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Diplomacy in Action

2010 INCSR: Country Reports - Afghanistan through Colombia


Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report
March 1, 2010

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Afghanistan

I. Summary

Afghanistan remained the world’s largest cultivator of opium poppy in 2009. However, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), opium poppy cultivation decreased from 160,000 hectares (ha) in 2008 to 120,000 ha in 2009, a 22 percent decline. This reduction in the area planted with poppy followed a 19 percent decline in 2008. Because improved weather conditions led to increased yields, however, production of opium gum declined by only 10 percent; UNODC estimates that Afghanistan produced 6,900 metric tons of raw opium in 2009, down from 7,700 metric tons in 2008. A combination of economic factors, including decreased opium prices relative to abnormally high wheat prices, and improved governance and security in key provinces were the primary reasons for the decline in cultivation. In Helmand Province alone, poppy cultivation declined by 34,000 ha, in part because of the high-profile law enforcement and incentives campaign implemented by the provincial governor.

The connection between poppy cultivation, the narcotics trade, and insurgency groups became more evident in 2009; nearly all significant poppy cultivation now occurs in areas with active insurgent elements. Cultivation was largely confined to six provinces in the south and west of the country. Narcotics traffickers provide revenue and material support, such as vehicles, weapons, and shelter, to the insurgents, who, in exchange, provide protection to growers and traffickers and promise to prevent the Afghan government from interfering with their activities. The UN estimates that insurgents extract approximately $125 million per year (on average over the past four years) from taxing opium farmers and traders. Although Afghan law enforcement and justice institutions have significantly improved their capacities to interdict large quantities of narcotics and arrest and try high value targets, Afghanistan’s narcotics industry continues to threaten efforts to establish security, governance, and a licit economy throughout the country.

II. Status of Country

UNODC estimates that Afghanistan produces 90 percent of the world’s opium. Afghanistan is involved in the full narcotics production cycle, from cultivation to finished heroin. Drug traffickers trade in all forms of opiates, including unrefined opium, semi-refined morphine base, and refined heroin. Improvements to Afghanistan’s infrastructure since 2002 have created more viable economic alternatives to poppy cultivation and enhanced the Afghan government’s ability to combat drug trafficking in some parts of the country. These improvements, such as roads and modern communications, can also be exploited by narcotics traffickers and insurgents. Growing insecurity in Afghanistan’s south, where most poppy was grown, impeded the extension of governance and law enforcement. Narcotics traffickers also exploited government weakness and corruption.

For the most part, farmers choose to plant opium poppy because it is a profitable, hardy, and low-risk crop. Advance credit is available from narcotics traffickers to financially support the farmer while the crop is planted and matures, and when the opium is harvested, it is easy to sell, even in isolated areas where selling other crops might be a problem. Traffickers will frequently buy opium at near-by markets and accept the risk of moving opium to consumers in Afghanistan and other downstream markets. Economic and development assistance alone is not sufficient to defeat the narcotics trade in Afghanistan; more comprehensive approaches are needed. Alternative development opportunities can and do yield reasonable incomes to potential poppy planters, but must also be backed by measures to increase risk to those who plant poppy, traffic in narcotics, and support cultivation and trafficking. An increasing number of provincial governors have shown success in significantly reducing or completely eliminating poppy cultivation in their provinces through determined campaigns of public information, law enforcement, and alternative development.

Opium poppy cultivation is currently almost entirely limited to six provinces in the south and west: Helmand, Farah, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Day Kundi and Badghis, which re-emerged as a major opium cultivating province in 2009. Together, these six provinces account for over 97 percent of Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation. At the same time, poppy cultivation continues to decline in many of Afghanistan’s northern, central, and eastern provinces. In 2009, 20 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces were declared poppy-free by UNODC, up from 18 in 2008 and 13 in 2007. According to UN estimates, seven other provinces cultivated less than 1,000 ha, and could reach poppy-free status in 2010 or 2011. Nationwide, UNODC estimates that 6.4 percent of Afghans were involved in poppy cultivation in 2009, down from 9.8 percent in 2008.

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) generally relies on the international community for assistance in implementing its national counternarcotics strategy. However, more political will, greater institutional capacity, and more robust efforts at the central and provincial levels are required to decrease cultivation in the south and west, maintain cultivation reductions in the rest of the country, and combat trafficking in coming years. Afghanistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The Afghan government continued to use its National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS) as a basis for its counternarcotics activities. The NDCS, passed in 2006, outlines a coordinated nationwide strategy in the areas of public awareness, alternative livelihoods, law enforcement, criminal justice, eradication, institutional development, regional cooperation, and demand reduction. The Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) has direct responsibility for implementing the NDCS. While the NDCS is generally regarded as being based on sound principles, the MCN has limited political influence and few resources, and it depends heavily on the support of other government agencies, such as the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and the Independent Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG), as well as the international community via support from the United States, United Kingdom, and UNODC, to execute the policy.

The MCN continued to implement the Good Performers Initiative (GPI), a U.S.-UK-funded initiative launched in 2007 to reward provinces for successful counternarcotics performance. GPI rewards provinces that are poppy free as declared by UNODC, or in which poppy cultivation has declined significantly, by funding development projects that have been vetted by Provincial Development Councils and Governor’s offices. In 2009, 27 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces qualified for a share of $38.7 million in GPI development assistance projects. The MCN has used GPI funding to provide agricultural equipment to farmers’ associations, repair or construct irrigation systems, and build or renovate schools. In Nangahar Province, thirteen micro-hydro projects that generate electricity for rural villages have been completed in areas where poppy used to be cultivated. Another thirty-nine are scheduled to be built in the next year.

During the pre-planting season, MCN officials traveled to key provinces to speak to governors and other local officials about the GIRoA’s counternarcotics policies, and to review provincial plans to reduce or eliminate poppy cultivation. Security concerns before and after August 2009 elections prevented the MCN from holding a pre-planting workshop for provincial governors in Kabul. The MCN’s U.S.-funded Counter Narcotics Advisory Teams (CNATs) convened tribal councils, or “shuras,” across 7 provinces, including the southern provinces of Helmand, Farah, Kandahar and Uruzgan to discourage poppy cultivation.

Several governors were unwilling or unable to implement successful poppy reduction programs due to the lack of security and high levels of insurgent activity in their provinces. However, the Governor of Helmand, Gulab Mangal, presented a compelling example of the progress a provincial governor can achieve through a combination of public information, agricultural assistance and robust law enforcement. The Helmand Food Zone program, launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, the MCN, USAID and the UK Department for International Development, provided agricultural inputs such as wheat seed and fertilizer to farmers in exchange for their pledges not to cultivate poppy. Over 30,000 farmers received wheat seed in this campaign (although some farmers did not receive the seed in time to plant it for the 2009 season). Coupled with credible law enforcement and security forces from the MOI, the Food Zone program reduced Helmand’s poppy cultivation by a third (34,000 ha). This reduction in Helmand alone equaled the net reduction of poppy cultivation nationwide. As a result of this substantial reduction in cultivation, Helmand province earned $10 million in Good Performers’ Initiative funding to be used for approved development projects.

Justice Reform/Criminal Justice Task Force. The Afghan government’s Criminal Justice Task Force (CJTF) is a vetted, self-contained unit, which consists of 30 Afghan prosecutors, 35 Afghan criminal investigators, seven primary court and seven appellate court judges, who are all mentored by U.S. DOJ Senior Legal Advisors. Under Afghanistan’s Counter Narcotics Law, enacted in 2005, all drug cases from across Afghanistan which reach certain thresholds must be prosecuted by the CJTF before the Counter Narcotics Tribunal (CNT). These thresholds are possession of two kilograms of heroin, ten kilograms of opium and 50 kilograms of hashish or precursor chemicals. The CJTF uses modern techniques to investigate and prosecute narcotics traffickers; corruption and surveillance provisions in the Counter Narcotics Law have enabled the CJTF to increasingly target medium and high value narcotics traffickers.

To provide a secure facility for the CNT and CJTF, the United States funded the construction of the Counter Narcotics Justice Center (CNJC) in Kabul, which opened in 2009. It includes a 56-bed detention facility, courtrooms, and office space for investigators, prosecutors and judges. A 116 bed detention annex is planned but not yet funded. There are also plans for a DOD-funded CNPA forensic drug lab to be located adjacent to the CNJC. Starting in 2009, the United States, through INL, will fund all operation and maintenance costs for two years, after which the GIRoA will assume all operation and maintenance expenses.

From March 2008 to March 2009, the CJTF handled 397 cases involving 442 suspects. The Primary court convicted 259 suspects on drug trafficking offences, and acquitted 134. The Appeals Court affirmed 355 suspects, and reversed 66 (the Appeals Court heard cases that were initially decided by the Primary Court in previous years as well as those from 2008-2009). The figures for the first six months of 2009 (April to September) are roughly similar to the prior year: 194 cases involving 230 suspects; 177 convictions, 27 acquittals at the Primary Court; 260 affirmations and 32 reversals at the Appeals Court. While the number of cases has remained steady, the importance of the traffickers prosecuted is improving. The recent introduction of surveillance capability has allowed the CJTF to prosecute higher value targets.

One of these high value targets is Haji Khostel, who is charged with masterminding one of the largest heroin production and trafficking operations in Nimroz Province. Investigators obtained evidence linking Khostel to the trafficking of more than 1,700 kilograms of heroin, 4,100 kilograms of opium and 2,700 liters of precursor chemicals. The case is significant because it was the first case in which evidence was obtained from a court ordered surveillance operation; it resulted in a conviction, and Khostel was sentenced to 18 years in prison in March 2009.

The CJTF convicted another major trafficker, Haji Abdullah, in late July 2009 of drug offenses based on electronic evidence. Abdullah, the reported head of a major drug organization in Nimroz Province, was directly linked by this evidence to 1.7 tons of heroin, 4.1 tons of raw opium and 2.7 tons of heroin processing chemicals, as well as police corruption. Abdullah is regarded as a high value target because of the quantities of narcotics involved, and because of his prominent role in the drug organization.

The CJTF convicted eight former enemy military combatants of drug offenses in August. The combatants had originally been captured by coalition forces in possession of threshold amounts of narcotics as well as weapons. The eight were convicted on both weapons and narcotics charges and received 16 year sentences. While these cases involved small amounts of narcotics, they are the results of an initiative started by DOJ Kabul to encourage coalition military forces to turn over to CJTF for prosecution enemy combatants found on the battlefield with threshold amounts of drugs.

In April 2009, President Karzai pardoned five border police officers convicted in 2007 for trafficking in 124 kilograms of heroin. The five officers had been given sentences of between sixteen to eighteen years of imprisonment, but served only fourteen months. Observers criticized the pardons as being politically motivated, and characterized them as a setback for Afghan drug control efforts.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Afghan authorities made some progress in developing the capacity to interdict large quantities of narcotics, and arrest and prosecute narcotics traffickers. However, counternarcotics law enforcement efforts were hampered by corruption within law enforcement and justice institutions, the absence of effective governance in many provinces and districts of the country, and a generally deteriorating security situation.

The Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA), established under the MOI in 2003, is responsible for investigating narcotics cases, and maintains regional offices throughout the country. By mid-2009, the CNPA had approximately 2,200 officers out of an authorized strength of 3,200.

During 2009, the CNPA, with DEA training, mentoring and support, continued to make significant progress in developing its three specially vetted units: the National Interdiction Unit (NIU), the Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU), and the Technical Investigative Unit (TIU), to investigate high-value targets. Personnel are recruited from a wide variety of Afghan law enforcement agencies and have to pass rigorous examinations, including background checks and polygraph screenings. The SIU and TIU develop cases based on judicially gathered evidence, culminating in the issuance of arrest and search warrants executed by the NIU. During 2009, evidence gathered by the TIU through court-ordered surveillance operations increased the number of large-scale drug trafficking and related corruption cases that were brought to the CJTF.

Afghan law enforcement units, assisted by international partners, conducted major interdiction operations throughout the year. In May 2009, Afghan National Army commandos, assisted by the CNPA and coalition forces, seized and destroyed the largest opium cache in Afghanistan, to date, in the town of Marjeh in Nad-e Ali district, Helmand Province. Marjeh is not only an insurgent stronghold, but also a major narcotics trading center where opium from nearby cultivation areas is refined into heroin in numerous labs. The operation resulted in seizure and destruction of 18,164 kilograms of brown opium, 200 kilograms heroin, 1,000 kilograms hashish, 72,727 kilograms poppy seed, 20,175 kilograms ammonium chloride, 90 kilograms morphine, 395 gallons of acetic anhydride, 17,600 kilograms soda ash, and 1,050 kilograms activated charcoal. In addition to narcotics and precursor chemicals, Afghan and coalition forces found large amounts of bomb-making materials in various buildings within the Marjeh bazaar, reinforcing the connection between drug trafficking and the insurgency.

In August and September, CNPA specialized units, supported by DEA, moved against major drug markets in Southern Afghanistan. In mid-August, Afghan forces raided a bazaar in the Now Zad District of Helmand, and seized 890 kilograms of opium, 56,000 kilograms of poppy seed, and over 7,000 liters of precursor chemicals. During a September raid on the Malmand bazaar in Kandahar, NIU officers seized 1,347 kilograms of opium and found an improvised explosive device (IED) manufacturing lab. In late September, SIU and NIU officers raided the Lakari bazaar in Helmand, seizing 1,500 kilograms of hashish, large quantities of precursor chemicals, and explosive materials.

The CNPA does not yet have a consolidated system in place to comprehensively track narcotics related arrests and seizures. Records for CNPA provincial units and DEA-mentored specialized units are maintained separately, and comparisons to previous years are possible but, because of changes in strength of units etc., comparisons are not valid. In 2009, the DEA reported the following seizure statistics in operations involving the specialized units: 593 kilograms of heroin, 25,000 kilograms of opium, and 53,133 kilograms of hashish. During the same period, the CNPA/NIU also destroyed 25 drug labs. The specialized units seized 180,955 kilograms of solid precursor chemicals and 30,765 liters of liquid precursors. The CNPA/NIU also reported 54 arrests for narcotics trafficking.

In addition to interdictions, Afghan law enforcement units continued to conduct limited eradication operations. The number of hectares eradicated nationwide declined slightly from 5,480 ha in 2008 to 5,351 ha in 2009. This represents just 4.4 percent of the area planted to poppy in 2009. In 2009, governor-led eradication (GLE) accounted for 2,687 ha, and the Poppy Eradication Force (PEF), a centrally-led Afghan National Police unit that was demobilized in 2009, eradicated another 2,663 ha. The decreased level of nationwide eradication can be attributed to insufficient resources (including lack of tractors and poor vehicle maintenance), poor security, and the success of pre-planting programs that compelled farmers to self-eradicate or choose alternate crops to poppy. Additionally, the high degree of insecurity in Afghanistan’s southern provinces hindered eradication operations in the areas of highest poppy cultivation. But, on balance, eradication remained a minor factor in controlling Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation.

Corruption. As a matter of policy, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan 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. However, many Afghan government officials are believed to profit from the drug trade, particularly at the provincial and district levels of government. Corrupt practices range from facilitating drug activities to benefiting from revenue streams that the drug trade produces.

In 2008, President Karzai and the Afghan Government took a step toward fighting corruption by implementing the recommendations set forth by the interagency anticorruption commission chaired by Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdul Salam Azimi. To this end, two new anticorruption entities were established: the High Office of Monitoring (renamed the High Office of Oversight), which oversees implementation of the Azimi Commission strategy; and the Attorney General’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU), a group of specially selected Afghan prosecutors dedicated to the prosecution of high level corruption cases. While the ACU is still relatively new, it has 38 active cases and obtained its first conviction in January 2010. Several investigations are underway and are expected to lead to prosecutions.

Additionally, under Article 21 of the Counter Narcotics Law (CNL), which criminalizes drug trafficking-related corruption, the CJTF actively and successfully pursues public officials who facilitate drug trafficking. As a result, high ranking members of the CNPA and other government officials have been successfully investigated and prosecuted by the CJTF. From March 2008 to March 2009, the CJTF convicted 24 Afghan government officials for narcotics related corruption. In May 2009, Mohammad Saleb, the CNPA provincial Chief in Nimroz was convicted of tampering with evidence in the previously mentioned Khostel case. He was sentenced to five years in prison. The Afghan National Police (ANP) police commander for the Arghistan District of Kandahar province, Shar Shahin, was arrested in July, after Afghan Special Narcotics Force (ASNF) and U.S. DEA agents seized large quantities of weapons, hashish and opium in the Arghistan and Spin Boldak districts. Shahin and five others were taken into custody and transferred to the CJTF.

Agreements and Treaties. Afghanistan is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention, and the 1961 UN Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Afghanistan is also a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. Afghanistan ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption on August 25, 2008. The Afghan government has no formal extradition or mutual legal assistance arrangements with the United States. The 2005 Afghan Counter Narcotics law, however, allows the extradition of drug offenders under the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The GIRoA has drafted an extradition law that has been submitted to the Parliament. The text contains a number of provisions that, if enacted, will be counter-productive to United States efforts to obtain extradition of persons charged with narcotics and other offenses.

In June 2009, Haji Baghcho Gul was transferred to the United States under the extradition provisions of the 1988 UN Drug Convention to stand trial for conspiracy to distribute heroin. Gul had been identified as one of the largest heroin traffickers in Afghanistan and had been the target of investigation for several years by numerous law enforcement agencies. Afghan authorities, with Pakistani police cooperation, arrested Gul at the Torkham Gate crossing at the border with Pakistan on May 14, 2009.

Illicit Cultivation/Production. Based on UNODC data, the number of hectares under poppy cultivation in Afghanistan decreased 22 percent, from 160,000 in 2008 to 120,000 hectares in 2009. Opium production decreased by less than cultivation rates, however, because yields increased. Nevertheless, according to UNODC estimates, opium production decreased 800 metric tons from 7,700 metric tons in 2008 to 6,900 metric tons in 2009. Consistent with the decline in cultivation, the number of people involved in poppy cultivation decreased 33 percent from 2.4 million in 2008 to 1.8 million in 2009—or 6.4 percent of the total population. The portion of narcotics proceeds actually received by farmers fell by 40 percent: opium poppy sold to traffickers brought in an estimated $440 million at the “farm-gate,” the equivalent of only four percent of total GDP. In 2008, the farm-gate value of opium production was $730 million, or seven percent of total GDP.

According to the UNODC, the number of poppy free provinces grew from 18 to 20 in 2009. Poppy cultivation continued to consolidate in the southern and western regions. Poppy cultivation is most significant in areas where the insurgency is strong and government authority is weak, particularly in the south and southwest. A symbiotic relationship exists between the insurgency and narcotics trafficking in Afghanistan. The Taliban taxes poppy farmers to fund the insurgency. Traffickers provide weapons, funding, and other material support to the insurgency in exchange for the protection of drug trade routes, poppy fields, laboratories, and members of their organizations. For their part, narcotics traffickers thrive in areas with weak or absent governance and where the Taliban and other insurgent groups are active.

The southern province of Helmand continued to be Afghanistan’s leading grower of opium poppy. However, in 2009, Helmand reduced cultivation by a third, from 100,000 hectares to 70,000 hectares. Combined with economic factors, this reduction was a direct result of the leadership of Helmand’s Governor, Gulabuddin Mangal, who instituted a “food zone” program that included public awareness campaigns, law enforcement activities, and distributing wheat seed and fertilizer. Poppy cultivation declined by 37 percent in the food zone, but increased 8 percent in the rest of the province.

In addition to poppy cultivation, there is evidence of significant and growing cultivation of cannabis in Afghanistan. In past years, there had been no comprehensive effort to measure the extent of cannabis cultivation in the country; however, last year UNODC conducted the first ever cannabis survey in Afghanistan(with the assistance of funding from the USG). Unfortunately, this study was not published at the time of the publication of the INCSR.

Drug Flow/Transit. UNODC estimates that the equivalent of 3,500 tons of opiates (either raw opium or heroin) is trafficked out of Afghanistan each year. Primary trafficking routes are through Iran to Turkey and Western Europe; through Pakistan to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Iran; and through Central Asia to the Russian Federation.

Drug traffickers and financiers lend money to Afghan farmers in order to promote poppy cultivation in the country. Traffickers buy the farmers’ crops at previously set prices or accept repayment of loans with deliveries of raw opium. Often, traffickers come to the farmers’ homes to buy the raw opium directly, eliminating the danger and expense of transporting it to market, as would be necessary with licit crops. In many provinces, opium markets exist under the control of local and regional warlords who also control the illicit arms trade and other criminal activities, including trafficking in persons. Traders sell to the highest bidder in these markets with little fear of legal consequences, and corrupt officials and insurgent groups tax the trade.

Drug laboratories operating within Afghanistan process a large portion of the country’s raw opium into heroin and morphine base, which reduces the bulk of raw opium by about one-tenth and facilitates its movement outside of the country. Large quantities of precursor chemicals used in heroin production are illicitly imported into Afghanistan. According to UNODC, markets and processing facilities are clustered in areas that border Iran, Pakistan and Tajikistan. UNODC has reported that trafficking routes for opiates (which are exported) and precursor chemicals (which are imported) are largely similar.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Afghan government acknowledges a growing domestic drug abuse problem, particularly opium and increasingly heroin. In 2005, Afghanistan’s first nationwide survey on drug use was conducted in cooperation with UNODC. This survey estimated that Afghanistan had 920,000 drug users, including 150,000 users of opium and 50,000 heroin addicts, with 7,000 intravenous users. An updated report is due to be released in early 2010. UNODC anticipates that the new report will reflect a much higher rate of drug use and addiction than previously thought, both because of an expected increase in drug use and an improved methodology in conducting the survey.

Substance abuse is not limited to opiates in Afghanistan. Consumption of cannabis/hashish is significant in Afghanistan. In UNODC’s 2005 Drug Use Survey, 2.2 percent of the population 520,000 were reported as hashish users. This figure has increased since 2005 and affects all sectors of Afghan society. For example, Afghan National Police recruits who tested positive for drug use were found to consume hashish above other drugs.

Drug demand reduction programs, including treatment for drug abusers and prevention, are elements of the NDCS. However, the government has devoted limited resources to such programs, and has relied almost exclusively on funding from the international community.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the United States continued to support the Government of Afghanistan’s National Drug Control Strategy, which calls for decisive action in the near term and identifies an extensive array of tactics in all sectors:

  • Interdictions: The DEA has increased its presence in Afghanistan and will continue to train and mentor specialized CNPA units, to improve their capacity to interdict significant quantities of narcotics and precursor chemicals, investigate and arrest mid- and high-value targets, and destroy drug labs and stockpiles. The DEA utilizes permanently assigned personnel at the Kabul Country Office (KCO) and Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Teams (FAST) in Afghanistan. The FAST teams, which consist of eight special agents, one intelligence analyst, and one supervisor, operate in Afghanistan on 120-day rotations and deploy around the country with the Afghan National Interdiction Unit (NIU).
     
  • Criminal Justice: A team of DOJ attorneys mentors the CJTF. The goal of the DOJ/ CJTF mentoring effort is to develop the capacity of Afghan institutions to prosecute and try mid -to high-level drug traffickers. Through the Corrections System Support Program (CSSP), the United States is helping to improve the Afghan corrections system with training, capacity-building, and infrastructure. The CSSP works closely with the U.S.-funded Justice Sector Support Program (JSSP), which has over 60 U.S. and Afghan justice advisors who provide training, mentoring, and capacity-building for Afghanistan’s criminal justice system.
     
  • Alternative Livelihoods: USAID will continue its comprehensive agricultural programs, which in FY 2009 provided approximately $210 million for projects throughout the country. USAID agricultural programs in the major opium cultivation areas provided incentives for farmers to permanently move away from planting poppy crops by promoting orchards or vine crops, as opposed to wheat. In Helmand and Kandahar, USAID’s AVIPA Plus program is providing agriculture-related cash-for-work programs (irrigation canal cleaning, market and irrigation rehabilitation) as well as in-kind grants to farmers’ associations and others (for farm machinery) and cost-share vouchers to farmers to foster crops that will help permanently break the annual cycle of farmers deciding whether to plant poppy or not.
     
  • Political Incentives: The U.S. will continue to fund the Good Performers Initiative (GPI), which rewards provinces in which poppy cultivation has been significantly reduced or eliminated. The MCN administers GPI, which funds development projects that are vetted by provincial authorities. Since 2007, the U.S. has committed over $80 million to fund projects that have included repairing irrigation systems, building schools, and providing agricultural equipment to farmers’ associations. GPI enables Provincial Governors to demonstrate to their constituent populations that there is direct, immediate and tangible positive benefit for accomplishing the difficult job of eliminating or significantly-reducing poppy cultivation.
     
  • Public Information: A U.S. funded counternarcotics public information campaign, implemented in conjunction with the MCN, focuses on discouraging poppy cultivation, preventing drug use, and encouraging alternative crop production. The campaign targets various segments of the population, specifically women and children, with media, community, and face-to-face interactions. In addition, public information campaigns during the poppy-planting season are conducted through the U.S.-funded Counter Narcotics Advisory Teams, and involve farmers, district and provincial leaders, and religious officials.
     
  • Demand Reduction: The U.S. is the largest donor for treatment programs in Afghanistan, funding 16 treatment centers in 2009, including three treatment facilities for women and their children. Treatment programs are managed by local NGOs with training and program administration provided by the Colombo Plan, an international organization with expertise in drug treatment training. The treatment centers, located in Kabul, Wardak, Khost, Takhar, Balkh, Bamiyan, Daikundi, Herat, Helmand, Kandahar, and Paktia provinces, provide residential, outpatient, and home-based treatment for up to 4,000 addicts per year. Treatment capacity building is supported with U.S.-sponsored training of drug treatment professionals. A three-year outcome evaluation is also underway to assess the long-term impact of U.S.-funded drug treatment services. In addition, the U.S. continued its support in 2009 for a second-year of a study to conduct special testing of children exposed to second-hand opium smoke. Initial results from this study suggest significant damage to the health of children exposed to second-hand opium smoke. The U.S. also supports 15 mosque-based outreach and aftercare centers that provide a myriad of community-based services: shelter and crisis intervention for destitute drug addicts, individual and group counseling, aftercare services for recovering addicts (Narcotics Anonymous), peer/family support group meeting facilities for recovering persons, relapse prevention services, and basic drug information to schools and community members.

Afghanistan Statistics (2003-2009)

 

 

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Drugs Seized (kilograms)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opium

2,171

17,689

50,048

40,052

39,304

37,530

25,000

Heroin

977

14,006

5,592

1,927

4,249

4,936

593

Morphine Base

111

210

118

105

617

3,232

 

Hashish

10,269

74,002

40,052

17,675

71,078

629,952

53,133

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precursor Chemicals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solid (kilograms)

14,003

3,787

24,719

30,856

37,509

65,969

180,955

Liquid (liters)

0

4,725

40,067

12,681

33,008

2,577

30,765

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrests (for trafficking)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrests

203

248

275

548

760

703

54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drug Labs Destroyed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labs Destroyed

31

78

26

248

50

94

25

 

 

Albania

I. Summary

Albania is a transit country for narcotics traffickers moving primarily Afghan heroin from Central Asia to destinations around Western Europe. In 2009, seizures of heroin increased but seizures of marijuana declined. Cannabis continues to be produced in the remote mountain regions of Albania for markets in Europe. In response to continued international pressure, the Government of Albania (GOA), is aggressively confronting criminal elements but continues to be hampered by a lack of resources, expertise and endemic corruption. Albania is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Albania’s ports on the Adriatic and porous land borders make it an attractive stop on the smuggling route for traffickers moving shipments into Western Europe, due in part to counternarcotics measures that are under-financed, and poorly supervised corrupt law enforcement officials. Marijuana is produced domestically for markets in Europe, the largest being Italy and Greece. While the majority of drugs have historically been smuggled across the Adriatic Sea, the Albanian Government’s recent more aggressive policies and enhanced policing of its coast have redirected some trafficking over land borders with Kosovo and Montenegro for transit into Serbia and Bosnia.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. A 2005 Moratorium outlawing speedboats and several other varieties of water vessels on all of Albania’s territorial coastal waters was scheduled to expire in early 2009, but the Ministry of Interior has commanded its forces to continue to enforce the ban until Parliament specifically repeals it. The moratorium has slowed the movement of drugs and trafficking in persons by smaller waterborne vessels, particularly to Italy. In January 2009, Lockheed Martin completed installation of a seven-radar sea-surveillance system which provides the Albanian Ministries of Defense and Interior a complete real-time picture of their entire sea border. In 2009 the Albanian Coast Guard/Navy received a 143-foot Damen patrol vessel from the Netherlands and will receive four more for the purpose of combating smuggling off of Albania’s coasts. As a result of these measures, the preferred route by traffickers now appears to be through Serbia and Bosnia and then on to Italy. Albania works with its neighbors bilaterally and in regional initiatives to combat organized crime and trafficking, and it is a participant in the Stability Pact and the Southeastern Europe Cooperative Initiative (SECI). Albania signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Commission in June 2006, which has since been ratified by twelve European Union member countries. The EU noted in its ratification that Albania “...is still facing serious challenges in tackling corruption and organized crime, achieving full implementation of adopted legislation, improving public administration and fighting trafficking in human beings and drugs.” The EC echoed many of these findings in its Annual Progress Report on Albania in October.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Albanian State Police (ASP) continues to seize more heroin each successive year. Italian statistics continue to show that the amount of Afghan heroin seized in Italy, having transited directly from Albania, remains minimal. According to the Ministry of Interior, in the first 9 months of 2009 the ASP seized 73.95 kilograms of heroin compared with 59 kilograms seized in the same period of 2008. Since January 2009, the ASP has arrested 320 persons for drug trafficking and is seeking to arrest 24 others. The ASP has also seized 2030 kilograms of marijuana and destroyed 123,681 marijuana plants. This is down slightly from 2008 but this can be attributed to the intense eradication efforts by the government and the more remote regions that the growers must use in order to evade detection. The ASP also seized 3.85 kilograms of cocaine, and in the process arrested 27 suspects—the seizures were mostly dealers and not traffickers. There have been several reported attempts to transport heroin from Italy back across the Adriatic to Albania, but these have been the exception rather than the rule.

Corruption. Corruption remains a deeply entrenched problem in Albania. Low salaries, social acceptance of graft and Albania’s tightly knit social networks make it difficult to combat corruption among police, judges, and customs officials. Corruption aids and abets organized crime and drug trafficking. Albania ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in 2006. In 2008 and the first half of 2009, the police and judiciary have been more active in investigating government officials and law enforcement personnel for corruption. During 2008, the prosecutorial system registered 683 cases for corruption-related offenses against 295 defendants, or 47 percent more cases registered against 16 percent more defendants compared to 2007. Prosecutors have referred to court 154 cases against 300 defendants, or 39 percent more cases referred to court against 66 percent more defendants compared to 2007. During 2008, the courts rendered 155 guilty verdicts, or 70 percent more convictions compared to 2007.

Although these numbers are a significant improvement over previous years, Albania continues to lack the judicial independence for unbiased, transparent proceedings and many cases are never resolved. High-ranking government officials, including judges and members of parliament enjoy immunity from prosecution, which hinders corruption investigations. However, the creation of a Joint Investigative Unit to Fight Economic Crime and Corruption (JIU) has had a tangible impact on the fight against corruption in Albania’s capital. (See Section IV for a complete description of this unit and its work.)

To date, in 2009, 80 criminal complaints have been sent to the prosecution office involving 97 police officers including one officer of mid-level management, 26 officers of first line supervision level and 70 operational level officers. 43 complaints involving 52 police officers involved corruption related offences.

In the beginning of November 2008, a new law on the Internal Control Service (ICS) entered into force, determining that the ICS Directorate in the Ministry of Interior would establish an Inspections Directorate in addition to utilizing the Integrity Test as a tool to fight corruption within police ranks. While the new structure of the ICS which includes the Inspections Directorate was approved on 3 September 2009, the directorate itself has yet to be established due to lack of funding.

Agreements and Treaties. Albania 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. An extradition treaty is in force between the United States and Albania. Albania is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, and since February 2008, to the protocol against illicit trafficking in firearms. The TOC Convention enhances the bilateral extradition treaty by expanding the list of offenses for which extradition may be granted. The U.S. has applied the TOC most recently in a few extradition requests to Albania.

Cultivation and Production. With the exception of cannabis, Albania is not a significant producer of illicit drugs. According to authorities of the Ministry of Interior’s Anti-Narcotics Unit, cannabis is currently the only drug grown and produced in Albania, and is typically sold regionally. The cultivation of marijuana is decreasing slightly due to enforcement action by the ASP and poppy production remains insignificant with the seizure of only 4.5 kilograms of opium plants. No labs for the manufacture of synthetic drugs were discovered in 2009, and the trade in synthetic drugs remains virtually non-existent. Albania is not a producer of significant quantities of precursor chemicals.

The Law on the Control of Chemicals Used for the Illegal Manufacturing of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances was passed in 2002 and regulates precursor chemicals. Police and customs officials are not trained to recognize likely diversion of dual-use precursor chemicals.

Drug Flow and Transit. Trafficking in narcotics in Albania continues as one of the most lucrative illicit occupations available. Organized crime groups use Albania as a transit point for drugs and other types of smuggling, due to the country’s strategic location, porous borders, weak law enforcement, and unreformed judicial systems. Albania remains a transit country for Afghan heroin and a source country for marijuana, especially to Italy and Greece. While the majority of drugs has historically been smuggled across the Adriatic Sea, Albania’s more aggressive policies and policing of its coast have redirected some trafficking over land borders with Serbia and Bosnia. Albanian nationals appear to be taking a greater role in the financing and distribution of heroin outside of Albania, especially in the Northern Balkans and Western Europe, especially Germany.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Ministry of Health has stated that drug use is on the rise. While the Ministry has declared repeatedly that there are 30,000 drug users in Albania, it has no reliable data about drug abuse to substantiate these claims. Neither does it have statistics on the number of estimated addicts as opposed to users. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that marijuana use is increasing in school-aged children.

The GOA has taken steps to address the problem with a National Drug Demand Reduction Strategy but is hampered by the inadequate public health infrastructure that is ill-equipped to treat drug abuse. Public awareness of the problems associated with drug abuse remains low. The Toxicology Center of the Military Hospital is the only facility in Albania equipped to handle overdose cases and is staffed by only three clinical toxicologists. This clinic has seen an average of 2000 patients per year over the past five years, thus the number of cases has remained constant over this period. The clinic estimates that around 80 percent of the cases result from addiction to opiates, primarily heroin, and most were intravenous drug users. There were two NGO’s operating in Albania during 2009, which dealt with drug related cases. Albania has few regulations on the sale of benzodiazepines, which are sold over the counter at local pharmacies, and the domestic abuse of these medications is believed to be rising, though no data is available.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiative. The GOA continues to welcome assistance from the United States and Western Europe. The U.S. is involved in judicial sector assistance programs in the areas of law enforcement and legal reform through technical assistance, equipment donations, and training. One of the problems in training continues to be deep political polarization at all levels of government resulting in the absence of a strong civil service class and thus many trainees are subject to reassignment during times of political transition.

The State Department-supported U.S. Department of Justice ICITAP and OPDAT programs continued their programs at the Ministry of the Interior, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Serious Crimes Court and Serious Crimes Prosecution Office, all with the goal of professionalizing the administration of justice, combating corruption, and strengthening the GOA’s ability to prosecute cases involving organized crime and illicit trafficking. ICITAP continued to offer the Anti-Narcotics and Special Operations Sectors full-time advisory support, an advanced level of training (in cooperation with the FBI) to assist in combating illicit trafficking in people and drugs. ICITAP funded by State/INL assistance continued to provide support for the GOA`s counternarcotics strategy and efforts through its activities within the International Consortium and the Mini-Dublin Group.

In 2009, OPDAT and ICITAP continued to work with the Albanian Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance, General Prosecutor’s Office, and State Intelligence Service in forming additional Economic Crime and Corruption Joint Investigative Units (JIU) to improve the investigation and prosecution of financial crimes, especially money laundering and corruption. The JIU formally began operations in September of 2007 and has shown promising initial success, opening 222 cases in the first year of operation and successfully convicting the Deputy Minister of Transportation and the General Secretary of the Ministry of Labor on corruption charges. OPDAT has supported the JIU throughout 2009 with an imbedded OPDAT anticorruption legal advisor and an intensive program of training, along with equipment donation. During 2009, the JIU has started investigation in 124 new criminal cases.

OPDAT continues to have a direct and visible impact on the JIU’s work. The presence of an American prosecutor at the JIU has increased the public’s trust in their work and also provided political cover for the prosecution of highly-placed public officials. Procurement fraud and property issues continue to lead the types of cases being prosecuted, with the number of money laundering investigations steadily increasing.

On May 6, 2009, the Prosecutor General, Minister of Interior, Minister of Finance, Director of State Intelligence Service (SHISH), the head of High State Audit, and the head of the High Inspectorate for the Declaration of Assets (HIDAA) publicly signed a Memorandum of Cooperation formally establishing six regional anticorruption and financial crime units in the cities of Durres, Fier, Korça, Shkoder, Vlora, and Gjirokaster. OPDAT will support these regional units through a USG-funded MCC (Millennium Challenge Corporation Grant)-program of training, mentoring, and equipment.

The Witness Protection (WP) Directorate in the Ministry of Interior continues to work with the U.S. and other members of the international community to strengthen the existing witness protection legislation. The WP Directorate has helped to protect a number of witnesses, and witness families, in trafficking and drug related homicide cases. Witness Protection Law reform is being accomplished through the IC working group, with prosecutors and police working with international advisors to revise the law written in 2004. The new law is now being considered by the Albanian Parliament.

The United States, through State/INL, continues to provide assistance for integrated border management, a key part of improving the security of Albania’s borders, providing specialized equipment, and the installation of the Total Information Management System (TIMS) at border crossing points. TIMS is now operational in all 21 major border crossing points and by October 31, 2009 will have been installed at the last 5 remaining remote border crossing points. Part of the integrated border management initiative, formally approved by the Albanian Council of Ministers on 29 September 2007, included the establishment of an autonomous Border and Migration Department with direct command and control of all border policing resources answerable to one central authority. The Department of Defense also assisted by contracting, through the U.S. European Command, for the renovation of SHISH field stations at Vlore and Lezhe. Other U.S., EU, and international assistance programs include support for customs reform, judicial training and reform, improving cooperation between police and prosecutors, and anticorruption programs. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) provided maritime law enforcement training to Albanian officers through two visits of a mobile training team, and has one uniformed maritime advisor attached to the U.S. Embassy under the EXBS program. Albanian law enforcement authorities have provided the Italian police with intelligence that has led to the arrest of drug dealers and organized crime members, as well as the confiscation of heroin in Italy. Cooperation also continues with Italian law enforcement officials to carry out narcotics raids inside Albania.

ICITAP has teamed up with the New Jersey National Guard under the Partners for Peace Program to introduce a Drug Awareness-Demand Reduction Program in the Tirana Public Elementary Schools. ASP Community Policing specialists will be trained both in Albania and the United States to deliver essential information to children ages 9 thru 14. This program is part of a broader based community policing strategy that includes international police assistance programs, educators and NGO`s as well as the police and local citizens.

The Road Ahead. The Albanian government has made the fight against organized crime and trafficking one of its highest priorities. The police are taking an increasingly active role in counternarcotics operations. Albania’s desire to enter into the European Union and its entry in 2009 into NATO continues to push the GOA to implement and enforce reforms, but the fractional nature of Albanian politics and the slow development of Albanian civil society have hampered progress. The U.S., together with the EU and other international partners, will continue to work with the GOA to make progress on fighting illegal drug trafficking, to use law enforcement assistance effectively, and to support legal reform.

 

 

Algeria

I. Summary

Algeria is primarily a transit country for drugs, but both domestic production and consumption are rising. Drug seizures increased substantially in 2008 and the first half of 2009. The Government of Algeria (GOA) is committed to addressing the problem and has begun several domestic programs to combat drug use and production, but Algeria faces significant difficulties in securing its borders against cross-border trafficking. Algeria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Algeria currently is not a major center of drug production, money laundering, or production of precursor chemicals. However, it remains a significant transit point for drug trafficking into Europe and is evolving from merely a transit point into a destination and producer of drugs as well. There is a small but growing domestic market for harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine, but cannabis remains the most widely-used illicit drug in the country.

The government takes the drug problem seriously, and efforts are underway to combat both distribution and use. The GOA has introduced a public awareness program and has established treatment facilities to educate and treat those affected by drug use, and law enforcement and border security agencies are actively engaged in stopping the production and flow of drugs through Algeria. Trafficking arrests and drug seizures are frequently reported in the Algerian press.

According to Algeria’s National Office for the Fight Against Drugs and Addiction (ONLCDT), Algeria is a transit point for drugs smuggled from Morocco to Europe. Algerian officials assert that Morocco is the principal source of drugs such as cannabis entering Algeria. The GOA at times also blames an increase in illegal immigration through Algeria for the increase in drug usage by Algerian youth. Algeria faces serious problems with cross-border trafficking, particularly in the southern areas of the country, where the vast desert along Algeria’s southern border is almost impossible to secure completely. There was a significant increase in drug trafficking attempts in 2008 due to the proliferation of drug networks throughout the country and the refinement of their methods, drawn from their collaboration with international drug networks and their use of improved communications equipment. The National Gendarmerie reports that the bulk of drugs seized in Algeria is intended for export, while there is likely a large increase in domestic drug consumption as well. Public statements by the National Gendarmerie indicate that the GOA is committed to combating drug trafficking, which it sees as a national threat.

In addition to smuggling activities, Algeria in recent years has seen an increase in domestic drug production, particularly cannabis being cultivated in the southeast and in the area of the capital, Algiers. In 2008, there also were several front-page press reports of domestic poppy production, noting that areas of Algeria’s southern Sahel region were being used for poppy cultivation. Algeria’s judicial police division indicated that drug seizures increased markedly from 2007 to 2008, and the amount of cannabis seized in the first half of 2009 exceeds that of the entire year of 2008.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs

Policy Initiatives. Algeria’s official national drug policy consists of five stated goals: (1) revision of laws related to drugs and addiction; (2) education and information campaigns; (3) improved national coordination mechanisms; (4) improved law enforcement capacity; and (5) reinforcement of bilateral, regional, and international efforts on counternarcotics and border control.

