with assistance from NGOs. However, the GOTT does not maintain statistics on domestic consumption or numbers of drug users. The GOTT also funds the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program, which coordinates the activities of NGOs to reduce demand. In addition, the GOTT promotes job skills training programs for high-risk youths, and supports police youth clubs with its community-policing branch. The GOTT also has a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. Approximately 2,000 children representing 20 schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago participated in D.A.R.E in 2008.
The USG supports demand reduction efforts in Trinidad and Tobago through the sponsorship of schools, police youth clubs, football leagues and public awareness campaigns.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives
Policy Initiatives. To assist the GOTT to eliminate the flow of illegal drugs through Trinidad and Tobago to the United States, U.S. efforts focus on strengthening the GOTT's ability to detect and interdict drug shipments, bring traffickers and other criminals to trial, attack money laundering, and counter drug-related corruption. The U.S. also seeks to strengthen the GOTT’s administration of justice by providing training and technical assistance to help streamline Trinidad and Tobago's judicial process, reduce court backlogs, and protect witnesses from intimidation and murder.
Bilateral Cooperation. In 2008, the USG continued to support Trinidad's recently established Drug Detection Canine Academy. In addition, the USG offered training classes to both policy makers and tactical law enforcement officials on financial crimes, crime scene investigation, command and control, pollution incident response, damage control, and combating terrorism. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Forensic Document Laboratory (FDL) in conjunction with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted a Document Examination and Intelligent Profiling Course in Port of Spain. This training program enhanced police and border officials' effectiveness in identifying improperly documented passengers destined to the United States and established an ongoing information sharing opportunity with the Government of Trinidad & Tobago. Over the past year, the DEA and its local counterparts have been involved in investigations that led to a significant amount of seizures. However, reporting data is incomplete and the GOTT was not able to provide accurate figures. The GOTT-funded U.S. Customs Advisory Team provided technical assistance to Customs and Excise in tracking and intercepting marine vessels, including cargo container ships.
The Road Ahead. Drug interdictions in Trinidad and Tobago remained difficult, in part due to the lack of effective legislation in combating crime and narcotrafficking. We encourage the GOTT to pass court-authorized wiretap legislation to allow for the introduction of the contents of intercepted oral communication as evidence in court for specific crimes. Furthermore, civil forfeiture and criminal enterprise legislation is needed. Civil forfeiture legislation would allow the government to seize funds and/or assets identified as proceeds of illegal activities. This would also allow the proceeds to be used to fund certain law enforcement activities. With criminal gang activity a major concern for GOTT officials, the criminal enterprise legislation would also allow each member of a criminal organization to be charged for illegal acts committed by any one member of the organization, if it can be shown that one member committed the criminal act in furtherance of, or in support of the criminal organization. The difficulty in advancing this legislative agenda stems, in part, from the GOTT's parliamentary process that requires a two-thirds or three-quarters vote to approve these acts. Other initiatives that would strengthen the counter-drug/crime capabilities of the GOTT’s law enforcement agencies include the establishment of a drug court to deal with drug offenses; strengthening border protection by automating inspection methods to include container scanning; providing additional training for officers to deal with counterfeit merchandise and copyright items and counterfeit money; establishing an internal affairs unit to combat internal fraud and bribery; initiating more border patrols on the western side of the island; and, participating in the SOUTHCOM initiative called Carib Venture, which is a multinational mission in the Southern Caribbean focused on stemming the flow of drugs in the region.
Turkey continues to be a major transit route for Southwest Asian opiates moving to Europe, and serves as a staging area for major narcotics traffickers and brokers. Turkish law enforcement organizations focus their efforts on stemming the traffic of drugs and intercepting precursor chemicals. The Department of Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime of the Turkish National Police (TNP), Jandarma, and Coast Guard are all part of the Ministry of Interior and have significant anti-narcotics responsibilities. The TNP has responsibility for law enforcement in Turkey’s cities and towns. The Jandarma, a paramilitary police organization, is responsible for all law enforcement in rural areas. TNP-developed intelligence frequently leads to rural areas where the Jandarma has jurisdiction and, in these cases, the two agencies work together to conduct investigations and effect seizures. The Undersecretariat of Customs falls under the authority of a State Minister. DEA’s counterpart within Customs is the Directorate General of Customs Guards. There are eighteen regional directorates and 136 subunits. The Ministry of Health is the competent authority for issues relating to importation of chemicals for legitimate use. The Ministry of Finance oversees the financial intelligence unit, known by its Turkish acronym as MASAK, which has responsibility for investigation of potential money laundering schemes.
Turkish law enforcement cooperates closely with European and U.S. agencies. While most of the heroin trafficked via Turkey is marketed in Western Europe, some heroin and opium is also smuggled from Turkey to the U.S. There is no appreciable cultivation of illicit narcotics in Turkey other than cannabis grown primarily for domestic consumption. There is no known diversion from Turkey’s licit opium poppy cultivation and pharmaceutical morphine production program, which has been a success since its inception. Turkey is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Although Turkey is a major donor to the UNODC, it is still eligible for bilateral assistance and assistance for projects that are regional in nature and the UN funds a variety of projects in Turkey each year. UNODC continues to sponsor training sessions at the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) in Ankara.
II. Status of Country
Turkey is a transshipment point for Afghan opiates moving towards Europe and Russia. Information from investigations indicates that while heroin is being produced in Afghanistan at record levels, some processing of opium and morphine base from Afghanistan is occurring near the Turkish/Iranian border. Many major traffickers based in Turkey are ethnic Kurds or Iranians, and many of the same individuals and families have been involved in smuggling contraband for years. Ethnic Kurds generally live in the areas where opiates enter Turkey from the east. Of course, many other Turkish Kurds no longer live in the traditional ethnic Kurdish region of Turkey, but have moved to larger cities in Turkey and even to other countries in Europe. Some have continued drug smuggling in their new locations. Large drug trafficking organizations and major traffickers based in Turkey are frequently involved in both heroin manufacture and transport, and several have also been involved in the production and/or smuggling of synthetic drugs.
Drug proceeds are often moved to and through Turkey via the informal sector, despite the fact that alternative remittance systems are illegal in Turkey and only banks and authorized money transfer companies are officially allowed to move money. In general, investigations of money exchange bureaus, jewelry stores, and other businesses in Turkey believed to be part of the underground banking system (hawala) are initiated only if the business is directly tied to an existing drug or other criminal investigation.
Turkish law enforcement agencies are strongly committed to disrupting narcotics trafficking. The Turkish National Police (TNP) remains Turkey’s most proactive counternarcotics force, with the Jandarma and Customs continuing to play a significant role. Turkish authorities continue to seize large amounts of heroin and precursor chemicals. Given the scale of these seizures, it is likely that multi-ton amounts of heroin are smuggled through Turkey each year.
Turkey and India are the only two traditional licit opium-growing countries recognized by the USG and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). Opium for pharmaceuticals is cultivated and refined in Turkey under strict domestic controls and in accordance with international treaty obligations. Under the current method of production, the poppy is not incised; instead, the plant is allowed to mature and the opium flower and stalk is then collected, and processed in a large sophisticated plant to extract opium alkaloids such as morphine. There is no appreciable illicit drug cultivation in Turkey other than cannabis grown primarily for domestic consumption. Turkish law enforcement authorities continue to seize synthetic drugs that have been manufactured in Northern and Eastern European countries. The majority of the synthetic drug seizures have occurred as the drugs were being shipped through Turkey to countries in the Middle East.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The Government of Turkey (GOT) devotes significant financial and human resources to counternarcotics activities. Turkey continues to play a key role in Operation Containment (a DEA regional program to reduce the flow of Afghan heroin to Western Europe), as well as in other regional efforts. The Turkish National Police uses its International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC) to train officers on interdiction and investigation techniques to fight drug trafficking in and through Turkey. Border control initiatives and upgrades are expected to be completed in 2008, which will provide for increased inspection of vehicles transiting Turkish borders.
Accomplishments. TADOC organized 64 training programs for 2,597 local and regional law enforcement officers in 2008. A total of 22 programs for 446 foreign officers were held at TADOC in 2007, including officers from the countries of Azerbaijan, Guinea Bissau, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan. These training programs focused on drug law enforcement, intelligence analysis, illegal immigration and human smuggling, interview techniques, surveillance techniques, and antiterrorism training for judges and prosecutors. Furthermore in 2008, TADOC conducted training in several foreign countries. TADOC also trained a total of 2,396 Turkish officers in computer-based training centers throughout Turkey in 2008. Turkey also hosted the XXVI International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) in July, 2008.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Turkey continues to serve as a transit point for large amounts of heroin being smuggled to Western Europe. The chart below summarizes the seizures made in Turkey in the January-June 2008 period.
|Amphetamine (Captagon)||2,376,736 dosage units|
|Ecstasy||401,021 dosage units|
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Turkey 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. Similarly, no senior level government official is alleged to have participated in such activities. As in most countries, it is likely that some corruption is present among enforcement personnel.
Agreements and Treaties. Turkey 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. Turkey is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons, and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. The U.S. and Turkey cooperate in law enforcement matters under a 1981 treaty on extradition and mutual assistance in legal matters.
Cultivation/Production. Illicit drug cultivation, primarily cannabis, is for domestic consumption and has no impact on the United States. The Turkish Grain Board strictly and successfully controls licit opium poppy cultivation, with no apparent diversion into the illicit market.
Drug Flow/Transit. Turkey remains a major route and staging area for the flow of heroin to Europe. Turkish-based traffickers and brokers operate in conjunction with narcotics smugglers, laboratory operators, and money launderers in and outside Turkey, who finance and control the smuggling of opiates to and from Turkey. Afghanistan is the source of all of the opiates reaching Turkey. Morphine base and heroin are smuggled over land from Afghanistan, sometimes through Pakistan, to Iran and then to Turkey. While the Balkan Route on to Western Europe remains heavily used, intelligence and investigations suggest that traffickers also use a more northerly route through Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine. In addition to use of the northern route, traffickers are using vehicle ferries to move TIR (long-haul, customs-sealed) trucks from Turkey to Italy. From Italy, the TIRs are driven to other countries in Europe where the heroin, smuggled in either hidden compartments or within legitimate cargo, is delivered. Opiates and hashish are also smuggled to Turkey overland from Afghanistan via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. Turkish authorities report an increase in the amount of opium seized in Turkey but destined for Europe. It is not unusual to seize small amounts of opium in conjunction with heroin shipments, particulary when Iranians are involved in heroin smuggling. The total amount of opium seized in Turkey remains relatively small when compared to heroin seizures. Some criminal elements in Turkey reportedly have interests in heroin laboratories operating in Iran near the Iranian-Turkish border in ethnic Kurdish areas. In recent years, there appears to be more heroin arriving in Turkey as a finished product from Afghanistan and to a much lesser extent from labs on both sides of the Turkish border with Iran. Turkish-based traffickers, some of whom are ethnic Kurds, control much of the heroin marketed to Western Europe. Turkish authorities reported an increase in synthetic drug seizures throughout Turkey beginning in 2005. Most of the amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) seized in Turkey are produced in Eastern Europe. Turkish law enforcement reports some synthetic drug production, primarily amphetamines such as Captagon (the brand name for fenethylline). Amphetamine production is a relatively new phenomenon in Turkey.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. While drug abuse remains modest in scale in Turkey compared to other countries, the number of addicts using treatment clinics is increasing. Although the Turkish Government is increasingly aware of the need to combat drug abuse, the agencies responsible for drug awareness and treatment remain under-funded. Eight Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment and Education Clinics (AMATEM), have been established, which serve as regional and drug treatment centers. Due to a lack of funds, only a couple of the centers focus on drug prevention as well as treatment. The most recent clinic was opened in Izmir in 2006, at a research hospital. The clinic opened in Ankara in 2004 serves as the countrywide coordinating center for drug and alcohol treatment and education. The Health Ministry does not conduct regular, periodic drug abuse surveys. The Ministry of Health was planning to conduct the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) in 2007; however, objections from the Ministry of Education with regard to some survey questions postponed this survey to 2008. Turkey became a full member of the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) after the European Parliament ratified Turkey’s participation in October 2006, following a successful EU twinning project. Turkey’s national focal point for this effort is the Turkish Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, known as TUBIM. TUBIM is charged with collecting data on drug use and addiction in Turkey, reporting on new drugs found in Turkey, and for conducting demand reduction activities.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. Embassy Ankara wants to capitalize on Turkey’s work as a regional leader in counternarcotics training and education. The Embassy plans to offer regional training opportunities at the TADOC center to provide additional investigative and prosecutorial tools to Turkish officials and their international counterparts. One example of such training was done in February 2007, when the U.S. Government brought DEA trainers to Turkey to conduct a course for counternarcotics commanders, with 5 Turkish and 15 Afghan law enforcement officers. The goal of this project was to enhance the investigative abilities of both Turkish and Afghan investigators, to increase their willingness to cooperate internationally on joint cases, and to build relationships between the two countries’ law enforcement agencies. In 2008, the USCG provided maritime law enforcement training in the U.S. to Turkish officers.
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA reports excellent cooperation with Turkish officials. Turkish counternarcotics forces are both professional and technically sophisticated.
The Road Ahead. U.S. will continue to try to strengthen Turkey’s ability to combat narcotics trafficking, money-laundering, and financial crimes.
Turkmenistan is a transshipment route for narcotics traffickers attempting to smuggle contraband to Turkish, Russian and European markets from Afghanistan, either directly or through Iran. It is not, however, a major producer or source country for illegal drugs or precursor chemicals. It shares a rugged and remote 744-kilometer border with Afghanistan and a 992-kilometer boundary with Iran. Most illegal drug seizures occur along those borders. A major development during 2008 was the creation of the State Counter Narcotics Service (SCNS) in January. This new agency will be responsible for all counter narcotics law enforcement and for ensuring Turkmenistan's compliance with relevant international counternarcotics treaty obligations. Law Enforcement authorities seized a total of 1,330 kg of illegal narcotics in the first six months of 2008. In an address to law enforcement officials at a special session of the State Security Council in September 2008, President Berdimuhamedov affirmed that the country's war on drugs is a top priority of the government. Turkmenistan continues to increase its cooperation with international organizations and diplomatic missions in Turkmenistan, but its law enforcement agencies are hampered by a lack of resources, training and equipment. There is strong evidence that domestic drug abuse has been increasing steadily, although reliable statistics are not publicly available. Turkmenistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention
II. Status of Country
Turkmenistan remains a key transit country for the smuggling of narcotics and precursor chemicals. The flow of opiates from Afghanistan, such as heroin, opium and other opium-based drugs destined for markets in Turkey, Russia and Europe, enter Turkmenistan from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan. The government directs the bulk of its law enforcement resources and manpower towards stopping the flow of drugs that come directly from Afghanistan or via Iran. Common methods of transporting illegal narcotics include concealment in cargo or passenger vehicles, deliveries by pedestrian carriers or animal transport, and in some cases, by concealment in the body cavities or stomach of humans and animals. Turkmenistan's law enforcement efforts at the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan border have been more focused on interdicting smuggled commercial goods than on narcotics, thus providing an opening to drug traffickers. Commercial truck traffic from Iran continues to be heavy, and Caspian Sea ferry traffic from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and Russia continues to be an opportune smuggling route. In January 2008, President Berdimuhamedov established the State Counter Narcotics Service ("SCNS") and appointed Colonel Murat Yslamov as its first chief. Previously, Yslamov served as the Chairman of the Department for the Analysis of Law Enforcement Activities and Military Agencies (Presidential Apparatus). The new agency, in coordination with all other law enforcement agencies, will serve as the main governmental organization for combating drug related crimes and implementing national anti-drug addiction programs. There are plans to make it a 1000-person agency at full capacity. President Berdimuhamedov has called narcotics a "real threat to all of humanity."