The Government’s internal counternarcotics legislative policies strive to adapt Algerian drug and trafficking laws to address the increased trafficking and consumption levels, and to bring Algerian legislation into conformity with international conventions, particularly the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Other plans include drafting regulations governing incineration of seized narcotics and reviewing control mechanisms for the legal production, marketing, and storage of drugs containing opiates and psychotropic substances.

The ONLCDT is charged with developing national policies in the realms of drug prevention, treatment, and suppression, and with coordinating and ensuring follow-through. The office is the government’s center for the collection and analysis of data on trafficking, use, and treatment in the country. ONLCDT in 2008 held four regional seminars on the creation, enactment, and evaluation of counternarcotics programs and participated in several conferences hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and European counternarcotics organizations.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The following table is a summary of Algeria’s drug seizures since 2007, based on statistics provided by the ONLCDT.

 

 

 

2009 (January-June)

2008

2007

Cannabis

44,600 Kg;
1618 plants

38,041 Kg;
10,712 plants

16,641 Kg;
20,987 plants

Cocaine (including crack)

537 gr

784 gr

22,055 gr

Heroin and Opium

372 gr; 977 plants

110 gr; 77,612 plants

382 gr; 74,817 plants

Other psychotropic substances

42,164 tablets;
990 Ml solutions

924,398 tablets;
2,050 Ml solutions

233,950 tablets;
5,960 Ml solutions

 

Algerian security agencies are expanding their capabilities to respond to crime by adding personnel and attempting to engage in more training. Increased interagency intelligence sharing and interdiction efforts improved the effectiveness of government responses, increasing seizures in 2008; seizures of cannabis and heroin to date in 2009 are far exceeding those of 2008.

In the first half of 2009, Algeria arrested 6,163 individuals on drug-related offenses, comprising 2,021 arrested for drug trafficking, 4,128 arrested for drug use, and 14 arrested for cultivating cannabis and opium. Of those arrested, 46 were foreigners, including 8 Nigerians, 5 Malians, 5 Nigerians, 3 Moroccans, 3 Liberians, 2 French, 1 Spanish, 1 Tunisian, and 18 of unspecified nationality. In 2008, Algeria arrested 10,954 individuals on drug-related offenses, comprising 3,520 arrested for drug trafficking, 7,365 arrested for drug use, and 69 arrested for cultivating cannabis or opium. Of those arrested, 118 were foreigners, including 23 Nigerians, 15 Malians, 12 Nigerians, 11 Moroccans, 9 Gambians, 5 Cameroonians, 5 French, 3 Spanish, 3 Ghanaians, 2 Ugandans, 1 Congolese, 1 Ivorian, 1 Liberian, 1 Sierra Leonean, 1 Chadian, 1 Tunisian, 1 Turk, and 23 of unspecified nationality.

Algerian law provides for a prison sentence of 2 months to 2 years and a fine of roughly $70 to 750 for personal consumption of narcotics or psychotropic substances and a term of 10 to 20 years and a fine of roughly $70,000 to $700,000 for production or distribution.

Corruption. The Algerian government does not as a matter of government policy encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, some cases of narcotics-related corruption among governmental, judicial, military, or law enforcement officials almost certainly occur; the Algerian press periodically includes reports of arrests of low-level police or military officers for drug offenses. Algerian law provides a maximum prison sentence of ten years and fines ranging from $2,500 to $150,000 for public officials convicted of any form of corruption.

Agreements and Treaties. Algeria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the UN Convention against Corruption. Algeria also is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols.

Cultivation/Production. The GOA has stated its commitment to the total eradication of domestic cannabis and opium poppy production. In the cannabis-producing southern and western regions of the country, the government is implementing an eradication program linked to a development strategy involving reform of local government and a highly subsidized crop substitution program. Nevertheless, Algerian drug officials have indicated that crop substitution programs have made little headway in providing economic alternatives to cannabis production. The government in 2008 reported that as a result of intensified law enforcement and interdiction measures it eradicated illicitly cultivated opium poppy in small areas in the north of the country. Over 74,000 poppy seedlings were eradicated in 2007, and almost 80,000 were eradicated in the first nine months of 2008.

Drug Flow/Transit. Algeria is a source of hashish for Europe. Shipments include hashish produced domestically and in Morocco. Spain, Italy, and France are all transfer points for Europe-bound Algerian drug flows. Most large shipments of illicit drugs bound for Europe reportedly travel via fishing vessels or private yachts.

Algeria’s vast desert and ocean borders make smuggling of all kinds a significant challenge for the country’s police, border security, customs, and immigration forces. Algeria’s long and often poorly demarcated borders with Tunisia, Libya, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, and Morocco lend themselves to cross-border trafficking. The large expanse of desert along Algeria’s southern border is almost impossible to secure in its entirety, but public statements by the National Gendarmerie indicate that the government is keen to combat drug traffickers and is doing what it can.

Algerian officials frequently comment on the large amounts of illegal drugs that enter Algeria from Morocco, and the GOA recognizes the need for better regional cooperation on border security and drug trafficking. Security force sources say that more than 13 tons of drugs were seized near the Algerian/Moroccan border during 2008. Algerian officials also have suggested that drug smuggling networks in the south are coordinating with terrorist groups, which engage in extortion and money laundering.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). To address prevention and treatment, the GOA’s national drug policy includes the introduction of lessons on the dangers of drugs into mosque sermons, the expansion of education programs to increase public awareness, and efforts to coordinate better actions taken by different ministerial departments, particularly Health, Education, and Justice. The ONLCDT also conducts counternarcotics use campaigns in schools and local communities.

Algerian officials have increasingly voiced their concern about signs of growing domestic heroin and cocaine use. In 2008, the GOA launched a public campaign to reduce domestic demand for those drugs as well as for cannabis. The Ministry of Health has established a program to train the staffs of psychiatric hospitals in the treatment of drug addiction and launched a program to establish drug centers countrywide. Algeria’s national drug policy also includes the support and expansion of drug treatment facilities and the creation of post-rehabilitation centers to provide extended treatment and to help reintroduce drug addicts into society in an effort to prevent recidivism.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives

Bilateral Relations. The USG supports Algeria’s efforts to improve its counternarcotics capabilities and plans to begin training Algerian police and customs officials in FY 2010, particularly in regard to trafficking.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. will cooperate with Algeria to improve drug law enforcement and will endeavor to be responsive to any Algerian request for assistance on drug treatment or prevention.

 

Argentina

I. Summary

Argentina continued to be an important transshipment route for Andean-produced cocaine during 2009, with most of the traffic going to Europe, as well as ephedrine bound for illicit trafficking in Mexico and the United States. Marijuana also entered the country in significant quantities, much of it for domestic consumption. Argentina is a source country for some precursor chemicals sent to neighboring countries for the production of cocaine. Argentina is not a narcotics producing country, though there is evidence of small labs that transform cocaine “base” into cocaine hydrochloride (HCl). An Argentine Supreme Court decision in September 2009 acquitted a group of defendants for possessing small quantities of marijuana; the decision suggests decriminalization of possession of small amounts of drugs, but does not alter criminal penalties for selling or trafficking drugs. Argentina is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Argentina is a transshipment route for cocaine from Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia intended for Europe and other destinations. The counternarcotics efforts in Mexico and Colombia are having a balloon effect on Argentina that is pushing traffickers into the country, according to Argentine officials. Large seizures of cocaine in Europe have been linked to Argentina, and individual carriers of small quantities from Argentina to Europe are regularly discovered. There is evidence of increasing use by traffickers of light aircraft to bring drugs into the country across the long northern borders with Bolivia and Paraguay. Most of the cocaine leaving the country is thought to be smuggled by sea. A cheap, readily available, and mentally debilitating drug, “paco” (a derivative of cocaine production), is consumed in Argentina’s poorer neighborhoods. Significant seizures of illicit ephedrine continued in 2009.

Argentina cooperated effectively with the United States, European and other South American partners in narcotics investigations, and regularly participated in U.S.-sponsored training in 2009. Although Argentine law enforcement agencies search for and temporarily hold unregistered precursor chemicals, the country does not have criminal penalties for the transport of unregistered chemicals nor can the chemicals be permanently seized. This lack of deterrence contributes to Argentina’s status as a regional source country for precursor chemicals.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. In September 2009, Argentina’s Supreme Court issued a ruling acquitting a group of young men convicted for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Statements by members of the Court made it apparent the ruling was intended to decriminalize personal possession and use of small amounts of marijuana and that it may be applied to other drugs as well. Convictions of the drug dealers in the same marijuana case were upheld. Government of Argentina (GOA) officials have also advocated legislation to decriminalize personal possession of small quantities, arguing that such a measure would permit shifting of scarce police and judicial resources away from individual users and toward drug trafficking organizations, as well as free up funds for substance abuse treatment. Congress has not acted on this proposal.

In September 2009, the GOA established, under the authority of the Chief of Cabinet, a National Coordinating Commission for Public Policy Regarding Prevention and Control of Illicit Drug Trafficking, International Organized Crime, and Corruption. The Commission is composed of leading jurists, social scientists, and scientists who had participated in a 2008-2009 Scientific Assessment Committee focused on the same issues. The new Commission is to have a leading role in implementing a National Counter-Drug Plan. Many elements of the plan focus on efforts to deal with prevention and treatment of addictions. It also envisions a role in enhancing coordination among national and provincial law enforcement agencies, as well as addressing cooperation with international partners. The commission has proposed tighter controls over certain medicines as well as mechanisms to detect suspicious patterns in the trade of precursor chemicals. The National Plan envisions redefining the role of SEDRONAR, the Secretariat of Planning for the Prevention of Drug Addiction and Drug Trafficking.

Separately in 2009, GOA law enforcement agencies worked to apply additional resources to what many viewed as an increasing push by drug traffickers across the country’s northern borders by both land and air. One effort focused on increasing the current minimal radar coverage in the north.

Accomplishments. Argentine security forces actively seized cocaine during 2009, including several seizures during the first half of the year of over 200 kilograms of cocaine. Almost 92 percent of total Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-assisted cocaine seizures of 2,373 kilograms from January through September 2009 were made in the northwest border region by the Northern Border Task Force (NBTF), the Gendarmeria (Frontier Guard), or the Salta and Jujuy provincial police forces. Over 14 metric tons of marijuana was seized in Argentina during this time frame, principally on the eastern border region where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet or along the western border with Chile. Argentine authorities seized over 8,750 kilograms of ephedrine during 2009 in the greater Buenos Aires area, as well as 80,000 units of MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or Ecstasy) seized by provincial law enforcement authorities. In addition, Gendarmeria forces in northern Argentina seized 85 liters of sulfuric acid and 200 liters of hydrochloric acid.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Government of Argentina is seeking to shift resources from the arrest and prosecution of individual users toward the disruption and prosecution of drug traffickers and other organized crime. It has achieved the greatest success targeting in-bound cocaine shipments across its northern border. It utilizes routine and targeted inspections of outbound maritime traffic, including fish, commodities, and containerized cargos, to disrupt outbound illicit traffic, but limited inspection resources and the high volume of legitimate trade means that much of the traffic escapes detection. The shift will require further refinement of investigative capacities among law enforcement agencies and the judicial system and additional refinements to eliminate case backlogs and other delays in the legal system. There is less-than-optimum sharing of case information among federal law enforcement agencies and between federal and provincial law enforcement agencies, which has hampered Argentina’s effectiveness in combating the illegal drug trade. Though most of the state judiciaries have moved to an accusatory legal system, other systems remain a combination between the inquisitorial and accusatorial models. Inefficiencies in these legal systems are an impediment to effective drug prosecutions in some cases.

Corruption. The GOA is publicly committed to fighting corruption and prosecuting those implicated in corruption investigations. It is not government policy, nor are any senior GOA officials 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 illegal drug transactions. Independent judges and an active investigative press are known to explore allegations of corrupt practices by individual law enforcement or judicial authorities.

Agreements and Treaties. Argentina is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols; and the UN Convention against Corruption. The United States and Argentina are parties to an extradition treaty that entered into force on June 15, 2000, and a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) that entered into force on December 4, 1990. Both of these agreements are actively used by the United States and the GOA. Argentina has bilateral narcotics cooperation agreements with many neighboring countries. In addition, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, France, Italy and the Netherlands provide limited counternarcotics training and equipment. In 1990, U.S. Customs and Border Protection signed a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement with the Government of Argentina. Argentina is also a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, Inter-American Convention of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms, and the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism.

Cultivation/Production. Some marijuana is grown in Argentina, but most marijuana consumed appears to enter from neighboring countries. There are occasional discoveries of small labs converting cocaine base to HCl in the country, utilizing imported cocaine paste. The discovery of one lab preparing to transform ephedrine in 2008 raised concerns about the emergence of synthetic drug production in the country.

Drug Flow/Transit. Colombian cocaine HCl entering Argentina is largely destined for international cocaine markets, primarily Europe but also Asia and the United States. Federal law enforcement agencies reported nearly 4 metric tons seized during the first nine months of 2009. There is an indigenous population along the northern border with Bolivia that traditionally consumes coca leaf. Maceration pits were discovered there in 2009, though the scale of cocaine production is thought to be limited. Proceeds from drug smuggling ventures organized in Argentina are often brought back to the country by couriers in bulk cash shipments and then wired to the United States for investment or smuggled directly into the United States. Most of the marijuana consumed in Argentina originates in Paraguay and is smuggled across the border into the provinces of Misiones and Corrientes, from where it is then transported overland to urban centers or onward to Chile. Argentina received significant legal ephedrine imports in 2007 and the first half of 2008, but changed its regulations on ephedrine imports in September 2008. Subsequent investigations and seizures indicated that much of the legally imported chemical had been bound for illicit commerce to Mexico or the United States. The regulatory change seems to have had the desired effect as legal ephedrine imports in 2009 were reduced to a very small amount. However, the new law does not regulate pseudoephedrine and legitimate chemical preparations are often diverted to be used in the manufacture of illicit drugs. The GOA should reform its chemical control regulations to include the control and monitoring of finished preparations containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine such as cold and allergy medications. Though there is evidence of continued smuggling, Argentina has enhanced the effectiveness of its port and border controls and related criminal investigations. Argentine and U.S. law enforcement officials continue to collaborate against attempts by drug traffickers to illicitly import or transship the chemical.

Demand Reduction Programs. Drug use by Argentine youth has been steadily climbing over the past decade, with marijuana prevalence among high school students recorded at 8.1 percent in 2007 while cocaine use among the population aged 15-64 was 2.67 percent, according to the United Nations Office of Drug Control. SEDRONAR has played a lead role in coordinating GOA demand reduction efforts, but that role may be evolving with the establishment of the National Coordinating Commission for Public Policy Regarding Prevention and Control of Illicit Drug Trafficking, International Organized Crime, and Corruption. The GOA, in collaboration with private sector entities, sponsors a variety of print and broadcast information campaigns which have a nationwide reach.

IV. U.S. Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. U.S. efforts in Argentina focus on four core areas: reducing Argentina’s role as a transit point for drug trafficking by disrupting and dismantling the major drug trafficking organizations in the region; promoting regional counternarcotics cooperation among Andean and Southern Cone nations; maximizing host nation drug enforcement capabilities; and fortifying bilateral cooperation with host nation law enforcement agencies.

Bilateral Cooperation. U.S. Government agencies work closely with host nation counterparts, including the Argentine Federal Police (PFA), the Gendarmeria (Frontier Guard), Prefectura (Coast Guard), Special Airport Police (PSA), Customs, and judicial authorities to pursue specific investigations and to provide training and equipment to enhance host nation capacity. Key U.S. Government agencies operating in Argentina with counterparts include the DEA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Legal Attaché (FBI). The State Department and U.S. Military Group, responsive to the U.S. Southern Command, provide support for training that contributes to the counternarcotics mission. The U.S. Coast Guard provided a Maritime Law Enforcement Mobile Training Team to Prefectura members in 2009. Argentine authorities are receptive to training, cooperation on investigations, and equipment donations.

A key element of U.S.-Argentine cooperation, supported with State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and DEA resources, is the Northern Border Task Force (NBTF), a joint law enforcement group comprising federal and provincial elements operating in Argentina’s northwestern provinces of Jujuy and Salta to interdict the drug flow from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. The U.S. Government also supports an Eastern Border Task Force (EBTF), located in Misiones Province that acts against illicit drug smuggling activities in the tri-border area with Paraguay and Brazil.

Argentine authorities actively coordinate counternarcotics activities with neighboring countries. U.S. Government support has helped facilitate this cooperation by supporting joint training and seminars in the region and providing software and equipment for the sharing of real-time drug investigation leads.

The Road Ahead. The GOA has made progress in enhancing its interdiction capabilities and its controls over precursor chemicals. It seeks to apply new resources to prevention of use and the treatment and rehabilitation of addiction. Such efforts are crucial given the rapidly changing nature of the drug trade and the potentially damaging impact of increasingly potent drugs available through international traffic.

Embassy Buenos Aires has offered additional technical assistance and training related to precursor chemicals, investigative techniques, interdiction, and legal assistance. Some steps that could be usefully taken by Argentina include improving judicial case processing efficiency; enhancing the regulatory authority of law enforcement agencies to permanently seize unregistered precursor chemicals and to levy fines for their transport; regulating pseudoephedrine; outlawing money laundering-type transactions without the necessity of proving an illicit origin for the money; improving judicial procedures for the confiscation and administrative sale of seized criminal properties; and enhancing vigilance of the national borders and air space, particularly in the north-central part of the country.

 

Armenia

I. Summary

Armenia is not a major drug-producing country and domestic abuse of drugs is relatively small. Drug-related arrests and interdictions of illegal drugs increased sharply in the first six months of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, reversing a decrease from 2007 to 2008. This increase probably reflects a combination of improved law enforcement efforts, some increase in domestic consumption, and rising use of Armenia as a transit country as other routes have become more difficult for traffickers. Also, because the number of cases and the volume of illegal drugs seized remain small, even modest fluctuations in these figures can appear as large percentage changes.

The Government of Armenia recognizes Armenia’s actual and potential role as a transit route for international drug trafficking. In an attempt to improve its interdiction ability, Armenia, together with Georgia and Azerbaijan, is engaged in an ongoing, European Union-funded and UN-implemented Southern Caucasus Anti-Drug (SCAD) Program, launched in 2001. This program provided legislative assistance to promote the use of European standards for drug prosecutions, collection of drug-related statistics, rehabilitation services to addicts, and drug-awareness education. The SCAD program in Armenia ended in 2009, but may receive renewed funding in 2010. Armenia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Sitting at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, Armenia has the potential to become a transit point for international drug trafficking. However, Armenia’s two longest borders, those with Turkey and Azerbaijan, are currently closed. The resulting limited transport options between Armenia and its neighboring states have kept the country a secondary traffic route for drugs. As Turkish interdiction efforts lead smugglers to seek new routes into Europe, and because the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia closed smuggling routes into Georgia from Russia, more traffickers have turned to Armenia. The Armenian Police Service’s Department to Combat Illegal Drug Trafficking has accumulated a significant database on drug trafficking sources, including routes and the people engaged in trafficking. Scarce financial and human resources, however, limit the Police Service’s effectiveness. Drug abuse is not widespread in Armenia, and according to the police the local market for illicit narcotics is relatively small. The majority of Armenian drug users use hashish or other forms of cannabis. Opiates, especially opium, are the second most abused drug group. Over the last decade there has been a general increasing trend in the abuse of heroin, but the overall demand for both heroin and cocaine remains fairly low. Illegal drug use in Armenia is not particularly the province of the young. Police statistics show that over 65 percent of convicted traffickers are male Armenian citizens between the ages of 30 and 49. Of those registered for drug treatment, 95 percent are over age 25 and 64 percent are over 35.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. In 2009 the Armenian government implemented new policies under legislation enacted in June 2008, designed to bring Armenian drug laws closer into line with EU standards and to focus law enforcement efforts on drug trafficking while emphasizing prevention and treatment in dealing with drug users. Specifically, these changes decriminalized the use of illegal drugs and the transfer of small amounts of drugs without purpose of sale (e.g., sharing of small quantities among users). Previously, a person convicted of using drugs could be jailed for up to two months for a first offense, a threat which the UN SCAD Program’s experts found discouraged drug addicts from seeking treatment. Under the new system, a first-offense user is subject to a fine up to 200,000 Armenian drams, or roughly $600, but that fine is waived for a user who voluntarily seeks drug treatment.

The Ministry of Justice also enlisted SCAD support in developing a new National Drug Strategy for 2009 to 2014. A project to expand Armenia’s own Border Management Information System (BMIS) to all border crossing points, partly funded by the USG, was completed in late 2008 and centralizes immigration data, giving law enforcement agencies access to information on drug interdiction efforts at Armenia’s borders.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Police statistics for the first six months of 2009 show drastic increases in total number of drug-related offenses, total number of traffickers, and total amount of drugs seized compared to the first six months of 2008: 228 to 539 offenses (not counting offenses decriminalized in mid-2008), 246 to 475 individuals, and 4.4 kilograms to 21.7 kilograms respectively. Notably, most of the increase in drugs seized came from opium, rather than bulkier drugs such as cannabis. The amount of opium seized more than quadrupled from 3.6 kilograms to 17.0 kilograms, after having more than doubled from the first six months of 2007 to the first six months of 2008. As noted above, given the small scale of the drug problem in Armenia, fairly minor changes in absolute figures can generate large percentage variations, especially when comparing relatively short periods of time. Nevertheless, the large and continuing increase in opium seizures suggests that this trend is not merely a statistical aberration.

Measures to identify and eradicate both wild and illicitly cultivated cannabis and opium poppy continued in 2009. The Armenian Police, along with elements of the Ministry of Defense and local governments, conducted an annual search for hemp and opium poppy fields in the countryside, as well as distribution networks in the cities. In September 2009, Armenian law enforcement agencies again participated in “Channel,” an annual joint operation among the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) dedicated to identifying and stopping the cross-border flow of illegal drugs and other contraband and disrupting the travel of criminals. During this exercise, the Armenian authorities scrutinized vehicles and cargo crossing the border with increased focus on possible concealed drugs. All Armenian law enforcement agencies (Police, National Security Service, Customs, Border Guards, Police Internal Troops, Ministry of Defense, and the Prosecutor General’s Office) participate in this operation.

Corruption. Corruption remains a serious problem throughout Armenia, but there appears to be little high-level corruption related to drug trafficking. The new administration that took office in April 2008 has made limited efforts to crack down on corruption in some government agencies, including the customs service. However, the corruption targeted in these agencies generally was not drug-related. The Government of Armenia does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, nor does it encourage or facilitate the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior government officials have been reported to engage in these activities.

The main form of drug-related corruption occurs when individual drug users found with drugs in their possession bribe police to avoid arrest. The decriminalization of drug use could reduce this tendency, but many drug users may be unaware of the legislative changes or may still resort to bribes to avoid the administrative fines under the new law.

Agreements and Treaties. Armenia 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. Armenia is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on migrant smuggling and trafficking in women and children. Armenia ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in March 2007.

Cultivation and Production. Hemp and opium poppy grow wild in Armenia. Hemp grows mostly in the Ararat Valley, the south-western part of Armenia; poppy grows in the northern part, particularly in the Lake Sevan basin and some mountainous areas. There is also some small-scale illegal cultivation of both of these crops.

Drug Flow/Transit. Transit of illegal drugs through Armenia to other countries is relatively small in absolute terms, but appears to have risen sharply in the last several years. In a few cases, some of these drugs have been found to reach the U.S. The principal production and transit countries from which drugs are smuggled into Armenia are Iran (heroin and opiates) and Georgia (opiates, cannabis and hashish). Armenia’s borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan remain closed, but small amounts of opiates and heroin are smuggled to Armenia from Turkey via Georgia. There have also been cases of small-scale importation from other countries, mostly by mail or by airline passengers arriving in Yerevan with illegal narcotics concealed on their persons or in their baggage. Should Armenia’s closed borders reopen, police predict drug transit will increase significantly.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Armenia has adopted a policy of focusing on prevention of drug abuse through awareness campaigns and treatment of drug abusers. These awareness campaigns were implemented under the now completed SCAD program. The Drug Detoxification Center, part of the Armenian Narcological Clinic and funded by the Ministry of Health, provides short-term drug treatment. Two new drug treatment facilities opened in 2009, one of which is part of the prison hospital system. These new facilities should help alleviate the lack of long-term treatment and counseling that previously limited the success of treatment efforts. In 2009 the Narcological Clinic began offering methadone substitution treatment.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The USG continues to work with the Government of Armenia to increase the capacity of Armenian law enforcement. Recent and on-going joint activities include the development of an independent forensics laboratory, the improvement of the law enforcement infrastructure and the establishment of a computer network enabling Armenian law enforcement offices to access all law enforcement databases. In 2009, the Department of State also continued to assist the Armenian government through the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program. EXBS training and assistance efforts, while aimed at the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, directly enhance Armenia’s ability to control its borders and to interdict all contraband, including narcotics.

The Road Ahead. The USG will continue aiding Armenia in its counternarcotics efforts through the capacity building of Armenian law enforcement and will continue to engage the government on operational drug trafficking issues. The USG promotes reconciliation between Armenia and its neighbors, and seeks a future of open borders in the region. Continued USG assistance should help Armenia secure reopened borders against narcotics trafficking as well as other forms of transnational crime.

 

Australia

I. Summary

Australia is a leader in the international effort to combat illicit drugs, cooperating with the United States and the international community on law enforcement activities. Australia is not a major exporter or transit point for narcotics, but continues to fight relatively widespread domestic availability and abuse of illicit substances. The government views narcotics control as a priority and has combined aggressive prosecution of drug related cases with efforts to control demand. Australia is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Cannabis is still the most abused drug in Australia followed by MDMA Ecstasy, methamphetamine, and cocaine. The availability of heroin in Australia remains constant and according to some local reporting, heroin use is on the rise. Australian officials continue to seize substantial quantities of their main drugs of abuse, particularly methamphetamine, MDMA, and most recently, cocaine. According to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the 2007-08 Drug Harm Index, (the AFP’s measurement of the estimated damage seized drugs may have caused society, had they not been seized), totaled approximately US$704 million domestically and an additional US$24 million internationally. The 2008-09 figures (July-December) are already at $687 million with an additional $40 million through the AFP’s contribution to international seizures. These figures have increased substantially from 2006/2007 when $563 million was reported and 2005/2006 when $150 million was reported.

Marijuana and hashish (cannabis resin) are readily available throughout most areas of Australia. Marijuana is Australia’s most highly abused illicit substance. The drug continues to be used by a cross section of the society and is not necessarily restricted to particular groups or regions. The market is dominated by domestic production. Price and quality vary significantly between each state. Significant indoor and hydroponic cultivation seizures of marijuana and disruption of cultivation continue to be reported by law enforcement in all states and territories.

Amphetamine/methamphetamine continues to be readily available within Australia. Although marijuana is the most abused drug in Australia, crystal methamphetamine and methamphetamine abuse rates continue to be an area of concern. The demand for methamphetamine is met by both domestic production and importation. In 2008 authorities seized approximately 434 clandestine laboratories of which 398 were methamphetamine. This number is a slight increase over 2007 and 2006. Australian officials estimate clandestine laboratories seizures may exceed 550 in 2009. As clandestine laboratory seizures continue to climb and Asian groups continue to facilitate the importation of methamphetamine, officials believe this drug will remain available and readily abused by Australians.

The availability of South East Asian heroin in Australia is steady throughout the nation and exists in all of Australia’s states and territories. Although officials believe heroin use will remain steady at levels significantly below the usage rates of the late 1990s/early 2000s, the Australian 2007 Illicit Drug Reporting System (IDRS) report showed an increase of heroin use among users who inject drugs in Australia’s capital cities. Some local reporting indicates heroin trafficking and use is on the rise. The Victoria Police have noted an increase in the purity of heroin and a decrease in the price. Officials also note an increase in SWA heroin availability.

Cocaine availability and seizures in Australia have increased. Enhanced associations between Australia and South America/Mexico criminal networks have led to an increase in the flow of cocaine into Australia. Multi-ounce and kilogram quantities of cocaine are readily available in the Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne regions. Recent seizures indicate an increased involvement of Asian, Colombian and Mexican organized crime groups in the distribution of large-scale amounts of cocaine into Australia. The cocaine user population continues to grow and the price and purity of cocaine remains high. There is little presence of “crack” cocaine, which is reportedly unpopular among the user population. Cocaine remains expensive by U.S. standards and its use is limited to up-market users who obtain the cocaine from a variety of distributors operating in popular nightclubs. Currently, a gram of cocaine ranges from $181 to $408 and one kilogram of cocaine costs between $122,000 and $163,000.

Illicit dangerous drugs remain popular in Australia. Australia has one of the highest per capita usage levels of MDMA in the world and MDMA is the second most abused drug in Australia. A capsule of MDMA ranges from $27 to $54. Recent seizures of domestic MDMA laboratories and substantial quantities of precursor chemicals in Australia have law enforcement concerned about the extent of MDMA abuse and production.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. In 2009 Australia announced that the AFP would play a greater role in combating narcotics production in Afghanistan. The 2009 budget included a $43 million program to deploy additional AFP personnel to Afghanistan. The officers provide high-level advice to the National Police of Afghanistan and support various capacity building and narcotics control programs.

Parliament is currently considering several pieces of legislation aimed at least in part at combating narcotics. The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Serious and Organized Crime) Bill is aimed at enhancing the ability of the police forces to prosecute large criminal organizations. It includes provisions that would make it easier for police to pursue wiretaps, prosecute members of a group who conspire to commit a crime, and investigate people with wealth shown to be in excess of their legal income. The government has also proposed a bill banning the importation of tablet presses to help combat the domestic production of illicit pills.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Federal, state, and territorial police agencies share responsibility for drug law enforcement. Each police force is an independent organization with jurisdiction over the laws of its state or territory. The exception is the Australian Capital Territory, which is administered by the Australian Federal Police. At the federal level, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) are engaged in drug law enforcement and interdiction. The AFP is the primary law enforcement agency in Australia, and it is the lead agency in narcotics enforcement investigations involving importation and/or international trafficking activities. The Australian Government has mandated the AFP give priority to drug trafficking investigations targeting major organizations and drug importations.

In 2009, Australian law enforcement authorities vigorously targeted and dismantled significant drug trafficking organizations. Asian, European, South American and Mexican drug trafficking organizations target Australia to facilitate the distribution of large quantities of heroin, cocaine, amphetamine type stimulants (ATS), including MDMA, and precursor chemicals. Australian authorities have seized substantial quantities of cocaine from Mexican trafficking organizations including the seizure of approximately 194 kilograms of cocaine in January 2009. The trafficking of bulk quantities of cocaine into Australia by Mexican organizations is a relatively new threat which has been aggressively attacked by authorities with positive outcomes. However, the seizure of bulk cocaine shipments to Australia is not a new phenomenon. In 2008, authorities seized approximately 173 kilograms of cocaine shipped from Canada. This shipment was controlled by one Vietnamese group. The bulk shipments not withstanding, most shipments of cocaine seized in Australia are from couriers, parcel post and international mail deliveries smuggling one kilogram or less. West African trafficking organizations continue to be involved in the shipment of smaller amounts of cocaine into Australia. According to local reporting, cocaine seizures at the border increased by 71 percent in 2007-2008, the vast weighted majority (80 percent) occurred in sea cargo shipments, and the number of national cocaine seizures is the largest ever recorded.

Australia continues to receive notable quantities of heroin from South East Asia (SEA) and South West Asia (SWA). The smuggling of SEA heroin into Australia is predominantly controlled by Asian trafficking groups, West Africans, and Australian criminal organizations. SEA heroin is smuggled in smaller quantities in a variety of methods including couriers, parcel post, international mail and cargo shipments. Heroin distribution networks throughout the country are usually controlled by Asian organized crime groups. In contrast, the smuggling of SWA heroin into Australia is largely controlled by Pakistani, Indian, and Australian criminal groups. SWA heroin is also smuggled via couriers, parcel post, international mail and cargo shipments. In 2007-2008, authorities report the cumulative weight of heroin seizures increased by 22 percent at the border. This trend continued as seen in February 2009 when authorities seized approximately 20 kilograms of heroin in Melbourne shipped from Pakistan.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report, Australia continues to maintain one of the highest Amphetamine Type Stimulant (ATS) and MDMA abuse rates in the world. MDMA is smuggled into Australia by a variety of groups with ties to sources in Western Europe. In 2008, authorities seized substantial bulk quantities of MDMA including the seizure of 9 kilograms in March of 2008, 44 kilograms shipped from Eastern Europe in May of 2008 and 121 kilograms shipped from Canada in June of 2008. In 2007-2008, the total weight of MDMA seizures decreased significantly as compared to 2006-2007. This was due to a 4.1 ton MDMA seizure in June 2007. In 2009, MDMA seizure rates have continued to decline; although, the drug is still readily available.

Asian organized crime groups dominate the distribution and trafficking of methamphetamine, and Canada remains a significant source of methamphetamine for Australia. In 2008, authorities seized approximately 260 kilograms of methamphetamine, most of which was controlled by Asian crime groups. Seizures have declined overall in 2009; however, methamphetamine is widely available throughout Australia. In January 2009, authorities seized approximately 5 kilograms of methamphetamine shipped from Canada.

The illicit domestic production of methamphetamine in Australia continues to be a major concern for authorities and likely accounts for the majority of methamphetamine in the country. Methamphetamine laboratories have been seized in every state and territory, but the state of Queensland (Brisbane) seizes the most. The number of clandestine laboratories seized in Australia in 2009 is expected to exceed 550. In 2008, Australian authorities seized approximately 434 clandestine laboratories. The majority of laboratories seized in Australia were small capacity methamphetamine operations; however, authorities have also seized sophisticated methamphetamine “superlabs.” In Western Australia (WA), methamphetamine laboratory seizures have risen dramatically since 2008. As of June 2009, authorities have seized 38 laboratories and officials expect to seize approximately 144 laboratories in 2009.

Domestically produced marijuana is readily available throughout Australia. Australia produces enough domestic marijuana to satisfy demand. Law enforcement officials in all states have reported the seizure of cannabis fields of various sizes but the states of Queensland and New South Wales are still the primary areas for outdoor cultivation due to favorable climate. Law enforcement officials advise many of these outdoor cultivation sites have a high degree of sophistication such as the use of solar powered irrigation systems. Authorities in New South Wales continued to seize significant marijuana plots ranging from hundreds to thousands of plants. Queensland law enforcement officials have reported that they suspect significant quantities of marijuana is likely grown in Queensland; however, officials lack appropriate resources to eradicate outdoor cultivation sites.

Law enforcement officials throughout the country continued to report the seizure of significant hydroponic (indoor) grow operations. Some intelligence reporting indicates hydroponic marijuana production may equal or even exceed outdoor grow operations.

 

The marijuana produced in Australia is almost exclusively for domestic use. According to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, there have been no instances of large-scale Australian-produced marijuana seized on the international market.

Corruption. Historically, corruption is not a problem in Australia. Corruption in the law enforcement community occasionally occurs at State Police agencies, but is the exception. The most recent corruption case at the state level occurred in June 2008 when the Assistant Director of Investigations with the New South Wales Crime Commission was arrested by the Australian Federal Police after an 18 month investigation. The subject was charged with attempting to facilitate the importation of pseudoephedrine into Australia. The arrest was widely reported by the local media and this case is still pending before the local courts.

The ACC, AFP, the internal affairs investigative sections of State Police departments and legislative-established commissions actively investigate and pursue corruption or misconduct. Generally, investigations involving public corruption are adequately reported by the media. Australia does not, as a matter of official government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Agreements and Treaties. The U.S. and Australia cooperate extensively in law enforcement matters, including drug prevention and prosecution, under a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty and an extradition treaty. In addition, Australia is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN Convention against Corruption. Australia is actively involved in many international organizations that investigate drug trafficking. Australia acts as co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Group on money laundering, is a member of the Financial Action Task Force, INTERPOL, the Heads of Narcotics Law Enforcement Association (HONLEA), the International Narcotics Control Board, the South Pacific Chiefs of Police, the International Drug Enforcement Conference (IDEC) and the Customs Cooperation Council among others. Australia and the U.S. also have a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA).

Cultivation/Production. The licit cultivation and processing of opium poppies in Australia is strictly confined to the Australian state of Tasmania. Tasmania is considered one of the world’s most efficient producers of poppies with the highest yield per hectare of any opiate producing country. Tasmania supplies approximately one half of the world’s legal medicinal opiate market. The Australian poppy industry utilizes the Concentrated Poppy Straw process, which processes the dry poppy plant material ‘poppy straw’ for use in the production of codeine and thebaine. The Australian Federal Government and the Tasmanian State Government share responsibility for control of the poppy industry. During the growing and harvesting season, crops are regularly monitored by the Poppy Advisory and Control Board field officers and any illegal activity is investigated by the Tasmania Police Poppy Task Force. The export to the U.S. of Australia’s narcotic raw material (NRM) is regulated by the ‘80/20 rule’ which reserves 80 percent of the NRM market to traditional suppliers (India and Turkey) while the remaining 20 percent is shared by non-traditional suppliers (Australia, France, Hungary, Poland and currently, Former Yugoslavia). There were approximately 1000 poppy growing licenses granted in Australia for the 2006/2007 growing season in which 13,000 hectares were under poppy cultivation.

Drug Flow/Transit. There has been no evidence that Australia is a flow/transit point for illegal narcotics.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The use and abuse of illicit narcotic drugs is regarded by the Government of Australia (GOA) as a major problem. Concerted efforts to address this problem are continuing in the areas of law enforcement, education, and demand reduction. The GOA has established a national campaign to minimize the effects of both illicit and licit drug abuse and improve the quality and quantity of drug use services. The availability of treatment services for drug users remains an integral part of Australia’s National Drug Strategy. There is a wide range of treatment options available throughout the country.

Safe injection rooms continue to be a controversial subject in federal government. The government of the State of New South Wales continues to report operations of the first “heroin injection room” (a.k.a. “safe injection room”), is “successful” since there were no fatal overdose cases in the locations. Supporters of these rooms hail the statistics as a success. Business and community leaders in the area around the “safe injecting rooms” have complained about the detrimental impact (i.e. increased crime, street dealing) these sites have had on their businesses. Nevertheless, the state governments have extended the “trial” program until 2010.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation. The United States undertakes a broad and vigorous program of counternarcotics activities in Australia, enjoying close working relationships with Australian counterparts at the policy making and working levels. There is active collaboration in investigating, disrupting, and dismantling international illicit drug trafficking organizations. The United States and Australia cooperate under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines these objectives. U.S. and Australian law enforcement agencies also have agreements in place concerning the conduct of bilateral investigations and the exchange of intelligence information on narcotics traffickers. Both countries continue to pursue closer relations, primarily in the area of information sharing.

The Road Ahead. Australia continues to be a world leader in the fight against narcotics. The United States welcomes Australia’s continued cooperation and coordination in our efforts to control the production and use of narcotics both domestically and around the world, especially the unique contribution the Australian Federal Police are making in Afghanistan.

 

Austria

I. Summary

Austria is primarily a transit country for illicit drugs; it is not a drug-producing country. Experts see no change in the usual pattern of illegal traffic in narcotic substances in 2009, except for certain precursor chemicals, where since 2007 Austria has served as a depot country for interim storage of precursor chemicals transiting elsewhere. Foreign criminal groups from former Soviet-bloc countries, Turkey, West Africa, and Central and South America, dominate the organized drug trafficking scene in Austria. Austria’s geographic location along major trans-European drug routes makes it easier for criminal groups to bring drugs into the country. Production, cultivation, and trafficking by Austrian nationals remain insignificant. Drug consumption in Austria is well below average west European levels, and authorities do not consider it to be a severe problem. However, they see a trend toward abuse of more high-risk drugs. The number of drug users is currently estimated at between 22,000 and 33,000, and the number of drug-related deaths remained essentially stabile (169 for 2008, compared to 175 in 2007). The Austrian government continued efforts to stiffen antidoping legislation with a view to eradicating a doping network active in moving products like steroids during the past few years. Measures include draft legislation to criminalize doping athletes. International cooperation led to significant seizures, frequently involving cooperation among multiple countries, including the U.S.

In 2009, Austria continued its efforts to intensify regional police cooperation, particularly in the Balkans. Austria also continued its focus on providing police training to countries in Central Asia. Austria is the seat of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and has been a major donor for several years. Austria has been a party to the 1971 and 1988 UN drug conventions since 1997.

II. Status of Country

There was no significant increase in the number of drug users in Austria during the period of January-October 2009. However, the past decade saw a rise in the use of cannabis from 5 percent in 1993 to 15 percent of total illicit drug abusers in 2008, and of Ecstasy and amphetamines, now at 4 percent. A 2007 estimate put the number of individuals using problematic drugs (mostly poly-toxic substances plus opiates) between 22,000 and 33,000. Austria counted 169 drug-related deaths in 2008, compared to 175 in the previous year. Some critics argue the downward trend could be a result of the reduced number of autopsies performed. However, the number of deaths from mixed intoxication continues to rise as drug users consume more high-risk substances. According to police records, total violations of the Austrian Narcotics Act decreased in 2008 and 2009. The latest prosecution statistics (for 2008) show 20,043 charges, a drop of 17 percent from the previous year’s total. Of these charges, 961 involved psychotropic substances and 19,082 involved narcotic drugs. Two offenses involved precursors. Ninety percent of the charges were misdemeanors. Amphetamines and derivatives (“Ecstasy” pills) are predominantly smuggled in from the Netherlands via Germany, and Austria increasingly serves as a transit country for onward smuggling to Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

According to a survey commissioned by the Health Ministry, approximately one-fifth of respondents admitted to the consumption of an illegal substance at some time during their lives. Most respondents cited cannabis, with “Ecstasy” and amphetamines in second and third place respectively. Among young adults between ages of 19 to 29, about 34 percent admit to “some experience” with cannabis at least once in their lifetime. According to the study, 2-4 percent of this age group had already used cocaine, amphetamines, and “Ecstasy,” while 3 percent had experience with biogenetic drugs.

III. Country Action against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Following a series of high-profile doping cases among Austrian athletes—particularly the admission of doping by Austrian cyclist Bernhard Kohl shortly after winning third place in the 2008 Tour de France, the Austrian government moved to tighten antidoping legislation. The law also made manipulation of blood plasma for athletes, allegedly conducted by a Vienna company until 2006, a criminal offense. A proposed amendment to take effect on January 1, 2010 would punish athletes caught doping with prison terms of up to 10 years.