III. Country Action Against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The government announced a National Program for Combating Illegal Drug Trafficking and Assistance to Drug and Psychotropic Substance Addicts for 2006 to 2010. Key elements of its agenda include increased regional cooperation to prevent drug and precursor trafficking, prevention of drug-related crimes committed by minors, enhanced technology-based border security, enhanced training for law enforcement agencies to combat organized crime, increased counterterrorism efforts, and training in drug trafficking and money laundering. To further its implementation, the National Program will continue the government's cooperation with U.S. government programs and with international organization and diplomatic missions.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The government continues to give priority to counter-narcotics law enforcement, and President Berdimuhamedov has paid special attention to improving technical capacity of the law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies with counter narcotics enforcement authority have received equipment and training from the United States and international organizations. The first international conference on combating drug-trafficking at seaports was held in Ashgabat on the initiative of the Paris Pact on June 25-26, 2008. Representatives of all five Caspian littoral states and international organizations such as the World Customs Organization (WCO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), OSCE, Central-Asian Regional Information Coordination Centre (CARICC), the UN Environmental Program, as well as Turkmen law enforcement agencies, ministries and also the heads of diplomatic missions and international organization and journalists accredited in Ashgabat attended the conference. DEA representatives also attended the conference. Participants witnessed a drug burn event at Kasamguly Julge, where approximately 1330 kilograms of illegal narcotics were liquidated. Turkmenistan's drug seizure data for the first six months of the year 2008 is as follows: Heroin: 161 kg 85 grams Opium: 496 kg Marihuana: 24 kg Hashish: 67 kg Poppy straw: 217 kg Diazepam (valium) 130,380 tablets
Corruption. The government does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances. Nevertheless, law enforcement officials' low salaries and broad general powers foster an environment in which corruption occurs. A general distrust of the police by the public, fueled by evidence of police officers soliciting bribes, indicates a problematic level of corruption in law enforcement. Payments to lower-level officials at border crossing points to facilitate passage of smuggled goods occur frequently. Reports persist that senior government officials are directly linked to the drug trade. Early in 2008, the chief of the personnel department of the Ministry of Defense, LTC Rozymyrat Akmuradov, was tried for the crime of bribery and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Another official at the Ministry of National Security was arrested the same day and charged with a similar offense.
Agreements and Treaties. Turkmenistan is a party to the 1998 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Turkmenistan is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its three protocols. Turkmenistan and the United States signed a letter of agreement for the provision of U.S. government counter-narcotics assistance in September 2001. During the past year, the DEA has had discussions with the SCNS regarding joint counter-narcotics training programs, and the SCNS has asked for specific assistance in training laboratory chemists. In June 2007, the governments of Turkmenistan and Iran agreed to form a special joint committee to combat narcotics trafficking. The following month, the presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan signed a joint communiqué noting the need to further develop their counter-narcotics and counterterrorism cooperation. The same month, Turkmenistan entered into an agreement between Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on the establishment of a UN-led Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center.
Cultivation/Production. Turkmenistan is not a significant producer of illegal drugs, although small-scale opium and marijuana cultivation is believed to occur in remote mountain and desert areas. Each spring, the government conducts limited aerial inspection of outlying areas in search of illegal poppy cultivation. Law enforcement officials eradicate any opium crops that are discovered. According to the State Counter-Narcotics Coordination Committee, law enforcement officials conduct Operation "Mak" ("poppy") twice a year to locate and destroy poppy fields.
Drug Flow/Transit. Turkmenistan is a primary transit corridor for smuggling organizations seeking to transport opium and heroin to markets in Turkey, Russia and the whole of Europe, and for the shipment of precursor chemicals to Afghanistan. Turkmenistan's two major border control agencies, the State Customs Service and the State Border Service, have received increased attention and funding for their drug enforcement duties. Systemic deficits in necessary equipment, training, resources and facilities will take time to improve. Border crossing points with rudimentary inspection facilities for screening vehicle traffic and without reliable communication systems have been identified by the government and are being improved. Nevertheless, Turkmenistan is likely to continue to serve as a major transit route for illegal drugs and precursors.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Currently, the Ministry of Health operates seven drug treatment clinics, one in Ashgabat, one in Serdar City, and one in each of the five provincial administrative centers. Addicts can receive treatment at these clinics without revealing their identity and all clinic visits are kept confidential. Drug addiction is a prosecutable crime and persons convicted are subject to jail sentences, although judicial officials usually sentence addicts to treatment. It is still difficult to obtain any statistical information about the number of drug addicts in Turkmenistan. Although not yet implemented, the government is currently considering internationally funded prevention programs. In August 2008, a Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDRP) was launched by the Turkmenistan Red Crescent. The program is funded by the Department of State (INL) and planned to last for three years, aiming to increase the awareness of young people and adults of the harmful health effects of narcotics. DDRP headquarters in Ashgabat has opened branches in Turkmenbashy and one in each of the five provincial administrative centers.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. In addition to the completed construction of new border crossing stations at Imamnazar (Afghan border) and Altin Asir (Iranian border), at a total cost of $4.2 million, the U.S. is funding and overseeing the construction of a similar facility at Ferap (Uzbek border). The total U.S. contribution to that project is expected to total $5.5 million. The U.S. is also funding a number of upcoming counter-narcotics training activities, including a familiarization visit to the U.S. in two parts in November 2008 for three SCNS officials. In July 2008, five Turkmen government officials, including a senior official from the Presidential Apparat and a SCNS representative, undertook a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) study tour, funded by INL that focused on U.S. maritime counter narcotics programs. In September, USCG training officers conducted a two-week workshop on maritime security, also funded by State-INL, with participants from several state law enforcement agencies, including the SCNS. DEA training classes included surveillance techniques, interviews and interrogation, raid planning, tactical training, DEA mission and history, and case development. DEA's Country Office, based in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, has had increased interaction with the SCNS in the latter part of 2008, and presently has a long-term TDYer in Ashgabat for the purpose of furthering cooperation with the SCNS.
The Road Ahead. Staying engaged with all Turkmenistan's counter-narcotics enforcement agencies is necessary to encourage a successful partnership against narcotics trafficking. Bilateral cooperation is expected to continue, and the U.S. government will expand counter-narcotics law enforcement agency training at the working level. As both Turkmenistan and U.S. officials identify areas for improved counter-narcotics efforts, the United States will provide an appropriate, integrated and coordinated response. The U.S. government will also encourage the government of Turkmenistan to institute long-term demand reduction efforts and supply reduction through interdiction training, law enforcement institution building, the promotion of regional cooperation, and an exchange of drug-related intelligence.
United Arab Emirates
Although not a narcotics-producing country, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is believed to be a transshipment point for traffickers moving illegal drugs from major drug production and transit countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Frequent reports of seizures of illegal drugs in the UAE over the past few years underscore this conclusion. Most seizures have been of hashish. There are several factors that contribute to making the UAE a transit point, including its proximity to major drug cultivation regions in Afghanistan, and a long (700 kilometer) coastline. High volumes of shipping render UAE ports vulnerable to exploitation by narcotics traffickers. There are numerous reports that drugs leave Iran and Pakistan by vessel and move to the UAE, among other destinations, in the Gulf.
In 2008, the UAE continued to advance its national drug strategy focusing on intensifying security at the country's air and sea ports and patrols along the coastline, reducing demand for illegal drugs through educational campaigns, enforcing harsh penalties for trafficking, and rehabilitating drug addicts. In October 2006, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration established a country office in the UAE to enhance cooperation with UAE law enforcement authorities. In 2007, the UAE was re-elected as the Asian regional representative to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). The UAE's term will end in 2011. The UAE is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
A major regional financial center and hub for commercial shipping and trade, the UAE is a transshipment point for illegal narcotics from Afghanistan, to Europe, to Africa, and less significantly, to the United States, as well as a key location for narcotics money laundering by international drug traffickers–including possibly from South America. Western Europe is the principal market for transiting drugs, and Africa is becoming an increasingly prominent market. Factors that contribute to the role of the UAE as a transshipment point are the emergence of Dubai and Sharjah as regional centers in the transportation of passengers and cargo, a porous land border with Oman, an easily accessible commercial banking system, and the fact that a number of ports in the UAE have free trade zones where transshipped cargo is not usually subjected to the same inspection as goods that enter the country.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The UAE continued to advance its national drug strategy focusing on intensifying security at the country's air and sea ports and patrols along the coastline, reducing demand for illegal drugs through educational campaigns, enforcing harsh penalties for trafficking, and rehabilitating drug addicts. On March 29, 2007, Dubai Police and the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) signed a $1.2 million project agreement, fully funded by the Dubai Police, to combat drug abuse and drug trafficking in the UAE and in the region. The project will last for two and a half years (starting from April 2007). The project agreement has four elements. Dubai Police will play a leading role in reversing increased drug trafficking and drug abuse among young people in the UAE and other states of the region. UNODC will help upgrade the Dubai Police Training Centre into a center of excellence for the region-wide transfer of knowledge and the training of law enforcement staff to ensure they have the skills needed to cope with an increased influx of narcotic drugs. UNODC will assist Dubai and the UAE as a whole to develop a coordinated national action plan on drug demand reduction. UNODC will help develop and implement national drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention modules for schools and universities to address young people in a way that suits the culture of the Gulf region. In September of 2005, the UN established a sub-office on Drugs and Crime in DubaI. The UAE government funded the estimated $3 million cost of the office and contributed an additional $50,000 to the UN counternarcotics program. In October 2008, the UN and UAE Ministry of Interior signed an agreement to open another semi-regional office in Abu DhabI. In October of 2008, the UAE Ministry of Interior and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) signed a cooperation agreement under which a regional UNODC office would be established in Abu DhabI. The agreement paves the way for greater technological cooperation to prevent and control crimes.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The UAE essentially exercises a zero-tolerance policy with regard to illegal consumption and possession of drugs. The standard minimum jail sentence for possession is four years imprisonment. Drug cases have increased sharply since 2007, in part due to the increasing population of Dubai but also because of increased enforcement. UAE has also increased the use of sophisticated detection equipment at airports an other public facilities. According to UAE Ministry of Interior statistics, nationwide there were 678 narcotic drug cases, involving 980 individuals, in the first five months of 2008. During this period, narcotics enforcement officials seized 990 kg of hashish, 120 kg of heroin, and 21 kg of opium, mostly in the Emirates of Dubai and Sharjah. Arrestees included Iranians, Pakistanis, Africans, Arabs and some UAE nationals. In 2008, the UAE Ministry of Interior conducted several successful Precursor Chemical investigations and disrupted a number of suspicious shipments. In Dubai, according to statistics from Department of Drug Enforcement at Dubai Police, the number of narcotics cases in the first five months of 2008 reached 465, compared to 338 cases in the same period in 2007. Dubai Police arrested 575 people for drug-related offenses from January to July 2008, compared to 433 people in 2007. As of June 2008, 181 kg of drugs were seized; a 76 percent increase over the same period in 2007. According to the Deputy Commander of Dubai Police, there were 14 major narcotic related cases in Dubai in 2008, which involved the seizure of 70 kg narcotics worth $9.5 million and the arrest of 27 suspects. He stated that most of narcotic consignments were to be smuggled outside the UAE. In Abu Dhabi the number of narcotic cases in the first half of 2008 reached 79 cases involving 118 suspects. In August 2008, Sharjah Police, in cooperation with Dubai Police disrupted a major drug-smuggling ring, seizing 202 kg of heroin worth $11 million (AED 40.2 million). The traffickers were led by a gang of 19 Afghans. In May 2008, Dubai Police arrested three Asians and four Africans who attempted to traffic 24 kg of heroin, valued at $6 million.
A 1995 law stipulates capital punishment as the penalty for drug trafficking. Sentences usually are commuted to long-term imprisonment. In 2008, courts in UAE issued several verdicts against suspects in narcotic cases. In January 2008, the Fujairah Appeals Court sentenced nine Arab nationals to 4-9 years in jail and subsequent deportation for trafficking hashish in Fujairah. In February, the Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced an American visitor to four years in jail after he pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling and possessing marijuana for personal use. From January to April, the Ras Al Khaimah Criminal Court sentenced five Arabs to 1-4 four years in jail for possession. In June, a court in Sharjah sentenced two Asians to 10 years in jail for smuggling 200 kg of hashish, and the Fujairah Appeal Court handed out a life term to an Iranian in a separate case.
UAE authorities are committed to drug smuggling and distribution interdiction and cooperate with other countries to stop trafficking. In June 2007, the UAE Ambassador to Pakistan announced that the UAE had a drug liaison office in Islamabad and was in process of establishing a second in KarachI. Enhanced cooperation on and investigation of transnational trafficking cases and related money laundering and bulk cash smuggling would complement existing UAE efforts, he said.
Corruption. The Government of the UAE as a matter of policy does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances or the laundering of proceeds from drug transactions. Senior officials are not known to engage in or facilitate illicit production of these drugs or the laundering of proceeds from drug transactions. There is no evidence that corruption -including narcotics related corruption–of public officials is a systemic problem.
Agreements and Treaties. The UAE is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1988 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The UAE is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, but has not signed any of its protocols.
Cultivation/Production. There is no evidence of any major drug cultivation and/or production in the UAE. Published records show that there were two cases of "planting" drugs in the Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah in 2004, with a total of three people arrested.
Drug Flow/Transit. High volumes of shipping and investment development opportunities render the UAE vulnerable to exploitation by narcotics traffickers and narcotics money laundering. The UAE, Dubai in particular, is a major regional transportation, financial, and shipping hub. Narcotics smuggling from South and Southwest Asia continues to Europe and Africa and, to a significantly lesser degree, the United States via the UAE. Hashish, heroin, and opium shipments originate in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran and are smuggled in cargo containers, via small vessels and powerboats, and/or sent overland via Oman. According to published figures, Iranians, Pakistanis, Afghans, Africans and third-country Arabs made up the largest number of non-UAE nationals arrested in drug cases in 2008. Recognizing the need for increased monitoring at its commercial ports, airports, and borders, the UAE is making an effort to tighten inspections of cargo containers as well as passengers transiting the UAE. In December 2004, the Emirate of Dubai signed the Container Security Initiative (CSI) with the United States. CSI inspectors arrived in Dubai in 2005, and are inspecting containers destined for the United States. Customs officials randomly search containers and follow-up leads on suspicious cargo.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In 2003, the UAE's Federal Supreme Court ruled that authorities needed evidence that drug use occurred in the UAE before they could prosecute users. A positive blood test is considered evidence of consumption, but not evidence of where the consumption took place. A 2003 report noted that the majority of UAE drug users take their first doses abroad, primarily because of peer pressure. Statistics reveal that 75 percent of drug users in the UAE prefer hashish, 13 percent use heroin, while six percent use morphine. The report illustrates a clear relationship between drug abuse and level of education—75 percent of arrested drug users in 2002 were high school graduates, but only two percent were university graduates. While the data is a few years old, trends reported are still reflective of current societal patterns.
The focus of the UAE's domestic program is to reduce demand through public awareness campaigns directed at young people. The UAE has also established rehabilitation centers and several awareness programs, including issuing postage stamps to highlight the hazards of drugs. Every year, the Ministry of Interior holds a high-profile "Drug Awareness Week" with exhibits prominently set up in all of the local shopping malls to coincide with International Anti-Narcotics Day on June 26. In 2008, the UAE Ministry of Interior announced a toll free number for people to report narcotics suspects. The Ministry of Interior launched also several awareness campaigns in 2008, which included the following themes “Yes to Life”, “Drugs Mean Your End–Never Start". The campaigns were promoted in shopping malls, media, booklets, and lectures. UAE efforts also included religious-themed anti-narcotics campaigns promoted by Muslim preachers.
In March 2008, Abu Dhabi Police launched an awareness campaign for students against narcotic drug addiction. The campaign aimed at educating higher secondary students about the hazards of drug addiction. In April 2008, the Abu Dhabi based National Rehabilitation Center (NRC) announced that some 600 drug addicts have been rehabilitated over the past six years. In 2008, in connection with International Anti-Narcotics Day, the Dubai General Headquarter of Police organized its 4th Annual Forum to discuss the risk of narcotic drugs and HIV/AIDS from health, social and religious perspectives. The UAE has trained volunteers to educate people about the risks of drug use. In 2008, Dubai Police trained 24 Iraqi police officers. In June Dubai Police organized a training workshop on drug awareness skills with the Ministry of Health.
UAE officials believe that adherence to Muslim religious morals and severe prison sentences imposed on individuals convicted of drug offenses effectively deter narcotics abuse. An affluent country, the UAE has established an extensive treatment and rehabilitation program for its citizens. There is a rehab center in Abu Dhabi, two in Dubai, and one each in Ajman and Sharjah for those identified as addicts. In accordance with federal law, UAE nationals who are addicted can present themselves to the police or a rehabilitation center and be exempted from criminal prosecution. Those nationals who do not turn themselves in to local authorities are referred to the legal system for prosecution, when identified. Third-country nationals or "guest workers" (who make up approximately 80 percent of the population) generally receive prison sentences upon conviction of narcotics offenses and are deported upon completing their sentences. Most UAE nationals arrested on drug charges are placed in one of the UAE's drug treatment programs. They undergo a two-year drug rehabilitation program, which includes family counseling/therapy.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The DEA Administrator visited the UAE in July 2005 to enhance counternarcotics cooperation with the UAE. During the visit, the UAE accepted establishing a DEA presence in the UAE to work closely with UAE authorities. The first DEA office was formally established in October 2006 in DubaI. DEA officials try to work with UAE authorities to combat both drug smuggling and drug related money laundering. Successes have been limited as the UAEG has taken a formal position not to provide evidence or assistance in the apprehension and return of U.S. fugitives.
The Road Ahead. The United States and the UAE will continue to try to work together to discourage narcotics trafficking and related financial crimes and to protect citizens from the scourge of drug abuse. The DEA Country Office looks forward to looks forward to developing an ordinary law enforcement cooperation relationship with the UAE.
Combating illegal narcotics is a rising national priority for Ukraine as both use of and the transit through Ukraine of illegal narcotics continues to increase. Coordination between law enforcement agencies responsible for counter-narcotics occurs but continues to be stilted due to regulatory and jurisdictional constraints. Ukraine's anti-drug legislation is well developed and the GOU is committed to keeping it current with the evolving threats. Ukraine is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, and it follows the provisions of the Convention in its counter-narcotics legislation.
II. Status of Country
Ukraine is not a major drug producing country; however, it is located astride several important drug trafficking routes into Western Europe, and thus is an important transit country. Ukraine's numerous ports on the Black and Azov seas, its extensive river transportation routes, its porous northern and eastern borders, and its inadequately financed and under-equipped Border and Customs Agencies make Ukraine an attractive route for drug traffickers into the bordering European Union's profitable illegal drug market. Narcotics, primarily heroin, originating in East, Central and Southwest Asia (Afghanistan) move through Russia, the Caucasus and Turkey, pass through Ukraine and on to Western Europe. Seizures of hard drugs increased significantly in 2008. Ukrainian border protection authorities seized 18% more heroin and 270% more cocaine in the first 10 months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007. Analysts seem to be unanimous in the opinion that Ukraine is increasingly being viewed by drug traffickers as both a transit and a destination point.
Meanwhile, domestic drug abuse continues to be focused on drugs made from locally grown narcotic plants (hemp and poppy) which account for approximately 85% of the total drug market in Ukraine, but the use of synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances, especially amphetamines, has been rapidly increasing in Ukraine over the past few years. Drugs consumed in Ukraine are either produced in Ukraine or supplied from Russia and Moldova (poppy straw, hemp, opium) as well as Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands (amphetamines, methamphetamines, MDMA also known as "Ecstasy"). Domestic use of narcotics continued to grow and the number of registered drug addicts increased from 173,328 in 2007 to 178,043 by September 2008 (official statistic of the Ministry of Interior). However, according to indicative estimates of Ukraine’s Security Service analysts, the total number of unregistered drug addicts may go as high as 300,000 users. Based on these assumptions, drug addicts in Ukraine could potentially consume one ton of heroin, 300 tons of opiate-related drugs, and up to 10 tons of amphetamines and other synthetic drugs annually. Relative to other European countries, this is still a low number; however, the rate of increase of drug abuse appears to be quite high.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. Ukraine has well-developed anti-drug legislation consistent with international standards. In 2008, the GOU continued to implement a comprehensive anti-drug policy entitled "The Program Implementing the State Policy in Combating Illegal Circulation of Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors for 2003-2010." The Program acknowledges the growing scale of drug abuse in Ukraine and the lack of adequate education and public awareness campaigns, community prevention efforts, and treatment and rehabilitation facilities.
The Program consists of two stages, the first of which occurred in 2003-2005, and the second of which is being implemented in 2006-2010 timeframe. Stage one included: improvement of legislation; monitoring and prevention of drug abuse and drug trafficking; interagency cooperation; creation of a modern interagency data bank; an increase in law enforcement capacity; scientific research; and setting up an interagency lab to research new drugs and discover new trends in drug trafficking. Stage two foresees integration into the European information space and exchange of information on drug trafficking; strengthening of drug abuse prevention centers; introduction of new treatment practices; an increase in public awareness and education, especially in schools; further strengthening of law enforcement capacity; and full achievement of international standards. To implement the plan for the second stage, these priorities were further split into 63 specific tasks and assigned to responsible agencies. The Program also provides estimates of future funding needed to support its implementation. The total estimate is over 300 million Ukrainian hryvnia ($39 million). However, the GOU has not been able to ensure full allocation of these resources in previous years. For example, due to the lack of funds, the GOU has not provided funding for the Interagency Research Laboratory for Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors proposed by the Ministry of Interior. As a result, Ukraine has no common database on illegal narcotics and the level of information sharing between Ukrainian government agencies is low.
The GOU has taken additional steps to update its anti-drug laws. The revised version of the “Law on Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursors” entered into force on January 1, 2008. The Cabinet of Ministers approved a set of new regulations to improve the handling of controlled drugs and precursors as well as storage and disposal of seized narcotics. The Narcotics Control Committee established in 2003 in the Ministry of Health continues to monitor the production and use of controlled substances by licensed companies and organizations. The rate of criminal offences in this sector, however, is insignificant.
The GOU has amended its legislation to make illegal the non-prescribed use of strong and poisonous medications, like Tramadol. Over the last few years Ukraine experienced significant problems with uncontrolled production and use of Tramadol. The new legislation allowed a much more effective law enforcement response to this problem. Almost five times more tramadol pills (2,020,000 doses total) were seized in 2008 (through September) compared to 2007. Increased quantities of seized psychotropic substances and illegally distributed prescription drugs also suggest a growing popularity of such drugs among young addicts.
In the framework of GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova), a virtual law enforcement center has been established in each member-state, including Ukraine, to share law enforcement information electronically, including information related to drug trafficking cases.
Accomplishments. In 2008, Ukraine continued to implement the BUMAD (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova Anti-Drug) Program sponsored by the European Union and designed to decrease drug traffic in these three EU border countries. As part of the BUMAD Program, Ukraine is strengthening its potential to collect, process, and disseminate information on drug trafficking at both the national and the regional level. The BUMAD Program funded the establishment of a National Drug Observatory at the Ministry of Health in December 2006 to help collect, analyze and disseminate data on drugs at the national level, and share and improve comparability of this data at the regional level through the harmonization of key epidemiological and drug supply indicators. It will eventually establish a permanent monitoring system for drug and drug abuse (non-confidential information) and will adhere to EU standards in the collection and compilation of the data.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The responsibility for counter-narcotics enforcement in Ukraine is shared by the Ministry of Interior (MOI), with its primarily domestic law enforcement function, and the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which deals with trans-border aspects of drug trafficking. The State Border Guard Service (SBGS) and the State Customs Service (SCS) interdict drugs along the border and at ports of entry.
In 2008 (January through September), the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior seized approximately 9 tons of various drugs, including 4 tons (79,500 doses) of poppy straw, 3.7 tons (7,400,000 doses) of marijuana, 28.4 kilos (284,400 doses) of opium, 91.8 kilos (917,700 doses) of heroin, 1.7 kilos (17,000 doses) of cocaine, 36.3 kilos (183,500 doses) of psychotropic substances, over 2 million doses of Tramadol, 670,000 doses of strong prescription drugs, 247 tons of precursors, and destroyed 160 tons of illegally grown poppy and 320 tons of cannabis.
In the same period of 2008, the Security Service seized 214.2 kilos of heroin, 42.2 kilos of cocaine, 12.8 kilos of methadone, 18.8 kilos of amphetamine and other synthetic drugs.
The MOI Drug Enforcement Department restructured itself to place a greater focus on investigating organized crime groups, complex trafficking activity, criminal cross-border connections, confiscation of assets, prevention of laundering of criminal proceeds, etc. It established a new unit that focuses on developing drug trafficking cases involving international criminal links. It also set up a separate division to address unlawful misuse of legal drugs, strong and poisonous substances.
The MOI and SBU continued to build cooperative relationships with international counterpart agencies in Western Europe, Eurasia and America. Given an increasing tendency to use Turkish International Road Transit (TIR) certified trucks to transit drugs across Ukraine, the SBU worked particularly closely with Turkish law enforcement authorities. Thanks to SBU-generated intelligence, the Turkish National Police ran an operation in 2008, which resulted in multiple arrests and the seizure of 680 kilos of heroin.
The Security Service participates in the automatic pre-export control information system (PEN) introduced by the InternationalNarcotics Control Board (INCB) in 2006. This system has been used extensively under the Project Prism to prevent unlawful use of amphetamine precursors. In one instance, a coordinated effort of the SBU, U.S. DEA and Chinese drug control authorities resulted in the prevention of 500 kilos of ephedrine precursor being illegally imported from China into Ukraine. The SBU has also participated in Operation Topaz and Operation Purple. Projects Prism, Topaz, and Purple are all efforts by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to encourage and facilitate international cooperation to avoid diversion of dual use precursor chemicals to the manufacture of illicit drugs.
The Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are paying increasing attention to the role of organized crime groups, and utilizing informants, operational analysis, controlled buys and deliveries, and information from their overseas counterparts to disrupt illegal narcotic activities. The Ukrainian border and customs authorities are also setting up new structures to develop and analyze criminal information, including any leads that help to interdict drugs on the border more efficiently. In 2008, the State Border Guard Service adopted an agency “Program to Combat Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances, Analogues and Precursors for 2008-2009.”
Corruption. The GOU openly acknowledges that corruption remains a major problem in society, due to the existence of a bribe-tolerant mentality, and the lack of law enforcement capabilities to investigate and prosecute corruption. The government has committed to strengthen its capabilities to investigate and prosecute corruption by adopting international and European standards for creating a specialized law enforcement body to investigate sensitive corruption cases. Meanwhile the number of successful prosecutions of corruption cases is extremely low. In 2008, the prosecution authorities investigated 10 drug cases involving law enforcement authorities, including 5 police officers who covered or facilitated illegal activities. Suspects were indicted in 3 cases. Some experts and the media warn that such practices may be much more widespread then is indicated by these few cases. As a matter of government policy, however, the GOU 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. Ukraine is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The U.S.-Ukraine Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty came into force in February 2001. Ukraine has signed but has not yet ratified the UN Corruption Convention. . Ukraine is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. The U.S. and Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Law Enforcement Assistance in December 2002. This memorandum provided for State Department-funded assistance to Ukraine to help the GOU bring its law enforcement institutions, including those involved in the effort against narcotic drugs, up to European and international norms and standards, with the goal of facilitating Ukraine’s entry into Euro-Atlantic institutions such as the European Union. It has been amended regularly to add funding and establish justice sector and law enforcement projects as agreed by Ukraine and the U.S.
Cultivation/Production. Opium poppy is grown in western, southwestern, and northern Ukraine, while hemp cultivation is concentrated in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Poppy and hemp are grown legally by licensed farms, which are closely controlled. 13,700 hectares of poppy and 900 hectares of hemp were legally grown in 2008. Despite the prohibition on the unauthorized cultivation of drug plants (poppy straw and hemp), many cases of illegal cultivation in small quantities by private households are regularly discovered.
Drug Flow/Transit. Ukraine continues to experience an increase in drug trafficking. Heroin is trafficked from Central Asia (primarily Afghanistan) and comes into Ukraine mostly through Russia, the Caucasus and Turkey. Shipments are usually destined for Western Europe, and arrive by road, rail, or sea, which is perceived as less risky than air or mail shipment. Lately, experts have noted an increase in heroin traffic from Turkey into Ukraine by sea, or into Russia and then into Ukraine across its South-Eastern border, and further by land across Ukraine's western border into Western Europe. Experts believe that traditional Balkan drug traffic routes have become saturated and criminals are looking for new traffic channels. Drug traffic from Asia is increasingly controlled by well-organized international criminal groups of Afghan, Pakistani, and Tajik origin that use citizens of the former Soviet republics as drug couriers.
Poppy straw and hemp are produced and consumed locally with the surplus exported to Russia, Belarus and Moldova. Conversely, these drugs are also trafficked into Ukraine from Russia and Moldova. The trafficking of synthetic drugs and psychotropic substances from Poland and medical prescription drugs from Moldova is growing. Criminal groups of mixed origin (Ukrainians, Polish, Belarussians and Russians) that formed back in the 1990s and traditionally stayed away from drug trafficking are increasingly taking up this lucrative niche. The price of these drugs is lower than that of heroin and cocaine and therefore the drugs are attractive to young addicts. Despite major efforts against drug trafficking, the GOU estimates that narcotics intercepted in Ukraine while en route to other destinations account for less than 30 percent of the total volume transiting Ukraine.
In the first 10 months of 2008, Ukrainian law enforcement authorities detained 222 individual drug couriers, including 19 women. They were predominantly citizens of Ukraine (151) but also Russia (41), Moldova (10), Poland (5), Belarus (4), Iran (4) and other countries of the region.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In the last four years, the number of registered drug addicts in Ukraine has increased approximately by 40%, up from 124,805 in 2004 to 178,043 in 2008, i.e. 38 addicts per 10,000 citizens. Various experts however estimate that the total number of drug addicts in Ukraine may range from 300,000 to 500,000. Traditionally, southern and eastern regions of Ukraine rate the highest in terms of drug addiction (on average 70 addicts per 10,000 individuals). Drug-related deaths over the last few years have averaged 1,000 per year, according to Ukrainian health authorities.
Marijuana and hashish is growing in popularity with young people, but opium straw extract remains the drug of choice for Ukrainian addicts. The popularity of this drug is due to its low cost (5–8 dollars per dose (1 ml)) and simple production methods. The use of synthetic drugs is also on the rise with young people, in particular ephedrine, Ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, amphetamines and methamphetamines. The spread of synthetic drugs is exacerbated by the rapid growth in local production. Illegal drug labs shut down in 2008 were primarily producing phentanyl, trimethylphentanyl, PCP (phencyclidine), amphetamine and MDMA. Hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, are still too expensive for most Ukrainian drug users. In recent years, Ukraine has seen the growing illegal use of the legal but restricted prescription medical drug Tramadol. Legal medical needs of Ukraine for this drug are estimated to be 4 million pills per year, while the Ukrainian pharmaceutical industry produced by various estimates 25 times that quantity. The GOU has responded to this abuse by listing Tramadol as a controlled narcotic drug in 2008 and tightening control over its production and distribution which now has been licensed. Tramadol has become a prescription drug and sales of Tramadol pills are subject to stricter supervision by the government. The law enforcement authorities seized five times more illegally possessed or stored Tramadol pills in 2008 than in 2007.
The GOU's ability to effectively combat narcotics trafficking and the illegal use of drugs continues to be hampered by inadequate law enforcement budgets. Ukrainian officials, however, are working to reduce the demand for illegal drugs by introducing preventive measures at all levels of the education system, since most Ukrainian drug abusers are under the age of 30. Drug information centers have been opened in the cities and regions with the highest levels of drug abuse. NGOs operating with funding assistance from international organizations are running a number of rehabilitation programs throughout the country. Ukrainian medical and law enforcement authorities conduct conferences and seminars to raise awareness of and reduce drug abuse in Ukraine. Local authorities together with NGOs implement regional anti-drug programs called “Life Free from Narcotics.” However, a number of local authorities failed to implement government programs or efficiently use the funding allocated for this purpose.