Statistical data suggest that Austrians’ attitudes toward drug use have become less liberal since 2000. Public opinion has turned against the call to legalize hashish. One exception to this trend is the approval of distribution of sterile syringes to addicts. Rising crime figures in 2009, and a public perception that foreigners commit most drug-related crime, are cited as possible explanations for this change in public attitude.

Against this background, the Austrian government reinforced and expanded its no- tolerance policy regarding drug traffickers, while upholding its traditional “therapy before punishment” policy for non-dealing offenders through adjustments of its legal code.

In an effort to implement the European Framework Decision, Austria amended its Narcotics Substances Act (SMG) in 2008. An amendment regulating provisions regarding trafficking and dealing in narcotic substances and precursor substances, as well as the narcotic drugs data registry, went into effect on January 1, 2009. A 2005 amendment allows certain types of surveillance of illegal drug behavior, by permitting the installation of cameras in high-crime public areas. However, critics argue that this only moves the drug scene to other areas. Another law provides for the establishment of a “protection zone” around schools and retirement centers, in which police may ban suspected drug dealers for up to thirty days. Austrian authorities continue to demand stricter EU-wide regulations regarding the internet trade of illegal substances such as “spice.”

Vienna is the seat of the UN’s drug assistance agency, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Austria contributed 550,000 Euros ($825,000) to this organization in 2009. Additionally, Austria pledged 300,000 Euros ($450,000) for drug interdiction in the West African region, specifically for capacity building in Mali. Overall, Austria spent about 1 million Euros ($1.5 million) for drug-related projects. In Afghanistan, Austria engaged in capacity building with regard to criminal law and criminal justice. Austria has been working with the UNODC and the EU to establish more effective border control checkpoints along the Afghan-Iranian border to prevent drug trafficking, particularly in opiates. Within the UNODC, Austria also participates in crop monitoring and alternative development plans in Peru, Bolivia, and Columbia. Austria values the “vital role” played by foreign liaison drug enforcement officers accredited in Austria, as well as by the network of Austrian liaison personnel stationed in critical countries abroad.

During its last EU presidency (January-July 2006), Austria initiated the EU’s “Partnership for Security,” with over fifty countries and organizations, including the U.S. and Russia, as participants. The Partnership reflected Austria’s strong, year-long focus on the Balkans during its Presidency. One element of this strategy is the “Police Cooperation Convention for Southeastern Europe,” which Austria co-signed.

In 2009, Austria maintained its lead role among EU countries within the Central Asian Border Security Initiative (CABSI). Austria participated in the 8th meeting in Tashkent October 1-3, 2009 where members discussed border security and cross-border cooperation in the region.

Law Enforcement Efforts. According to seizure statistics for 2008 (the latest figures available), a total black market value of 24.8 million Euros ($37.2 million) of illicit drugs was seized. Seizure amounts dropped in almost all categories (e.g. -31 percent for cannabis, -11 for heroin). The amount of LSD seized was 78 percent lower than the previous year. The Interior Ministry’s 2008 drug report states that Austria’s Precursor Monitoring Unit dealt with 247 cases in relation to precursors and clandestine drug laboratories—a noticeable increase of 19.9 percent from the 206 cases in the previous year. In 2008, three illegal drug laboratories were raided in Austria, producing a relatively small seizure of synthetic methamphetamines. The estimated street value of illicit drugs remained largely stable throughout 2008 and 2009. One gram of cannabis sold for 10 Euros ($14); one gram of heroin for 85 Euros ($120); and one gram of cocaine for 80 Euros ($112). Amphetamines sold for 25 Euros ($35) per gram and one LSD trip for 35 Euros ($49).

Corruption. Austria has been a party to the OECD antibribery convention since 1999 and to the UN Corruption Convention since January 2006. The GOA’s public corruption laws recognize and punish the abuse of power by a public official. An amendment which went into effect on January 1, 2008 substantially increased penalties for bribery and abuse of office. As of fall 2009, there were no pending corruption cases involving bribery of foreign public officials. As a matter of government policy, the GOA 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. Austria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Austria is a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol against Trafficking in Persons. An extradition treaty and mutual legal assistance treaty are in force between the U.S. and Austria. In addition, In addition, all 27 EU member states, including Austria, have signed and ratified bilateral protocols with the U.S. that implement the 2003 U.S.-EU Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements, which will streamline the mutual legal assistance and extradition efforts between the countries. The U.S. has ratified all of these protocols, including the protocols with Austria, and they will enter into force on February 1, 2010. Furthermore, in fall 2009 Austria and the U.S. were in the final stages of signing an asset-sharing agreement regulating the allocation of confiscated assets between the two countries.

Cultivation/Production. Production of illicit drugs in Austria continued to be marginal in 2008 and 2009. The Interior Ministry’s annual report on drug-related crime noted a rise in private, indoor-grown, high-THC-content cannabis. Austria recorded no domestic cultivation of coca or opium in the period January-October 2009.

Drug Flow/Transit. The Interior Ministry’s drug report stresses that Austria is not a source country for illicit drugs, but remains a transit country. According to the DEA’s quarterly trafficking report, illicit drug trade by Austrian nationals is negligible. Foreign criminal groups (e.g. Turks, Serbs, Bosnians, Russians, Albanians, and Bulgarians) carry out organized drug trafficking in Austria. The Balkan route into the country is a particularly difficult one to control. In addition to opiates, 90 percent of cocaine enters Austria by the Balkan Route. The illicit trade increasingly relies on Central and East European airports, including Vienna’s Schwechat International Airport. A continuing trend in Austria is West African narcotics smugglers using women from former Soviet-bloc countries to smuggle drugs into Austria. The GOA reports a noticeable increase in Austria’s growing role as a transit country for “Ecstasy” coming from the Netherlands to the Balkans.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Austrian authorities and the public generally view drug addiction as a disease rather than a crime. This is reflected in its relatively liberal drug legislation and court decisions. Conversely, there is growing public pressure on legislators to move more rigorously against (mostly foreign) drug traffickers. The government remains committed to measures to prevent the social marginalization of drug addicts. Federal guidelines ensure minimum quality standards for drug treatment facilities. The GOA’s demand reduction program emphasizes primary prevention, drug treatment, counseling, and “harm reduction” measures, such as needle exchange programs. Ongoing challenges in demand reduction are the need for psychological care for drug victims and greater attention to older victims and immigrants.

Primary intervention starts at the pre-school level and continues through secondary school, apprenticeship institutions, and out-of-school youth programs. The government and local authorities routinely sponsor educational campaigns both within and outside of the classroom. Overall, youths in danger of addiction are primary targets of new treatment and care policies. Austria has syringe exchange programs in place for HIV and hepatitis prevention. Hepatitis B and C are commonplace among intravenous drug users at 59 percent. Policies toward greater diversification in substitution treatment (methadone, prolonged-action morphine, and buprenorphine) continued in 2009. Austria is one of the few countries allowing use of retarding morphine for substitution treatments. Austria currently has approximately 10,000 people in rehabilitation programs.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. Cooperation between Austrian and U.S. authorities continued to be excellent in 2009. Several bilateral efforts exemplified this cooperation, including DEA/Austrian BKA counternarcotics operations, the ongoing DEA support of Austria’s Drug Policing Balkans initiative, and the government’s ongoing antidoping strategies. Throughout 2009 Austrian Interior Ministry officials continued to consult the FBI, DEA, and DHS on criminal investigations of mutual concern. DEA has also continued cooperation with Airport Police at Austria’s Schwechat airport in an effort to intercept drug couriers. Drugs seized in golf balls during 2009 provided valuable insights into new methodologies used by international drug rings. As in 2008, leads passed from the Bangkok DEA office to Airport Police at Schwechat airport throughout 2009 proved valuable with respect to drug seizures, arrests and intelligence sharing between agencies. In addition, the U.S. Embassy regularly sponsors speaking tours for U.S. counternarcotics experts in Austria.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. will continue to support Austrian efforts to combat drug trafficking, including the creation of more effective tools for law enforcement. As in past years, the U.S. will work closely with Austria within the framework of U.S.-EU initiatives, the UN, and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). Promotion of a better understanding of U.S. drug policy among Austrian officials will remain a U.S. priority.

 

Azerbaijan

I. Summary

Azerbaijan is located along drug transit routes running from Afghanistan and Central Asia or Iran to Russia and Europe, and transshipments of illegal substances from East to West via its territory remain Azerbaijan’s primary narcotics issue. Domestic consumption and cultivation of narcotics as well as seizures have continued to increase. The United States has funded counternarcotics assistance to Azerbaijan through the FREEDOM Support Act since 2002. Azerbaijan is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Azerbaijan’s main narcotics problem is the transit of drugs through its territory, but domestic consumption is growing. Azerbaijan emerged as a narcotics transit route in the 1990s because of the disruption of the “Balkan Route” during the wars among the countries of the former Yugoslavia. According to the Government of Azerbaijan (GOAJ), most of the narcotics transiting Azerbaijan originate in Afghanistan and follow any of four primary routes to Russia and Europe. Azerbaijan shares a 380 mile (611 km) frontier with Iran, and its security forces need additional material resources and training to combat increasingly sophisticated trafficking groups. Iranian and other traffickers are exploiting this situation.

The most widely abused drugs in Azerbaijan are opiates—especially heroin. Also, illicit medicines, cannabis, Ecstasy, hashish, cocaine and LSD are widely abused. The GOAJ has registered 23,254 persons as drug addicts. Unofficial figures are estimated at approximately 300,000, the majority of which are heroin addicts. The majority of heroin users are concentrated in the region of Absheron, which includes the capital Baku, while the rest are primarily in the Lankaran District near Iran. Drug use and drug dealing among women has been rising, and illegal drug use among unemployed young men in rural areas is a chronic problem.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The GOAJ continued to refine its strategy to combat drug transit and usage in Azerbaijan. The GOAJ bolstered its ability to collect and analyze drug-related intelligence, resulting in more productive investigations against narcotics traffickers. The GOAJ held the chairmanship of the GUAM group of countries (Georgia-Ukraine-Azerbaijan-Moldova) from July 2007-July 2008 and had pushed for sharing counternarcotics information through the GUAM countries’ Virtual Law Enforcement Center (VLEC) in Baku.

The VLEC was established with USG assistance. The center provides an encrypted information system that allows member states’ law-enforcement agencies to share information and coordinate their efforts against terrorism, narcotics trafficking, small arms, and trafficking in persons. In December 2008 members of GUAM signed a protocol that would increase the level of information shared through VLEC; however, the extent to which the information is shared appears to remain limited. Azerbaijan is also party to the European Commission-funded South Caucasus Anti-Drug Program, which aims to reduce supply and demand for drugs by improving governments’ capacity to address drug issues. The 2007-2009 program promoted drug policies and legislation that are in harmony with EU standards, refurbished a rehabilitation and treatment center for the Ministry of Justice, sponsored an awareness campaign and training courses, gathered information about drug addicts in the penitentiary system, and improved coordination between EU and Azerbaijani law enforcement agencies.

Law Enforcement Efforts. During the first nine months of 2009, Azerbaijani law enforcement agencies confiscated approximately 900 kilograms of narcotics. This represents a 60 percent increase compared to the same period in 2008. Of this amount, the majority was seized while being smuggled across the border with Iran. During the year 1956 drug traffickers were arrested. Of the 1956 people who were arrested for drug-related crimes in Azerbaijan, 1843 were described as able bodied, unemployed people who were not in school, 392 had a previous criminal record, 65 were women and 4 were underage children. In October 2009, the Central Department to Combat Law Violations in Customs seized 20 kilograms of heroin that was smuggled by an Azerbaijani/Iranian citizen through the southern border with Iran. This case is illustrative of numerous seizures that occurred throughout the year, in which large quantities of drugs were transported from Iran and through Azerbaijan by multinational criminal groups. While the majority of drugs enter Azerbaijan via land routes from Iran, some are transported by ships on the Caspian Sea.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Azerbaijan 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. However, corruption remains a significant problem in Azerbaijan and permeates much of society. Azerbaijani judges, prosecutors and investigators attended U.S. DOJ training courses on corruption investigation, prosecution techniques, investigating money laundering, and terrorism-financing. These broad-based skills may aid in the prosecution of drug-related cases and limit the scope of corruption. In October 2008, several police officers from a Baku counternarcotics trafficking unit were arrested on distribution charges. One kilogram of heroin was seized during the search of their offices.

Agreements and Treaties. Azerbaijan is 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. Azerbaijan also is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.

Cultivation and Production. Azerbaijan’s problem with narcotics largely stems from its role as a transit state, rather than as a significant drug cultivation site. Cannabis and poppy are cultivated illegally, mostly in southern Azerbaijan, but only to a modest extent. During 2009 448 tons of illegally cultivated and wild narcotic producing plants were destroyed.

Drug Flow/Transit. Afghan opiates transit to Azerbaijan by three primary routes: from Central Asia and across the Caspian Sea, or from Iran through the south of the country or through uncontrolled regions, which remain in conflict. The Iranian route accounts for 95 percent of this flow, with commercial trucks and horses serving as the mode of transportation across the border. Drugs are then smuggled through Azerbaijan to Russia, and finally on to Central and Western Europe. Efforts by Turkey to increase enforcement along its border with Iran may have contributed to increased transit through Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan cooperates with Black Sea and Caspian Sea littoral states in tracking and interdicting narcotics shipments, especially morphine base and heroin. Caspian Sea cooperation includes efforts to interdict narcotics transported across the Caspian Sea by ferry. In 2008, Azerbaijan created 50 new border guard outposts and coast guard bases and a canine training center. Smugglers are increasingly trafficking by air: during 2009 the number of seizures at airports increased. The Government of Azerbaijan is currently in the process of ratifying a new customs code, which has not been modernized since Soviet times. This modernization process should assist in interdicting illicit drugs at Azerbaijan’s borders before they enter into transit through Azerbaijan. In April 2008, the Ministry of Internal Affairs signed an agreement with the Russian Federal Drug Control Service that facilitates joint operations, cooperative training and the sharing of interdiction techniques. This joint operation has led to the seizure of approximately 200 kilograms of narcotics.

Demand Reduction/Domestic Programs. In 2009, the GOAJ discontinued its counternarcotics public service announcement program that used kiosks and billboards in downtown Baku. In its place, the GOAJ has created a new counternarcotics campaign that primarily focuses on students. Lesson plans and homework have been created for primary school children. On university campuses, the GOAJ funded NGOs to receive training on narcotics, create on campus counternarcotics advertisements, and have drug specialists meet with students. Azerbaijan is also focusing counternarcotics campaigns on prison inmates. Information is being disseminated to inmates about narcotics, and a database of prisoners that abuse narcotics is being created. Journalists also received guidelines on how to write reports that deal with narcotics.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the U.S. Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Office continued to assist the Azerbaijan State Border Service (SBS) and the State Customs Committee (SCC) and other GOAJ agencies involved in export control and related border security. EXBS training and assistance efforts, while aimed at the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, directly enhanced Azerbaijan’s ability to control its borders and to interdict contraband, including narcotics. During the year, EXBS sponsored border control and management courses for SBS and SCC officers. The focus of these courses was advanced cargo inspection methods and border control tactics for ports of entry. Others efforts were aimed at improving the Border Guard’s control of Azerbaijan’s southern border. The U.S. donation of search tools and related equipment, such as all terrain vehicles, and watchtower construction materials, significantly enhanced the Border Guards’ ability to interdict illegal smuggling through Azerbaijan’s southern border. The donation of x-ray metal analyzers and x-ray machines improved State Customs Committee Contraband Teams’ detection capabilities. Several SCC officers were trained on the use of x-ray machines for scanning vehicles at the main ports of entry into Azerbaijan. During the year EXBS continued negotiations for U.S. technical assistance for a National Targeting Center being constructed as SCC HQ in Baku, and in July officials from the State Customs Committee visited the U.S. national targeting centers. Additionally, the EXBS program continued increasing Azerbaijani Coast Guard (AJCG) capabilities with vessel and land-based radar systems, long term training of AJCG officers at U.S. Coast Guard facilities in the U.S., and mobile USCG training teams to Azerbaijan to cover leadership and management, small boat operations, and maritime law enforcement.. During 2006, EXBS helped equip a maritime base near Azerbaijan’s southern border in Astara. The base now hosts two patrol boats and two fast response boats, and is also used for extended patrols by larger vessels from Baku. During 2009, INL-funded law enforcement assistance programs were canceled as the GOAJ failed to cooperate with the required Leahy vetting process and as a result, ICITAP was unable to conduct training program for law enforcement or military personnel.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. and GOAJ will continue to expand their efforts to conduct law enforcement assistance programs in Azerbaijan.

 

The Bahamas

I. Summary

The Bahamas is a major transit point for cocaine from South America bound for both the U.S. and Europe, and for marijuana from Jamaica. The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas (GCOB) cooperates closely with the U.S. Government, including participating in Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Island (OPBAT), to stop the flow of illegal drugs through its territory. The GCOB also cooperates to target Bahamian drug trafficking organizations, and to reduce the Bahamian domestic demand for drugs. The Bahamas is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs are transshipped through The Bahamas’ 700 islands and cays spread over an area the size of California. Drug trafficking via maritime and aerial routes between South American source countries and the United States make detection difficult. While there is no official estimate of the number of hectares under cultivation, marijuana grown on remote islands and cays is of concern to Bahamian authorities. In 2009, The Bahamas continued to participate in OPBAT, a multi-agency international drug interdiction effort established in 1982 to stop the flow of cocaine and marijuana through The Bahamas to the U.S.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The GCOB upgraded its interdiction capabilities with the acquisition of two fixed wing surveillance aircraft for the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) and one fixed-wing transport aircraft for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF). Plans to upgrade the RBDF base on the island of Great Inagua continue to be moribund due to the damage inflicted by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and GCOB budget cuts in response to the downturn in the Bahamian tourism industry. The GCOB continued to enforce its ban on Haitian wooden hulled sloops in Bahamian waters. In addition to posing serious safety concerns, these vessels historically were a convenient method used for smuggling narcotics and illegal migrants through The Bahamas. According to media reports, during a July 2009 meeting Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Haitian President Rene Preval agreed to expand cooperation against illicit smuggling, including joint exercises between the RBDF and the Haitian Coast Guard.

Accomplishments. In 2009, the RBPF Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) cooperated closely with U.S. and other foreign law enforcement agencies on drug investigations. Including OPBAT seizures, Bahamian authorities seized 1.823 metric tons of cocaine and nearly 11 metric tons of marijuana from January 2009 through October 2009. The DEU arrested over 1,000 persons on drug-related offenses and seized $4 million in cash.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The DEU and Bahamian Customs, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), continued a program in Great Inagua to enforce GCOB requirements that vessels entering Bahamian territorial waters report to Bahamian Customs. During 2009, the RBDF assigned three ship-riders each month to U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) cutters. The ship-riders extend the law enforcement capability of the USCG into the territorial waters of The Bahamas. The RBPF participated actively in OPBAT, and officers of the DEU and the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police also flew on OPBAT missions, making arrests and seizures. The RBDF and RBPF conducted maritime smuggling and security patrols through the use of a variety of small to medium-sized vessels based throughout The Bahamas. The RBDF fleet of 14 vessels and various small boats are operated out of bases on New Providence, Grand Bahama, and Great Inagua. RBDF assets include four interceptor “fast boats” donated under U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Friendship program, and two 60 meter vessels operated out of Nassau. The RBPF operated 11 small, short range vessels based in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Andros, and other small islands and cays. RBPF vessels include three fast boats donated under the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ bilateral narcotics and law enforcement assistance program. The RBDF and RBPF vessels are generally well-maintained by properly trained crews; however the effectiveness of their maritime interdiction and security efforts is limited by the few resources they have to cover the large expanse of Bahamian territorial waters.

Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GCOB does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, nor the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior official in the GCOB was investigated for drug-related offenses in 2009. The RBPF uses an internal committee to investigate allegations of corruption involving police officers instead of an independent entity.

Agreements and Treaties. The Bahamas is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention, as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the 1988 UN Drug Convention; the 1990 U.S.-Bahamas-Turks and Caicos Island Memorandum of Understanding concerning Cooperation in the Fight Against Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs; and the Inter American Convention against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms. The GCOB is also a party to the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption; the UN Convention against Corruption; and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols.

The U.S. and The Bahamas cooperate in law enforcement matters under an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT). The MLAT facilitates the bilateral exchange of information and evidence for use in criminal proceedings. There are currently 51 U.S. extraditions pending in The Bahamas. GCOB prosecutors pursue USG extradition requests vigorously, however, in the Bahamian justice system; defendants can appeal a magistrate’s decision, first domestically, and ultimately, to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. This process often adds years to an extradition procedure. The USG also has a Comprehensive Maritime Agreement (CMA) with The Bahamas, which went into effect in 2004 replacing a patchwork of disparate safety, security and law enforcement agreements. Among its provisions, the CMA permits cooperation in counternarcotics and migrant interdiction operations in and around Bahamian territorial waters, including the use of ship riders and expedited boarding approval and procedures.

Cultivation and Production. There are no official estimates of hectares of marijuana under cultivation in The Bahamas. USG and host country enforcement agencies believe Jamaican nationals are involved in the cultivation of marijuana on The Bahamas’ remote islands and cays, however only a fraction of the marijuana seizures in 2009 were in plant form. Most marijuana loads were found concealed aboard smuggling vessels or stashed on sparsely populated islands. OPBAT and the RBPF cooperated in identifying, seizing, and destroying nearly 11 metric tons of marijuana during the period from January through October 2009.

Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine transits The Bahamas via go-fast boats, small commercial freighters, or small aircraft from Jamaica, Hispaniola and Venezuela. DEA estimates that this accounts for approximately five percent of the cocaine flow to the U.S. According to USG law enforcement, sport fishing vessels and pleasure crafts then transport cocaine from The Bahamas to Florida, blending into the legitimate vessel traffic that moves daily between these locations. Larger go-fast and sport fishing vessels transport marijuana from Jamaica, through The Bahamas and into Florida in the same manner that cocaine is moved. From January through October 2009, USG and host country law enforcement assets interdicted seven vessels and disrupted numerous attempts to smuggle illicit drugs through The Bahamas. DEA/OPBAT estimates that there are 12 to 15 major Bahamian drug trafficking organizations operating in The Bahamas. Bahamian law enforcement officials also identified shipments of drugs in Haitian sloops and coastal freighters. Information acquired by host country law enforcement suggests drug trafficking organizations have utilized air drops and remote airfields to deliver large cocaine shipments to the Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas from Venezuela and Colombia. Illegal drugs are also smuggled using commercial maritime means. Illegal drugs have been seized from cargo containers transiting the port container facility in Freeport. The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigations into alien smuggling operations in the Bahamas often have revealed a connection to drug trafficking as well.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Bahamas National Anti-Drug Secretariat (NADS) coordinates the demand reduction programs of the various governmental entities such as Sandilands Rehabilitation Center and of NGO’s such as the Drug Action Service and The Bahamas Association for Social Health. Although NADS received additional funding and support from the USG in 2009, it requires a significant increase in personnel and funding in order to coordinate, plan, and implement The Bahamas’ 2004 Anti-Drug Plan. In 2009, GCOB and NGO drug prevention efforts focused primarily on schools and youth organizations on New Providence, Grand Bahama, and other population centers.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. The goals of USG assistance to The Bahamas are to: stem the flow of illegal drugs through The Bahamas and into the United States; dismantle drug trafficking organizations; and strengthen Bahamian law enforcement and judicial institutions to make them more effective and self-sufficient in combating drug trafficking and money laundering.

Bilateral Cooperation. During 2009, INL funded training, equipment, travel and technical assistance for GCOB law enforcement and drug demand reduction officials, procured computer and other equipment to improve Bahamian law enforcement capacity to target trafficking organizations through better intelligence collection and more efficient interdiction operations, repaired and upgraded RBPF interdiction boats based at Grand Bahama, and supported the GCOB’s “Drug Free Schools” initiative with funding for teacher training, transportation, and course materials.

The USCG moved forward with plans to rebuild the OPBAT hangar on Great Inagua. Pending the successful conclusion of lease negotiations with the GCOB, construction will begin in 2010 with completion planned for 2012. The new hangar will allow USCG to base helicopters flying in support of OPBAT on Great Inagua. USCG’s helicopters have been operating from Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands since hurricane Ike destroyed the original Great Inagua hangar in 2008. The USCG provided resident, mobile and on-the-job training in maritime law enforcement, engineering and maintenance, professional development for the officer and enlisted corps, and medical practices to the RBDF. Before the end of 2009, the Department of Defense will deliver two additional 43-foot interceptor boats and communications equipment to the RBDF under the U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Friendship program.

The Road Ahead. Despite the Bahamian Government’s strong commitment to joint counternarcotics efforts and to extradite drug traffickers to the U.S., the slow movement of extradition requests through the overburdened Bahamian judicial system is a source of concern. There have been credible reports of subjects of U.S. extradition requests continuing to participate in illegal drug smuggling activities while on bail awaiting resolution of their cases. We encourage GCOB efforts to decrease the time needed to resolve these and other criminal cases by increasing the resources and manpower available to prosecutors, judges, and magistrates. Prime Minister Ingraham’s call for greater cooperation between The Bahamas and Haiti was also welcome. The GCOB could enhance its drug control efforts further by integrating Creole speakers into the DEU and encouraging information sharing between the RBPF, RBDF, and the Haitian National Police (HNP) to develop information on Haitian drug trafficking organizations operating in The Bahamas. The GCOB enhanced OPBAT’s maritime interdiction capabilities by basing the four interceptor boats acquired under Operation Enduring Friendship in 2008 on New Providence, Grand Bahama, and Great Inagua. These capabilities could be developed further by stationing the two new boats received in 2009 on Grand Bahama and Great Inagua.

 

Bangladesh

I. Summary

There was no evidence that Bangladesh is a significant cultivator or producer of narcotics. Government of Bangladesh (GOB) officials charged with controlling and preventing illegal substance trafficking continued to lack sufficient training, equipment, continuity of leadership, and other resources to detect and interdict the flow of drugs. Law enforcement agencies nevertheless continued to interdict narcotics, from the Golden Crescent in South Asia and the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia, smuggled into Bangladesh along its porous land border with India and Burma and by fishing trawlers, but not as efficiently as they could if training and equipment needs were met. Corruption also hampers the country’s drug interdiction efforts. Bangladesh is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The country’s porous borders facilitated the illegal flow of narcotics from neighboring countries and made Bangladesh an attractive transfer point for drugs transiting the region. Assessments conducted by several U.S. agencies in 2008 confirmed numerous land, sea and air border security vulnerabilities in Bangladesh that could be easily exploited by narcotics traffickers. The Bangladesh Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) said it was unable to estimate the number of drug addicts in the country, and NGO sources also have no real idea, since their estimates range wildly between 100,000 to 1.7 million addicts, with 20,000-25,000 injecting drug users and 45,000 heroin smokers, as best guesses for these classes of drug abusers. Other drugs used in Bangladesh were methamphetamines, marijuana, and the codeine-based cough syrup phensidyl. Most of the “ya ba” (methamphetamine pills) circulating in Bangladesh is smuggled from neighboring countries such as Burma.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Although government officials said in 2007 that they planned to introduce a new interagency drug abuse monitoring group, no such agency existed by late 2009, as this report was being prepared.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Law enforcement units engaged in operations to counternarcotics included the police, the DNC, the border defense forces known as the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), customs, the navy, the coast guard, local magistrates and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite group that played a leading role in fighting terrorism, corruption and narcotics abuse. Customs, the navy, the coast guard and the DNC all suffered from poor funding, inadequate equipment, understaffing and lack of training. For example, the DNC budget for 2008-2009 was 184 million taka (about $2.6 million), only slightly more than the actual expenditure for the previous fiscal year. Its work force of about 940 people also was 337 positions short of the number approved by the government. The DNC did not maintain a presence at the international airports in Chittagong and Sylhet and only two officials were posted at Dhaka airport. DNC officers throughout the country were not authorized to carry weapons. Although RAB had become perhaps the highest-profile counternarcotics force in the country, it did not have a special counternarcotics section. Its drug-fighting resources, which appeared stronger than other law-enforcement agencies, included a recently expanded canine corps of 51 dogs.

The smuggling, diversion and abuse of pharmaceuticals originating from India is considered one of the single largest drug problems in Bangladesh. The BDR seized 32,870 liters of phensidyl, a codeine-based, highly addictive cough syrup produced in India, in addition to the more traditional drugs of abuse, such as 14.7 kilograms of heroin, and 9,626.4 kilograms of marijuana from January through September 2009. The DNC keeps tabs primarily on seizures by its own officers. Drugs seized by the department from January through September 2009 (latest statistics) are as follows: 17.6 kilograms of heroin (compared to 29.0 kilograms in all of 2008 and 20.9 kilograms in 2007); 1,540 kilograms of marijuana (compared to 2,302 kilograms in 2008 and 1,768 kilograms in 2007); more than 46,187 bottles of phensidyl; 83 ampoules of pethedine, an injectable opiate with medical application as an anesthetic; and 3,179 tablets of ya ba tablets which consist of caffeine and methamphetamine. Meanwhile, RAB reported 516 drug related arrests as of September 2009.

Corruption. The drive against corruption launched by the Caretaker Government in January 2007 slowed following the December 2008 national elections. The Awami League formed the Government following elections, replacing the Caretaker Government. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) faced criticism from both ruling and opposition party leaders for what they described as “harassment” of politicians during the two years of the state of emergency. The ACC saw a change of leadership and a government review committee recommended withdrawal of 875 cases, mostly involving Awami League leaders, as of October, 2009. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vowed to continue the campaign against corruption. The GOB did not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of drugs or controlled substances or launder proceeds from their transactions. No senior official had been identified as engaging in, encouraging, or facilitating the production or distribution of drugs or controlled substances.

Agreements and Treaties. Bangladesh 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. Bangladesh acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption in February 2007 but has neither ratified nor acceded to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. There is neither an extradition nor a mutual legal assistance treaty between the United States and Bangladesh.

Cultivation/Production. The International Narcotics Control Board estimated small quantities of cannabis are cultivated in Bangladesh for local use. The DNC acknowledged that some small amount of cannabis is cultivated in the hill tracts near Chittagong, in the southern silt islands, and in the northeastern region, noting it is for local consumption. The DNC also reported that as soon as knowledge of a cannabis crop reached its officers, that crop was destroyed in concert with law enforcement agencies. The DNC said there were no significant crop destruction activities in the first 10 months of 2009.

Drug Flow/Transit. The most frequently abused drug traditional drug of abuse is heroin, thereafter, phensidyl (Codeine based cough syrup) illegally smuggled from India and the third highest is cannabis. Bangladesh has borders with India on its three sides except the south, which borders the Bay of Bengal. There were few media reports of major narcotics seizures in the first 10 months of 2009. The International Narcotics Control Board in its 2007 report cited evidence that “heroin consignments destined for Europe are increasingly passing through Bangladesh.” It said heroin was smuggled into Bangladesh by courier from Pakistan, by commercial vehicle or trains from India, by truck or public transport from Burma and by sea via the Bay of Bengal. The Chittagong seaport appeared to be the main exit point for narcotics leaving Bangladesh, the report added. Bangladesh Navy officials said they suspected Bangladesh was a transit zone for heroin smuggled out of the Golden Crescent in South Asia and the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia. Smugglers used Bangladeshi, Burmese and Thai Fishing Trawlers for trafficking heroin into Bangladesh.

Several recent U.S. government assessments confirmed vulnerabilities along Bangladesh’s land, sea and air borders. One report from the Department of Homeland Security described a chaotic situation at Benapole, the main land border crossing between India and Bangladesh, which could easily be exploited by narcotics traffickers. The report said examination of luggage items was said to be cursory at best. Opium-based pharmaceuticals and other drugs containing controlled substances are being smuggled into Bangladesh from India. White (injectable) heroin comes in from Burma.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Law enforcement officials believe that drug abuse, while previously a problem among the ultra-poor, is becoming a major problem among the wealthy and well-educated young as well. The Department of Narcotics Control ran treatment centers in Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Jessore and Comilla. In the nine months through September 2008, 3,120 patients received treatment at the government facilities, the vast majority of them being male. A drug addicts’ rehabilitation organization, APON, operates six long-term residential rehabilitation centers, including the first centers in Bangladesh for the rehabilitation of female addicts (opened in 2005 and a more permanent facility in 2009). APON says it is the only organization that includes street children in its drug rehabilitation program. The International Narcotics Control Board in its 2007 report said prescription controls in Bangladesh were not adequately enforced at the retail level. It said pharmaceutical preparations were stolen from both hospitals and pharmacies.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The USG continued to support Bangladesh’s counternarcotics efforts. For example, the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka provided a grant of $52,000 to APON for a new rehabilitation center for female drug addicts, which opened in November 2009.

The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to provide law enforcement and forensic training for GOB officials, which the USG hopes will be useful to Bangladesh’s counternarcotics efforts. New Delhi-based Drug Enforcement Administration officials visited Dhaka in November 2009 to liaise with Bangladeshi law enforcement agencies about future counternarcotics cooperation.

 

Belarus

I. Summary

Belarus remains a transit route for illicit drugs and drug precursors. Drug use and drug-related crime increased in Belarus in 2009, although there is no evidence of large-scale drug production in the country. In October 2008 the government adopted a National Action Plan for 2009-2013 to coordinate government and NGO counternarcotics efforts. In early 2009 the General Prosecutor’s office drafted a bill on measures to prevent drug abuse. The bill is expected to strengthen Belarusian laws against drug related crimes and will be submitted for parliamentary consideration in 2010.

The government has taken regulatory steps to tighten control over precursors, smoking mixes and chewing tobacco. In addition, the government facilitated UN technical assistance programs. Some significant drug seizures were made during 2009, but the quantities involved may only hint at the true scale of trafficking. Law enforcement efforts suffer from a lack of coordination as well as inadequate funding and equipment shortfalls. Some non-governmental organizations concerned with narcotics treatment and mitigation which were denied registration in previous years resumed their operations in 2008 and continued their work into 2009. In short, availability and quality of drug treatment services have improved somewhat, but a great deal of work still remains. Belarus is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Because of its geographical location, good transportation infrastructure, and the presence of corruption in its law enforcement system, Belarus is an attractive transit route for illicit drugs. The lack of border controls between Belarus and Russia makes drug transit easier. Belarus’ law-enforcement officials expect this problem to become worse when members of the Eurasian Economic Community (Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan) create a customs union in 2010. There is no evidence of large-scale drug production in, or export from Belarus, although synthetic and plant-based narcotics production does seem to be growing. Indications are that although plant narcotics dominate the illicit drug market (approximately 75-85 percent plant-based to 15-25 percent synthetic) the ratio appears to be shifting toward synthetic drugs. According to the data of Belarus’ Health Ministry, while five years ago about 93 percent of drug addicts in Belarus consumed opium and its derivatives, at present these drugs are consumed by approximately 70 percent. Most synthetic drugs found in Belarus are produced in Poland, with a lesser amount produced in the Baltic States. Amphetamine-type stimulants are the predominant synthetic drug available on the Belarusian market. Although law enforcement officials of neighboring countries maintain that Belarus is a source of precursor chemicals, senior officials of Belarus’ Interior Ministry flatly deny this. It is more likely that Belarus is a transit country for precursor chemicals produced in Russia en route to production sites in Poland and the Baltic States. Whatever drug production and cultivation may exist in Belarus, they are not perceived in Belarus as the most pressing problem. Drug abuse prevention, treatment, and transit issues must be addressed first, Belarus officials believe, if the country is to reach full compliance with the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. In October 2008, the Belarusian government adopted the National Action Plan to counteract drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking and related crimes in Belarus. From 2009 through 2013, this Plan will consolidate the counternarcotics efforts of all government agencies and NGOs under Interior Ministry coordination. Drug trafficking is routinely addressed at the regular meetings of the Domestic Belarus National Security Council’s Interagency Committee on crime, corruption and drugs.

The Belarus’ Health Ministry passed a resolution in July 2009, which expanded the National List of Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors Subject to Government Control in Belarus to include 3,4 metilendioxifenil-2 and red phosphorus as well as synthetic cannabinoids (JWH-018 and CP-47, 497) “Spice”. The resolution will come into effect on January 1, 2010. In an effort to prevent mailings of Cannabis seeds for their subsequent planting the government is contemplating introducing a ban on such mailings. No decision had been made as of late November 2009.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Local Belarusian media are reporting more instances of drug use and drug-related crimes in Belarus in 2009 than in 2008. Belarusian law enforcement authorities attribute this increase to improved detection, but acknowledge that the overall, non-drug-related crime rate is also higher than a year ago. Police discovered four synthetic drug labs in the country.

Between January 1 and October 1, 2009, authorities seized approximately 17.3 kilograms of psychotropic substances and 586 kilograms of other drugs. Drugs seized (in kilograms) are as follows: Poppy Straw (353.2); Marijuana (213.4); Raw Opium (0.826); Heroin (3.144); Amphetamine (2.692); Methamphetamine (8.249); Ecstasy (MDMA) (0.069); Acetylated Opium (0.381); Hashish (4.420); Hashish oil (0.004); Cocaine (0.122); Raw opium (8.715); Methadone (1.481); Morphine (0.006); Tetrahydrocannabinol (1.458). In the first six months of 2009, 1,021 people were convicted for drug related crimes in Belarus. From June through August within the framework of “Poppy” program police discovered 3,635 illegal plantations, and destroyed 75.8 metric tons of poppy straw and other drugs containing plants from a total planting area which exceeded 390 square kilometers. Poppy straw is converted into acetylated opium, an injectable opiate that is cheaper and easier to produce than heroin and is widely abused throughout the region. The Interior and other government agencies conducted routine checks of legal manufacturers of narcotic and psychotropic substances within the framework of their “Doping” program to ensure their compliance with production, storage and sales regulations, and to avoid the leak of such substances to the illicit drug market.

According to official statistics, 3,533 drug-related crimes were recorded in the first nine months of 2009. These comprised: thefts of narcotics substances—27, instances of illicit trafficking in controlled substances—3,257, cultivation of narcotic plants—32, street drug sales—23, and the organizing of illicit drug consumption rooms—95. In September 2009, officers of Belarus’ Interior Ministry, Customs Committee, KGB and Border Guard Committee actively participated in CANAL-2009, a joint operation with Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) members aimed at the prevention and interdiction of illicit drug deliveries from Afghanistan and precursor deliveries to Belarus. During this operation, 104 drug-related crimes were recorded, criminal charges were brought against 92 persons, and more than 118.5 kilograms of narcotics were seized. The Interior Ministry officials conceded that official seizure figures do not reflect the true scale of the problem. In June 2009 presidents of the CSTO member states decided to make CANAL operation a permanent project. This is expected to help intensify their counternarcotics efforts and improve results.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Belarus does not encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior officials of the government are known to engage in, encourage, or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of such drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. A few high-level personnel within the Interior Ministry were charged with corruption in 2009, but none of the charges were drug-related. Nevertheless, the perception that corruption remains a serious problem facilitating drug trafficking was supported by the General Prosecutor Grigory Vasilevich in his November 2009 remark that through-September corruption has grown 20 percent year-on-year.

Agreements and Treaties. Belarus 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. Belarus is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Belarus is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) with Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia and conducts joint counternarcotics operations with those countries. Russia and Belarus planned to complete before the end of 2008 a unified list of narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors subject to state control, in order to avoid criminal liability in one country for drugs which are legal in the other. According to Belarus’ Interior Ministry, this job has not been completed as of mid-November 2009.

Cultivation/Production. Some drug crop cultivation and synthetic drug production exists, but the scale is hard to estimate. Official government figures are unreliable. Precursor chemicals continue to be imported in volume, but the current legal structure makes it difficult to prevent their diversion to illicit uses. In 2007, 1,990 entities had licenses for manufacturing and storage of precursors and 15,000 employees have access to the substances. No up-to-date data are available but there is no indication that these numbers have significantly changed. Reported increases in demand for poppy-seed, and subsequent tenfold increase in price, prompted a December 2007 ban on retail sale of poppy at grocery markets-poppy seed is used in certain cakes and breads. According to Belarus’ Interior Ministry, domestic producers of illicit drugs sell them inside the country but also make every effort to sell them abroad, primarily in Russia, as prices on drugs there are generally higher than in Belarus. According to the Belarus’ Health Ministry, such manufacturers work hard to invent new chemical substances, which possess drug effect and which as yet have not been put on the National List of Narcotics, Psychotropic Substances and Their Precursors Subject to Government Control, and are therefore completely legal.

Drug Flow/Transit. Heroin enters and transits Belarus from Afghanistan via Central Asia and Russia. Poppy straw, opium, and marijuana enter through Ukraine; Ecstasy, amphetamines, hashish and marijuana come from Poland and Lithuania; cocaine comes from Latin America and precursor chemicals for the preparation of drugs from Russia. Heroin and methadone from Russia transit Belarus en route to Lithuania and other European countries. East-bound marijuana, hashish and cocaine transit Belarus and Lithuania as well. Press reports and anecdotal evidence continue to indicate that the control infrastructure along the border with Ukraine is particularly weak. In accordance with their bilateral customs union agreement, Belarusian border guards are not deployed on the border with Russia, which is policed by Russian forces. Apparently, customs officers currently inspect only five percent of all inbound freight nationally, and border guards often lack the training and equipment to conduct effective searches.