Ukraine's drug problem today is increasingly affected by a rapidly growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in which intravenous drug use is the primary mode of transmission of HIV, through behaviors such as syringe sharing. The World Health Organization, UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNAIDS have recommended that substitution maintenance treatment programs with methadone and buprenorphine be integrated into national HIV/AIDS programs in order to support access to and adherence to antiretroviral treatment and medical follow up. Since 2004, the GOU has implemented pilot substitution maintenance treatment programs using buprenorphine. The GOU has also committed through its Global Fund Round 6 Grant to incorporate the significantly less expensive and at least as effective opiate substitute methadone into substitution maintenance treatment programs. Fully incorporating methadone into its national HIV/AIDS program is critical to curbing Ukraine's burgeoning HIV/AIDS epidemic. Starting in June 2008, the Ministry of Health began a methadone substitution program available to approximately 2,000 individuals, every second of which is HIV positive. It is expected that the methadone therapy will cover up to 20,000 addicts in 111 clinics countrywide by 2013.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. objectives are to bring Ukrainian law enforcement and justice sector institutions in line with European and internationally accepted norms and standards, facilitating Ukraine’s integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. This will in turn assist Ukrainian authorities to build law enforcement capacity and develop effective counter-narcotics programs in interdiction (particularly of hard drugs transiting the country), investigation, and demand reduction, as well as to assist Ukraine in countering money laundering. Officers from the DEA have conducted a number of training courses funded by the Department of State in the areas of drug interdiction at seaports and advanced drug investigation techniques. The DEA has established a good working relationship with both the MOI and SBU, and the training programs have helped deepen these relationships. The Department of State, through a variety of projects, is also assisting the MOI build capacity while simultaneously strengthening the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service (SBGS) capability to control Ukraine's borders. These projects include helping the SBGS develop Risk and Criminal Analysis capabilities that are compliant with European Union norms in order to more accurately target and suppress threats, including narcotics trafficking, along its approximately 7,000 km long border. In addition, the USG has provided a wide range of equipment to the SBGS and State Customs Service, including video and electronic border monitoring systems, which should enhance these services’ ability to detect narcotics smuggling. Finally the State Department is supporting the Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova (GUAM) international organization, particularly through a virtual law enforcement center which will facilitate counter-narcotics information sharing between member states law enforcement bodies.
The Road Ahead. Trafficking of narcotics from Asia and cocaine from Latin America to European destinations through Ukraine is on the upswing as drug traffickers look for new ways to circumvent Western European customs and border controls. Synthetic drugs trafficked from countries of Eastern Europe or produced locally are also a growing concern. Demand reduction and treatment of drug abusers remains a challenge requiring close attention. However, the largest challenge remains the limited budget resources to fund law enforcement efforts to investigate and interdict sophisticated, international trafficking rings that see Ukraine as a transit point to lucrative Western European markets, especially for heroin.
The United Kingdom (UK) is a consumer country of illicit drugs. Like other developed nations, the UK faces a serious domestic drug problem. The UK recently completed a 10-year drug strategy launched in 1998 to address both the supply and demand aspects of illegal drug use. An assessment of the program has determined that it has been successful in meeting its goals. The new program launched this year, called the “'Drugs: Protecting Families and Communities' 2008-2018” comprises four strands: 1) protecting communities by tackling drug supply, drug-related crime and anti-social behavior; 2) preventing harm to children, young people and families affected by drug misuse; 3) delivering new approaches to drug treatment and social re-integration; 4) public information campaigns, communications and community engagement. The UK strictly enforces national precursor chemical legislation in compliance with EU regulations. Crime syndicates from around the world try to exploit the underground narcotics market and use the UK as a major transshipping route. The UK is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Home Office figures for England and Wales compiled as part of the 2007/08 British Crime Survey (BCS), indicated that there has been a decline in drug use between 2006/07 and 2007/2008. Cannabis remains the most-used illicit drug in the UK, predominantly in the 16-24 age group; cocaine is the next most commonly used drug, closely followed by Ecstasy and amphetamines. Virtually all parts of the UK, including many rural areas, confront the problem of drug addiction at least to some degree. The BCS estimated that nearly 2.4 million adults in England and Wales had used cannabis in the previous year. Government data suggested that 25-35 tons of heroin and 35-45 tons of cocaine enter the UK each year. Overall use of any illicit drug by 16-59 year olds is at its lowest level since the BCS started measurement (9.3 percent down from 10.0 percent in 2006/07), mainly due to declines in the use of cannabis (the most prevalent drug among 16-59 year olds) since 2003/04. Between 2006/07 and 2007/2008 overall use of any illicit drug among 16-59 year olds also declined.
The 2007/2008 BCS showed that the use of Class A drugs among the 16-59 age range has returned to 1995 levels (3 percent) after several years of being slightly above those levels (illegal drugs in the UK are characterized by their level of harm, and are sanctioned accordingly). Class A drugs include cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD, magic mushrooms, heroin and methadone and methamphetamine. Amphetamines can be either Class A or B, depending on whether they are injected or swallowed. Class C drugs include tranquillizers, anabolic steroids, cannabis and Ketamine.) The increase in overall Class A drug use is largely due to a significant rise in cocaine powder use between 1997 and 1999. Since 1999, there has been a further increase in cocaine powder use while LSD use has decreased, and overall Class A drug use has decreased as well. In 2007/08 seven percent of 16-24 year olds reported use of any Class A drug in the past year, which is a slight decline from last year’s eight percent. Thus, Class A drug use among 16-24 year olds is lower than it has ever been since HMG began statistical recordkeeping.
Frequent use of any illicit drug in the past year by 16-24 year olds decreased from 11.6 percent in 2002/03 to 8.3 percent in 2006/07. Police recorded that drug offenses increased by eighteen percent in 2007/08 compared with 2006/07. Increases in recent years have been largely attributable to increases in the recording of possession of cannabis offenses. From 2006/07 to 2007/08, possession of cannabis increased by twenty-one percent, which followed an increase of nine percent over the previous year (36 percent increase in 2005/06). The increases coincided with rises in the number of formal warnings for possession of cannabis issued by the police. In 2007/08 the rise in formal warnings for cannabis possession was 28 percent, 10 percent more than offenses of cannabis possession, and indicates the greater use of this method of handling cannabis protection by the police. The increase in possession of other drugs was 15 percent in 2007/08, over the previous year. Historically, drugs have been linked to about 80 percent of all organized crime in London, and to about 60 percent of crime overall.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives/Accomplishments. UK counternarcotics policies have a strong social component, reflecting the widely held view that drug problems do not occur in isolation but are often linked to other social problems. In 2008, the British government completed its 10-year strategy program, launched in 1998, which emphasizes that all sectors of society should work together to combat drugs. Trends in responding to drug abuse with government programs reflect wider UK government reforms in the welfare state, education, employment, health, immigration, criminal justice, and economic sectors. The UK’s counternarcotics strategy focuses on Class A drugs and has four emphases: to help young drug abusers resist drug misuse; to protect communities from drug-related, antisocial and criminal behavior; to enable people with drug problems to recover and live healthy, crime-free lives; and to limit access to narcotics on the streets. Key performance targets were set in each of these four areas and updated in the 2008 drug strategy.
The most controversial aspect of the updated strategy was the decision to downgrade cannabis to a Class C drug. Class C categorization reduced the maximum sentence for possession of cannabis from five to two years in prison. There is now a presumption against arrest for adults for possession, though not for young people. Maximum penalties for supplying and dealing remain at 14 years. Notwithstanding this amendment, the UK government has emphasized that it continues to regard cannabis as a harmful substance and has no intention of either decriminalizing or legalizing its production, supply or possession. Prime Minister Gordon Brown requested a review of the reclassification in 2007, although the review recommended no change to the policy, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that HMG will increase the classification of cannabis from “C” to “B” in the interests of public health. This decision was largely due to two factors; first, the rise in the use of “skunk” cannabis, which is seen as more dangerous than older, weaker types of the drug, rather than pure cannabis which was the substance studied by the scientific board conducting the review. Secondly, there was some evidence linking cannabis use to psychosis. While this link was not accepted by the majority of scientists, HMG believed it was sufficient to warrant the increase in classification as a tool to limit usage, primarily as it involves increased penalties. The upgrade is expected to become law by late 2008 or early 2009. Police chiefs have urged that if cannabis is upgraded to Class B fixed penalties be established to streamline enforcement. Despite an aggressive government education campaign aimed at cannabis users, some police authorities reported that offenders were unaware that the drug remained illegal and they could be detained or prosecuted for possession or dealing. As of 2007, BCS statistics showed that the proportion of 16-24 year olds using cannabis decreased from 26 percent in 1995 to 17.9 percent.
In 2006, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) examined new evidence regarding the reclassification of methamphetamine from a Class B to a Class A drug. In light of the new evidence presented, the ACMD wrote an open letter to the Home Secretary recommending the higher classification. The Home Secretary accepted this recommendation, and reclassification went into effect at the beginning of 2007. Reclassification put methamphetamine into the same category as cocaine and opiates. The change has lengthened penalties to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine for possession, and up to life in prison for dealing. In 2007, the ACMD was asked to examine new evidence on cannabis as well. As noted above although they found that the existing classification as a Class “C” drug should be maintained, HMG has decided to upgrade cannabis to a Class “B” drug.
Direct annual government expenditures under the updated overall drug strategy increased five percent between 2005/06 and 2006/07 (from $2.78 billion (GBP 1.483 billion) to $2.94 billion (GBP 1.567 billion)). The most recent program specific data show drug treatment expenditures were $1.6 billion (800 million GBP). Similarly, expenditures on programs for young people will rise 5 percent and funding for reducing supply will hold steady at $673 million (GBP 380 million). The largest increase in expenditures will come in more spending on community programs (24 percent).
The Drugs Act of 2005 strengthened police powers in drug enforcement. The law allows for drug tests on arrest, rather than on charge, and requires persons with a positive test to undergo further assessment. HMG also amended the Anti-Social Behavior Act of 2003 to allow authorities to enter a suspected crack house to issue a closure notice. Under provisions of the Act, “magic mushrooms” were upgraded to Class A in 2005. Prior to this change in the law, only prepared (such as dried or stewed) magic mushrooms were rated as Class A drugs. Laws that took effect in 2000 required courts to weigh a positive Class A test result when deciding bail, which may be denied or restricted if an offender refuses a test or refuses treatment after a positive test. The testing requirement is also applied to offenders serving community sentences and those on parole. A Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR) is one of the 12 requirements that can be included in a community sentence Community Sentences with DRRs can be used by the courts instead of a criminal charge requiring custody. They offer the courts an effective tool for tackling the most serious and persistent drug offenders.
The UK is a member of the Dublin Group, a group of countries that coordinate the provision of counternarcotics assistance, and is a UNODC donor.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The UK gives high priority to counternarcotics enforcement and the United States enjoys good law enforcement cooperation with the UK. The UK honors U.S. asset seizure requests, and was one of the first countries to enforce U.S. civil forfeiture judgments. The Proceeds of Crime Act, which took effect in 2003, has significantly improved the government’s ability to track down and recover criminal assets. Home Office data indicate that the total amount recouped by all agencies involved in asset recovery in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was $250 million (125 million GBP) in 2006/2007. This represents a five-fold increase over five years. The Assets Recovery Agency annual report shows that it met or exceeded all of its key disruption and enforcement targets. The average purity of cocaine seized at ports remained constant at about 70 percent since 2001, while the purity of cocaine seized by the police fell from 55.1 percent in 2001 to 34.7 percent in 2007. This statistic indicates that the cocaine is being cut after importation. Heroin was the most commonly seized Class A drug followed by cocaine. Seizures in the UK are normally made with both cocaine and heroin in mixed caches. The total number of seizures in the UK was up 15 percent to 186,028—more than in any year since 1973.
There were 230,500 drug offenses recorded in England and Wales in 2007/2008 (the latest full year data available), an 18 percent increase from the 189,010 offenses recorded in 2006/07. Class A offenses rose by two percent to 36,350. Trafficking arrests increased from 27,230 in 2006/07 to 28,939, for an increase of six percent. About 87 percent of persons dealt with in the courts for drug offenses were for possession.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, the UK does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.
Agreements and Treaties. The UK 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. In 2006, the UK ratified the UN Corruption Convention and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. The U.S. and the UK have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), and a narcotics agreement, which the UK has extended to some of its dependencies. In 2006, the U.S. Senate ratified a new extradition treaty with the UK, and the exchange of instruments of ratification occurred in May 2007. All 27 EU member states, including the UK, 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. The U.S. and the UK also have a judicial narcotics agreement and an MLAT relating to the Cayman Islands, which extends to Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The U.S.-UK Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) dates from 1989. In April 2008, the USCG and the Royal Navy signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on issues of maritime domain awareness. In 2005, the UK signed an updated U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) Memorandum of Understanding with the USG. This includes the airborne use of force (AUF) capability on Royal Navy and auxiliary vessels attempting to stop noncompliant drug smuggling go-fast vessels, as well as expanding the authorization to carry out LEDETs in waters beyond the Caribbean and Bermuda areas of operations subject to the consent of both parties. In FY 2008, USCG LEDETs (Law Enforcement Detachments) deployed on British ships removed over 22,280 pounds of cocaine. The deployment of Royal Navy assets to the drug transit zone remains vital to ensuring continued success. In addition, the two countries have concluded protocols to the extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements. The protocols are pending entry into force.
Cultivation/Production. Cannabis is cultivated in limited quantities for personal use and occasionally sold commercially. Between mid-2004 and January 2007, over 2000 cannabis factories were discovered in the UK, predominantly run by Vietnamese criminals. Over 70 more were discovered in Scotland. Cannabis cultivated overseas was imported into the UK from Europe both in bulk by serious organized criminals, sometimes in mixed loads alongside Class A drugs. Crack cocaine was rarely imported, but was produced in the UK from cocaine powder. Almost all of the Ecstasy consumed in the UK was manufactured in the Netherlands or Belgium; but tablet making sites have been found in the north of England. Most illicit amphetamines and MDMA (Ecstasy) were imported from continental Europe, but some were manufactured in the UK in limited amounts. Authorities destroyed crops and clandestine facilities as they were detected. U.S. authorities were concerned about a growing incidence of production of a “date rape” precursor drug, GBL. While the UK government made the “date rape” drug GHB illegal in 2003, GBL, a close chemical equivalent of GHB, remained uncontrolled. DEA asked the UK to control GBL, and the ACMD recommended that it be listed as a Class “C” drug in 2006, but the UK is deferring to the EU-wide discussions on control of this substance. Several small clandestine methamphetamine laboratories were seized in the UK with law enforcement starting to embrace awareness training and strategic planning.
Drug Flow/Transit. The UK remained one of the most lucrative markets in the world for traffickers in Class A drugs and was targeted by a wide range of criminals. In terms of the scale of serious organized criminal involvement, drug trafficking, especially in Class A drugs, posed the single greatest threat to the UK. London, Birmingham, and Liverpool were known to be significant centers for the distribution of all types of drugs. Steady supplies of heroin and cocaine entered the UK. Some 90 percent of heroin in the UK (amounting to 25-35 tons a year) came from Afghanistan. Most of the supply to Europe is processed in Turkey.
The primary trafficking route to the UK is overland from Afghanistan to Europe (the ‘Southern/Western Route), transiting Iran. It is estimated that 70 percent of the UK’s heroin supply transits Iran, either directly from Afghanistan or via Pakistani Baluchistan. From Iran the opiates are moved to Turkey. UK-based Turkish criminal groups handle a significant amount of the heroin eventually imported into the UK, although Turkish criminals in the Netherlands and Belgium also channel heroin to the UK. Pakistani traffickers also play a significant part; most of the heroin they import, normally in small amounts by air couriers traveling directly from Pakistan, is destined for British cities with large South Asian populations. Approximately 25 percent of Afghan heroin seized in the UK arrived directly from Pakistan.