The Interior Ministry conducted routine checks of businesses, which export, import and arrange for the transit of chemical substances via Belarus. Through September 2009 the Interior Ministry officers discovered 36 channels of drug delivery and transit and seized 27 kilograms of hashish, 5 kilograms of amphetamine-type stimulants, 4000 tablets of ephedrine, more than 1.4 kilograms of heroin, about 1 kilograms of cocaine and other psychotropic substances.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Belarusian authorities have begun to recognize the growing domestic demand problem, particularly among young people. Ministry of Health chief addiction officer, Vladimir Maksimchuk, announced that the number of registered drug users in the country has increased to nearly 12,000 registered drug abusers (as of October 2009), but acknowledged that the actual number of users was approximately seven times higher. According to the Health Ministry official, approximately 120 drug addicts die in Belarus annually because of overdoses. The largest number of drug users is between 20 and 30 years old, and prevention programs in schools remain under-funded. News reports indicate that the ratio of consumers of oral (vs. injected) drugs is growing due to the relative ease of concealment of oral drug use. The government generally treats drug addicts in psychiatric hospitals or at outpatient narcotics clinics (of which there are 21 in Belarus), either as a result of court remand or self-enrollment. Addicts are also treated in prisons. On the whole, treatment emphasizes detoxification over stabilization and rehabilitation. In April 2009, the Ministries of Health and Interior, the General Prosecutor’s office, the Belarusian State University and a number of counternarcotics NGO’s conducted a seminar to review the possibility of mandatory treatment in lieu of criminal liability for first-time users, unless guilty of a serious crime. To date no decision has been taken, but seminar participants established a working group to examine the practices of foreign states and decide on the relevance of their practices to Belarus. The methadone replacement clinic opened by the Ministry of Health in Minsk in July 2009 was the second such clinic in operation. Another clinic is scheduled to be built in the city of Soligorsk in the Minsk region before the end of 2009. Both clinics are expected to serve approximately 100 people this year.

There are at least twelve small-scale NGO-run rehabilitation centers in various areas of Belarus. On the whole, availability and quality of services have improved somewhat. NGO-run centers provide fee-rehabilitation services to both registered and anonymous drug addicts, while government-run centers provide similar services for free, but only to registered addicts. Since drug use remains highly stigmatized in Belarusian society, and because the official drug addict registry is readily available to Belarusian law enforcement and other government agencies, drug addicts still often avoid seeking treatment, fearing adverse consequences at work, at school, or in society writ large if their addiction becomes known.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The USG has not provided counternarcotics assistance to the GOB since February 1997. Although some working-level assistance and contacts have existed in the area of law enforcement, these ceased in early 2008, when the GOB forced a draw down of the official American presence in Belarus from 35 to 5 Americans and began denying visas to U.S. law enforcement personnel for visits. The imposition of restrictions in 2005 by the Government of Belarus on technical assistance including the taxation of humanitarian aid poses additional hurdles to cooperation. Moreover, the USG is currently prohibited by domestic U.S. legislation from providing direct assistance to the government of Belarus, including in this sphere. Although the USG hopes for improvement in the bilateral relationship, present conditions do not permit closer cooperation.

The Road Ahead. The USG will continue to encourage Belarusian authorities to enforce their counternarcotics laws and cooperate on cases as appropriate.

 

Belgium

I. Summary

With a major world port at Antwerp, an airport with connections throughout Africa, and its proximity to major consumers in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and The Netherlands, Belgium has become a crucial transit point for a variety of illegal drugs, especially cocaine and heroin. Belgium is not a major market for illicit drugs, nor is it a major producer of illicit drugs or chemical precursors used for the production of illicit drugs. Methods of shipment vary, but most drugs seized have been found in cargo freight, or taken from couriers using air transportation.

Belgian authorities take a proactive approach to interdicting drug shipments and cooperate with the U.S. and other foreign countries to help uncover distribution rings. However, fighting the drug trafficking problem in Belgium can be difficult due to the large ethnic population centers, language, and cultural differences and the cross-border nature of the trafficking trend. Belgium is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention, and is part of the Dublin Group of countries concerned with combating narcotics trafficking.

II. Status of Country

Belgium remains a key transit point for illicit drugs bound for The Netherlands, the U.K. and other points in Western Europe. The majority of large cocaine shipments transiting Belgium are bound for The Netherlands, where Colombian groups continue to dominate drug trafficking. Significant seizures continue to be made from sea and air shipments en route from South and Central America or West Africa. In 2008, a total of 3,852 kilograms of cocaine were interdicted. In 2009 through October, 2,766.7 kilograms of cocaine were confiscated by the Belgian Federal Police (BFP) ) and Belgian Customs authorities..

Turkish groups, predominately from the Kurdish region of Turkey, control most of the heroin trafficked in Belgium. This heroin is principally shipped through Belgium and The Netherlands to the U.K. Authorities find it difficult to penetrate Turkish trafficking groups responsible for heroin shipping and trafficking because of the language barrier and Turkish criminal groups’ reluctance to work with non-Turkish ethnicities. Belgium consumes an estimated 4 tons of heroin per year, which is mostly accounted for by drug tourism from neighboring countries. Belgian authorities seized a total of 63 kilograms of heroin during 2008. Between January and October 2009, this heroin seizure amount rose to 198.9 kilograms.

Hashish and cannabis remain the most widely distributed and used illicit drugs in Belgium. Although the bulk of the cannabis consumed in Belgium is produced in Morocco, domestic cultivation continues to be encountered. Belgian authorities seized 4,891 kilograms of marijuana and 1,529 kilograms of hashish during 2008. Between January and October 2009, marijuana seizures totaled 378.38 kilograms and hashish seizures totaled 11,563 kilograms. Belgium produces small amounts of Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) and Ecstasy. Seizures of ATS and Ecstasy have dropped compared to previous years. During 2007, Belgian authorities seized 483.1 kilograms of amphetamine and 541,245 Ecstasy tablets. These seizure numbers fell in 2008, with 411 kilograms of amphetamine and 162,821 Ecstasy tablets seized. Between January and October 2009, Belgian authorities have seized 34.24 kilograms of amphetamine and 29,331 Ecstasy tablets. Belgium has a substantial pharmaceutical product sector. The country manufactures methamphetamine precursors for licit products to a very limited extent, and it is not a final destination for international shipments of these precursors. The illicit ephedrine diversion market is mainly controlled by Mexicans who purchase both legal (i.e., cold medicine and dietary supplements) and illegal ephedrine, and ship it to Mexico, where it is used to produce methamphetamine for distribution in the U.S. Since ephedrine is strictly regulated in the U.S., Belgium and other Western European countries have seen an increase in transshipments of ephedrine and other methamphetamine precursors. In instances where precursor diversion for methamphetamine manufacturing purposes was suspected, Belgian authorities have cooperated by executing international controlled deliveries (ICD) to the destinations, or by seizing the shipments when the ICD is not possible.

In the past, Israeli groups controlled most of the MDMA/Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) production and shipping to the U.S., but these organized crime groups have been disrupted by enforcement measures and their influence has diminished.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Belgium is a major supporter for COSPOL (Comprehensive Operational Strategic Planning for the Police), which is a new methodology for multinational police cooperation. This program was created by the Police Chiefs Task Force functioning under direction of the European Union. At a recent COSPOL meeting, Belgian and other EU police officials discussed plans to share information in order to create a database of places indicating where illicit lab equipment and drug producing chemicals are shipped and manufactured. The database also includes information on the trade in drug related chemicals and laboratory materials. Belgium also participates in “Drugwatch”, a non-profit information network and advocacy organization that provides policymakers, media and the public with current narcotics information. In cooperation with “Drugwatch”, Belgium is participating in a program focused on monitoring the internet to identify narcotic sale and production in Belgium.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Belgian law enforcement authorities actively investigate individuals and organizations involved in illegal narcotics trafficking. In keeping with Belgium’s drug control strategy, efforts are focused on combating synthetic drugs, heroin and cocaine, and more recently, cannabis. Belgian authorities continue to cooperate closely and effectively with DEA and U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) officials stationed in Brussels. At Brussels’ Zaventem International Airport, non-uniformed police search for drug couriers and continue to be effective in that effort. Authorities utilize canine and aerial apprehension strategies on both the local and federal levels to help fight illicit drug production and shipment in Belgium. The Canine Support Service (DSCH) has trained dog teams to search for drugs. Dog teams are used mostly in airports and train stations, while the Aerial Support Service (DSAS) has made a concerted effort to increase the number of hours it spends in the sky in an attempt to detect drug laboratories across the nation. Belgium participates in a recent initiative to set up a database for European airports. The database is used to transfer narcotic related information to airports throughout Europe in order to increase cooperation among police forces and governments. The Belgian authorities reported the seizure of 13,400,000 ephedrine pills in 2 incidents during 2008. No figures for 2009 are available yet. The shipments seized in 2008 were reportedly destined for Mexico. During 2008, Belgian authorities also encountered and seized 23 liters of GHB, 5,119 kilograms of khat, 55 kilograms of phenacetine, 0.6 kilograms of opium, and 10,240 pills of benzodiazepine. In 2009 up to October, the BFP seized 88.1 liters of GHB, 758.9 kilograms of khat, 55 kilograms of phenacetine, 4.5 kilograms of opium, and 6,180 pills of benzodiazepine.

Corruption. Legal measures exist to combat and punish corruption. While corruption amongst longshoremen and stevedores remains a concern at the Port of Antwerp, no serious cases of corruption of government officials related to drugs have been uncovered in Belgium thus far in 2009. Money laundering has been illegal in Belgium since 1993, and the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) (CTIF-CFI) is continually active in efforts to investigate money laundering. No senior official of the Belgian government is known to have engaged in, encouraged or facilitated the illicit production or distribution of drugs and illegal substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Agreements and Treaties. Belgium is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Belgium also is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons, and illegal manufacturing and trafficking of firearms. The U.S. and Belgium have an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT). In addition, the two countries have concluded, pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements, protocols to the bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, which will enter into force on February 1, 2010. Under a bilateral agreement with the U.S., as part of the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI), U.S. Customs officials are stationed at the Port of Antwerp to serve as observers and advisors to Belgian Customs inspectors on U.S.-bound sea freight shipments. Belgium also has an MOU with the USG to carry U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDET) on Belgian Navy vessels in the Caribbean Sea.

Cultivation/Production. Belgium’s role as a transit point for major drug shipments, particularly heroin and cocaine, is more significant than its own production of illegal drugs. However, cultivation of cannabis increasingly involves elaborate, large-scale indoor operations in Belgium, particularly near The Netherlands, and increasingly in other regions. Dutch traffickers are frequently involved in these production operations. Belgian authorities seized 113,513 marijuana plants during 2008. Initial statistics for this year show that 422 cannabis plantations have been dismantled between January and October 2009 in Belgium. The dismantled plantations had a total capacity of 178,055 plants. Dutch traffickers are also involved in Belgium’s production of Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS). As Dutch law enforcement pressures mount on producers of Ecstasy and ATS in The Netherlands, some Dutch producers either look to Belgian producers to meet their supply needs, or to establish their own facilities in Belgium. During 2008, Belgian authorities discovered 6 synthetic drug laboratories: 4 amphetamine labs, 1 GHB lab, and 1 Ecstasy lab. Between January and October 2009, Belgian authorities seized 2 synthetic drug laboratories; both described as “kitchen labs”, and have also seized 4 synthetic drug waste dumpsites.

Drug Flow/Transit. Belgium is an important transit point for illegal drug trafficking in Europe. It has been estimated that about 25 percent of drugs from South America moving through Europe eventually transit Belgium, especially cocaine. As large share of these drugs are ultimately shipped to the U.K., The Netherlands, and other points in Western Europe. Antwerp’s port continues to be one of the preferred transit points for cocaine imported to Europe. The flow of cocaine to Belgium is mainly controlled by Colombian organizations with representative residing in Africa and in Europe. Some Antwerp port employees have been documented as being involved in the receipt and off-loading of cocaine upon arrival at the port. Zaventem National Airport has become a major point of entry for couriers, who hide drugs in their baggage or on their persons. The cocaine originates in South America and transits through either West Africa or other countries in South America; however, between January and October 2009, cocaine couriers reportedly departed from Central and South America more often than from West Africa Additionally, in 2009 Caribbean-based organizations utilized express consignment packages to conceal cocaine shipments destined for Belgium. The other active cocaine trafficking groups in Belgium are Surinamese, Chilean, Ecuadorian, Dominican and Israeli.

The Port of Antwerp is also an important transit point for cannabis and hashish. The Netherlands continues to supply both marijuana and hashish to Belgian traffickers. Belgium remains a transit country for heroin destined for the British market. Seizures over the past five years and intelligence indicate that Belgium continues to be a secondary distribution and packaging center for heroin coming along the Balkan Route. Turkish groups dominate the trafficking of heroin in Belgium. The Belgian Federal Police have identified commercial (TIR) trucks from Turkey as the single largest transportation mechanism for westbound heroin entering Belgium.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Belgium has an active drug education program administered by the regional governments (Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels), which targets the country’s youth. These programs include education campaigns, drug hotlines, HIV and hepatitis prevention programs, detoxification programs, and a pilot program for “drug-free” prison sections. Belgium continues to direct its programs at individuals who influence young people versus young people themselves. In general, Belgian society views teachers, coaches, clergy, and other adults as better suited to deliver the counternarcotics message to the target audience because they already are known and respected by young people.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. and Belgium regularly share drug-related information. Counternarcotics officials in the BFP, Belgian Customs, Federal Prosecutor’s Office, and Ministry of Justice are fully engaged with their U.S. counterparts. The U.S. continues to coordinate with Belgian authorities to identify and investigate both suppliers and shippers of precursor chemicals. The U.S. trained and certified several Belgian Federal Officers in clandestine laboratory search and seizure methods.

The Road Ahead. Belgium has always been open to international support to combat illicit drug trafficking and production. The U.S. looks forward to continued cooperation and support from Belgium in combating drug-related crime.

 

Belize

I. Summary

Belize is a transit point for narcotics traveling from Colombia, destined for the United States. While relatively small amounts transit Belize as compared with the rest of Central America, Belize’s porous borders, combined with a lack of resources, make it vulnerable to traffickers. The Government of Belize (GOB) collaborated with the United States on joint counternarcotics operations and investigations in 2009 and on the apprehension and return of 19 U.S. fugitives wanted in the United States. Belize is also cooperating with the USG through the Merida Initiative. However, even with this assistance, limited resources hampered the GOB’s ability to reduce the crime rate in Belize. Belize is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The borders in Belize are porous, composed of long stretches of unmanned, unpopulated forests on its borders with Guatemala and Mexico, and unpatrolled coastline. The territory of Belize also includes hundreds of small cayes and atolls make it vulnerable to trans-shipment of illicit drugs between Colombia and Mexico. While in recent years the Belize Coast Guard, Anti-Drug Unit, and U.S. authorities have increased their efforts to monitor coastal waters, their ability to counter the threat has been hampered by limited resources and lack of political will. In an attempt to diversify Belize’s economic activities, authorities have encouraged the growth of offshore financial activities that are vulnerable to money laundering. Although money laundering in Belize is still thought to be limited, this, combined with weak enforcement of laws regulating offshore financial interests, contributed to an increase in money laundering incidents in 2009.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. In 2009, several in-country training workshops were carried out for members of the Belize Police Department, Customs, Immigration, and Ministry of Health. In addition, Belize is engaged in discussions with its counterparts in Central America to pursue structured courses in chemical control strategies and techniques. These were made possible by chemical control actions taken in 2008, including enactment of a statutory instrument prohibiting the bulk importation of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for training and capacity building to control the diversion of chemical substances. In addition, Belize is engaged in discussions with its counterparts in Central America to pursue structured courses in chemical control strategies and techniques.

Accomplishments. In 2009 the Belize Police Department (BPD), Belize Defense Force (BDF), and Belize National Coast Guard (BNCG) continued to conduct counternarcotics operations with USG assistance. Seizures through September 2009 include: 28.3 kilograms of cocaine, 0.26 kilogram of crack cocaine, 291.5 kilograms of marijuana, 3.6 kilograms marijuana seeds, as well as 423 kilograms of ephedrine, worth $1.7 million. A total of 1,299 arrests were made during this period. Belize’s dismal seizure rates reflect law enforcements’ need to focus on day-to-day patrolling in response to a growing crime rate that detracts from their ability to develop the intelligence necessary to take down major traffickers and their organizations.

Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2009, the BPD and BDF continued joint patrols along both the northern and western borders, in order to monitor illegal entry points into Belize that are also used as routes for trafficking cocaine and marijuana over land. However, much of the illegal substances which transit Belize do so by air and by sea. During 2009 the BDF monitored and destroyed covert runways used by traffickers. However, the lack of a national maritime strategy to deal with counternarcotics operations has resulted in a lack of cooperation between the various maritime assets and no maritime interdictions in 2009. The BDF received two Enduring Friendship go-fast boats from the U.S. Military Liaison Office (MLO) to assist with maritime interdictions and the BNCG will receive two similar vessels in 2010, which will be purchased with Merida Initiative funding. The Anti-Drug Unit (ADU) of the BPD also has three vessels of which only one is operational; however, it does not have the capability to intercept the go-fast vessels used by traffickers.

In April, there was a change to the structure of the BPD, increasing the number of Assistant Commissioners of Police from three to five. This change was recommended by a Caribbean police consultant who was contracted to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the BPD from June through November 2008. Although the positions and names were announced shortly thereafter, the Security Services Commission has been slow to confirm the nominees, and to date only three of the positions were confirmed. These latest promotions have brought public attention to a morale issue within the BPD that has been brewing for a number of years where officers have expressed concern that some promotions were not made in compliance with the police subsidiary law and have filed cases in the courts and with the Ombudsman.

It is difficult to obtain convictions on drug crimes because the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) lacks the staff and resources necessary to devote to each case. Police Prosecutors, who are responsible for the prosecution of minor offenses, lack formal legal training, which often results in cases being overturned on technicalities. The widespread issue of victim and witness intimidation is also one of the main deterrents to successful prosecutions.

Given the increase in money laundering activity in Belize, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) was given additional resources, including the addition of one police investigator dedicated to its staff, and it plans to increase the staff by adding two Financial Examiners and one Police Officer. The FIU is currently investigating several cases of alleged money laundering, the most prominent of which has resulted in charges being brought against seven individuals in connection with a scheme run through Money Exchange International. Two cases currently before the courts have benefited from rulings favorable to the FIU and have received a lot of media attention; however, the trial phase is not scheduled to begin until early 2010. The BPD is in the process of setting up a Financial Crimes Unit which will work closely with FIU.

Corruption. As a matter of policy, the GOB does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. However, a lack of resources and weak enforcement has allowed these activities to continue within Belize. Belize has not yet acceded to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, 2003. However, the Convention is pending review with the Attorney General and a draft document has been prepared for Cabinet.

In the 2008 high profile cases involving several high level officials charged with the theft of $10 million, cases involving two of the officials were thrown out due to lack of evidence and, because the thefts occurred abroad, the Belize courts did not have jurisdiction to hear these cases. Earlier this year a Coast Guard vessel was stolen from the station where it was docked. Four Coast Guard Seamen are being held in connection with this crime, but the Ministry of National Security is still investigating the matter. In May and September of 2008, Customs officials discovered that the contents of two shipping containers were lost and that the containers were fraudulently cleared from the Customs compound. One of the suspected Customs officials involved in the May incident was dismissed, while the second individual was transferred to another GOB department. The individual suspected of the September incident is involved in an ongoing internal proceeding. Neither of the cases went to court due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

Agreements and Treaties. Belize is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Belize is one of three countries that have ratified the Caribbean Regional Agreement on Maritime Counter Narcotics. In September 1997, the GOB signed the National Crime Information Center Pilot Project Assessment Agreement (data- and information-sharing). Belize passed the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Act in 2008. This act establishes money laundering as an autonomous offense. Belize has failed to accede to the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, 1992, despite The Organization of American States’ Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) urging it to do so for the past ten years. However, Belize has been participating in the Ministers of Justice or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA) workshops, the last meeting of which was in 2008 and was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Attorney General Wilfred Elrington.

Belize has also failed to accede to the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components, and Ammunition of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, despite CICAD urging it to do so for the past seven years.

Bilateral agreements between the U.S. and Belize include a protocol to the Maritime Agreement that entered into force in April 2000, a bilateral Extradition Treaty that entered into force in March 2001, and the Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad that entered into force in 2005. The U.S.—Belize Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) entered into force in 2003, but was not implemented by the GOB until 2005. While assistance in the capture and repatriation of U.S. citizen fugitives is excellent (19 fugitives deported so far in 2009), responses to formal U.S. extradition requests for Belizean nationals is frustratingly slow due to limited criminal justice system resources and a system lacking judicial incentives to promote speedy trials. Belize is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. In 2005, Belize joined other Central American countries participating in the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System (CNIES), which assists in locating, identifying, tracking, and intercepting civil aircraft in Belize’s airspace.

Cultivation/Production. Marijuana is cultivated for local consumption in scattered plots throughout Belize. Police investigate and burn the plants, but often the marijuana fields are planted on government property, ownership of the illegal plants cannot always be determined, and no further action is taken. There are no industries in Belize requiring the import of precursor chemicals.

Drug Flow/Transit and Distribution. Cocaine is trans-shipped through Belize’s territorial waters for onward shipment to Mexico and the U.S. The primary means for smuggling drugs are go-fast boats transiting Belizean waters for transshipment along navigable inland waterways, and on to remote border crossings into Mexico. There are also indications that drugs travel across land borders as well. Interdiction is hampered by the lack of adequate host nation resources and lax Customs enforcement. During 2009, 423 kilograms of pseudoephedrine valued at $1.7 million was seized. Belize is quickly becoming a stop for poly-drug shipments where traffickers combine cocaine, pseudoephedrine, and marijuana into packaged shipments for onward transit.

Domestic Program/Demand Reduction. The National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) coordinates GOB’s demand reduction efforts through education, counseling, rehabilitation, outreach, and a public commercial campaign. Drug abuse and treatment statistics are not readily available in Belize and drug rehabilitation facilities are virtually non-existent for the local population. The only Narcotics Anonymous meetings in Belize are held at the Belize Central Prison, which is run by the non-profit Kolbe Foundation.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The U.S. supported Belize’s efforts to combat transnational crime and narcotics trafficking by providing training, equipment, and technical assistance to the GOB. The support modernized and enhanced law enforcement capacity, improved prison management, and assisted antigang initiatives. The USG is providing support to the Belizean Forensic Laboratory to improve investigations and prosecution of crimes by purchasing a bullet catcher, and through planned training for their Firearms Examiner in the U.S. The USG also provided support for maritime security through Enduring Friendship (see Law Enforcement Efforts) And, in 2010, plans to assist the GOB in improving its maritime interdiction capabilities through training, the construction of a BNCG forward operating base in the offshore islands, construction of a new BNCG headquarters building, and donation of additional equipment and boats through Enduring Friendship. Belize has two cadets attending the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and one attending the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Road Ahead. Over the next decade Belize will face many threats in its battle against narcotics trafficking, but it has many opportunities that do not exist in other countries in the region. As its neighbors continue to push back against traffickers or in some cases to capitulate to them, even more pressure will fall on Belize to protect its borders. It is vital that the GOB show the will to increase its efforts, through policy, resource allocation, and operations, to halt the flow of illegal drugs, drug money and money laundering activities within and across its borders. While monetary and human resources are sparse, a reexamination of current policies and practices, combined with the assistance provided through the Merida Initiative, MLO, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, could result in decreasing the ability of traffickers to use Belize as a transit location. At the same time, Belize is encouraged to pass and implement pending legislation requesting wider authority for intelligence collection and electronic intercepts, and a Chemical Precursors Control Act with punitive sanctions. The GOB could enhance its drug control efforts further by adequately funding and training prosecutors in the DPP’s office, as well as Police Prosecutors, in narcotics prosecutions.

 

Bolivia

I. Summary

Bolivia is one of 20 major narcotics producing or transit countries. On September 15, 2009, the President of the United States determined for the second consecutive year that the Government of Bolivia (GOB) “failed demonstrably” to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics (CN) conventions. In this determination, the President raised concern with rising Bolivian coca cultivation and cocaine production and explained that the GOB’s expulsion of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) severely undermined Bolivian law enforcement efforts to identify and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. The President noted that despite Bolivia’s success in meeting minimum eradication goals, the total effort by the GOB fell short of its obligations as outlined in the United Nations (UN) Conventions and bilateral agreements.

In 2009, the GOB reported eradication of over 6,341 hectares of coca nationwide, 84 percent of which took place in the Cochabamba tropics (Chapare). Although the GOB met its minimum bilateral requirement to eradicate 5,000 hectares of coca, these efforts have not kept pace with rising coca cultivation and cocaine production. Bolivia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of cocaine, and it is a significant transit zone for Peruvian-origin cocaine. The United States Government (USG) estimates that Bolivia’s coca cultivation increased by ten percent in 2009, and potential cocaine production increased by 50 percent from 130 metric tons in 2007 to 195 metric tons in 2008 and remained at that level in 2009. Increased potential cocaine production over the past two years can be attributed to the adoption of more efficient, Colombian-style cocaine processing methods and the increased presence of Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers in Bolivia. The majority of cocaine trafficked from or through Bolivia is destined for Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay, with a significant amount transshipped to Africa and Europe.

GOB coca eradication forces face resistance from local coca growers on average one to three times per month when they attempt to carry out eradication missions. These missions are negotiated with and agreed upon by the General Directorate of Integral Development for Regional Coca Production (DIGPROCOCA) and relevant coca federations. Resistance includes throwing stones at eradicators and gathering groups of hundreds of coca growers to physically resist the eradicators. Most incidents occur in so-called “zero coca zones,” such as protected Bolivian national parks. When facing resistance, eradication forces usually retreated in order to avoid injuries or conflict escalation. Coca cultivation expansion led to recent violent incursions by coca growers into the Indigenous Territory National Park Isiboro Secure (TIPNIS), leaving one person dead in September 2009. Police acted to remove the coca growers.

President Morales remains the leader of a coca growers’ federation, and the GOB continues its efforts at the international level to obtain the legalization of trade in coca leaf.

The expulsion of the DEA from Bolivia in January 2009 negatively impacted CN programs, especially in the area of interdiction operations and drug-related investigations. The expulsion reduced Bolivia’s ability to identify, investigate, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) and severely limited the amount of actionable law enforcement leads developed in Bolivia.

In June, 2009, the President of the United States did not determine that Bolivia satisfied the eligibility requirements under the Andean Trade Promotion Act, including criteria on counternarcotics, and Bolivia’s trade preferences under the Act were not reinstated.

On September 15, 2009, the President of the United States determined for the second consecutive year that the Government of Bolivia (GOB) “failed demonstrably” to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics (CN) conventions. In this determination, the President raised concern with rising Bolivian coca cultivation, cocaine production, and lack of control over “licit” coca markets resulting in diversion of excess coca leaf to cocaine production. The President also explained that the GOB’s expulsion of DEA severely undermined Bolivian law enforcement efforts to identify and dismantle drug trafficking organizations. The President noted that despite Bolivia’s limited success in meeting eradication goals, the total effort by the GOB fell well short of its obligations as outlined in the United Nations (UN) Conventions and bilateral agreements.

The USG continues to provide administrative and logistical support to Bolivian CN programs, and to work productively with the GOB at the technical level, but program accomplishments have diminished as a result of GOB policies and actions. The U.S. remains committed to working with the GOB to improve counternarcotics results.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The GOB promotes a policy of “zero cocaine but not zero coca” and has continued its policy to allow an increase in coca cultivation from 12,000 to 20,000 hectares, which violates Bolivian Law 1008 and international agreements. Bolivia produces coca leaf for traditional purposes, such as chewing, making tea and religious rites, but this coca leaf is also diverted to cocaine production. Current Bolivian law permits up to 12,000 hectares of legal coca cultivation in the “traditional coca growing area,” most of which is in the Yungas, to supply the licit market. In September 2008, the GOB signed an agreement with 25,000 coca growers from the Yungas federation to eradicate 6,900 hectares by 2010. This agreement simultaneously permitted an additional 6,500 hectares of coca to be grown in new areas in and around the Yungas. In 2009 the GOB also continued the policy that allows one cato (between one-sixth and one-quarter of a hectare) of coca to be cultivated annually per coca growing family in the Chapare region. This policy has resulted in at least 7,000 additional hectares of coca growth. It is widely recognized that coca grown in the Chapare is not suitable for chewing, and there is no evidence to suggest that Chapare coca is currently used for any other licit purposes, such as the manufacture of tea and other commercial products.

In October 2008, the GOB, with substantial support from the U.S. and neighboring countries, completed a one-year project designed to significantly improve the GOB’s money laundering, antiterrorism financing, and asset forfeiture legislation. The draft legislation, currently pending Bolivian Congressional approval, would provide the requisite legal resources to law enforcement entities to improve their ability to conduct and prosecute narcotics trafficking, money laundering, terrorist financing, and corruption cases in Bolivia. The legislation also contains provisions that would allow judicial intercepts of wire communications, plea bargaining, and other reforms to the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Accomplishments. The GOB eradicated 6,341 hectares of coca nationwide in 2009—84 percent (5,359 hectares) in the Chapare, 8 percent (521 hectares) in Yapacani, and 7 percent (459 hectares) in the Yungas.

In 2009, the Special Bolivian Counter Narcotics Police (FELCN) seized approximately 1,574 metric tons of coca leaf, 22 metric tons of cocaine base, and 5 metric tons of cocaine hydrochloride (HCl), totaling approximately 27 metric tons of illicit cocaine product. These illicit cocaine product seizures are fewer than the same period in 2008 and are insufficient to stem rising potential cocaine production. The GOB counternarcotics forces located and destroyed 24 cocaine HCl processing and chemical recycling labs; 4,864 cocaine base labs; and 6,666 maceration pits. In comparison to 2008, forces interdicted fewer base labs and maceration pits, but seized more cocaine HCl processing and chemical recycling labs. These results track the rising prevalence of Colombian-style manufacturing methods, rather than traditional maceration pits, and the increasing presence of Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers in Bolivia. Additionally, operations intended to disrupt drug labs frequently fail to seize drugs processed at the labs and only result in the arrest of low-level workers. FELCN seized approximately 1,937 metric tons of marijuana; 872 metric tons of solid precursor chemicals; and 1,578,681 liters of liquid precursors in 2009, an increase over prior year results. The lack of DEA or other international law enforcement working with FELCN in the field on a daily basis makes it difficult to independently verify the accuracy of these figures reported by the GOB.

The GOB arrested 3,397 persons on narcotics-related offenses in 2009. The GOB opened 2,903 narcotics cases during 2009 with 1,236 defendants. Of the total, formal charges of narcotics violations have taken place in 1,160 cases. 104 of the cases have judicial resolution, while 1,056 remain pending in court. Internal reviews of the statistical conviction rates by the Public Ministry and a survey conducted by the National Fiscal Training Facility in Sucre indicate that there continue to be significant problems within the CN prosecutor’s offices relating to the ability of the prosecutors and their understanding of the accusatory judicial system that began in 2001.

Law Enforcement Efforts. FELCN is mandated to combat all aspects of drug trafficking, including interdiction of drugs, illicit coca, and precursor chemicals, intelligence gathering, money laundering investigations, and rural operations. The Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ (INL) Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) continues to provide logistics and administrative support to the FELCN and the Bolivian National Police (BNP) training academy. However, without DEA presence, the USG does not have the capability to support operational engagement or sharing of actionable law enforcement information with Bolivian counterparts.

FELCN reported that throughout 2009 it focused on higher level violators, resulting in more priority target organizations being investigated with the assistance and support of regional partner nations. The U.S. has no information on priority target drug trafficking organizations dismantled or high level violators arrested by the GOB in 2009. The increase of cocaine supply, expansion of drug trafficking activities, the presence of sophisticated organizations operating in Bolivia, and proliferation of large foreign-managed cocaine laboratories pose a growing challenge, given FELCN’s limited capacity. Bolivia is seeking support from other countries and has improved law enforcement cooperation with Brazil, Argentina and Chile. However, this improvement has not sufficiently addressed the gap in operational support and enhanced investigative capabilities to target and dismantle drug trafficking organizations created by DEA’s expulsion.

Corruption. There are no proven cases of senior GOB officials encouraging or facilitating the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

The USG continues to provide significant administrative support to the BNP Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and the Disciplinary Tribunal. The OPR is the “Internal Affairs Investigators” of the BNP. The Tribunal is responsible for the review of cases and determination of punishment, if appropriate, for police officers involved in misconduct and other integrity-related violations. The BNP/OPR reports that they have investigated a total of 2,444 allegations of various forms of misconduct involving police officers during 2009. Of these cases, 176 involved officers assigned to the FELCN. To date, the Tribunal has reviewed and undertaken prosecutorial, disciplinary or other administrative action in 1,378 of these OPR cases. The remainder of the cases are pending investigations, or awaiting tribunal action.

Agreements and Treaties. Bolivia 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.

Bolivia is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and Migrant Smuggling, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. Nevertheless, Bolivia is lacking many of the legal and enforcement mechanisms needed to fully implement these agreements. Bolivia has signed, but has not yet ratified, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition.

Extradition. The GOB and the United States signed a bilateral extradition treaty in 1995, which entered into force in 1996. The treaty permits the extradition of nationals for most serious offenses, including drug trafficking. The United States has one pending extradition request to Bolivia as of December 2009.

Cultivation/Production. Overall coca cultivation increased ten percent in 2009 to 35,000 hectares according to official USG estimates, up from 32,000 hectares in 2008. (The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated that in 2008 Bolivians cultivated 30,500 hectares, a 6 percent increase from 2007. UNODC figures for 2009 were not available.) Regional changes from 2008 to 2009 are as follows: Chapare cultivation increased 6 percent (8,300 to 8,800 hectares); Yungas cultivation increased 10 percent (21,000 to 23,000 hectares); Caranavi cultivation increased 37 percent (1,600 to 2,200 hectares); Vandiola cultivation decreased 19 percent (315 to 255 hectares); and Apolo cultivation decreased 60 percent (660 to 260 hectares). Bolivia also produces marijuana, primarily for domestic consumption. GOB estimates show that marijuana production increased significantly from 195 metric tons in 2008 to more than 1,831 metric tons in 2009.

USG estimates indicate that potential pure cocaine production increased approximately 50 percent, from 130 metric tons in 2007 to 195 metric tons in 2008 and remained at 195 metric tons in 2009. Estimated potential export quality cocaine (derived after pure cocaine has been cut, mixed, and diluted) in 2009 was 240 metric tons, largely due to less efficient leaf yield from new plants. (UNODC estimated that 2008 potential pure cocaine production in Bolivia was 113 metric tons, a 9 percent increase from 2007.)

Over the last couple of years, Bolivian CN units, as well as DEA (prior to its departure), have observed a steady increase in the use of the more efficient “Colombian” methods for cocaine production during lab seizures, including use of mechanized coca maceration and solvents, instead of acids for alkaloid extraction.

Drug Flow/Transit. Although cocaine production in Bolivia is increasing, there continues to be limited information on how much Bolivian cocaine is seized outside of Bolivia. Existing reports indicate that most Bolivian-origin cocaine exports flow to other Latin American states for either domestic consumption or onward transit towards Europe, with little exported to the U.S. Still, there appears to be a growing number of Mexican and Colombian traffickers in Bolivia. A GOB official stated that Mexican drug cartels are working with Colombian drug cartels to invest capital in Bolivia and Peru to help ensure a sufficient supply is available to satisfy market demand. The official noted that Mexican cartels provide money to the Colombians, who then administer the funds to secure sufficient supply. DEA is monitoring its Cocaine Signature Program for any indication of an increase in Bolivian cocaine appearing in the U.S. market.

The increase in coca cultivation and cocaine production, particularly since 2007, as well as the lack of effective government response in Bolivia, directly affects neighboring countries. DTOs in the Southern Cone—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay—have taken advantage of the current situation in Bolivia to increase their drug trafficking activities in the region. All countries bordering Bolivia have experienced an increase in drug trafficking from Bolivia during the reporting period, especially Brazil and Chile. All report increased seizures of Bolivian drugs and arrests of drug traffickers linked to Bolivia, as well as the increased use of small aircraft and containerized shipments to move large quantities of cocaine from land-locked Bolivia to international destinations. Argentine authorities report the presence of cocaine HCl labs in their countries, supplied by Bolivian cocaine base. Brazilian authorities have stated that most of the cocaine seized in São Paulo comes from Bolivia

Alternative Development. The USG’s Integrated Alternative Development (AD) program provides support to help diversify the economies of Bolivia’s coca growing regions, reduce communities’ dependency on coca, and complement the Government of Bolivia’s voluntary eradication program. AD assistance helps strengthen the competitiveness of Bolivia’s agricultural products (e.g., coffee, bananas, pineapples, cocoa, and palm hearts) in national and world markets, improve basic social conditions (e.g., access to clean water), and improve rural road infrastructure and access to markets. Beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, AD support shifted focus from the Tropics of Cochabamba to the Yungas region in accordance with the GOB’s rationalization plans. In 2009, USAID terminated most of its work in the Tropics of Cochabamba at the request of the GOB.

Cooperation between USAID and the Vice Ministry of Coca and Integrated Development (VCDI) continued over the past year. Activities and investments under the programs to promote productive and social development were all jointly approved by USAID and VCDI counterparts. These include a relatively large number of new productive initiatives in La Asunta, an under-developed, highly coca dependent region of the Yungas, where the GOB started to eradicate in agreement with the coca growers’ federations. Project personnel worked closely with principal GOB counterparts, the La Asunta federation, and communities to prioritize investments and identify the most promising products to be developed. There has been significantly more demand for alternative production among communities than originally envisioned.

Data on results achieved over the last year indicate that USAID’s Integrated Alternative Development program activities continued to produce results. U.S. assistance helped introduce, establish or rehabilitate 4,047 hectares of crops, such as bananas, cocoa, palm hearts and coffee, and helped place an additional 614 hectares under forest management plans. Income from some of the first yielding crops, such as the natural sweetener product stevia, began in November 2009.

In FY 2009, the annual value of USAID-promoted exports reached nearly $39.5 million, an 11percent increase over FY 2008. The assistance provided to farm communities and businesses helped generate 5,866 new jobs and $29 million in sales of AD products. Approximately 12,660 families benefited directly from U.S. assistance. More than 530 kilometers of roads were maintained or improved and 19 bridges were constructed. In addition, four potable water systems were constructed, benefiting 1,269 families in the Yungas region.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. A 2008 UNODC report stated that Bolivian domestic drug consumption continued to increase. The most recent credible study on drug use in Bolivia, conducted in 2005 by the Latin American Center for Scientific Research (CELIN), showed that 4.9 percent of the population uses illegal drugs (cocaine, marijuana, hallucinogens and others). Despite this, GOB support for drug abuse prevention programs is inadequate. The USG provided support to CELIN to update the 2005 study on illegal drug use in Bolivia and several demand reduction programs. Due to the lack of GOB support on a national level, the USG focused drug prevention outreach activities at the municipal and prefectural levels throughout 2008 and 2009. Since February 2008, the USG has worked with UNODC to conduct a drug abuse prevention and citizen safety project in El Alto that has reached over 80,000 teachers, students, and community members. The USG also works with the non-governmental organization Communication, Research and Action of Social Policies (CIAPS) on a community-based drug abuse prevention program for high-school students in the cities of La Paz and Sucre. The CIAPS program is expected to reach 20,000 people.

Since 2000, the USG-supported Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program educated 142,290 school children on drug prevention. The program reached 18,000 students in 2009. In the Department of Cochabamba, the USG helped implement the region’s “Healthy Schools Drug Prevention Program” by training health professionals, teachers, and parents on drug abuse prevention techniques. During the reporting period, the USG conducted training in demand reduction issues and techniques for several technical teams of trainers from the municipalities of Cochabamba, Tarija, Sucre, and Guayaramerin. The USG also conducted a counternarcotics-themed sports outreach effort by sponsoring the “Tahuichi” Soccer Academy in Santa Cruz. The Academy launched a tournament in the coca growing area of Los Yungas that involved three teams and 70 youth participants. The USG also provided three year-long soccer scholarships to at-risk children from rural areas of the country. The scholarships allow the children to live, study, and train at the academy for one year.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. USG programs aim to enhance the capabilities of the GOB to reduce coca cultivation; arrest and bring drug traffickers to justice; promote alternative economic development; disrupt the production of cocaine within Bolivia; interdict and destroy illicit drugs and precursor chemicals moving within and through the country; reduce domestic abuse of cocaine and other illicit drugs; institutionalize a professional law enforcement system; and improve the awareness of the Bolivian population regarding the dangers of illicit drugs. The USG also provides logistics support that enables training for BNP officers in modern money laundering and terrorism financing investigative techniques, and on trafficking in persons (TIP) and human rights.

Bilateral Cooperation. Bilateral cooperation continued to be challenging in 2009. However, Bolivian and U.S. officials meet regularly to implement programs and to advance common issues of concern.

In February 2009, the GOB advised the USG that U.S.-sponsored training for military and police personnel outside of the country would no longer be supported by the GOB and that any future training nominations would be directed to the respective unit commanders for initial approval. These nominations would then be forwarded to the Minister of Government and President for their respective approvals. This new policy has serious detrimental effects on the continued development and professionalism of the national police and military forces, due to their inability to attend U.S. sponsored training courses, especially management courses.

Despite this setback, the USG supported a number of GOB institutional developmental projects, including a basic and advanced law enforcement training program. In 2009, the Law Enforcement Development Program supported sixty-two (62) training courses, seminars and/or conferences that have reached 5,600 police officers, prosecutors, and GOB and non-government organization counterparts. The USG provided administrative support to four special BNP TIP investigative units consisting of 28 police officers and 12 full time prosecutors in La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba.

The Road Ahead. With sharply rising potential drug production levels, the presence of Colombian and Mexican drug traffickers operating in Bolivia, as well as increasing potential for conflict between coca growers and the GOB in the national parks, the USG is concerned about the effectiveness of the GOB’s counternarcotics policies and actions. The GOB’s policies supporting the expansion of coca cultivation contribute to rising excess coca cultivation and increases in cocaine production. The GOB is encouraged to revise its policies on coca cultivation and implement a national eradication strategy that improves efficiency and effectiveness of eradication, leading to net reductions in coca cultivation that keep pace with replanting. We also encourage the GOB to take measures to prevent diversion of coca to cocaine production by establishing strict controls over the licit coca market and closing illegal markets. Bolivia has stated its intention to nationalize eradication efforts, but this goal will require increased financial support from the GOB. The legal and regulatory framework in Bolivia hinders law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts to effectively and efficiently combat drug production and trafficking, money laundering, corruption, and other transnational crime and requires GOB action. There is also a growing gap in international law enforcement/counternarcotics information sharing caused by DEA’s expulsion. To that end, we encourage Bolivia to enhance its collaborative efforts with Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and other neighboring and international partners on counternarcotics.

 

V. Statistical Table

 

  2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999
Coca                      
Net Cultivation (ha)  35,000  32,000  29,500  25,800  26,500  24,600  23,200  21,600  19,900  19,600  21,800 
Eradication (ha)  6,341  5,484  6,269  5,070  6,073  8,437  10,000  11,839  9,435  7,953  16,999 
Leaf: Potential
Dried Harvest (MT) 
43,000  43,500  38,500  37,000  36,000  37,000  33,000  35,000  32,000 
HCL: Potential (MT)[1] 195  195  130  115  115  115  100  110  100 
                       
Seizures                      
Coca Leaf (MT)  1,574  2,066.0  1,705.0  1,344.0  887.4  395.0  152.0  101.8  66.0  51.9  56.0 
Cocaine Base (MT)  21.9  21.6  14.9  12.7  10.2  8.2  6.4  4.7  4.0  4.5  5.5 
Cocaine HCl (MT)  4.9  7.2  2.9  1.3  1.3  0.5  6.5  0.4  0.5  0.7  1.4 
Combined HCl & Base (MT)  26.8  28.8  17.8  14.0  11.5  8.7  12.9  5.1  4.5  5.2  6.9 
                       
Arrests & Detentions 3,397  3,525  4,268  4,503  4,376  4,138  3,902  3,229  2,948  3,414  3,503 
                       
Labs Destroyed                      
Cocaine HCl  16 
Cocaine Base   4,864  4,988  4,076  4,070  2,619  2,254  1,769  1,285  877  620  893 

[1]The reported leaf-to-HCl conversion ratio is estimated to be 370 kilograms of leaf to one kilogram of cocaine HCl in the Chapare, 315:1 in the Yungas.


Bosnia and Herzegovina

I. Summary

Bosnia and Herzegovina (“Bosnia”) is considered a transit country for drug trafficking due to its strategic location along historic Balkan smuggling routes. Narcotics control capabilities in Bosnia remain in a formative stage and have not kept pace with developments in other areas of law enforcement. Weak state institutions, lack of personnel in counternarcotics units, and poor cooperation among the responsible authorities also contribute to Bosnia’s vulnerability. The political will to improve narcotics control performance exists in some quarters of the Bosnian government. However, faced with ongoing post-war reconstruction issues, the government has to date focused limited law enforcement resources on investigating and prosecuting war crimes, counterterrorism and combating trafficking in persons and has not developed comprehensive counternarcotics intelligence and enforcement capabilities. Despite some improvement in cooperation among entity and cantonal law enforcement agencies and substantial legal reforms, the current political divisions which hamper reform efforts have contributed to poorly coordinated counternarcotics enforcement efforts.

Narcotics trade remains an integral part of the activities of foreign and domestic organized crime figures that operate, according to anecdotal evidence, with the tacit acceptance (and sometimes active collusion) of some corrupt public officials. Border controls have improved, but flaws in the regulatory structure and justice system, lack of coordination among police agencies, and a lack of attention by Bosnia’s political leadership mean that measures against narcotics trafficking and related crimes are often substandard. In 2009, Bosnia finally took several steps to fulfill the terms of a 2005 law designed to create a state-level coordination body and develop a strategy to improve Bosnia’s ability to combat trafficking in illegal drugs. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies, often in cooperation with neighboring countries, succeeded in making some substantial heroin-related arrests and seizures. Bosnia is making efforts to forge ties with regional and international law enforcement agencies. Bosnia is party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Bosnia is not a significant narcotics producer, consumer, or producer of precursor chemicals. Bosnia does occupy a strategic position along the historic Balkan smuggling route between drug production and processing centers in Southwest Asia and markets in Western Europe. Bosnian authorities at the state, entity, cantonal, and municipal levels have been unable to stem the transit of illegal migrants, black market commodities, and narcotics since the conclusion of the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords. Traffickers have capitalized, in particular, on a still evolving justice system, public sector corruption, and the lack of specialized equipment and training. Bosnia is increasingly becoming a storehouse for drugs, mainly marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Traffickers “warehouse” drugs in Bosnia, until they can be shipped out to destinations further along the Balkan Route. One of the main routes for drug trafficking starts in Albania, continues through Montenegro, passes through Bosnia to Croatia and Slovenia and then on to Central Europe. Information on domestic consumption is not systematically gathered, but authorities estimate Bosnia has 120,000 drug addicts. Anecdotal evidence and law enforcement information indicate that demand for illicit drugs is steadily increasing. The state-level Ministry of Security has created a Counternarcotics Office in its Sector for the Suppression of Serious Crimes. Although this new office has the mandate to collect and disseminate drug-related data, its work is hindered by the occasional refusal of local law enforcement agencies to share information with it.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. On November 8, 2005, the Bosnian House of Representatives passed legislation designed to address the problem of narcotics trafficking and abuse. Although there was a delay of three years in implementing this law, in September and October Bosnia finally created a state-level counternarcotics coordination body and a commission for the destruction of illegal narcotics. The counternarcotics coordination body adopted a counternarcotics strategy and action plan; however, the by-laws for the commission have not yet been adopted by the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Finance has not yet allocated operational funds. Bosnia is a state with limited financial resources, but, with USG and EU assistance, it is attempting to build state-level law enforcement institutions to combat narcotics trafficking and organized crime and to achieve compliance with relevant UN conventions. The full deployment of the Border Police (BP) and the establishment of the State Investigative and Protection Agency (SIPA) have improved counternarcotics efforts. Telephone hotlines, local press coverage, and public relations efforts have focused public attention on smuggling and black-marketeering.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Law enforcement agencies made some significant drug-related arrests during 2009; however, overall counternarcotics efforts remain inadequate given suspected trafficking levels. Cooperation among law enforcement agencies and prosecutors is primarily informal and ad hoc, and serious legal and bureaucratic obstacles to the effective prosecution of criminals remain. Through September 2009 (latest available statistics), law enforcement agencies in Bosnia (including SIPA), the Border Police, Federation Ministry of Interior, Republika Srpska Ministry of Interior and Brcko District Police) have filed criminal reports against 1,029 persons for drug related offenses. These agencies also report having seized 35.27 kilograms of heroin, 9.37 kilograms of cocaine, 76.11 kilograms of amphetamines, 150.3 kilograms of marijuana, 3,118 cannabis plants, 2,639 cannabis seeds, 499 Ecstasy tablets, and 800 grams of hashish.

The Border Police (BP), founded in 2000, is responsible for controlling the country’s three international airports, as well as Bosnia’s 55 international border crossings covering 1,551 kilometers. The BP has been considered one of the more effective border services in Southeast Europe and is one of the few truly multi-ethnic institutions in Bosnia. However, declining relative wages vis-à-vis other local and entity law enforcement agencies along with harsh working conditions have led to sustained personnel shortages in the BP. There are still a large number of illegal crossing points, including rural roads and river fords, which the BP is unable to patrol. Moreover, many official checkpoints and many crossings remain understaffed. SIPA, once fully operational, is supposed to be a conduit for information and evidence between local and international law enforcement agencies; however, several local law enforcement agencies, including the Republika Srpska police, have at times refused to cooperate with SIPA.

Cultivation/Production. Bosnia is not a major narcotics cultivator. Officials believe that domestic cultivation is limited to small-scale marijuana crops grown mostly in southern and eastern Bosnia. Bosnia is not a major synthetics narcotic producer or refiner of hard drugs, such as heroin.

Corruption. Bosnia does not have laws that specifically target narcotics-related public sector corruption and has not pursued charges against public officials on narcotics-related offenses. Organized crime, protected by a few corrupt government officials according to anecdotal evidence, uses the narcotics trade to generate personal revenue. There is no solid evidence linking senior government officials to the illicit narcotics trade. As a matter of government policy, Bosnia 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. Bosnia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention and is developing bilateral law enforcement ties with neighboring states to combat narcotics trafficking. Bosnia is also a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling, trafficking in persons, and trafficking in illicit firearms, and to the UN Convention against Corruption. A 1902 extradition treaty between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Serbia applies to Bosnia as a successor state.

Drug Flow/Transit. While most drugs entering Bosnia are being trafficked to destinations in third countries, indigenous organized crime groups are involved in local distribution to the estimated 120,000 drug users in the country. Major heroin and marijuana shipments are believed to transit Bosnia by several well-established overland routes, often in commercial vehicles. Local officials believe that Western Europe is the primary destination for this traffic. Officials believe that the market for designer drugs, especially Ecstasy, in urban areas is rising rapidly. Law enforcement authorities assert that elements from each ethnic group and all major crime “families” are involved in the narcotics trade, often collaborating across ethnic lines. Sales of narcotics are also considered a significant source of revenue used by organized crime groups to finance both legitimate and illegitimate activities. There is mounting evidence of links and conflict among Bosnian criminal elements and organized crime operations in Russia, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia, Austria, Germany, and Italy.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. In Bosnia there are only two methadone maintenance drug replacement therapy centers with a combined capacity to handle about 160 patients. The limited capacity of the country’s psychiatric clinics, also charged with treating drug addicts, is problematic, as the number of addicts and drug-related deaths in the country is rising steadily. It is estimated that between 70 to 80 percent of drug addicts who undergo basic medical treatment are recidivists. The Bosnian government currently pays for the basic medical treatment of drug addicts, but there are no known government programs for reintegrating former addicts into society. As part of an overall public campaign to promote a “122 Crime Stoppers” hotline that citizens can use to report crimes in progress, the Federation police included a short video that encourages citizens to report any drug deal they witness. The Citizen’s Association for Support and Treatment of Drug Addicted and Recovered Persons (UG PROI in the local language) maintains a private facility to help drug addicts near Kakanj. During the year, UG PROI presented counternarcotics messages to students through a drama program in elementary schools throughout Bosnia. In what has now become an annual event, UG PROI organized in 2009 a race against drugs involving both a fund-raising event and a large counternarcotics abuse demonstration in downtown Sarajevo. The NGO “Prijatelji” conducted programs in Bihac to distribute clean needles to drug addicts and to destroy used needles from hospitals and veterinary clinics to prevent them from being utilized by addicts. The group has been hindered in expanding its activities due to a lack of funding sources.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. USG rule of law policy objectives in Bosnia include reforming the criminal justice system, strengthening state-level law enforcement and judicial institutions, improving the rule of law and de-politicizing the police. The USG will continue to work closely with Bosnian authorities and the international community to combat narcotics trafficking and money laundering.

Bilateral Cooperation. The USG’s bilateral law enforcement assistance program continues to emphasize task force training, improved cooperation between law enforcement agencies and prosecutors, and other measures against organized crime, including narcotics trafficking. The Department of Justice’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) program, funded by the State Department, provided specific counternarcotics training to entity Interior Ministries, SIPA and BP. The USG Export Control and Border Security (EXBS) program provides equipment and training to law enforcement agencies including the BP and the Indirect Taxation Administration (ITA), which has increased their ability to detect and interdict contraband, including narcotics. The Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance Training (OPDAT) program provides training to judges and prosecutors on organized crime-related matters. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office in Rome maintains liaison with its counterparts in Bosnian state- and entity-level law enforcement organizations. The DEA has also sponsored specific narcotic interdiction training courses in Bosnia. The Department of Defense also assisted by providing counternarcotics equipment for border police through the U.S. European Command. In addition, law enforcement officials from Bosnia attended regional training courses held in Serbia and Montenegro by the U.S. Coast Guard on small boat operations and maintenance.

The Road Ahead. Strengthening state-level law enforcement and judicial institutions, promoting the rule of law, combating organized crime and terrorism, and reforming the judiciary and police in Bosnia remain top USG priorities. The USG will continue to focus its bilateral program on these areas and on related subjects such as public sector corruption and border controls. Additionally, the USG will continue to provide political support to state-level institutions in the face of significant attacks on them by national forces intent on destroying the state. The U.S. Embassy will encourage Bosnia to proceed with the full implementation of its national counternarcotics strategy. The international community is also working to increase local capacity and to encourage interagency cooperation by mentoring and advising the local law enforcement community.

 

Brazil

I. Summary

Brazil is the only country in the world that borders all three cocaine producing countries—Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. It is a major transit point for illicit drugs destined for Africa and Europe, with some going to the United States. The transit of illicit drugs through Brazil has increased significantly this year due to increased coca cultivation in neighboring Bolivia and the Government of Bolivia’s expulsion of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Bolivia has now become the main source of cocaine base and crack cocaine for Brazil, which is the second- largest consumer of cocaine in the world after the United States. Turf battles among criminal organizations continue to fuel rising drug-related violence throughout Brazil and, in 2009, most of the homicides in Brazil were drug related. In an effort to control the proliferating traffic of narcotics within their borders, Brazil’s Federal Police (DPF) law enforcement programs expanded in 2009 with United States assistance. Brazil is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Brazil shares 10,492 miles of land borders with 10 South American countries, including significant borders with all three of the world’s cocaine producing countries. In addition, Brazil’s growing international airport system, busy seaports, extensive coastline, countless clandestine airstrips, and an enormous violent organized crime network willing to accept drugs as payment for distribution make Brazil a major transit country for major international drug trafficking organizations. The majority of the Bolivian-origin cocaine is consumed domestically. The more refined Colombian and Peruvian narcotics generally are trafficked through Brazil en route to other markets, including the United States. Low-quality marijuana grows widely in the vast northeastern region of Brazil and is used primarily by urban youth. Higher-quality marijuana is smuggled into Brazil from Paraguay and distributed throughout Brazil by organized criminal organizations and gangs such as Sao Paulo’s Primeiro Commando da Capital (PCC) and Rio de Janeiro’s Commando Vermelho (CV). These gangs control drug distribution in Brazil’s largest cities and pose an extreme security threat to the DPF and other Brazilian state and local law enforcement agencies. Both are involved in the importation, transportation, and distribution of weapons, in addition to narcotics. The importation and consumption of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or Ecstasy) has also increased in the major metropolitan areas.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs In 2009

Policy Initiatives. Brazil’s drug policies have shifted in recent years, including passage of a 2006 counternarcotics law that makes drug abuse a social and medical problem rather than a law enforcement problem. Instead of incarceration, offenders in possession of “personal use” quantities of any drug are cited and offered rehabilitation and community service. The law gives judges flexibility in determining the amount of drugs that constitute personal use. Criminal penalties remain for offenders charged with trafficking or distribution of drugs. In June 2008, Brazil passed a zero-tolerance law for drivers with any measurable content of alcohol or drugs in their blood, with a reported drop of 57 percent in traffic-related deaths in the state of Sao Paulo alone after heavy enforcement of the zero-tolerance law.

Pending anti-money laundering legislation drafted in 2005 that would give law enforcement officials greater access to financial and banking records was re-offered to the Brazilian Congress in June 2008 with amended language. However, after extensive political battles, the Brazilian Congress had still not voted on the legislation as of November 2009.

In October 2009, the Brazilian Minister of Justice proposed reforming the penal code to provide harsher penalties for major drug trafficking offenses. The Government of Brazil (GOB) is also undertaking a major evaluation of Brazil’s public security situation in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, which will be hosted in 12 Brazilian cities, and is looking to improve the security situation in Rio de Janeiro prior to the 2016 Summer Olympics. The situation was brought to the forefront of international press during the weekend of October 17, when territorial fighting between rival gangs in Rio’s favelas (slums) killed 14 people, including three policemen when their helicopter was shot down. The violence came just two weeks after the Olympic Committee selected Rio to host the 2016 Olympics.

During the 2009 reporting cycle for Brazil’s aerial interdiction (shoot-down) program, there were no incidents in which the Brazilian Air Force security forces, including the Brazilian Air Force, federal police and other law enforcement agencies, used lethal force against aircraft or any deaths or injuries resulting from Brazilian Air Force action related to the program.

Accomplishments. With cooperation of the DEA in Brazil and DEA in Romania, the DPF seized 3.78 metric tons of cocaine packed in plywood inside a container at a southern Brazilian seaport, destined for export to Romania. The case developed from information provided to the DPF by DEA following a January 2009 seizure of over one metric tons of cocaine at the port of Constanta, Romania that came from Brazil. Follow-through investigation on the shipping company by the DPF, DEA, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) resulted in the seizure of nearly four metric tons of cocaine ready for export to Romania. This cocaine seizure was the second-largest in Brazil’s history.

Police arrest and seizure statistics for state and local police agencies in Brazil are not centrally reported and are not always reliable. We rely on DPF records for statistics, and their estimates through November 2009 include seizures of: 18.9 metric tons of cocaine, 513 kilograms of crack cocaine, 1.4 metric tons of cocaine base, 150.6 metric tons of marijuana, 3.3 kilograms of heroin, and 183.3 tons of precursor chemicals. The DPF indicted 4,534 individuals on narcotics-related charges during this same period. According to the DEA, asset seizures yielded approximately $15 million in proceeds.

The DPF Special Investigation Units have been very successful in conducting complex international narcotics investigations in recent years. They have embraced the benefits of working in cooperation with other international law enforcement agencies to gain better investigative results. In 2009, the DPF culminated an investigation that dismantled a significant drug courier organization that transported cocaine to Europe and Ecstasy and LSD to Brazil. Twenty-eight defendants were arrested. Search warrants yielded seizures of 90,000 dosage units of Ecstasy and 50,000 dosage units of LSD, all of which were smuggled into Brazil from Europe.

This year, several key international arrests and seizures were made at the federal level including the head of an international cocaine and Ecstasy drug trafficking organization between Brazil and Europe. Pursuant to the arrests of the head trafficker in Denmark, the DPF served seizure warrants on a $2 million ocean-side home and a $150,000 32-foot custom cabin cruiser in Rio de Janeiro. Additionally, during an investigation in cooperation with the DEA, the DPF seized nearly four metric tons of cocaine in a container at the seaport of Paranagua, Parana State, Brazil.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Due to the difficulty in combating drug and contraband trafficking along its vast borders, Brazil increasingly relies on intelligence-driven interdiction operations. Through bilateral cooperation with the United States, Brazil has committed resources to increasing the number of DPF Special Investigative Units at drug transshipment points and interdiction units at Brazil’s major international airports. Brazil has improved its drug and contraband detection capabilities at seven international airports: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Manaus, Fortaleza, Salvador, Natal, and Recife. The DPF Mobile Airport Teams, created in 2008, continue to conduct unannounced interdiction operations at Brazil’s other60 airports. Their operations are based on intelligence collection and analysis of drug trafficking patterns, focused especially on the growing number of international flights to and from the airports in northeastern Brazil.

In 2009, the DPF began conducting training for police from several Portuguese-speaking African countries, graduating 35 students from a two-month Organized Crime training course at the DPF National Academy. Countries that participated were Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Angola, and Mozambique.

The DPF Canine Drug Detection Program has grown in size from 43 dogs to 55 dogs to support interdiction operations at over 20 key locations throughout Brazil. Twenty additional dogs will be purchased in early 2010. In 2009, the DPF added explosive detection capabilities to its Canine program operations.

Corruption. As a matter of policy, neither the GOB nor any of its senior officials encourage or facilitate production, shipment, or distribution of illicit drugs or laundering of drug money. However, non-narcotics related corruption remains worrisome. While the current government generally receives adequate marks for its anticorruption initiatives, domestic political scandals continued to be exposed in 2009 in the Brazilian media. Several schemes involving monthly payments from contractors to politicians were revealed over the past year, implicating officials at the federal, state, and municipal levels. In one high-profile case, the President of the Brazilian Senate, who is also a former president of Brazil, was accused of a range of improprieties, including holding an illegal bank account outside of Brazil and allowing a foundation carrying his name to receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money from the state-run oil company, Petrobras. Senate investigative committees dismissed charges against the Senate President and Petrobras later in the year. Opposition bloc politicians, including the Governor of Brasilia, are also under investigation for corrupt practices. Prosecution of corruption within government remains slow; few convictions for corruption within government were recorded in 2009.

Agreements and Treaties. Brazil is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention against Psychotropic Substances and the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol. Bilateral agreements based on the 1988 UN Drug Convention form the basis for counternarcotics cooperation between the United States and Brazil, resulting in a new Memorandum of Understanding on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement signed in August 2008. Brazil is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, and the UN Convention against Corruption. Brazil is also a party to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism, and the Inter-American Convention against Trafficking in Illegal Firearms. The U.S. and Brazil are parties to a 2001 bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty and a 2002 mutual assistance agreement on customs matters. These treaties provide the basis for the exchange of information to help prevent, investigate, and redress any offense against applicable laws of the United States or Brazil. Brazil has narcotics control or similar agreements with several South American neighbors: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Brazil also has accords with Portugal, Spain, the UK, Lebanon, Mexico, and South Africa. Even in the absence of treaties or similar arrangements, Brazil routinely cooperates with other countries in regards to narcotics-related crime investigations and actively participates in the UN Drug Control Program and the Organization of American States Anti-Drug Abuse Control Commission.

Extradition. The U.S. and Brazil cooperate in extradition matters under a 1961 extradition treaty. The Brazilian constitution prohibits the extradition of natural-born Brazilian citizens but allows for the extradition of naturalized Brazilian citizens for crimes committed prior to naturalization. Brazil extradited two individuals to the United States in 2009; the individuals were from Haiti and Colombia and were wanted on narcotics-related charges. Brazil cooperates with other countries in the extradition of non-Brazilians accused of narcotics-related crimes.

Cultivation/Production. To date, there is no evidence of cocaine-producing laboratories in Brazilian territory. However, as Brazil is the largest chemical producer in South America, the possibility of sourcing cocaine laboratories in Brazil exists and the DPF has discovered locals who are experienced in transforming cocaine base into crack cocaine for domestic use, primarily in the states of Amazonas, Acre, and Rondonia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, and Sao Paulo. Gangs such as the PCC and CV are involved in the conversion and distribution of crack in Brazil’s major cities.

Cannabis is cultivated in the northeast region of Brazil for distribution nationally. In some areas the plants grow wild. The DPF conducts annual eradication operations in that region, with no USG assistance. In June 2009, the DPF discovered and destroyed a plantation of 168,000 marijuana plants. In October 2009, they destroyed two plantations, of 23,000 and 70,000 plants respectively. The DPF estimates that an initial investment of $11,000 in an illegal marijuana plantation will net the trafficker a profit of $350,000 from distribution. Brazilian marijuana is not considered good quality in comparison to Paraguayan marijuana and is typically sold in poorer urban areas at approximately $450 per kilogram.

Drug Flow/Transit. Cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) enter Brazil for both domestic consumption and for exportation abroad. Multi-ton shipments of cocaine transit Brazil each year by air, land, and river. Small aircraft from Colombia and Peru transit Brazil bound for Venezuela and Suriname. Aircraft from Bolivia land at clandestine airstrips on isolated ranches or uninhabited areas mainly in the state of Goias, in Brazil’s central-west region. Two such aircraft loaded with Bolivian cocaine were forced to land by the Brazilian Air Force this year in Goias, which borders the Federal District, Brazil’s capital. Brazilian authorities have expressed concern with the increase in Bolivian cocaine entering Brazil and being consumed domestically.

New trafficking routes and patterns through Brazil continue to emerge. The proximity of Brazil’s northeast coast to West Africa makes it an excellent transshipment point for South America’s criminal organizations. DEA reports that West Africa has been adapted into a storage and transshipment location for narcotics bound for the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. A significant portion of Colombian cocaine is transshipped to Guinea-Bissau through Brazil by air and sea. Large maritime fishing or freight vessels leave the northeastern Brazilian coast and can complete their undetected journey to West Africa in about five days. Recife, the closest point to Africa, is only 1,656 nautical miles from Guinea-Bissau.

Consequently, Brazil’s northeast has become a location of choice for some Colombian trafficking organizations. This year, the DPF arrested numerous couriers with cocaine concealed on their body or in luggage leaving Brazil’s airports en route to destinations such as Angola, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Sao Tomé & Principe, and South Africa. The DPF’s excellent interdiction efforts at Sao Paulo’s international airport alone have yielded seizures of over one ton of cocaine through the first 10 months of 2009.

Ecstasy and LSD use in Brazil has been on the rise for the last two years. Although there is no known trend of Ecstasy or LSD production in Brazil, there is a continuous air passenger and cargo flow of the drugs from Europe to Brazil. In May 2009, the DPF arrested a 35 year old Romanian with 21,000 dosage units of Ecstasy at the Natal airport. The route of Amsterdam to Natal, via Lisbon, was arranged by a Dutch male. Within 10 days, the DPF individually arrested three more Romanians transporting Ecstasy under similar circumstances.

Criminal organizations, such as the Brazilian PCC and CV, benefit from the importation and distribution of drugs and weapons in Brazil. Their turf battles continue to fuel rising drug-related violence throughout Brazil, but mainly in Sao Paulo and Rio. Gangs smuggle weapons and hundreds of metric tons of marijuana from Paraguay annually, as well as cocaine from Bolivia and Colombia. They have also stolen weapons from police and military installations.

The PCC has an estimated 20,000 members throughout the country and is responsible for crimes such as prison riots, bank robberies, kidnappings, extortion, and murder, in addition to crack cocaine and weapons trafficking. The National Secretariat of Public Security (SENASP) stated in October 2009 that of the over 30,000 homicides per year in Brazil, 23,000 are drug related. Rio de Janeiro police report that crack cocaine seizures have increased 542 percent over the same period in 2008.

The gangs of Brazil use the proceeds from the sale of narcotics to purchase weapons and tighten their control of the favelas in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and other urban centers. Most recently, the Civil Police in Brasilia reported that the PCC has extended its reach to the Federal District by forming a new criminal gang called the PLD (Peace, Liberty and Justice). This violent gang receives crack cocaine from the PCC and distributes it in the satellite cities of the Federal District.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The National Secretariat of Policy on Drugs (SENAD) falls under the Office of the President. It was created in 1998 and is charged with overseeing the modernization of the National Policy on Drugs (PNAD). The new policy was completed and instituted in 2001. SENAD administers the National Anti-Drug Fund (FUNAD) and the Brazilian Observatory of Drug Information (OBID). With U.S. assistance, the OBID website is being upgraded by integrating information systems of the Federal Police, Health Ministry, and others. It is a site that offers information on drug use and its dangers, survey results, and medical research from recognized publications. SENAD is currently conducting numerous national demand reduction programs including a study of university students’ drug and alcohol usage, a study of the effect of controlled substance use on the transit system, drug prevention education in primary schools (with USG support), training on detection and treatment of drug abuse for health care professionals, implementation of the Viva Voz 24-hour substance abuse counseling hotline, training of religious leaders in drug prevention for at-risk groups, and capacity building of the national highway police to enforce Brazil’s zero-tolerance alcohol and drug law.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. United States counternarcotics policy in Brazil strives to improve cooperation at the policy and law enforcement levels to reinforce the GOB’s ability to identify and dismantle international narcotics trafficking organizations, particularly those with linkages to criminal groups in the United States. Both the U.S. and GOB are concerned by the progressive rise in Bolivian coca production that affects Brazil. Two essential goals of the U.S. Government are to assist Brazil to strengthen its laws for narcotics and money laundering control and to enhance cooperation at the appropriate governmental levels.

Bilateral Cooperation. Bilateral agreements provide the means for cooperation between U.S. Law Enforcement Agencies and Brazil’s Ministry of Justice (MOJ), National Secretariat of Public Security (SENASP), National Department of Prisons (DEPEN), and the National Secretariat of Policy on Drugs (SENAD). Cooperation has been excellent in the areas of drug prevention, combating drug trafficking, money laundering and diverse financial crimes, arms trafficking, and other organized crimes. In coordination with Brazilian law enforcement entities, the USG provided extensive training courses in 2009 on varied topics such as airport interdiction techniques, cyber crime investigations, forensics, device recovery data, and intelligence analysis. U.S. assistance continued to focus on improving the investigative and intelligence capabilities of Brazilian law enforcement agencies, especially the DPF. The U.S. Coast Guard provided mobile training in Incident Command System and in the development of an Emergency Operations Center to the Brazilian forces.

The DPF, with USG support, expanded the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) program to “satellite” installations in 20 states that link to the three main units located in Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo. These units, in collaboration with DEA and other foreign police, have been vital in conducting successful investigations and making seizures of internationally trafficked drugs, weapons, and money laundering.

The DPF also increased their airport interdiction capabilities by expanding operations from three to seven major international airports. With USG support, specialized equipment is being installed at airports in Sao Paulo, Rio, Manaus, Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife, and Natal.

The DPF Canine program has expanded their capabilities from solely drug detection to also include detection of explosives. With USG support, the Canine Unit has greatly increased their current working dog roster to be deployed in airports, seaports, and regional offices. They have also begun the first phase of a breeding project to meet long-term goals.

At the invitation of the GOB, the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs’ Senior Corrections Advisor conducted an assessment of Brazil’s Federal Prison system (DEPEN) in August 2009. Soon thereafter, DEPEN and the embassy’s Narcotics Affairs Section entered into a partnership with the goals of curbing the ability of organized criminals to operate transnational crimes from within prisons, improve infrastructure capacities within DEPEN and the state prisons of Brazil, support DEPEN’S strategic plan to improve the corps of professionally trained managers, and provide consulting on appropriate, cost-effective designs for future prisons.

The USG continues to provide support to the National Secretariat of Public Security (SENASP) training center, inaugurated in September 2008. The first group of 550 officers is taking the year long course in 2009. The end goal is for the training of 50 officers from each state who will return to their respective states to respond to civil unrest, prison riots, or gang violence. The U.S. provides support by donating special equipment and training specific to their needs.

The GOB improved antiterrorist financing capabilities by enhancing the role of the Financial Activities Oversight Council (COAF) to monitor and prevent possible funding for terrorist groups in Brazil. With U.S. assistance, COAF upgraded its database and data collection mechanisms. COAF is proactive in exchanging intelligence with its U.S. counterpart, the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN).

The Road Ahead. The USG commends Brazil on its efforts to combat the international trafficking of illicit drugs and the related crimes that perpetuate the drug trade. Expanding DPF Special Investigative Units to reach all major shipment points in Brazil, continuing to expand airport interdiction efforts to cover the increasing amount of international flights and continuing to increase DPF presence in the states bordering Bolivia will help Brazil combat the rising level of cocaine production in neighboring Bolivia. Brazil’s police forces, particularly the DPF, can further enhance their investigative and interdiction efforts by expanding the use of intelligence collection conducting focused counternarcotics operations. With ongoing efforts to expand its capacity, the DPF’s Canine Unit is only a few years away from being a first-rate, self-sufficient program, capable of fulfilling its large responsibilities for upcoming major events. We also encourage the GOB to continue developing the capabilities of COAF, which has the potential to be South America’s model for combating financial crimes. In addition, strengthening coordination between various federal law enforcement and public security entities, as well as state law enforcement agencies, will facilitate a unified front against the international drug cartels that smuggle drugs into and through Brazil, the national gangs that distribute drugs within Brazil, and the money laundering that fuels the trade.

 

Bulgaria

I. Summary

Bulgaria is a transit country for heroin and cocaine, as well as a producer of illicit narcotics, especially amphetamine type stimulants. Astride Balkan transit routes, Bulgaria is vulnerable to illegal flows of drugs, people, contraband, and money. Heroin distributed in Europe moves through Bulgaria from Southwest Asia via the Northern Balkan route, while chemicals used for making heroin move through Bulgaria to Turkey and Afghanistan. Marijuana and cocaine are also transported through Bulgaria. The Bulgarian government is very cooperative, working with many U.S. agencies, especially DEA, and has reached out to neighboring states to cooperate in interdicting the illegal flow of drugs and persons. Despite formidable challenges, including in its legal system and longstanding problems with corruption, the newly elected Bulgarian government has shown a strong commitment to reforming its law enforcement agencies and judiciary. At the end of 2009, the government advanced legislation to improve its ability to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate illicit narcotics trafficking cases and other serious crimes. Parliament is also reviewing legislation to close legal loopholes used by organized crime and drug kingpins to avoid sentencing. Bulgaria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Bulgaria continues to be primarily a drug transit country for heroin and cocaine. Cannabis was the most used drug in Bulgaria followed by synthetics. Heroin use remained constant during the year with experts estimating the number of heroin users to be 20,000 to 30,000 in 2009. Consumption of cocaine, primarily consumed by the wealthy, continued to increase. Despite success in reducing locally produced synthetic drugs, according to NGOs and international observers, Bulgaria continues to be a source of some synthetic drug production, including amphetamines, which are produced for the domestic market and exported to Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula.

The new government, elected in July, stepped up efforts to combat organized crime and drug trafficking. The new customs chief implemented reforms, including firing 104 unqualified or corrupt employees. From July to October 2009, customs seized 860 kilos of drugs compared to 169 kilos seized from January to June, a 408 percent increase. In October, the new government created anticorruption and organized crime joint taskforces to target high level organized crime members, including known drug traffickers. Despite progress in reforming law enforcement agencies and proposal of new legislation, a lack of financing, inadequate equipment, lingering corruption, and excessively formalistic judicial procedures continue to be challenges in counternarcotics efforts. The new government has proposed amendments to the criminal procedure code to streamline evidence collection, expedite the judicial process, and close legal loopholes.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The Bulgarian government adopted a new five-year National Strategy for Drug Control (2009-2013) in November. Proposed changes to the criminal procedure code being debated in parliament would streamline evidence collection, expedite the judicial process, and close legal loopholes that organized crime figures and known drug traffickers use to avoid sentencing. The new government is also pushing through legislation to strengthen its asset forfeiture laws, which would prevent drug kingpins from transferring assets to family members or associates to avoid seizure.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The Customs Agency under the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Interior (MOI), along with several specialized police services under the MOI, including the Border Police and the Bulgarian National Police (BNP) and General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP), are engaged in counternarcotics efforts. In November, the parliament passed a high-profile bill to reform the State Agency for National Security (DANS), clarifying its law enforcement role in relation to the Ministry of Interior. The bill removed organized crime, drugs, dual use goods, and trans-border crime from the agency’s jurisdiction, and prohibited DANS from conducting controlled delivery and undercover operations. The bill was widely viewed as a step in the right direction by local observers and Bulgarian law enforcement, as it clarified the role and responsibility of relevant agencies. Law enforcement bodies generally maintained drug seizures, despite a noticeable decrease in the first half of the year. In 2009, police seized 218 kilograms of heroin, 1.1 kilograms of cocaine, 253 kilograms of amphetamines, 6,635 tablets of ecstasy, 40 kilograms of marijuana, and 9,881 kilograms of cannabis. From January to November, the Customs Agency seized 719 kilograms of heroin, 234 kilograms of cocaine, 23 kilograms of ecstasy, 5 kilograms of marijuana, 44 kilograms of hashish and 588 tablets of psychotropic substances. Bulgarian authorities shared information and developed joint operations with international law enforcement agencies. Police and prosecutors also worked with foreign counterparts to obtain evidence on the use of offshore corporations and bank accounts by Bulgarian money launderers to hide drug proceeds. Bulgaria’s Commission for asset forfeiture (an independent agency) filed charges under Bulgarian law against a U.S. cocaine trafficker convicted in federal court in Miami, using that U.S. conviction to proceed against his properties in Bulgaria. From January to June there were 1453 investigations, 1042 prosecutions and 872 convictions for drug crimes.

Corruption. Corruption remains a serious problem in law enforcement and the judiciary. Despite some reforms, the judiciary as a whole (which includes prosecutors and judges) consistently receives poor scores in the area of public confidence in opinion polls. As a matter of government policy, Bulgaria 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 also no evidence that senior Bulgarian officials engage in these activities.

Agreements and Treaties. Bulgaria is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention as amended by its 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and the 1990 Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of Proceeds from Crime. Bulgaria is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. A new U.S.-Bulgarian Extradition Treaty entered into force in 2009, which includes narcotics offenses as extraditable offenses and allows for the extradition of Bulgarian nationals. The first extradition of a Bulgarian national—in November 2009—was to face drug trafficking charges in the District of Nebraska. The U.S. and Bulgaria also have a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. In addition, the two countries have concluded, pursuant to the 2003 U.S.-EU extradition and mutual legal assistance agreements, protocols to the bilateral extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, which will enter into force on February 1, 2010.

Cultivation and Production. The only illicit drug crop known to be cultivated in Bulgaria is cannabis, primarily for domestic consumption. The full extent of this illicit drug cultivation is not precisely known, but is a major source of supplementary income for retirees in some areas in the southwestern part of the country. Experts ascribe cultivation of cannabis to the ready availability of uncultivated land and Bulgaria’s amenable climate, particularly along the Greek border. Bulgarian Cannabis is not trafficked significantly beyond Bulgaria’s own borders. Recent evidence suggests that there has been a decrease in the manufacture of synthetic stimulant products in Bulgaria after some illegal laboratories relocated to Eastern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Armenia in order to be closer to consumers and to reduce risks associated with border crossings. Local production of amphetamines, mainly for the local market, usually takes place in small laboratories with limited capacity. From January to November the police closed five such facilities.

Drug Flow/Transit. Synthetic drugs, heroin, and cocaine are the main drugs transported through Bulgaria. Heroin from Afghanistan has traditionally been trafficked to Western Europe on the Balkan route through Turkey. The trend of heroin traffic moving by the more circuitous routes through the Caucasus and Russia to the north and through the Mediterranean to the south is strengthening. Other trafficking routes crossing Bulgaria pass through Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia. In addition to heroin and synthetic drugs, smaller amounts of marijuana and cocaine also transit through Bulgaria. Sporadic cocaine shipments from South America are transported via boat to the Black Sea and Greece, then on to Western Europe. Precursor chemicals for the production of heroin pass from the Western Balkans through Bulgaria to Turkey and on to Afghanistan. Synthetic drugs produced in Bulgaria are also trafficked through Turkey to markets in the Middle East, especially the Arabian Peninsula. Principal methods of transport for heroin and synthetics include buses, vans, TIR trucks, and cars, with smaller amounts sent by air. Cocaine is primarily trafficked into Bulgaria by air in small quantities, and by motor vehicles and maritime vessels in larger quantities.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Bulgarian government includes methadone maintenance as a heroin treatment option in the national healthcare system. Nationwide there are 30 outpatient units offering methadone substitution programs with the capacity to treat 5,560 patients and 15 inpatient clinics with the capacity to treat approximately 2,000 drug addicts and alcoholics. None of these facilities has a separate unit for juvenile patients. In addition, there are seven social rehabilitation programs, two of which are long-term community based programs. The Bulgarian National Center for Addictions (NCA), co-funded by the EU Monitoring Center for Drug Addictions, conducts prevention campaigns. There are 26 regional councils on narcotics implementing national drug prevention policy at the local level and 22 information centers. The information centers, financially supported by the municipalities, have been consistently under-funded, which adversely effects staff retention. According to press reports, more than 30 percent of high school students reported having tried marijuana, and five percent report having used amphetamines at least once. According to the National Focal Center for Drugs and Addictions, Bulgaria now has more than 20,000-30,000 heroin addicts of which just 4,000-5,000 undergo treatment each year. Officials estimate that there are between 40,000 to 45,000 drug addicts total. In 2008, the National Statistical Institute reported 74 drug-related deaths, compared to 52 in 2007.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. DEA operations for Bulgaria are managed from the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul. DEA’s current emphasis in Bulgaria is on conducting and coordinating joint international investigations with MOI counterparts and providing DEA technical and legal expertise and assistance. DEA, with some support from DoD through the U.S. European Command, also strives to arrange for counternarcotics training for Bulgarian law enforcement personnel; for example, a U.S. Coast Guard mobile training team provided a course in professional military education in 2009. A joint operation between DEA and local police resulted in closing a laboratory for synthetic drugs production near Sofia and seizing 150 kilograms of amphetamine tablets and 2.5 kilograms of amphetamine substances. A DOJ resident legal advisor, funded by State Department INL assistance, works with the Bulgarian government on law enforcement issues, including trafficking in drugs and persons, intellectual property, cyber-crime, and other issues. Another DOJ prosecutor advises the Bulgarian government on organized crime cases. Although final approval has still not come from Washington, DEA has plans to create a full-time presence in Bulgaria, a move strongly supported by the mission.

The Road Ahead. The new Bulgarian government has demonstrated political will to combat major organized crime rings and has begun prosecuting numerous cases of high-level corruption. The U.S. government will continue to actively support Bulgaria’s efforts to strengthen its asset forfeiture, money laundering, and anticorruption laws. Increased international assistance and engagement on law enforcement and judicial reform will boost Bulgaria’s internal capacity and bolster new reforms.

 

Burma

I. Summary

The annual U.S. government estimate for Burma’s opium production showed that poppy cultivation increased 4 percent to 22,500 ha in 2008 from 21,700 ha in 2007. The U.S. survey found that potential opium production increased 26 percent to 340 metric tons, sufficient to produce 32 metric tons of pure heroin. Ninety-four percent of poppy was grown in Shan State, with limited cultivation observed in Kachin State. A significant downward trend in poppy cultivation observed in Burma since 1998 was reversed in 2007. Preliminary results from “off-season” UNODC surveys of poppy cultivation and production in Burma indicate growers are producing crops during periods not previously associated with poppy cultivation, perhaps to avoid government eradication efforts. The Government of Burma (GOB) made significant steps in poppy eradication efforts over the last decade, a period during which Burma sunk to a distant second after Afghanistan, in world poppy cultivation rankings, but it would seem the direction of cultivation and production have reversed in response to very high regional opium prices in Southeast Asia. Opium farmers are also reportedly taking advantage of efficiencies provided by improved inputs (fertilizer and irrigation systems) to increase yields. The GOB has not provided most opium farmers with access to alternative development opportunities, though UN and other international programs have had some impact. Production and export of synthetic drugs (amphetamine-type stimulants, crystal methamphetamine and Ketamine) from Burma continue unabated.

Despite Burma’s overall decline in poppy cultivation since 1998 a dramatic surge has taken place in the production and export of synthetic drugs. The Golden Triangle, where the borders of Burma, Thailand and Laos converge on the Mekong River, is now dotted with drug labs producing synthetic drugs for the Asian market and beyond. Burma is a significant player in the manufacture and regional trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). Drug gangs based in the Burma-China and Burma-Thailand border areas, many of whose members are ethnic Chinese criminals, produce several hundred million methamphetamine tablets annually for markets in Thailand, China, and India, as well as for onward distribution beyond the region. There are also indications that groups in Burma have increased the production and trafficking of crystal methamphetamine, known as “Ice.”