Traffickers with ethnic connections to Turkey continued to dominate the supply of heroin to the UK. An increasing amount, however, was coming via East Africa and West Africa (Kenya to Nigeria to London). Caribbean criminals (primarily West Indians or British nationals of West Indian descent) were involved in the supply and distribution of heroin as well as cocaine. Most heroin continued to enter the UK through ports in the southeast, although some came through major UK airports with links to Turkey, Northern Cyprus, and Pakistan. Average purity increased since mid-2003, while average street prices have fallen consistently, from $140 (70 GBP) per gram in 2000 to $80-100 (40-50 GBP) in 2007. Cocaine imports are estimated at 35-45 tons a year and emanate chiefly from Colombia, although there was also cultivation in Bolivia and Peru. An estimated 65-70 percent of the cocaine in the UK market was believed to be produced in Colombia, and increasing amounts transit West Africa before entering the UK.
Supplies of both cocaine and crack cocaine reached the UK market in a variety of ways. The main method of moving cocaine from South America to Europe was in bulk maritime shipments on merchant vessels and yachts from Colombian and Venezuelan ports to the Iberian Peninsula. Importation of small quantities was becoming more frequent and may indicate a trend towards ‘little and often’ importations. Around 75 percent of cocaine was thought to be carried across the Channel from consignments shipped from Colombia to continental Europe and then brought to the UK concealed in trucks or private cars or by human couriers or “mules.” Traffickers based in South America, Mexico, Spain, and the UK organized this smuggling. There was increasing evidence that a significant amount of the cocaine smuggled into the UK came from West Africa trafficked by Nigerians, Ghanaians and British Nationals of West African descent. Britain is a charter member of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Center-Narcotics (MAOC-N) in Lisbon, which should bolster EU capacity to protect its southwestern flank.
The Caribbean, chiefly Jamaica, was a major transshipment point for cocaine to the UK from Colombia. Cocaine came by both airfreight and by couriers, usually women, who attempted to conceal internally (i.e., through swallowing in protective bags) up to 0.5 kg at a time. Over the past five years, the purity of cocaine and crack at the street level has fallen. Purity has fallen in England from 55 percent in 2001 to 34.7 percent in 2007. Cocaine purity in Scotland is half that of England and Wales (17 percent), suggesting that it originated in England and was being cut twice. In Northern Ireland cocaine was even less pure (12 percent). Cocaine related deaths occurred in Northern Ireland for the first time in 2007. The use of chemicals (such as phenacetin), bulking agents, and effect enhancing adulterants to cut cocaine and crack helped traffickers compensate for shortages in the cocaine supply. Further a field, there were some indications that increased interdiction with Mexico and on the US/Mexico border, potentially higher profits for cocaine sold in the UK and other EU states, and fear of extradition to the United States, were encouraging Mexican criminal groups to shift their focus to the European market.
Supplies of synthetic drugs continued to originate from Western and Central Europe; amphetamines, Ecstasy, and LSD were again mainly traced to sources in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Poland, with some supplies originating in the UK. The makers rely heavily on precursor chemicals made in China. In a newly identified transit trend, khat (a plant whose fresh leaves and tops are chewed or, less frequently, dried and consumed as tea, as a euphoric stimulant) was being imported to the UK from East African nations and Yemen. Khat is not controlled in the UK, but its stimulant component, cathinone, is a Schedule I controlled substance in the United States. Estimates for 2006 put khat importation levels to the UK at approximately 120 tons per month. Several areas in the U.S. are increasingly seeing khat, and DEA has identified several links between U.S. khat seizures and the UK. Hashish continues to come to the UK primarily from Morocco.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The UK government’s demand-reduction efforts focus on school and other community-based programs to educate young people and to prevent them from starting on drugs. In 2003, the government launched a national helpline/website through a multimedia drug awareness campaign called “FRANK.” The FRANK helpline offers advice to anyone who may be affected by drugs. Over the last five years FRANK has had 2 million call to its helpline and averaged over 500,000 hits on its website.
The UK now has drug education programs in all schools, supported by a certificate program for teachers. In 2005, the Department for Education and Skills linked FRANK to its “Every Child Matters” education programs to assure regular reviews for effectiveness. A similar information and support program called “Know the Score” operates in Scotland. “Positive Futures,” a sports-based program started in 2000 specifically to target socially vulnerable young people, and has served over 80,000 young people since its inception with 108 projects established in regions throughout the country. In 2006, the program was handed over to the national charity Crime Concern. The contract has been tentatively extended based on successes thus far. The charity hopes to use the heightened interest in sports generated by London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympics to promote its agenda.
The UK has rapidly expanded treatment services and has met the target of doubling the number of drug users in treatment two years ahead of the target date; current figures show that over 210,000 people were now receiving treatment (out of an estimated 330,000 problem users). The so-called “pooled treatment budget” administered by the Home Office and the Department of Health was targeted to increase from $448 million (GBP 253 million) nationally in 2004/05 to $1.6 billion (800 million GBP). This was broken down by department with $800 million (400 million GBP) coming from the Department of Health and the other $800 million (400 million GBP) divided between the Departments of Justice and other government agencies (primarily the Home Office). A strategic capital bidding program from 2007/08 was also announced in 2006. A total of GBP 54.9 million was made available with a view to improving and expanding in-patient drug treatment and residential rehabilitation for drug abusers, while improving the bidding/contracting process for these services. Additional services are provided through the National Health Service.
According to the National Treatment Agency (NTA) there were approximately 10,000 registered drug treatment workers as of 2008. The average waiting time for treatment was under one week for the first intervention, with a goal of 85 percent of individuals treated within three weeks of the first intervention. This was a drastic decrease from the average time of 2.4 weeks in 2002. According to the latest available figures, the number of deaths related to drug poisoning in England rose from 1506 in 2005 to 4107 in 2006. This was an increase of nearly 300 percent compared with 2005. This figure was an all-time high, but may reflect new statistical ways of tabulating deaths that were introduced in 2006.
Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) were set up under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and are, in most cases, coterminous with local authority areas. They include representatives from police, health, probation and other local agencies and provide strategies for reducing crime in the area. As of 1 April 2007 (and therefore for the reporting year 2007/08) there were 373 CDRPs in England and Wales. In Wales, the 22 CDRPs have changed to Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) to reflect their new identity subsequent to merging with Drug and Alcohol Action Teams. Recorded crime figures for seven key offenses for each CDRP were published on the Home Office website.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
The Road Ahead. The United States looks forward to continued close cooperation with the UK on all counternarcotics fronts. The UK provides Royal Navy warships and auxiliary vessels under the tactical control of Joint Interagency Task Force South to support efforts to stop the flow of narcotics in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. A Royal Navy Liaison Officer, seconded to the JIATF South staff, also assists in coordinating UK support to JIATF South counternarcotics operations. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s London Country Office (LCO) continues to maintain a robust exchange of information and training initiatives with several UK law enforcement agencies regarding the threat from methamphetamine. Although not viewed to be in any significant use in the UK at this time, UK law enforcement has acknowledged the potential threat that methamphetamine and its capacity for “domestic production” pose.
The LCO has arranged for DEA “clandestine laboratories” training for the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) and the Metropolitan Police Services (MPS/New Scotland Yard). This training program instructs law enforcement officers in the safe and efficient manner of identifying and dismantling illicit methamphetamine laboratories and prosecuting the criminals involved.
Uruguay is not a major narcotics producing or transit country. However, as traffickers are pressed by interdiction efforts elsewhere, Uruguay’s strategic position and porous land border with Brazil make it vulnerable to drug-trafficking. There has been an increase in the involvement by foreign trafficking cartels and individuals—especially from Colombia, Bolivia, and Mexico. Uruguay also continues to experience increasing local consumption of the highly addictive and inexpensive cocaine-based product known locally as “pasta base.” Efforts to upgrade port security and customs services advanced in 2008. Uruguay is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Though not a major narcotics producing or transit country, Uruguay is nonetheless exploited by drug traffickers from Colombia, Bolivia, and Mexico as a transit point, more so as neighboring countries increase their interdiction efforts at their ports and border crossings. Limited inspection of airport and port cargo makes Uruguay an attractive transit point for contraband, including chemical precursors destined for Paraguay and elsewhere. Though precursor chemical controls exist, they are difficult to monitor and enforce.
The most commonly abused drug in Uruguay is marijuana, though officials are concerned about the growing popularity of synthetic drugs. Counternarcotics police units target small-scale facilities used for processing and shipping Bolivian coca as well as distribution centers for “pasta base” – a by-product of cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) production which is both highly addictive and inexpensive. Local demand for “pasta base” increased significantly in 2008, as did the incidence of crime related to this drug, according to the National Anti-Drug Secretariat. Individual drug use is not viewed as a criminal offense. Rather, users are sent for rehabilitation in ever-increasing numbers, which has over-burdened Uruguay’s rehabilitation centers.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. In 2008, the GOU continued to make counternarcotics a policy priority. In August, the Uruguayan parliament passed legislation to create a special court for organized crime, including drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption, and banking fraud. The Uruguayan counternarcotics police also launched a Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) to provide the judiciary with more complete financial information to facilitate a wider range of asset seizures than has been possible in the past. Additionally, the National Anti-Drug Secretariat enhanced drug rehabilitation and treatment programs and continued demand reduction public awareness campaigns focused on young adults. Uruguay is an active member of the Southern Cone Working Group of the International Conference for Drug Control and other international organizations fighting narcotics, corruption, and crime.
Law Enforcement Efforts. The GOU is highly conscious of the rising counternarcotics threat and has made consistent efforts to improve its capacity to respond. In 2008 the military purchased a new radar system that will be integrated with the civilian system to gain better control of airspace in the north, thereby enhancing interdiction efforts. The Uruguayan counternarcotics police also augmented their intelligence unit. To improve port security, non-intrusive inspection equipment (NIIE–such as ion scanners and backscatter x-ray equipment) was installed in 2008 in the port of Montevideo. Customs officials there conduct both targeted and random inspections and plan to increase the number of containers scanned by 20 percent.
In 2008, the GOU seized 819 kilograms (kg) of cocaine in both national and international counternarcotics operations. The GOU also seized 96 kg of “pasta base,” up significantly from 69 kg in 2007; and 1.058 kg of marijuana, down from 1,817 kg in 2007. Uruguay’s interdiction numbers–low in the context of its neighbors–are a reflection of both a less serious narcotics consumption and trafficking problem in Uruguay and the GOU’s proactive and aggressive efforts to contain these problems.
The GOU made 2,280 drug-related arrests leading to 668 convictions. These numbers are a slight increase from 2007 in both overall arrests number of convictions.
Of the GOU agencies with charters for narcotics-related law enforcement, the Uruguayan counternarcotics police continued to be the most effective. Internal coordination among GOU agencies remains difficult because they report to different ministries, though the GOU hopes to improve cooperation through a new vice-ministerial level coordination body. Collaboration between the counternarcotics police and their regional counterparts is better and their joint efforts continue to result in successful counternarcotics operations.
Corruption. As a matter of policy, no senior GOU official nor the GOU 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. The GOU Transparency Law of 1998 criminalizes various abuses of power by government authorities and requires high-ranking officials to comply with financial disclosure regulations. Public officials who do not act on knowledge of a drug-related crime may be charged with a “crime of omission” under the Citizen Security Law. In October 2008, 25 customs brokers at the port of Montevideo were arrested for bribery. Related to the same case, the former legal advisor to the Director of Customs is also under investigation for committing a crime of omission in failing to report irregularities. The case is currently being tried.
Agreements and Treaties. Uruguay is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption; the Inter-American Convention Against Terrorism; the Inter-American Convention Against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms; the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols; and the UN Convention against Corruption. It is also a member of the OAS Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). The USG and Uruguay are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force in 1984, a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) that entered into force in 1994, and a Letter of Agreement through which the USG funds counternarcotics and law enforcement programs. Uruguay has also signed drug-related bilateral agreements with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Venezuela and Romania. In 2008, Uruguay signed a new agreement with Argentina to promote a human rights-conscious approach to drug-related criminals. Uruguay is a member of the regional financial action task force Grupo de Accion Financiera de Sudamerica (GAFISUD).
Cultivation/Production. USG agencies have no evidence of significant cultivation of illicit drugs in Uruguay. Production is also rare, though the seizure of a single processing plant in April yielded 44 kg of cocaine and 7 kg of crack cocaine. Occasionally, limited quantities of probably Bolivian coca products are reprocessed in locally to produce higher quality cocaine prior to export.
Drug Flow/Transit. Limited law enforcement presence along the Brazilian border and increased U.S. pressure on traffickers in Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru is shifting some smuggling routes south, and drugs are moving through Uruguay by private vehicle, bus, small private airplanes, trucks, commercial aircraft flights, and containerized cargo. The port of Montevideo has relatively weak controls despite the installment of NIIE. Colombian and Bolivian traffickers have smuggled cocaine into Uruguay by flying directly into remote regions from Bolivia, using make-shift airstrips located on foreign-owned residential farms. This practice is encouraged by the absence of control of the airspace in northern Uruguay due to the lack of tracking radar capability and the ability of drug traffickers to avoid detection by inadequate radar surveillance.
From Uruguay, narcotics are generally transported to Brazil for domestic consumption there or transshipped onward to the United States and Europe. In 2008 there were two intercepts of significant cocaine shipments carried on small planes; the shipments landed on improvised airstrips in the interior of Uruguay (the departments of Salto and Paysandu) and account for a large percentage of cocaine seized this year.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Uruguay’s demand reduction efforts focus on prevention programs, rehabilitation and treatment. These programs are based on a strategy developed cooperatively in 2001 between the National Anti-Drug Secretariat, public education authorities, various government ministries, municipalities and NGOs. In 2008, the National Drug Rehabilitation Center continued to train health care professionals and sponsored teacher training, public outreach, and other programs in community centers and clubs. The program, known locally as the “Portal Amarillo,” features drug rehabilitation clinics and a hotline, continued services for both in-patient and out-patient drug users in northern Montevideo and in the Department of Maldonado, targeting specifically “pasta base” addicts. Staffed by recent graduates of Uruguay’s largest nursing school, the Montevideo facility services about 200 patients a week and has 21 beds. Uruguay continues to develop methods to track trends in drug use in youth populations, including secondary schools and prisons.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. strategy has been to prevent Uruguay from becoming a major narcotics transit or processing country. USG assistance to the GOU in 2008 included support to demand reduction programs; support for narcotics interdiction operations, including provision of equipment; and assistance with police training. The increase of International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds in FY 2008 permitted the USG to provide maritime law enforcement leadership, port security, and border security training to the Uruguayan Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines. IMET in 2008 also included a legal seminar on border security and a river patrol operations course. Assistance in the effective use of radar systems is also being provided through the State Partners program.
The Road Ahead. The GOU needs to increase its programs for informing the public about the dangers of drug abuse, and enhancing the expertise of its law enforcement community in combating drug trafficking. Some initial steps have been taken via the establishment of a bilateral GOU-USG working group to enhance cooperation and develop effective partnerships. Embassy-based USG agencies are focused on a range of needs, including demand reduction programs and coordination of training programs for GOU officials, and DEA and DHS officials resident in Buenos Aires provide guidance and technical assistance to GOU counterparts in areas such as port security. The USG would like to see Uruguay expand this concept by improving collaboration with other USG agencies not based permanently in Uruguay. We also encourage the GOU to use its increased capabilities in police intelligence to better target investigations against foreign trafficking cartels, and should utilize its newly-acquired non-intrusive inspectional equipment at the port of Montevideo for increasing interdiction operations and drug seizures.
Uzbekistan is primarily a transit country for opiates originating in Afghanistan. Well-established trade routes facilitate the transit of these narcotics to Russia and Europe. There is a growing market for a variety of intravenously administered narcotics and consequently a growing problem with drug addiction and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Seizure data indicates that the smuggling of highly regulated prescription medications is becoming more prevalent, and cannabis cultivation is increasing. The Government of Uzbekistan (GOU) has taken some independent steps to combat the narcotics trade but still relies heavily on multilateral and bilateral financial and technical resources. Law enforcement officers seized approximately 1,704 kilograms of illegal narcotics in the first six months of 2008 (heroin accounted for 46 percent of seizures). Authorities also seized 118,940 psychotropic pills, mostly prescription medicines. Uzbekistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
While there is no significant drug production in Uzbekistan, several transshipment routes for opium, heroin, and hashish originate in Afghanistan and cross Uzbekistan for destinations in Russia and Europe. Seizures for the first half of 2008 increased by 54 percent compared to the same time period in 2007, according to official statistics. The GOU attributes the rise in seizures to increased narcotics production in Afghanistan and more effective counternarcotics operations by Uzbek law enforcement agencies. Precursor chemicals have, in the past, traveled the same transshipment routes in reverse on their way to laboratories in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Export of precursor chemicals, including acetic anhydride, has been controlled in Uzbekistan since 2000. In April 2008 Uzbek authorities interdicted 1.6 tons of acetic anhydride on a train that had entered Uzbekistan and was bound for Afghanistan. This was the first reported seizure of precursor chemicals since 2001 and occurred as part of the UNODC's "Operation Tarcet." Uzbek officials also reported seizing 320 liters of contraband sulphuric acid bound for Tajikistan. According to official statistics, no chemicals that can be used in the manufacture of narcotics were legally exported to Afghanistan. Effective government eradication programs have eliminated nearly all the illicit production of opium poppies in Uzbekistan.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The United States and Uzbekistan continued limited counternarcotics cooperation in 2008 under the 2001 U.S.-Uzbekistan Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement Agreement and its amendments. These agreements provide for U.S. assistance to Uzbekistan, and are typically amended in the years following their first negotiation to increase assistance levels to ongoing programs, or to agree to begin new assistance programs. The agreements have established the framework to support projects designed to enhance the capability of Uzbek law enforcement agencies in their efforts to fight narcotics trafficking and organized crime. No new amendments have been signed since 2004. A bilateral Law Enforcement and Security Assistance Working Group met in November 2007 to discuss mutual interests in border security and counter-narcotics cooperation, which contributed to restored dialogue between the U.S. and Uzbekistan on these issues. The Uzbek criminal justice system continues to suffer from a lack of modernization and reform, mainly judicial and procedural reform, and standards remain below international norms. The Uzbek criminal justice system is largely inherited from the Soviet Union. The Executive Branch and Prosecutor General's Office are powerful entities, and the judiciary is not independent. The outcomes of court cases are usually predetermined, and conviction rates approach 100 percent. Prosecutions often rely on coerced confessions by the defendants, and conviction is typical even in the absence of evidence. Corruption at all levels of the criminal justice system is rampant. However, Uzbekistan adopted new laws in 2008 which introduced some habeas corpus elements and strengthened the powers of defense attorneys. President Karimov also issued decrees establishing a judicial research center and encouraging improvements in professional legal standards.
Accomplishments. Uzbekistan continues to work toward the goals of the 1988 UN Drug Convention on combating illicit cultivation and production within its borders. The annual "Black Poppy" eradication campaign has been very successful and has virtually eliminated illicit poppy cultivation to the point that there is little left to eradicate. As of October 2008, the annual operation had eradicated a very modest 1.24 hectares of drug production crops. Efforts to achieve other UN Convention goals are hampered by the lack of effective laws, programs, money, appropriate international agreement, and coordination among law enforcement agencies.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is continuing its efforts to implement projects focusing on improvements in law enforcement, precursor chemical control, border security, and drug demand reduction. UNODC has also reported that cooperation with Uzbek law enforcement agencies is steadily improving, particularly with regard to prompt reporting of seizure data. The Government of Uzbekistan also participated in the successful pilot phase of the Central Asia Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC), which includes a full-time Ministry of Internal Affairs liaison officer at the headquarters in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Uzbek authorities reported participating in a joint controlled delivery training exercise along with counterparts from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan in October 2008 in the framework of the CARICC. The State Department, through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), continues to provide financial support for several UNODC-implemented projects.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Preliminary statistics provided by the GOU show that in the first half of 2008, Uzbek law enforcement seized a total of 1,704 kg of illicit drugs, a 54 percent increase from the same period last year heroin accounted for 46 percent of the total, opium for 25 percent, cannabis 19 percent, kuknara 7 percent, and hashish three percent. The GOU also reported seizing 118,940 psychotropic pills in 90 separate seizures, the vast majority of which were prescription medicines. During the first six months of 2007 Uzbekistan reported 5,405 criminal cases pertaining to narcotics, including 176 arrests for drug smuggling and 2,931 for drug distribution. For the first six months of 2008 authorities report 5,737 narcotics-related criminal cases, including 176 arrests for drug smuggling and 3,219 for drug distribution. The number of criminal cases for the first half of 2008 represents a six percent increase compared with the same period in 2007. Four agencies with separate jurisdictions have counternarcotics responsibilities: the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), the National Security Service (NSS), the State Customs Committee and, in a new development in 2008, the Ministry of Defense. The MVD concentrates on domestic crime, the NSS (which now includes the Border Guards) handles international organized crime (in addition to its intelligence role), and Customs works at the border (interdiction/seizures at the border are also carried out by the Border Guards during their normal course of duties). Despite this apparently clear delineation of responsibilities, a lack of operational coordination diminishes the effectiveness of counternarcotics efforts. The National Center for Drug Control was designed to minimize mistrust, rivalry and duplication of effort among the agencies, but the Center continues to have difficulty accomplishing this goal. However, the National Center for Drug Control readily shares data with the U.S. Government and other international entities.
In 2007, training and equipment were provided to the State Customs Committee under U.S.-Uzbekistan counternarcotics-related bilateral agreements. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) previously supported a Sensitive Investigation Unit (SIU) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which became operational in 2003. However, in March of 2007, DEA was forced to suspend its operations in Uzbekistan when visas for DEA personnel were not renewed. The DEA is anxious to return and support the GOU's counternarcotics mission. Despite overtures by the Government of Uzbekistan in 2008 that it would welcome reengagement with the DEA, a formal proposal submitted by the Embassy to reestablish a DEA office was turned down in July 2008, and efforts continue to clarify the GOU's stance on DEA activity conducted out of Embassy Tashkent.
According to National Center reports, most smuggling incidents involve one to two individuals, likely backed by a larger, organized crime groups. Resource constraints have limited the GOU's ability to investigate these cases. In general, information that has been gathered suggests smuggling rings are relatively small operations. These rings tend to be located on the border between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, where poor border controls allow group members to cross between the countries with relative ease. Government sources indicated that drug smuggling activities along the Turkmen-Uzbek border are not significant. Lack of training and equipment continues to hamper all Uzbek agencies. Basic necessities, even replacements for aging Soviet era equipment, remain in short supply or seem administratively difficult to obtain. Uzbekistan has relied heavily on international assistance from UNODC, the U.S., the UK, the EU, and others to supplement their own thinly-funded programs.
In 2008 Tashkent-based UNODC officials reported a noticeable increase in cooperation with the GOU. In December 2007 the UNODC completed construction of a modern border checkpoint facility at the main Hayraton crossing between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan which was partially funded by the U.S. Government through the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). In June 2008 UNODC launched a project to upgrade security and interdiction capabilities at the Termez River Port linking Uzbekistan with Afghanistan, a project which is solely sponsored by the U.S. through INL. However, despite numerous statements from GOU officials affirming the grave common threat posed by increased narcotics production and trafficking in Central Asia, Uzbekistan still remained cautious about approving direct bilateral counternarcotics projects with the United States.
In 2008 Uzbekistan participated in "Operation Typhoon," which successfully targeted a major Central Asian group which trafficked Afghan drugs to Russia. The long-term investigation also involved authorities from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, which ultimately led to the leader of the organized criminal group and associates. Operation Typhoon netted seizures of 880 kilos of heroin and 100 kilos of opium. A total of 24 criminal cases were initiated and 42 active members of the group were arrested. Significantly, Operation Typhoon demonstrated the ability and willingness of Uzbek authorities to conduct a sustained investigative operation in collaboration with neighboring countries that reached beyond low-level "mules." Uzbek authorities also highlighted "Operation Caravan" which, in September 2008 in collaboration with Russia and Kazakhstan, resulted in the arrest of an international drug-smuggling ring that hid drugs in bags of garlic and transported them on buses.
Corruption. As a matter of policy the GOU does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances. However, corruption is endemic at all levels of government, and the paying of bribes is an accepted practice. There are anecdotal accounts of drug traffickers bribing customs and border officials to ignore narcotics shipments. It is likely that some government officials are involved with narcotics trafficking organizations.
Agreements and Treaties. Uzbekistan 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. Uzbekistan is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and ratified the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons in August 2008, and has signed but not ratified the protocol on Migrant Smuggling. In July 2008 Uzbekistan acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption, an unexpected development which should help long-term efforts to increase transparency. Uzbekistan signed the Central Asian Counternarcotics Memorandum of Understanding with the UNODC, and in 2006 formally agreed to the establishment of a Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center (CARICC) to coordinate information sharing and joint counternarcotics efforts in Central Asia. A successful pilot project concluded in 2008 and has been extended until participating states ratify the CARICC agreement. Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan signed an agreement in September 1999 on cooperation in combating transnational crime, including narcotics trafficking. The five Central Asian countries, as well as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, are members of the Economic Coordination Mechanism supported by the UNODC. The GOU has also signed agreements on increased counternarcotics cooperation in 2006 in the context of its membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. However, to date, these agreements appear to have resulted in few tangible results.
Cultivation/Production. The annual "Operation Black Poppy" has all but eliminated illicit opium poppy cultivation in Uzbekistan. Authorities log between 600-800 hours of flying time in the course of the annual operation. Authorities report that in 2008 the first phase of Operation Black Poppy involved 875 search details involving 368 canines that yielded 805 instances of illegal drug cultivation. A total area of 1.24 hectares of cultivated crops were eradicated.
Drug Flow/Transit. Several major transnational trade routes facilitate the transportation of opiates and cannabis from Afghanistan through Uzbekistan to Russia and Europe. The border crossing point at Termez remains a point of concern as, in the past narcotics have been discovered in trucks returning to Uzbekistan after delivering humanitarian aid into Afghanistan, as well as on trains coming from Tajikistan. However, a UNODC-implemented border security project at the road and rail crossing has resulted in improved control over the border crossing with Afghanistan, and a new INL-funded UNODC project will focus on improving the control regime at the river port. While humanitarian aid and other cargo crossing the border from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan has dropped since 2004, Uzbek authorities report that approximately 1,000 containers cross from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan daily via railroad. The contents are generally not searched, and Uzbeks have requested scanning equipment to help ensure that contraband, including precursor chemicals, do not reach Afghanistan. The National Center and UNODC report that trafficking also continues along traditional smuggling routes and by conventional methods, mainly from Afghanistan into Surkhandarya Province and from Afghanistan via Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic into Uzbekistan. The primary regions in Uzbekistan for the transit of drugs are Tashkent, Termez, the Fergana Valley, Samarkand and Syrdarya.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. According to the National Drug Control Center, as of the end of 2007 there were approximately 21,777 registered drug addicts in Uzbekistan, of which eighty-five percent were heroin users. In contrast with the official statistics, the Ministry of Internal Affairs estimates there are 35,000 drug addicts in Uzbekistan. However, observers in the international community believe the official number of registered addicts is only 10-15 percent of the actual drug addicts in Uzbekistan. A UNODC study estimated that there are more than 130,000 opiate drug users in Uzbekistan.
Over the last few years, there has been an alarming growth in the number of persons who are HIV positive, and Uzbek officials say the problem is getting worse. There were 849 new HIV cases registered in the first half of 2008, of which 231 (27 percent) were injecting drug addicts, according to official GOU statistics. Approximately half of the 15,000-100,000 people infected with HIV are between the ages of 25 and 34. Hospitals with drug dependency recovery programs are inadequate to meet the increasing need for detox and treatment. The Ministry of Health and National Drug Control Center have recognized the need to focus increased attention on the drug problem, but do not have sufficient funds to do so adequately. Drug awareness programs are administered in cooperation with NGOs, schools, women and youth groups, religious organizations, national radio, and the mahalla (neighborhood) support system. In 2008 the GOU broadcast 129 TV and 304 radio broadcasts to raise awareness about the dangers of drug use, and 232 newspaper articles were published. In 2007, UNODC completed an INL-funded drug demand reduction project that demonstrated increased drug abuse awareness among school children. Additional INL funds were provided to UNODC in 2008 which will be used for a follow-up drug demand reduction project. A USAID drug demand reduction project which focused on key points along drug trafficking routes to prevent at-risk young people from becoming injecting drug users ended in 2008; some of the activities are continuing under the auspices of local NGOs or health facilities.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. U.S.-Uzbek bilateral counternarcotics assistance focuses on the prevention of illicit drug activities in and through Uzbekistan, and the need to increase the capacity of Uzbek law enforcement agencies to combat these activities. This assistance is most often provided in the form of technical assistance, training, and limited equipment donations. Since early 2005, the GOU has significantly slowed the pace of bilateral cooperation with the United States. The government continues to accept some operational training conducted in Uzbekistan or third countries as well as equipment donations. In spite of the GOU's continuing hesitance to engage in U.S.-sponsored programs in a variety of areas, including counternarcotics, eight mid-level officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Security Service participated in an eight-week training program at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Budapest, Hungary from August—October 2008. This was the first time Uzbekistan officers attended training at ILEA since 2005, although the GOU only agreed to send half the number of officers for which invitations were extended. An INL-funded drug demand reduction project administered by UNODC will begin in late 2008, which will build on a previously completed project to raise awareness about the dangers of drug use among schoolchildren.
The State Department's Bureau of Export and Related Border Security (EXBS) modestly increased its activities in Uzbekistan in 2008 as the political relationship improved. The Embassy delivered ten radioisotope identification devices to the Higher Military Customs Institute in June 2008. Several officials from various parts of the Government of Uzbekistan participated in an export control training workshop in Washington, DC in September 2008. A mobile x-ray van previously delivered to Customs was repaired with EXBS funds and cooperation from the Government of Kazakhstan in August 2008. The Department of Defense increased counternarcotics activities with the GOU during 2008, following reengagement between Central Command (CENTCOM), the Ministry of Defense, and the National Center for Drug Control. In previous years Ministry of Defense officials stated that counter-narcotics was not in its competency; however, a July 2008 diplomatic note from the GOU confirmed that the Ministry of Defense was ready to join CENTCOM's counter-narcotics program. GOU officials participated in DOD-sponsored counternarcotics events in FY 2008,including Marshall Center counternarcotics programs and other military-to-military training events concerning counternarcotics. Former CENTCOM Commander Admiral William Fallon and his successor, General Martin Dempsey, both raised the importance of counter-narcotics cooperation during separate visits to Uzbekistan in January 2008 and August 2008, respectively.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. remains committed to supporting appropriate Uzbek agencies to improve narcotics detection and drug interdiction capabilities. However, the effectiveness of U.S. assistance programs depends on the willingness of the Government of Uzbekistan to participate in these efforts.
V. Statistical Table
Summarized Drug Seizure Statistics
Total drug related crimes
Note: increase of 6.5%
|Opium Poppy Straw (kg)||137||146|
Drug seizures made in Uzbekistan by transportation type:
23.4%—Vehicular (excl. motorcycle)
Venezuela remains a major drug-transit country with high-levels of corruption and a weak judicial system. Growing illicit drug transshipments through Venezuela are enabled by Venezuela’s lack of international counternarcotics cooperation. Venezuela refused to cooperate on almost all bilateral counternarcotics issues, rejecting U.S. criticism and accusing the U.S. Government (USG) of complicity with drug trafficking organizations.