Through its Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC), the GOB cooperates regularly and shares information with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Australian Federal Police (AFP) on narcotics investigations. In recent years, the GOB has also increased its law enforcement cooperation with Thai, Chinese, and Indian counternarcotics authorities, especially through renditions, deportations, and extraditions of suspected drug traffickers. Burmese authorities, working in cooperation with several foreign partners, made significant seizures in 2009 including: a sizeable maritime seizure in Burmese waters, a large seizure of ATS, and the largest heroin seizure in Southeast Asian history. During the 2009 drug certification process, the U.S. determined that Burma was one of three countries in the world that had “failed demonstrably” to meet its international counternarcotics obligations. Major concerns include: unsatisfactory efforts by Burma to deal with the burgeoning ATS production and trafficking problem; failure to take concerted action to bring members of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) to justice following the unsealing of a U.S. narcotics trafficking indictment against that group in January 2005; failure to investigate and prosecute military officials for drug-related corruption; and failure to expand demand-reduction, prevention, and drug-treatment programs to reduce drug-use and control the spread of HIV/AIDS. Burma is a party to several international narcotics control agreements, including the 1988 UN Convention.

II. Status of Country

Burma is the world’s second largest producer of illicit opium. Eradication efforts and implementation of poppy-free zones by hill tribe growers reduced cultivation levels dramatically between 1998 and 2006, especially in Wa territory. In 2007, a significant resurgence of cultivation occurred, particularly in eastern and southern Shan State and also in Kachin State. In 2008, the upward trend in cultivation and production continued.

According to the UNODC, opium prices in the Golden Triangle have increased in recent years. This trend continued in 2008. Burmese village-level opium prices or farm-gate prices increased from $153 per kilogram in 2004 to $187 in 2005, to $230 in 2006, to $261 in 2007, and to $301 per kilogram in 2008. Cumulatively, this represents an increase in the farm gate opium price of almost 97 percent. UNODC estimates that Burmese opium sales contribute less than half of the annual household cash income of farmers who cultivate opium, but many farmers use their opium income to pay for food between harvests. In the areas where opium contributes most to household income, Southern Shan State and Kayah State, 46 percent of the average yearly income of opium cultivating households was derived from opium sales in 2008. At the other end of the spectrum for the less important opium growing areas, poppy cultivation accounted for only 6 percent of household income for cultivators in Northern Shan State, according to UNODC.

The cumulative decline in poppy cultivation in Burma since 1996 has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the local production and export of synthetic drugs. Opium, heroin, and ATS are produced predominantly in the border regions of Shan State and in areas controlled by ethnic minority groups. Between 1989 and 1997, the Burmese government negotiated a series of ceasefire agreements with many armed ethnic minorities, offering them limited autonomy and continued tolerance of their narcotics production and trafficking activities in return for peace. In June 2005, the UWSA announced implementation in Wa territory of a long-delayed ban on opium production and trafficking.

Although poppy cultivation in the Wa territory remains low, the U.S. government survey revealed that 380 ha of poppy were grown there in 2008, down from 480 ha in 2007. While the cultivation of opium poppies in Wa territory has decreased to almost nothing in 2008, there are indications from many sources that UWSA leaders replaced opium cultivation with the manufacture and trafficking of ATS pills and “Ice” in their territory. The leadership of the largest armed trafficking groups is ethnic Chinese criminals. Although the government has not succeeded in persuading/forcing the UWSA to stop its illicit drug production and trafficking, the GOB’s Anti-Narcotic Task Forces continued to pressure UWSA traffickers in 2009 and arrested low- to mid-level UWSA traffickers outside Wa controlled territory.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Burma’s official 15-year counternarcotics plan, launched in 1999, calls for the eradication of all narcotics production and trafficking by the year 2014, one year ahead of an ASEAN-wide plan of action that calls for the entire region to be drug-free by 2015. To meet this goal, the GOB initiated its plan in stages, using eradication efforts combined with a few planned alternative development programs in individual townships, predominantly in Shan State. The government initiated its second five-year phase in 2004. Ground surveys by the Joint GOB-UNODC Illicit Crop Monitoring Program indicate a steady decline in poppy cultivation and opium production in areas receiving focused attention, due to the availability of some alternative livelihood measures (including crop substitution which is usually financed by external donors), the discovery and closure of clandestine refineries, stronger interdiction of illicit traffic, and annual poppy eradication programs. The UNODC estimates that the GOB eradicated 4,820 hectares of poppies during the 2008 cropping season compared to 3,598 hectares in 2007, a 34 percent increase. The most significant multilateral effort in support of Burma’s counternarcotics program is the UNODC presence in Shan State.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Burmese law enforcement officials have achieved meaningful successes during 2009. Seizures are up, including a nearly thirteen-fold increase in the seizure of methamphetamine tablets and sharp upward spikes in the amounts of precursor chemicals seized. Most notably, there are increased signs of GOB cooperation with foreign law enforcement partners.

The CCDAC, under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, leads all drug-enforcement efforts in Burma and comprises personnel from the national police, customs, military intelligence, and army. The CCDAC coordinates 26 counternarcotics task forces throughout Burma. Most are located in major cities and along key transit routes near Burma’s borders with China, India, and Thailand. As is the case with most Burmese government entities, the CCDAC suffers from a severe lack of funding, equipment, and training to support its law-enforcement mission. The Burmese Army and Customs Department support the police in drug enforcement. Burma is engaged in drug abuse cooperation with its neighbors China, India, and Thailand, with varying levels of interaction. Since 1997, Burma and Thailand have had more than 12 cross-border law enforcement cooperation meetings. According to the GOB, Thailand has contributed over $1.6 million to support an opium crop substitution and infrastructure project in southeastern Shan State. Beginning in 2007, the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) posted an officer at the Thai embassy in Rangoon.

Burma/China cross-border law enforcement cooperation has increased significantly, resulting in several successful operations and the handover of Chinese fugitives who had fled to Burma. While China has not formally funded alternative development programs, it has actively encouraged investment in many projects in the Wa area and other border regions. There are indications that China has conducted its own opium cultivation and production surveys in regions of Burma bordering the PRC, although Chinese officials have not shared data resulting from those surveys with other parties.

After Burma and India signed an agreement on drug control cooperation in 1993, the two countries agreed to hold cross border law enforcement meetings on a bi-annual basis, though the last meeting took place on September 11, 2004, in Kolkata.

On January 22, 2009, CCDAC seized 112 kilograms of heroin at a house in Rangoon, Burma, the largest seizure of heroin ever to occur in Rangoon. On January 25, 2009, CCDAC seized 26 kilograms of heroin hidden inside a container of lumber on the MV Kota Tegap bound for Singapore. This was the first ever seizure by Burmese authorities on an outbound container vessel.

On February 19, 2009, the CCDAC arrested UWSA associate U Hla Aung in Rangoon. According to Burmese law enforcement, U Hla Aung was engaged in the underground remittance of narcotics proceeds between Special Region Number Two (UWSA-controlled) and Rangoon. CCDAC stated that the transactions were all conducted on behalf of the UWSA. CCDAC speculated that U Hla Aung may have conducted financial transactions on behalf of targets connected to the January heroin seizures in Rangoon.

On February 24, 2009, CCDAC and the Burmese Army raided a camp utilized by the Naw Kham Militia in Pa Hsa Village, Tachilek, Burma. Naw Kham was a former Mong Tai Army officer who now taxes narcotics shipments along the Mekong River. During the raid, Burmese authorities seized 3,326,695 tablets of methamphetamine, 25 kilograms of ephedrine, 12.1 kilograms of heroin, as well as weapons, munitions, and currency.

On July 10, 2009, the CCDAC Tachileck Anti-Narcotics Task Force (ANTF) seized approximately 762 kilograms of heroin and 340,000 tablets of methamphetamine, representing the largest heroin seizure ever recorded in Southeast Asia.

On August 8, 2009, Burmese authorities raided a compound belonging to the ethnic Kokang (Han Chinese) Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) leader Peng Chia-sheng. The GOB claimed the site was used to manufacture weapons and store methamphetamine. The Burmese Police issued arrest warrants for Peng Chia-sheng and several relatives. According to the GOB, on August 27, 2009, MNDAA forces loyal to Peng Chia-sheng took 39 Burmese police officers hostage and detained them in a small detention facility in Laukai. On August 28, 2009, the Burmese Army assaulted the detention facility. At some point, either prior to or during the assault, MNDAA forces executed 14 of the police officers, according to GOB accounts. After brief combat with MNDAA forces, the Burmese Army gained control of Laukai and Special Region Number One. The raid and ensuing combat broke a ceasefire which had stood for 20 years and sparked a short-term exodus of refugees to China. Upon gaining control of Laukai, Burmese authorities claim they seized approximately 12 million tablets of methamphetamine, 8 million tablets of ephedrine, 246 kilograms of ephedrine, 6,814 liters of various acids, 3,076 liters of ether, 64,000 tablets of cold medicine, 7,056 liters of acetone, 2,161 liters of ethyl alcohol, 5,979 liters of chloroform, as well as lesser amounts of other chemicals. The GOB attributed this contraband to Peng Chia-sheng and his immediate family.

On August 24, 2009, the CCDAC Tachilek ANTF seized 2,926,000 tablets of methamphetamine, 36.4 kilograms of heroin, and 10 kilograms of methamphetamine (in “Ice” form).

On September 11, 2009, the Tachilek CCDAC Anti Narcotics Task Force (ANTF), acting on detailed information provided by DEA Rangoon, raided a residence in Tachilek, Burma. The raid resulted in the seizure of approximately 2.6 million methamphetamine tablets and the arrest of four suspects.

Burmese law enforcement officials coordinate closely with DEA and share information to conduct joint investigations. Some of the most notable seizures recorded this year, such as the one in Tachilek, were the product of collaboration between DEA and the CCDAC.

The GOB has not taken direct action against the seven living UWSA leaders indicted by a U.S. court in 2005, although authorities have taken action against other, lower-ranking members of the UWSA syndicate.

Summary statistics provided by Burmese drug officials indicate that from January 2008 through December 2008, Burmese police, army, and the Customs Service together seized 1,464 kilograms of raw opium, 2,452 kilograms of low quality opium, 80 kilograms of opium oil, 88 kilograms of heroin, 206 kilograms of morphine base (#3 heroin), 1,102,199 methamphetamine tablets, 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (“Ice”), 724 kilograms of ephedrine, 9,335 liters of other precursor chemicals, 1,922 kilograms of precursor chemical powder, and 1,378 kilograms of caffeine. For the period of January 2009 through September 2009, Burmese authorities indicate they seized 632 kilograms of raw opium, 456 kilograms of low quality opium, 19 kilograms of opium oil, 1,045 kilograms of heroin, 324 kilograms of morphine base (#3 heroin), 13,105,418 tablets of methamphetamine, 330 kilograms of powdered methamphetamine, 124 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (“Ice”), 1,639 kilograms of ephedrine, 19,836 liters of other precursor chemicals, 1,388 kilograms of precursor chemical powder, and 1,078 kilograms of caffeine.

Corruption. There are no Burmese laws specifically related to corruption. While no public reports have emerged from the secretive Burmese regime to indicate that senior officials in the Burmese Government are directly involved in the drug trade, there are credible indications that mid- and-lower level military leaders and government officials, particularly those posted in border and drug-producing areas, are involved in facilitating the drug trade. A few lower-ranking officials have been prosecuted, but Burma has failed to indict any military official above the rank of colonel for drug-related corruption. Given the extent of drug manufacture and trafficking in Burma, most observers believe it is likely that other individuals with high-level positions in the Burmese regime, and their relatives, are involved in narcotics trafficking or misuse their positions to protect narcotics traffickers. The government of Burma does not as a matter of government policy encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

The Burmese regime monitors travel, communications, and activities of its citizens to maintain tight control of the population. GOB officials are likely aware of the cultivation, production, and trafficking of illegal narcotics in areas they control.

Agreements and Treaties. Burma is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Burma is a party to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, and has signed but has not ratified the UN Corruption Convention.

Cultivation and Production. According to the UNODC opium survey, in 2008 the total land area under poppy cultivation was 28,500 hectares, a 3 percent increase from 2007. However, UNODC estimated that yield per hectare dropped by 12.7 percent, resulting in a 10.9 percent decrease in potential dry opium production, from 460 metric tons in 2007 to 410 metric tons in 2008. The decrease in potential opium production in 2008 may reflect unfavorable growing weather in major opium poppy growing areas. While the UNODC undertakes annual estimates of poppy cultivation and production, the U.S. has not conducted a joint crop survey with Burma since 2004. The United States continues to seek GOB cooperation to perform a new joint crop survey, working under the assumption that the results of such a survey would be useful for policy officials in both governments.

A U.S.-only opium survey of Burma found different results from the UNODC survey. The annual U.S. government estimate for Burma’s opium production showed that poppy cultivation increased 4 percent to 22,500 ha in 2008 from 21,700 ha in 2007. The U.S. survey found that potential opium production increased 26 percent to 340 metric tons, sufficient to produce 32 metric tons of pure heroin. Ninety-four percent of poppy was grown in Shan State, with limited cultivation observed in Kachin State.

Most ATS and heroin in Burma is produced in small, mobile labs located near Burma’s borders with China and Thailand, primarily in territories controlled by active or former insurgent groups. A growing amount of methamphetamine is reportedly produced in labs co-located with heroin refineries in areas controlled by the UWSA, the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), and groups inside the Kokang autonomous region.

Drug Flow/Transit. Ethnic Chinese criminal gangs dominate the drug syndicates operating in Wa, Shan, and Kokang areas. Heroin and methamphetamine produced by these groups is trafficked overland and via the Mekong River, primarily through China, Thailand, India, Laos and, to a lesser extent, via Bangladesh, and within Burma. There are credible indications that drug traffickers are increasingly using maritime routes from ports in southern Burma to reach transshipment points and markets in southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and beyond.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Although opium addiction remains high in places of historic or current opium production, usage of more expensive opiate derivates (e.g. heroin) and ATS has historically been lower in these regions. Traditionally, some farmers used opium as a painkiller and an antidepressant, often because they lack access to other medicine or adequate healthcare. There has been a shift in Burma away from opium smoking toward injecting heroin, a habit that creates more addicts and poses greater public health risks. Extremely difficult economic conditions will likely continue to stifle substantial growth in overall drug consumption, but the trend toward injecting narcotics is of significant concern.

The GOB maintains there are fewer than 100,000 registered addicts in Burma. Surveys conducted by international organizations and NGOs suggest the addict population could be many times larger. According to the most recent UNODC figures on ATS use from 2005, Burma’s ATS use prevalence was 0.2 percent among the population age 16-64. The most recent UNODC opiate use estimates from 2008 indicate a prevalence of 0.6 percent, second highest in the East and South East Asia region. The UNODC estimated in 2004 that there were at least 15,000 regular ATS users in Burma; there are likely many more now, although official figures are unavailable.

Intravenous drug use is, to an extent, driving the spread of HIV/AIDS in Burma. According to Burma’s National AIDS Program in 2008, one third of officially reported HIV/AIDS cases are attributable to intravenous drug use, one of the highest rates in the world. Infection rates are highest in Burma’s ethnic regions, and specifically among mining communities in those areas where opium, heroin, and ATS are most readily available.

Burmese demand reduction programs are in part coercive and in part voluntary. Addicts are required to register with the GOB and can be prosecuted if they fail to register and accept treatment. Demand reduction programs and facilities are limited, however. There are six major drug treatment centers under the Ministry of Health, 49 other smaller detoxification centers, and eight rehabilitation centers. The Ministry of Health in 2006 began to treat heroin addicts with Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT) in four drug treatment centers.

In 2009, UNODC opened five new drop-in drug treatment centers to complement the 12 centers already established. UNODC-sponsored drop-in centers and outreach workers treated approximately 6,800 persons for drug abuse through November 2009. The GOB conducts narcotics awareness programs through the public school system. In addition, the government has established several demand reduction programs in cooperation with NGOs. These include programs coordinated with CARE Myanmar, World Concern, and Population Services International (PSI), focused on addressing injected drug use as a key factor in halting the spread of HIV/AIDS.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy and Programs. As a result of the 1988 suspension of direct USG counternarcotics assistance to Burma, the USG has limited engagement with the Burmese government in regard to narcotics control. U.S. DEA, through the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, shares drug-related intelligence with the GOB and conducts joint drug-enforcement investigations with Burmese counternarcotics authorities. In 2008 and 2009, these joint investigations led to several significant seizures, arrests, and convictions of drug traffickers and producers. The U.S. conducted opium yield surveys in the mountainous regions of Shan State from 1993 until 2004, with assistance provided by Burmese counterparts. These surveys gave both governments a more accurate understanding of the scope, magnitude, and changing geographic distribution of Burma’s opium crop. In 2005-2009, the GOB and USG did not conduct joint opium yield surveys, although the U.S. did conduct a unilateral study in late 2009. Bilateral counternarcotics projects are limited to one small U.S.-supported crop substitution project in Shan State, which received its final grant of U.S. funds during FY 2009. No U.S. counternarcotics funding directly benefits or passes through the GOB. In September 2009, the USG identified Burma as having “failed demonstrably” to meet its international counternarcotics obligations, one of three countries in the world that failed to meet this standard.

The Road Ahead. The GOB has made meaningful gains over the past decade in reducing opium poppy cultivation and opium production. Increased domestic efforts, as well as expanded cooperation with UNODC and regional partners, particularly China and Thailand will help maintain those gains.

In order to be sustainable, a true opium replacement strategy must combine an extensive range of counternarcotics actions, including crop eradication and effective law enforcement, alternative development options, support for former poppy farmers, and openness to outside assistance. To reach its goals of eradicating all narcotics production and trafficking by 2014, the GOB must seek to cooperate closely with the ethnic groups currently involved in drug production and trafficking, especially the Wa, to reduce production and must refuse to condone continued involvement by ceasefire groups in the narcotics trade;. Corruption always plays a role in narcotics trafficking. To become opium-free by 2014, the GOB will have to confront corruption effectively; and must enforce its counternarcotics laws consistently. The GOB must further take action against high-level drug traffickers and their organizations, strictly enforce its money-laundering legislation, and expand prevention and drug treatment programs to reduce drug use and control the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.

The GOB needs to consider effective new steps to address the explosion of ATS production and trafficking from Burmese territory by gaining closer cooperation from ethnic groups, especially the Wa, to counter the manufacture and distribution of ATS. Finally, the GOB will want to consider the troubling growth of domestic demand for heroin and ATS, and find some response.

Increased international aid—including development assistance and law-enforcement aid—could complement the GOB’s own required efforts in reducing drug production and trafficking in Burma. However, the direct provision of assistance to the Burmese government by many donors, including the U.S. has been contingent on meaningful political change.

 

Cambodia

I. Summary

Cambodia has a significant and growing illegal drug problem consisting of increased levels of consumption, trafficking, and production of dangerous drugs. Cambodia’s proximity to the “Golden Triangle” and porous land, river, sea, and air borders make it attractive to traffickers of contraband of all sorts including drugs. Recent trends indicate that Cambodia also produces narcotics destined for local and regional markets. Drug use, particularly of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) such as crystal methamphetamine (commonly referred to as “ice”), is escalating and cuts across socio-economic lines. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) is committed to reducing the threat of drug abuse and trafficking and achieving the regional goal of a drug-free ASEAN by 2015, however continuing concerns about corruption, limited resources, and lack of capacity and coordination hamper government efforts. The National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) and the Cambodia Anti-Drug Department (CADD) cooperate closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), regional counterparts, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to NGO officials working with drug addicts, the number of drug users in Cambodia is on the rise, with increased availability of drugs reaching deeper into the rural areas. The availability and quality of drug treatment centers is inadequate to cope with the rising demand. Although Cambodia’s 1996 drug law provides guaranteed access to drug treatment for all who need it, government rehabilitation centers lack trained professionals, resources, and standards of care. Cambodia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Cambodia continues to play a role in the regional transit of drugs from the Golden Triangle. A spill-over effect has resulted in an expansion of the country’s narcotics problem with higher domestic illicit drug consumption and, as evidenced by recent discoveries of large and medium-scale production sites, an increased production capability for synthetic drugs like methamphetamine. Many experts believe additional clandestine labs, engaged in tableting as well as production, are operating within the country. Cambodia continues to be a producer and exporter of natural sassafras oil, which can be used as a precursor for Ecstasy (MDMA) in addition to many licit products such as perfumes, insecticides, and soaps. The harvest, sale, and export of sassafras oil are illegal in Cambodia.

ATS is the most prevalent narcotic in Cambodia, accounting for nearly 81 percent of drug use according to the NACD. Both ATS tablets, known locally as yama, and crystal methamphetamine are widely available. Heroin addiction, currently a problem for a relatively small number of users located mainly in Phnom Penh, is a growing problem in Cambodia. A recent UNODC baseline survey of 12 provinces found injecting drug use was especially prominent in the border areas, but some injecting drug abusers were found in all survey provinces. Cocaine, ketamine and opium are also available in Cambodia. It is a common practice among the homeless population to sniff glue or similar inhalant products, particularly for minors living on the streets. NACD statistics reveal 77 percent of all drug users are below the age of 26; however local NGO Korsang surveys reveal 93 percent of drug users contacted via outreach and 68 percent of drug users who frequent Korsang’s drop-in center are over 25. The majority of Korsang’s clients are injecting drug users.

Although the exact number of illicit drug users in Cambodia is not known, the NACD estimates 5,900 users and the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Dermatology and STD (NCHADS) estimates 13,000. According to NGOs and law enforcement experts working in the field, the actual figures are likely to be much higher than any of these estimates, and could reach over 60,000. Data now indicates that the drug problem in Cambodia has spread further into the rural areas, with the highest usage in the provinces bordering Laos and Thailand. The HIV prevalence rate among all drug users as a group is only slightly higher than the national average of 0.9 percent. However, among injecting drug users (IDUs), it is estimated at 24.4 percent.

Cambodia has historically been an easy target for traffickers of illicit cargo given its porous borders, corruption, and weakened capacity for law enforcement. Heroin made in Burmese drug labs as well as cocaine and Ecstasy are trafficked through Cambodian international airports, land, and maritime borders. The arrest of Chinese nationals involved in large narcotics cases suggests linkages with transnational criminal syndicates. A surge of activity related to West African organized crime elements is of concern to the CADD. UNODC contends that the majority of meth tablets feeding the growing domestic demand are produced by mixing methamphetamines manufactured in other countries with local adulterants. This process generates higher quantities of lower grade drugs which are available to a greater number of consumers at a reduced price.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. The Cambodian government is legitimately concerned about the rise of drug trafficking and abuse, and remains dedicated to stemming the flow of illicit drugs through the country. However, corruption, low educational levels, low salaries, limited budgets, hierarchical decision making processes, and limited information sharing between agencies all affect the quality of public services in Cambodia. In early 2009, a former commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and leads the NACD as his sole responsibility. He is currently focused on drug free schools, colleges, hotels, guesthouses and entertainment establishments.

The NACD continues to implement Cambodia’s first 5-year national plan on narcotics control (2006-2010), which includes demand reduction, supply reduction, drug law enforcement, and expansion of international cooperation. The next installment of the plan is expected to focus on drug users, provision of drug treatment, and health care.

Over the past few years, the Cambodian government has worked to strengthen previously weak legal penalties for drug-related offenses. The current drug law stipulates a maximum penalty of a $25,000 fine and life imprisonment for individuals convicted of certain drug trafficking violations and allows proceeds from the sale of seized assets to be used to finance law enforcement, drug awareness, and drug prevention efforts. A 2007 directive issued by the Ministry of Health increased penalties for sassafras oil production and distribution to two to five years in jail, plus fines.

The RGC has responded to the increasing complexity of the drug situation in Cambodia by introducing a new draft “Law on Drug Control” which would replace the 1996 drug law. The draft law is intended to increase the severity of punishments, strengthen provisions on seizure and forfeiture of property, and improve procedural requirements. The RGC invited UNODC and several experts to workshops during various drafting stages to ensure the draft law is consistent with UN conventions. The draft law is expected to be passed and enacted in early 2010; although the new law meets international standards, some observers fear that there is limited capacity within the RGC to develop the required regulations and procedures to support its full implementation.

Law Enforcement Efforts. The NACD in conjunction with the CADD has made strides in becoming a more effective organization and is emerging as a leader in the region. This improvement was reflected by the 2008 appointment of the head of the CADD to serve as Chairman of the International Drug Enforcement Conference Far East Regional Working Group (IDEC-FERWG). Moreover, there were several events in 2009 organized by the NACD where seized drugs were publicly burned. The NACD’s 2009-2010 budget remained at $1.15 million, which was a slight decrease from $1.25 million in 2008-2009.

Compared to the same time period in 2008, drug-related seizures and arrests increased in the first nine months of 2009.

On August 19, 2009, Conservation International (CI) reported that Forestry Administration officials seized 2,600 liters of sassafras oil. The oil was found in barrels below a false bottom of a dump truck driven by 27-year-old Vietnamese man.

On June 17, 2009, three Nigerian nationals were arrested in Phnom Penh for possession of nearly one kilogram of heroin hidden inside large buttons on their clothes. Twenty additional Nigerian nationals were subsequently arrested for drug trafficking.

On June 12, 2009, a government-led raid resulted in the seizure of 5.7 tons of sassafras oil in a wildlife sanctuary in the Cardamom Mountains. Ministry of Environment rangers received an anonymous tip-off about the hidden cache of oil, which resulted in the largest seizure of its kind inside Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary. No arrests were made.

On June 5, 2009, Phnom Penh counternarcotics police arrested eight people for suspected involvement in an illegal drug laboratory. During the raid, police found more than 3 tons of precursor chemicals commonly used for making methamphetamine.

On March 21 and 22, 2009, counternarcotics police in cooperation with U.S. and Australian experts confiscated more than two tons of illegal substances from four clandestine methamphetamine drug laboratories in three different provinces. Four people, including two Chinese nationals, were arrested.

On March 18, 2009, police arrested three alleged drug traffickers in Phnom Penh and seized more than 25,500 methamphetamine tablets, one pistol, and one assault rifle.

Corruption. The Cambodian government does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate illicit production or distribution of drugs or controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal transactions involving drugs, nor are senior government officials known to engage in or encourage such actions. Nonetheless, corruption remains pervasive in Cambodia, making Cambodia highly vulnerable to penetration by drug traffickers and foreign crime syndicates. Senior Cambodian government officials assert that they want to combat trafficking and illicit drug production; although, corruption, low salaries for civil servants, and an acute shortage of trained personnel severely limit sustained advances in effective law enforcement, recent investigations may indicate a willingness to expose corruption within the police force. On October 9, 2009 a Phnom Penh municipal counternarcotics police chief was suspended and remains under investigation after 8,000 methamphetamine tablets were discovered in his office. This follows an October 2 arrest of another municipal counternarcotics police officer found with approximately 10 kilograms of heroin, 2 kilograms of methamphetamine and one ton of chemicals used to process and manufacture drugs concealed in his home.

Cambodia acceded to the UN Convention against Corruption in September 2007; however, there is no anticorruption law, and only a few provisions of other laws provide criminal penalties for official corruption. Public officials are not subject to financial disclosure laws. Meager salaries contributed to “survival corruption” among low-level public servants, while a culture of impunity enabled corruption to continue among senior officials. Public perception that corruption in Cambodia is rampant is widespread.

A new Penal Code was passed by the National Assembly in October 2009. Several of the articles within the Penal Code address corruption committed by civil servants and court officials, and include penalties for offenses such as misappropriation of public funds, bribery of civil servants, willful destruction and fraudulent embezzlement, and witness tampering. Officials have long stated that passage of the new Penal Code was a prerequisite to an anticorruption law and have indicated that the draft Anti-Corruption Law may be submitted to the National Assembly soon.

Agreements and Treaties. Cambodia 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. Cambodia is a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and illegal manufacturing and trafficking in firearms. Cambodia is also a party to the UN Convention against Corruption.

Cultivation/Production. In the first nine months of 2009, 1,172 square meters of cannabis were destroyed in seven provinces. UNODC and other international organizations agree that cannabis production and cultivation have ceased to be a major concern in Cambodia. However, anecdotal information of cannabis cultivation indicates that the problem persists at a reduced level.

Drug Flow/Transit. ATS is typically trafficked to Thailand or Malaysia, while heroin is smuggled out to Vietnam, China and Taiwan. Heroin and ATS enter Cambodia by both primary and secondary roads and rivers across the northern border, transit through Cambodia via road or river networks, and enter Thailand and Vietnam. Effective law enforcement of the border region with Laos on the Mekong River, which is permeated with islands, is nearly impossible due to lack of boats and fuel among law enforcement forces. At the same time, improvements to National Road 7 to Laos and other roads is increasing the ease with which traffickers can use Cambodia’s rapidly developing transportation network —a trend likely to continue as additional road and bridge projects are implemented. Heroin and ATS are believed to exit Cambodia via locations along the Gulf of Thailand —including the deep-water port of Sihanoukville —as well as the river port of Phnom Penh.

Airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap suffer from lax customs and immigration controls. According to the NACD, drug traffickers are increasingly using Cambodian airports to smuggle drugs into and out of the country. On April 5, 2009, a 44-year-old Filipino man was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport after he was found trying to conceal 849 grams of heroin in his underwear as he boarded an airplane heading for Shanghai. On March 13, 2009, a Chinese male was arrested by police at Phnom Penh International Airport for trying to board an airplane bound for Taiwan with 809 grams of heroin. On February 6, 2009, a Taiwanese national was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport for hiding 770 grams of heroin in his pants.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. With the assistance of USAID, UNODC, UNICEF, WHO, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and several NGOs, the NACD is attempting to boost awareness about the dangers of drug abuse among Cambodians through the use of pamphlets, posters, and public service announcements. A number of NGOs such as Mith Samlanh, Family Health International (FHI), Korsang, and the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance (KHANA) provide a range of services for high-risk and vulnerable populations, including health services related to illicit drug use, outreach/peer education, HIV prevention interventions, and drug treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration. Most of these NGOs do not specifically target illicit drug users, but have identified illicit drug use as a significant risk factor for the populations they serve, such as street children, youth, and sex workers.

The popularity of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”, has resulted in an increase in users in the injecting drug use (IDU) scene. As heroin and ice become more widely available, which has been the trend over the past few years, there may be a rapid escalation in IDU and concomitant spread of HIV. Approximately 25 percent of current injecting drug users are HIV positive. NGOs, Mith Samlanh and Korsang, operate harm-reduction programs in Phnom Penh. In addition to needle exchange, they provide counseling services, basic and emergency medical care, training on overdose management, education on HIV/AIDS, and reproductive health. They also provide referrals to drug detoxification and rehabilitation services, medical clinics and hospitals, sexual health clinics, monitoring, and other health and non-health services such as vocational training. FHI provides technical, programmatic and financial support to government, NGOs and community partners in strategic information and HIV prevention, care, support, and treatment. KHANA works to reduce drug-related HIV risk by raising awareness among the community about illicit drug use, educating drug users to understand and prevent HIV and health risks associated with drug use, and promoting correct and consistent condom use and responsible sexual choices. NACD and the World Health Organization are working to develop a pilot methadone maintenance program, which will be implemented at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in partnership with Korsang, Mith Samlanh and other NGOs working on drug treatment and rehabilitation issues. The program has been in the planning stages for several years, and is scheduled to start in late 2009.

Drug addicts have historically been treated as criminals by Cambodian authorities and society. Consequently, there has been an over-reliance on law enforcement and prosecution approaches at the expense of demand reduction efforts. However local NGOs claim that the NACD is making an effort to change perceptions and is willing to work with local demand and harm-reduction NGOs to enhance cooperation and skill sharing.

Cambodia has fourteen private and state-owned treatment centers as well as one center run by a local NGO, Mith Samlanh. Given the number of drug users in Cambodia, it is evident that the need for drug treatment services far outstrips the available supply. There are no separate treatment centers for women, although some serve both sexes. Government drug treatment centers are run by several different ministries, from Health to Interior to Defense, with no single unified standard of care. They are primarily compulsory military-style boot camps with an overarching philosophy of detention and control, providing very little in the way of counter addiction counseling and rehabilitation programming. Experts contend that these centers do not meet the real needs on the ground and believe a shift toward community-based drug treatment is needed in order to provide a realistic option for those who are voluntarily in search of addiction treatment services.

Many of the shortcomings detailed in a 2007 joint NACD/Ministry of Health assessment of the government-run centers still exist. While there has been some improvement in past years, such as the incorporation of rehabilitation best practices learned from training funded by the State Department’s Anti-Drug Program and provided by the U.S.-based NGO Daytop in 2007, much remains to be done. The centers do not have the capacity to conduct proper physical and psychological intake assessments, lack trained medical staff, do not obtain consent from patients, and do not have the resources to provide follow-up services. Nor do they refer patients to organizations that can provide those services. Instead, the centers rely on confinement, military-style drills, exercise, and religious discipline as the mainstay of the rehabilitation program. The government-run centers are further hampered by lack of funding and rely on donations from local markets, parents and relatives of patients, and the Cambodian Red Cross. Medical treatment for acute distress from withdrawals consists of aspirin and a Chinese herbal spirit-calming supplement when funding permits. During the first six months of 2009, 733 drug users and addicts including four females were admitted to the government-run centers

The Mith Samlanh organization operates a small residential rehabilitation program which offers medically-supervised detoxification, individual and group counseling, and referral into Mith Samlanh’s extensive network of vocational training and other services. In the first nine months of 2009, 134 males and 8 females received drug detoxification and rehabilitation services through Mith Samlanh.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. While Cambodia has moved beyond its turbulent political history to a period of relative political stability, the country is still plagued by many of the institutional weaknesses common to the world’s most vulnerable developing countries. The challenges for Cambodia include: nurturing the growth of democratic institutions and the protection of human rights; providing humanitarian assistance and promoting sound economic growth policies to alleviate the debilitating poverty that engenders corruption; and building human and institutional capacity in law enforcement sectors to enable the government to deal more effectively with drugs traffickers. One unique challenge is the loss by death of many of Cambodia’s best trained professionals in the Khmer Rouge period (1975-1979); many of those who survived fled during the subsequent Vietnamese occupation. Performance in the area of law enforcement and administration of justice must be viewed in the context of Cambodia’s profound human capacity limitations. Even with the active support of the international community, there will be continuing gaps in performance for the foreseeable future.

Bilateral Cooperation. Cambodian law enforcement authorities cooperate actively with U.S. agencies, including DEA, FBI, Department of State, USAID, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. Approximately 25 law enforcement officials each year receive drug related training at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok. Bangkok-based DEA agents provide technical assistance, training, and limited resources to the CADD. The U.S. Department of Defense is concentrating on raising RGC capacity to maintain maritime security and has sponsored several workshops and training events. The Joint Interagency Task Force-West (JIATF-West) provided infrastructure and held two counternarcotics trainings in 2009 for military, gendarmerie, police, and officials from Cambodia’s twelve Border Liaison Offices.

Drug use among populations targeted for HIV prevention is a growing concern as needle sharing is the most efficient means of transmitting HIV. USAID HIV/AIDS programs work with populations at high risk of contracting HIV, including sex workers and their clients; men who have sex with men; and drug users. These groups are not mutually exclusive as many sex workers also use and inject drugs. Prevention programs targeting high-risk populations aim to reduce illicit drug use and risky sexual practices.

The Road Ahead. Government actions such as the NACD implementation of yearly action plans in addition to the five year plan; the imminent establishment of a government methadone maintenance program; the National Center for HIV/AIDS/Dermatology/STI’s recent plan to refer prisoners to voluntary counseling and testing, the establishment of drug treatment and rehabilitation centers nationwide; and increased law enforcement cooperation with the DEA, FBI, the Australian Federal Police and others, indicate a strong determination to combat drugs. Cambodia is making progress toward more effective law enforcement against narcotics trafficking; however, its capacity to implement a satisfactory, systematic approach to counternarcotics operations remains low. Instruction for mid-level Cambodian law enforcement officers at ILEA and for military, police, and immigration officers by JIATF-West has partially addressed Cambodia’s dire training needs. However, after training, these officers return to an environment of scarce resources and pervasive corruption.

In FY10, JIATF-West will carry out training infrastructure renovation projects for the Cambodian National Police, Maritime Police Patrol, and Ministry of Interior Forestry Administration, which will facilitate future JIATF-West training as well as build local capacity. JIATF-West will also conduct two counternarcotics training missions and a small craft maintenance training course. State Department Anti-Drug Assistance (INL) funding projected for FY10 is expected to provide a senior law enforcement advisor who will provide technical assistance to Cambodian law enforcement institutions, specifically in the areas of customs, immigration, and border control.

 

Canada

I. Summary

In 2009, Canada demonstrated continuing resolve to implement its National Anti-Drug Strategy, to reduce the supply of and demand for illicit drugs as well as associated crime. However, as in years prior, Canada remains a significant source for MDMA (3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or Ecstasy) and marijuana that are entering the U.S. market. Canada’s continued enforcement efforts have reduced large scale diversion of bulk precursor chemicals across the border, but trafficking of marijuana and Ecstasy continues at high levels. In July, Canadian law enforcement authorities made one of the largest heroin seizures in Canadian history. While Canada maintains an active demand reduction effort, local and provincial authorities continue to include a drug injection site and distribution of drug paraphernalia to chronic users as part of their “harm-reduction” programs. The federal government continues to deliver a sharp message against these programs, which is in line with the International Narcotics Control Board’s recommendation for the Government of Canada to eliminate drug injection sites and drug paraphernalia distribution programs because they violate international drug control treaties. Canada and the U.S. cooperate in counternarcotics efforts through increased information sharing and joint operations. Canada is a member of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Canada has a sophisticated and well-educated population and a high-tech economy, which provides criminal entities with technical capabilities that require the law enforcement community to utilize specialized investigative techniques. Canada’s highly developed economy and its relatively high standard of living contribute to Canada’s status as a significant consumer as well as producer of illicit narcotics. Canada produces significant amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana and is a major source for Ecstasy to U.S. markets. It is also a transit or diversion point for precursor chemicals such as methamphetamine, used to produce illicit synthetic drugs (notably Ecstasy). The illegal drug industry’s production and distribution capabilities are sophisticated and diverse.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. In August, Canada announced the Synthetic Drug Initiative (SDI), the first Canadian drug strategy to focus on a single class of drugs. Though this initiative is still in the “strategic concept” phase, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are developing the program with an eventual goal of eliminating illegal synthetic drug production and distribution in Canada and reducing the overall influence of organized crime on drug trafficking in Canada. SDI will target the illicit synthetic drug industry on three fronts: enforcement, deterrence, and prevention. It also aims to inhibit the diversion of precursor chemicals from foreign and domestic sources. The RCMP will pay for the SDI through National Anti-Drug Strategy funds and by re-allocating existing resources. The RCMP has not announced a budget for SDI, but has said that funds will be allocated to domestic and international programs, including modernizing the RCMP’s chemical diversion program, hiring new personnel, and improving training and awareness initiatives.

In June, the House of Commons passed new legislation (Bill C-15) on mandatory minimum penalties for serious drug offenders. As of December, the bill remains under consideration by the Senate. Bill C-15 provides mandatory one and two-year minimum jail sentences for various offenses including production, trafficking, possession for the purposes of trafficking, importing and exporting, and possession for the purposes of exporting of illegal drugs. The bill also provides for additional, aggravated penalties when offenses are carried out for organized crime purposes or if they involve selling drugs to young people.

Accomplishments. In 2009, Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies’ bilateral efforts resulted in significant interdictions of narcotics arriving in Canada and the U.S. by air, passenger vehicle, truck, small aircraft, and ship, as well as seizures from Canadian drug production operations. Seized drugs included marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, hashish, and Ecstasy.

During February and March 2009, a coordinated effort by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), RCMP, and U.S. federal and local law enforcement agencies led to the arrest of nine individuals and the seizure of 750 pounds of marijuana, over 80 kilograms of cocaine, 240,000 tablets of Ecstasy, six weapons, and two helicopters. The targeted drug trafficking organization used the helicopters to cross into the U.S. with Canadian-sourced marijuana and Ecstasy in exchange for cocaine destined for Canada. This organization was also linked to numerous marijuana indoor grow operations and a clandestine laboratory, which British Columbia provincial authorities seized in June 2008, and which held more than 1 million Ecstasy pills and 168 kilograms of Ecstasy powder.

On April 2, 2009, Border Patrol agents in Sumas, Washington discovered 126 pounds or nearly 200,000 doses of Ecstasy valued at nearly $2.5 million.

On July 7, 2009, CBP Officers at the Peace Arch Port of Entry in Blaine, WA seized 80.64 kilograms of cocaine and 27.59 kilograms of heroin concealed in a passenger vehicle during an outbound inspection.

Also in July, in a joint operation in the greater Toronto area (GTA), the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA), RCMP, Toronto Police, and Peel Regional Police seized 117 kilograms of heroin, with an estimated street value of $100 million, and more than $600,000 in cash, making it one of the largest heroin seizures in Canadian history.

Law Enforcement Efforts. 2009 law enforcement efforts continued previous trends of joint drug enforcement efforts against steady but diverse distribution patterns of traffickers. Notably, authorities have identified and dealt with failures in information-sharing among Canadian law enforcement agencies that had hampered some counternarcotics enforcement efforts. An RCMP report in 2008 revealed that more than 60 employees at Canada’s eight largest airports had criminal links. On March 31, Transport Minister John Baird ordered his department to fix persistent gaps in airport employee screening after Canada’s Auditor General also found that “high-risk” criminals were still able to obtain security clearances at Canadian airports due to the failure of Transport Canada and the RCMP to share data. On April 8, the two agencies signed a new information-sharing agreement to conduct expanded criminal background checks for workers with access to secure areas at Canada’s airports.

Canadian officials report unofficially that most of the Ecstasy laboratories dismantled in Canada in 2009 were capable of producing multi-kilogram quantities. During 2008, the RCMP dismantled15 Ecstasy laboratories, all of which were capable of producing multi-kilogram quantities, as well as 17 methamphetamine labs, 13 of which had a multi-kilogram capability.

Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Canada neither encourages nor facilitates illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. No senior government officials are 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 illegal drug transactions. Canada has strong anticorruption controls in place and holds its officials and law enforcement personnel to a high standard of conduct. Civil servants found to be engaged in malfeasance of any kind are subject to prosecution. Investigations into accusations of wrongdoing and corruption by civil servants are thorough and credible.

Agreements and Treaties. Canada is 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. Canada is a party to the UN Convention against Corruption and to the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons. Canada is also a party to: the Inter-American Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters; the Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials; and, the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. Canada actively cooperates with international partners. The U.S. and Canada exchange forfeited assets through a bilateral asset-sharing agreement, and exchange information to prevent, investigate, and prosecute any offense against U.S. or Canadian customs laws through a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement. Canada has in force 50 bilateral mutual legal assistance treaties and 66 extradition treaties. Judicial assistance and extradition matters between the U.S. and Canada operate under a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT), an extradition treaty, and related protocols, including the long-standing Memorandum of Understanding designating DEA and RCMP as points of contact for U.S.-Canada drug-related matters. Unfortunately, the process for executing extradition and MLAT requests is very slow in Canada (e.g., extraditions from Canada can take three years or more on average), and this has impacted U.S. law enforcement’s ability to move as quickly and effectively as possible.

Cultivation/Production. Illicit narcotics are predominantly produced by organized crime organizations and gangs, composed of Canadians of East Asian origin (ethnic Vietnamese and Chinese), outlaw motorcycle gangs, and Indo-Canadian criminal groups. Large-scale marijuana cultivation exists in Canada, primarily for consumption in the domestic market. Growers use technologically-advanced organic methods. Large-scale marijuana grow operations are primarily located in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec provinces. Large profits from marijuana production in Canada have allowed traffickers to expand their involvement into other profitable illicit cross-border drug activities, such as expanding Ecstasy and methamphetamine production.

Organized crime dominates the methamphetamine trade, operating large-scale methamphetamine labs capable of producing at least 10 pounds of methamphetamine per cycle throughout the country. According to the 2009Annual Report on Organized Crime prepared by Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC), organized crime groups in Canada conduct large-scale Ecstasy production and distribution operations to supply the domestic market, and Canada remains one of the top producers of ecstasy to the global illicit drug market. Precursor chemicals for the production of ecstasy are smuggled into Canada from source countries such as China and India on a regular basis.

Drug Flow/Transit. The CISC’s 2009 Annual Report on Organized Crime in Canada estimated that there were approximately 750 organized crime groups in the country, of which most are involved in the illegal drug trade in some capacity. The decline in the estimated number of organized crime groups in Canada compared with the previous report likely is “reflective of an anticipated degree of fluidity in the criminal marketplace,” as well as “numerous other factors including disruptions by law enforcement, changes in intelligence collection practices or a combination” of these factors, according to CISC.

Increased smuggling from Canada to the United States included both Ecstasy and combination tablets containing methamphetamine and other synthetic drugs. In 2008-2009, Canadian authorities seized approximately 30 clandestine labs capable of producing large amounts of combination tablets, roughly the same number of laboratories as in the previous reporting period in 2007-2008.

Illustrative of the level of transit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along the Michigan-Canada border seized 2,053 pounds of marijuana, 303 pounds of Ecstasy (approximately 1 million doses) and nearly $7.5 million in undeclared currency entering or exiting the United States from Canada, according to an end-of-the-year report from the agency. CBP officers reporting to the Buffalo field office seized 1,231 pounds of hydroponic marijuana, 118 pounds of Ecstasy (approximately 204,000 pills), and a combined total of $1.4 million in undeclared currency.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. Local and provincial authorities continue to maintain a number of so-called “harm reduction” programs, including a supervised injection site research pilot project (“Insite”). The government appealed a May 2008 British Columbia provincial Supreme Court ruling that the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to close Insite, which the Court considered a health facility and within provincial jurisdiction. The British Columbia provincial Court of Appeal heard the government’s appeal in April 2009, but as of December, the Court is still deliberating on its judgment. Several cities, including Toronto and Ottawa, have also approved programs to distribute drug paraphernalia, including crack pipes, to chronic users.

There has been no change since the UN International Narcotics Control Board’s (INCB) 2007 Report noted that the Vancouver Island Health Authority’s approval of “safer crack kits” contravened Article 13 of the 1988 UN Drug Convention, to which Canada is a party. The INCB called upon the Government of Canada to eliminate drug injection sites and drug paraphernalia distribution programs, stating that they violated international drug control treaties.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the U.S. and Canada continued information sharing and binational cooperation through the Cross-Border Crime Forum (CBCF), Integrated Border Enforcement Teams (IBET), Border Enforcement Security Taskforces (BEST), and other fora. The 2007 U.S.-Canada Border Drug Threat Assessment jointly released at the CBCF’s 2008 Spring Ministerial was a snapshot of cross-border narcotics issues and trends, and is now scheduled to be updated for release in 2011. The inter-agency forum also addressed counterterrorism, mass marketing fraud, human trafficking, organized crime, border enforcement, drug trafficking, and firearms smuggling—a particular concern for Canada. Provincial, state, and local governments also participate in the CBCF, as do police at the federal, state/provincial, and local/municipal levels. CBCF working groups met throughout the year to develop joint strategies and initiatives and collaborative law enforcement operations that were highlighted during the Ministerial meeting. Canada continues to regularly attend the annual National Methamphetamine and Pharmaceuticals Initiative (NMPI) meeting in the U.S.

In September, there was a Mini CBCF in Washington D.C., primarily to plan for the CBCF Ministerial, tentatively scheduled for the late spring of 2010. Collaborative efforts to be promoted and further explored in leading up to the ministerial include: an IBET Strategic Plan; emerging technologies and challenges for law enforcement; gangs in Canada and the U.S.; bi-national cooperation on firearms tracing; joint cross-border counter-proliferation efforts; and cross-border law enforcement and security Lessons Learned from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

In September, DEA conducted a five-day seminar in Montreal on asset forfeiture and money laundering for 40 members from various law enforcement agencies. In spring 2009, DEA Vancouver and El Paso Intelligence Center personnel provided training in detecting highway drug couriers at a Canadian law enforcement school to more than 400 Canadian officers. During 2009 Canada also participated in supporting naval interdiction efforts as part of Joint Interagency Task Force South. DEA, CBP, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, CBSA, RCMP, and U.S. state, local, and tribal and Canadian provincial officers consult regularly and maintain channels of communication in the field and at management level to ensure a high level of cooperation and effectiveness.

On September 30, 2009 the Canadian government tabled in the House of Commons the Framework Agreement on Integrated Maritime Cross-Border Law Enforcement Operations (IMCLEO or “Ship rider”) between the Canada and the U.S. and introduced implementing legislation in November, 2009. The two countries signed the framework agreement in Detroit, Michigan, on May 26, 2009. Once Canada passes implementing legislation, the agreement will allow the exchange of cross-designated ship riders in order to create seamless maritime law enforcement operations across the U.S.-Canadian maritime border. The program will facilitate more effective maritime counter-smuggling efforts by permitting officers from each country to operate from one another’s vessels or aircraft.

The RCMP also contributed to a U.S. government effort under the Merida Initiative in Mexico, providing instructors to assist with the training of a new investigative force of 9,000 police in the Mexican Secretariat of Public Security. Recognized at the North American Leaders Summit, this effort began in May 2009 and is expected to continue with Canadian support in 2010.

The Road Ahead. The security of the continent and much of the hemisphere will benefit from continued cooperation between the United States and Canada. Fora such as the CBCF can also serve as a model for regional cooperation and collaboration for senior law enforcement, justice, and security officials to enhance and encourage intelligence sharing, investigative collaboration, and joint training opportunities. The USG encourages Canada to exert its influence in the Caribbean Basin to establish similar fora and to work with the U.S. to explore methods and means for information sharing with other regional partners.

The U.S. also encourages Canada to take stronger action to curb the rise of methamphetamine production. As producers respond to enforcement action elsewhere in the globe, particularly in Mexico, an upsurge in Canadian methamphetamine production has raised the prospect of increased smuggling from Canada to international markets, as well as further production and export of Ecstasy. Canada’s continued role as a source country for Ecstasy to U.S. markets highlights the need for greater cooperation in tracking precursor chemical activity. The U.S. looks forward to future collaborative engagement with Canada to build enforcement capacity and regulatory frameworks to promote industry compliance and prevent diversion of precursor chemicals and lab equipment for criminal use. As law enforcement resources temporarily diverted to prepare for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver return to normal routines, a more effective and expansive inspection regime, in conjunction with expedited investigations and prosecutions, will also strengthen enforcement efforts.

With no change in the past year, the U.S. still urges Canada to continue to press municipalities such as Vancouver and Ottawa to implement the INCB’s recommendations to eliminate drug injection sites and drug paraphernalia distribution programs as a violation of international drug control treaties.

The U.S. also hopes to see the required legislation passed for implementation of the “Shiprider” agreement. As climate change continues to redefine the maritime approaches to the continent, there will be increasing opportunity and reason for the U.S and Canada to expand collaboration in the maritime domain.

 

Cape Verde

I. Summary

Because of its location in the Atlantic Ocean, along major trade routes between South America and West Africa, Cape Verde is an important transit country for narcotics headed for Europe from South America by way of Africa. Narcotics enter Cape Verde by commercial aircraft and maritime vessels, including yachts. Cape Verde works with international agencies like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and donor governments like the Governments of Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Brazil, and the United States to fight international narcotics trafficking and reduce local demand. Cape Verde is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Cape Verde’s strategic location on the maritime and aerial routes between mainland Africa, Europe, and South America makes it an attractive transit point for drug shipments from the Caribbean, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil en route to Europe. The country’s numerous beaches, extensive territorial waters, and an inadequately-monitored economic zone allow drugs to pass through undetected. Cocaine is the most trafficked narcotic, mainly coming from Brazil, but crack cocaine, “cocktail” (a mixture of cannabis and crack, called “cochada” in Cape Verde), and locally-cultivated marijuana are also trafficked. There are also reports that Ecstasy is trafficked through Cape Verde from Europe. Cape Verdean authorities are concerned about drug abuse within the prison system and drug-related crime.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Cape Verdean law makes “consumption (of drugs), drug trafficking, and revenues resulting from drug trafficking” criminal offenses, punishable by one to twenty years’ imprisonment. In May 2009, the Cape Verdean Parliament approved a new law designed to combat money laundering allowing for greater control of offshore banks, and granting authorities more power to seize assets of drug traffickers. In September 2009, the United States African Command (AFRICOM) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury sponsored, with the assistance of the U.S. Embassy at Praia and the Cape Verdean Judicial Police, a course in the capital city of Praia on financial investigation techniques and processing of evidence. Representatives from the Cape Verdean Central Bank, Financial Information Unit (FIU), Customs, and Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) attended the course, as well as members of the Judicial Police from Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Cape Verde has two separate law enforcement agencies that fight narcotics trafficking: the Judicial Police and the National Police. The Judicial Police is a unit of the Ministry of Justice with overall responsibility for coordinating criminal investigations. The National Police reports to the Ministry of Interior and are charged with maintaining law and order countrywide. To date in 2009, the Judicial Police has detained 141 persons, primarily Cape Verdean, Nigerian, and Portuguese nationals, for drug trafficking and seized 21 kilograms of cocaine and 640 kilograms of cannabis.

Specific cases included:

  • July 10, 2009: two suspects arrested in São Vicente for transporting the equivalent of 5, 200 doses of cocaine;
     
  • October 7, 2009: two suspects arrested in São Vicente for transporting 164.7 grams of cocaine;
     
  • October 9, 2009: four suspects arrested in São Vicente for transporting 63.8 grams of cocaine;
     
  • October 13, 2009: three suspects arrested in Sal for transporting several kilograms of cocaine in the city of Praia; and
     
  • October 27, 2009: the Sal Criminal Court sentenced five individuals to sentences ranging from 12 to 24 years for trafficking 70 kilograms of cocaine. As part of the same proceeding, the court sentenced a Cape Verdean border patrol officer to twenty-five years in prison for involvement in a drug trafficking ring.

Corruption. The government of Cape Verde does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions, but as in other countries, instances of official corruption do occur: in June 2008, three Judicial Police officials were arrested for diverting over 135 kilograms of cocaine seized in a drug investigation to the illicit drugs market. The Judicial Police conducted a full investigation, and the three suspects are currently awaiting trial.

Agreements and Treaties. Cape Verde 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. Cape Verde is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols. Also, on April 23, 2008, Cape Verde ratified the UN Convention against Corruption.

Cultivation/Production. Cape Verde is not a significant producer of narcotics. Small quantities of marijuana, however, are sometimes cultivated domestically. In September 2009, for example, the Judicial Police seized 120 kilograms of marijuana cultivated on Santiago Island.

Drug Flow/Transit. Cape Verde is located in the mid-Atlantic off the coast of West Africa, and therefore occupies a strategic location on the maritime and aerial routes between mainland Africa, Europe, and South America. As such, it is an attractive transit point for cocaine, marijuana, and other illegal drugs trafficked to Europe from the Caribbean, Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. In addition, narcotics from Europe are sometimes smuggled through Cape Verde. The U.S. has not been identified as a significant direct destination for drugs transiting through Cape Verde.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The National Commission for Combating Drugs (CNLCD), organized under the Ministry of Justice, is responsible for coordinating Cape Verde’s counternarcotics programs. The CNLCD gathers statistics, disseminates information on narcotics issues, and manages government treatment programs for narcotics addiction. It also runs a hotline and manages several public awareness campaigns. In addition, Cape Verde has a drug rehabilitation shelter located on Santiago Island.

Moreover, an administrative body, CAVE INTERCRIN (Cape Verde Integrated Crime and Narcotics Programme), supports the self-sustainable and healthy development of Cape Verde by preventing the spread of illicit drugs, crime, and other antisocial behaviors. CAVE INTERCRIN aims to improve Cape Verde’s law enforcement and border patrol capabilities through upgrades to the government’s communication and intelligence capabilities, as well as through computer-based training programs.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. In 2009, the United States and Cape Verde cooperated on many fronts to combat drug trafficking. One of the largest cooperative efforts, led by AFRICOM and coordinated by the U.S. Embassy, is the Counter Narcotics Maritime Security and Interagency Fusion Center (CMIC), an institution to be operated by Cape Verdean military and police to coordinate maritime security and law enforcement.

Moreover, this year the Cape Verdean and U.S. Governments continued their groundbreaking joint law enforcement activities. In June 2008, the U.S. Coast Guard deployed a cutter with a Cape Verdean law enforcement detachment (LEDET) aboard to conduct law enforcement operations in Cape Verdean territorial waters. This mission represented the first multilateral combined maritime law enforcement operation ever conducted in Africa. It also marked the first time a non-U.S. LEDET worked with the U.S. Coast Guard on a U.S. military vessel. In 2009, another LEDET operation, involving four Cape Verdean Coast Guard officers and two members of the Judicial Police on board a U.S. vessel, took place. In addition, the U.S. Government is considering negotiating a Counter Drug Maritime Agreement with the government of Cape Verde to allow future counternarcotics operations.

The Africa Partnership Station initiative, funded by AFRICOM, also continued work with the Cape Verdean military this year, paying for officers to attend training classes. For example, three officials—one each from the Cape Verdean Coast Guard, Judicial Police, and Ministry of Justice, participated in a training program in Dakar, Senegal. Lastly, as described above, AFRICOM and the U.S. Department of Treasury sponsored a course on financial investigation techniques and evidence processing, which was attended by Cape Verdean law enforcement officials.

The Road Ahead. Under current timetables, in 2010 the CMIC will develop into a platform for government-wide information-sharing and further progress will be made on the LEDET program. The United States and Cape Verde are also discussing the implementation of a Status of Forces Agreement, to further improve cooperation on counternarcotics issues.

 

Chile

I. Summary

Chile is a transit country for Andean cocaine shipments destined for Europe. In a new development that surfaced in 2009, Chile has become a source of ephedrine for methamphetamine processing in Mexico. It is also a source of precursor chemicals for use in cocaine processing in Peru and Bolivia and has a domestic marijuana consumption problem. Chile is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Chile is an attractive transit country for drug traffickers because it shares long, difficult-to-monitor borders with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Chile ranked second in per capita cocaine consumption and remains first in marijuana consumption among South American countries, according to the United Nation’s 2009 World Drug Report. Some marijuana is cultivated in Chile, but most is imported from Paraguay for use by Chilean teenagers and young adults. Chilean police officials report an increase in drug trafficking from Bolivia in 2009 and a corresponding increase in the domestic supply of cocaine and drop in price. At the same time, however, Chile’s National Drug Control Commission (CONACE), which is responsible for formulating and implementing drug policies, released a study in 2009 that showed an increase in the perception of risk associated with drug use.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. Chile contributed to worldwide drug control efforts in 2009 by assuming a leadership role in the international counternarcotics community, serving as the president of the Organization of American States Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD). Chile also hosted a European Union-Latin America and Caribbean drug treatment conference and the International Criminal Police Organization’s (INTERPOL) 20th Regional Conference of the Americas.

Chile classified “spice,” a mixture of herbs and synthetic cannabinoid compounds that has effects similar to marijuana, as a prohibited drug in April. CONACE maintained its pilot drug court program in Santiago, Valparaiso, Iquique, and Antofagasta. There are now 18 drug courts in Chile, which are similar to U.S. drug courts in offering rehabilitation to drug offenders under judicial supervision. Average processing times for oral judgments in Chile’s adversarial justice system increased from 343 in the first half of 2008 to 388 days in the first half of 2009. The increase reflects the challenges associated with managing case loads in the new system, a slight increase in the number of narcotics related cases, and general growing pains.

The Chilean Congress continued to evaluate legislation that would replace CONACE with a National Service for the Prevention of Drug Consumption and Trafficking. The National Service would have responsibilities similar to CONACE, including the development and implementation of drug prevention and rehabilitation policies, but would report to a newly created Ministry of Public Security, which would be exclusively focused on citizen security issues. The legislation is intended to improve government coordination, particularly in dealing with the link between crime and drug use.

Accomplishments. Through June 2009, Chile reported seizures of approximately 1,659 kilograms of cocaine; 2,537 kilograms of cocaine paste; 6,402 kilograms of processed marijuana; and 32,284 units of illegal pharmaceutical drugs. Two police operations resulted in large illegal pharmaceutical seizures, but this does not indicate a new trend. Noteworthy operations included the May 2009 seizure of 243 kilograms of cocaine near Antofagasta in northern Chile. The seizure took place using aerial surveillance and resulted in six arrests.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Chile’s counternarcotics law enforcement efforts are led by the Carabineros de Chile (uniformed national police) and the Policia de Investigaciones (investigative police–PDI). Both the Carabineros and the PDI have dedicated counternarcotics units that are considered highly professional and competent. Law enforcement efforts target both street level dealers and major traffickers and their organizations. In 2009, Chilean law enforcement officials uncovered several advanced drug trafficking techniques, including highly compressed cocaine molded into the shape of suitcases. The Carabineros continued to implement “Plan Vigia” (Plan Lookout) in northern Chile in response to increased drug trafficking from Bolivia. The plan, which was initiated in 2008, increased counternarcotics resources in northern Chile, including the introduction of aerial surveillance and the National Customs Service’s deployment of two truck scanners that are used to screen cargo at border crossings.

Chile’s Coast Guard, the General Directorate of Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine (DIRECTEMAR), is responsible for all maritime law enforcement activities, including counternarcotics. DIRECTEMAR has more than 80 small, medium, and large vessels that patrol the Chilean coastline and waterways and operates two Defender fast boats in Arica to intercept maritime drug shipping. It coordinates with the Carabineros, PDI, and Customs agency to conduct maritime narcotics operations. DIRECTEMAR’s ability to confront maritime trafficking is limited by Chile’s extensive coastline, which stretches more than 4,000 miles.

Corruption. The Government of Chile (GOC) does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Narcotics-related corruption among police officers and other government officials is not considered a major problem in Chile, and no current Chilean senior officials have been accused of such activities. In cases where police are discovered to be involved in drug trafficking, or in protecting traffickers, simultaneous termination and investigation are immediate. Chile is traditionally considered one of the least corrupt countries in the Western Hemisphere.

Agreements and Treaties. Chile is a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 UN Drug Convention. Chile is also a party to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols against trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling, and the UN Convention Against Corruption. The 1900 U.S.-Chile Extradition Treaty is currently in force. While the U.S. and Chile do not have a bilateral mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT), both countries are parties to the Organization of American States’ 1992 Inter-American Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which facilitates mutual legal assistance. Chile has also signed, but not yet ratified, the Inter-American Convention on Extradition.

Cultivation/Production. Chile produces a small amount of marijuana that is consumed domestically.

Drug Flow/Transit. Narcotics enter and transit Chile via legal and illegal border crossings with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Chile’s borders with these three countries stretch more than 1,300 miles, and there are approximately 150 illegal border crossings. Rough terrain inhibits efforts to intercept narcotics along the borders. Narcotics transit out of Chile to Europe and possibly the United States by sea. Chile’s international ports are generally well monitored, but inspection restrictions established by the treaty ending the War of the Pacific require Chilean authorities to seek permission from the Government of Bolivia to inspect cargo originating in that country and transiting Chile. This impedes efforts to intercept illegal narcotics as it allows some cargo to pass through ports in Arica, Iquique, and Antofagasta without Chilean inspection. Some narcotics also transit out of Chile via international airports in Santiago and Arica.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. CONACE has offices in all 15 regions of the country and offers a wide variety of drug prevention and treatment programs. Prevention programs target schools, families, and the workplace. CONACE has also instituted a community fund that provides grants to local organizations that design and implement prevention programs. Chile offers drug rehabilitation treatment through CONACE and the Ministry of Health at more than 200 health centers around the country. Chile does not promote or sanction harm reduction programs.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. The USG works closely with Chile to strengthen its ability to confront drug trafficking. Specific U.S. goals include enhanced interagency cooperation among Chilean law enforcement entities, an increase in Chile’s ability to conduct international drug investigations, and an increase in counternarcotics resources in northern Chile.

Bilateral Cooperation. Chile is a strong counternarcotics partner and the U.S. works closely with Chilean partners to achieve shared objectives. In 2009, the USG continued to foster interagency cooperation, provide assistance in international investigations, and promote increased resources for northern Chile. The USG and Chile also formed a trilateral development partnership in 2009 to offer assistance, including law enforcement training and development, to other Latin America countries. In addition, the USG and GOC also worked together to address interagency cooperation and complex, international drug investigations. In March, Chilean law enforcement officials attended an anti-money laundering presentation at the U.S. Embassy. In June, police officers from the Carabineros and PDI participated in the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) Drug Unit Commanders’ Course in Lima, Peru. In August, chemists from Chile’s Institute of Health attended a week-long course at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Laboratory in Washington, DC to enhance drug intelligence analysis. In October, DEA officers conducted a five-day Chemical Precursor course in Santiago. DEA offices in Santiago, Lima, and Asuncion continued to support an Officer Exchange Program among their respective host nations in 2009. Officials from the National Prosecutor’s Office (Ministerio Publico) also traveled to the U.S. to participate in a chemical precursor course. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) provided resident, mobile, and on-the-job training in maritime law enforcement professional development and command and control to the Chilean Navy. In addition, the USCG held a Regional Joint Boarding Officer course with Argentine instructors in which Chilean personnel participated.

The Road Ahead. The USG commends Chile for its efforts to deal simultaneously with public safety and public health aspects of drug trafficking and drug abuse. The USG encourages the GOC to strengthen interagency cooperation and focus on complex drug investigations and its investment in additional resources for the northern part of the country and for maritime/port investigations. The GOC could enhance its drug control efforts further by passing draft legislation that would expand the list of companies required to register with CONACE due to their involvement with chemical precursors. We also encourage the GOC to add emerging chemicals to its list of controlled items and increase the number of inspections at companies that import, export, manufacture, store, and transport chemical precursors.

 

China

I. Summary

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to face problems of drug production and trafficking, which contribute to its status as an important drug transit country in the international drug trafficking arena. China is a major manufacturer of “dual use” chemicals, primarily used for licit products, but also used for illicit drugs like methamphetamine. Organized crime diverts legitimately manufactured chemicals, especially ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, from large chemical industries throughout China to produce illicit drugs. In addition to domestic drug production problems, China’s proximity to the Golden Triangle, North Korea, and the Golden Crescent facilitates the trafficking of drugs such as heroin and opium. PRC authorities view drug trafficking and abuse as a major threat to China’s national security, economy, and stability.

The PRC’s National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) conducted a new round of the “People’s War against Drugs” in 2009 to maintain an “in-depth and continuous improvement” of controlling drug production and trafficking. The absolute number of seizures of illicit drugs increased over recent years. However, corruption in drug-producing and drug transit regions of China limits what dedicated enforcement officials can accomplish. PRC authorities continue to take steps to integrate China into regional and global counternarcotics efforts, and cooperation with U.S. counternarcotics officials improved over the past year. The PRC is a party to the 1988 United Nations (UN) Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

The NNCC leads the efforts of narcotics control in China and is responsible for the national coordination of drug control activities. The NNCC includes representatives from a range of government ministries. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS), through the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), enforces narcotics control measures. The NCB operates from central headquarters in Beijing and from provincial offices. China Customs Anti Smuggling Bureau also has significant involvement in narcotics control.

A signatory to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the PRC takes strong measures against the use and trafficking of narcotics and dangerous drugs. The PRC government subscribes to “the Four Prohibitions,” which include: 1) disruption of trafficking organizations by attacking the source and stemming the flow of drugs entering China, 2) strict enforcement of all relevant laws and regulations, 3) treatment of drug users by determining root causes of drug use and empowering communities to address their particular drug problems, and 4) actively cooperating with other countries and international drug control organizations. China’s location, geographical size, population, and current economic condition pose obstacles to its ability to adhere to these “Four Prohibitions.”

The PRC’s physical proximity to major narcotics producing areas in Asia—Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle, and Southwest Asia’s Golden Crescent—exacerbates its drug trafficking problem. PRC officials recognize the Golden Crescent is a source of increasing amounts of heroin trafficked into western China, particularly into Xinjiang province. China’s 97-kilometer border with Afghanistan is remote, but PRC authorities are increasingly concerned that heroin and opium from Afghanistan enter China through other countries in South and Central Asia. In the past, quantities of heroin and methamphetamine produced in North Korea entered China’s northeastern provinces, but there have been intermittent indications of such drug trafficking from North Korea recently. Internal drug production problems exist as well, but Beijing claims that there are no heroin refineries in China.

With a large and developed chemical industry, China is one of the world’s largest producers of licit chemicals, some share of which are diverted to illicit uses, including acetic anhydride, potassium permanganate, piperonylmethylketone (PMK), pseudoephedrine, ephedrine and ephedra, despite Chinese efforts to prevent such diversion. China produces and monitors all 22 of the chemicals on the tables included in the 1988 UN Drug Convention. China continues to closely cooperate with the United States and other concerned countries in implementing a system of pre-export notification for dual-use precursor chemicals. China strictly regulates the import and export of precursor chemicals. According to NNCC statistics, PRC authorities successfully investigated 170 cases on illegal trade and smuggling of precursor criminals in 2008, and seized 1,113 tons of precursor chemicals (compared to 592 tons in 2007).

China is a major producer of licit ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are diverted from licit use by drug criminals, and used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Many international law enforcement agencies believe that large-scale methamphetamine producers in other Asian countries and Mexico use Chinese-produced ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as a precursor. Numerous examples from criminal investigations confirm this suspicion. Diverted Chinese precursor chemicals may sustain synthetic drug production in other countries as far away as Mexico, Belgium, Indonesia, and the Netherlands. Although China enacted more stringent precursor chemical control laws in November 2005 and is engaged in multilateral and bilateral efforts to stop diversion from its chemical production sector, it has not yet found a way to effectively prevent diversion of precursor chemicals in its large chemical industry.

The NNCC reported an increase of drug users within China from 955,000 in 2007 to 1,126,700 in 2009. However, some officials acknowledge the actual number of addicts is much higher, and other published reports state that China might have as many as 15 million drug abusers. PRC Government reports indicate that 77.5 percent of all registered drug addicts are heroin users. Youth below the age of 35 make up the largest percentage of registered addicts (59.7 percent). In order to create a social environment for a “drug-free Olympics” in 2008, the PRC government conducted more rigorous screening and monitoring measures targeted on drug users. According to NNCC statistics for that year, 264,000 people received compulsory drug treatment, labor re-education treatment, and compulsory seclusion treatment throughout China.

As China’s economy has grown, its population has enjoyed increasing levels of disposable income and personal freedom, despite severe restrictions on many political and civil rights. Concomitantly, drug abuse has become more prevalent among China’s youth in large and mid-sized cities. The number of abusers of new drugs is increasing, and drugs such as crystal methamphetamine, Ecstasy, Ketamine, and triazolam have become more popular. Ecstasy’s popularity is increasing among the young in night clubs and karaoke bars in large cities and along China’s wealthy coast, particularly in Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and in China’s capital, Beijing.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) is in the fifth year of its National People’s War on Illicit Drugs, begun in 2005 by President Hu Jintao. MPS designated five campaigns as a part of this effort: drug prevention and education; drug treatment and rehabilitation; drug source blocking and interdiction; “strike hard” drug law enforcement; and strict control and administration, designed to inhibit the diversion of precursor chemicals and other drugs. In November 2005, China passed an Administrative Law on Precursor Chemicals and implemented an Administrative Regulation on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. In the same month, China issued Provisional Administrative Regulations on the Export of Precursor Chemicals to Special Countries, strengthening the regulation of exports of 58 types of precursor chemicals to countries in the Golden Triangle. Twenty-three of these precursor chemicals were classified as more stringently controlled. In March 2007, Chinese agencies involved in drug control completed the construction of an online database of drug users.

In a June 2008 speech, PRC President Hu Jintao framed drug control as a long-term mandate that should focus on drug prevention and education, law enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation, drug administration, and international cooperation. As a result, the NNCC renewed its commitment to the People’s War on Drugs through the implementation of the Drug Control Law, which came into effect on June 1, 2008. To implement the Drug Control Law, the NNCC set up eight working groups that cover drug prevention and education, law enforcement intelligence, drug treatment and rehabilitation, community-based maintenance and treatment, administration of narcotic and psychotropic substances, control of precursor chemicals, basic policy research on eradicating drug sources abroad, opium poppy alternative development abroad, and revised responsibilities of member organizations for drug control. Reflecting this policy change, the Ministry of Finance and MPS increased the central government’s subsidy to local governments’ drug control funds from RMB 330 million in 2007 to RMB 500 million in 2008.

Some 2008 initiatives altered how the PRC government monitors drug activity. For example, civilians gained access to an online system to report crimes. The Mini-Dublin Group—an informal consultation and coordination mechanism for global, regional, and country-specific problems of illicit drugs production, trafficking and demand—stated in its 2009 Report that 61,900 drug offenses and crimes were reported in China during 2008, which resulted in the arrest of 74,400 suspects and the seizure of 4.33 tons of heroin, 1.38 tons of opium and 6.15 tons of “ice” (crystal meth) and tablets.

To bolster drug intelligence and forensics capabilities, the MPS established the Drug Intelligence and Forensic Center (DIFC) in Beijing in June 2008. The DIFC is responsible for collection, research and application of drug control intelligence, international drug intelligence exchanges, research on drugs, studies on advanced forensic technologies, professional team development, and drug control training.

In accordance with the 2004-2008 Drug Control Work Plan, the PRC government continued with its “Strike Hard” theme. As host of the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2008, China increased its training of police to combat drug-related crimes.

The PRC government pursued international initiatives such as signing an agreement with the European Union to exchange information on precursor chemicals; holding the 2009 Shanghai Opium Commission Conference in February 2009 (in commemoration of an historic event in international cooperation on drug control, held in 1909); holding narcotic control conferences at provincial and municipal levels during the year; continuing domestic public education campaigns; hosting the Ministerial Meeting of the Signatory Countries to the 1993 Memorandum of Understanding on Drug Control Conference; and providing support and training to cross-border partners such as Burma and Laos.

China continues to build on the counternarcotics Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) it has with Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and regularly hosts and/or participates in conferences and bilateral meetings. In November 2008, China signed a bilateral drug control cooperation MOU with Cambodia. The PRC Government has signed a total 18 bilateral drug control cooperation agreements/MOUs.

China participates in counternarcotics education programs sponsored by the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), located in Bangkok, Thailand, and has provided training to neighboring countries. Chinese law enforcement agencies also continue to participate in Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-sponsored professional exchanges. China has several counternarcotics and transnational crime agreements with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries in Central Asia.

China actively participated in an international cooperative effort with its neighbors in the Golden Triangle to reduce poppy cultivation in Laos and Burma. China continues to participate in United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) demand-reduction and crop-substitution efforts in areas along China’s southern borders and worked closely with Burma and Laos to perform a comprehensive review of alternative crops development. In May 2006, the State Council authorized an RMB250-million fund (approx. $32.5 million) for crop-substitution projects in northern Burma and Laos. In tandem with these two governments, the NNCC conducted a survey of opium cultivation in northern Burma by combining the approaches of satellite remote sensing and field surveys. The remote sensing and field surveys concluded that opium cultivation fell to 18,600 hectares in 2007, the lowest record in the past 30 years. Nevertheless, Burma remains the major source of opium entering China.

Law Enforcement Efforts. In China, three agencies have primary responsibility for controlling the licit/illicit drug markets: the MPS, the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) and the General Administration of Customs (GAC). Although they act independently, all three are part of the NNCC that forms drug policy in China.

In 2008, public security agencies throughout China recorded 61,900 drug-related criminal cases, uncovered 1,565 drug trafficking groups, destroyed 244 clandestine labs, and arrested 73,400 drug suspects. These agencies seized a total of 4.33 tons of heroin, 1.38 tons of opium, 6.15 tons of “ice” and tablets, and 5.27 tons of Ketamine in that process. Ultimately, 50,307 suspects were charged with drug-related crimes and prosecuted.

To strengthen law enforcement counternarcotics efforts, the MPS established a joint task force on drug intelligence and implemented Administrative Measures for Drug Target Cases, which improved administration review, guidance, and coordination of ministry-level target cases. The counternarcotics effort included the State Post Bureau, whose trained staff helped uncover 123 drug trafficking cases via postal routes, capture 80 criminal suspects, and seize 123 kilograms of drugs. In total, China handled 2,698 cases involving drug seizures of over one kilogram, representing 65.84 percent and 73.23 percent, respectively, of the total volumes of heroin and ice seized from January to November of 2008.

In cooperation with Laos, Burma, Thailand and the Philippines, PRC authorities continued to carry out operation “Nail Eradication,” capturing 44 Chinese nationals living outside of China who were wanted as suspected leaders of drug trafficking rings and 7 drug lords, according to the NNCC. Since its launch in 2005, the “Nail Eradication” operation has resulted in 106 Chinese nationals being captured. The NNCC reported that the volume of heroin seized in connection with these major operations decreased from 10.8 tons in 2004 to 4.3 tons in 2008 due to the effects of this operation.

According to the NNCC, China and Pakistan have strengthened counternarcotics cooperation, to include information-sharing and joint operations. Police counterparts from the Philippines, Hong Kong, Guangdong province, and Beijing worked together to break up an international “ice”-making and trafficking gang headed by a Fujian province native. As described above, China also carried out joint counternarcotics operations with other neighboring countries, including Laos, Burma, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.

Furthermore, in 2008, China continued to cooperate with United States law enforcement agencies such as DEA. Most of this cooperation is on an ad hoc basis and focuses on targeting international drug rings. MPS has allowed DEA to interview witnesses in China. In addition, at times, MPS facilitates the travel of U.S. law enforcement personnel based at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and provides the central government authorization required to arrange meetings with local MPS officials. On several occasions in the past, DEA has received drug samples from MPS and Customs for analysis and, in 2008, China agreed to provide samples to participate in the DEA heroin signature analysis program, but the U.S. Government would like to receive samples in a greater number of cases.

Corruption. Chinese leaders acknowledge that China has a very serious corruption problem. Anti-corruption campaigns have led to arrests of many lower-level government personnel and some senior officials. Most corruption in China involves abuse of power, embezzlement and misappropriation of government funds, but payoffs to “look the other way” when questionable commercial activities occur are another major source of official corruption in China. While narcotics-related official corruption exists in China, it is seldom reported in the press. The Chinese press does, however, report instances of other types of official corruption, including embezzlement and bribery. In September 2008, for example, two former Bank of China managers and their wives were, with Chinese Government assistance, convicted of money laundering and racketeering in the United States.

As a matter of policy, the Chinese 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 PRC 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. MPS takes allegations of drug-related corruption seriously, launching investigations when it deems appropriate. Most cases appear to involve lower-level district and county officials. There is no specific evidence indicating senior-level drug-related corruption. Nevertheless, the quantity of drugs trafficked within China raises suspicions that official corruption is a factor in trafficking in provinces such as Yunnan, Guangdong, and Fujian, where narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational crimes are prevalent.

Official corruption cannot be discounted among the factors enabling organized criminal networks to operate in certain regions of China, despite the efforts of central-level authorities. In a widely publicized 2009 string of cases in Chongqing, for example, numerous government officials were prosecuted for large scale graft, corruption, and a multitude of organized crime activities. China continues to be engaged in an anticorruption dialogue with the United States through the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation (JLG). Narcotics-related corruption does not appear to have adversely affected ongoing law enforcement cases in which United States agencies have been involved.

As part of its effort to stem the flow of corrupt Chinese officials who embezzle public funds and flee abroad to evade punishment, China ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in January 2006, shortly after the Convention entered into force in December 2005.

Agreements and Treaties. China is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the UN Convention against Corruption, and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and has signed, but not ratified, its Protocol on Trafficking in Firearms. The United States and China cooperate in law enforcement efforts under a mutual legal assistance agreement signed in 2000. There is no extradition treaty between the United States and China. In January 2003, the United States and China signed the Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA). In February 2005, NNCC and DEA signed a memorandum of intent to establish a bilateral drug intelligence working group (BDIWG) to enhance cooperation and the exchange of information. In October 2009, the MPS hosted a BDIWG meeting with senior DEA officials in Beijing. In July 2006 ONDCP and NNCC signed a memorandum of intent to increase cooperation in combating drug trafficking and abuse

China cooperates with international chemical control initiatives in Operation Purple and accounts for 70 percent of the worldwide seizures of potassium permanganate that have been made in that operation. China also participates in Operation Topaz, an intergovernmental operation to detect and prevent precursor chemicals used in the illicit manufacture of heroin, and Project Prism, which targets synthetic drug chemicals. China continued its participation in the ASEAN and China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD).

In 2008, new bilateral and multilateral counternarcotics programs included the MPS training 165 officers from Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Afghanistan, as well as donating six drug detector dogs and five X-ray machines to the Pakistan Anti-Narcotics force. China’s MPS assigned liaison officers to serve in foreign posts and began their programs with officer assignments to Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and the United States.

Cultivation/Production. China effectively eradicated most drug-related crops within its borders. China’s mountainous and forested regions where illegal cultivation can occur are subject to aerial surveillance, field surveys, and drug eradication. Due to China’s effective law enforcement, opium poppies are only grown in small quantities by ethnic minority groups for local consumption. Chinese officials state that there are no heroin refineries in China. Coca is not cultivated in China.

However, China is a main source for natural ephedra, which is used in the licit production of ephedrine. China is also one of the world’s largest producers of ephedrine, licit synthetic pseudoephedrine, and ephedra products. China has a large pharmaceutical industry, and these products all have legitimate medicinal use, but they can also be used in the production of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS). The PRC Government, supplemented by stricter controls in critical provinces such as Yunnan and Zhejiang, makes efforts to control exports of these key precursors. Despite these efforts, there is a widespread belief among law enforcement authorities in Asia and Mexico that large-scale production of methamphetamines—most notably in super and mega-labs in the Asia Pacific Rim and in Mexico—uses China-produced ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Large-scale seizures of Chinese-made chemicals that have been diverted are almost commonplace in law enforcement investigations around the world.

Chinese authorities continued to seize clandestine methamphetamine laboratories. In the past, the majority of the labs were discovered and/or seized in Fujian and Guangdong provinces, although recently there have been laboratories seized in northeast China, specifically Shenyang and Liaoning province. On August 7, 2008, a special operations unit of MPS seized a methamphetamine manufacturing factory in Huizhou, China. The unit arrested six suspects and seized nearly 1,700 kilograms of mixed liquid substance containing methamphetamine.

Drug Flow/Transit. China continues to be used as a transshipment route for drugs produced in the Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle for the international market, despite counternarcotics cooperation with neighbors such as Vietnam, Thailand and Burma. In particular, China remains a major heroin transshipment country in Asia because of its proximity to the Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent. Other factors influencing China’s importance as a transit country include: economic liberalization; improvements to transportation, commercial, and communications infrastructure; porous borders along western China; continued production and trafficking of heroin by insurgent groups near the China-Burma border; increased effectiveness of law enforcement activities in other countries; and the lack of extradition treaties with consumer countries.

PRC authorities report that the majority of heroin produced in Burma travels via China to the international market. China shares a 2000-kilometer border with Burma, much of which lies in remote and mountainous areas, providing smugglers all-but-unrestricted access into China. In addition, there are many official crossings on the Burma-China border that also can be used to facilitate smuggling. Transit of drugs through Yunnan and Guangxi provinces to Guangdong province for storage, distribution, or repackaging has been especially widespread. Smaller amounts of heroin are also coming from Laos, Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian countries. Traffickers continue to use Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai in Guangdong province as transit and transshipment points for heroin and crystal methamphetamine exiting China. In addition, Xiamen and Fuzhou in Fujian province are major exit points.

PRC authorities acknowledge that western China is experiencing significant problems as well. They report that drugs such as opium and heroin are being smuggled into Xinjiang province for distribution throughout China. They also report that of the heroin in China, a significant share is believed to be sourced from Afghanistan. They are concerned about heroin and opium from the Golden Crescent and report a steady increase in the flow of heroin from that region, specifically from Afghanistan. Consequently, there has been an increase in the number of Afghan heroin seizures throughout China. MPS and DEA report that Pakistan serves as a key trafficking route for heroin from Afghanistan into China.

Xinjiang provincial law enforcement authorities claimed that one of the major domestic distribution routes for Southwest Asian heroin runs through Pakistan to Xinjiang province and then to cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. According to the NNCC, the PRC government in 2008 had investigated a total of 238 drug trafficking cases from the Golden Crescent. PRC law enforcement officials arrested 284 suspects and seized 390 kilograms of drugs. 66.3 percent of the heroin seized in Xinjiang originated from the Golden Crescent, based on NNCC data. Heroin from the Golden Crescent also enters China through Guangdong province in southern China. Based on NNCC statistics, imports from the Golden Crescent region increased, resulting in 400 kilograms of Afghanistan heroin seized in southern China in 2008. In September 2009, the MPS in a single case seized 145 kilograms of heroin and arrested numerous suspects including some from Pakistan and Afghanistan. From this case, it was shown that many more very large loads of Afghan heroin had been shipped to China in the past

In addition to heroin, the Golden Crescent is the world’s largest source of raw opium, accounting for over 92 percent of the world’s annual supply. From approximately 157,000 hectares, more than 7,700 tons of opium has been produced recently in this area.