The Government of Venezuela (GOV) declared the U.S. ambassador persona non grata on September 11, 2008, in what President Chavez characterized as “solidarity” with the Bolivian government’s decision to expel the U.S. ambassador in La Paz. In September, The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated to senior Venezuelan government officials and the former Justice and Interior Minister as “Tier II Kingpins” for materially assisting the narcotics trafficking activities of the Revolutionary Armed forces of Colombia (FARC). Also in September 2008, the President determined, as in 2007, 2006, and 2005, that Venezuela “failed demonstrably” to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements. Venezuela is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Venezuela is one of the principal drug-transit countries in the Western Hemisphere. Counternarcotics successes in Colombia have forced traffickers to shift routes through neighboring Venezuela, whose geography, corruption, a weak judicial system, incompetent and in some cases complicit security forces, and lack of international counternarcotics cooperation make it vulnerable to illicit drug transshipments. While the majority of narcotics transiting Venezuela continue to be destined directly for the U.S. and Europe, a rapidly increasing percentage has started to flow towards western Africa and then onwards to Europe. The movement of drugs continues to compound Venezuela’s corruption problem, and increase the level of crime and violence throughout the country. The acceleration of violent crime over the last decade is highlighted by a tripling of the country’s homicide rate during the same period. According to international sources, today Venezuela is reported to have the second highest murder rate in the world.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. A proposal announced by the Venezuelan government in 2007 to establish a new counternarcotics task force under the National Anti-Drug Plan did not materialize in 2008. Although it was to take effect in January 2008, Venezuela’s national counternarcotics strategy for 2008 – 2013 still has not been released publicly. However, a few uncoordinated civic and law enforcement activities have been credited to the plan. The drug education program “Planting Values for Life,” launched in 2007, operated regularly in 2008. At least four of the ten radar systems purchased from China by the GOV National Counternarcotics Office (ONA) in 2007 were installed in 2008, but, due in part to ONA’s persistent refusal to share information or engage with international counter drug partners, their potential effectiveness to scan Venezuelan airspace for illegal drug transshipments is unclear.
The GOV has rejected nearly all counternarcotics cooperation with the USG since 2005 as a matter of policy, and has undermined USG efforts to collaborate with state and municipal governments. Initially, the GOV claimed that it rejected collaboration until both parties signed an addendum to the 1978 USG-GOV Bilateral Counternarcotics Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). While the USG did not agree that the addendum was essential to ensuring appropriate counternarcotics cooperation, the USG negotiated a mutually acceptable version in December of 2005, but the GOV still has not signed it.
In August 2008, the GOV denied visas to the Director and staff of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). The ONDCP Director had offered to travel to Caracas to meet with GOV officials in order to follow up on President Chavez’ July 5 public comments to the U.S. ambassador that he wished to renew bilateral counternarcotics cooperation. GOV Vice President Ramon Carrizalez subsequently accused DEA of being part of an international drug cartel.
This lack of counternarcotics cooperation is an important piece of the general chilling of bilateral relations over the past few years, capped by President Chavez’ September expulsion of the U.S. ambassador. Given the GOV’s refusal to cooperate bilaterally with the United States and other factors, the President determined in 2008, as in 2007, 2006, and 2005, that Venezuela “failed demonstrably” to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements. According to the ONA, the GOV did not enter into any new counternarcotics cooperation agreements with other countries in 2008. Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK cooperated on some modest counternarcotics initiatives with Venezuela. For example, Germany provided week-long intelligence training courses to Venezuelan law enforcement units.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Corruption and failure to use all the state’s tools and resources to fight drug trafficking and illicit activity have created an environment conducive to organized crime. Whether due to security forces’ weakness, lack of will, or corruption, Venezuela has effectively lost control of large portions of western Venezuela, abutting Colombia, to narcotrafficking organizations, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The FARC’s ability to operate freely in this portion of Venezuela facilitates its well-established involvement in narcotrafficking. Venezuelan police and prosecutors do not receive sufficient training or equipment to properly carry out counternarcotics investigations. Without effective criminal prosecutions, and with the politicization of investigations and corruption, the public has little faith in the judicial system. Venezuelan arrests are usually limited to low-level actors. However, in November authorities raided a farm belonging to Walid Makled, Venezuela’s largest drug trafficker, and arrested 10 persons, including his brother Abdla Makled. Authorities also seized 300 kilograms (kg) of cocaine and arms. Walid Makled remains at large.
The GOV reported seizures of over 54 metric tons (MT) of cocaine in 2008, claiming an increase from 28 MT in 2007. However, the GOV does not permit the USG to confirm its seizures or to verify the destruction of seized illicit drugs. Moreover, these figures include seizures made by other countries in international waters that were subsequently returned to Venezuela, the country of origin. Additionally, the GOV reported seizing 111 kg of heroin, 17 MT of marijuana, and 53 kg of crack cocaine.
Corruption. On March 1, 2008, the Government of Colombia obtained information during an operation against the FARC showing that GOV officials have provided support to the FARC. In September, based on this and other corroborating information, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated two senior Venezuelan government officials, Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios and Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva, and the former Justice and Interior Minister, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, as “Tier II Kingpins”for materially assisting the narcotics trafficking activities of the FARC. Members of Venezuelan security forces often facilitate or are themselves involved in drug trafficking, particularly the special counternarcotics units of the National Guard and the Federal Investigative Police (CICPC). Security forces routinely take bribes in exchange for facilitating drug shipments, and seizures are most likely to occur when payoffs have not been made. Even when seizures occur, the drugs are not always turned over intact for disposal, and seized cocaine is sometimes returned to drug traffickers.
Agreements and Treaties. Venezuela is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Venezuela and the United States are parties to a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty that entered into force in March 2004. Venezuela is party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, and has signed, but not yet ratified, the UN Convention against Corruption.
The GOV has also signed a number of bilateral agreements with the U.S., including a customs mutual assistance agreement and a 1991 ship-boarding agreement updated in 1997 that authorizes the USG to board suspect Venezuelan-flagged vessels on the high seas. While a 1978 Memorandum of Understanding concerning cooperation in counternarcotics was signed, a necessary addendum to extend the agreement drafted in 2004 remains unsigned despite USG requests.
Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance. The United States and Venezuela are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force in 1923. The 1999 Venezuelan constitution bars the extradition of its nationals. Non-Venezuelans can be extradited, but Venezuelan judges always attach conditions—such as unilateral attempts to restrict the term of years that an extradited defendant may serve in prison—that have the effect of precluding extradition. On occasion, Venezuelan authorities have deported non-Venezuelan criminals to a third country—usually Colombia—where they can be more easily extradited to the U.S. In September, the GOV expelled Colombian drug traffickers Aldo Mario Alvarez Duran and Marcos Jorge Orozco Wilches to Colombia, where the USG had previously submitted provisional arrest requests. Also, in November, the GOV expelled Colombian drug traffickers Henry Fortich Coneo, Wilmer Villadiego Coneo, and May Mitchell Palacios directly to the United States, although no formal extradition requests had been made.
Cultivation/Production. Some coca cultivation does occur along Venezuela’s border with Colombia, but the levels are historically insignificant. However, no reliable cultivation data has been released recently by the GOV. Periodic GOV eradication operations were carried out in 2008, including “Operation Sierra” along the western border with Colombia, which included elements of the ONA and the Venezuelan Armed Forces (FAN). Results of these eradication programs have not been released by the GOV.
Drug Flow/Transit. Narcotics trafficking in Venezuela has increased five-fold since 2002, from 50 MT to an estimated 250 MT in 2007. As Colombia’s Air Bridge Denial program continues to successfully shut down transit routes out of western and southern Colombia, the 2,200-mile porous border with Venezuela has become more attractive to traffickers. Drug traffickers routinely exploit a variety of routes and methods to move hundreds of tons of illegal drugs on the Pan-American Highway, the Mata and Orinoco Rivers, the Guajira Peninsula, and dozens of clandestine airstrips. The Venezuelan armed forces claim to have destroyed many of these airstrips, but they did not invite foreign government representative to review the results. The majority of illicit drugs transiting Venezuela are destined for the U.S. and Europe. Venezuelan traffickers have been arrested in the Netherlands, Spain, Ghana, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia, and other countries.
Illicit narcotics are smuggled from Venezuela to the principal markets in the U.S. and Europe in maritime cargo containers, fishing vessels, go-fast boats, and private aircraft taking off from clandestine airstrips. Illicit narcotics destined for the U.S. from Venezuela are shipped through the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Central America, Mexico, and other Caribbean countries. Narcotics destined for Europe are shipped directly to several countries in Europe, especially Spain, or are shipped through the eastern coastal waters of Venezuela and the Caribbean to West Africa, notably Guinea and Guinea Bissau. Clandestine flights departing Venezuela are another means of transporting cocaine shipments to West Africa. Multi-kilogram shipments of cocaine and heroin are also mailed through express delivery services to the United States.
Between January and June 2008, the U.S. estimates that 116 MT of cocaine transited Venezuela: 28 MT via maritime routes and 87 MT via air, according to the Joint Interagency Task Force-South. In an effort to combat the transit of narcotics through Venezuela, the GOV launched Operation Boquete in 2008. The operation was designed to disable clandestine landing strips used for drug trafficking. There were four phases that reportedly destroyed an approximate total of 200 airstrips in Apure, Falcon, Anzoategui, and Monagas. Most of these airstrips were old, unused, and could be easily repaired. These efforts achieved only short-term gains in transit areas of Venezuela, temporarily disrupting drug trafficking flights.
The USG assesses that Colombian guerrilla and paramilitary organizations, including two designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN), conduct drug trafficking operations in Venezuelan territory, often using local traffickers to coordinate transportation and logistics. The FARC and ELN often cross into Venezuela to facilitate trafficking activities, for rest and relaxation, and to evade Colombian security forces, often with the collusion of some elements of the Venezuelan security forces.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Venezuelan law has required since 2005 that companies with more than 200 workers donate one percent of their profits to the National Anti-Drug Office (ONA), which is supposed to dispense the funds to demand reduction programs carried out by ONA-approved NGOs or run their own programs. This is a significant departure from how the program functioned under ONA’s predecessor organization (the National Commission Against Illegal Drug Use, or CONACUID), when companies made donations directly to CONACUID-approved NGOs, and has proven ineffective.
ONA has been slow to certify the numerous NGOs involved in demand reduction, and has tried to dissuade NGOs from accepting support from the United States. Several NGOs claim to have been denied ONA certification for being linked to opposition parties, while those NGOs receiving assistance from the USG find it particularly difficult to receive ONA certification. Also, legal challenges to the requirement that funds be donated directly to ONA have frozen the donation process. Companies have postponed making donations, either to ONA or to NGOs, until the statutory requirement is clarified, and many NGOs have shut their doors due to a lack of funding.
The GOV does not track statistics on drug abuse and treatment, with the exception of a 2005 ONA survey, which suggested that drug abuse among Venezuelan youth was decreasing. However, the accuracy of that survey is uncertain, and various NGOs continue to report that drug abuse may be on the rise.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The GOV has almost eliminated all counternarcotics related cooperation and contact with the USG. Despite repeated requests, the GOV has not signed an MOU addendum with the USG since 2005.
In August 2008, the GOV did hold one judicial sector training exercise with the technical support of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), despite having said in 2007 that it would end the judicial sector’s participation in several USG-funded UNODC programs, and indicated to the UNODC that the GOV would not participate in any programs receiving USG funds. No further cooperation with the GOV was reported during 2008. While the USG continues to reach out to traditional counternarcotics contacts in the GOV, increasing support has been given to non-traditional partners, including NGOs involved in demand reduction, and regional and municipal government anticrime and counternarcotics programs.
The USG-funded Container Inspection Facility (CIF) at Puerto Cabello remains unused by the GOV, despite the fact that the USG estimates that the majority of narcotics from Colombia transit the Tachira-Puerto Cabello corridor and other parts of the northern coast. Completed in late 2006, the CIF was intended to provide a venue and equipment (forklifts, tools, and safety equipment) for Venezuelan authorities to unload and examine containers in a safe and protected environment. The Autonomous Port Institute of Puerto Cabello (IPAPC) expropriated and now controls access to the unused facility.
A number of private Venezuelan companies are still enrolled in the U.S. Customs Service’s Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition (BASC) program. This program seeks to deter smuggling, including narcotics, in commercial cargo shipments by enhancing private sector security programs. Despite initial progress, the difficult relations between the USG and the GOV have slowed the pace of this program in both the Valencia and Caracas BASC chapters.
The GOV generally continues to authorize the USG to board Venezuelan-flagged vessels on the high seas suspected of being engaged in narcotics trafficking, and the GOV retains jurisdiction. The GOV does not share information on the final disposition of seizures made by the United States Coast Guard on Venezuelan-flagged vessels and the corresponding legal cases.
Several high-level Venezuelan officials, including former Interior and Justice Minister Rodriguez Chacin, current Interior and Justice Minister Tarek El Assaimi, and Vice President Ramon Carrizalez have been repeatedly and publicly critical of US counternarcotics policy and have accused the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of engaging in illicit narcotics trafficking. The USG refuted these charges, and offered to meet with Venezuelan officials to detail our response – an offer that was rejected. The GOV did deport DEA fugitive Luis Ramon Guerra on February 1, and also seized his assets worth over $10 million. The GOV also arrested DEA fugitive Hermagoras “Gordito” Gonzalez in March 2008 but refused to extradite him, though his arrest led to the seizure of nearly $24 million worth of assets.
The Road Ahead. The USG remains prepared to renew cooperation with Venezuela to fight the increasing flow of illegal drugs, but the GOV needs to take concrete steps to demonstrate its own commitment. These could include signing the outstanding MOU addendum, and stemming the rise in drug transshipments from Colombia by working with the USG to start operation of the Container Inspection Facility (CIF) at Puerto Cabello. These steps would help to dismantle the growing organized criminal networks and aid in the prosecution of criminals engaged in trafficking.
The Government of Vietnam (GVN) continued to make progress in its counternarcotics efforts during 2008. Specific actions included: sustained efforts of counternarcotics law enforcement authorities to pursue drug traffickers; increased attention to interagency coordination; continued cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); increased attention to both drug treatment and harm reduction; continued public awareness activities; and additional bilateral cooperation on HIV/AIDS. The United States and Vietnam continued to implement training and assistance projects under the counternarcotics Letter of Agreement (LOA). Operational cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Hanoi Country Office (HCO) has improved, but continued progress is still needed in order to achieve significant results. Vietnam is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
This year, Vietnam reported an increase in the poppy cultivation areas, particularly in the provinces of Son La, Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Lai Chau, Lang Son, Gia Lai, Dac Lak, Hau Giang and Dong NaI. Official UNODC statistical tables no longer list Vietnam separately with major drug production countries in drug production analyses. Cultivation in Vietnam probably accounts for only about one percent of the total cultivation in Southeast Asia, according to law enforcement estimates. There appear to be small amounts of cannabis grown in remote regions of southern Vietnam. In previous years, DEA has had no evidence of any Vietnamese-produced narcotics reaching the United States nor was Vietnam a source or transit country for precursors. However, more recent information indicates that precursor chemicals and Ecstasy are beginning to be shipped from Vietnam into Canada for eventual distribution in the United States. The dual use chemical, Safrole, (sassafras oil-From which Ecstasy can be produced) is no longer produced in Vietnam, but it continues to be imported into Vietnam for re-export under controls to third countries. The potential for diversion of sassafras oil into clandestine MDMA production remains an area of concern. In 2008, the GVN continued to view other Golden Triangle countries, primarily Burma and Laos, as the source for most of the heroin supplied to Vietnam. GVN authorities are particularly concerned about rising ATS-Amphetamine-type Stimulants use among urban youth. During 2008, the GVN increased the pace of enforcement and awareness programs that they hope will avoid a youth synthetic drug epidemic. Resource constraints in all aspects of narcotics programs are pervasive, and GVN counternarcotics officials note that, as a developing country, Vietnam will continue to face resource constraints for the foreseeable future, despite annual budget increases for counternarcotics efforts.
III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. The structure of the GVN's counternarcotics efforts is built around the National Committee on AIDS, Drugs and Prostitution Control (NCADP), which includes 18 GVN ministries and people's organizations as members. In addition, MPS, as NCADP's standing member, has a specialized unit to combat and suppress drug crimes. During 2008, many provinces and cities continued to implement their own drug awareness and prevention programs, as well as demand reduction and drug treatment. The GVN continues to view drug awareness and prevention as vital tools and significant objectives in its fight against drugs, as well as integral parts of its effort to comply fully with the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The GVN has continued to rely heavily on counternarcotics propaganda, culminating in the annual drug awareness month in June 2008. Officially sponsored activities cover every aspect of society, from schools to unions to civic organizations and government offices. The MPS also works with relevant agencies to outline a national strategy on drug abuse control from now to 2020. The strategy is slated to intensify the crackdown on drug trafficking. In addition to work on the long term strategy, the MPS also took part in revising and supplementing the GVN’s current basic Anti-Narcotic Law. In 2008, the GVN continued its ongoing effort to de-stigmatize drug addicts in order to increase their odds of successful treatment, and to help control the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Law Enforcement Efforts. According to the Standing Office for Drug Control (SODC) under the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), during 2008 there were 13,239 drug cases involving 20,636 suspects. Out of that number, press reports indicate there were 61 cases involving 127 foreigners. Total seizures included 205 kg of heroin, 33 kg of opium, 8.6 tons of marijuana oil, 128 kg of dry marijuana, 3 tons of fresh marijuana, 28 kg of ATS powder (used to make tablets) and 45,983 ATS tablets, 2 kg of ketamine, and 873,346 tablets and 1,188 ampoules of addictive pharmaceuticals. Total seizures include 156 kg of heroin, 19 kg of opium, 8,657 kg of cannabis, 44,054 ATS tablets, and 13,543 tablets and 1,188 ampoules of addictive pharmaceuticals. Press reports note that the numbers of cases and traffickers during 2008 represent an increase of 3,900 cases (43.6 percent) and 6,700 suspects (49.4 percent) percent compared with 2007. Drug laws remain very tough in Vietnam. For possession or trafficking of 600 grams (something more than one pound) or more of heroin, or 20 kg (44 pounds) of opium gum or cannabis resin, the death penalty is mandatory. Foreign law enforcement sources do not believe that major trafficking groups have moved into Vietnam. Relatively small groups comprised of from five to 15 individuals (who are often related to each other) usually do most narcotics trafficking.
Foreign law enforcement representatives in Vietnam say that operational cooperation on counternarcotics cases is limited largely due to legal prohibitions and policy restrictions that preclude Vietnam's drug enforcement authorities from sharing information and supporting bilateral investigations with foreign police agencies. Changes in Vietnamese law to allow the establishment of a legal and procedural basis for Vietnam's cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies are necessary to reach international standards of cooperation, rather than the current situation where operational "cooperation" is determined on a case-by-case basis. USG law enforcement agencies noted that the development of agency-to-agency agreements have improved the cooperation climate. During 2008, cooperation levels between GVN law enforcement authorities and DEA continued to improve. DEA agents have experienced a few incidents where they have been officially permitted to work directly with GVN counternarcotics officials on specific cases. While cooperation was limited to receiving information and investigative requests from DEA, the GNV counternarcotics department was more interactive and demonstrated more cooperative attitude to DEA requests. Thus far, counternarcotics police have not shared detailed investigative information with DEA, providing only the investigative basics.
Corruption. As a matter of GVN policy, Vietnam 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 information specifically links any senior GVN official with engaging in, encouraging or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Nevertheless, a certain level of corruption, both among lower-level enforcement personnel and higher-level officials, is consistent with the fairly large-scale movement of narcotics into and out of Vietnam, which is happening. The GVN demonstrated willingness to prosecute some corrupt officials, although the targets were relatively low-level.
Agreements/Treaties. Vietnam is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Vietnam has signed, but has not yet ratified, the UN Corruption Convention and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Cultivation/Production. During the 2007 – 2008, authorities nationwide detected and destroyed 99 hectares of poppy plants and 1 hectare of marijuana. While no specific data for 2008 is available on the total amount of illicit drug crop cultivation; however, estimates suggest that opium poppy cultivation remains sharply reduced from an estimated 12,900 ha in 1993, when the GVN began opium poppy eradication. There have been some recent confirmed reports that ATS and heroin have been produced in Vietnam. Local ATS production relies on ATS powder brought from outside the country, which is then processed into pills. GVN law enforcement forces have seized some ATS-related equipment (i.e., pill presses). As part of its efforts to comply fully with the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the GVN continued to eradicate poppies when found and to implement crop substitution. There were, however, some reports of drug refining and trafficking in heroin among hill tribes along the border with Laos.
Drug Flow/Transit. Law enforcement sources and the UNODC believe that significant amounts of drugs are transiting Vietnam. Drugs, especially heroin and opium, enter Vietnam from the Golden Triangle via Laos and Cambodia by land, sea and air, making their way to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, either for local consumption or transshipment to other countries such as Australia, Japan, China, Taiwan and Malaysia. The ATS flow into the country during 2008 continued to be serious and not limited to border areas. ATS can now be found throughout the country, especially in places frequented by young people. ATS, such as amphetamine, Ecstasy, and especially "ice" methamphetamine (crystal methamphetamine), and other drugs such as diazepam and ketamine continue to worry the government and rank with heroin and cannabis as the most popular drugs in Vietnam. Such drugs are most popular in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other major cities. During 2008, numerous cases involving ATS trafficking and consumption were reported in the media, including mass arrests following raids on popular nightclubs. DEA has received recent information on Vietnam based organization beginning to ship Ecstasy from Vietnam into Canada for the eventual distribution in the United States.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. According to SODC, at the end of November 2008, there were 173,000 officially registered drug users nationwide. Included in that figure are 97,382 addicts living in the community, and 44,496 and 31,122 other addicts living, respectively, in MPS prisons and Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) treatment centers. Vietnam has 87 provincial-level treatment centers providing treatment to about 58,000 drug addicts annually, a six-fold increase compared with 2001. The number of "unofficial" (i.e., not acknowledged officially) drug users is at least 1.5 times higher. Ministries distributed hundreds of thousands of counternarcotics leaflets and videos, and organized counternarcotics painting contests for children. The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) carries out awareness activities in schools. Counternarcotics material is available in all schools and MOET sponsors various workshops and campaigns at all school levels. The UNODC assesses GVN drug awareness efforts favorably, but considers these efforts to have had minimal impact on the existing addict and HIV/AIDS population.
Vietnam strives to integrate addiction treatment and vocational training to facilitate the rehabilitation of drug addicts. SODC reports that during 2008 20,978 drug users received treatment, 6,321 received vocational training, and 2,648 received basic education. These efforts include tax and other economic incentives for businesses that hire recovered addicts. Despite these efforts, only a small percentage of recovered addicts find regular employment.
HIV/AIDS is a serious and growing problem in Vietnam and addressing the HIV prevention needs of injecting drug users (IDU) remains the foremost priority in Vietnam's efforts to combat HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS reports a total of 132,000 HIV cases in the country, a figure considered accurate by both the GVN and the USG. More than 60 percent of known HIV cases are IDUs, with many additional infections resulting from transmission to the sexual partners and children of these individuals. The Vietnamese National Strategy for HIV Prevention and Control, launched in March 2004, presents a comprehensive response to HIV, including condom promotion, clean needle and syringe programs, voluntary counseling and testing and HIV/AIDS treatment and care.
In June 2004, Vietnam was designated the 15th focus country under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). USG FY08 funding, $88.5 million, is distributed through key PEPFAR agencies such as USAID, HHS/CDC, and the U.S. Department of Defense. The majority of USG support targets seven current focus provinces (Hanoi, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, An Giang and Nghe An) where the epidemic is most severe; however, PEPFAR also supports HIV counseling and testing and community outreach for drug users and sex workers in 30 provinces. The Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) program for IDU is currently operational in three sites in HCMC and three sites in Hai Phong, with plans to expand the program to Hanoi in the near future. The concentration of HIV infection in IDU populations in Vietnam has spurred the PEPFAR program to focus HIV prevention, care, and treatment efforts in these key urban settings and along drug transport corridors to prevent the continued spread of HIV. Even in focused settings, stigma and discrimination against IDU in Vietnam—exacerbated by historical campaigns characterizing drug use as a "social evil"—have made it difficult to obtain accurate IDU population size estimates and to expand access to needed services. The GVN has officially "registered" 173,000 IDU nationally, but the actual size of this population is estimated to be many times higher. In addition, using even the most conservative estimates of population size, coverage of basic prevention services remains low. For example, PEPFAR-supported outreach efforts only provided education to a maximum of 4 percent of the estimated number of IDU in Hanoi, and a maximum of 40 percent of the estimated number of registered IDU in Ho Chi Minh City. The successful referral of these individuals to HIV counseling and testing and other care and treatment services also remains an essential priority given the burden of HIV infection among IDU, but continues to be a challenge. According to the latest PEPFAR program reports, a maximum of 5 percent of the number of IDU in Hanoi, and a maximum of 13 percent of the number of IDU in Ho Chi Minh City, have received HIV counseling and testing.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Policy Initiatives. Under the Vietnam-U.S. Counternarcotics Assistance LOA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection delivered contraband enforcement training to GVN customs, border guards, and maritime administration officials. This training included three field visits for GVN officials to U.S. ports to observe best practices and three in-country training courses held in major port cities. During July and August, DEA and JIATF-W sponsored two-week Officer Tactics and Safety training seminars for MPS and Border Army officials in Hanoi and HCMC, and a three-week Small Craft Maintenance and Training Seminar for MPS in HCMC. The USG also provided port security and vulnerability assessment and container inspection training to Vietnam. The USG also contributed to counternarcotics efforts in Vietnam through its support of UNODC.
The Road Ahead. The GVN is acutely aware of the threat of drugs and Vietnam's increasing domestic drug problem. However, there is a guarded approach to foreign law enforcement assistance and/or intervention in the counternarcotics arena. During 2008, as in previous years, the GVN made progress with on-going and new initiatives aimed at the law enforcement and social problems that stem from the illegal drug trade. The GVN continued to show a willingness to take unilateral action against drugs and drug trafficking, and began to reach out for assistance from foreign law enforcement organizations. Vietnam still faces many internal problems that make fighting drugs a challenge. USG-GVN operational cooperation is on the rise. However, such cooperation will remain limited until the development of a legal framework to allow some manner of involvement of foreign law enforcement officers in law enforcement investigations on Vietnamese soil, or the signing of a bilateral agreement between the United States and Vietnam to create a mechanism for the joint investigation and development of drug cases. The November 2006 Memorandum of Understanding between DEA and the GVN's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) was a first step in this direction, but this non-binding understanding directly addresses law enforcement cooperation on a case-by-case basis and only at the central government level.
Zambia is not a major producer or exporter of illegal drugs, nor is Zambia a significant transit route for drug trafficking. Cannabis is the only illicit drug that is locally cultivated. It is exported to other countries in the region, as well as to the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Zambia's Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) reported a large number of seizures of cannabis in 2007 and 2008. Seizures of other drugs remained small. The DEC works closely with other Zambian law enforcement agencies and has a record of international cooperation with the U.S. Government. As is true of the Zambian government generally, the DEC is hampered by a lack of resources. Zambia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Based on narcotic seizures and rehabilitation program participation, cannabis is the most commonly consumed drug in Zambia. Other drugs that are abused in Zambia include heroin, cocaine, and khat. According to the DEC, pharmaceuticals such as diazepam, morphine, and Phenobarbital are also occasionally used for recreational purposes.
Apart from small-scale cultivation of cannabis, Zambia is not a source of illegal drugs. Subsistence farmers grow cannabis from the cannabis sativa plant. Most of this production is exported regionally to Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, and South Africa. Some cannabis is also transported to European countries, including the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. There are no reports or indications of synthetic drug production in Zambia.
Although Zambia is not an important route for drug shipments or a source of precursor chemicals, it has been a transit point for minor amounts of cocaine, raw opium, and heroin. Zambia may also be a transit route for ephedrine, which is used to manufacture methamphetamines that are destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola. Locally consumed cocaine is imported from DRC, whereas khat and heroin are imported from Tanzania.
III. Country Action Against Drugs in 2008
Policy Initiatives. In addition to cannabis eradication, other DEC programs focus on officer training, drug demand reduction, and money-laundering investigations. In collaboration with public health institutions, the DEC provides counseling and rehabilitation programs to treat and prevent drug abuse. Although an increasing number of Zambians are participating in these programs, the DEC has not yet conducted a nationwide survey to ascertain the extent of narcotics abuse in Zambia. In 2008 the DEC began expanding is presence in rural areas with the intention of deploying counter-narcotics officers and establishing DEC branches in every national district. The DEC also is constructing a dedicated treatment and rehabilitation center and conducting an outreach effort at primary and secondary schools.
Law Enforcement Efforts. Almost all of the DEC's interdiction effort is related to cannabis. Between January and October 2008, the DEC arrested 1,674 persons on drug-related offenses, resulting in 848 convictions. Total drug seizures amounted to 31 metric tons of cannabis, 360 kilograms of khat, 1.3 kilograms of heroin, and 24 grams of cocaine. These figures mark a slight decline from 2007, when the DEC arrested 2,593 persons for drug related offenses, resulting in 1,402 convictions. Total narcotics seizures in 2007 included 53 metric tons of cannabis, 305 kilograms of khat, 3.9 kilograms of heroin, and 746 grams of cocaine. Law enforcement officers are also authorized to confiscate licit pharmaceutical drugs that are transported in large quantities without adequate permits. These include diazepam (valium), diphenylhydramine (benadryl), bromazepam, lidocaine, and lorazepam. Some medical practitioners have complained that these enforcement efforts are restricting the availability of pharmaceuticals for legitimate medical purposes.
Corruption. In 2008 the Government of Zambia continued its anti-corruption initiatives by prosecuting acts of corruption that high-level officials committed during the administration of former President Frederick Chiluba. In recent years, the Zambian Government has also focused on strengthening its lead anti-corruption agency, the Anti-Corruption Commission. Although the DEC has played a role in this anti-corruption campaign, these efforts have had no direct impact on narcotics control. No evidence has emerged to suggest that current government officials are involved in the production or trafficking of drugs, although several members of parliament, including the government chief whip, have previously been implicated in allegations of drug trafficking. As a matter of policy, the Government of Zambia 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. Zambia 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. Although there is no bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty with Zambia, requests for assistance can be made under these conventions. In the past, the U.S. has responded to requests made by Zambia for assistance. Zambia is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Crime and its three Protocols. A 1931 extradition treaty between the U.S. and the UK governs extraditions from Zambia.
Cultivation and Production. Cannabis is the only illicit drug that is locally cultivated. It is used domestically and there is some export to the region and to Europe.
Drug Flow/Transit. Some Afghan heroin enters Zambia from Tanzania, and some South American cocaine transits Zambia from Angola to Mozambique.
Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. No sophisticated treatment for drug abuse is available in Zambia. Drug abuse cases are handled by the government-run healthcare system.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. Government is not engaged in any ongoing programs or policy initiatives in the field of counternarcotics with the DEC. However, the U.S. Government provides significant training assistance to Zambian law enforcement agencies, including the DEC. In 2007-2008 over fifty enforcement officers, including several who are active in narcotics control, completed training at the U.S.-sponsored International Law Enforcement Academies in Gaborone, Botswana and Roswell, New Mexico. A U.S. Coast Guard Mobile Training Team (MTT) conducted a course in Zambia focused on Port Security/Port Vulnerability.
The Road Ahead. The U.S. and Zambia will stand ready to cooperate on counternarcotics cases with a nexus in the two countries.