Opium from the Golden Triangle had been declining for the past several years, but opium production increased in 2008 and again in 2009. Annual opium production increased to an estimate of 300 tons from a cultivated area of 24,300 hectares. Methamphetamine tablets trafficked from the Golden Triangle increased as well. In 2008, approximately 2.4 tons of methamphetamine tablets from northern Burma were seized in Yunnan province.

West African Organized Crime Groups exacerbate China’s drug trafficking problem by continuing to recruit couriers from African and Southeast Asian countries. These couriers often transport narcotics via body packs or luggage concealment.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). The demand for drugs, especially among China’s youth, remains high. The PRC Government’s Drug Control strategy is broadcast in various public media. The NNCC and other related departments produce Drug Control Law textbooks, educational films, public service ads on television and radio, posters, and charts to ensure a wider distribution. From October to December 2008, the NNCC held a nationwide promotion campaign on the Drug Control Law to reach communities in urban and rural areas. The PRC government has been using more varied media tools to promote the Drug Control Law.

The PRC government established an online database of drug users and addicts for monitoring purposes. As of February 2009, there were 1,146,000 registered existing drug users listed on the database, according to the 2009 Mini-Dublin Report. As many as 888,000 of those registered were heroin users, representing 77.5 percent of existing drug users in China. One positive outcome documented by the NNCC was that the annual growth rate of new heroin addicts decreased from 30 percent at its peak to 4.6 percent in 2008. The proportion of young abusers under the age of 35 fell from 82 percent to 51 percent.

China’s drug education/treatment and rehabilitation centers emphasize long-term support and aftercare to prevent relapse and recidivism. These centers use “education through labor,” which builds life skills for rehabilitated drug addicts. In addition to the education through labor camps, the government used media campaigns, the establishment of drug-free communities, compulsory drug rehabilitation treatment, and voluntary rehabilitation centers to reduce drug demand. The total number of community-based drug maintenance and treatment clinics increased from 128 (in 2005) to 320 in 22 provinces, regions and municipalities. In 2008, 264,000 people received compulsory drug treatment, labor reeducation treatment, and compulsory seclusion treatment in China.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. Counternarcotics cooperation between China and the United States continues to develop. Chinese authorities are working with the United States on a number of ongoing investigations and initiatives, including Golden Crescent heroin DTO (Drug Trafficking Organization) investigations, Chinese organized crime syndicates (DTOs) transporting and distributing South American cocaine around the world, and the use of precursors produced in China and subsequently illegally exported or diverted after exportation around the world. As previously mentioned, China hosted the third annual BDIWG in Beijing in October 2009. The 2005 Memorandum of Intent between DEA and MPS has led to a steady improvement in U.S.-China efforts to combat drug trafficking.

In February 2008, the Narcotics Control Bureau of MPS and the DEA of the U.S. Department of Justice jointly conducted a transnational controlled delivery operation, in which an African drug trafficking gang active in China was thwarted. Four suspects were arrested, and 779 g of cocaine, 276 g of cannabis, and 600 g of other illicit drugs were seized. Unfortunately, since then there have been no additional controlled delivery operations jointly conducted with DEA in China.

It should be noted that during the last few months of 2009, the level of cooperation and intelligence exchange on active cases improved markedly, but despite these recent improvements, bilateral counternarcotics cooperation remains hindered by the limits China imposes on intelligence sharing and provincial-level interaction. While United States counternarcotics officials regularly provide leads and share information to support arrests and confiscations in China, their Chinese counterparts are restrained from providing information, even regarding successful apprehensions that result from U.S.-provided investigative leads. Further hindering the development of effective bilateral cooperation, MPS insists that U.S. counternarcotics officials channel all communications through the central office in Beijing. Direct interaction with MPS at the provincial level would be more effective and allow timely investigations and law enforcement actions.

The Road Ahead. One of the most significant problems in bilateral counternarcotics cooperation remains the lack of progress toward concluding a bilateral Letter of Agreement enabling the U.S. Government to extend counternarcotics assistance to China. Reaching agreement on a Letter of Agreement is a major U.S. goal that, if achieved, would greatly increase counternarcotics cooperation between the two countries. Obtaining timely access to witnesses and evidence in criminal investigations remains a challenge from the U.S. perspective. Despite these issues, bilateral enforcement cooperation remains on a positive track and is expected to continue to improve over the coming year.

 

Colombia

I. Summary

The Government of Colombia (GOC) continues to make significant progress in its vigorous fight against the production and trafficking of illicit drugs. Citing record coca eradication in 2008, the United States Government (USG) and United Nations separately reported significant declines in cocaine production potential and coca cultivation in Colombia in 2008. The USG estimated that cultivation in 2008 was down 29 percent compared to 2007, from 167,000 to 119,000 hectares. Crediting sustained aerial eradication and increased manual eradication operations in 2008, it also reported a decline in pure cocaine production potential of 39 percent, from 485 metric tons in 2007 to 295 metric tons in 2008, which is also a 58 percent drop from the 700 metric tons production potential in 2001. Nevertheless, Colombia remains a major drug producing country. Colombia’s National Consolidation Plan, supported by the United States, seeks to integrate security, counternarcotics, alternative development and justice programs in targeted zones to reduce violence and consolidate security and state presence in priority areas.

In 2009, the GOC continued its aggressive interdiction and eradication programs and maintained a strong extradition record for persons charged with crimes in the U.S. According to the Colombian Government, Colombia seized during 2009 over 205 metric tons of cocaine and cocaine base and eradicated approximately 165,000 hectares of illicit coca crops. The GOC also began to address increasing domestic drug consumption and raised the profile of drug prevention and treatment efforts. Colombia is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Colombia’s capacity to combat the illegal drug trade has significantly increased, in part with the help of assistance from the United States. Major gains in disrupting the drug trafficking structure and drug growing and distribution cycles have been made. Despite an unwavering commitment to combat illegal drugs, Colombia remained one of three principal cocaine producing countries, a leading market for precursor chemicals, and the focus of significant money laundering activity. The majority of Colombian cocaine was smuggled to the U.S. via maritime means through Mexico and other countries in the transit zone, but a growing percentage is also destined for Europe and Brazil. According to DEA, almost 90 percent of the cocaine and 60 percent of the heroin seized in the United States originates in Colombia. Narcotics traffickers exploit Colombia’s vast jungles and mountainous terrain for illegal drug production, and use Pacific and Caribbean seaports, multiple international airports, a growing highway system, and extensive river ways to transport illegal narcotics outside Colombia.

While illegal drugs are still primarily exported, domestic consumption is on the rise. With the completion in 2009 of the first National Household Drug Consumption Study since 1996 and the launch of the first National Drug Consumption Reduction Plan for 2009-2010, the GOC established a baseline to measure drug consumption trends in Colombia and devised a comprehensive policy to be implemented nationwide.

The United States has designated three illegal armed groups in Colombia as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and, to a lesser degree, the Army of Liberation (ELN) exercise considerable influence over areas with high concentrations of coca and opium poppy cultivation. Their involvement in narcotics fuels armed conflict, insecurity, and generates one of the world’s largest internal displacements of rural populations. The third FTO, the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), officially demobilized in 2006, but remnants of these paramilitary forces remained involved in drug trafficking. A comprehensive demobilization and reintegration program for most members of FTOs is being implemented, but a significant number of former mid-level AUC commanders direct the drug trade through their involvement with criminal organizations in areas of former AUC influence.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2009

Policy Initiatives. To address the complexity and inter-connectedness of security, counternarcotics programs and economic development, the GOC launched a “National Consolidation Plan” in 2009 that focuses on priority areas where violence, drug trafficking and social marginalization converge. The National Consolidation Plan centered on increasing territorial control in these areas to provide security for communities; achieve lasting eradication; transfer security from the military to the police; and provides a wide range of government social and economic services. Regional Coordination Centers staffed by civilian, police and military personnel coordinated this comprehensive approach.

A pilot project for the National Consolidation Plan began in late 2007 in the Macarena region of the Department of Meta. Early indications of this effort in 2009 were positive, particularly in mitigating the growth of coca. The United Nations reported that coca cultivation in the Macarena Consolidated Program (PCIM) was down 73 percent in 2008, evidence that GOC consolidation efforts have been successful in reducing coca cultivation there. To consolidate the successes made under Plan Colombia and help the GOC implement its National Consolidation Plan, the United States delivered its comprehensive assistance in a more sequenced approach to help establish a government presence in former conflict and rural areas, deter coca replanting after eradication, improve interdiction along Colombia’s Pacific coastline and provide alternative livelihoods for those engaged in the drug trade.

One of the central components to improving local security and government presence was increasing access to justice in Colombia and fighting impunity. The nationwide transition to an oral accusatory system of justice was completed on January 1, 2008, along with implementation of a new Criminal Procedure Code, which greatly assisted in resolving cases in a timely manner and improved conviction rates.

Accomplishments. The GOC’s National Directorate for Dangerous Drugs (DNE) reported that Colombian security forces seized a total of 205.85 metric tons of cocaine and cocaine base, 191.6 metric tons of marijuana, 740 kilograms of heroin, over 1.35 million gallons and 3.54 million kilograms of precursor chemicals, while destroying 285 cocaine hydrochloride (HCL) labs and 2,795 coca base labs during 2009.

The Colombian National Police’s (CNP) Mobile Rural Police Squadrons (Carabineros) are charged with expanding and maintaining police presence in rural and conflict areas throughout Colombia. In 2009, the Carabineros captured over 6.4 metric tons of cocaine, 1,121 weapons, over 50,000 rounds of ammunition, 1,205 kilograms of explosives and destroyed over 160 base labs. In addition, Carabinero units captured 1,072 persons, including 51 FARC/ELN members, 228 individuals associated with criminal bands (BACRIM), 64 narcotics traffickers and 729 common criminals. Currently 20 out of 71 Carabinero squadrons are assigned to manual eradication operations providing security for civilian eradicators. The CNP’s main interdiction force, the DIRAN’s Jungle Commandos (Junglas), or airmobile units, were largely responsible for the significant number of HCL and coca base labs destroyed in 2009.

Law Enforcement Efforts. In light of the growing link between Colombian drug traffickers and narcotics trafficking gangs in Mexico and Central America, the CNP assisted law enforcement agencies throughout Central and South America to improve their abilities to respond to the threat of illegal drug trafficking and drug-related violence and increase coordination among regional law enforcement entities. Under the Colombia-Mexico Police Cooperation Program, the GOC provided counternarcotics and criminal investigative training as part of the Mexican Secretariat of Public Security (SSP) police reform initiative. These efforts included providing more than 40 Colombian National Police instructors to assist in the international effort to train 10,000 Mexican federal police, training for 61 Mexican senior law enforcement executives at the CNP Academy, and offering specialized CNP training for an additional 240 mid-level SSP officers. Colombia provided state-level CNP training in Mexico, with an abbreviated Jungla course on drug interdiction operations; training Mexican state police in antikidnapping and investigative techniques; and two-months of CNP Junglas’ instruction for local Mexican police. Colombian judicial training for Mexican police has also been part of Colombia’s engagement with Mexico.

DIRAN also hosted the “International Jungla Commando Course” two times annually in Colombia. Police and military units from throughout Latin America routinely send representatives to the training, including Panama, Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Other CNP assistance in the region included training for representatives from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Peru on cargo and passenger control at ports and airports. The CNP helped the United Nations with its ongoing multilateral efforts to improve the Haitian police force.

The DIRAN Judicial Police unit, which began work in 2006 to gather evidence for asset forfeiture proceedings against property owners cultivating or processing illegal crops, is estimated to have seized in 2009 illicitly obtained assets in excess of $600 million. The seizure of these assets was important to deterring cultivation of illegal crops, but additional legislative and regulatory changes are needed if this process is to have the maximum deterrent effect and provide revenue for counternarcotics and anticrime programs.

Port Security. With the success of air interdiction programs in Colombia, the transport of drugs via Colombia’s extensive rivers and coastal ports was a major concern. Significant drug seizures in Colombia’s ports were the result of improvements in port security by the GOC and private seaport operators, aided in part by the U.S. In 2009, almost 14 metric tons of cocaine, 154 kilograms of heroin, and 1.8 metric tons of marijuana were seized by DIRAN in the ports and over 70 individuals were arrested on drug-related charges. At Colombia’s international airports, DIRAN units confiscated 140 kilograms of heroin, 3.8 metric tons of cocaine, 305 kilograms of marijuana, and arrested 355 people on drug-related charges.

High-Value Targets (HVTs). Because of the FARC’s prominent role in the drug trade, over 60 FARC leaders have been indicted since 2005 in the U.S. for conspiring to traffic cocaine into the U.S. After achieving a number of high-level and significant victories against the FARC in 2008, the GOC maintained pressure against the terrorist organization and succeeded in capturing or killing a number of high-level FARC commanders in 2009. Under “Operation Fuerte,” Colombian forces killed the commander and captured the deputy commander of the FARC’S “Antonio Narino” urban front. On May 30, Colombian police captured Adela Perez, a senior FARC leader who participated in the 1994 car bomb assassination of a Colombian general and a 2001 assassination attempt against current Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

On October 25, 2009, the CNP conducted an airmobile assault on the FARC’s Teofilo Forero Mobile Column command post in the Department of Caqueta, killing three FARC combatants. One of the dead was one of Colombia’s most wanted criminals, Herier Triana, aka Comandante “Pata Mala.” In addition to being wanted for extradition to the U.S., “Pata Mala” was one of the FARC leaders most closely associated with narcotics trafficking activities. According to the CNP, he was responsible for the Club Nogal bombing (February 7, 2003), the execution of the Turbay Cote family (December 29, 2000), and the kidnapping and murder of ex-President Gaviria Trujillo’s sister, Liliana Gaviria Trujillo (April 2007).

The CNP and Colombian military aggressively pursued drug traffickers in charge of criminal and narcotics trafficking organizations. In 2009, Daniel Rendon Herrera, aka “Don Mario,” Colombia’s most-wanted narcotics trafficker was captured as a result of an April 9-15 CNP operation that included DIRAN Junglas and multiple police aviation assets. The Junglas captured Don Mario near Uraba, Antioquia, on the northwest Caribbean coast. On October 1, the Junglas also captured Marco Fidel Barba Galarcio, aka “Mateo,” the AUC paramilitary leader who led remnants of Don Mario’s narcotics trafficking organization. “Mateo” was a member of the demobilized paramilitary AUC Northern Bloc. On October 10, the DIRAN Judicial Police captured Ramon Majona in Covenas, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Majona was a major trafficker responsible for setting up cocaine lab networks in northern Colombia and was wanted for extradition to the U.S. Majona entered the AUC demobilization process in 2005, but shortly thereafter he returned to narcotics trafficking.

On September 26, 2009, the CNP Intelligence Directorate (DIPOL) captured Juan Carlos Rivera Ruiz, alias “Zero-Six,” who was the head of the North Valle Cartel and a designated kingpin. He had reportedly taken over this organization after assassinating his former boss, then Cartel leader Wilber Varela in January 2008.

Demobilization. To facilitate the dismantling of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and assist in their reintegration, the GOC operated both a collective and individual demobilization program. Under Colombian law, the High Commission for Peace overseas peace negotiations with illegal armed groups and the subsequent collective demobilizations. While available to all FTOs, collective demobilizations have only been implemented with the AUC. The Ministry of Defense managed the individual demobilization or deserter program for FTOs and any other illegal armed group in Colombia. Since 2006, the Office of the Presidential Advisor for Reintegration has directed the GOC Reintegration Program for demobilized combatants from illegal armed groups.

While the number of demobilizations dropped markedly in 2009 due in part to a reduced operational tempo by Colombian Security Forces and an increased tendency for insurgents to withdraw to more remote areas, 2,638 individuals still demobilized during this reporting period. FARC numbers fell by 30 percent from 3,027 in 2008 to 2,128 in 2009 as ELN demobilization grew by approximately 20 percent with 492 individuals laying down their arms. Between 2002 and 2009, the GOC reports more than 52,000 persons have demobilized —over 20,555 under the individual demobilization program and 31,671 under the collective process.

Under the GOC’s Justice and Peace process, 1,952 confessions of demobilized paramilitary members have been taken; 34,869 crimes are in the process of being confessed; out of these, 16,607 crimes have been fully confessed (the vast majority murders); 2,901 victim’s remains were exhumed; 786 bodies were returned to relatives and 280,420 victims registered. The U.S. provides assistance to the Colombian Attorney General’s Office to carry out the investigation and gather confessions of demobilized paramilitary members, including those extradited to the United States.

Under the GOC’s Justice and Peace process, 1,926 confessions of demobilized paramilitary members have been taken; 32,909 crimes confessed—the vast majority murders; 2,666 victim remains exhumed, and 257,089 victims registered. The U.S. provided assistance to the Colombian Prosecutor General’s Office to carry out the investigation and obtain confessions of demobilized paramilitary members, including those extradited to the United States.

Corruption. Colombia is party to both the Inter-American Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Corruption. The GOC does not, as a matter of government policy, encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Despite this commitment, corruption of some GOC officials occurred. Numerous members of the GOC supported right-wing paramilitary groups. A total of 87 members of the 2006-2010 Congress, 15 current and former governors, and 35 mayors have been investigated in the “para-political” scandal, with 30 congressmen, 11 governors, and 25 mayors jailed as a result of the investigations. Both the Supreme Court and a special unit within the Prosecutor General’s office pursued their investigations of alleged paramilitary ties to politicians and other sectors of society.

The Colombian courts handed down two positive decisions in human rights cases. On December 2, 2009, the Colombian Supreme Court sentenced former Sucre Department Governor and Ambassador to Chile Salvador Arana to 40 years in prison for his role in ordering the assassination of a mayor by paramilitaries in 2003. The sentence is the longest handed down by the Supreme Court in the “para-political” scandal. Separately, on November 26 a Bogota court sentenced former Army General Jaime Humberto Uscategui to 40 years for his failure to make any effort to prevent the 1997 Mapiripan, Meta massacre during which 40 unarmed peasants were killed by AUC forces. General Uscategui appealed the case to Colombia’s Supreme Court. In a surprising development, on December 3, the Colombian Supreme Court dropped charges against former Navy Admiral Gabriel Arango Bacci at the request of the Prosecutor General and Inspector General. Arango had been accused of collaboration with narcotics traffickers. Navy Commander Admiral Barrerra, who relieved Arango and referred his case to the civilian criminal courts, is now under investigation for allegedly providing false testimony. Arango had earlier been found guilty by a military tribunal of accepting a bribe of $115,000 in exchange for alerting drug traffickers to navy patrol coordinates and pulling navy vessels away from smuggling routes.

Revelations of military “false positives,” in which unarmed civilians were murdered and presented as combat deaths, led to the dismissal of 51 officers and soldiers of the Colombian Army. The Prosecutor General’s Office is currently processing more than 1,000 cases of extrajudicial executions, involving approximately 2,000 victims. Prosecutions have been slow but there was progress. At the end of 2008, the Ministry of Defense implemented human rights protocols and changed operating policies in an effort to confront the problem of extrajudicial executions. While sources vary on the exact figures, NGOs, the GOC, and international organizations agree that the number of military extrajudicial executions dropped dramatically in 2009 to between two and 20 from over 300 killings in 2008. The GOC reports that 139 former members of the military have been convicted for extrajudicial executions.

President Uribe announced on September 17 that he favored dismantling the scandal-ridden Administrative Department of Security (DAS), the civilian security service. DAS scandals included alleged illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court Magistrates, opposition politicians, and non-governmental organizations. In a much-anticipated move, President Uribe proposed a much smaller, new entity that would focus on intelligence and immigration services. The DAS’ other functions would be transferred to other existing agencies. Legislation to dissolve and assemble a new intelligence service was sent to the Colombian Congress, but no action had been taken by the end of 2009.

Agreements and Treaties. The GOC is a party to the United Nations (UN) Single Convention on Narcotic drugs, 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol; the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances; 1988 UN Drug Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances; the Organization of American States (OAS) Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and its Protocol on Trafficking in Persons; and the UN Convention against Corruption. Colombia participated in the Regional Summit on the World Drug Problem, Security, and Cooperation, which promoted information sharing, training and technical assistance under the UN counternarcotics conventions. Separately, Colombia is part of a tri-party group with the U.S. and Mexico that consists of the DEA Administrator, the Colombian Minister of Defense, and the Mexican Attorney General. This group meets to discuss counternarcotics and other issues of mutual interest. The GOC’s 2003 National Security Strategy (Plan de Seguridad Democratica) meets the strategic requirements of the 1988 UN Drug Convention and the GOC is generally in line with its other requirements.

A Maritime Ship Boarding Agreement signed in 1997 continued to be successfully implemented by the GOC and U.S. This agreement facilitated timely approval to board Colombian-flagged ships in international waters and improved counternarcotics cooperation between the Colombian Navy (COLNAV) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Meetings on this issue have expanded and included Ecuador, Panama and Mexico. The COLNAV seized 97.4 metric tons of cocaine, 12.8 metric tons of marijuana and 5.3 kilograms of heroin during 2009. From that total, 16.6 metric tons of cocaine have been seized under this Maritime Ship Boarding Agreement.

The 1999 Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) provides a basis for the exchange of information to prevent, investigate, and repress any offense against the customs laws of the United States or Colombia. As a result of the CMAA and the strong relationship with Colombian Customs, a U.S.-created Trade Based Money Laundering Unit was created to analyze, identify and investigate money laundering utilizing trade between Colombia and the United States.

In 2004, Colombia and the United States signed a revised agreement establishing the Bilateral Narcotics Control Program, which provides the framework for specific counternarcotics project agreements with the various Colombian implementing agencies. This agreement has been amended annually and is the vehicle for the delivery of a majority of U.S. counternarcotics assistance.

On October 30, 2009, the United States and Colombia signed the Defense Cooperation Agreement (formally titled a Supplemental Agreement for Cooperationa and Technical Assistance and Security, or SACTA), which is now in force. The Agreement will deepen bilateral cooperation on security issues and facilitate effective bilateral cooperation on security matters in Colombia, including narcotics production and trafficking, terrorism, illicit smuggling, and humanitarian and natural disasters. The Defense Cooperation Agreement does not permit the establishment of any U.S. bases in Colombia, but it ensures continued U.S. access to certain Colombian facilities in order to undertake mutually-agreed upon activities within Colombia.

Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance. There is no bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in force between the United States and Colombia, but the two countries cooperate extensively via multilateral agreements and conventions, including the OAS Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance and the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

Despite several extradition denials by the Colombian Supreme Court since late 2008 (16 denials; more than 75 percent of total denials since 1991), a large number of individuals were extradited to the United States, primarily on drug charges. During 2009, there were 186 extraditions to the United States. Since December 1997, when Colombia revised its domestic law to permit the extradition of Colombian nationals, 1,041 individuals have been extradited to the United States, including 975 since President Uribe assumed office in 2002.

Cultivation/Production. Citing record coca eradication in 2008, the United States and UN reported significant declines in coca cultivation and cocaine production potential in Colombia in 2008. The USG reported that cultivation in 2008 was down 29 percent compared to 2007, from 167,000 to 119,000 hectares—the largest decline ever reported in cultivation by the U. S. and the first reported drop since 2002. The U.S., crediting sustained aerial eradication and increased manual eradication operations in 2008, also reported a decline in pure cocaine production potential of 39 percent from 485 metric tons in 2007 to 295 metric tons in 2008. The UN reported an 18 percent drop in cultivation in 2008, down to 81,000 hectares, and a 28 percent fall in cocaine production potential to 430 metric tons.

While the U.S. and the UN numbers vary because of different methodologies, the trends reflected in both reports have generally been consistent. These reports also indicate that existing coca is less healthy, less dense, and in smaller fields. As the estimated area under cultivation diminished, cocaine productivity from Colombian fields dropped. Nevertheless, illicit cultivation was a serious problem in Colombia’s national parks, indigenous reserves, and along the border with Ecuador and Venezuela, where aerial eradication is prohibited. The GOC does not conduct aerial spraying within 10 kilometers of international borders due to objections from neighboring countries. Manual eradication did occur in border areas, yet it was slow and dangerous, due to the often rugged and isolated terrain, as well as the strategic importance of the border and certain parklands to the FARC.

Under the auspices of the President’s Agency for Social Action, civilian eradicators, with support from the CNP, Colombian Army and Colombian Marines conducted manual eradication throughout the country. After manually eradicating a record 96,000 hectares of illicit crops in 2008, the manual eradication goal for 2009 was reduced to 70,000 hectares in early 2009 because of funding limitations. Due to further budgetary constraints, security concerns and the dispersion of coca to smaller fields, the Government of Colombia’s manual eradication program eliminated approximately 60,500 hectares in 2009. During 2009, the GOC reported 40 fatalities, in comparison to 26 for 2008, during manual eradication operations due to improvised explosive devices, sniper fire and attacks from drug traffickers. Dozens of additional manual eradicators and security personnel were injured or maimed during manual eradication. The aerial eradication program sprayed 104,771 hectares, exceeding the spray goal of 100,000 hectares, but amounting to 28,725 hectares less than in 2008.

Opium poppy cultivation and heroin production in Colombia declined about 50 percent from 2000 to 2006 according to the most recent poppy cultivation estimate for Colombia. Colombian public security forces reported seizing 598 kilograms of heroin in 2009, an increase of nearly 200 kilograms compared to 2008 seizures. It is unclear if the increase in seizures is related to rising poppy cultivation since a full estimate of poppy cultivation for Colombia has not been able to be completed since 2006 for technical reasons. In 2009, the GOC manually eradicated 546 hectares of poppy, compared to 361 hectares in 2008 and 375 hectares in 2007.

Environmental Safeguards. The aerial eradication program followed strict GOC laws and regulations, verified twice a year by an inter-institutional complaints committee to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the environmental protection measures. Soil and water samples were taken prior to the commencement of spray operations and afterwards to measure the level of chemical residue. Analysis has shown that residue levels have never fallen outside of the established norms and caused no significant harm to the environment. To respond to human and environmental concerns, the Organization of American States (OAS) published a study in 2005 noting that “the chemicals used to aerially eradicate coca did not pose significant risks to humans or most wildlife.”

In a series of follow-up OAS studies published in August 2009, an international team of scientists looked thoroughly at potential risks associated with the aerial application of glyphosate to coca or opium poppy in Colombia. The studies included many aspects of potential exposure and toxicology, i.e., drift during spraying, potentially sensitive amphibian species, and epidemiology studies in the regions where spraying has occurred. The outcome was a series of 10 peer-reviewed scientific papers. The authors concluded that spraying has not caused damage to humans or wildlife, and that damage from drug crop production and processing far outweighs the negligible risk from exposure to glyphosate due to coca or poppy spraying. The GOC continued to investigate all claims of harm to human health allegedly caused by aerial spraying; however, the Colombian National Institute of Health has not verified a single case of adverse human health effects linked to aerial eradication.

To address incidences where legal crops may have accidentally been sprayed, the GOC, with U.S. support, carried out a complaints resolution program. Since the beginning of the program in 2001, DIRAN has received a total of 12,288 complaints, of which only 1.3 percent were compensated. Through September 2009, nearly 80 percent of the complaints were dismissed after verification missions determined that spray did not occur or did not damage legal crops, found the presence of illegal crops or the complainants failed to submit all the required information. Approximately 19 percent of the cases were still being processed. While the GOC worked aggressively to resolve all complaints, incomplete complaint forms and possible incidences of eradication opponents and coca producers filing frivolous complaints in mass to backlog the system complicated and burdened this process. The CNP recently acquired a high–resolution camera that is expected to enhance verification and complaint missions. The camera will begin to support complaint verification missions once pilots and operators have undergone the necessary training.

Drug Flow/Transit. Colombian cocaine and heroin are primarily destined for the United States or Europe. Drugs arriving in the United States from Colombia often departed from Colombia’s Pacific coast via go-fast boats or self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) vessels. This route entailed offloading the contraband offshore or along the littoral of Central American countries and Mexico for further transshipment overland to the United States. Drugs headed for the United States also departed from ports along Colombia’s Caribbean coastline, or utilizing small, non-commercial aircraft that depart from clandestine airstrips in Colombia. During 2009, there were 32 illegal flights detected in Colombia, a reduction of 95 percent compared to 2003. The reduced number of illegal flights in Colombia has allowed air detection assets to perform maritime patrols, resulting in eight vessels impounded and one SPSS scuttled in 2009. An increasing flow of Colombian cocaine for Europe was often transported via air or maritime routes through West African states with lax and/or corrupt law enforcement.

Drug traffickers used SPSS to move multi-ton loads of cocaine. These vessels are constructed of fiberglass or steel, range anywhere from 45 to 82 feet in length, and can transport an average of five to seven metric tons of cocaine. They have a range of 2,000 miles and usually carry three to four crew members. Colombian and U.S. efforts to detect and interdict these vessels improved significantly with 20 SPSSs interdicted or scuttled during 2009. Colombia passed Law 1311 on July 9, 2009, prohibiting the construction, commercialization and possession of SPSS or other types of submersible vessels.

The majority of Colombian heroin originated from the highland areas of Nariño and Cauca. Investigative intelligence indicated that large heroin shipments (5-20 kilograms) from Nariño were being transported via vehicle to Quito and Guayaquil, Ecuador, and then shipped to the U.S. via multiple couriers. Other smuggling routes included vehicle transport along the north Pacific coast to Central America via go-fast boats and then sent by postal courier services to the United States. The shipments that made it to Central America are predominately reaching the United States via Mexico. In addition, smaller amounts of heroin (less than five kilograms) are transported via human couriers in clothing, luggage or ingestion.

Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The GOC continued to implement its National Drug Consumption Reduction Plan with UN and U.S. support. The Plan, launched in November 2008, strengthened civil society, supported initiatives by international organizations, led to research that will provide a baseline for drug demand prevention policies in Colombia, and built self-sustaining community drug demand prevention coalitions in Colombia using U.S.-based Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) trainers.

On December 9, the Colombian Senate approved a law to prohibit the possession and consumption of a minimum (formerly called “personal”) dose of illegal drugs. This constitutional reform reversed the 1994 Constitutional Court decision that allowed for the possession and consumption of a “personal dose” of drugs. The modification to the Constitution will still allow for possession and consumption of drugs with a medical prescription for health-related reasons. Subsequent legislation is expected to provide regulations for treatment for drug addicts.

The Colombian National Police Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program was expanded throughout all 32 departments with USG assistance. In 2009, the program expanded to high schools and parents and provided support for the national drug awareness poster contest, the interactive drug demand prevention bus, and the new DARE office in southwestern Colombia.

A national youth contest to help implement the National Drug Consumption Reduction Plan’s goals was launched in 2009. Training for more than 30,000 health professionals from around the country has been provided to prevent drug consumption, treat addiction, and provide rehabilitation options. Colombia also completed a National Household Drug Consumption Survey in 2009, the first drug consumption survey in 12 years. It is one of the most representative surveys in Latin America with almost 30,000 surveys completed and revealed that illegal drug consumption is on the rise in Colombia.

Twenty-three departments have drug addiction treatment centers. In areas of high consumption such as the Nariño, Caldas, Quindío, Cauca and Boyacá departments, a corresponding increase in treatment centers or diversity of treatment has not yet occurred. Drug treatment services in Colombia were provided by private organizations primarily using the therapeutic community and residential models.

IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Policy Initiatives. U.S. counternarcotics and rule of law programs in Colombia focus on disrupting the illicit drug trade, strengthening institutions and transferring additional operational and financial responsibilities to the GOC in a sustained manner. We will continue to support Colombian efforts to consolidate security and social assistance in several key priority areas, further develop the capabilities of rural police, promote the demobilization of former combatants and concentrate eradication resources in those areas where coca growth is the heaviest.

Bilateral Cooperation. Colombia is a valued partner in the fight against illegal drugs. After the successes of Plan Colombia, the U.S. is maintaining a reduced but strong counternarcotics assistance program to solidify these gains. The adoption of new tactics by narcotics traffickers, including shifting coca cultivation and cocaine production to new, remote areas, and expanding cultivation into areas off-limits to the spray program, has enabled them to continue to produce and export cocaine in large quantities. In response, Colombia adjusted its approach to focus on establishing a sustainable government presence and integrated rural development in major coca growing and FARC-controlled regions. As Colombia increases its capacity to take and hold its territory from criminal groups, drug traffickers and terrorists, the U.S. will continue to support the GOC with airlift capacity to ensure support for interdiction and eradication as well as provide training and equipment for specialized and rural police units. Continued U.S. support for Colombia’s justice sector will be important to mitigating the drug trade, as well as improving the investigation and prosecution of human rights cases.

Although illicit crop eradication programs were reduced in 2009 because of U.S. and GOC funding constraints, strong aerial and manual eradication programs remained important to achieving U.S. counternarcotics goals. Aerial and manual eradication operations were closely coordinated to complement each other and optimize capabilities. Aerial eradication helped eliminate coca in remote regions and in FARC-controlled areas that were too dangerous for manual eradication, prevents the FARC and other drug trafficking organizations from receiving revenue for coca cultivation, helps improve security in remote regions because of the presence of GOC forces and keeps drugs from flooding transit zone countries like Mexico. Eradication programs that were closely linked to alternative development remain a necessary component of a larger counternarcotics effort in Colombia.

In an attempt to better coordinate the multiple aspects of reestablishing security in former conflict regions, support interdiction and eradication programs and provide socio-economic development, the U.S. supported the GOC’s National Consolidation Plan. To that end, U.S. security, counternarcotics and alternative development assistance was better sequenced in several strategic zones to ensure sustained eradication, permanent government presence and alternative livelihoods for those engaged in drug cultivation.

In light of growing GOC institutional capacity, the U.S. transferred operational and financial responsibility, i.e., “nationalization,” for several counternarcotics programs to GOC control. Significant progress in nationalizing aviation programs occurred, and additional support will be turned over to local control in a sustainable fashion over the next several years. Achievements in the nationalization program in 2009 included the title transfer of 17 UH-1N helicopters in the Colombian Army Aviation program, the assumption by the Colombian National Police for both helicopter support packages that are part of the aerial eradication program and the transfer of Air Bridge Denial program to GOC control.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) training activities in 2009 included a three-week International Task Force Agent Training (ITAT) course for 14 CNP DIJIN investigators at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia, with a concentration on money laundering investigations. ICE supported GOC asset forfeiture efforts to attack transnational criminal organizations and the DIJIN money laundering investigative group that performed financial analysis on targets of interest for multiple U.S. federal law enforcement agencies.

In September 2009, ICE Bogota coordinated an investigation into a multi-national criminal organization dedicated of smuggling bulk cash. This joint effort ultimately resulted in the seizure of $41 million at the seaport of Buenaventura, Colombia. Additionally, ICE Bogota coordinated efforts with ICE Mexico resulting in additional seizures totaling $11 million at the seaport of Manzanillo, Mexico.

ICE’s Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST) teams are multi-agency teams developed as a comprehensive approach to increasing information sharing among participating agencies in identifying, disrupting and dismantling criminal organizations posing significant threats to U.S. border security. BEST teams incorporate personnel from ICE, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Coast Guard, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office along with other key federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement agencies, to include Mexico, Canada, Colombia, and Argentina. ICE will post three Colombian National Police Officers in BEST units in San Diego, New York, and Miami for periods of two years.

Cooperation between Colombia and the U.S. Coast Guard remains strong. The bilateral counternarcotics agreement with Colombia is utilized on a regular basis to conduct drug interdictions in the transit zone. Colombia is an active participant in the Multilateral Counterdrug Summit, which includes the participation of Panama, Mexico and Ecuador to work towards regional counternarcotics interoperability.

In 2009, the bilateral agreement directly facilitated the interdiction of 7 Colombian flagged vessels. Additionally, the U.S. Coast Guard facilitated attendance for members of the Colombian Navy at the International Maritime Officer’s Course and the Chief Petty Officer Academy.

Alternative Development. By September of 2009, U.S. and GOC alternative development programs had supported the cultivation of over 659,926 hectares of agricultural, forestry plantation and/or natural forest management activities and had completed approximately 1,290 social and productive infrastructure projects over the last seven years with communities that agree to remain illicit crop free. More than 439,276 families in 18 departments have benefited from these programs. Additionally, these projects have leveraged over $759 million in private and public sector funding for alternative development initiatives. Beginning in 2010, U.S. Agency for International Development-assisted alternative development programming will be aligned in large part with the GOC’s National Consolidation Plan.

Support for Democracy and Judicial Reform. The U.S. is providing extensive assistance to reform and strengthen the criminal justice system and the rule of law in Colombia. The U.S. provided training and technical assistance to support the new roles of judges, prosecutors, forensic scientists, public defenders, and police investigators under the new accusatory system. This assistance focused on practical training, including crime scene management, investigation and prosecution strategy, interviewing witnesses, and courtroom proceedings. The program provided training to more than 60,000 prosecutors, judges, public defenders, criminal investigators, and forensic experts.

Specialized training and assistance has also been provided to prosecutor and investigator units focusing on criminal cases in the areas of human rights, murder, sex crimes, money laundering, narcotics, corruption, intellectual property, and organized crime. Extensive forensic assistance in the areas of DNA, ballistics, false documents, courtroom testimony, and equipment and enhancement of forensic laboratories has been shared. Particular emphasis has been on the development of exhumation teams to properly exhume mass grave sites connected to investigations and confessions of paramilitary and guerilla groups, as well as to enhance DNA identification of victim remains. Assistance has also been provided for witness protection and court security.

In order to increase access to justice for millions of Colombians, the U.S. assisted in refurbishing or building 45 physical court rooms in urban areas, 14 virtual court rooms in rural zones, and either refurbished or equipped 22 public defender offices. The GOC constructed with U.S. support 59 justice houses throughout Colombia that provided formal and informal justice sector services to over eight million Colombians.

Military Justice. The GOC trained 48 judges and prosecutors in their Military Penal Justice Corps in 2009. This included a one-year course for eight Magistrates and ten certification exams for Military Tribunal Court Justices. The goal of this effort was to build capability for Magistrates and Prosecutors to convene military courts and adjudicate legal violations. The Rules of Engagement and Rules for the Use of Force (ROE/RUF) Initiative was a crucial part of U.S./GOC engagement. In addition, the U.S. is supporting a Colombian Military training program, which by the end of 2010, all Colombian ground troops and commanders will have received new training and support materials, reducing risk of human rights violations associated with military operations.

The Colombian Military’s investigative capabilities are carried out by the Inspector General. U.S. assistance provided for the training of 90 Inspectors General (IGs) throughout the country. All U.S. engagement incorporates principles of respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.

The Road Ahead. The U.S. values its strong bilateral relationship with Colombia, including robust counternarcotics cooperation. As Colombia’s capacity and stability grows, the U.S./Colombia relationship continues to extend beyond the traditional law enforcement issues that have dominated the bilateral agenda for the last decade to include issues such as energy and trade.

Focusing on drug-related and law enforcement challenges, the GOC, with U.S. support, needs to further weaken the criminal organizations that have emerged in recent years to take over the drug trade from the AUC and former cartels. Maintaining progress on sustainably nationalizing additional counternarcotics programs despite financial limitations will also be central to ensuring continued success in our shared fight against illegal drugs. Addressing the need for more police as the country transitions to a post-conflict environment is a key challenge that will influence lasting success of the National Consolidation Plan. Strengthening government presence in conflict areas, while improving institutional capacity to provide services and economic opportunities, will be important to Colombia’s future. Other important challenges for the GOC include regaining control of the vast Pacific coastal zones and border areas, demobilizing and reintegrating ex-combatants, advancing the reconciliation and victim reparations processes and ensuring greater protection of human rights.


V. Statistical Table

 

 

 

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Coca

                     

Net Cultivation[1](ha)

 

119,000

167,000

157,200

144,000

114,100

113,800

144,450

169,800

136,200

122,800

Aerial Eradication(ha)

104,772

133,496

153,133

171,613

138,775

136,555

132,817

122,695

84,251

47,371

43,246

Manual Eradication (ha)

60,500

95,732

66,396

42,111

31,258

10,991

         

HCl(cocaine): Potential[1,2] (mt)

 

295

485

515

500

410

445

585

700

530

530

Opium Poppy

                     

Net Cultivation[1] (mt)

   

1,000[3]

2,300

N/A[4]

2,100

4,400

4,900

6,540

5,010

5,000

Aerial Eradication(ha)[5]

     

232

1,624

3,060

2,994

3,371

2,583

9,254

 

Manual Eradication (ha)

586

381

375

1,929

497

1,497

         

Heroin:Potential[1] (mt)

   

1.9

4.6

N/A

3.8

7.8

8.5

11.4

8.7

11.6

Seizures

                     

Coca Base/Paste (mt)

49.85

41

60.6

48.1

43.8

28.3

31.1

30.0

26.7

0.0

9.0

Cocaine HCl(mt)

156

182.8

130.7

130.2

179.0

138.6

114.0

94.0

57.3

69.0

22.7

Combined HCl & Base (mt)

205.85

223.8

191.3

178.3

222.8

166.9

145.1

124.0

84.0

69.0

31.7

Heroin

0.74

0.64

0.6

0.5

0.7

0.7

0.5

0.8

0.8

0.6

0.5

Arrests/Detentions

61,021

54,041

59,652

64,123

82,236

63,791

N/A

15,868

15,367

8,600

 

Labs Destroyed

                     

Cocaine HCl

285

301

240

205

137

150

83

129

     

Base

2,795

3,238

2,875

1,952

             

Heroin

0

4

1

9

6

8

3

3

6

13

10

 

[1] A USG estimate for this metric was not available at the time of this report.
[2] Estimates of Colombian potential pure cocaine production were revised based on recent coca-leaf yield studies.
[3] Only a partial survey was completed in 2007.
[4] Cloud cover in key opium poppy growing areas of Colombia precluded an opium estimate in 2005.
[5] Aerial eradication of poppy was discountinued in April 2006 in order to devote all aerial assets against coca cultivation.


Country Reports - Costa Rica through Haiti



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